Research Project


A Study of the Relationship between Buddhism and the Dunhuáng Prognostication Texts

Gang Yang

Among the manuscripts found in Cave 17 of the Dunhuáng Mògao caves there are over three hundred which deal with prognostication practices. There is a large variety of divination methods represented in this corpus. In addition, there is a wide range of topics which are addressed in the Dunhuáng divination texts, ranging from topics of paramount importance such as wars and revolts, natural disasters, political events and decision-making, to more individual and family related issues such as questions related to one’s profession, marriage, childbirth, health, and the organization of one’s daily life. These texts also constitute a precious source for studying the local context of the Northwestern region in terms of prognostication and divination practices, and how they were integrated in the daily lives of the monastic and lay population.In my research project I will approach the research question from the following angles:(1) A typology and systematization of “Buddhist elements” in the Dunhuáng divination corpus (2) Copying activities by monastics in Dunhuáng (3) Textual programs and conjoined divination texts.

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