Notes on some oral aspects of pali literature

The dialect used by the Buddha himself when instructing his disciples is unknown and irretrievably lost. The oldest Buddhist language, which can be traced by reconstruction, is Buddhist Middle Indic, a lingua franca that developed much later than the lifetime of the Buddha. None of these changes were far-reaching, although they seem to have continued well into the sixteenth century, if not later. Consequently, it is linguistically the oldest form of Buddhist scriptures known. This, of course, does not mean that other scriptures in different younger languages or translations necessarily preserve only later developments of Buddhist thought and tradition. This early oral tradition has left obvious traces in the written literature, particularly in the numerous formulas typical of oral composition, which were used to facilitate memorization. Both give a legendary history of political and religious events in Sri Lanka; the latter, which was extended several times, ends with the British conquest in Although a similar name is also used by the Jains for their holy scriptures, the choice of the term basket for a collection of texts cannot be explained.

Pali, Buddhist Literature in

Richard F. What the Buddha Thought. London: Equinox Pub. Richard Gombrich writes, he says, out of exasperation and admiration.

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To browse Academia. Skip to main content. Log In Sign Up. Download Free PDF. Eugen Ciurtin. This book is a masterwork of scholarship and a milestone for Pali and Buddhist Studies. The very catalogue is the culmination of thirty years of research1. For decades, the author has travelled to Thailand on a yearly basis, a long time without the support of any institution Foreword, pp.

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When we go to see a medical doctor in time of need, we want to know that the doctor has good credentials—that he or she is not just making things up or guessing based on faulty data. We take great care to make sure our bodies are in good health. When it comes to our spiritual health and our spiritual needs, why should we look for less? In Buddhism three basic refuges are offered—the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha the community of monks.

The Dharma Dhamma in Pali consists of the teachings of the Buddha. What follows is a semi-technical look at Buddhist history. The Buddhist scriptures of the Pali Canon were written down very late, and the scriptures of other schools of Buddhism were formed and written down even later. In the edition of the Encyclopedia of Buddhism the date given is even later. This also agrees with the dates K.

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The scepticism of these scholars concerning the Buddha’s date extends to the dating of all the canonical texts, first and foremost their Pāli.

What is Pali Language? A little history. In all these grammar tutorials we have never stopped to ask:. What is Pali? And this is what we will investigate in this post Who Speaks the Pali language? Well, let’s get the obvious answer out of the way: Pali is the language, in which, the scriptures of Theravada school of Buddhism have been preserved and passed down. And this lead to the language itself being mistakenly called Pali. Well now we might ask: ‘If not Pali, what is the language called in the Suttas?

The suttas themselves do not reference a language name.

Chronology Of The Pali Canon

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They accept information given in one of these texts that the Buddha, a man called Gotama, died at the age of 80 or thereabouts ; most of them hold that he died in about BC, but those who care about such matters mostly accept modern scholarship when it says that he died in about BC. The texts, they believe, were composed orally and for the first few centuries preserved orally.

Other Buddhist traditions take different views. For various reasons they propose a very diverse range of dates for the lifetime of the Buddha. They also note that several other versions of the same texts, composed in different Indian languages, are known to have existed; some are lost, but several fairly full versions have survived in Chinese translations. Though the Chinese translations are mostly dated within the Christian era , we have no solid clues to the dates of the composition of their Indian originals.

On the basis that they consider the dating of the Buddha to have no credible basis, in recent years many scholars, particularly in America, have held the view that there may never have been such an individual as Gotama Buddha. They claim that even if there was, we know virtually nothing about him. He discusses how texts were composed and preserved in the society in which the Buddha lived, where there was no writing.

The villagers with whom the Buddha interacted must have grown up using local dialects. These dialects must have been related, with no clear boundaries between them, since the institutions of administration and education which create such boundaries were lacking.

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The oldest Pali manuscript yet found dates back to the sixth century and is from Sri Ksetra, once a major Pyu center in Burma; it consists of a.

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