The Lalitavistara is one of the most influential hagiographies of the Buddha. It has been known in Sanskrit since the early days of modern studies of Buddhism, but was long available only in inadequate editions. That has now changed with the publication of the edition of K. Hokazono, now complete in three volumes. The present paper discusses something of the history of the study of the text, Hokazono’s edition, and another recent book by G. Ducoeur that deals with the text, as well as touching on a contribution by Xi He on the poetics of the text. It includes a concordance of a recent translation from Tibetan published by the 84000 project, aligning its sections with the Sanskrit editions of Lefmann and Hokazono.
This article studies Young Avestan forms in -āiš (formally instr.pl.m./n. of a-stems), (formally nom.-acc.pl.f. of ā-stems) and -īš (formally nom.pl.f. of ī-stems) that are used in contexts where neuter nom.-acc.pl. / collective forms in (a-stems) and (consonantstems) are expected. It is argued that these forms in -āiš, , and -īš are secondarily created pluralizations of original neuter collectives in reaction to the syntactic change according to which their original singular verbal concord is in Young Avestan times changed to plural verbal concord. The choice for forming these newly pluralized collectives with the endings -āiš, , and -īš lies in the fact that these are the plural variants of the singular endings (instr.sg.m./n. of a-stems), (nom.sg.f. of ā-stems) and (nom.sg.f. of ī-stems), respectively, which are formally identical to the collective neuter endings (a-stems) and (consonant-stems). The ‘collective plural’ forms in -āiš, , and -īš can thus be explained through a simple four-part analogy.
This paper argues that Tocharian B koṣko, koṣkīye does not mean ‘hut’, as was taken for granted, but ‘pit, hole’; and that it is not an inherited Indo-European word, but an Iranian loanword in Tocharian B. Although the possibility of a borrowing from an unknown Middle Iranian language cannot be excluded, an unattested (Pre-)Bactrian form *kōškā is demonstrated to be the most likely source of this loanword.
The study first introduces a hitherto completely unstudied anonymous work, for which I reconstruct the title *Saddharmaparikathā. This substantial text is a Buddhist homiletician’s guidebook with sample sermons in Sanskrit on a rich variety of topics. I argue that it dates from the 5th century and that it was possibly authored in a Saṃmatīya environment. I first discuss the unique manuscript transmitting the text, the structure and contents of the work, what information it can provide for the tradition of preaching and its importance for Buddhist studies. In the second half, I provide a sample chapter ‘On Grief’ with an annotated translation.
Commencing from a critical reading of two recent publications on the Mārkaṇḍeyapurāṇa and the Devīmāhātmya, this article argues that, contrary to what is maintained by the author of the two books under review, what is ailing Purāṇic studies is not a reliance on traditional modes of textual criticism, but a misunderstanding about its utility for accessing the dynamic history of Purāṇic text corpora.
The past decade has seen the appearance of a number of Chinese publications relevant to the readership of the Indo-Iranian Journal. This article briefly introduces some of those publications, dealing mostly with Buddhist sources, primarily in Sanskrit, Khotanese and Middle Indic.
In March 1971, B.R. Gopal discovered a partially buried pillar with visible inscribed writing in the village of Guḍnāpur in Karnataka. The monument has since become known as the Guḍnāpur Pillar Inscription of Ravivarman (ca. 465–500 CE) after the ruler of the early Kadamba kingdom who commissioned it. The inscription preserves a compelling historical record that details the intersections of religious and political performance at the Kadamba court as centered around a temple to Kāma constructed within the confines of the royal residence at Vaijayantī (Banavasi), and the distribution of agrarian lands to support its maintenance. This study presents a new translation and analysis of the text and a discussion of the pillar as a ‘text-monument’ that was both embedded within and constitutive of landscapes: physical and built as well as rhetorical and imagined. By presenting the Guḍnāpur inscription as a text-monument situated within multiple landscapes, the article reveals how documentary, donative, religious, and agrarian practices supported state-making in an early South Indian kingdom.
The present paper, an homage to B. Laufer’s “Asbestos and Salamander” (1915), adds South Asia to the story of a remarkable Eurasian cultural meme meant to explain the presence of fire-proof cloth after its manufacturing technology was forgotten, namely that asbestos was the fur of a mythical animal. I argue that none of our Sanskrit dictionaries contain the correct meaning of the term agniśauca, which does indeed mean asbestos. The widely shared motif explains why in Sanskrit literature too we have animals (a nondescript mṛga) by the same name. I examine textual passages from kāvya, purāṇas, as well as Buddhist sūtras and śāstras, to elucidate this topic. I also cite some evidence that in the period between the 9th and the 11th c. some areas of India still possessed knowledge of asbestos manufacturing. However, as for where and when the correlation was first made, I must leave the question open.
A new volume, Setting Out on the Great Way: Essays on Early Mahāyāna Buddhism (2018), collects essays on questions related to the origins of the Mahāyāna Buddhist movement. This review article considers the contributions, and offers a few observations on the state of the field.