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Buddhist Literature in Khotanese and Tumshuqese

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A substantial number of manuscripts and manuscript fragments have come to light since the end of the last century that contain texts written in the Middle Iranian language known as Khotanese (sometimes called Khotan Saka), the language spoken in the realm of Khotan, as well as a small number in the somewhat related language now commonly called Tumshuqese (earlier the designation Tumshuq was used, actually the name of the place where some of these manuscripts were found). Most of the Khotanese texts have been pub­lished in transcription by H. W. Bailey in his Khotanese Texts (KT I-V) and Khotanese Buddhist Texts (KBT). The principal exception is the Book of Zambasta, for which see R. E. Emmerick’s edition (1968). The Tumshuqese texts were published with translation and glossaries by S. Konow (1935, with facsimiles, and 1947). For other text editions see in the following.

Khotan played an important role in the transmission of Buddhism during the period represented by the extant material (probably from around 700 to the end of the kingdom of Khotan ca. 1000, see below; see also i, above). This material contains a number of local compositions or compendiums of paramount impor­tance for our knowledge of the development of Mahayana (Mahāyāna) Buddhism in this area. How­ever, no attempt has yet been made by Buddhologists to assess its importance, though editions and trans­lations of numerous texts are available. The Khotanese texts have hitherto been dealt with exclusively by philologists, who have concerned themselves primarily with the decipherment of the texts and their language.

As most of the Khotanese Buddhist texts are con­cerned with doctrine few of them possess any special literary merit. The long sūtra texts occasionally contain passages that rise above the usual doctrinal humdrum, such as the parables in the Saṅghāṭa-sūtra and some passages in the Suvarṇabhāsa-sūtra, and the avadāna and jātaka texts contain many well-written narratives and descriptions. The most important exception to the rule, however, is the Book of Zambasta, which contains narrative and lyrical passages of real literary interest; among the latter the description of spring in chapter 20 and the unfortunately very fragmentary description of the mountains in the four seasons in chapter 17 deserve special mention.

Almost all Khotanese texts show traces of Buddhist influence, even texts that themselves do not belong directly to the Buddhist tradition. Thus there is a Khotanese poem containing in essence the well-known Hindu Indian story of the Rāmāyaṇa, which has been given a Buddhist interpretation: the heroes Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa are identified with the Buddha Śākyamuni and the future Buddha Maitreya. In the following survey only texts belonging directly to the Buddhist tradition will be discussed.


Khotanese Buddhist texts.

Almost all the Khotanese Buddhist texts are trans­lations from Sanskrit. Only some of the Sanskrit originals are now extant, and many of the texts are otherwise known only from translations into Tibetan and Chinese. The Khotanese versions range from close translations to loose paraphrases of the originals. Sometimes Buddhist tales are retold in such a way that it is unlikely that a closely corresponding Indian text ever existed. The extant texts range from early Mahayanist texts, such as the Suvarṇabhāsa-sūtra “Sūtra of Golden Light” and the Saddharmapuṇḍarīka-sūtraLotus sūtra,” to 10th-century Tantric texts. The language varies from the oldest Old Khotanese in archaic orthography written in the old ornamental script (e.g., Śūraṅgama-samādhi-sūtra) to the latest Late Khotanese written in late orthography in cursive script (e.g., Mañjuśrīnairatmyāvatāra-sūtra).

Since the Khotanese translations were made directly from Sanskrit originals they also provide evidence for early forms of the Sanskrit texts themselves, which is important not only for texts that are no longer extant in the Sanskrit original, but also for extant Sanskrit texts, as the oldest Sanskrit manuscripts are often much later than the Khotanese translations.

Most of the Khotanese Buddhist texts occupy single manuscripts, but there are a few large manuscripts or scrolls that contain several texts. For example, the manuscript P[elliot] 3513 (84 folios) in the Bibliothèque Nationale contains a namo text (reverential address of the buddhas) on folios 1-12, the commentary of the Hṛdaya-sūtra on folios 13-42, and three deśanā (confession) texts; the Bhadracaryā-deśanā on folios 43-58, the deśanā chapter of the Survarṇabhāsa-sūtra on folios 59-75, and a text written by Prince Tcūṃ-ttehi on folios 76-84 (on these texts see below). The long scroll Ch[ien fo t’ung] c.001 (British Library, India Office Library division, London) contains six Mahayana and Tantric texts, the first two in Sanskrit, which are said (Shūyo Takubo) to constitute a unified collection of esoteric sūtras in conformity with Buddhist ritual practice: the first three are invocational texts, inviting those who are invoked to take part in the ritual: Buddhoṣṇavijaya-dhāraṇī (Bailey, KT V, p. 368 lines 1-11), Sitātapatra-­dhārānī (KT V, pp. 368-76 lines 12-198; this text is found also in another manuscript: KT V, pp. 359-67), Bhadrakalpika-sūtra (KBT, pp. 76-90; see below); then follow a deśanā text (Deśanā I; KT V, pp. 249-52), the Sumukha-sūtra (KBT, pp. 135-43), and finally another deśanā text (Deśanā II; KT V, pp. 253-55). The central text is the Sumukha-sūtra (see below).


