The Diamond Sutra: The World’s Oldest Copyleft Book


    In 1907, archaeologist Sir Marc
    Aurel Stein
    discovered the Diamond
    , a 16-foot scroll containing the Chinese translation of the
    Sanskrit Buddhist text, from the Caves of the Thousand Buddhas in Dunhuang,
    China (the discovery in itself is fascinating,
    but that’s a different story).

    The Diamond Sutra has the colophon at the inner end that reads:

    Reverently made for universal free distribution by Wang Jie on
    behalf of his two parents on the 15th of the 4th moon of the 9th year
    of Xiantong.

    That date translates to May 11, 868, which makes the Diamond Sutra not
    only the world’s oldest surviving copy of dated printed book, but also
    the oldest copyright-free /public domain work as well!

    Links: High
    resolution photos of the scroll at the British Library
    | This
    Day in Tech

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    The Diamond Sutra: The World’s Oldest Copyleft Book


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