Lüshun Museum of China and Ryukoku University of Japan co-sponsored the “The International Symposium on Chinese Buddhist Scripture from Xinjiang”, in which gathered forty scholars from Xinjiang, Beijing, Dalian of China, Japan, and Germany. Following upon the ongoing collaborative research operated by Lüshun Museum and Ryukoku University, the symposium aims to appreciate the cultural content and historical value of the Buddhist scripture from Xinjiang collected in this museum. By publishing the data and research results, it intends to carry forward scholarship in this field.
Among the 60,000 artifacts of Lüshun Museum, the Xinjiang Buddhist scriptures are the most distinctive and widely known. In December of 2002, the State Bureau of Cultural Property sanctioned the collaborative research project of Lüshun Museum and Ryukoku University on this body of documents. The major goals of this project are to catalogue them and perform systematic research, to evaluate their content, date, materials and historical value, to piece together and store digitally fragments of Buddhist fragments, to upgrade the conservation facilities of these documents, to compile a multi-volume catalog and a collection of research papers, and to organize an international symposium. After three years of productive work, the two collaborative parties have made significant progress. Among 23832 pieces of fragments, they have identified 13000 pieces out of 502 scriptures. The rediscovery of the “Yuankang six year (296) Buddhist scripture collection元康六年诸佛要集经” of Western Jin provides another early datable scripture after the one of the earliest Sanskrit “Sublime Lotus Scripture妙法莲华经” in 1997. The other prominent find is the text “Boddhisattva Repentance菩萨忏悔文” with inscribed date “Chengyang san nian承阳三年(preliminarily assigned to 427)”. In this symposium, scholars viewed the newly discovered scriptures and the digitalized catalogue made in Japan.
The collaborative research came not only to comb through the Xinjiang Buddhist scriptures held in Lüshun Museum, but also to identify it as the largest collection over the world. The museum will further commit itself to promoting international academic exchange and collaboration, and a long-term research on this body of valuable documents.
(Source: China Cultural Relics News, Translated by Zhang Liangren)