Onderstaande tekst is niet 100% betrouwbaar

chapters they are so excessively clumsy and mechanically put together that involuntarily we are led to the assumption of their having been made by persons to vvhom the old dialect was no longer familiar. Thestanzas, e. g. in chapters xi and xiv, are abominable in form, and unusually silly; those in chap. xxiv are a pattern of mechanical verse-making, and give the impression as if they were intended rather to stultify than to edify the credulous reader. Now it is a curious fact that in a Chinese preface to the translation of our Sütra byJnanagupta and Dharmagupta, A. D. 601, 1 we meet with the following notice: «The omission of the Gathas in No. 134, chaps. 12 and 25 -, have since been filled in by some wise men, whose example I wish to follow.» 15

Here we have a direct proof that the Gathas of some chapters have been added in later times. Had we similar notices concerning all the chapters in which the Gathas are of a comparatively modern date, and could we prove that the prose of such chapters belongs to a later period, then the supposition of the ancient text of the Saddharma-pundarïka having been in the main a metrical one would seem to lose in strength. For, reasoningby analogy, one might say that just as some later chapters have notoriously been enriched with a metrical version in later times, so the ancient parts also will have gradually received their Gathas. Still the fact remains that those chapters in which the metrical portion is wanting clearly belong to a later period, so that it is questionable whether their case is entirely analogous to that of the more ancient part of the whole work. At present we are far from the ultimate end which critical research has to reach; we are not able to assign to each part of our Sütra its proper place in the development of Buddhist literature. We may feel that compositions from different times have been collected into a not very harmonious whole; we may even be able to prove that some passages are as decidedly ancient as others are modern, but any attempt to analyse the compound and lay bare its component parts would seem to be premature. Under these circumstances the inquiry after the date of the work resolves itself into the question at what time the book received its present shape.

There exist, as it is well known, various Chinese translations of the Saddharma-pundarïka, or parts of it, the dates of which are well ascertained.

1 Catalogue of the Tripi^aka (Oxford, 1883), by Bunyiu Narijio; Sütra Pi^aka, co!. 45.

2 In the English translation chapters xi and xxiv.

5 Another notice in the above mentioned Catalogue, col. 44, runs thus: «The portion of prose» (of chap. xxiv) «was translated by Kumarajïva, of the latter Tshin dvnasty, a. d. 384—417; and that of Gathas by Jnanagupta, of the Northern Cheu dynasty, a. d. 557— 589.» So it seeins that the Gathas have been added, and, not unlikely, been composed, between 417 and 557 a. d.