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Buddhist Texts in Sanskrit - 20 credits (RT1320)

Module Tutor: Professor Max Deeg

Sanskrit is the major language of medieval Indian Buddhism. This module will provide the student with the skills necessary to read various genres of Buddhist Sanskrit texts and thus to get access to the rich sources of South-Asian Buddhism. The course looks at Buddhist texts in standard or almost standard Sanskrit. At the same time it will give the student information about basic texts and concepts of Buddhism in general and of Mahāyāna Buddhism in particular.

Credits: 20

Availability of module: Alternate years

Prerequisites: RT1107 / RT1202

Necessary for: Religious Studies


a) Provide an introduction to the form, style and content of Buddhist Sanskrit texts in the original language of Sanskrit.
b) Familiarise students with some of the technical vocabulary used in Buddhist  Sanskrit texts.
c) Enable students to translate passages from the texts or text studied with the aid of a parallel translation.
d) Enable students to interpret the content and context of the textual material studied after having done the translation, and to provide reasons for the translation of specific terms.

Learning outcomes

a) Make an accurate and critical analysis of the parallel translations of previously prepared passages from Sanskrit texts, with reference to the original
b) Deal with the range of grammatical forms, syntax, and technical vocabulary used in the original text,
c) Analyse and comment on the content with an understanding of its significance for the wider history and development of Buddhism in India (and beyond).

Teaching methods

Text reading


Exam at the end of the academic year

Suggested preparatory reading

Repeat Sanskrit script and grammar

Primary sources

Will be distributed during the course.