Digital Sanskrit Buddhist Canon


University of the West, with the collaboration of Nagarjuna Institute of Exact Method, Nepal, initiated a one-year project of scanning the rare Sanskrit Buddhist Manuscripts in January 2009. We completed the scanning of 200 Buddhist Sanskrit manuscripts in that year. In year 2011, we have started second phase of scanning another 200 Rare Buddhist Sanskrit Manuscripts and completed in June 2012. Given the success of that scanning project, we plan to continue this work for three more years. The plan includes digitizing one thousand rare Nepalese manuscripts from local private collections as well as from different libraries, and then putting those manuscripts into DVDs and also uploading some manuscripts online for the benefit of researchers and scholars. These manuscripts in this site are previously unknown or undocumented manuscripts from Nepal.

The first two hundred manuscripts scanned by the project have been sourced from private collections in the Kathmandu Valley, where the last surviving tradition of South Asian Mahayana, practiced by Buddhist Newars, still keeps and uses these texts. Several manuscripts are kept in the collections of individuals such as Dīpak and Puṣparāja Vajrācārya, and the late Ratnakājī Vajrācārya. Most of these manuscripts, however, are in the possession of one Newar Buddhist institution, Akṣeśvara Mahāvihāra, located in the western quarter of the old city of Patan.

The goal of our project is to make these valuable collections accessible to world without depriving their original owners of them, as so often happened in the nineteenth and twentieth century. Hopefully this good work will continue, and other private and monastic collections, which are of such great importance for our understanding of Buddhism, can be opened up in the same way.

Banner graphic: Aṣṭasāhasrikā prajñāpāramitā Manuscript (Dated 1215 CE), Hiranyavarna Mahavihara, Lalitpur, Nepal


The rights of the materials herein are as indicated by the source(s) cited. Rights in the compilation, indexing, and transliteration are held by University of the West where permitted by law. See Usage Policy for details.

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