Mongolian versions of the Lotus Sūtra revisited
(60th Meeting of the PIAC, Székesfehérvár 2017)
The Lotus Sūtra (or Saddharmapuṇḍarīka) was firstly translated into Mongolian in the Middle period, probably in the late 13th or early 14th century. Available to us are only two fragmentary leaves of this translation excavated at Turfan. The fact that their lines are quite parallel with those of Uighur version convinces us to regard the first Mongolian version was based on the Uighur original. This earliest version is lost and the Mongolian full texts at our disposal are translations from the Tibetan version. One of them is contained in the Mongolian cannon and the other is among the so-called Peking xylographs. The latter is puzzling since the number and the arrangement of chapters are the same with the Uighur version while the lines are totally dependent on those of the Tibetan version.
According to the prevailing view, the Mongolian Buddhist works published after the so-called second introduction of Tibetan Buddhism are translations from the Tibetan original and the language is not the pre-classical but the modern Mongolian, although it is far from the case as for the Lotus Sutra; we find a number of archaisms in the lines of both. This paper presents some hypotheses about the translating process of this Buddhist work into Mongolian.