Books

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A book (potthaka) is an object made of numerous thin sheets attached to each other by some means and then written or printed on so that they can be read. The Jàtaka mentions a message being written on a leaf (Jataka 2. 174) and the first Indian books were made in perhaps the 3rd century BCE from the leaves of Corypha umbraculifera, the Talipot Palm. The Tipiñaka was first written down in about 100 BCE in Sri Lanka in books made from the leaves of this tree. When Buddhism spread to the far north of India, books were made of birch bark and when it got to China silk and later paper was used. The first modern Buddhist books, i.e. printed on paper and bound between hard covers, were produced in Sri Lanka in the 1850’s. Buddhists have always revered books of the Tipitaka by putting them between golden covers, wrapping them in silk and even sometimes enshrining them in ståpas.

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