【Bright Books】

Recently, my book "Treasures of Dunhuang covered in dust for thousands of years" was published by Gansu Education Publishing House.

This is a "little book" aimed at popularizing the general situation, content and value of "Dunhuang Posthumous Letters" to readers.

However, although the volume is small, it is also the result of many years of research.

From the perspective of popularizing traditional culture, there seems to be a reason for this.

So I was invited to write an article and write my own experience.

Dunhuang suicide note, not genuine "suicide note"

  The "Dunhuang Treasures" in the title of the book refers to the Dunhuang posthumous writings.

This suicide note does not refer to the letters left by the deceased before his death, but to the scriptures and documents left by the ancient ancestors of Dunhuang.

  On June 22, 1900 (the 26th day of the fifth lunar month), Taoist priest Wang Yuanlu accidentally discovered a complex cave (now numbered Cave 17) on the north wall of the 16th cave of the Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang. It is full of scriptures and documents from the Sixteen Kingdoms to the Northern Song Dynasty.

This batch of ancient documents with a total of more than 70,000 pieces was called "Dunhuang Posthumous Letters" by later generations.

  Since the Mogao Grottoes were excavated on the cliffs of Mingsha Mountain, the caves where the Dunhuang suicide note was preserved are also called Dunhuang Stone Chambers or Stone Chambers.

Because the main body of the Dunhuang posthumous script is the handwritten Buddhist scriptures, the early people called the Dunhuang posthumous script "stone room writing scriptures", and the cave where the Dunhuang posthumous script was kept was called the "Book Collection Cave".

In addition, Dunhuang posthumous writings are also known as "Dunhuang Documents", "Dunhuang Manuscripts", "Dunhuang Documents", "Dunhuang Scrolls" and so on.

  "Thousands of years covered in dust" is a literary expression, and the nature, time and reasons for the closure of the Dunhuang Sutra Cave are indeed unsolved mysteries in the academic world, and it is inevitable that people will have various imaginations.

Since no relevant records of the parties or descendants have been found, various theories about the nature of the Dunhuang Sutra Cave, the time of closure and the reasons for it have so far been speculations or hypotheses.

The Dunhuang posthumous writings unearthed from the Dunhuang Sutra Cave are currently known, and the latest date was written in AD 1002 (the fifth year of Song Xianping). Therefore, people speculate that the closing time of the Dunhuang Sutra Cave should be in the early 11th century.

From the beginning of the 11th century to 1900, the Dunhuang posthumous writings were buried in the cave for more than 900 years, nearly 1,000 years.

  In 1900, my country was at the end of the Qing Dynasty.

Western powers openly dispatched the Eight-Power Allied Forces to invade our country, and the national crisis of the Chinese nation's subjugation and genocide is becoming more and more serious.

In addition, most of the local officials in Gansu and Dunhuang were ignorant and ignorant, so this treasure was not properly protected. It was looted by "exploration" teams from Britain, France, Japan, Russia and other countries successively, causing the Dunhuang suicide note to be scattered around the world. everywhere.

  At present, there are more than 70,000 Dunhuang posthumous writings scattered in more than 80 museums, libraries, cultural institutions and some private hands in 9 countries in Europe, Asia and America.

Among them, the National Library of China (collecting No. 16578), the National Library of the United Kingdom (collecting about 17,000), the National Library of France (collecting about 7,000) and the Institute of Oriental Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences (collecting about 17,700) are the four major Major collectors.

The dispersal of Dunhuang posthumous writings is a major loss to my country's modern academic culture, and it has become a sad history of my country's modern academics. It is hard to let go!

"Shiroom writing scriptures", including documents of various ethnic groups

  Most of the Dunhuang posthumous texts are handwritten texts, and there are also a small number of engraved and printed texts and rubbings.

  In ancient times, before the invention and popularity of printing, documents and classics existed in the form of manuscripts for a long time.

During the Warring States Period and Qin and Han Dynasties, it was mainly written on bamboo slips and wooden slips.

In the Eastern Han Dynasty, books written on paper appeared, and in the Jin Dynasty, paper books completely replaced bamboo and wood slips and silk books.

After the Song Dynasty, printing became popular, and printed texts gradually became the main carrier of books and knowledge dissemination, replacing the status of handwritten texts.

Therefore, in terms of the method and carrier of text transmission, roughly from the Jin Dynasty to the Song Dynasty, it was the era of handwritten paper texts as the main body, and after the Song Dynasty to the present is the era of printed texts.