Several Khotanese manuscripts are dated, most of them to the 10th century: the obverse of the first folio of the manuscript of the Vajracchedikā contains the date 14 April 941 (Hamilton, 1979, p. 51); the Khotanese colophons in scroll Ch. c.001 (see above) at the end of Sitātapatra, Sumukhasūtra, and Deśanā II specify the year as a hare year, probably the year 943 (Hamilton, 1979, pp. 53-55; cf. Emmerick, 1978a, p. 285; 1978, p. 254 n. 2); these two manuscripts were accordingly written during the rule of King Viśaʾ Saṃbhata (r. 912-­66). The Jātakastava and Mañjuśrī text were written during the reign of King Viśaʾ Śūra (r. 967-78?), as prob­ably was one of the Vajrayāna texts (KBT, pp. 143-46), which contains a date in lines 44-45 that may corre­spond to 10 August 971 (Hamilton, 1979, 51). The scroll Ch 0048, containing the Pradakṣiṇā-sūtra, was perhaps written in 995, about 10 years before the conquest of Khotan by Yūsof Qadr Khan b. Boḡrā Khan Hārūn, the Muslim ruler of Kashgar (see, e.g., Samolin, pp. 81-82). (Only the Chinese name, Tienshou, r. 987?-88 plus, of the Khotanese king ruling at the time is known; Hamilton, JA, 265/3-4, 1977, p. 369; 1979, p. 51.)

None of the manuscripts containing texts in Old Khotanese contain dates, but one unpublished text in early Late Khotanese contains a colophon that perhaps allows it to be dated to the end of the 8th century (Skjærvø, forthcoming). For the Book of Zambasta it has been argued that it should not be dated earlier than the seventh century (cf. S. Konow, NTS 11, 1939, pp. 35ff.). One may tentatively conclude that the bulk of the extant Khotanese manuscripts were written from about 700 to 1000, that is, over a period of 300 years.

The Prince Tcūṃ-ttehi mentioned above has been plausibly identified as one of the sons of King Viśa Saṃbhata, Chinese name Li Shengtian, who was mar­ried to a sister of Cao Yuanzhong (Ts’ao Yüenchung), ruler of the kingdom of Dunhuang (Tunhuang; see Kumamoto, 1986; T. Takata, in Emmerick and Skjærvø, II, pp. 49-50; for a summary of the research on the dates of the Khotanese kings see Skjærvø, forthcom­ing). Both the king and his sons are depicted in cave paintings from Dunhuang, and it may be these princes who are said in a Chinese text from Dunhuang to have come to the temple and taken the fourth volume of the Lotus Sūtra (Takata). From the Khotanese colophons in the scroll Ch c. 001 (see above) we learn that it was written at the request of Saṃgaka Śāṃ Khīṅä Hvāṃʾ in the city of Shazhou (Dunhuang), which was no doubt an important center of scribal activities.


Following is a survey of the major Buddhist texts in Khotanese. For complete discussions of individual texts see these. For further details, also on the history of Khotanese studies, see Emmerick, 1979, which contains an alphabetical list of texts with complete references. The following groups of texts are discussed: 1. Mahayana sūtras, 2. various texts translated from Sanskrit, 3. indigenous Khotanese compositions.

1. The following major Mahayana sūtras are known in Khotanese (all these sutras are miscellanies of doctrinal passages, parables and narratives, so no summary of contents are given here):

Saddharmapuṇḍarīka-sūtra, the Lotus Sūtra, was an extremely popular text as seen from the numerous complete and fragmentary Sanskrit manuscripts discovered in Chinese Turkestan, Gilgit, and elsewhere. Only one śloka is actually found in Khotanese trans­lation (quoted in the Book of Zambasta 6.3), but several versions of a metrical summary of the Saddharmapuṇḍarīka are extant (Bailey, KT III, pp. 57-63, the most complete; KT II, pp. 5-6, III, p. 55; ed. Bailey, 1971; tr., comm., and glossary). A manuscript of the Sanskrit text discovered at Khotan has a colophon written in Khota­nese at the end of the manuscript and three Khotanese colophons at the end of three of the chapters of the Sanskrit text (Emmerick, 1974).

