i. Buddhist

A considerable number of Buddhist Sogdian texts dating from around the 8th century CE were unearthed from “Caves of the Thousand Buddhas” at Dunhuang in western China and from Turfan in Chinese Turkestan. The bulk of Buddhist Sogdian texts were discovered by expeditions from Europe and are currently preserved in the libraries and museums in France (Pelliot collection, Biblothèque Nationale), England (Stein collection, British Library), Germany (the so-called German Turfan Collection), and Russia (Oldenburg and Krotokov collections).  The study of Buddhist texts was initiated with the publications of two studies by Robert Gauthiot (1911-12 and 1912), a scholarly attempt that was continued by Frederic Rosenberg, Hans Reichelt, and others.  Fundamental editions are by Émile Benveniste (1940 and 1945), D. N. MacKenzie (1970 and 1976), F. W. K. Müller and Wolfgang Lentz (1934 = ST ii), and A. N. Ragoza (1980).  A series of articles involving the editing of individual texts were published by Kogi Kudara and Werner Sundermann, and by Sundermann, and Yutaka Yoshida.  Buddhist Sogdian literature has been surveyed by Olaf Hansen (1968), David Utz, (1978) and Yoshida (2009a and 2015). Virtually all the texts discovered in Dunhuang have been already published, but a considerable number of manuscripts from the German collection remains to be edited, the catalogue of which is in preparation (Reck forthcoming b).

As the Buddhist monk Xuanzang (602-64 CE) witnessed around 630 CE in Samarqand, Sogdians were Zoroastrians and did not believe in Buddhism (Watters, p. 94).  This observation combined with the fact that very few Buddhist remains have been excavated from former Sogdiana leads one to assume that Buddhism did not spread to Sogdiana (Compareti, pp. 18-20).  Thus, the discovery of many Buddhist Sogdian texts from Dunhuang and Turfan indicates that the Sogdians adopted the religion only after they immigrated to the area where Buddhism was flourishing.  This situation, described by Tremblay (pp. 95-97) as “a colonial phenomenon,” clearly manifests itself in the fact that the bulk of the Sogdian texts are based on the Chinese prototypes, including some apocryphal texts.  Their dependence on the contemporary Chinese Buddhism may also be reflected by a few Chinese texts phonetically transcribed in Sogdian script (see below).

The texts are written on paper and the manuscripts are either books of the poṭhī type imitating Indian palm leaf manuscripts or scrolls consisting of folios of Chinese paper joined together.  Almost all the Buddhist texts are written in the Sogdian formal script, which is often referred to as Sūtra script.  Buddhist Sogdian texts were copied on brand-new sheets of paper and are in stark contrast with Manichean Sogdian texts, many of which are written on the back of Buddhist Chinese texts.  Only one text, the so-called “The Sūtra of the condemnation of intoxicating drink,” discovered in Dunhuang, bears the date (i.e., 728 CE) when it was translated in Luoyang (MacKenzie, 1976, p. 8).  There is no linguistic or paleographic indication that the others are significantly younger or older than this one.  Some of the Chinese originals were produced by monks, such as Xuanzang (645-64), Śikṣānanda (695-704), Yijing (700-13), and Amoghavajra (746-74), who were translating during the 7th to 8th centuries (Demiéville et. al, pp. 235-87). The places of translation noted in the colophons are Luoyang (MacKenzie, 1976, p. 8), Changan (P[elliot sogdien] 2), and Dunhuang (P8).  Most of the Buddhist Sogdian texts are more or less correct translations based on Chinese originals; only a few seem to have been based on prototypes in either Sanskrit or Tocharian, although it has not been possible to trace their originals.  A colophon found in one Turfan text states that it had been translated from the Kuchean language or Tocharian B, (Henning, pp. 59-62; Kudara and Sundermann, 1987, pp. 347-48).  On the occasionally inaccurate translations from the Chinese originals, see Yoshida (2009a, pp. 320-23) and Meisterernst and Durkin-Meisterernst (2005, 2009, and 2012).

