Buddhas Secret Library
Saturday, September 8, 2012
11:00 AM–11:00 AM Free
A program to launch the book Journeys on the Silk Road: A Desert Explorer, Buddha’s Secret Library, and the Unearthing of the World’s Oldest Printed Book, by Joyce Morgan and Conrad Walters
When a Chinese monk broke into a hidden cave in 1900, he uncovered one of the world’s great literary secrets: a time capsule from the ancient Silk Road. Inside, scrolls were piled from floor to ceiling, undisturbed for a thousand years. The gem within was the Diamond Sutra of AD 868. This key Buddhist teaching, made 500 years before Gutenberg inked his press, is the world’s oldest printed book. Joyce Morgan and Conrad Walters tell the remarkable story of how Aurel Stein, a Hungarian-born scholar and archaeologist crossed thousands of desolate miles (with his fox terrier Dash) to secure the Diamond Sutra for the British Library. The scroll’s journey—by camel through arid desert, by boat to London’s curious scholars, by train to evade the bombs of World War II—merges an explorer’s adventures, political intrigue, and continued controversy.
Author Joyce Morgan joined by Rubin Museum’s Senior Curator Christian Luczanits for a discussion of the implications of opening of the ‘Caves of a Thousand Buddhas’ at Mogao near Dunhuang, and what the future bodes for this historic site.