Saṅghāṭa-sūtra is a very long text mostly dealing with the merit accruing from reciting, copying, etc., the text itself, but containing a number of interesting parables. Many complete folios and numerous frag­ments are extant (now in London, Munich, Washing­ton, and Leningrad), indicating that it enjoyed great popularity in Khotan. It was one of the first long Old Khotanese texts for which a parallel version (in this case Tibetan) was known, and it therefore played an important role in the elucidation of Khotanese vocabu­lary and grammar (ed. Konow, 1932, with tr., Tibetan parallel texts, glossary; von Hinüber, 1973, with tr., ed. of the recently discovered Sanskrit parallel text, glos­sary, concordances of the fragments). Since von Hinüber’s edition numerous fragments have been identified in the British Library (Oriental Manuscripts and Published Books and India Office Library divisions, London) and in the Völkerkundemuseum, Munich (see Emmerick, 1984, p. 127; Gropp).

Śūraṅgamasamādhi-sūtra, about forty more or less well-preserved folios of one manuscript are preserved, as well as one fragmentary folio of another manuscript. Twenty-four of the folios were edited by Emmerick (ed. Emmerick, 1970, with tr., comm., glossary, facs., and Tib. parallel text). Since his edition fifteen additional folios and numerous small fragments in the India Office Library have been identified by P. O. Skjærvø (cf. Emmerick, 1984, p. 139). The Khotanese text is distin­guished by its archaic and consistent orthography (see ed. Emmerick, pp. xix-xxi). A folio of the Sanskrit text published by Thomas (pp. 125-32) shows Khotanese influence in the use of the form Manyuśrī for Mañjuśrī.

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Suvarṇabhāsottama-sūtra is known from a large number of manuscripts and manuscript fragments in both Old and Late Khotanese (now in London, West and East Berlin, Munich, Paris, New Haven, and Leningrad). The chapter on confession was included in the composite manuscript P 3513 (see above). Numer­ous folios and fragments of folios have been published in transcription by Bailey in KT I and V, cf. Emmerick, 1970b, pp. 105-06; ed. Skjærvø, 1983, with tr., commen­tary, and concordances). All the material in Old Khota­nese corresponds more or less to the Sanskrit text as edited by Nobel, but some of the Late Khotanese parts also correspond to the later Tibetan versions and the Chinese version by I-tsing (Skjærvø, II, pp. xxxi-xliv).

Vimalakīrtinirdeśa-sūtra is extant in an Old Khota­nese translation in three complete and six fragmentary folios of the same manuscript (ed. Skjærvø, 1986, with tr., parallel Tibetan version, commentary, and facs.). The name of Vimalakīrti is mentioned several times in a late Khotanese text, which for this reason was named by Bailey the Book of Vimalakīrti (see below).

Among minor sūtras in Khotanese translation the following may be mentioned:

Aparimitāyuḥ-sūtra is known from two Late Khotanese manuscripts. It was one of the first Khota­nese texts to be edited together with its Sanskrit original (ed. Konow, in Hoernle, pp. 289-356, with tr., and comm.; Bailey, KBT, pp. 94-100, KT V, pp. 243-48; ed. Duan Qing, with tr., commentary, and glossary).

Bhadrakalpika-sūtra, in Late Khotanese, a sacred text concerning the names of the Buddhas to appear in the good aeon. Originally, the good aeon was considered to be one in which five Buddhas will appear, the fourth being the historical Buddha Śākyamuni and the fifth the future Buddha Maitreya, but according to another tradition 1000 Buddhas will appear in it. The Khotanese version of this text has apparently combined both traditions since the introduction speaks of 1,005 names and the rewards that will come to those who learn or recite them, etc. However, the only extant Khotanese manuscript that contains the names lists only 998 names, and several of those are duplicated (Bailey, KBT, pp. 75, 76-90; ed. Konow, 1929). This manuscript contains another long list of Buddha names in two copies (KBT, pp. 249-55), which represents a tradition according to which there were billions of Buddhas in countless good aeons, a tradition found in other lists as well (KBT, pp. 91-93, 100-04, KT III, pp. 55-57, 112-16), some of which include a second list of Buddhas that incorporates local Khotanese Buddha names not known to Indian tradition.


Bhaiṣajyaguruvaiḍūryaprabharājatathāgata-sūtra is one of the earliest Mahayanist texts, dating perhaps from a.d. the third century. The work has four main themes: the twelve vows of Bhaiṣajyaguru, the Buddha of healing; the blessings obtained by those who hear or recite etc. the Buddha’s name; the way to worship Bhaiṣajyaguru; and the twelve yakṣa generals. A number of fragments of an Old Khotanese version are extant (see Emmerick, 1985). Two fragments of Sogdian versions of this text are extant (cf. Utz, p. 13).

Sumukha-sūtra is a long text in Late Khotanese (including numerous dhāraṇīs), in which the bodhisat­tva Vajrapāṇi and various deities (Brahman, Śakra, Vaiśramaṇa, Hāritī, etc.) promise to protect whoever copies, recites, etc., the sūtra (Bailey, KBT, pp. 135-43).

