The "Net of Indra"

L.S.Cousins selwyn at NTLWORLD.COM
Fri Aug 18 17:46:48 UTC 2000

Dear Stephen,

>  > Not the Avatam.saka which is a Chinese collection of materials, not
>>  all of which has been proven to be of Indian origin.
>I am puzzled by this statement.  As you will know there is also a
>Tibetan translation by Vairocana-rak.sita of this text (collection of
>texts) which largely corresponds in content to the Chinese version but
>clearly is not translated from the Chinese (as in the case of one of
>the Nirvana / Lankavatara Sutras).   This would seem to indicate
>strongly that there was some Indic original for this corpus --
>possibly of Central Asian provenance.

All I said was 'not proven' !

It has often been suggested that the Avata.msaka collection was
created in Central Asia. In fact the collection includes at least two
very large texts of Sanskrit and presumably 'Indian' origin. But no
Indian source, as far as I know, refers to the collection. Some of
the smaller texts might have a lost Indian original. Some of them
could have been composed in Central Asia. Conceivably they could have
been written there in Sanskrit or in some other language. But none of
this seems very certain; so I simply said 'not proven to be of Indian

I do not know sufficient about the Tibetan version. I have seen you
mention this before, but I do not know why older scholarship did not
accept this. Assuming that it is not from one of the extant Chinese
versions (as I had earlier understood) how do we know that it is not
translated from a Central Asian or lost Chinese original ?

Lance Cousins

selwyn at

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