You are on page 1of 2

Pāli: Reconsidering the Academic Paradigm in the Study

of Early Buddhism
In this essay, I shall provide a coherent reconstruction of early Buddhist thought in South Asia.
Throughout the essay I shall provide an interdisciplinary, transcultural and transgenderal framework
for a very complicated and extremely interrelated discourse-analysis, bound to yield unexpected novel
results. My theoretically broad methodological approach will question widespread assumptions about
the very nature of Buddhist thought, humanity, life, humanity, Buddhist thought, and thought, and
will cause a much needed plagiarism-shift in the academic study of Buddhism – a true desideratum –
as well as improved relationships between different academic disciplines (and, by extension, between
the world’s major superpowers).
The textual basis of my article will be mostly drawn from Pāli sources. However, so as not to burden
you, the readers, with an unnecessarily heavy dose of technicalities, I will restrict my textual samples
to include only those sources that are truly relevant in advancing my very tight argument, and in fact
I will restrict my textual samples to a single Pāli word – the word ‘Pāli’. This word figures no less than
392 times in Pāli sources, which should provide an amply adequate textual basis.

In the technicality of that technical (very technical) thing, everything is very, very complex and
elaborate, and (if we somehow manage to be very careful and attentive, despite our own limitations
and habituated inclinations1) we shall perhaps gain some valid insights in the understanding of the
comprehension of the insights into the exegesis of the hermeneutics of the Pali texts belonging to the
Buddhist tradition of the Theravada transmission of knowledge if we analyse the actuality experienced
in accordance with the oral tradition from which these texts were derived in the first place, even
though we are not disciples but scholars, possibly deriving possible valid exegetical conclusions which
will be relevant and may be even helpful for our field, called Buddhist Studies since at least the middle
of the Nineteenth Century (although I am not certain about the exact first instances of such usage),
and for the field that is sometimes (only sometimes, but not always) known as ‘History of Religions’,
more broadly, by analysing a term composed, made up of, and analysable into (if we are attentive to
its etymological constitution in accordance with the oral structure of the Pāli texts belonging to the
Theravada school of Buddhism), two syllables: Pā-li.
But if on the other hand we wish to persist in our post-industrial and pre-post-anti-colonialist
modernist-imperialist attitudes towards languages, cultures, and the transmission of knowledge, it is
at the very least (at the very least!) unlikely (unlikely) that we shall assuage the heuristic hermeneutic
exegetical tools for an appropriate valid convincing exegetical hermeneutical (Gadamerian) heuristics
that may allow us to assuage the acceptations of the variable steps in the complex elaborate very
1 See on this John Doe, ‘Our Own Limitations and Habituated Inclinations’
(, last accessed on March 34, 1973,
around 4.00 am).

specifically. minimal logical coherence. While previous scholars have posed undue emphasis on a somewhat naïve (mis)appropriation of the content of disparate textual sources. Jump four times. a lot is involved. while remaining faithful to a reliable textual basis. I will envisage an experiment. directly or indirectly. naively convinced that mere textual erudition. I am confident that this simple yet instructive experiment shall convince us all of the paramount necessity of respectful research that takes into account broader interdisciplinary concerns and methods. and let me fearlessly venture to say. In order to approach this abstract problematics with adequate socio-polio-anthropological tools. . then eat rice with vegetables and utter ‘Pāli’. Pā-li. naively. Try to utter the term ‘Pāli’. and overall mental sanity. the present essay should have by now convinced us of an undisputable fact about our existence and the world that is constantly shaping it while being shaped by it: Pāli. vertically or horizontally.difficult process of purification of mental states from mental afflictions which afflict the mind and which hamper the ultimate process of gradual liberation from suffering as a whole and in all the various aspects which have been orally explicated in the predominantly oral mileu that. Conclusions It shall by now have become clear that the previous paragraph constitutes no less than the breaking point between old ways of thinking about early Buddhism and a novel plagiarism-shift in the academic study of this broad tradition. Then walk three steps to the left. philological rigour. considered to have been composed by sentient beings whose intent could be in any way commensurable with contemporary middle-class overweight pale sweaty adult males sitting in greyish armchairs and in complete ignorance of basic facts about les differences (Derrida). consciously or unconsciously. Utter it again. In the specifically specific specificity of the particularly particular particularity (a necessary. or perhaps. Talk to a friendly person and observe the difference in your utterance of the phonemes ‘Pāli’ as compared to your utterance following a discussion with an unfriendly person (or a house lizard). the specific Theravada tradition of Buddhism that expressed itself in a language that now has come to be known (in certain relatively well-informed circles within and without South-East Asia) as Pāli. Utter it again. Eat plain rice and utter ‘Pāli’. inviting readers to recalibrate their perception of the primary textual basis that forms the necessary foundation of this essay. could be of assistance in interpreting the thought of texts that they. defined the structure and the specific phrasing of specific texts within. common-sense. occasionally useful generalization) of the utterance of the two syllables that comprise the original Pāli term ‘Pāli’.