By Jinah Kim

In contemplating medieval illustrated Buddhist manuscripts as sacred items of cultic innovation, Receptacle of the Sacred explores how and why the South Asian Buddhist book-cult has survived for nearly millennia to the current. A e-book “manuscript” can be understood as a sort of sacred house: a temple in microcosm, not just imbued with divine presence but additionally layered with the stories of many generations of clients. Jinah Kim argues that illustrating a manuscript with Buddhist imagery not just empowered it as a three-d sacred item, but in addition made it an appropriate software for the religious transformation of medieval Indian practitioners. via an in depth old research of Sanskrit colophons on patronage, construction, and use of illustrated manuscripts, she means that whereas Buddhism’s disappearance in jap India used to be a gradual and sluggish approach, the Buddhist book-cult performed an immense position in maintaining its identification. additionally, via studying the actual strains left by way of later Nepalese clients and the modern ritual use of the booklet in Nepal, Kim indicates how human company used to be serious in perpetuating and intensifying the efficiency of a manuscript as a sacred item all through time.

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In contemplating medieval illustrated Buddhist manuscripts as sacred gadgets of cultic innovation, Receptacle of the Sacred explores how and why the South Asian Buddhist book-cult has survived for nearly millennia to the current. A e-book “manuscript” may be understood as a kind of sacred house: a temple in microcosm, not just imbued with divine presence but in addition layered with the thoughts of many generations of clients.

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Extra info for Receptacle of the Sacred: Illustrated Manuscripts and the Buddhist Book Cult in South Asia

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One of the two major commentators, Haribhadra (the Abhisamayālaṃkāra), was active during the reign of King Dharmapāla at the beginning of the ninth century, while Abhayākaragupta, a famed scholar of the Vikramaśīla monastery, was active during the reign of King Rāmapāla at the beginning of the twelfth century. The cult of Prajñāpāramitā was already in practice earlier in the fifth century, as reported by the Chinese pilgrim Faxian (ca. 377–422 CE), but it is difficult to ascertain what the focus of this cultic practice was, whether it was the goddess or the book.

We will seek answers to these questions in subsequent chapters by exploring the history of illustrated Buddhist manuscripts in India. We will examine how a medieval Buddhist book was constructed as a sacred object and how its sacrality was intensified through various iconographic means and ritual interventions. Before entering the world of medieval Indian Buddhist manuscripts, understanding the historical process in which certain types of books emerged as the foremost sacred objects for Mahāyāna Buddhists will guide us to address this study’s central theme, the significance of a book as a material object.

179. is easy to deconstruct and reconstruct a book. This is demonstrated in a thirteenth-century painting from a Kalpasūtra manuscript in which a Jain monk, instructing a princely figure, holds a folio in his right hand while the rest of the book remains on a book stand (fig. ”4 A book is simultaneously content (text) and form (object) and thus embodies the classic tension between idea and material. When we talk about a book, we are often concerned with the book as idea, not as material. In this age of digital texts and electronic books, a book’s materiality may soon become an obsolete concern for many of us, and it may seem that the book as idea is ultimately prevailing over its materiality.

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