Lothar Ledderose (雷德侯) & Sun Hua
The second volume in the series dedicated to the Buddhist stone sutras in China is the first volume with the sites in Sichuan Province. These monuments are all but unknown outside China. Characteristic for Sichuan are cave chapels, hewn out of red sandstone cliffs, which each can contain tens of thousands of characters. The volume presents the Grove of the Reclining Buddha (Wofoyuan) in Anyue County, where more than a hundred such caves have been identified. In spite of the magnificence of this extraordinary site, few people have ever visited the valley, and almost nothing has been published.
This volume contains maps and extensive photographs and concentrates, in particular, on two eight century cave chapels. Engraved in their walls are ca. 71.000 characters of the Lotus Sutra, the most treasured scripture in Buddhism. This text version is here recorded for the first time. The engravings are fully reproduced in high quality detailed photographs and in ink rubbings. The scholarly apparatus of the transcription notes variant characters in the text and in the calligraphy.
The research team, led by Lothar Ledderose, includes a group at the Heidelberger Akademie der Wissenschaften, and specialists from Peking University, as well as from the Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology at Chengdu. Stephen F. Teiser of Princeton contributes an essay with a wide ranging and contextual interpretation of the Lotus Sutra at the site. The volume is bilingual in Chinese and English and directed at a wide audience.