• The Zotero library underlying the CEToM bibliography is now public and can be viewed here.
  • We would like to thank Prof. Dr. Thomas Oberlies and Pratik Rumde from the Seminar für Indologie und Tibetologie of the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen for providing our project with scans of the nachlass of Wilhelm Siegling. The nachlass includes letters to and from Siegling throughout his career that are of great importance to the history of the field of Tocharian studies. This material will be published on CEToM, accompanied by transcriptions of the letters, in the course of 2024.


Work in progress

THT 1120

Known as:THT 1120; KVāc 29
Cite this page as:Hannes A. Fellner; Theresa Illés. "THT 1120". In A Comprehensive Edition of Tocharian Manuscripts (CEToM). Created and maintained by Melanie Malzahn, Martin Braun, Hannes A. Fellner, and Bernhard Koller. (accessed 11 Dec. 2023).


Editor:Hannes A. Fellner; Theresa Illés


Main find spot:Unknown
Collection:Berlin Turfan Collection (BBAW)

Language and Script

Linguistic stage:classical

Text contents

Title of the work:Karmavācanā
Text genre:Literary
Text subgenre:Vinaya


Manuscript:THT 1102-1125
Leaf number:(20-)9
Preceding fragment:THT 1119
Following fragment:THT 1121
Material: ink on wood tablet
Size (h × w):5.6 × 29 cm
Number of lines:5


Images from by courtesy of the International Dunhuang Project Berlin, the Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften, and the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin – Orientabteilung.


(continues from THT 1119)

a1– [ṃ] sā rmeṃ tsa lpā [ṣ]· /// /// [ka] rp· ye a kri tā ññe • mā ṣe ka tse /// ///
a2l[l]e • na no na no sru k· [ll]· /// /// [a] n· wa ce mpa ṣe śma lyñe • ri tau wa a kā /// ///
a3ltso rsa ka pi śa ntse /// /// [k]·e ka ste tu sa kre ñco no lmi saṃ sā rmeṃ tsa lpā /// ///
a4[s]e wa sā tpa ta ntse pa r[w]e – /// /// ·[se] ste ce ya rpo te meṃ mā ka ma [s]·e [tra] ·[i] /// ///
a5rm[k]e śne saṃ snai ya¯ ¯rm snai [k]e· /// /// [k]·· tā keṃ ṣi ko n[t]a – – ·i a kā ś[w]a tpo k[ai] – – – –
b1s· [m]u dra pa lta kwa sa su /// [l]y· y· [t]· [k]· – – ·m· – – ·[t]s· – – – – –
b2– – [a] ro [n]ne mā toṃ śtwā – /// /// śtw· r· wä nta rwa¯ ¯ts ya· mk· śm· [n]· [sa]ṃ ·ai sa c[w]i wa – ṃ – – – –
b3[p]· – rpo tse ya rmke śmā /// /// lle • kute meṃ te ntse ka llau ste to na¯ ¯k /// ///
b4meṃ ka llau ste • ce o /// /// rwa meṃ ce yä kne sa ka llā lle • ko spo /// ///
b5nt· pi ścma la ṣṣi ṣe ·e /// /// ·[ā] ·[e] [k]tsa ya rpo ka llā lle ko spo saṃ /// ///

(continues on THT 1121)


(continues from THT 1119)

a1 n1n2n3n4 (sa)ṃsārmeṃ tsälpāṣ· /// /// kärp(i)ye akritāññe • mā ṣekatse /// /// (nano) (nano) (cme)-
a2 -llen4n5n6n7nano nano sruk(a)ll(e) (•) (larenmeṃ) (tsrelle) an(ai)wace«ṃ»mpa ṣe śmalyñeritauwa akā(lkäntats) (mā) (källālyñe) (au)-
a3 -ltsorsan7n8n9n10 ka piś antse(ṣṣe) (perpette) (la)k(l)e ka ste tusa kreñc onolmi saṃsārmeṃ tsälpā(lyñe) /// ///
a4 n11n12n13n14 se wasātpatäntse pärwe(ṣṣe) /// /// – se ste ce yarpo temeṃ māka mäs(k)eträ ·i… /// /// (ya)-
a5 -rmn15n16n17 keś nesäṃ snai yarm snai ke(ś) /// /// k·· keṃ ṣikonta(sa) – ·i akāś wat pokai(nesa) – –
b1 n18n19n20 s(a)mudrä pältakwasa su(mätsi) /// ly· y· t·k· – – ·m· – – ·ts· – – – – –
b2 n21n22 – – aronne mā toṃ śtwā(ra) /// /// śtw(ā)r(a) wäntarwats ya(r)m k(e)ś m(ā) n(e)säṃ (t)aisa cwi wa(sa)ṃ(tpātäṣṣe)
b3 n23n24n25 p(i) (yä)rpotse yarm keś mā /// /// (källā)llekutemeṃ tentse kallau ste tonak /// /// (wäntarwa)-
b4 -meṃn26 kallau ste • ce o(nolmeṃtsana) /// /// (wänta)rwameṃ ce yäknesa källāllekos po /// ///
b5 n27n28 nt· piś-cmalaṣṣi ṣe(m)e /// /// ·ā·ektsa yarpo källālle kos po saṃ(sārne) /// ///

