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  • Author or Editor: Jens Wilkens x
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In the present article fourteen fragments of the cycle of stories Daśakarmapathāvadānamālā in Old Turkic which are housed in Berlin and St. Petersburg are identified as belonging to a story which was formerly unknown in Turkic literature but can now be related to several parallel versions in Sanskrit, Tibetan and Chinese Buddhist works. Whereas the overall story in the Avadāna is similar to the other versions, the Old Turkic legend shows several unique features. The main character Kāmapriya, who has killed his own mother, tries to annihilate his misdeed by entering the Buddhist community but is subsequently discovered by a young arhat who possesses the “eye of meditation”.

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The present article is an attempt to reconstruct the story of the man-eating Kalmasapada and the Bodhisattva Sutasoma in Old Turkic. It forms a part of the vast collection of avadanas called Dasakarmapathavadanamala which has hitherto only been partly published. The investigation of newly identified and placed fragments allows for an appraisal of the uniqueness of this narrative within this particular story cycle.

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The collection of Buddhist legends entitled Daśakarmapathāvadānamālā (DKPAM) is attested in several native languages of Central Asia (Tocharian A, Tocharian B, Sogdian, Old Uyghur). While the Old Uyghur version is rather well preserved, only fragments remain of the DKPAM in Tocharian A, Tocharian B, and Sogdian. The article identifies two small fragments in Tocharian B as belonging to the avadāna of Hariścandra. They are interpreted with reference to the corresponding Old Uyghur version of the tale.

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According to the colophons of the Old Uyghur Daśakarmapathāvadānamālā (DKPAM), this collection of Buddhist birth legends was translated from a Tocharian A (tohrı) source which in turn was based on a Tocharian B (küsän) original. A Tocharian B fragment from the Paris Pelliot collection presents a close parallel to the legend of Kalmāṣapāda and Sutasoma of the Old Uyghur DKPAM. This legend is so far not attested in Tocharian A. Although the existence of a Tocharian A intermediary text cannot be excluded, the parallel is so close that the Old Uyghur text may also have been translated directly from Tocharian B.

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The collection of Buddhist legends entitled Daśakarmapathāvadānamālā (DKPAM) is best preserved in Old Uyghur. According to the colophons of this Old Uyghur version, it was translated from Tocharian. In this paper, two Tocharian B fragments that are parallel to the Supāraga-Avadāna of the Old Uyghur DKPAM are presented, together with a third Tocharian B fragment that may belong to the same avadāna, but is so far lacking a parallel in Old Uyghur.

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