A New Version of the Gandhari Dharmapada and a Collection of Previous-Birth Stories

British Library Kharosthi Fragments 16 + 25

Timothy Lenz
With Andrew Stuart Glass and Bhikshu Dharmamitra

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  • $90.00x hardcover (9780295983080) Add to Cart
  • Published: 2003. Paperback 2014
  • Subject Listing: Asian Studies; Archaeology
  • Bibliographic information: 296 pp., 29 illus., 8 in color, 8.5 x 11 in.
  • Territorial rights: World Rights
  • Series: Gandharan Buddhist Texts
  • Contents

This volume continues the detailed examination of the British Library Kharosthi scrolls - extremely fragile and brittle fragments of manuscript on birch-bark rolls. Although their provenance is uncertain, there are strong indications that they came from Hadda in eastern Afghanistan and were most likely written in the early first century A.D. during the reign of the Saka rulers, making them the oldest known Buddhist manuscripts.

Fragments 16 and 25 are two long, relatively narrow fragments that obviously belong to the same scroll. Two texts were written on the scroll, each by a different scribe. The first text, referred to as the Gandhari London Dharmapada, represents an anthology of verses well known in the Buddhist tradition. The second text is a series of stories concerning previous births of the Buddha and of some of his disciples.

For more information go to the Early Buddhist Manuscript Project web site at
Timothy Lenz is a postdoctoral research assistant at the University of Washington and a member of the British Library/University of Washington Early Buddhist Manuscripts Project.
List of Illustrations and Tables
Transcription and Citation System
1. Description of British Library Fragments 16 + 25
Part I. The Gandhari London Dharmapada
2. Introduction and Analysis: Dharmapada
3. Paleography and Orthography: Dharmapada
4. Phonology: Dharmapada
5. Morphology: Dharmapada
6. Transcribed Text with Reconstructions, Translation, and Commentary: Dharmapada
Part II. The Purvayoga Text
7. Introduction and Analysis: Purvayoga Text
8. Paleography and Orthography: Purvayoga Text
9. Phonology: Purvayoga Text
10. Morphology: Purvayoga Text
11. Transcribed Text with Reconstructions, Translation, and Commentary: Story A and the Purvayoga Text
Appendix 1. Verse Concordance: London, Khotan, Pali, and Patna Dharmapadas and Suttanipata, Udanavarga, and Jataka
Appendix 2. A Second Purvayoga of Ajnata Kaundinya (British Library Fragment 3): Text and Commentary
Appendix 3. Avadana of Zadamitra (British Library Fragment 1): Text and Commentary
Appendix 4. Sanskrit and Chinese Parallels for Purvayogas 1-4
Word Index for the London Dharmapada
Word Index for the Purvayoga Text

"[As did] its predecessors, this book has . . . advanced our knowledge of Gandhari."
-Journal of the American Oriental Society

"A rare glimpse into a rich world of lost Buddhist story literature..One comes away with a sense of wonder at how much Lenz has taught us from so few preserved words! The significance of these texts and the scholarly work done on them cannot be underestimated."
-Bulletin of the Asian Institute

"The Gandhari canon may prove to be a crucial link in understanding the way Buddhism moved northward along the Silk Road, into Central and East Asia, even as it largely died out in India."
-Chronicle of Higher Education