East Asian Collections, #18


  18.  Da bo re bo luo mi duo jing (Prajna-paramita sutra). Fenghua xian: Wang gong ci tang, 1162 CE. One volume of six surviving volumes. -- C. V. Starr East Asian Library (See fuller description below.)
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This extremely rare volume was identified by visiting scholar Shen Jin, from Shanghai Municipal Library, in 1987, as one of only six known surviving volumes of the original 600-volume printing of this Buddhist sutra. Printed apparently privately during the Song Dynasty (960-1279 CE), it is believed to be the oldest book in the Chinese collections at Columbia University. The Prajna-paramita sutra is one of the most important sacred books of Mahayana Buddhism, and Chinese translations of Indian sutras were used in the spread of Buddhism-and of the Chinese written language as well-throughout East Asia.