The Bhadrakarâtrî-sûtra. Apotropaic Scriptures in early Indian Buddhism


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PhD thesis: a PhD thesis.
The Bhadrakarâtrî-sûtra. Apotropaic Scriptures in early Indian Buddhism
Holz Kathrin
Strauch Ingo
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Université de Lausanne, Faculté des lettres
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This dissertation examines the Bhadrakaràtrï-sûtra, an important représentative of early Buddhist raksâ literature, and thereby contributes to the investigation of this literary genre. Raksâ texts function mainly to provide protection and to ward off malignant beings, dangerous animais, and ail sort of calamities, fïrst in form of moral sayings, which were later supplemented by mantras. With the implementation of montras into raksâ literature a completely new category of texts evolved. Frequently, traditional protective texts were simply extended by mantras, but even entirely new classes of texts emerged. A spécial feature of these texts is the fact, that they partly employ older canonical texts and build new compositions around that already existing core. Thus, mantras often appear only in manuscripts from Central Asia, Gilgit, and Népal, but cannot be found in canonical Pâli or Chinese parallels. This thesis contributes to the examination of the history, évolution, source, and spread of this still neglected literary genre of apotropaic scriptures, and analyses distinctive raksâ elements, as well as means of effïcacy, and spécifié raksâ cuits, rites, and practices.
The Bhadrakarâtrî-sûtra is especially informative in terms of its textual history and development. This text is approached by codicological, philological, and palaeographic methods, including a comparative textual study of ail versions extant in Pâli, Sanskrit, Chinese, and Tibetan. This work ultimately présents an édition, partial reconstruction, and translation of the two extant Sanskrit manuscripts found in Central Asia, as well as a critical édition and translation of the Tibetan version of the Bhadrakarâtrï-sûtra. Spécial focus is also given to the Chinese and Tibetan variants of the mantras. Moreover, it highlights spécifié raksâ elements, formai features, and linguistic and semantic patterns of the Bhadrakarâtrï-sûtra. These elements are crucial for the understanding of the peculiarities of its language, as well as its textual development and classification among raksâ literature. For this purpose, the général discussion of raksâ cuits, rites, and practices not only considers textual sources, but also archaeological and epigraphical evidence. It is the aim of this thesis to introduce this text, to explore its textual history, and to discuss its value for the understanding of early Buddhist raksâ literature, placing it in the wider context of Buddhist textual and ritual practices.
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21/02/2020 11:47
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03/03/2020 6:19
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