Maitreyasamitināṭaka is a Buddhist drama in the language known as Tocharian A. It dates to the eighth century and survives only in fragments. Maitrisimit nom bitig is an Old Uyghur translation of the Tocharian text. It is a much more complete text and dates to the tenth century. The drama revolves around the Buddha Maitreya, the future saviour of the world. This story was popular among Buddhists and parallel versions can be found in Chinese, Tibetan, Khotanese, Sogdian, Pali and Sanskrit. According to Friedrich W. K. Müller and Emil Sieg, the apparent meaning of the title is "Encounter with Maitreya".
The fragments of the Tocharian text come from six different manuscrips, five from the Shikshin Temple and one from Qocho. Albert Grünwedel and Albert von Le Coq discovered the Tocharian text during the third German Turfan expedition in 1906. The Uyghur text is represented by three manuscripts, two from Turfan and one from Qomul. A colophon to the Matrisimit notes that it was translated from toxrï. Since the text shows a "clear dependence" on the Maitreyasamitināṭaka, scholars named the unidentified language of that text Tocharian on the assumption that toxrï was related to the Tocharoi of ancient Greek texts.
The Maitreyasamitināṭaka was originally a long text consisting of twenty-seven acts of ten to fifteen leaves (twenty to thirty pages) each. The Tocharian fragments come from manuscripts of high aesthetic value, indicating a text that was meant to be read. There are stage directions, however, such as lcär poñś ("all have left [the scene]") at the end of each act, which suggests that it was also performed. It is in the champu style with sections of prose mixed with sections of verse. The Maitrisimit translation is all prose.
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