Mahabuddhaguna and other Buddhist texts


An 18th-century manuscript from Thailand, outlining the virtues of the Buddha.

The manuscript

The manuscript from central Thailand was made from mulberry paper in folding book format. It is thought to have been commissioned as a funeral or commemorative book for a deceased person as an act of merit. It contains short extracts from the Vinaya Pitaka and the Abhidhamma Pitaka on the first fourteen folios. The main text, however, is the Mahābuddhagunā, which describes the ten great virtues of the Buddha. The explanations on the virtues of the Buddha in this text are closely related to descriptions found in the scholar Buddhaghosa’s treatise on the Path of Purification, known as Visuddhimagga.

What do the illustrations depict?

The Buddha’s spiritual path can be represented by his 547 previous lives, described in the Buddha’s Birth Tales called Jatakas. The Last Ten Birth Tales are of particular importance in Thailand and wider mainland Southeast Asia as they illustrate ten great perfections or virtues (paramita) of a Buddha or Buddha-to-be in the Theravāda tradition. Twenty paired paintings illustrate the Last Ten Birth Tales in this manuscript.

See more of this manuscript at our Digitised Manuscripts website.

Full title:
Mahābuddhagunā – The qualities of the Buddha, together with extracts from the Tipitaka
Paper folding book / Manuscript
Usage terms
Public Domain
Held by
British Library
Or 14068

Full catalogue details

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