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The Language of Tipitaka

The Theravada tradition all the views, that the Buddha preached his doctrine in the
language known as Magadhi. At present most property this language is known by the
word as Pali. This opinion is not accepted by all the other school o Buddhism, but they
accepted and respected Magadhi language as the historical language that was spoken in
the Buddhas time throughout the tertiary o si!teen provinces.
"on#Theravadi tradition claims the languages o their canonical scripture as the original
language o Buddhism. Among these languages Prakrit, $anskrit, Buddhist $anskrit are
prominent. %n today world many o the Buddhist scriptures are translated into &hinese,
but even the &hinese Buddhist scholar do not accepted &hinese language as the original
language o Buddhism. They believed in Buddhist $anskrit that was spoken in "orthern
part o %ndia and in certain part o centre Asia. %t is acceptable that with the moment o
Buddhism with the Mahasangha. The language scripture was also sub'ected to changes.
(holly by the religious that has been translated to almost all the languages in present
word. $imilarly, Buddhist &anonical te!t like )hammapada has been put into hundred
o languages. Anyway this was not the languished situation in %ndia prior &hristian era
ew languages like Prakrit and $anskrit were there in vogue Prakrit was not a single
language it has been identiy as a language amily that comprised number o regional
direct. According to Theravadin Magadhi immerged rom all these as the wildly spoken
languages, but it were that to the "orth#eastern part o %ndia particularly to the Magadha
country. )uring the period o si!th century B.&. there was a *iva nary in between
$anskrit and Prakrit. Brahmins those who used $anskrit or +edic it study said $anskrit is
the language o )evas and they said as well as looked down upon Prakrit including
Magadhi as a language o non#Aryans. ,owever e!cepted Brahmins all the other
religious masters belong to the $ramana tradition utili-ed Prakrit related languages since
they were the languages o ma'ority. $o that it can be believe even the Buddha addressed
the people in Prakrit language.
,istorians have discovered several manuscripts written clay plays in a language o Prakrit
guide. Thereore they claim Prakrit as the most archaic language o Buddhist scripture.
Proessor .ohn Prough, who edited Prakrit version o )hammapada provide evidence to
prove the about opinion $enart, /onow are some o the other scholars who made is
studies on this sub'ect, also state views supportive o about opinion. %t is acceptable that
there are ragments o some o the Buddhist scripture written Prakrit archaic o language
but o that does not say that was reminded language o Buddhism also the language o
person Pali canonical te!ts unacceptable as the genuine direct the language o the Buddha
has been sub'ect to number transormation. %t happened during the time o council as well
as migration o Buddhist disciples. As Pali commentator reported 00 being o the
Buddha was preached in region si!teen provinces. Ater the passing away o the Buddha,
appeared they spit with in the older and as a result the monks established dierent
regional Buddhist &entre and started practicing on their own way. These separations not
only addressed amendment to the original teaching but also let to linguistically changes.
%t is said that they had been a amine some year ater the regain /ing Asoka. %n view o
this natural substance Buddhist monks started too migrated rom "orth#eastern part to the
(estern part o %ndia. $imilar moments are reported in the records o .ainism. According
to scholars like +enerable ,inuber and /.*. "orman these migration o disciples has
made a considerable inect all the language o the Buddha. $ince (estern %ndia most a
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$anskrit spoken region this caused amalgamation o Magadhi and $anskrit. The 2irnar
inscription o Asoka that is written a rock mountain o (estern %ndia stance as a believer
to the arrival o Magadhi in that region as about said scholars believed the person Pali
canonical scripture or Pali Tipitaka has been given present same be in that various region.
$ri 3ankan Pali &hronicle like Mahavamsa, )ipavamsa reveals the inormation
rearmament to the arrival o +enerable Mahinda rom Pataliputra 4or present Patna5 via
(estern part o %ndia and with this arrival Buddhist scripture were introduce to $ri 3anka
until Third century B.&. we have know clear evidence with to the writing down o entire
teachings o the Buddha. $ri 3ankan &hronicle reported it happened 6irst century or
during the reign o /ing +attagamini. ,ere teaching was committed to writing in
Magadhi language which was known since than as Pali. This is the wildly accepted
opinion o scholars Britain origin o Pali Tipitaka. 7889:;98::<= Monday. (ords >>?.