The Buddhist Sogdian texts are unique among those in other Central Asian languages such as Tocharian, Khotanese, and Uighur, not to mention Tibetan, Tangut and Mongolian, in the fact that Buddhism never attained the status of a state religion among the Sogdians.  This means that there were no state organized saṃghas or communities among Sogdian monks, and that Sogdian Buddhists were not able to enjoy support from the state for translating and copying texts.  Lack of organized community may have prevented the establishment of standard Buddhist terminology in Sogdian.  Recently some vinaya texts have been discovered where poyiti 波逸提 ~ Skt. prāyaścitta, pāyattika (atonement), etc., is rendered with pʾytyk, pʾytk, and pʾyty (Yoshida, 2010, p. 92, n. 13; on the background of the various Indian forms of this term, see von Hinüber).  This situation is only understandable when one considers the fact that the Sogdians did not belong to a particular school, nor did they have their own tradition of ordination, but they just adopted forms found in the originals they were translating.  Nevertheless, the texts that have come down to us share a considerable number of Buddhist terms.  For example, wytxwy (ʾt) sryβtʾm, translating Chinese fannao 煩悩 ~ Skt. kleśa (affliction, distress) is most conspicuous in that the combination is quite common among Buddhist texts but unknown in other texts.  Pkʾβʾm ~ Skt. bhagavān (the holy one) is another term encountered in various texts both from Dunhuang and Turfan; it is based on Chinese baoqiefan 薄伽梵, which in turn is the transposition of the Sanskrit word (Sims-Williams, 1983, p. 138; on the problems of Indian proper names in Sogdian texts, see also Provasi).

It is almost always the case that we have only small fragments of Sogdian texts, of which the originals are often large sūtras.  In such cases one cannot be certain whether the Sogdian versions were entire translations of the originals or only excerpts of interesting parts.  One informative case is some eighty fragments of a poṭhī book of the Mahāyāna-mahāparinirvāṇa-sūtra from the German Turfan collection (see below).  Since the identified fragments correspond to various places among the 40 volumes of the Chinese original, it seems reasonable to assume that there once existed an entire translation of the sūtra and to presume that the same applies to the fragments of the other large sūtras such as the Gaṇḍavyūha-sūtra, Pañcaviṃśati-sāhasrikāprajñāpāramitā-sūtra, and Suvarṇaprabhāsa-sūtra.

In what follows the Buddhist Sogdian texts are surveyed in accordance with their contents.  Those texts that were discovered by Paul Pelliot and published by Émile Benveniste (1940) are referred to as P[elliot sogdien] 2, etc., while the Chinese originals are quoted by text numbers in the T[aishō shinshū daizōkyō] (ed. Junjiro Takakusu et al., Tokyo, 1924-35).

Narratives. The best-known Buddhist Sogdian text is the Vessantara Jātaka, which is perhaps a native Sogdian composition, a retelling rather than a translation (Sims-Williams, 1989, p. 175).  Durkin-Meisterernst (2009) claims a non-Chinese text as its original, while Yutaka Yoshida (2013a) argues that the Sogdian text was adapted from the most popular Chinese version Taizixudanajing (T 171), “The Sūtra about Prince Xiudana.”  The Araṇemi-jātaka was very popular in the Northern Tarim Basin, of which Tocharian A and B, Tumshuqese, and Uighur versions are known.  The Sogdian text is unique in that every poṭhī folio is illustrated on one side (Sundermann, 2001; Ebert).  A story about king Kāñcanasāra from the fifth chapter of the Daśakaramapathāvadānamāla, a cycle of legends that were collected to expound ten kinds of acts, is found in one poṭhī folio.  Compared with the corresponding Uighur version, the Sogdian seems to represent an independent recension based on a lost Tocharian prototype (Sundermann, 2006).

So far six manuscripts of the Saṅghāṭa-sūtra have been identified and the text seems to have been especially liked by Buddhist Sogdians (Sims-Williams, 1981; Yakubovitch and Yoshida).  The sūtra does not treat particular aspects of Buddhist doctrines, but the narratives, parables, and similes extensively used by the Buddha are aimed at illustrating the intrinsic saving virtues of Buddhist teaching (Canevascini, p. ix.).  The Sogdian version does not agree closely with any other known recension and must be a free adaptation.

