An evening of music and film will commence with a live performance by the London Uyghur Ensemble followed by a screening of the award winning documentary The Silk Road of Pop, a portrait of the explosive pop music scene among the Uyghur community in China’s Xinjiang Province. The screening will be followed by a Q&A session with the film directors.
Friday, September 12, 2014
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
I am a postgraduate student from Institute of Archaeology in UCL and major in managing archaeological sites. I have spent one month working with the IDP, it is very interesting and attractive. Since I come from Xi’an, China, the starting point of the Silk Road, I found the most fascinating work experience in IDP was when we were rehousing some slides of old Xi’an, the City Wall, the Great Wild Goose Pagoda and so on. Most of the slides are made in 1980s or earlier, so I got a chance to know my hometown better and appreciate the vintage photographs, especially some ancient architecture that I am familiar with. Besides this, other interesting work in the IDP involved typing some documents regarding the Dunhuang Mogao Caves and translating some Buddhist words. It can be difficult sometimes but I have learnt a lot about Dunhuang and Buddhism through this experience and after this, I really want to visit Dunhuang by myself and see the caves and wall paintings that I have documented and translated.
And I also think that all the digital works and the online database of IDP are really wonderful. Having been shown the workflow of digital studio and some basic training of XML, I realized how complicated it can be and how difficult to maintain a database like that and I am really impressed. And special thanks to Emma Goodliffe, she was really kind and helpful and I really enjoyed the time working with the staff of the IDP and my classmate!
I am a full-year postgraduate student at the Institute of Archaeology at the University College London majoring in managing archaeological sites. I became an intern in the IDP at the British Library after a very friendly interview. Then I knew there would be an interesting journey with IDP waiting for me.
I studied archaeology in Xi’an which is the starting point of Silk Road and Dunhuang is a significant part of Silk Road as well. There is no denying that the manuscripts and murals at the Dunhuang Mogao Grotto are attractive and fascinating. People in that period were smart and creative. Based on these things, when I rehoused the slides about Dunhuang and the Silk Road, it seems like I am walking on that road. I enjoy the beautiful landscapes, chat with local people and touch the mysterious caves. After I knew the development of the conservation and preservation of the manuscripts, I realized that IDP did a great thing for both scholars and general public.
From the traditional method to the modern technology, people who are interested in the Dunhuang culture try their best to present this to the world. How nice that I can do the placement here!
Our annual highlights report is available to download (PDF 602KB). The report celebrates the past year’s achievements and gives us an opportunity to thank the many supporters and friends of IDP worldwide. Highlights include the completion of the conservation, numbering and digitisation of Sanskrit material and the work carried out on the Central Asian manuscript storage areas at the British Library.
Tuesday, September 2, 2014
The whole text of the earliest dated printed book — the Diamond Sutra — will be on display at the British Library for the first time over a period of eighteen months between March 2014 – August 2015.
Following extensive conservation, the Diamond Sutra scroll currently remains in separate panels giving the unique opportunity to show all the panels in turn (see timetable below). Each panel will be on display for two months in the Treasures Gallery at the British Library, open to all and with free admission.
The third text panel of the Diamond Sutra on display (September-October 2014) contains the second half of section 13 through to the first half of section 15 of the Diamond Sutra.
The following English translation of the third text panel (by Lapiz Lazuli Texts) is based on Kumārajīva's Chinese translation of the original Sanskrit:
Subhūti, what do you think? Has the Tathāgata actually spoken any dharma?” Subhūti replied, “Bhagavān, the Tathāgata has not spoken.” “Subhūti, what do you think? Are there very many atoms contained in three thousand great thousand-worlds?” Subhūti replied, “There are extremely many, Bhagavān.” “Subhūti, the atoms spoken of by the Tathāgata are not atoms, and are thus called atoms. The worlds spoken of by the Tathāgata are not worlds, and are thus called worlds. Subhūti, what do you think? Can the Tathāgata be seen by means of the Thirty-two Marks?” “No, Bhagavān, the Tathāgata cannot be seen by means of the Thirty-two Marks. Why? The Thirty-two Marks that the Tathāgata speaks of are not marks, and are thus called the Thirty-two Marks.” “Subhūti, suppose there were a good man or good woman who, in the practice of giving, gave his or her body away as many times as there are sand grains in the Ganges River. If there are people who accept and maintain even a four-line gāthā from within this sūtra, then the merits of this are far greater.”
