Lecture Series and Reading Workshop
The Department of Pali and Buddhist Studies, SPPU, Pune is pleased to announce a Lecture Series and Reading Workshop on ‘Gandharan Buddhism and Gandhari Buddhist Manuscripts’ under the Khyentse Foundation India Visiting Professorship Programme. The lecture series and reading workshop will be guided by Prof. Mark Allon, Associate Professor in South Asian Buddhist Studies, University of Sydney, who is a renowned scholar of Gandharan Buddhism.
The lecture series and reading workshop will commence on 20th December and will conclude on 15th February 2024. Sessions will be held on every Wednesday and Thursday at the Department of Pali and Buddhist Studies, SPPU from 10.30 am to 01.30 pm and will also be available online on Microsoft team’s link. Session is open for interested students, scholars and faculty members from inside and outside theUniversity. The participants should register their names by filling up Google form on the link given below on or before 15th December 2023. Please note that there is no registration fee. Your sincere interest and active participation is what we require.
To register, please fill the Google form on the following link:
Please note that the online joining link and the study material will be send only to the registered participants.
Prof. Mahesh Deokar
Head of Department,
Department of Pali and Buddhist Studies,
About the Workshop:
Readings in Gandhari Buddhist Manuscripts
The past three decade has witnessed the discovery of several major collections of Buddhist manuscripts from ancient Gandhara (present day northern Pakistan and eastern Afghanistan).
The oldest of these are the Gandhari manuscripts, which date from approximately the 1st BCE to the 3rd century CE, making them the oldest Buddhist and oldest Indian manuscripts yet discovered. Despite at least a 1000 years of Buddhist history in the region, which is well attested through a wealth of archaeological sites, art objects, coins and inscriptions, supplemented by historical accounts, such as those of Chinese pilgrims, these are the first substantial examples of Gandhari Buddhist texts from Gandhara.
This series of lectures and text reading sessions will introduce students to Gandharan Buddhism, art, and culture, to the new manuscript discoveries and their importance, and to the Gandhari language and Kharoshthi script. The bulk of the series will be taken up with reading sample texts from the new collections.
Lecture 1 (20 December): Buddhism in ancient Gandhara (northern Pakistan and eastern Afghanistan) and recent discoveries of Gandhari Buddhist manuscripts
In this lecture I will give an account of the history of Buddhism in Gandhara, artistic expressions and innovations, and the importance of the region to the spread of Buddhist to Central Asia and China, then discuss the new manuscript discoveries and the impact they are having on our understanding of Buddhism in Gandhara and beyond. I will also discuss the digital platform we have developed for collaborative research and for the publishing of Gandharan Buddhist manuscripts and inscriptions, which is the foundation for their digital repatriation to the communities from which these important cultural artifacts originate.
Lecture 2 (27 December): The Gandhari language and Kharoshthi script
In this lecture I will give an overview of the Gandhari language and its relationship to Sanskrit, Pali and other Prakrits, and an account of the Kharoshthi script and scribal hands. I will discuss the materiality of Gandharan birch bark manuscripts and how we work with these manuscripts, which are not uncommonly fragmentary, and “wrestle” an edition, translation, and study out of them. I will conclude with a discussion of the relationship between these Gandhari texts and their parallels in other languages (Pali, Sanskrit, Chinese) and what this tells us about the transmission of early Buddhist literature.
Remaining lectures (28 December and thereafter Wednesday and Thursday in subsequent weeks): Reading Gandhari manuscripts
The remaining lectures, or better, sessions, will focus on reading Gandhari manuscripts. We will begin with a reading of the Gandhari version of the second discourse of the Buddha, which in Pali is called the Anattalakkhaṇa-sutta, in conjunction with its Pali and Sanskrit parallels. The texts read in the remaining sessions will be decided in conjunction with staff and students. This might include further prose sutras, verse texts, such as the Dharmapada or Anavataptagāthā, and inscriptions.
By Mark Allon, all times in announcement in IST