In search of kšanti: unknown Old Uyghur confession tradition

Lundysheva Olga and Turanskaya Anna

In search of kšanti: unknown Old Uyghur confession tradition

(66th Annual Meeting of the PIAC Göttingen, 2024)

Confession emerged as a prevalent religious practice among the Old Uyghurs, cutting across their religious affiliations. The practice wasn’t limited to clerics; ordinary individuals also participated, as the texts that have been unearthed indicate. The academic community continues to debate whether these texts were routinely employed in confession ceremonies and if such practices originated within the Manichaean or Buddhist communities in Turfan. It appears that both the Manichaeans and Buddhists adhered to their distinct confession traditions, as the texts do not reveal any significant signs of cross-influence.

Two fragments (catalogued under SI 6699) featuring a hitherto unknown confession text have been recently discovered within the Serindia collection of the IOM, RAS (St. Petersburg). This confession, penned on behalf of three laymen to absolve them of their sins, resembles similar Tocharian texts compiled centuries earlier. The study explores this newly identified text and its significance within the Old Uyghur Buddhist tradition, examining its connections to Tocharian influences.