A Study of the Sanskrit and Chinese Lotus Sutra
(Saddharmapuṇḍarīka: SP, and Myōhō-renge-kyō)
Associate Director of Chuo Academic Research Institute of Rissho Kosei-kai
Researcher of International Institute for International Nichiren Buddhism of Minobusan University
Updated March 27, 2023
The Sanskrit Lotus Sutra, Saddharmapuṇḍarīka (SP), is one of the earliest examples of Mahayana Buddhist texts. There are three classical Chinese translations of the Lotus Sutra in existence, including Kumārajīva’s translation, Myōhō-renge-kyō (鳩摩羅什訳『妙法蓮華経』. 406CE), which is one of the most important sutras in East Asia. It has had a significant influence on the formation and development of other sutras, ideas and cultures. Where linguistic problems and issues arise concerning the SP and the Chinese translations of the Lotus Sutra, in particular about the correct interpretation of the Myōhō-renge-kyō, it is vital to study the SP in its original language.
There are problems, such as the failure to achieve a unified view of the source of the Chinese Lotus Sutra. This solution requires a strict contrast between the philological SP manuscripts and the Chinese Lotus Sutra. However, the SP study meets the academic demands as a contrasting study of the Chinese Lotus Sutra. The primary material of SP manuscripts by linguistics content research using our original ICT analysis tools was constructed in this research. Of this and the strict contrast of the Chinese Lotus Sutra, a new perspective was clarified in the circumstances of SP compilation and the source of the Chinese Lotus Sutra.
To solve the above, we are promoting our research as the followings:
(1) making out recensions of transcription in Roman script’s e-texts,
(2) making out compilation, indexes and metrical analysis,
(3) estimation of manuscripts’ copy age,
(4) systematic classification of SP manuscripts and
(5) construction of a basis for SP.
Please refer to the research and achievements for our research progress.
As we will build based on such studies, this is likely to shed new light on our knowledge of the compilation of the Lotus Sutra and the development of its traditions. Moreover, more profound research into the SP enables us to resolve better the problems posed by the SP and the Chinese Lotus Sutra.
JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number JP21K00058 has supported this study.