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Open Access A Study of Popular Chinese Characters in the Ishiyama Temple Manuscript of the Sound Glosses on Dabanruojing (Prajñāpāramitā-sūtra, Vol. II)

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A Study of Popular Chinese Characters in the Ishiyama Temple Manuscript of the Sound Glosses on Dabanruojing (Prajñāpāramitā-sūtra, Vol. II)

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The handwritten manuscript entitled “Sound Glosses on Dabanruojing 大般若經音義 (Prajñāpāramitā-sūtra, Vol. II),” one of the collections of Ishiyama Temple 石山寺 in Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture, is generally regarded as having been made sometime from the last phase of the Nara 奈良 period (710-784) to the beginning of the Heian 平安 period (794-1185). On account of its copying and dissemination contemporary to that period, the manuscript has value equal to the Dunhuang 敦煌 manuscripts. The present paper cross-references the Ishiyama Temple manuscript to the one with the same title housed in Raigōin 來迎院 in Kyoto. After having selected the 35 characters in popular use that are mutually related, it presents a comparative study of them as found in the relevant portions of the Sound Glosses of Xuanying (玄應音義) and the Sound Gloss of Huilin (慧琳音義) in an attempt to clarify the origins of these popular Chinese characters. Such work no doubt has equal significance in the following scholarly area: the ex-ploration of how the characters were used in the period in question, particularly making inference on the actual use of the characters in these old handwritten manuscripts of the Prajñāpāramitā-sūtra, the study of the language of the Buddhist scriptures, and the development of a research field of the popular Chinese characters.


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