Production Type (2017), Spectral

Spectral is a parametric serif font with true italic, bold and small caps, a number of weights, and the desired Latin Extended Additional diacritics. It’s free to download and is available for use under the SIL Open Font license 1.1. Personal take: Spectral is a big advance on what’s out there, offering unprecedented typesetting flexibility, but it’s not yet clear how well it is suited for the printed page. See some informed criticism.


Specimen of Sanskrit text with diacritics set in Spectral (source: Vāṅmaṇḍalanamaskāraḥ,

Yoshizaki: ‘Dr. Kulman, who taught Kawaguchi Ekai’ (2012)

Which of the nineteenth-century Kulamāna Vajrācāryas was the confrere of Ekai Kawaguchi (and of Sylvain Lévi,* et al)? Mr. Kazumi Yoshizaki digs into his Index of Personal Names in Newari Historical Materials (forthcoming) to find out:

吉崎 一美 (Yoshizaki, Kazumi). 「河口慧海に梵語文法を教授したクルマン博士」 (Dr. Kulman who Taught Sanskrit Grammar to Rev. Kawaguchi Ekai in Nepal). 『印度學佛教學研究』 第六十一巻第一号 (Journal of Indian and Buddhist studies vol.61 no.1), pp.508–504/(11)–(15), 2012-12-20. [PDF at CiNii]

* “Le vieux pandit Kulamâna, de Patan, gagne sa vie à enseigner des rudiments de catéchisme et à copier des manuscrits” (Lévi, Le Népal: étude historique d’un royaume hindou, 1905 II:27).

Karashima, ‘Was the Aṣṭasāhasrikā composed in Gāndhārī?’ (2013)

Seishi Karashima. ‘Was the Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā Compiled in Gandhāra in Gāndhārī?’ Annual Report of the International Research Institute for Advanced Buddhology (ARIRIAB) at Soka University for the Academic Year 2012, vol.XVI, 2013, pp.171–188. [PDF]

This is a remarkable piece of detective work and a milestone in the study of the Mahāyāna, whether or not one thinks (as I do) that Prof. Karashima’s theory nails it. Karashima’s many years of lexicographical toil seem to have finally paid off: the earliest Chinese phonetic transcriptions from the Aṣṭasāhasrikā agree most fully with the newly found Gāndhārī fragments (for which see also Strauch 2007). And that, moreover, is merely one of many compelling indicators pointing to the composition of the text in Gandhāra.

One minor comment: the image of Dharmodgata discovering the Prajñāpāramitā written on gold plates vilīnena vaidūryeṇa — in “melted” lapis, according to Karashima (p.181) — sounds excessively fantastic. The reference is to lapis lazuli pigment, well known to medievalists as ultramarine, ‘beyond the sea’ — i.e., from Afghanistan.

International Conference on Tibetan History &c. (2013-7-13)

四川大学中国藏学研究所(会议主办)、哈佛燕京学社(会议协办): “7至17世纪西藏历史与考古、宗教与艺术国际学术研讨会”。 中国·成都·四川大学 2013年7月13-15日。

Center for Tibetan Studies of Sichuan University & Harvard-Yenching Institute (co-conveners). ‘International Conference On Tibetan History And Archaeology, Religion And Art (7th–17th c.)’. Sichuan University, Chengdu, China, July 13–15, 2013. [official site / 2nd circular w/ abstracts]

会议召集 人:霍 巍 教授(四川大学)、范德康 教授(哈佛大学)

Conference conveners: Prof. Huo Wei (Sichuan University) & Prof. Leonard W.J. van der Kuijp (Harvard University).

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Emms, Two Mūlasarvāstivādin Vinaya Traditions (2012)

Christopher D. Emms. Evidence for Two Mūlasarvāstivādin Vinaya Traditions in the Gilgit Prātimokṣa-sūtras. M.A. thesis, McMaster University, 2012. 127 pp. Open Access Dissertations and Theses, Paper 7337. [URI/PDF]

From the abstract

The Sanskrit prātimokṣa-sūtras contained in the Gilgit Buddhist manuscripts have been identified as belonging to the Mūlasarvāstivāda school. However, the identification of these manuscripts as Mūlasarvāstivādin texts is problematic. A key factor for determining the school affiliation of a prātimokṣa is the rule order. The Gilgit prātimokṣa-sūtras, however, differ in their rule order. In this thesis, I explore the relationship of these Gilgit prātimokṣa-sūtras to Mūlasarvāstivādin literature. […] I argue that we have evidence for two distinct Mūlasarvāstivādin Vinaya traditions within the Gilgit prātimokṣa-sūtras.

Allon, ‘A Gāndhārī Śrāmaṇyaphala-sūtra’ (2013-04-05)

Mark Allon. ‘A Gāndhārī version of the Buddha’s Discourse on the Fruits of Living the Ascetic Life (Śrāmaṇyaphala-sūtra)’. Australasian Association of Buddhist Studies Victoria Seminar, 5th April 2013, Deakin Prime Campus, Melbourne.


The Senior collection of Gandhāran Buddhist manuscripts includes a scroll which contains a Gāndhārī version of the introductory section of the Śrāmaṇyaphala-sūtra, the Buddha’s discourse to King Ajātaśatru on the benefits of living the ascetic or holy life. The appearance of a Gāndhārī version of this interesting and popular sūtra coincides with the appearance of a second Sanskrit witness of it, namely, that included in the new Dīrghāgama manuscript, which preliminary research indicates is similar to but not identical with the Sanskrit version found among the Gilgit manuscripts. We therefore now have Indic versions of the Śrāmaṇyaphala-sūtra in Gāndhārī (albeit incomplete), Pali, and Sanskrit, a Tibetan translation and four Chinese translations, which belong to a diversity of schools and originate from different times and places. Not surprisingly the Gāndhārī sūtra is not identical to any other version, but shows a complex relationship with them. In this paper I will discuss the Gāndhārī version of the sūtra and its relationship to the parallels in other languages, the possible reasons for its popularity, and the likely reasons for its inclusion in the Senior collection.

Dr Mark Allon
Dr Mark Allon (photo © I. S.)

Facsimile Edition of All Palmleaf MSS in the TAR (2012?)

*Facsimile Edition of Palmleaf Manuscripts in the Tibet Autonomous Region: Complete Collection. 2012(?). 61 vols.

*Facsimile Edition of Palmleaf Manuscripts in the Tibet Autonomous Region: Complete Collection. Brief Index. 2012(?).

*Master Catalogue of Palmleaf Manuscripts in the Tibet Autonomous Region. 2012(?). 4 vols.

61-volume Facsimile edition of Palmleaf MSS in the TAR (via Tibet TV)
Palmleaf MSS in the TAR, 61 volumes (via Tibet TV)

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