Made in China? Sourcing the Old Khotanese Bhaiṣajyaguruvaiḍūryaprabhasūtra

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Diego Loukota



This paper presents evidence to suggest that the highly aberrant Old Khotanese version of the popular Sūtra of the Master of Medicine Beryl-Shine (Bhaiṣajyaguru- vaiḍūryaprabhasūtra) may have been translated from a Chinese text, the twelfth fascicle of the so-called Consecration Sūtra, T1331 . As a possible explanation for the hybrid nature of the Khotanese text, which shares in features of the Consecration Sūtra and of the mainstream version, I suggest the possibility that the Sanskrit version may have originated in Khotan as a revision of the Khotanese text. Lastly I explore the greater consequences that these scenarios would have in our understanding of the pre-Islamic cultures of the Tarim Basin, underscoring the role of China as a significant cultural influence.

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