  Dunhuang posthumous writings lived in the era when paper handwritten texts were popular, so most of them were handwritten texts.

After the Song Dynasty, the main carrier of books and knowledge dissemination was printed matter, but the woodblock printing popular in the Song Dynasty had been invented at least in the Tang Dynasty.

Unfortunately, most of the early woodblock prints have not survived.

Fortunately, dozens of engraved prints have been preserved in the Dunhuang suicide note, making them some of the earliest extant prints in the world.

Among them, the most famous "Diamond Sutra in the ninth year of Tang Xiantong (AD 868)" is the earliest surviving engraving and printed matter marked with the age in the world, and it is now collected in the National Library of England.

  The rubbing technique appeared earlier, but the early rubbings also failed to survive.

And several Tang stele rubbings preserved in Dunhuang posthumous writings have become the earliest known rubbings in the world.

These include the "Hot Spring Inscription" by Emperor Taizong of the Tang Dynasty, Li Yong's "Inscription on the Pagoda of Zen Master Yong of Huadu Temple" and the rubbings of the "Diamond Sutra" written by Liu Gongquan.

  敦煌遗书的装帧形态多样,几乎包括了古书的各种装帧形式,但绝大多数是卷轴装。卷轴装也称卷子装,是纸质书籍和文书出现后流行时间很长、普及地域很广的一种装帧形式。其做法是先将纸张按需要粘成长卷,再用圆形木棍粘结在纸的一端,阅时摊平,阅后将其卷成一卷轴,这就是卷轴装的书籍或文书。卷轴装之外,还有梵夹装。梵夹装是从印度传来。因为经文是梵文,上下有两块夹板,所以被称为“梵夹装”。敦煌遗书中的“梵夹装”,是仿制的或者有所改变的梵夹装。第一个改变是经文不再是写在贝叶上,而是写在纸上;第二个改变是经文多是用中文书写。此外,敦煌遗书中还保存了“经折装”“旋风装”“蝴蝶装”“包背装”“线装”等装帧样式。

  敦煌遗书的文字以汉文为主,但也保存了不少古代胡人使用的胡语文献。

  在这类文献中,以吐蕃文最多。吐蕃文又称古藏文,是唐五代时期吐蕃人使用的文字。由于吐蕃人曾在公元786年至公元848年管辖敦煌,其间曾在敦煌推行吐蕃制度和吐蕃语言文字,所以敦煌藏经洞中也保存了一大批吐蕃文文献,约8000多件。这批文献对研究吐蕃史、敦煌史以及当时西北地区的民族变动都具有重要价值。

  敦煌遗书中的第二种胡语文献是回鹘文。回鹘文是古代回鹘人使用的文字,又称回纥文。在唐宋时期,回鹘人曾在敦煌历史上起过重要作用。自唐晚期以后,敦煌的东边甘州、肃州和西边的西州都曾有回鹘人建立的政权,在敦煌地区也有回鹘居民。由于以上原因,在敦煌藏经洞中,也保存了50多件回鹘文文书。这些文书的内容包括书信、账目和佛教文献,对研究回鹘的历史和文化具有重要价值。

  此外,敦煌遗书中还保存了少量的于阗文、粟特文和梵文,都对研究古代的民族关系和中外交往具有重要价值。

  The earliest known Dunhuang suicide note is the "Vimalakirti Sutra" written by King Xianggao of Houliang in 393 AD (the fifth year of Linjia of Houliang).

The latest date is the inscription of Cao Zongshou, King of Dunhuang in AD 1002 (the fifth year of Song Xianping) mentioned above. This document is collected in the Institute of Oriental Literature of the Russian Federal Academy of Sciences in St. Petersburg.

From AD 393 to AD 1002, the time span was more than 600 years. Most of the Dunhuang posthumous writings were written or copied in the late Tang Dynasty and the early Song Dynasty.

suicide note research, rewriting medieval history

  In terms of content, Dunhuang posthumous writings can be said to be all-encompassing, but because they are collected by Buddhist monasteries, Buddhist books are the most collected, accounting for about 90%.

  There are many Buddhist texts in Dunhuang that are handed down Buddhist sutras collected in the Tripitaka of the past dynasties, such as the "Great Prajna Paramita Sutra", "Vajra Prajna Paramita Sutra", "Wonderful Dharma Lotus Sutra", "Golden Brightness Most Victorious King Sutra" and "Vimalakirti Sutra". ""The Mahayana Infinite Life Sutra" and so on.