2. Many other kinds of Sanskrit texts were translated into Khotanese. Among them are various doctrinal texts, prajñāpāramitā texts, deśanā texts, dhāraṇīs (i.e., texts containing spells), avadānas, jātakas, etc.

A very long Old Khotanese text that it has not yet been possible to identify discusses the duties of a bodhisattva (i.e., somebody who aspires to buddha­hood), known from 18 folios (there are folios numbered 427-31, 457, 611). Most of the text was published by Leumann (1920, pp. 116-50; Bailey, KT V, pp. 91-101), who pointed out some similar texts in the Chinese canon; some additional fragmentary folios, some of which join with those published by Leumann, have recently been identified by P. O. Skjærvø (e.g., KT V, pp. 148-50 nos. 276-80). The text is of special interest in that Late Khotanese forms of words (vowel marks and subscript akṣaras) have been superimposed upon the original.

The most important of the prajñāpāramitā texts (for detailed bibliographies see Conze) is the Vajracchedikā (ed. Konow, in Hoernle, pp. 239-88, 330-56, pls. V-XI, tr., parallel Sanskrit text, facs., and glossary; Bailey, KT III, pp. 20-29). The introductory verses of this Late Khotanese text (2a4-2b2) explain the name Vajra­cchedikā (Bailey, 1953, p. 530). The Khotanese Vajra­cchedikā deviates considerably from the Sanskrit text, even including commentarial additions. Most striking is the replacement of a translation of the concluding stanza—quoted literally in the Book of Zambasta 6.15—by a commentary in 34 verses, itself quoted in the manuscript of the Mañjuśrī text (lines 261-77; Bailey, KBT, p. viii ad 11; ed. Emmerick, in Lancaster, with tr., and commentary; for some general problems surround­ing the Khotanese Vajracchedikā see Itō).


Two other prajñāpāramitā texts are:

Adhyardhaśatikā, a bilingual Sanskrit-­Khotanese text and one of the first Khotanese texts to be studied in depth (ed. Leumann, 1912, pp. 92-99; text, tr., and glossary by Leumann, 1930).

Hṛdayasūtra, a Late Khotanese text (Bailey, KT III, pp. 110-12) recently identified by P. O. Skjærvø (1989, ed., tr., comm., glossary, and refs.). A Late Khotanese commentary on the Hṛdayasūtra published by Bailey (KBT, pp. 54-61) under the title “Prajñāpāra­mitā” (tr. Bailey, 1977; tr. Lancaster, pp. 15-18, con­tributes some useful additional information; parts of the text were edited and translated by Skjærvø, 1988).

Dhāraṇīs range from fragments of spells in single manuscript folios to extensive texts, some of which are known from Sanskrit (or Tibetan and/or Chinese); among the latter are the following two:

Anantamukhanirhāri-dhāraṇī, a Tantric text of which only one Sanskrit fragment is known. Three folios of an Old Khotanese version were edited and translated by E. Leumann (pp. 151-55). Ten additional folios or fragments of folios, containing partly overlapping text, apparently from four different manuscripts, have recently been identified by P. O. Skjærvø (9 folios or fragments belonging to Leumann’s manu­script: KT III, pp. 127-28, KT V, pp. 30, 37, 102, 103, 103-04, 265, and one unpublished fragment in the India Office Library; the other four: KT V, p. 43 + p. 171; p. 176, p. 234, p. 145). None of them contains any part of the dhāraṇīs themselves, but the main dhāraṇī is known also from a separate manuscript (ed. Bailey, KT III, pp. 77-78).

Jñānolka-dhāraṇī. Twelve partly overlapping folios from four (five?) manuscripts are extant, of which one is in Japan (Leumann, 1920, pp. 157-64; Bailey, KT V, pp. 36-37, 105). Both Tibetan and Chinese versions of Jñānolka-dhāraṇī are extant, but they do not corre­spond closely to the Khotanese.


Amṛtaprabha-dhāraṇī, a Late Khotanese text (Bailey, KT V, pp. 61-64 no. 150) that refers to itself several times as a sūtra. It contains a date in the body of

the text (line 12). The as yet untranslated text is devoted to veneration of the Buddha Amitāyus (Late Khotanese form Armyāya), of whom Amṛta is another name in esoteric Buddhism.

Avalokiteśvara-dhāraṇī, 19 folios in archaizing Late Khotanese (Bailey, KT III, pp. 1-13), containing at the end a dhāraṇī that is preceded by homage to the bodhisattvas with Avalokiteśvara at the head. Avalo­kiteśvara is frequently addressed in the vocative.

