This fifth volume in the Gandharan Buddhist Texts series (GBT) presents two fragmentary manuscripts of the poem "Songs of Lake Anavatapta." Previously known from versions in Sanskrit, Pali, Tibetan, and Chinese, the two recently discovered Gandhari-language versions confirm the poem's popularity in the ancient Buddhist world.
The "Songs of Lake Anavatapta" consists of a series of narrations by the Buddha's foremost disciples (and finally by the Buddha himself) in which each reveals his own complex karmic history over many past lives and explains how, as a result of good deeds, he has come to be an enlightened disciple of the Buddha.
An important theme is the complexity of karma, whereby not only the enlightened beings but even the Buddha himself suffer the effects of remnants of bad karma from evil deeds long-ago.
For more information go to the Early Buddhist Manuscript Project web site at http://www.ebmp.org/
Richard Salomon is professor of Sanskrit in the Department of Asian Languages and Literature at the University of Washington and director of the University of Washington Early Buddhist Manuscripts Project. He is the author of Ancient Buddhist Scrolls from Gandhara and A Gandhari Version of the Rhinoceros Sutra.