Mistakes and Misinterpretations in the Transmission of the Dharma: Sundry Notes with a Focus on Dunhuang Material

Scribal errors and misinterpretations of various kinds, made during the translation or copying of a Buddhist sūtra, or during the production phase of a manuscript, can affect the text layout and the material support on which it is written, providing us with important information as to the specific characteristics of the “source text”, as well as copying methods and processes. Such elements can also have an effect on the meaning of the “original” text. This paper will explore a few points concerning this topic, with examples from Dunhuang material.