(continues on THT 1121)


(continues from THT 1119)

a1 (the seed) of release from the saṃsāra? (Because the saṃsāra is) mean, sinful(?) [and] inconstant. (Being reborn again and again),
a2 dying again and again, (being separated from loved ones), meeting with not-loved-ones [and] (not reaching) the wishes one has:
a3 in short, (the bundle of the) five constituents is no more than suffering. Therefore the good beings (sow the seed of) release from the saṃsāra.
a4 This (for you is) the first (effect) of ordination. [2.] What is [this]: The merit [from ordination] is more than itself [i.e. ordination]? [Answer:] (This merit) is (without)
a5 measure [and] number. Without measure [and] number (are the four elements. Just as it is not possible to measure out) this earth (with) steps or (to measure out) the airspace (with) one’s arms outstretched,
b1 (to) trick(le) the ocean in droplets (or the sun(?)) .... (Whatever things)
b2 may stop for him, these four (elements will not stop for him(?) Just as these) four elements have neither measure nor number, just so this merit of ord(ination) [has]
b3 neither measure nor number [and] can be (obtained by you(?)). Whence is the obtainment of this? From just these (elements, earth,and so on,)
b4 is obtainment, in so far as it [=merit] can be obtained in this way from the (organic and inorganic elements). How much (in(?)) the whole (saṃsāra(?)) ....
b5 the beings of the five births ...., (so much(?)) merit can be obtained in ... (ways(?)). How much (in(?)) the whole saṃ(sāra(?)) ...

(continues on THT 1121)


Philological commentary

The supplementation and commentaries follows Schmidt 1986b: 28-29, 61, 141-142.
TB (nano nano cme)lle – Skt. jātiḥ
TB nano nano srukall(e) – Skt. maranam
TB larenmeṃ tsrelle – Skt. priyaviprayogaḥ
TB an(ai)wace(ṃ)mpa ṣe śmalyñe – Skt. apriyasaṃprayogaḥ
TB ritauwa akā(lkäntats mā-källālyñe) – Skt. yad apīcchan paryeṣamāṇo na labhate
TB (au)ltsorsa ka piś-antse(ṣṣe perpette la)k(l)e ka ste – Skt. saṃkṣiptena pañcopādānaskandhā duḥkham
n3 The gap contains about 9-10 akṣaras, and to the end of the line about 7-8 are missing.
n4 These lines contain a (shortened) Tocharian version of the well-known definition of the noble truth “suffering”. In comparison to the Skt. version, as it can be found in CPS, varga 14.5, for instance, the following correspondences ensue:
n7 The gap contains about 5 akṣaras, and to the end of the line about 7-8 are missing.
n10 The gap contains about 5 akṣaras, and to the end of the line about 7 are missing.
n14 The gap contains about 5 akṣaras, and to the end of the line about 6 are missing. The particular shape of the i-hook in mäsketrä ·i is caused by the ligature lyñe (supplementation certain) right above it. Cf. a 2 ritauwa.
n17 The gap contains about 8 akṣaras.
n20 The gap contains about 11 akṣaras.
n22 The gap contains about 8 akṣaras.
n25 The gap contains about 5 akṣaras, and to the end of the line about 7 are missing.
n26 The gap contains about 8 akṣaras, and to the end of the line about 7 are missing.
n28 The gap contains about 6 akṣaras, and to the end of the line about 7 are missing.


