This is a picture of a beautiful and extremely rare ancient Indian Buddhist manuscript dating from about the 11th century. The text is written in ink rather than scratched onto the leaves, and the two wooden covers are exquisitely illuminated. The two holes in the covers and each page were for cords which originally held the pages together and bound them to the cover. The monasteries of India once held many thousands of these beautiful objects although all but a few hundred were destroyed during the Islamic invasion of India in the 13th century. Some of them, like this one, were carried to Tibet by refugee monks where a combination of pious care and dry climate preserved them, sometimes almost perfectly. Of these, a good number were ripped up and burned by the Red Guards during the so-called Cultural Revolution. The fragile few that remain show us how the Buddha’s precious Dhamma was transmitted through time so as to be available to us today.