Introduction to Khuddakapāṭha
with an Analysis of its Metre

 

The Establishment of the Text

In editing a text, of course, where there are many variant readings in the different traditions to choose from, we are dealing only with probabilities, and never with certainties. In light of this it seems that a conservative approach to the texts is called for. With the verse texts in particular it seems that the best and most reliable manuscripts are found within the Sinhalese tradition. For that reason I have made BJT the basis of the readings, and have only introduced other readings when there seemed to be a real need, and when it can be done in a fairly simple way.

The Burmese edition of the text presents many problems for the would be editor, as there appears to have been an over correcting of the metre in the texts in an attempt to make them conform to classical standards. In Ratanasuttaṁ, for example, there are a number of readings in the Burmese edition that produce the classical bhagaṇa break −⏑⏑, but there is no reason to believe that the sutta was written to that standard. The Thai edition also has to be treated with caution. To give one example: not understanding the matter of sarabhatti vowels a reading is introduced into Ratanasuttaṁ at 9a, against all other editions: ye 'rīya saccāni vibhāvayanti. When we take the sarabhatti vowel into account however, and read ariya (21), we can see that there was no need for the change in reading (for a discussion of sarabhatti (svarabhakti) see Warder PM p. 29ff01

The most drastic changes are made in Mettasuttaṁ, where there has been alteration of word form, rearrangement of text, and what amounts to rewriting as well. For alteration of word form, see e.g. 3a; rearrangement of text, 4c; rewriting, vss 9 & 10. Unfortunately, even after much handiwork occasionally the text is still left ‘wrong’ according to classical standards, see the note to 10ab.02 A number of the lines that have been ‘corrected’ actually scan as Siloka lines as they presently stand, and as Siloka lines seem to have been considered acceptable in gaṇacchandas verses it is questionable whether the lines ever needed correcting at all. It appears that many of the readings introduced into this text were not being read by the commentator, lack confirmation in other traditions, and are not found in the early Burmese manuscript tradition either.