Three avadāna texts are attested in Khotanese:

Aśokavadāna, a text known from two Late Khotanese manuscripts (Bailey, KBT, pp. 40-44; tr. Bailey, 1966). The text appears to be a Khotanese paraphrase of a story known from Indian and Chinese sources (see Przyluski; Sujitkumar Mukhopadhyaya; G. M. Bon­gard Levin and O. F. Volkowa; tr. Strong; cf. aśoka iii).

Nandāvadāna, the story of Nanda the merchant (Bailey, KBT, pp. 45-47; tr. Emmerick, 1970c, with comm., and Sanskrit parallels).

Sudhanāvadāna, the story of Prince Sudhana, known from three main manuscripts, two of which agree closely while the third differs significantly, and five fragments (Bailey, KBT, pp. 11-39, KT V, p. 327; tr. Bailey, 1966; see also Kumamoto, p. 242 n. 6 (for a comparative study of some of the motifs in the Khotanese Sudhāndvadāna see Degener). This text is written in Late Khotanese and presents many difficulties in the way of interpretation. It is not yet known whether the variation between the manuscripts is due to discrep­ancies in the manuscript tradition or whether it reflects the oral transmission of an epic style poem.

Of the deśanā texts only one, Bhadracaryā-deśanā, has a known original. The others may be translations or local compositions (on these see below):


Bhadracaryā-deśanā is a Late Khotanese metri­cal translation of a popular Mahayanist devotional work stressing the merits of good conduct and contain­ing a confession of sin. The title is given by the colophon of the Khotanese version (Bailey, KT I, pp. 222-30; ed. Asmussen, 1961, with tr., facs., Sanskrit original, and glossary). It corresponds fairly closely to the extant Sanskrit version.

Another text that deals with the actions of men is the Karmavibhaṅga, a large number of fragments of which are extant (KT III, p. 132 no. 62; KT V, p. 292 no. 638, pp. 296-302 nos. 647-60; several more have recently come to light in Munich). Bailey (KT V, p. 296 n. 1) refers to their similarity to the Mahākarmavibhaṅga, ed. S. Levi, Paris, 1932. They are characterized by the phrase aśtä karma tcamäna hveʾ . . . “there is an act by which a maṇ . . . ” (= Sanskrit asti karma . . . -saṃ­vartanīyam). Their direct source has not been traced.

3. Indigenous Khotanese compositions.

Khotan was an important center of Buddhism throughout the first millennium of our era, and in addition to their extensive translation activities and the compilation of doctrinal compendiums the Khotanese Buddhist monks also composed texts themselves. The necessity for texts on the Law (dharma) in Khotanese is expressed by the author (one of the authors?) of the Book of Zambasta (23.4-5): “the Khotanese do not value the Law at all in Khotanese. They understand it badly in Indian. In Khotanese it does not seem to them the Law. For the Chinese the Law is in Chinese. In Kashmirian it is very agreeable, but they so learn it in Kashmirian that they also understand the meaning of it.” (ed. Emmerick, p. 343). The summary of the Saddharmapuṇḍarīka contains a similar statement (1.44, ed. Bailey, 1971, pp. 3, 55) “in Khotanese language so that they may understand the meaning of that Law (i.e., the sūtra itself).”

Few of the local compositions are extant, but three long texts in particular stand out as monuments to this activity: the Old Khotanese Book of Zambasta and the Late Khotanese Mañjuśrīnairātmyāvatāra and the so-called Book of Vimalakīrti. These three texts are original Khotanese works concerning various aspects of Bud­dhism. The Book of Zambasta and the Mañjuśrīnairātmyāvatāra are both metrical, the Book of Vimalakīrti at least in part. All three are based on Indian sources although they are not direct translations. The two Late Khotanese texts contain quotations from known Old Khotanese texts, and the Mañjuśrī text even cites long passages from the Book of Zambasta.

The Book of Zambasta, the longest extant Khotanese text (207 folios extant), is a poem on Buddhism written at the request of an official called Ysaṃbasta (i.e., Zambasta; ed., tr., Emmerick, 1968).


The poem is composed in three different meters (Emmerick, p. xxi) and is the chief source of our knowledge of Khotanese metrics. Chapter six is of special interest as it claims to contain a verse from each sūtra. However, only three citations have been identi­fied, those from the Saddharmapuṇḍarīka, the Suvaṛnabhāsottama, and the Vajracchedikā. Numerous fragments of manuscript copies, from five or more different manuscripts, have been identified, which shows that the text was popular in Khotan (cf. Emmerick, 1984, p. 141).

