|Budget Amount *help
¥1,700,000 (Direct Cost : ¥1,700,000)
Fiscal Year 1997 : ¥400,000 (Direct Cost : ¥400,000)
Fiscal Year 1996 : ¥400,000 (Direct Cost : ¥400,000)
Fiscal Year 1995 : ¥900,000 (Direct Cost : ¥900,000)
I have made an annotated translation of a biography of Dharmaksema, a translator of Buddhist texts from central India, based on that found in the Kao seng chuan. As a result, I have clarified that the first half of the Mahaparinirvana Sutra was composed in central India, and that the philosophy of this sutra was not accepted in Kashmir and Kucha at this time. Furthermore, it has also become clear that the desire of Chu-ch'u Menghsun, the king of the Northern Liang Dynasty, to increase the power of his dynasty by availing himself to Dharmaksema's supernatural powers, was instrumental in having the Mahaparinirvana Sutra translated in Kutsang during hes reign. In other words, this sutra was valued, not for providing a spiritual foundation of human existence, but for its practical effects. At that time, the Northern Liang was being threatened by the Northern Wei, which was increasing its power, and this is one reason why Dharmaksema was required. Moreover, four layers can be discerned in the development of the Mahaparinirvana Sutra, and each layer is based on a different philosophical standpoint. The possibility that Dharmaksema translated only the first thirty - three fascicles, corresponding to the first three philosophical layers, has also become apparent. These four layers developed in interaction with the Buddhist thought of such disparate areas as central India, the Swat region of central Asia, the southern rim of the Taklimakan desert. Great difference exist, both in the character of Mahayana Buddhism as a whole, as well as in the Buddhist religions of central Asia and northern India. It has become clear that, in order to understand the essential features of Mahayana Buddhism in the future, it is important to clarify the differences between the Buddhist religions of the Swat region in central Asian and the southern rim of the Taklimakan desert around the fifth century.