Pali Language and Literature: A Systematic Survey and Historical Study (2 vols. Set)
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Short DescriptionsBeginning with a description of the language, its historical evolution, phonology and grammatical categories, the book studies the canonical Pali texts (the three Pitakas) and surveys the non-canonical Pali literature covering manuals and chronicles.
In Pali is preserved the Buddhist canon. Which, considered as “the most authentic form of Buddhavacana”, constitutes the very matrix of its 2500-year-long Theravada tradition. A refined, widely-spoken language of the early Middle Indic (Indo-Aryan) stage: about bc 600-200, Pali has also left, for posterity, a splendid legacy of “secular” literature that captures contemporary socio-cultural milieus not only of India, but of Myanmar, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and other neighbouring countries as well. Here is, in two volumes, a fascinating, well-knit study of the Pali language, and also of its literature: both canonical and non-canonical. Beginning with a systematic description of the language, its historical evolution, phonology and major grammatical categories, VOLUME 1 takes an indepth, critical look at the canonical Pali texts — all the three Pitakas : the three “baskets” (collections): the Vinaya, Sutta and Abhidhamma, which, among other things, embody Sakyamuni’s own universal message, the writings of his immediate monastic followers/disciples, the basic principles of shula (ethical behaviour), the disciplinary codes for the sangha and, above all, the Theravada philosophy in its truly pristine frame. VOLUME 2 surveys nearly the whole variety of Non-canonical Pali Literature covering creative writings, manuals, and as many as 25 chronicles: from Sri Lanka, Myanmar, and Thailand — besides numerous commentaries of the old-world scholars, like Buddhadatta, Buddhaghosa, and Dhammapala. In focus here are also a range of treatises on law, grammar, lexicography, and poetics including rhetorics and metrics. A painstakingly documented work with a comprehensive index, involving years of Dr. Hazra’s research effort, this book is invaluable to the scholars/researchers of Buddhist Studies, specially of Theravada Buddhism, Pali language and Pali literature.