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HCBSS Research Projects

HCBSS currently supports three ongoing research projects.

Buddhist Manuscript Project

This project seeks to foster international collaboration and understanding of the different Buddhist manuscript finds worldwide through hosting workshops and conferences on a regular basis. One of the first goals of the project was to publish a state-of-the-field survey of recent research on Buddhist manuscripts, and to this end the HCBSS held a major conference at Stanford in June of 2009. Papers from this conference were eventually published in Paul Harrison & Jens-Uwe Hartmann, eds., From Birch Bark to Digital Data: Recent Advances in Buddhist Manuscript Research (Papers Presented at the Conference Indic Buddhist Manuscripts: The State of the Field, Stanford, June 15–19 2009) (Beiträge zur Kultur- und Geistesgeschichte Asiens, 80; Denkschriften der philosophisch-historischen Klasse, 460), (Vienna: Österreichische Academie der Wissenschaften, 2014).
Ongoing activities include continuing HCBSS support for the Buddhist Manuscripts in the Schøyen Collection project, with occasional hosting of editorial meetings and working sessions.
More recently, HCBSS has begun to support an international project devoted to a new collection of Gāndhārī manuscripts which are believed to date from the period 1st century BCE–2nd century CE, putting them amongst the oldest Indian manuscripts known. The project is led by Dr Mark Allon of the University of Sydney, Australia, and Prof. Richard Salomon of the University of Washington, Seattle. The collection contains various types of texts, including early discourses of the Buddha, among them a Gāndhārī version of the work known in Pāli as the Aṭṭhakavagga, considered to be one of the oldest Buddhist texts in existence. It also contains previously unknown Gāndhārī versions of Mahāyāna sūtras, such as the Samādhirājasūtra and the Pratyutpannabuddhasaṃmukhāvasthitasamādhisūtra, both currently being worked on by international teams of scholars, including HCBSS Co-Director PaulHarrison. Part of the research involves radiocarbon dating of the birchbark on which the texts are written in order to situate this material more securely historically, and the HCBSS assists with funding for this scientific testing. 
For more information, contact Prof. Paul Harrison, Ho Center for Buddhist Studies, Building 70, Room 71E, Main Quad, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305; E-mail

Mahāparinirvāṇa-sūtra Project

This project will provide a varied set of opportunities for scholars to explore the texts, teachings, and history, of the Mahāparinirvāṇa-sūtra. The first workshop of the project was held at Stanford during summer 2008. A second workshop took place at Munich in summer 2010.

For more information, e-mail

Sōtō Zen Text Project

The website for this project has been closed by the Soto Zen Text Project, as we revise our translations in preparation for the project’s forthcoming publications of the Denkō roku (2017) and Shōbōgenzō (2020).

Translations of the Shōbōgenzō previously appearing on this site can be found in the Soto Zen journal Dharma Eye, beginning with issue number 9 (October 2001). Available online at this site.

The SZTP translation of the Soto School Scriptures for Daily Services and Practice (Sōtōshu nikka gongyō seiten) is available online at this site.

For information on how to purchase the SZTP translation of the Standard Observances of the Soto Zen School (Sōtōshū gyōji kihan), contact the Soto Zen Buddhism International Center at:

Other inquiries about SZTP and its translations should be directed to:

Please do not direct inquiries to the Ho Center for Buddhist Studies at Stanford.