About mentioned is the @rigin and 2eographical e!perienced o Theravada
Buddhism, its scriptures were written in Pali language. According to the direction o
e!pansion this tradition goes called $outhern Buddhism. This section o Buddhism was
wildly in used in the country like $ri 3anka, Myanmar, and Thailand etc. when this
section o Buddhism was spreading over the area o $outhern states another section o
Buddhism started to e!pansion in the "orthern part o %ndia. Both Theravada and non#
Theravada schools were active in this region taking /assimir as the centre o "orthern
Buddhism. (hen one is talking about the e!pansion o Buddhism these schools cannot be
ignoring, since they have shown and e!tra#ordinary service or Buddhism. The school got
their origination in this region practice Buddhas teaching. %n accordance with the
language o particular region as %ndia history revealed this region predominantly was a
region o $anskrit speaking, so that the Buddhist monks in the region had to ace the
language various successully to call the matter. )uring the time the monks who migrated
rom the Aastern part o %ndia were speaking Magadhi or a language related to Prakrit. As
it is said in Buddhist and .ain canonical and commentarial records there had been a
rivalry between $anskrit and Prakrit. %n ancient %ndia $anskrit was appreciated in the
circle scholars as the language o earliest and academic. To be successul visionary and to
win the heart o /ings and the people in the region the monks wanted to pass the message
o the Buddha smoothly. $ince the people unaware o Magadhi so called monks were
making attempted to e!plain the teaching somewhat like broken $anskrit. %t was as seen
in the Mahayana scripture a language mi!ed in $anskrit with Magadhi. Thereore, scholar
in the last century called in mi!ed $anskrit or ,ybrid $anskrit.
)uring the period o /ings like /anissaka and /ussana these languages was very
popular among Buddhist monks. At present we ind number o Buddhist scriptures
belonged to $anskrit Tripitaka. According to the Theravadi point o view $anskrit
Tripitaka is not pure as Pali Tipitaka, because it has sub'ected to not only the
linguistically changes but also doctrinal changes. (hen we are concern about the shave
and contain o $anskrit Tripitaka it becomes obvious 000took place in "orthern
Buddhism. As $ri 3anka is an %sland spread rom main land %ndia Pali Tipitaka was
preserved without much contamination or corruption but Buddhism in %ndia and the
scriptures ace number o challenged rom both within and outside Buddhism. To meet
the challenges the monks had to make amendments to the teachings o the Buddha. Today
the Buddhist word possessed the $anskrit Tripitaka which was combined by Mula
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$arvastivadin and some other break away section o Theravada raternity. A part rom
$anskrit Tripitaka there is and another said o canonical scriptures preserved in &hinese
language. )uring the early period &hristian era the Buddhism was irmly established in
the region called centre Asia. There was a commercial ruled were centre Asia languishing
&hina 00 country. According to the &hinese reported the moment o merchants has
helped to carry Buddhist scriptures into china. ,un dynasty in &hina it considered as a
great supported o the e!pansion o Buddhism in &hina. They invited %ndian Buddhist
scholars to &hina to translate $anskrit Tripitaka into &hinese. %n Tibet itsel there are our
thousand ive hundred and si!ty si! 4B;<<5 Buddhist scriptures preserved rom long part.
%t appeared that the $arvastivada $chool this possessed the Agama books like
)irghagama, Madyamagama etc. corresponding to Pali "ikaya like )ighanikaya,
Ma''himanikaya etc. The Mula $arvastivada $chool according to their records possessed
a +inaya Pitaka and large sections o other te!ts. These preserved that which is known as
2ilgit manuscripts have now being published. The Mahavastthu is a book written in
$anskrit has identiied as the +inaya o 3okottaravada $chool. The 3olita an incomplete
biographical account o the Buddha, it also mi!ed in $anskrit. 78C9;98::<= Monday.
Classification of the Buddhas teaching
According to the $umangala +ilasini, the commentary to the )ighanikaya there
are various classiications with regard to the teachings o the Buddha. At present the
division o Tripitaka, $utta +inaya and Abhidhamma seems very popular. Also this
division looks practical and easy to ollow. Thereore not only in Pali tradition but also in
the tradition o other Buddhist $chools it has been applied or combination and
preservation o the teaching.
