The US Library of Congress has just published photos online of their Gandhara Scroll (Library of Congress Control Number 2018305008)
It seems the link is broken, Bhante.
That is so cool. I didn’t know any of that existed in the U.S.
Many of the characters, especially on one scroll, look a lot like Japanese characters.
Now, if we could just discover an entire Agama collection in a jar buried somewhere in Afghanistan …
Yeah! Autographed by Ananda would be very nice.
Ideally a Mahasamghika one
This is definitely very interesting. The approximate date of origin of this scroll is 1 century BCE. It is approximately when Pure Land school of Mahayana Buddhism started. Also, Pure Land school was originated in the north west of India, the area where this scroll was found. The scroll has no mention of Amitābha, the Buddha that started the Pure Land school, which tells me that this scroll must be coming from the traditional Buddhism school during that time period and Pure Land School was not all that popular then.
I would caution against concluding too much from one text.
Though, interestingly, it is a sutta mentioning other Buddhas. So it does point, perhaps, to a zeitgeist of looking beyond our own (Gautama) Buddha for salvation.
For those who haven’t seen it, here is the video presentation by Richard Solomon discussing the Gandhara Scroll.