Dhammapada: Wisdom of the Buddha — trans. Harischandra Kaviratna


Dhammapada palm leaf manuscripts (750-1815 a.d.)

The following are some of the rarest Dhammapada manuscripts, their commentaries, subcommentaries, and also commentaries on commentaries, with the monastery libraries where they are housed. The translator elected to visit the easily accessible Vihara libraries. The student may be interested to note that there are more than 950 recognized monastery libraries where he may find other compilations on Dhammapada which have never seen the light in print. Even in the British Library are different compilations of this scripture; and photostat copies of them may be obtained in Sinhalese script, Burmese script, or in Cambodian characters. Their reference numbers are:

a) Sinhalese-Pali, I - 151 b and II - 551 W II (I).

b) Burmese, leaves 126 (K-T) Or 6454 A.P.

c) Cambodian characters, 360 leaves incomplete Or 1273 P.

I. Dhammapadam (Pali)

There are more than 236 monastery libraries where palm leaf manuscripts of this work are preserved.

II. Dhampiya (Sinhalese)

III. Dhammapada Attha Katha (commentary on the legends of Dhammapada)

This text is available also in 265 other monastery libraries.

IV. Dhammapada Sannaya (verbatim Sinhalese translation of Dhammapada with the Pali text)

The same palm leaf manuscript is available at 230 other monastery libraries.

V. Dhammapada Vyakhyava (commentary on Dhammapada)

Available at eight other monastery libraries.

VI. Dhammapada Varnana (explanatory commentary on Dhammapada in Sinhalese)

Available at about four other monastery libraries.

VII. Dhammapada Katha (Dhammapada stories)

There are only two other places where the palm leaf manuscript of this work is available.

VIII. Dhammapada Atuvava (Sinhalese commentary on Dhammapada)

There are more than 270 other monasteries where palm leaf manuscripts of this work are housed.

IX. Dhammapada Purana Sannaya (ancient Sinhalese commentary on Dhammapada)

There are only two places where this work is available.

X. Dhammapada Gatha Desu Aya (individuals to whom the Dhammapada Gathas were preached)

Only one copy of this palm leaf manuscript is available. It is housed in the monastery library of Nyagrodharamaya, Gonapeenuwala, Hikkaduwa.

XI. Dhammapada Vistara Sannaya (a comprehensive verbatim Sinhalese rendition with copious notes)

This rare manuscript is available only at the monastery library of Sunandarama Viharaya, Unawatuna, Galle.

Theosophical University Press Online Edition