A parable about two brothers is known but has not been identified.  In the text a parable is narrated about two men originating from the same town, a rich fisherman and a poor farmer (Yoshida, 2009a, pp. 307-8).  Another unidentified story about a dispute between the Buddha and heretics is attested by dozen of fragments from the Russian collection.  King Biṃbisāra, king of Magadha and a disciple of the Buddha, and the ascetic Upaka also play a role in the story (Sims-Williams, 1981; Livshits).  In another fragment from the German collection King Prasenajit of Kosala asks the Buddha a question about the time of the appearance of the cakravartin king.  The king’s question and the Buddha’s answer are closely paralleled by a passage in the Abhidharmakośa-bhāṣya (T 1558; see Yoshida, 1986, p. 519).  One unique fragment is a bilingual text of the Divyāvadāna in Sanskrit and Sogdian both written in Brāhmī script (Sims-Williams, 1996, p. 307).

Texts concerning popular ethics and vinayas. Those texts expounding good and bad actions as causes of good and bad effects were also popular.  The so-called “Sūtra of the causes and effects of actions” (MacKenzie, 1970) is translated from a Chinese apocryphal sūtra (T 2881).  The so far unidentified “Sūtra of the condemnation of intoxicating drink” (MacKenzie, 1976, pp. 7-11) is another such text.  One source of bad effects is eating meat, which was strictly prohibited in Mahāyāna Buddhism.  It is the only subject of P2 where relevant passages are cited from the Laṅkāvatāra-sūtra (T 670), the Aṅgulimālīya-sūtra (T 120), and the DafangguanghuayanshiepinjingSūtra of the chapter on the ten bad actions of the great and spacious garland” (T 2875; Yoshida, 2013b, pp. 164-69), the last being a Chinese apocryphal sūtra.  The commandment not to consume meat and alcohol is the topic of the unidentified Dunhuang text P21.  The eight commandments for lay Buddhists and the rewards for observing them are the subject of the Dīrghanakhaparivrājakaparipṛcchā-sūtra (T 584, P5).  In the manuscript, this text is followed by another text (P17; Yoshida, 1985a), a formula for receiving the eight commandments; it is similar to but not identical with a group of popular Dunhuang Chinese texts called Shoubaguanzhaiwen “Formula for receiving the Eight Commandments.”

The commandments of Mahāyāna Buddhism or bodhisattva-śikṣāpada are expounded in the Brahmajāla-sūtra (T 1484), which is also translated into Sogdian (Yoshida, 2008b).  One poṭhī folio discovered in Turfan comprises the end part of Foshuofanjiezuibaoqingzhong jing “Sūtra Spoken by Buddha on the Lightness and Heaviness of the Sin of Transgressing the Commandments” (T 1467) and the beginning of Foshuoshifeishi jing “Sūtra spoken by Buddha on time and not-time” (T 794; Kudara and Sundermann, 1987).  The Śuka-sūtra or Karmavibhaṅga (T 80) deals with acts and their effects in secular life, but what has survived from the Dunhuang Sogdian text breaks off right after the beginning of the story (see text 93 in Ragoza).  An unpublished Turfan fragment (So 14700[22]) also contains a passage from this same text.

Mention should also be made of vinayas and prātimokṣas in Sogdian.  Also known are small fragments of the Caturvargavinaya-prātimokṣa (T 1430; Yoshida, 2000) and three fragments showing a text similar to the 20th to 24th pāyattikas of the Dharmaguptaka-vinaya (T 1428; Yoshida, 2008a and 2015).

Texts concerning beneficent Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Sogdian lay Buddhists were attracted by a creed that included spells to procure material benefits, the pacification of angry ghosts, and other favors. Bhaiṣajyaguru (Medicine Buddha) and Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara were particularly popular.  Four different manuscripts of the Sogdian version of the Bhaiṣajyaguruvaiḍūryaprabharāja-sūtra have been found (Yoshida, 2009a, p. 293), which is quite exceptional among the Buddhist Sogdian texts, where each text is usually represented by only one copy.  The two manuscripts so far published (P6 and Kudara and Sundermann, 1992) are based on Xuanzang’s version (T 450).  The Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara was no less popular, and several Sogdian texts concerning him are known.  One of them calls itself as “Sūtra of the Glorification of 108 Names of Āryavalokiteśvara” (P8), which contains a long list of Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and other supernatural beings followed by short dhāraṇīs (magic spells in Sanskrit) and the merits one obtains by reciting them.  Its original has not been identified but another copy of the same text (P8bis; see also Sims-Williams, 1976, pp. 51-53) indicates its popularity among the Sogdians.  According to its colophon, the text was translated in Dunhuang on the commission of Chorakk of the Xan (Kang ) family, who wanted to share the merits with his family members both alive and dead.

