Preserving the Sanghata Sutra

it was through Gilgit, one of the important towns on the Silk Route, that Buddhism spread from India to China and other countries. Buddhist Sanskrit texts like the Hridaya Sutra and Jyotiskavadana have been found in Gilgit. Recently the Archaeology and Museums of Kashmir was given the National Award for preserving the 5th – 6th century birch manuscript of the Sangahata-Sutra, a recording of a lecture given by Buddha in Rajagriha.

The Gilgit Manuscripts were accidentally discovered in 1931 when a group of cattle grazers unearthed a box in the region of Gilgit [now part of Pakistan administered Kashmir] in the then undivided Jammu & Kashmir state. This manuscript collection contains such Buddhist works, both canonical and non-canonical which helped in the evolution of Sanskrit, Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Tibetan religio-philosophical literature. Gilgit was then the major trade centre on the Silk Route.

These manuscripts are yet to be deciphered fully. Part of these manuscripts were airlifted from Kashmir to New Delhi under special instructions from first Prime Minister of India Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, during the 1948 India-Pakistan conflict. [Kashmir Archives gets award for preserving Gilgit Manuscripts]

See Also: English Translation of Sanghata Sutra

Technorati Tags: Sanghata Sutra, Gilgit, Buddhism, Jammu and Kashmir, Sanskrit

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