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India's pledge to revive forgotten Buddhist folklore across borders

May 22, 2023 11:05 AM

Thimphu: The long-awaited Hindi translations of five classical Tibetan Buddhist texts, first obtained from Tibet by famous author Rahul Sankrityayan (1893-1963) for India, are now set for printing, according to Bhutan Live.
Tibetan Studies (CIHTS), undertook the arduous endeavour of translating these ancient Tibetan Buddhist manuscripts into Hindi in 2019. This project attempted to bring Buddhism's profound teachings and philosophy to a wider audience.


In support of this mission, the Bihar government had set aside 19.4 million rupees (USD234,000) for the printing costs of the Hindi versions. The CIHTS has received the initial funding tranche of 1.55 million rupees (USD18,700) till now.
The list of sacred texts awaiting publication includes the Karma Vibhang Sutra, the Pragyaparmitahridaya Sutra, a compendium by Acharya Dipankar Srijnana (980-1053), the Madhyamkalangkar Karika Bhashya Evam Teeka, and an assortment of other rare manuscripts, Bhutan Live reported.
"These are the Tibetan versions of original Sanskrit scriptures penned on palm leaves on Buddhism and its philosophy, which were housed in the ancient Nalanda and Vikramshila universities," a researcher elucidated. "These manuscripts were transported to Tibet between the 7th and 11th centuries for their translation and dissemination of Buddhism. These were then translated into Tibetan under the supervision of scholars using handmade paper and natural ink," according to Bhutan Live.

Prof. Geshe Ngawang Samten explained that the benefits of translating this Tibetan literature into Hindi would not only benefit the people of Bihar but the entire country.
Hundreds of volumes cover a wide range of topics, including astrology, tantra, meditation, medicine, philosophy, justice, and law. These translated texts have the potential to considerably contribute to the preservation and development of the old Nalanda knowledge heritage.

"Our vice-chancellor, Prof. Geshe Ngawang Samten, has written to the Chief Minister twice over the past year and met him in person this April in Rajgir to discuss the project and secure the second tranche of funding," stated a CIHTS representative, Bhutan Live reported.
Rahul Sankrityayan, known as the "Father of Hindi Travel Literature," was a linguist as well as a creative polymath.
He was fluent in Sanskrit, Pali, and Tibetan, and he was well-versed in literature, philosophy, rare books, and art. During his four trips to Tibet, Sankrityayan collected over 10,000 Tibetan manuscripts.

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