Landmark Buddhist catalogue provides new insights into India’s ancient traditions

Dr Mark Allon’s research provide important insights into India’s Bud
Dr Mark Allon’s research provide important insights into India’s Buddhist traditions
By Pristine Ong

11 February 2013

A landmark catalogue of Kharosthi Buddhist manuscripts put together by Mark Allon may provide important insights into India’s ancient traditions.

Allon, a world expert in Sanskrit, Pali and Prakrit and early Buddhist literature, heads the University’s Indian and Buddhist Studies programs. His research focuses on recent discoveries of ancient Gandhari Buddhist manuscripts from 100 - 400 AD.

Gandhara, which corresponds to modern day eastern Afghanistan and northern Pakistan, was a unique culture produced by the meeting of the Indian, Mediterranean and Central Asian worlds.

Currently, Allon is cataloguing a collection of Kharosthi Buddhist manuscripts housed in the University of Washington Library, Seattle.

These manuscripts, which date to 130AD, shed light on traditions of writing and literature in ancient Gandhara, and on the religious practices associated with the production and burial of manuscripts.

Allon says: "India’s past continues to shape the present. Through examining religion in ancient India, we can better understand the society and culture of contemporary India."