Pelliot sogdien 7 is a complete text of the Amoghapāśahṛdaya-sūtra followed by its dhāraṇī.  The Sogdian text does not agree with any of the Chinese versions (Meisterernst and Durkin-Meisterernst, 2009).  Another form of Avalokiteśvara popular among Sogdians is Ruyilunguanyin called ckrβrt cyntʾmny (< Skt. cakravarti-cintāmaṇi) in Sogdian.  One text from Dunhuang (MacKenzie, 1976, pp. 12-17) is translated from the Padmacintāmaṇidhāraṇī-sūtra (T 1082).  Two passages cited from the same text are found in another Dunhuang text (P14, P15 and P30; three fragments from one manuscript; see Yoshida, 2009a, pp. 296), which contains a short passage from a ritual manual based on the same sūtra entitled the Guanzizaipusaruyilunniansongyigui (T 1085) “Avalokiteśvara-bodhisattva- cintācakra-adhyāyakalpa” by Amoghavajra.  A Brāhmī text of the dhāraṇī of yet another form of Avalokiteśvara named Nīlakaṇṭha accompanied by its phonetic transcription in Sogdian script is also encountered among the Dunhuang texts (La Vallée Poussin and Gauthiot; Lévi).

Major Mahāyāna sūtras. Sogdians were also keen on translating the major Mahāyāna sūtras that were popular in China and Central Asia.  Sūtras belonging to the Prajñāpāramitā literature are the Vajracchedikā-sūtra (T 236, twoss: STii, text 8; MacKenzie, 1976, pp. 3-5), Pañcaviṃśatisāhasrikāprajñā-pāramitā-sūtra (T 223, two mss: Yoshida, 1986; Kudara and Sundermann, 1988), and Prajñāpāramitāhṛdaya-sūtra (T 251; Reck, forthcoming a).  Two unidentified commentaries of the Chinese version of the Vajracchedikā-sūtra are found among the Turfan fragments, in which quotations from the sūtra have been identified (Yoshida, 2009b; Reck, 2013).  One is called “Treatise on the Wisdom of Vajra” and the other “Treatise on Vajra.”

The Sogdian translation of the Mahāyānamahāparinirvāṇa-sūtra (T 374) is represented by as many as four different manuscripts, since the sūtra was obviously very popular among the Sogdians: (i) STii, texts 10 and 10a (also Reck, forthcoming c); (ii) Utz (1976) and Sundermann (2008 and 2010); (iii) Yoshida, (1994a); and (iv) Yoshida (2013b, pp. 158-59). The Dabanniepanjinghoufen “Latter part of the Mahāparinirvāṇa-sūtra” (T 377) is also known (Yoshida, 1995).  Two independent recensions of the Vimalakīrtinirdeśa-sūtra (T 475) have reached us, one from Dunhuang (MacKenzie, 1976, pp. 18-31) and the other from Turfan (Reck, 2012).  Similarly, two versions of the Gaṇḍavyūha-sūtra have been identified, one from Dunhuang based on T 278 (P20; Yoshida, 2013b) and the other from Turfan on T 279 (Yoshida, 1986).  Two manuscripts of the Viśeṣacintibrahmaparipṛcchā-sūtra (T 586) have survived, one from Shorchuq near modern Karashahr (Yanqi) in Chnese Turkistan (Kudara and Sundermann 1991) and the other from Turfan (Kudara and Sundermann, 1998), but it is not known whether or not the two are independent recensions.  Among the fragments discovered in Turfan, one finds a poṭhī folio of the Sukhāvatīvyūha-sūtra (T 360; Yoshida, 2010), one scroll fragment of the Suvarṇaprabhāsa-sūtra (T 665; STii, text 7), and another scroll fragment of the Buddhabhāṣitamahābhiṣekarddhidhāraṇī-sūtra (T 1331; text 57 in Ragoza; Yoshida, 2009a, p. 302).  A long scroll of the Buddhānusmṛtisamādhisāgara-sūtra (T 643; MacKenzie, 1976, pp. 53-77), generally referred to as “Dhyāna-text,” comprises as many as 404 lines.