According to Schmidt 1986b: iv-v this ms. comes either from Qizil or from Tumšuq.
From this leaf 3 fragments are preserved: one from the left side to the string hole, consisting of 3 pieces and about 6.5 cm wide; a larger fragment from the right half of the leaf, about 9 cm wide; and, attaching to this, at the lower margin a small fragment, about 3.5 cm wide and containing the remnants of a single line.
The original ms. was 29 cm wide and 5.6 cm high, with the string hole 6.5 cm from the left margin. It was written by at least three hands: scribe 1, a beautiful, delicate script, from leaf 1 to 11 a1; scribe 2, distinguished by a number of orthographical idiosyncrasies/errors, from leaf 11 a1 to and including 19; scribe 3 from leaf 20 to end. The final leaves A and B THT 1123 and THT 1124 may have been written either by scribe 2 or a fourth hand. Cf. Schmidt 1986b: v, 2, 5-6
This leaf is in hand 3.

Linguistic commentary

n1 tsälpāṣ- sic! and should probably be corrected to tsälpālyñeṣ·, an adjectival form in -ṣṣe.
n2 akritāññe ca. ‘sin’ is a loan from Iranian (cf. Sogd. ’krt’nyh ‘sin’).
n5 Mistaken anaiwacempa for anaiwacceṃmpa; akālkäntats for akālkäntaṃts.
n6 -lle at the beginning of this line is the remains of a Ger. of the root täm- 'be born'. sruk·[ll](e) is certainly to be read srukalle, therefore the preceding must be restored to read nano nano cmelle (as above). If srukelle is assumed, the preceding would have to be read as (nano nano tänmaṣṣä)lle, which, however, for reasons of space would not appear to be a possibility. The last word in this line must be supplemented to either akālkänta or akālkäntats.
n8 tsälpālyñe for tsälpālñe.
n9 piś antse sic! A possible supplementation could be piś-antseṣṣe perpette (cf. THT 554: b 1 piṃś-atseṣṣe perpette) vel sim. The last word in this line is most likely to be supplemented to tsälpālyñe (as above) or an adjectival derivation of it.
n11 wasātpatäntse for wasaṃtpātäntse.
n12 The first word after the gap may perhaps be supplemented to kuse.
n13 (ku)se ste ce yarpo temeṃ māka mäs(k)eträ literally means “(Wha)t is [it], that merit is more than this?” The ce- clause represents the subject of the superordinate clause and must therefore be identified as subject clause.
n15 akāś for akāśe.
n16 The first word after the gap may perhaps be supplemented to mäkte. The word before akāś, of which only the ·i can be read, is the remains of a bisyllabic infinitive in -tsi, which, however, cannot be restored with any certainty.
n18 samudrä for samudtär.
n19 The last word before the gap (su-) is the remains of an infinitive, and may perhaps be restored to read sumästsi. An alternative reading of [l]y·y·[t·k·] after the gap would also be [l]y·y·[t·r·] or [l]y·y·[t·u·].
n21 wäntarwats for wäntarwaṃts.
n23 yärpotse for yärpontse; mistaken kutemeṃ for kutameṃ.
n24 kutemeṃ sic! for kutameṃ. But cf. also m-tht1355 a 2 kutemeṃ kutemeṃ (= Skt. yato yataḥ).
n27 piś-cmalaṣṣi sic! and to be corrected to piś-cmelaṣṣi. The first word after the gap ([·ā·ek]tsa) could also be read as [-n]tsa.


Online access

IDP: THT 1120; TITUS: THT 1120

Complete Translation

Tamai 2014a: 387-388; Schmidt 1986b: 99-100


Tamai 2014a: 387-388; Tamai 2007a: №1120; Schmidt 1986b: 28-29, 61-62



“The International Dunhuang Project: The Silk Road Online.” n.d.

Schmidt 1986b

Schmidt, Klaus T. 1986b. “Fragmente eines buddhistischen Ordinationsrituals in westtocharischer Sprache. Aus der Schule der Sarvāstivādins. Text, Übersetzung, Anmerkungen und Indizes.” {Habilitation}.

Tamai 2007a

Tamai, Tatsushi. 2007a. “A preliminary edition of unpublished texts from the Berlin Turfan Collection.” Thesaurus indogermanischer Text- und Sprachmaterialien (TITUS): Tocharian manuscripts from the Berlin Turfan collection.

Tamai 2014a

Tamai, Tatsushi. 2014a. “The Tocharian Karmavācanā.” Annual Report of the International Research Institute for Advanced Buddhology (ARIRIAB) at Soka University for the Academic Year 2013 17: 365–94.


Gippert, Jost, Katharina Kupfer, Christiane Schaefer, and Tatsushi Tamai. n.d. “Thesaurus Indogermanischer Text- und Sprachmaterialien (TITUS): Tocharian Manuscripts from the Berlin Turfan Collection.”