A new edition of the Medieval Pāli text retelling the Life of the Buddha. Includes notes on variant readings, with an analysis of the metre of the verses.
Venerable Medhaṅkara Thera
together with a metrical analysis
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Elsewhere on this Website:
Jinacaritaṁ, The Life of the Victorious Buddha (Text and Translation)
The Life of the Victorious Buddha (English Only)
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Rouse: Jinacarita, by W.H.D. Rouse (JPTS, 1905). Rouse had only one text, the 1886 Sinhalese printed edition, and a "rough transcript" to work from. The text is very inconsistent, and includes many wrong, and indeed sometimes impossible, readings. The words are many times divided incorrectly. Rouse claims to have corrected the confusion of the cerebrals and nasals made in the printed edition, but there are many wrong readings that have been adopted in this regard. Despite corrections being printed in the following Journal, none that occurred in the text itself were pointed out.
Duroiselle: Jinacarita, or “The Career of the Conqueror" A Pāli Poem, edited and translated with notes by Charles Duroiselle (Rangoon, 1906). Duroiselle had two manuscripts to work from and at a later date the Sinhalese edition that Rouse also used, but hardly any variants are recorded. The corrigenda as printed on page xxvi have been taken into account when comparing the readings. The numbering in this edition differs to the others as Duroiselle restarts with verse 1 after the Introductory verses (verse 8 in the other editions). The translation also omits the colophon to the work.
Vimalavaṁsa: Jina Caritaya, Vyākhyā Sahitayi, by Ven. Baddegama Vimalavaṁsa (4th edition, Colombo, 1999). It is not clear how the text was established for this edition. The Vyākhyā is very helpful in explaining certain matters regarding the text and its correct translation. I have taken the readings from the text printed at the front of the book, which sometimes differ from those printed in the Vyākhyā. There are a number of mistakes involving the omission of a syllable in the text as printed which must be printer's errors, which even in the 4th edition have still been left uncorrected.
Tilakasiri: Jinacaritaya, edited by Siri Tilakasiri (Colombo, 1999). This edition has been established after a comparision of 3 editions in Sinhala characters and Duroiselle's edition, but no variants are recorded. Contains a helpful Vyākhyā written by Tilakasiri himself, based on earlier sannayas. I have taken the readings from the text printed at the front of the book, which sometimes differ from those printed in the Vyākhyā.
Note on this Edition
When I started to prepare this text I only intended to transcribe Rouse's edition, but there were so many obvious - and therefore maybe also unobvious - mistakes in it, I had no choice but to compare it with Duroiselle's edition. Then to confirm the readings chosen I also compared it with Vimalavaṁsa's and Tilakasiri's editions, which have the added advantage of having very good Vyākhyās attached to them. I have tried to lessen the number of variants recorded somewhat by noting general differences whenever possible, but Rouse's edition is so inconsistent that there are a profusion of variant readings, which are not always of very great significance, and no obvious way around the problem.01 I would have liked to have had compared some ola-leaf manuscripts also, but health problems prevent me from travelling. However as I am now reasonably confident of the readings chosen, perhaps it is not so important.
It will be seen from the variant readings that Rouse accepted nearly every possible sandhi, There are so many mistakes in the printing of Rouse's edition that it is sometimes hard to know whether the indicated sandhi was actually intended, or simply yet another printing error. Certainly numerous sandhis simply do not occur, e.g. annādim dadanto (vs. 64); saṇḍam sama (vs. 84); samākulattam gaganaṁ (vs. 102), etc. etc., and must be mistakes made by the printer.02 and Duroiselle virtually none: here I have walked what I hope is a middle path, accepting sandhi with words that are in close syntactical proximity, or where it is required by the metre; and rejecting it in words where these requirements are not met.
The variant readings in the two Sinhalese editions are almost identical in their readings, apart from some incidental (and perhaps even accidental) differences. Indeed it very much looks as though the later edition was copied from the earlier one, as it includes many of the same wrong readings, e.g. bindhūnaṁ & āyataṁ (20); catuhi & lokekanāyaka (38) etc. etc.
In all the editions there are many wrong divisions of words, and many wrong cases of indicating sandhi also. Originally I recorded all these in the variants also, but the number of notes multiplied so greatly I thought it best to take them out and simply point out some general mistakes in this regard.
last updated: March 2007