Texts based on Chinese apocryphal sutras. As mentioned above, the “Sūtra of the Causes and Effects of Actions” was translated from a Chinese apocryphal sūtra, as was the Dafangguanghuayanshiepinjing.  Similarly, renderings of some other apocryphas are known.  It is interesting to note that these Chinese sūtras were favorite texts of the monks of contemporary Chan or Meditation School and are often cited in the works produced by them: two manuscripts of the Fawangjing (T 2883) “Dharmarāja-sūtra,” one from Turfan (Yoshida, 1985b) and the other from Dunhuang (P23; Yoshida, 2009a, p. 316).  The so-called “Dhūta-text” has turned out to be a translation of the Foweixinwangpusashuotoutuo jing “The sūtra expounded by the Buddha for Bodhisattva Citta-rāja” (T 2886; MacKenzie, 1976, pp. 33-51; Yoshida, 1996).  A passage from the Jiujingdabeijing “The Sūtra on the Ultimate Great Mercy” (T 2880) is cited in P9 (Yoshida, 1984).  Still unpublished are fragments of the Lengqieshiziji (T 2837) “Records of the masters of the Laṅkāvatāra-sūtra,” which is one of the earliest texts of Chan Buddhism composed in the early 8th century (Yoshida, 2015, p. 173).  Pelliot sogdien 16 expounds upon śūnyatā or emptiness and seems to be related to the Chan Buddhism (Yoshida, 2009a, pp. 316-17).  This short Sogdian text follows a Sanskrit text of the Prajñāpāramitāhṛdaya-sūtra and the Sogdian version of the famous mantra (Bailey).  In view of the colophon written in Uighur the manuscript seems to be datable to the 10th century (Sims-Williams and Hamilton, p. 40).

Employment of Chinese texts. That Buddhist Sogdians read and copied not only Sogdian but also Chinese texts is known from a few Buddhist Chinese texts that are phonetically transcribed in Sogdian script.  One is a text in which a passage from the Mahāyānaśraddhotpāda-śāstra (T 1666) is cited (Yoshida, 2013b).  Each transcription is accompanied by a corresponding Chinese character.  The Chinese pronunciation suggests that it was produced in the first half of the 8th century.  There is also the transcription of the Jingangwuliwen “Five salutations to the Vajracchedikā-sūtra,” which was a popular Chinese text in the 10th century Dunhuang (Yoshida, 1994b). A Sogdian title of the Chinese text is written on the back of one Buddhist Chinese text (Yoshida, 2009a, p. 326).  Another Chinese text bears a Chinese colophon written by a Sogdian named Shi Lushan, who copied it and expressed a wish to see his travelling son as soon as possible (Yoshida, 2009a, pp. 290-91).   


Harold W. Bailey, “Irano-Indica IV,” BSOAS 13, 1951, pp. 920-38. 

Émile Benveniste, Textes sogdiennes, Paris, 1940. 

Idem, ed., Vessantara Jātaka, Paris, 1945. 

Guglielmo Canevascini, The Khotanese Saṅghāṭa-sūtra: A Critical Edition, Wiesbaden, 1993. 

Matteo Compareti, Traces of Buddhist Art, Sino-Platonic Papers 181, Philadelphia, 2008. 

Paul Demiéville, Hubert Durt, and  Anna K Seidel, compiled, Répertoire du canon bouddhique sino-japonais édition de Taishō: Fascicule annexe du Hōbōgirin, Tokyo, 1978. 

Desmond Durkin-Meisterernst, “The Literary Form of the Vessantarajātaka in Sogdian: With an Appendix by E. Provasi,” in Christian Reck, and Dieter Weber, eds., Literarische Stoffe und ihre Gestaltung in mitteliranischer Zeit, Wiesbaden, 2009, pp. 65-89. 

Jorinde Ebert, “Sogdische Bildfragmente der Araṇemi-Legende,” in Louis Bazin and Peter Zieme, eds., De Dunhuang à Istanbul: Hommage à J. R. Hamilton, Turnhout, 2001, pp. 25-41, with plates. 

Robert Gauthiot, “Le Sūtra du religieux ongles-longs,” Mélanges de la Société linguistique de Paris 17, 1911-12, pp. 357-67. 

