Buddhist Path, Buddhist Teachings - Studies in Memory of L.S. Cousins - Naomi Appleton

Buddhist Path, Buddhist Teachings - Studies in Memory of L.S. Cousins - Naomi Appleton

13. The Formation of Canons in the Early Indian nikāyas or Schools in the Light of the New Gāndhārī Manuscript Finds

Buddhist Path, Buddhist Teachings - Studies in Memory of L.S. Cousins - Naomi Appleton

Mark Allon [+-]
University of Sydney
Mark Allon is Chair of the Department and Lecturer in South Asian Buddhist Studies at the University of Sydney.

Description

The new Gāndhārī manuscript finds from Afghanistan and Pakistan, which date from approximately the first century BCE to the third or fourth century CE, are the earliest manuscript witnesses to the literature of the Indian Buddhist nikāyas or schools. They preserve texts whose parallels are found in the various Tripiṭakas, or what remains of them, preserved in other languages and belonging to various nikāyas, including sections of āgamas such as the Ekottarikāgama and Vana-saṃyutta of the Saṃyutta-nikāya/Saṃyuktāgama and anthologies of such sūtras, besides many texts that are not generally classed as “canonical”, such as commentaries. These very early collections of texts raise questions concerning canon-formation, such as whether the Gandhāran communities that produced these manuscripts had fixed āgama collections and closed canons or whether this material witnesses a stage in which collections and canons were still relatively fluid and open, and whether these manuscripts, which span several centuries, witness a shift towards fixity. This paper addresses these issues and re-examines our understanding of the formation of the canons of the early Indian nikāyas in light of the new Gāndhārī manuscript finds.

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Citation

Allon, Mark. 13. The Formation of Canons in the Early Indian nikāyas or Schools in the Light of the New Gāndhārī Manuscript Finds. Buddhist Path, Buddhist Teachings - Studies in Memory of L.S. Cousins. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 249-268 Oct 2019. ISBN 9781781798928. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=33395. Date accessed: 17 Oct 2019 doi: 10.1558/equinox.33395. Oct 2019

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