Overview for Buddhism among the Turks of Central Asia
This book by Margit Koves details the history of Turks in Central Asia from their first Empire on the Orkhon River from 546 to 658 AD, and the subsequent Uigur States in Kocho, Bisbalyq, East Turkestan and Kansu. It describes the origin and development of the Uigur language, and the formation of written Uigur literature from the oral tradition. The main thrust of the work is the place of the Golden Light Sutra (Suvarna-prabhasa-sutra) in Uigur literature, its rich source of dharanis which are of great relevance for linguistics and the interrelations of different versions in Sanskrit, Tibetan and Chinese. An account of explorations in Sinchiang in the third chapter surveys the remnants of civilizations of the Central Asian peoples. The detailed analysis of 35 dharanis in Uigur-Turkish, Sanskrit, Tibetan and Chinese transcriptions is invaluable for a comparative study of phonetics, literary transmission techniques, and a better comprehension of the mantras and their use in meditational exercises. The dharanis represent the earliest stratum of tantric praxis and thought, and Tibetan exegesis rightly considers the Golden Light Sutra to belong to the Tantras.