Idem, “Une version sogdienne du Vessantara Jataka,” Journal Asiatique 19, 1912, pp. 163-93, 429-510. 

Olaf Hansen, “Die buddhistische und christliche Literatur,” Handbuch der Orientalistik 1, part 4, 2/1, 1968, pp. 77-99. 

Walter Bruno Henning, Sogdica, London, 1940. 

Oskar von Hinüber, “Die Bestimmung der Schulzugehörigkeit buddhistischer Texte nach sprachlichen Kriterien,” in Heinz Bechert, ed., Zur Schulzugehörigkeit von Werken der Hīnayāna-Literatur, 2 vols., Göttingen, 1985-87, I, pp. 57-75.

Kogi Kudara and Werner Sundermann, “Zwei Fragmente einer Sammelhandschrift buddhistischer Sūtras in soghdischer Sprache,” Altorientalische Forschungen 14, 1987, pp. 334-49. 

Idem, “Fragmente einer soghdischen Handschrift des Pañcaviṃśatisāhasrikāprajñāpāramitā-sūtra,” Altorientalische Forschungen 15, 1988, pp. 174-81. 

Idem, “Fragmente einer soghdischen Handschrift des Viśeṣacintibrahmaparipṛcchā-sūtra,” Altorientalische Forschungen 18, 1991, pp. 246-63. 

Idem, “Ein weiteres Fragment einer soghdischen Übersetzung des Bhaiṣajyaguruvaiḍūryaprabharājasūtra,Altorientalische Forschungen 19, 1992, pp. 350-58. 

Idem, “A Second Text of the Sogdian Viśeṣacintibrahma- paripṛcchā-sūtra,Studies on the Inner Asian Languages 13, 1998, pp. 111-28. 

Louis de La Vallée Poussin and Robert Gauthiot, “Fragment final de la Nilakantha-dharani,” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1912, pp. 629-45.  Sylvain Lévi, “Nilakanthadharani,” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1912, pp. 1063-66. 

Vladimir A. Livshits, “Sogdian Buddhist Fragment Kr IV/879 No. 426 from the Manuscript Collection of the St. Petersburg Branch of the Institute of Oriental Studies,” Manuscripta Orientalia 2/2, 1996, pp. 3-8. [Eng. tr. in idem, Sogdian Epigraphy of Central Asia and Semirech’e, London, 2015, pp. 255-60.] 

David Neil MacKenzie, The ‘Sūtra of the Causes and Effects of Actions’ in Sogdian, London and New York, 1970. 

Idem, The Buddhist Sogdian Texts of the British Library, Acta Iranica 10, Tehran and Liège, 1976; reviewed by Werner Sundermann, in BSOAS 40, 1977, pp. 634-35. 

Gunner B. Meisterernst and Desmond Durkin-Meisterernst, “Some Remarks on the Chinese and Sogdian ‘Sūtra of the Causes and Effects’,” in Dieter Weber, ed., Languages of Iran, Past and Present: Iranian Studies in Memoriam David Neil MacKenzie, Wiesbaden, 2005, pp. 109-27. 

Idem, “The Buddhist Sogdian P7 and Its Chinese Source,” in Werner Sundermann, Almut Hintze, and François de Blois, eds., Exegisti Monumenta. Studies in honour of N. Sims-Williams, Wiesbaden, 2009, pp. 313-24. 

Idem, “Buddhist Sogdian Texts in Relation to their Chinese Sources,” in Huang Jianming et al., eds., Proceedings of the 1st International Colloquium on Ancient Manuscripts and Literatures of the Minorities in China, Beijing, 2012, pp. 410-25.  F. W. K. Müller and Wolfgang Lentz, “Soghdische Texte II,” SPAW 1934, 503-607.

Elio Provasi, “Sanskrit and Chinese in Sogdian Garb,” in Mauro Maggi, Matteo De Chiera, and Giuliana Martini, eds., Buddhism among the Iranian Peoples of Central Asia, Vienna, 2013, pp. 191-308. 

A. N. Ragoza, Sogdiĭskie fragmenty tsentral’no-aziatskogo sobraniya instituta vostokovedeniya, Moscow, 1980.   

Christiane Reck, “The Fragments of Sogdian Versions of Vimalakīrtinirdeśa in the Berlin Turfan Collection,” in Jianming Huang, Hongyin Nie, and Lan Ma, eds., Proceedings of the 1st International Colloquium on Ancient Manuscripts and Literatures of the Minorities in China, Beijing, 2012, pp. 384-400. 