%n the period o early Buddhism there had been no division o the teaching, it was
known as )hamma. )hamma comprises all the preaching o the Buddha. Aven the
+inaya, the code o ethics pertinent to the discipline o the orthodo! monks was
contained within the )hamma. Athical norms or the order were also included in the
discourses which we ind today in $utta Pitaka. The Brahma'ala $utta and $amannaphala
$utta o )igha "ikaya provided a list o ethical regulation or the conduct o monks.
They have been categories into three levels, such as &ullasila, Ma''himasila and
Mahasila. Moreover $utta Pitaka admitted three stan-as 42atha5 which was known as
@vada Patimokkha, they run asD
Sabba papassa akaranam, kusalassa upasampada, sacitta pariyodappanam, etam
Buddhana sasanam.
By this stan-a the Buddha admonished the monks to prevent rom sins, to
accumulate skills to puriy ones own mind. )uring the primary stage o the order these
teachings were suicient or the regulation o the conduct o monks. The +eran'aka
chapter o Para'ika Pali reported the enorcement irst rule in order to curb the monks
behaviour. %t was made ater the se!ual engagement o +enerable $udinna with his ormer
wie. $ince then the Buddha made new introduction to the code o discipline, when he
ound necessary. According to the above mentioned te!t the irst rule was introduced
appro!imately 8: years ater the Anlightenment. Those emprises the order was
unctioning during the period without particular set o rules. (ith the introduction o irst
rule the teaching was known as )hamma +inaya. %t became obvious in many occasions
the Buddha named his teaching as )hamma +inaya like in E)hammo ca vinayo ca desito,
F
imasmim dhamma vinaye etc. on this account it is clear that at the beginning there was
one division called )hamma and then it was two#old division as )hamma +inaya.
&onsidering three#old division o the teaching classiication into three baskets
4Tipitaka5 $utta, +inaya and Abhidhamma at once come to the mind because this was the
long practice method o division. A part rom this the Buddhaghosa enumerates another
three#old division such as Pathama, Ma''hima and Pacchima Buddha +acana. Pathama
Buddha +acana conines to a single stan-a i.e. Aneka'ati samsaram and Pacchima Buddha
+acana too is remitted to a single lie, i.e. E,andadani bhikkhave amandayamivo
vayadhamma sankhara appamadena sampadetha.G As ound in Parinibbana $utta o
)igha "ikaya. Accordingly Ma''hima Buddha +acana comprises o all the other
teachings o the Buddha which were taught or B; years. Appearently this division looks
imbalance but this division too included in the commentary as a distinctive classiication.
Pancasatikakkhandha o &ulavagga Pali mentioned about a ive#old division o
the Buddhas teaching. %t said that during the period o 6irst &ouncil ;:: monks recited
ive#old teaching Pancanikaya o the Master by this it has been indicated )igha "ikaya,
Ma''hima "ikaya, $amyutta "ikaya, Anguttara "ikaya and /huttaka "ikaya. @ne can
see that by these ive "ikayas entire teachings o the Master it not represented, this
combined to present day $utta Pitaka but in the list o Buddhaghosa this two included as
a separated division. Among this classiication most historical is non other than the
division o "avanga or nine limbs. This nine#old division is seen even in the early
discourses o the Master. %t must be mentioned here that there is no note in the discourses
that speaks o Tipitaka. The term Pitaka is possible in the discourse but not in the
meaning o basket.
The usual classiication o the canon ound in Alagaddhupama $utta o Ma''hima
"ikaya is that o nine#old
415 $utta.
485 2eyya.
4F5 +eyyakarana.
4B5 2atha.
4;5 Hdana.
4<5 %tivuttaka.
4>5 .ataka.
4?5 Abbhuta dhamma and
4C5 +edalla.
$ince this classiication is not in accordance with the present teaching o the
Tipitaka to unearth 7discovered= historical meaning o this classiication it needs
to pay attention to the e!planation o Buddhaghosa as ollows0..
,e said $utta# E,erein, the tow#old +ibanga, "idesa, /handhaka, Parivara,
Mangala $utta, *atana $utta, "alaka $utta, and )uvataka $utta o the $uttanipada
and other saying o the Tathagata paring the name $utta should be known as $utta.
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