Buddhism Among the Turks of Central Asia

Margit Koves, Aditya Prakashan, 2009, Satapitaka Series; 626, 228 p, ISBN : 9788177420876, $95.00 (Includes free airmail shipping)

Contents: 1. Introduction. 2. Abbreviations. I. Turks of Central Asia and their contact with Buddhism: 3. Geographical background. 4. Exploration of and expeditions of Turkestan. 5. History of the Turks in Central Asia. 6. Origin and development of the Uigur language and literature. II. The Turkish-Uigar Suvarnaprabhasa-Sutra: 7. The Suvarnaprabhasa-Sutra and its place in Turkish Buddhist literature. 8. Comparison of the contents of the Turkish Suvarnaprabhasa-Sutra with the Sanskrit, Chinese and Tibetan versions. III. The Dharanis of the Suvarnaprabhasa-Sutra: 9. Significance of the Dharanis in Buddhist literature. 10. Dharanis of the Uigur version alongwith the corresponding dharanis in the Sanskrit, Chinese and Tibetan sutras. 11. Some regular linguistic correlations between the Sanskrit and Uigur presentation of the dharanis. 12. Conclusion. 13. Bibliography.

“This book by Margit Koves details the history of Turks in Central Asia from their first empire on the Orkhon River from 546 to 658 AD, the Second Empire from 678-747 AD, and the subsequent Uigur states in Kocho. It describes the origin and development of the Uigur language, and the formation of written Uigur literature from the oral tradition. The main thrust of the work is the place of the Golden Light Sutra (Suvarnaprabhasa-Sutra) in Uigur literature, its rich source of dharanis which are of great relevance for linguistics and the interrelations of different versions in Sanskrit, Tibetan and Chinese. An account of explorations in Sinchiang in the third chapter surveys the remnants of civilisations of the Central Asian peoples. The detailed analysis of 35 dharanis in Uigur-Turkish, Sanskrit, Tibetan and Chinese transcriptions is invaluable for a comparative study of phonetics, literary transmission techniques, and a better comprehension of the mantras and their use in meditational exercises. The dharanis represent the earliest stratum of tantric praxis and thought, and Tibetan exegesis rightly considers the Golden Light Sutra to belong to the Tantras.” (jacket) 

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