Idem, “The Commentaries on the Vajracchedikā among the Sogdian Buddhist Fragments of the Berlin Collection” in Mauro Maggi, Matteo De Chiera, and Giuliana Martini, eds., Buddhism among the Iranian Peoples of Central Asia, Vienna, 2013, pp. 181-90. 

Idem, “Form and Emptiness: A Fragment of a Sogdian Version of the Heart Sūtra?” in Elio Provasi and A. Rossi, eds., Studia Philologica in Memory of Professor Gherardo Gnoli (forthcoming a). 

Idem, “Work in Progress: The Catalogue of the Buddhist Sogdian Fragments of the Berlin Turfan Collection” (forthcoming b). 

Idem, “Zwei weitere kleine Bruchstücke des Mahāyāna-Mahāparinirvāṇa-sūtra in der Berliner Turfansammlung” (forthcoming c). 

Hans Reichelt, Die Soghdischen Handschriftenreste des Britischen Museums I: Die Buddhistischen Texte, Heidelbersg, 1928. 

Frederic Rosenberg, “Deux fragments sogdiens bouddhiques du Ts’ien-fo-tong de Touen-houang,” Izvestiya AN, 1918, pp. 817-42.

Nicholas Sims-Williams, “The Sogdian Fragments of the British Library,” Indo-Iranian Journal 18/1-2, 1976, pp. 43-82. 

Idem, “The Sogdian Fragments of Leningrad,” BSOAS 44, 1981, pp. 231-40.  Idem, “Indian Elements in Parthian and Sogdian,” in Klaus Röhrborn and Wolfgang Veenker, eds., Sprachen des Buddhismus in Zentralasien, Wiesbaden, 1983, pp. 132-41. 

Idem, “Sogdian,” in Rüdiger Schmidt, ed., Compendium Linguarum Iranicarum. Wiesbaden, 1989, pp. 173-192. 

Idem, “The Sogdian Manucsripts in Brāhmī Script,” in Annemarie von Gabain and Ronald E. Emmerick, eds., Turfan, Khotan und Dunhuang, Berlin, 1996, pp. 307-15. 

Nicholas Sims-Williams and James Russell Hamilton, Documents turco-sogdiens du IXe-Xe siècle de Touen-houang, London, 1990. 

Werner Sundermann, “Eine soghdische Version der Araṇemi-Legende,” in Louis Bazin and Peter Zieme, eds., De Dunhuang à Istanbul: Hommage à J. R. Hamilton, Turnhout, 2001, pp. 339-48. 

Idem, “A Fragment of the Buddhist Kāñcanasāra Legend in Sogdian and Its Manuscript,” in Antonio Panaino and Andrea Piras, eds., Proceedings of the 5th Conference of the Societas Iranologica Europæa, Milan, 2006, pp. 715-24. 

Idem, “Ananda Enters into the Buddha’s Service: Edition of A Sogdian Fragment from Mahāyāna Mahāparinirvāṇa-sūtra,” in Peter Zieme, ed., Aspects of Research into Central Asian Buddhism: In Memoriam Kogi Kudara, Silk Road Studies XVI, Turnhout, 2008, pp. 379-88. 

Idem, “A Sogdian Mahāyānamahāparinirvāṇasūtra Manuscript,” in Takashi Irisawa, ed., The Way of Buddha 2003: The 100th Anniversary of the Otani Mission and the 50th of the Research Society for Central Asian Culture, Osaka, 2010, pp. 75-85. 

Xavier Tremblay, “The Spread of Buddhism in Serindia: Buddhism among Iranians, Tocharians and Turks before the 13th Century,” in Ann Heirman and Stephen P. Bumbacher, eds., The Spread of Buddhism, Leiden and Boston, 2007, pp. 75-129.

David A. Utz, “An Unpublished Sogdian Version of the Mahāyāna Mahāparinirvāṇa-sūtra in the German Turfan Collection,” Ph.D. diss., Harvard University, 1976. 

Idem, A Survey of Buddhist Sogdian Studies, Tokyo, 1978. 

