Buddhist Studies Lectures

A cycle of stories from the Silk Road – The Old Uyghur Daśakarmapathāvadānamālā and Buddhist narrative literature

The Daśakarmapathāvadānamālā is the most important narrative work in Old Uyghur – a Turkic language from Central Asia. As one of the few texts which were translated from Tocharian it is one of the earliest specimens of Old Uyghur Buddhist literature. It is attested in fragmentary forms in other languages from the ancient Silk Road as well.

The talk will outline the structure and contents of the work as well as highlight the unique features of the stories within the framework of Buddhist narrative literature.

Dr Jens Wilkens is a Turkologist specializing in the Old Uyghur Buddhist texts at the Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen, Germany. He has published more than 30 papers related to his wide field of interests: historical linguistics, Buddhist texts preserved in the Central Asian and the Eastern Manichaeism. In his recent three-volume publication Buddhistische Erzählungen aus dem alten Zentralasien. Edition der altuigurischen Daśakarmapathāvadānamālā, he reconstructs the ancient Buddhist text Daśakarmapathāvadānamālā(“garland of legends pertaining to the ten courses of action”)  in Old Uyghur and thoroughly explores the parallels in other Buddhist literature. 

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