Richard Salomon: Early Buddhism in Ancient Gandhāra


In this episode of the Wisdom Podcast, Daniel speaks with Dr. Richard Salomon, Professor of Asian Languages and Literature at the University of Washington and a leading figure in the field of early Buddhist studies. You’ll hear Richard discuss his groundbreaking scholarship in the field of ancient Gāndhārī literature. His new book, The Buddhist Literature of Ancient Gandhāra, is a fascinating look at the oldest Buddhist manuscripts ever to be uncovered. You’ll learn the historical and religious context of these 2000-year-old documents, which were found in modern-day Pakistan, and what it was like for Richard to first encounter them in person. Richard also talks about the ancient language of Gāndhārī, how it was decoded, and its particular significance in the formation of standardized Buddhist canons. Richard’s important work sheds new light on how we understand early Indian Buddhist traditions and their transmission into central and East Asia.

Extra Content

Image: A Gandhāran birchbark manuscript unrolled, “Parable of the Log.” From Richard Salomon’s book “The Buddhist Literature of Ancient Gandhara”

About the Interviewee

Dr. Richard G. Salomon of the University of Washington is a leading figure in the field of early Buddhist studies. He specializes in the study of Sanskrit and Prakrit inscriptions and Gāndhārī manuscripts, and has published numerous articles on these and related subjects. He directs the Early Buddhist Manuscripts Project and is general editor of the Gandhāran Buddhist Texts series published by the University of Washington Press. He lives in Seattle, Washington. Discover the fascinating history of a long-hidden Buddhist culture at a historic crossroads.


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