Mañjuśrīnairātmyāvatāra-sūtra (Bailey, KBT, pp. 113-35; the colophon = lines 435-45 in KT II, 123-­24), written early in the reign of Viśaʾ Śūra (r. 967-79), contains many quotations from the Book of Zambasta (for which see Emmerick, 1968, pp. 440-53). The fol­lowing quotations from other sources have also been identified: lines 261-77 correspond to Vajracchedikā 41a4-43b4 (see above); the series of comparisons (upa­mānas) in lines 282-92 corresponds closely to those found at the beginning of the sixth chapter of the Vimalakīrtinirdeśa-sūtra (Degener, 1986b); lines 204-12 correspond to Laṅkāvatāra-sūtra verses 871-79 (Emmerick, 1988). The importance of the Mañjuśrī text in assessing the role played by Khotan in the develop­ment of Buddhist doctrine is considerable. Thus, lines 54-82 (verses 42-69) contain a description known only from this text of the three kleśas, Moha (Folly), Rāga (Desire), and Dveṣa (Hate), as three doctrinal monsters, kings of the rākṣasas, and the parts of their bodies are identified with details of Buddhist doctrine (see Emmer­ick, 1977a, text of lines 54-82 verses 42-69, tr., and comm.; cf. Emmerick and Skjærvø, II, pp. 99).

The Book of Vimalakīrti is a very difficult Late Khotanese metrical text, in which the name Vimalakīrti occurs five times (KBT lines 316, 328, 342, 344, 362), sometimes a speaker; however, no part of the text has yet been proved to be from the Vimalakīrtinirdeśa-sūtra (cf. above), though the general tenor of the passages where the name Vimalakīrti occurs in the text does bear considerable resemblance to the text as given by La­motte. The text is known from two manuscripts (Bailey, KBT, pp. 104-13, beginning and end missing; KT III, pp. 48-50 no. 18, beginning missing; 11.2-22 overlap with lines 368-86 of the copy in KBT). Lines 293-310 contain a quotation from the Anantamukhanirhāri-­dhāraṇī (lines 293-94: Ana<nta>mvakhanaihārasūttra) concerning the symbolism of the akṣaras (cf. Bailey, KT V, p. 103 no. 202 verso). The copy in KT III (verses 27ff.) contains injunctions against drinking wine and eating meat that are closely similar to the Sogdian text P[elliot] 2, especially the mention of eating the flesh of one’s parents (ed. Benveniste, p. 11). The text also mentions some sūtras by name: Mañjuśrī-parivarta and Tathāgatajñānasamudra-sūtra in lines 261-62, Vajramaṇḍala-sūtra in line 264, Karmāvaraṇaviśuddha-­sūtra in line 265.


Jātakastava, a collection of jātaka stories (i.e., stories about the previous lives of the Buddha; Bailey, KT I, pp. 198-219; ed. Dresden, 1955, with corr. and adds. in IIJ 14/1-2, 1972, pp. 104-06; facs. Bailey, 1938, pls. 145-­83). This text seems not to be a translation but a Khotanese composition containing succinct summaries of fifty-one jātaka stories, of which all but about nine have been traced in other sources.

Of special interest are two poems composed by Khotanese princes at the court of Shachou: the Homage of Hūyī Kīma-tcūna and the Invocation of Prince Tcūsyau.

The Homage of Hūyī Kīma-tcūna (Bailey, KBT, pp. 91-93) is a namo (“I do reverence to . . .”) text. The introduction (lines 1-24) bears a strong resemblance to the “Invocation of Prince Tcū-syau” (lines 1-14). A variant of the text was published in transcription by Bailey, KT III, pp. 5557.

The Invocation of Prince Tcū-syau (Bailey, KBT, pp. 146-48; 11.2-35 tr. Bailey, 1942, pp. 891, 893), contains the name of the “great prince” Tcū-syau in lines 39, 47, and 57. He is probably to be identified with the son of Li Shengtian (King Viśaʾ Saṃbhata; r. 742­-55), who is called Zong/Congchang (Tsung/Ts’ungch’ang) in the Chinese sources, that is, a brother of Prince Tcūṃ-ttehi (see above; Kumamoto, 1986, p. 232 with n. 7 p. 242).

Other texts on confession are found in several Late Khotanese manuscripts. The text called Deśanā by Bailey (KBT, pp. 53, 62-66; tr. Bailey, 1962) contains the word deśanā in folio 84r4. In the two deśanā texts contained in the scroll Ch c.001.828-29 (KT V, pp. 249-­55 nos. 530, 531; variants in KT III, pp. 112-16 no. 47; KBT, pp. 100-04) it is said that anyone who orders the Buddha names of this text to be written or who recites them will obtain “atonement for sins” (karmāṃ deśanā ). The main text of KBT, pp. 91-93, beginning with sidhamä in line 25 is also closely related to these texts. Still another Late Khotanese text on the theory of the atonement for sins (karmāṃ deśanā) found in three variants (Bailey, KBT, pp. 66-71) has been edited by Emmerick (1977b, with tr. and glossary).