Thomas Watters, On Yuan Chwang’s Travels in India, 629-645 A.D., ed. Thomas W. Rhys and Stephen W. Bushell, 2 vols., London, 1904-05. 

Ilya Yakubovitch and Yutaka Yoshida, “The Sogdian Fragments of Samghāṭa sūtra in the German Turfan Collection,” in Dieter Weber, ed., Languages of Iran, Past and Present: Iranian Studies in Memoriam David Neil MacKenzie, Wiesbaden, 2005, pp. 239-68. 

Yutaka Yoshida, “Sogudugo-no Kukyōdaihikyō-ni tsuite,” Journal of Asian and African Studies 27, 1984, pp. 76-94. 

Idem, “On the Sogdian Formula for Receiving the Eight Commandments,” Orient 20, 1985a, pp. 157-72. 

Idem, “Otani Tankentai Shōrai Chūsei Irango Monjo Kanken,” Oriento 28/2, 1985b, pp. 50-65. 

Idem, “Notes on Buddhist Sogdian Fragments,” in Rüdiger Schmitt and Prods O. Skjærvø, eds., Studia Grammatica Iranica: Festschrift für Helmut Humbach, 1986, Munich, pp. 513-22. 

Idem, “Sogdogo-no Nehangyō-no Danpen,” Seinan Ajia Kenkyū 41, 1994a, pp. 57-62. 

Idem, “Sogudo Moji-de Hyōkisareta Kanjion,” Tōhō Gakuhō Kyōto 66, 1994b, pp. 271-380. 

Idem,  “Sogdogo-no Nehangyōgobun-no Danpen,” Ajia Gengo Ronsō 1, 1995, pp. 97-103. 

Idem, “Baizikelike Qianfodong Chutode Sutewen Fojing Canpian,” in: Turfan Antequarian Bureau, ed., Tulufan Xinchu Monijiao Wenxian Yanjiao, Beijing, 2000, pp. 283-95. 

Idem, “Die buddhistischen sogdischen Texte in der Berliner Turfansammlung und die Herkunft des buddhistischen sogdischen Wortes für Bodhisattva,” tr. Yukiyo Kasai and Christiane Reck, Acta Orientalia Hungarica 61/3, 2008a, pp. 325-58. 

Idem, “The Brahmājāla-sūtra in Sogdian,” in Peter Zieme, ed., Aspects of Research into Central Asian Buddhism: In Memoriam Kogi Kudara, Silk Road Studies XVI, Turnhout, 2008b, pp. 461-74. 

Idem, “Buddhist Literature in Sogdian,” in Ronald E. Emmerick and Maria Macuch, eds., The Literature of Pre-Islamic Iran, Companion Volume I to A History of Persian Literature, New York, 2009a, pp. 288-329. 

Idem, “Minor Moods in Sogdian,” in Kazuhiko Yoshida and Brent Harmon Vine, eds., East and West: Papers in Indo-European Studies, Bremen, 2009b, pp. 281-93.  Idem, “On the Sogdian Version of the Muryōjukyō 無量壽經 or Larger Sukhāvatīvyūha,” in Takashi Irisawa, ed., The Way of Buddha 2003: The 100th Anniversary of the Otani Mission and the 50th of the Research Society for Central Asian Culture, Osaka, 2010, pp. 85-94. 

Idem, “What has Happened to Suδāšn’s Legs?: Comparison of Sogdian, Uighur and Mongolian Versions of the Vessantara Jātaka,” in Sergei Tokhtasev and Pavel Lurje, eds., Commentationes Iranicae: Vladimiro f. Aaron Livschits nonagenario donum natalicum, St. Petersburg, 2013a, pp. 398-414. 

Idem, “Chinese Sogdian Buddhists and the Texts Produced by Them,” in Mauro Maggi, ed., Buddhism among the Iranian Peoples of Central Asia, Vienna, 2013b, pp. 155-79. 

Idem, “A Handlist of Buddhist Sogdian Texts,” Memoirs of the Faculty of Letters Kyoto University, no. 54, 2015, pp. 167-80.

(Yutaka Yoshida)

Originally Published: June 26, 2015

Last Updated: June 26, 2015

Cite this entry:

Yutaka Yoshida, "SOGDIAN LITERATURE i. Buddhist," Encyclopædia Iranicaonline edition, 2015, available at (accessed on 26 June 2015).