Craig Jamieson

Craig Jamieson is Keeper of Sanskrit Manuscripts in the University of Cambridge.

Craig was born in Toronto, Ontario and attended Sherwood Secondary School in Hamilton. He moved to Britain for higher education. He took his undergraduate degree in philosophy at St David’s University College, Lampeter, and later was awarded an MA from the University of Cambridge. His MPhil from King’s College London in 1979 was for a thesis entitled Mindfulness in Śāntideva's Śikṣāsamuccaya. He went on to the University of Leicester, where he taught Buddhism. He is now based at the University of Cambridge; he is a member of the Asian Faculty and of King’s College.

In 2000, he brought out A Study of Nāgārjuna’s Twenty verses on the Great Vehicle (Mahāyānavimśikā) and his Verses on the heart of dependent origination (Pratītyasamutpādahrdayavyākhyāna), (Peter Lang). Jamieson produced critical editions of three texts attributed to the second century CE Buddhist scholar Nāgārjuna. Alongside these were English translations, based on the surviving Sanskrit originals but in the light of the more complete Tibetan versions and commentaries.

In The Perfection of Wisdom (Penguin / Frances Lincoln, 2000), he selected and translated extracts from the Aṣṭasāhasrikāprajñāpāramitā. Probably composed around 100 BCE, the text covers many significant Mahāyāna topics, including the career of a bodhisattva, the nature of emptiness and the development and application of the Perfection of Wisdom.  The teachings are presented in the form of a dialogue between the Buddha and one of his disciples, the arhat Subhūti. Jamieson’s text is lavishly illustrated with images from two palm-leaf manuscripts in Cambridge’s collection, the 10th century (985 CE) MS Add. 1464 and the 11th century (1015 CE) MS Add. 1643, manuscripts over one thousand years old.  The Dalai Lama wrote an introduction to the volume, explaining its relevance to Buddhist thought and to his own life story.

Jamieson was involved in Buddha’s word: the life of books in Tibet and beyond, Cambridge’s first museum exhibition of Tibetan art and artefacts displayed with manuscripts and printed books. The exhibits included early illuminated Buddhist manuscripts, specimens of skilfully illuminated wooden covers, scroll paintings brought back from the infamous Younghusband expedition and a gift from the Dalai Lama. Some of these had never been on display before. Items were gathered from Cambridge’s Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences, the Fitzwilliam Museum, the University Library and Emmanuel and Pembroke Colleges. Jamieson has also curated many more traditional library exhibitions of books and manuscripts over the years.

Jamieson also contributed to Cambridge’s India Unboxed series, a sequence of short films celebrating the seventieth anniversary of Indian independence and the UK-India Year of Culture 2017. The first film in the series, entitled The Perfection of Wisdom, featured MS. Add. 1464, the world’s oldest dated illustrated Sanskrit manuscript.

He edits the Cambridge Buddhist Institute series, is a commissioning editor for the publisher Hardinge Simpole and serves on NACIRA, the National Committee on Information Resources for Asia.  Outside work, he has gone on Arctic expeditions in the Canadian High Arctic, Greenland, and Norway, he is interested in the music of Bob Dylan, he is a senior editor at the publisher EDLIS Café Press and coordinates a Dylan academic research group producing books such as Bob Dylan’s Hibbing (2019). He is also the badger videographer for the Wildlife Trust’s Overhall Grove.

Sources

Attwood, T. (2020) Bob Dylan’s Hibbing from EDLIS Café : book review. Retrieved October 23 2020 from https://bob-dylan.org.uk/archives/12428 9781091782891 

Jorgensen, J. (2001).  JAMIESON, R.C., A Study of Nāgārjuna 's Twenty Verses on the Great Vehicle (Māhāyanavimśikā) and His Verses on the Heart of Dependent Origination (Pratītyasamutpādahrdayakārikā) with the Interpretation of the Heart of Dependent Origination (Pratītyasamutpādahrdayavyākhyāna). New York : Lang, 2000. 183 p. Revue Bibliographique de Sinologie. N.S. 19 (2001), 436. Retrieved October 23 2020 from https://www.jstor.org/stable/24581116  9780820418995

Keown, D. (2004). Aṣṭa-sāhasrikā-prajñā-pāramitā Sūtra. In A Dictionary of Buddhism. Oxford : Oxford University Press. Retrieved October 23 2020, from https://www-oxfordreference-com.ezproxy.uwtsd.ac.uk/view/10.1093/acref/9780198605607.001.0001/acref-9780198605607-e-182. 9780670889341

Cambridge Digital Library. (2015). Sanskrit manuscripts. Retrieved October 23 2020 from https://cudl.lib.cam.ac.uk/collections/sanskrit/1

Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. (2020). Buddha’s word: the life of books in Tibet and beyond. Retrieved October 26 2020 from https://maa.cam.ac.uk/buddhas-word-the-life-of-books-in-tibet-and-beyond/

University of Cambridge. (2020). World’s oldest, illustrated Sanskrit manuscript launches India Unboxed film series. Retrieved October 26 2020 from https://www.cam.ac.uk/news/worlds-oldest-illustrated-sanskrit-manuscript-launches-india-unboxed-film-series