Three Late Khotanese Vajrayana (a late development of Buddhism, containing a strong element of tantra or mysticism) texts are extant:

One of the three texts (four folios) is a prose treatise on the rosary (KBT, pp. 143-46; tr., comm. Bailey, 1965). Similar texts concerning the rosary have been found in Tibetan manuscripts from Tunhuang (Stein). The other two Vajrayana texts (KBT, pp. 149-51 [cf. KT II, p. 57 no. 15]; and 151-56, lines 1-32 tr. Bailey, 1978) are in verse (the first contains a date that may corre­spond to 10 August 971; Hamilton, 1979, 51).

Tumshuqese Buddhist texts.

Among the Tumshuqese texts are several letters written by political and religious officials. At least one of the texts appears to have been written by a Manichean, and three or four of them are Buddhist texts. The longest Buddhist text is a karmavācanā text, that is, a description of the ceremony of dedication of Buddhist laymen and laywomen. This text is our main source for the interpretation of Tumshuqese grammar and vocabulary (latest edition Emmerick, 1985, with Skjærvø’s additions and corrections in Skjærvø, 1987). The beginning of the text is a triśaraṇa formula (“I take refuge with the Buddha, the Law/dharma, and the community/saṅgha”), Khotanese versions of which are also extant (Bailey, KBT, pp. 156-57; cf. KT III, p. 64, and the beginning of KT II, pp. 101-02).

There is one very small fragment of the Araṇemi­jātaka, a text known also from Tokharian (Bailey, 1968) and a fragment from a similar text, mentioning the king Vajradaṇḍa (Konow, 1947, pp. 172-73). Both these fragments contain Tokharian words.




H. W. Bailey, Codices Khota­nenses, Monumenta Linguarum Asiae Maioris II, Copenhagen, 1938. Idem, “Hvatanica IV,” BSOAS 10/4, 1942, pp. 886-924.

Idem, Khotanese Texts [KT] I-VI, Cambridge, 1945-67.

Idem, Khotanese Buddhist texts [KBT], London, 1951.

Idem, “Ariaca,” BSOAS 15/3, 1953, pp. 530-40.

Idem, “The Profession of Prince Tcūm-ttehi,” in E. Bender, ed., Indological Studies in Honor of W. Norman Brown, New Haven, 1962, pp. 18-22.

Idem, “The Sudhana Poem of Ṛddhiprabhāva,” BSOAS 29/3, 1966, pp. 506-32.

Idem, “Vajrayāna Texts from Gostana” in Studies of Esoteric Buddhism and Tantrism in Commemoration of the 1150th Anniversary of the Founding of Koyasan, Koyasan, 1965, pp. 27-39.

Idem, Sad-dharma­puṇḍarīka-sūtra. The Summary in Khotan Saka, The Australian National University, Faculty of Asian Studies, Occasional Paper 10, Canberra 1971; repr. 1973.

Idem, Saka Documents. Text Volume, Corpus Inscr. Iran. II/V, London, 1968.


Idem, “The Prada­kṣiṇāsūtra of Chang Tsiang-kuin,” in L. Cousins et al., eds., Buddhist Studies in Honour of I. B. Horner, Dordrecht, 1974, pp. 15-18.

Idem, “Mahāprajñāpāramitāsūtra” in Lancaster, ed., pp. 153-62.

Idem, “Vajrayāna in Gostana-deśa”, The Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies 1/1, 1978, pp. 53-56.

E. Conze, The Prajñāpāramitā Literature, 2nd ed., The Reiyukai Library, Biblio­graphia Philologica Buddhica, Series Maior I, Tokyo, 1978.

Encyclopaedia of Buddhism, ed. G. P. Malalasekera, Ceylon, 1961.

A. Degener, “Sudhanas Wanderung in khotanischer Fassung”, Studien zu Indologie und Iranistik 11-12, 1986a, pp. 21-32.

Idem, “The Four apramāṇas in Khotanese,” Stud. Ir. 15/2, 1986b, pp. 259-64.

M. J. Dresden, The Jātakastava or Praise of the Buddha’s Former Births, Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, N.S. 45.5, Philadelphia, 1955.

Idem, “Khotanese (Saka) Manu­scripts. A Provisional Handlist,” in Varia 1976, Acta Iranica 16, Tehran and Liège, 1977, pp. 27-85.

R. E. Emmerick, The Book of Zambasta. A Khotanese Poem on Buddhism, London, 1968.

Idem, The Khota­nese Śūraṅgama-samādhi-sūtra, London, 1970a.

Idem, The Sūtra of Golden Light, London 1970b; repr. 1979.

Idem, “Nanda the Merchant,” BSOAS 33/1, 1970c, pp. 72-81.

Idem, “The Concluding Verses of the Khotanese Vajracchedikā,” in Lan­caster, ed., pp. 83-92.

Idem, “Some Khotanese Donors,” in Ph. Gignoux and A. Tafazzoli, eds., Mémorial Jean de Menasce, Louvain, 1974, pp. 383­-88.

