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Receptacle of the SacredIllustrated Manuscripts and the Buddhist Book Cult in South Asia$
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Jinah Kim

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780520273863

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520273863.001.0001

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Representing the Perfection of Wisdom, Embodying the Holy Sites

Representing the Perfection of Wisdom, Embodying the Holy Sites

(p.72) (p.73) 3 Representing the Perfection of Wisdom, Embodying the Holy Sites
Receptacle of the Sacred

Jinah Kim

University of California Press

This chapter explains how the scenes from the life of the Buddha, often seen to be unrelated to the text of the Prajnāpāramitā sūtra, illustrate the main message of the text when understood together as a group. A Buddhist book with systematic placement of illustrated panels with the Buddha’s life scenes is like a stūpa. I also suggest that the seemingly random placement of many holy sites within a single manuscript can invoke a mental journey or an imagined pilgrimage to these sacred sites, thus allowing a Buddhist practitioner to roam freely beyond the spatial boundaries and physical limits of his surroundings.

Keywords:   Prajnāpāramitā sūtra, Buddha’s life scenes, book as a stūpa, imagined pilgrimage, Buddhist holy sites, prime object, replication, visual map, 3D mandala

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