Meditation, Saṃsāra, and Confession: Fragments of Old Uyghur Text on Various IssuesUğur Uzunkaya
Although the development of Buddhism among Turks occurred in the Western Uyghur Khanate, Turks’ first encounter with Buddhism is thought to date back much earlier. Chinese sources often mention Turks as having had an interest in Buddhism; however, no data is found on Buddhism in the inscriptions from the Turkish khaganates in Mongolia. In any case, the Buddhist Uyghur literature is the result of an intense translation activity in the Western Uyghur Khaganate. Despite the difficulty of discussing a Buddhist Uyghur canon through the written sources from the Western Uyghur Khaganate, the Uyghurs are understood to have belonged to certain schools of Buddhism. While some of the Uyghurs’ written sources are complete, others have survived to the present day in fragments. This study concerns the edition of seven fragments (archival numbers: Mainz 281, U 1206, U 1762, U 4997, U 5468, U 244, and U 5012) preserved in the Berlin Turfan Collection regarding different issues related to the Old Uyghur literature such as meditation, saṃsāra [the material world’s cycle of death and rebirth], and confession. This article consists of these fragments’ transcription, transliteration, translation into Turkish, explanations, and a glossary/index.
İstiğrak, Saṃsāra ve Tövbe: Türlü Meselelere İlişkin Eski Uygurca Metin ParçalarıUğur Uzunkaya
Budizm’in Türkler arasındaki esas inkişafının Batı Uygur Kağanlığı’nda gerçekleştiği bilinse de Türklerin Budizm ile tanışmalarının çok daha önceki bir tarihe dayandığı düşünülmektedir. Özellikle Çin kaynaklarında Türklerin Budizm’e ilgi duydukları dile getirilir; bununla birlikte Moğolistan’daki I. ve II. Doğu Türk Kağanlıklarından kalan yazıtlarda Budizm’e ilişkin bir veri mevcut değildir. Her durumda günümüze kadar erişen Budist Uygur edebiyatının Batı Uygur Kağanlığı’nda süren yoğun bir tercüme faaliyetinin bir neticesi olduğu belirtilmelidir. Batı Uygur Kağanlığı’ndan kalan yazılı kaynaklar yoluyla eksiksiz bir Budist Uygur külliyatından söz etmek şimdilik güç olsa da bir yolla Uygurların Budizm’in belli ekollerine intisap ettiği anlaşılmaktadır. Uygurlardan kalan Budist edebiyata ilişkin yazılı kaynakların bir kısmı bütünlüklü iken bir kısmı fragmanlar hâlinde günümüze ulaşmıştır. Bu çalışma bu noktada daha önce yayımlanmamış Budist Eski Uygur edebiyatına ilişkin istiğrak, saṃsara, tövbe başta olmak üzere çeşitli konuları ihtiva eden ve bugün Berlin Turfan Koleksiyonu’nda korunan yedi metin parçasının neşri üzerinedir ve bu fragmanların arşiv numaraları şöyledir: Mainz 281, U 1206, U 1762, U 4997, U 5468, U 244 ve U 5012. Bu yazı burada bahsi geçen fragmanların yazı çevirimini, harf çevirisini, Türkiye Türkçesine aktarımını, metne ilişkin açıklamalarını ve sözlük/dizinini ihtiva etmektedir.
Although when Turks adopted Buddhism is not precisely known, the emergence of this belief among the Turks is thought to date back long before the Western Uyghur Khaganate to the Turkish Khaganate in Mongolia. Chinese sources state that Turks had had a clear interest in Buddhism during the First Turkish Khaganate. However, no record exists regarding Buddhism in the Second Turkish Khaganate inscriptions; therefore, studying the relations of Turks with Buddhism through sources written by Turks does not seem possible. With the collapse of the Uyghur state known as the Eastern Uyghur Khaganate in Mongolia in 840, some of the inhabitants of this state migrated to the south and others to the southwest. The Uyghurs who migrated to the Turfan oasis in particular were known as the Turfan Uyghurs and laid the foundations of the state that would come to be called the Western Uyghur Khanate. In addition to completed works, some fragments have also found as a result of expeditions to East Turkestan. In this regard, the current paper concerns the edition of seven fragments that deal with various issues related to the Old Uyghur literature on Buddhism that have not been previously published. Each of these fragments is currently preserved in the Berlin Turfan Collection under the following archival codes: Mainz 281 (T II S 32/517), U 1206 (T I 5 XVIII 28), U 1762 (T II S 32a), U 4997 (T II Y 22), U 5468 (T I D 645), U 244 (o. F.), and U 5012 (T II Y 59).
The first fragment included in this study is archived as Mainz 281 (T I S 32/517). This fragment consists of six lines on the recto and six lines on the verso sides for a total of 12 lines. The fragment is complete except for some minor damage on the first line. The catalog information containing the physical features of the fragments was prepared by Orçun Ünal. This manuscript deals with numerous bodhisattvas and how they’d gather around Buddha. The second fragment is archived as U 1206 (T I 5 XVIII 28) and consists of 14 lines, seven on the recto and seven on the verso sides. The catalog information containing the physical features of this fragment was provided by Ünal. The subject of this fragment is meditation. The third fragment is archived as U 1762 (T II S 32a) and consists of six lines on page “a” and six lines on page “b” for a total of 12 lines. Ünal also prepared the catalogue for this fragment. The subject of this fragment involves the idea of saṃsāra, known in Buddhism as the circle of death and rebirth. The fourth fragment is archived as U 4997 (T II Y 22), and has confession as its subject. The fifth fragment is archived as U 5468 (T I D 645), and Page “b” of this fragment has not yet been cataloged. According to my estimation, the subject of page “b” is about Maitreya [The Compassionate One]. This article does not include page “a” of this fragment. The sixth fragment is archived as U 244, and the catalog information regarding this fragment was also prepared by Ünal. The subject of this fragments is Abitaki-sūtra [Sutra of Infinite Light], and it has 12 lines in total, six on the recto and six on the verso sides. The seventh and final fragment is archived as U 5012 (T II Y 59), and the catalog for this fragment was also prepared by Ünal. The theme of the fragment is about the confession of sins.
This paper consists of the transcriptions, transliterations, translations into Turkish, explanations, and a glossary/index of the fragments that have been introduced in general terms above. The results from the paper can be summarized as follows: (1) This paper presents data that have been extracted based on the text from these seven fragments in the form of 71 lines of Old Uyghur for researchers to use. (2) Although most of these lines remain fully preserved, some only contain a few remnants of the letters. Of the 71 lines, six are damaged, which represents 8.45% of the total text. (3) The indexes from this study contain 163 entries. Of these entries, 38 (23.32%) are verbs and 125 (76.38%) are nouns. (4) Within the glossary of the text, two words have been directly quoted from Chinese (1.22%), eight words (4.90%) in Sanskrit have been quoted from Tocharian A or Tocharian B, four words (2.45%) in Sanskrit have been quoted from Sogdian, and one word (0.61%) in Greek has been quoted from Sogdian. When considering the Old Uyghur text in general, 9.2% of the text is seen to be comprised of quoted material.