The Institute of Oriental Philosophy
Lotus Sutra Manuscripts

‣Overview of the Lotus Sutra Manuscript Series

 Sanskrit Lotus Sutra Fragments from the Lüshun Museum Collection, Facsimile Edition and Romanized Text (1997)

Published by the Lüshun Museum and the Soka Gakkai Edited by Jiang Zhongxin
Coordination by the Institute of Oriental Philosophy
Date of publication: May 3, 1997
Collection of the Lüshun Museum, China
Number of pages: xxxvi + 204 (total 240 pages)
Type of publication: color facsimile attached with romanized and parallel Chinese texts
Language: Sanskrit, Chinese, English, and Japanese


A large amount of documents and materials of the Western Regions of Central Asia were collected by the Japanese Otani Expedition in a series of three trips, first in the period of 1902-1904, then 1908-1909, and finally 1910-1914. The Sanskrit Lotus Sutra manuscript fragments of different scripts and copy dates (Manuscripts A, B, and C, as well as Set D) were also found among them. They imply some important information for the study of Miaofa linhua jing, Chinese translation of the Lotus Sutra by Kumarajiva. They were stored in Lüshun, China, rather than being brought back to Japan.
    From 1923, the Russian scholar Nikolai Mironov (1880-1936), having stayed at Villa Ashoka, in Japanese Muyuen, in Chinese Wuyouyuan, in Shanghai at the invitation of Kozui Otani (1876-1948), the 22nd chief priest of Nishi Hongan-ji temple, started the arrangement of and research on these fragments, and seemingly completed transcribing the text into roman letter by 1927. Nalinaksha Dutt (1893-1973) printed Mironov’s romanized text in the footnotes of his edition, Saddharmapu
ṇḍarīkasūtram, (aka. Dutt edition, the Asiatic Society, Kolkata 1953). The fragments were donated to the Guandong Office Museum (presently the Lüshun Museum) by Count Otani in 1929. Since the Datt edition including Mironov’s transliteration was published, various opinions have emerged over the years concerning the manuscripts’ whereabouts.
     In 1994, Jiang Zhongxin, a professorial research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, met with representatives of the Institute of Oriental Philosophy in Beijing, and discussed the possibility of publishing the results of his research since 1981 on the fragments. In 1996, color photographs of the Lotus text fragments were taken, and Sanskrit Lotus Sutra Fragments from the Lüshun Museum Collection, Facsimile Edition and Romanized Text was published the following spring. The book is most fitting for the opening of the Lotus Sutra Manuscript Series in the sense that it has unraveled the academic issues that have persisted over the years.

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