14. Leaving appearances: Nirvāṇa
At that time, Subhūti, hearing this sūtra being spoken, had a profound understanding of its essential meaning, and burst into tears. He then addressed the Buddha, saying, “How exceptional, Bhagavān, is the Buddha who thus speaks this profound sūtra! Since attaining the Eye of Prajñā, I have never heard such a sūtra! Bhagavān, if there are again people who are able to hear this sūtra thusly, with a mind of clean and clear belief, giving rise to the true appearance, then this is a person with the most extraordinary merits. Bhagavān, the true appearance is not an appearance, and for this reason the Tathāgata speaks of a true appearance.
“Bhagavān, being able to hear this sūtra thusly, I do not find it difficult to believe, understand, accept, and maintain it. However, in the next era, five hundred years from now, if there are sentient beings who are able to hear this sūtra and believe, understand, accept, and maintain it, then they will be most extraordinary. Why? This is because such a person has no notions of a self, notions of a person, notions of a being, or notions of a life. Why? The appearance of a self is not a true appearance; appearances of a person, a being, and a life, are also not true appearances. Those who have departed from all appearances are called buddhas.” The Buddha told Subhūti, “Thusly, thusly! If there are again people who are able to hear this sūtra, and are not startled, terrified, or fearful, know that the existence of such a person is extremely rare. Why? Subhūti, this foremost pāramitā that the Tathāgata speaks of is not a foremost pāramitā, and is thus called the foremost pāramitā.
“Subhūti, the Pāramitā of Forbearance that the Tathāgata speaks of is not a pāramitā of forbearance. Why? Subhūti, this is like in the past when my body was cut apart by the Kalirāja: there were no notions of a self, notions of a person, notions of a being, or notions of a life. In the past, when I was being hacked limb from limb, if there were notions of a self, notions of a person, notions of a being, or notions of a life, then I would have responded with hatred and anger. Remember also that I was the Ṛṣi of Forbearance for five hundred lifetimes in the past. Over so many lifetimes there were no notions of a self, notions of a person, notions of a being, or notions of a life.
“Therefore, Subhūti, bodhisattvas should depart from all appearances in order to develop the mind of Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi. They should give rise to a mind which does not dwell in form; they should give rise to a mind which does not dwell in sounds, scents, tastes, sensations, or dharmas; they should give rise to a mind which does not dwell. In anything that dwells in the mind, one should not dwell, and for this reason the Buddha says that the minds of bodhisattvas should not dwell in form when practicing giving. Subhūti, bodhisattvas should give thusly because it benefits all sentient beings. The Tathāgata teaches that all characteristics are not characteristics, and all sentient beings are not sentient beings. Subhūti, the Tathāgata is one who speaks what is true, one who speaks what is real, one who speaks what is thus, and is not a deceiver or one who speaks to the contrary.
“Subhūti, the Dharma attained by the Tathāgata is neither substantial nor void. Subhūti, if the mind of a bodhisattva dwells in dharmas when practicing giving, then this is like a person in darkness who is unable to see anything. However, if the mind of a bodhisattva does not dwell in dharmas when practicing giving, then this is like a person who is able to see, for whom sunlight clearly illuminates the perception of various forms. Subhūti, in the next era, if there are good men or good women capable of accepting, maintaining, studying, and reciting this sūtra, then the Tathāgata by means of his buddha-wisdom is always aware of them and always sees them. These people all obtain immeasurable, limitless merit.
15. The merits of maintaining this sūtra
“Subhūti, suppose there were a good man or a good woman who, in the morning, gave his or her body away as many times as there are grains of sand in the Ganges River. In the middle of the day, this person would also give his or her body away as many times as there are grains of sand in the Ganges River. Then in the evening, this person would also give his or her body away as many times as there are grains of sand in the Ganges River. Suppose this giving continued for incalculable billions of eons. If there are people again who hear this sūtra with a mind of belief, without doubt, then the merits of these people surpass the former merits. How much more so for those who write, accept, maintain, study, recite, and explain it?
“Subhūti, to summarize, this sūtra has inconceivable, immeasurable, limitless merit. The Tathāgata speaks it to send forth those in the Great Vehicle, to send forth those in the Supreme Vehicle. If there are people able to accept, maintain, study, recite,[end of panel] and explain this sūtra to others, then the Tathāgata is always aware of them and always sees them.
‘The Diamond Sutra and Early Printing’
MARCH 2014 – AUGUST 2015
Monday 09.30 - 20.00
Tuesday 09.30 - 20.00
Wednesday 09.30 - 20.00
Thursday 09.30 - 20.00
Friday 09.30 - 18.00
Saturday 09.30 - 17.00
Sunday 11.00 - 17.00
Public holidays 11.00 - 17.00