Lurching Towards a Canon: Mahāyāna Sūtras in Khotanese Garb


  • Ruixuan Chen



authority, canon, canonization, Central Asia, Mahāyāna Buddhism, tradent


The concept of canon centers around authority. Assertions about canonicity both reflect and reshape the structure and the source of authority. In a Buddhist context, processes of canonization are highly fluid and complex, shedding light on the socio-religious landscapes of different Buddhist cultures. The present essay explores the complexities of canonization by focusing on a specific Buddhist culture on the ancient Silk Routes, where Mahāyāna sūtras, a collection of Buddhist literature of disputed authenticity in India, were accepted as scriptural and canonized in a remarkable manner. Through the lens of an indigenous Buddhist poem, the author argues that the reception and canonization of Mahāyāna sūtras give illuminating clues about a pivotal transition in the history of this Buddhist kingdom named Khotan, where both the removal and the bestowal of authority took place.




How to Cite

Chen, R. (2021). Lurching Towards a Canon: Mahāyāna Sūtras in Khotanese Garb. Entangled Religions, 11(6).