Idem, “Three Monsters in Khotan,” Stud. Ir. 6/1, 1977a, pp. 65-74.

“The Confession of Acts,” in Varia 1976, Acta Iranica 12, Tehran and Liège, 1977b, pp. 87-115.

Idem, review of Takubo, in IIJ 20, 1978, pp. 253-56.

Idem, A Guide to the Literature of Khotan, Studia Philologica Buddhica, Occasional Paper Series III, The Reiyukai Library, Tokyo, 1979.

Idem, in W. Skalmowski and A. van Tongerloo, eds., Middle Iranian Studies. Proceedings of the Inter­national Symposium Organized by the Katholieke Uni­versiteit Leuven from the 17th to the 20th of May 1982, Leuven, 1984, pp. 127-45.

Idem, “Some Verses from the Laṅkāvatārasūtra in Khotanese” in A Green Leaf. Papers in Honour of Professor Jes P. Asmussen, Leiden, 1988, pp. 125-33.

Idem and P. O. Skjærvø, Studies in the Vocabulary of Khotanese, Vienna, I, 1982; II, 1987.

G. Gropp, “Eine neuentdeckte Sammlung khotanischer Handschriftenfragmente in Deutschland,” in W. Skalmowski and A. van Ton­gerloo, eds., Middle Iranian Studies. Proceedings of the International Symposium Organized by the Katho­lieke Universiteit Leuven from the 17th to the 20th of May 1982, Leuven, 1984, pp. 147-50.

J. Hamilton, “Les règnes khotanais entre 851 et 1001,” in M. Soymié, ed., Contributions aux études sur Touen­houang, Geneva and Paris, 1979, pp. 49-54.

O. von Hinüber, Das Saṃghāṭasūtra. Ausgabe und kommentierte Übersetzung eines nordbuddhistischen Lehrtextes in Sanskrit und Sakisch, Habilitation thesis, Mainz, 1973.

A. F. R. Hoernle, Manuscript Remains of Buddhist Literature Found in Eastern Turkestan, Oxford, 1916.

Y. Itō, “A Few Problems Concerning the Khotanese Vajracchedikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra,” Indogaku Bukkyōgaku Kenkyū 2/2, 1954, pp. 207-09 (560-62).

S. Konow, Saka Studies, Oslo, 1932. Idem, “The Oldest Dialect of Khotanese Saka,” NTS 14, 1947, pp. 150-90.

H. Kumamoto, “Some Problems of the Khotanese Documents,” in R. Schmitt and P. O. Skjærvø, eds., Studia Grammat­ica Iranica. Festschrift für Helmut Humbach, Mun­ich, 1986, pp. 227-44.

L. Lancaster, “A Study of a Khotanese Prajñāpāramitā Text After the Work of Sir Harold Bailey,” in idem ed., Prajñāpāramitā and Related Systems. Studies in Honor of Edward Conze, Berkeley, 1977, pp. 163-83.

E. Leumann, Buddhist­ische Literatur. Nordarisch and Deutsch. I. Teil: ­Nebenstücke, AKM 15/2, Leipzig, 1920; repr. Liech­tenstein, 1966.

Duan Qing, Aparimitāyuḥ-Sūtra und das S 2471, Ph.D. dissertation, Hamburg, 1987.

Prolegomena to the Sources on the History of Pre­-Islamic Central Asia, ed. J. Harmatta, Budapest, 1979.

W. Samolin, East Turkistan to the Twelfth Century. A Brief Political Survey, Central Asiatic Studies 9, The Hague, etc., 1964.

P. O. Skjærvø, The Khotanese Suvarṇabhāsottamasūtra, Habilitation thesis, Mainz, 1983.

Idem, “Khotanese Fragments of the Vimala-kīrti-nirdeśa-sūtra,” in E. Kahrs, ed., Kalyāṇamitrārāgaṇam. Essays in Honour of Nils Simonsson, Oslo, 1986, pp. 229-60.

Idem, “On the Tumshuqese Karmavācanā Text,” JRAS, 1987, pp. 77-90.

Idem, in the proceedings of the colloquium on Central Asia, Paris, 1988 (forthcoming).

R. A. Stein, “Un genre particulier d’exposés du tantrisme ancien tibétain et khotanais,” JA 275/3-4, 1987, pp. 265-82.

S. Takubo, Tonkō shutsudo utengo himitsu kyōtenshū no kenkyū [= Studies on the Khotanese “Collection of the esoteric sūtras” found in Tunhuang], Tokyo, 1975.

D. A. Utz, A Survey of Buddhist Sogdian Studies, Bibliographia Philologica Buddhica, Series Minor III, Tokyo 1978.

(Ronald F. Emmerick and Prods Oktor Skjærvø)