Crowdfunding for Gandhari manuscripts

Mark Allon's picture

Dear H-Buddhism list members,


We have just launched a crowdfunding campaign for the study and digital publishing of two newly available 1st to 2nd century CE Gāndhārī scrolls. The first contains a portion of the first chapter of a Gāndhārī version of the Samādhirāja-sūtra, the Discourse on the King of Concentrations. The second contains a portion of a Gāndhārī version of the ninth chapter of the Pratyutpanna-buddha-saṃmukhāvasthita-samādhi-sūtra, the Discourse on the Concentration of Direct Encounter with the Buddhas of the Present Time. Both are, by centuries, our earliest witnesses of these important Mahāyāna texts and shed new light on the rise of the Mahāyāna and its literary traditions.


For further information on these texts, our project and the donation platform, see


If enough people donated even a modest amount, our crowdfunding initiative will easily reach its goal. The University of Sydney handles all transactions and receipts for your donation. For Australian donors, gifts before the 30th of June are tax deductible for this financial year.


Kindest regards,


Dr. Mark Allon

Prof Paul Harrison

Prof Richard Salomon

Dr Andrew Skilton

Ian McCrabb

Stephanie Majcher  


Dr Mark Allon

Chair, Dept. of Indian Subcontinental Studies

The University of Sydney NSW 2006


Dear Mark

Just tried to chip in and the site would not recognize addresses out of Australia.

good luck with the project

Janet Gyatso

Dear Janet and Mark

It worked for me just now (from the UK).

Valerie J Roebuck

Dear Mark,

please allow me to request some additional information about these
manuscripts and your plans for them (as I also did over on the
Indology list):

1. How extensive are the preserved texts? Some other fragments
of the Pratyutpannabuddhasaṃmukhāvasthitasamādhisūtra scroll
were just published in JIABS

Harrison, Paul, Timothy Lenz and Richard Salomon. 2018.
“Fragments of a Gāndhārī Manuscript of the
Pratyutpannabuddhasaṃmukhāvasthitasamādhisūtra (Studies
in Gāndhārī Manuscripts 1).” Journal of the International
Association of Buddhist Studies 41: 117–143.

but those amount to a total of only eleven partial lines:

Are the new fragments more substantial? Concerning the
Samādhirājasūtra, only the left half of the scroll appears
to be preserved, i.e., half of each line will be missing.
How many lines are in that fragment?

2. Which concrete expenses do you plan to use the funding you
raise for – research assistants, travel, equipment? The
crowdfunding description only has a very general reference
to “research, consulting and resources.”

3. Images of these two scrolls in their rolled‐up state (like
the one you show on your page) were circulated fifteen years
ago by a London‐based art dealer looking for a buyer. Are
the scrolls with you in Sydney now? Did you buy them?

4. Do you intend your publications to be open‐access? The
Gandhāran Buddhist Texts series

has recently switched to an open‐access model, and even
though you do not mention it in your project description, I
hope you do consider eventual publication (after the
preliminary articles) in this series.

All best wishes,

Dear list members,
The initial response to our crowdfunding campaign to support the ongoing study and conservation of Gandhari manuscripts has been excellent.

We have received numerous requests for further information from interested scholars in both public and private communications, in response to which we have updated the crowdfunding page with further details on the state and status of the scrolls and how the funds will be spent ( Further updates will be given on the site as we move from funding into implementation of the project.

Thank you to all those who have supported this initiative so far and please pass on the crowdfunding request to your own networks.
Best wishes
Mark Allon
Paul Harrison
Richard Salomon

Dr Mark Allon
Chair, Dept. of Indian Subcontinental Studies
The University of Sydney