The Nepalese Buddhist Sanskrit Manuscript Scanning Initiative

BDRC has been diligently seeking new collections of important Buddhist texts for preservation and archiving. The results of this work are coming to fruition as BDRC launches a new digitization initiative: the Nepalese Buddhist Sanskrit Manuscript Scanning Initiative.

The Initiative, run in partnership with the University of the West and the Nagarjuna Institute in Kathmandu, will scan and catalog a variety of Nepalese Buddhist manuscripts in Sanskrit, including:

  1. Buddhist sūtras
  2. Avadāna
  3. Stotras
  4. Ritual texts
  5. Sādhanas
  6. Caryā songs
  7. Māhātmya or Stories
  8. Jātakas
  9. Tantras
  10. Śāstra and other commentaries

The Initiative will digitize approximately 400 manuscripts and shares a similar model to BDRC’s successful Fragile Palm Leaves Digitization Initiative. BDRC will set up local scanning stations in Kathmandu and digitize the materials on-site. Staff will then upload the images to BDRC’s cloud repository where they will be processed and added to BDRC’s free online library.

The system is efficient and cost-effective as the manuscripts do not need to be moved, archiving and cataloging can be remotely managed, and the program can draw on the expertise of local scholars and scanning technicians. This project is an important first step in our nascent activities in Nepal, part of our ongoing effort to broaden our focus to the preservation of Buddhist material in multiple languages.

Sample image of a manuscript folio for the Nepalese Scanning Initiative

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