By Akiko Walley

These “Scholar’s Picks” for kyōgire are selected to address a coherent question: What does it mean to fragment a sacred text in Buddhism? If sutras are the words of the Buddha, then from today’s perspective, it may seem shocking or even sacrilegious to cut them into pieces. Was that in fact the case? Is there a way to interpret the act differently through Buddhist’s perception of text, words, and characters?

The two fragments featured in this section help us further explore what implications the act of fragmenting might have for the devotional function of Buddhist scriptures.

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