Although the above-mentioned scriptures have been handed down, they still have important collation value and cultural relic value due to the early copying of Dunhuang posthumous writings.

  The Dunhuang suicide note also preserves many Buddhist classics that are not found in the handed down Tripitaka.

These "Yi Jing" and Buddhist classics that have not entered Tibet have higher literature value and research value.

The most important of which is the preservation of a number of ancient and sparse scriptures, such as the Diamond Sutra, the Lotus Sutra and the Vimalakirti Sutra, there are more than 130 kinds of commentaries and more than 530 pieces.

These sutras are Chinese Buddhists' understanding of Buddhism, so they can truly and concretely reflect the characteristics of ancient Chinese Buddhism.

  Religious literature other than Buddhist literature, there are Taoist classics, Nestorian (Christian) classics and Manichean classics.

The most striking thing in the Taoist literature is the rediscovery of Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching Xiang Er Note. Although this piece is a fragment, it preserves the scriptures and annotations from chapters 3 to 37 of the book, which is the history of Taoism. The research provides new information and reveals another way of edifying the Taoist scriptures.

Nestorian documents such as "Zunjing", "Daqin Nestorian Sanwei Mengduzan", "Daqin Nestorian Xuanyuan Classic" and other Nestorian documents and "Manichuan Buddhist Dharma and Ritual", "Xia Xian Zan" and "Prove the Past Cause and Effect Sutra" and other Manichean documents The documents provide important information for the study of the spread of ancient Nestorianism and Manichaeism.

  Documents other than religious documents, although the total amount is not large, only about 10%, but the content is very rich, involving ancient history, geography, society, ethnicity, language, literature, art, music, dance, astronomy, calendar, mathematics, medicine , sports, ancient books and many other aspects, many of which are not seen in the official history of first-hand information.

  历史方面,敦煌遗书中保存了制书、敕书、告身等公文书,律、令、格、式等法律文书,户籍、差科簿等赋役文书和买卖、借贷、雇佣、租佃等契约文书。这些资料对于了解中国古代的政治和经济情况都具有极为重要的价值。如“唐景云二年(公元711)赐沙州刺史能昌仁敕”,是唐代“论事敕书”的原本,存文字8行,文书上钤有“中书省之印”,中间顶天立地的大“敕”格外引人注目,这件文书已经成了敦煌文书的标志性符号。依据此件,参考其他文献,可以大致了解“论事敕书”从起草到下发的复杂过程。又如“唐开元水部式”,详细规定了唐朝对水渠、桥梁的管理制度和各级官府的相关职责,不仅为了解唐代的水利管理制度提供了珍贵资料,还可据之纠正《唐六典》《新唐书》《旧唐书》相关记载的错误。同时,也使我们对唐“式”的内容和形式有了具体的了解,为从唐代文献中搜集其他唐式条文提供了文本样板。

  敦煌遗书中保存的社会史资料主要有“氏族谱”“书仪”“社邑文书”和“寺院文书”。“氏族谱”是记录古代世家大姓的资料;书仪是古人写信的程式和范文,也包括不少对当时礼仪和习俗的规定;“社邑文书”是古代民间结社的具体资料;“寺院文书”则记录了唐五代宋初敦煌僧团生活及其与社会的联系等诸多方面。这些资料具体地反映了古代生活的真实情况。如关于古代寺院和僧人的生活,依据传世佛教经律和相关记载,古代寺院应是一个基本生活单位,僧尼过的是全部居住在寺院之内并由寺院供食的集体生活。但敦煌寺院文书却为我们展示了另一幅寺院和僧尼生活的图景。一是一部分僧尼并不住在寺内,而是住在寺外的俗家。二是住在寺内的僧尼也是过着单吃单住的个体生活。

  敦煌遗书中保存的文学作品,以俗文学资料最引人注目,包括讲经文、因缘、变文、话本、词文、故事赋、诗话等。对这些俗文学作品的研究可以说在很大程度上改写了中国古代的文学史。如对敦煌变文、讲经文等文学资料的研究,就解决了鼓子词、诸宫调、词话、宝卷等后代流行的民间讲唱文学的来源问题。

  综上,不论从数量、时间跨度还是从文化内涵来看,敦煌遗书的发现都可以说是20世纪我国最重要的文化发现。即使在世界范围内,也是独一无二的文化宝藏。期待有更多的学者,加入这一宝藏的研究行列中来。

  (作者:郝春文,系首都师范大学燕京人文讲席教授、中国敦煌吐鲁番学会名誉会长)

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