FYI May 11, 2020

On This Day

868 – A copy of the Diamond Sutra is printed in China, making it the oldest known dated printed book.[1]
The Diamond Sūtra (Sanskrit: Vajracchedikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra) is a Mahāyāna (Buddhist) sūtra from the Prajñāpāramitā sutras or ‘Perfection of Wisdom’ genre. Translated into a variety of languages over a broad geographic range, the Diamond Sutra is one of the most influential Mahayana sutras in East Asia, and it is particularly prominent within the Chan (or Zen) tradition,[1] along with the Heart Sutra.

A copy of the Tang-dynasty Chinese version of the Diamond Sūtra was found among the Dunhuang manuscripts in 1900 by Daoist monk Wang Yuanlu and sold to Aurel Stein in 1907.[2] They are dated back to 11 May 868.[3] It is, in the words of the British Library, “the earliest complete survival of a dated printed book.”[4]

It is also the first creative work with an explicit public domain dedication, as its colophon at the end states that it was created “for universal free distribution.”[5]



Born On This Day

1905 – Lise de Baissac, Mauritian-born SOE agent, war hero (d. 2004)[60]
Lise Marie Jeanette de Baissac MBE (11 May 1905 – 29 March 2004)[1][2] was born in Mauritius of French descent and British nationality. She was a heroine of the Special Operations Executive during the Second World War, a special agent who risked her life running her own operations; she was awarded several gallantry awards after the war.[3]




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