The Institute of Oriental Philosophy
Lotus Sutra Manuscripts

‣Overview of the Lotus Sutra Manuscript Series

Xixia Version of the Lotus Sutra from the Collection of the St. Petersburg Branch of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Science (2005)

Published by the Soka Gakkai
Editing of facsimile edition (including the attachment of the Chinese text) by Tatsuo Nishida, Yoshinori Miyagawa, and Shoichi Matsuoka
Coordination by the Institute of Oriental Philosophy
Date of publication: March 25, 2005
ISBN: 4-88417-012-1
Collection of the St. Petersburg Branch of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Date of translation: 12th century CE
Number of pages: 236 + lxiv (total 300 pages)
Language: Xixia, Chinese, Russian, Japanese, and English

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Located at the east end of the Silk Road, the Tangut state of Xixia (1032-1227 CE) started the national project of rendering Chinese documents including Buddhist texts into their language during thereign of Li Yuanhao (1032-1048), the first emperor of the Xixia state. Xixia is the literary language formulated from the spoken dialects of Tibeto Burman branch of the ethnic groups that made up the Xixia states. The Xixia characters were invented to give the dialect a written language.
    As the project progressed, the Xixia language developed into a fine literary language. The Xixia version of the Lotus Sutra was completed during the period when the language had fully matured in the 12th century in the reign of the emperor Renzong, born Li Renxiao, (1139-1193). This is, therefore, a secondhand translation from Miaofa lianhua jing translated by Kumarajiva.
    The precious texts of the Xixia version of the Lotus Sutra from the Collection of the St. Petersburg Branch of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences (presently Institute of Oriental Manuscripts) was edited and published as a clear facsimile edition by Tatsuo Nishida (1929-2012), a member of the Japan Academy and professor Emeritus of Kyoto University, a leading expert on Xixia studies. The publication of this volume is expected to promote further Xixia studies in the future.

 


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