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Studies in Ven. Buddhadatta's Prosody
1: The Text
Ven. Buddhadatta's commentary on the Buddhavaṁsa differs from the other texts examined in this series of studies, in that it is not, like the other works, an original composition, but rather a translation and edition of the traditional commentary that had been handed down in the Mahāvihāra at Anurādhapura, in the Sinhala language.
It is written in a mixture of prose and verse, and includes many quotations from the Tipiṭaka and other commentaries, besides a number of verses that appear to be original to the work, though exactly which verses are the original compositions of Ven. Buddhadatta himself is not possible to establish beyond any doubt.
The commentary does of course, quote all of the verses of Buddhavaṁsa itself, and comments on them. But besides these there are a number of verses, which are not quotations from other sources. In her translation of Buddhavaṁsa-aṭṭhakathā (The Clarifier of the Sweet Meaning, PTS, London, 1978) Miss I.B. Horner lists 129 unattributed verses. The number given here is much greater from that, amounting to 185.
This total differs from Horner's because there are many mistakes in Horner's work, both of omission and of commission:
In this way we eventually arrive then at a figure of 185 unattributed verses in this work.
We have seen in the earlier studies that Ven. Buddhadatta's prosody is quite unique, and has certain very distinctive characetristics, which we may define here:
In the Siloka verses there is:
In the Classical metres there are:
We will see from the analysis of the verses which are unattributed in this work that they conform in many ways to Ven. Buddhadatta's idiosyncratic prosody, and employ many of the same Classical metres that he used in his original works. These studies would seem to prove beyond any reasonable doubt, therefore, that the Madhuratthavilāsinī is in fact correctly attributed to Ven. Buddhadatta.
2: Sarabhatti & Resolution
Sarabhatti vowels are found in bhariyāhi (55c) & –garahino (119d).
Resolution occurs in the following words: upa– 27a; rata– 40c; sama– 40d – 100d; –pari– 95c; dasa– 103b; padu– 126d; & saka– 162a.
3: Analysis of the metres
There are 108 unattributed verses written in the Siloka metre, of which 98 are pathyā (91%).
Of the variations:
There are light 2nd & 3rd syllables in the opening of verse 23:
viharatha vivittesu, pabbatesu vanesu ca.
b: Other Metres
The verses written in Classical metres in this work are proportionately much greater than in the other works, there being 131 verses in a variety of metres, which amounts to 70% of the total.
There are no metres here in Mattācchandas metres; but of the Addhasamavutta class which are derived from that class, Aparavatta occurs at 154; and Pupphitaggā at 145.
The rest are composed in Samavutta metres.
Campakamālā = 1 (131)
The greatest number of the Classical verses are in the Upajāti metre.
One of the striking characteristics of these verses in the inclusion of no less than 21 Vaṁsaṭṭhā lines, something which is also characteristic of Ven. Buddhadatta's other works. They occur at 41ac; 43bc; 45a; 49a; 50a; 51b; 52b; 53a; 56c; 69c; 70a; 71ab; 74a; 81b; 90b; 92a; 96c; 98b; 107b; & 156a.
Verse number 98 besides the Vaṁsaṭṭhā line also has a line in the 14 syllable Vasantatatilaka metre (98a); and 94d has a line in the 11 syllable Sumukhī metre.
Compounds cross the pādayuga in the Ganthārambhakathā on 4 occasions: 6ab; 8ab,cd; & 9ab.
Of the other Classsical metres there are 8 in Indavajirā metre (29, 31, 114, 115, 134, 146, 150, 152); and 7 in Upindavajirā metre (3, 7, 102, 105, 122, 153, 167).
There is also one verse in the very rare Classical form of the Svāgatā metre at 157.
Vaṁsaṭṭhā occurs independently in only 3 verses (1, 159, 165).
In the same class the unusual Bhujaṅgappayāta metre occurs 5 times, at 37, & in four verses in the Nigamana at 179 - 182.
Toṭaka = 1 (163)
Dutavilambita = 1 (118)
Mattamayūra = 1 (132)
We now present all of the unattributed verses from Ven. Buddhadatta's Madhuratthavilāsinī. Verses that are not sequential in the original are seperated by 3 astericks:
anantañāṇaṁ karuṇālayaṁ layaṁ,
malassa buddhaṁ susamāhitaṁ hitaṁ.
namāmi dhammaṁ bhavasaṁvaraṁ varaṁ,
guṇākarañ-ceva niraṅgaṇaṁ gaṇaṁ. 
paññāya seṭṭho jinasāvakānaṁ,
yaṁ dhammasenāpati dhammarājaṁ.
niraṅgaṇaṁ ñātigaṇassa majjhe. 
hatāvakāsena pakāsito yo,
samādhivāsena tathāgatena. 
pāḷikkamañ-ceva ca pāḷiyatthaṁ.
kathānusandhiṁ sugatassa puttā,
yathāsutaṁ yeva samāhariṁsu. 
sadā janānaṁ savanāmatassa,
saṁvaṇṇanānukkamato pavattā. 
āyācitohaṁ suciram-pi kālaṁ,
tasmāssa saṁvaṇṇanam-ārabhissaṁ. 
sadā janānaṁ kalināsanassa,
mamā pi puññodayavuddhiyatthaṁ,
pasādanatthañ-ca mahājanassa. 
samāsatoyaṁ pana Buddhavaṁsa-
saṁvaṇṇanā hessati sārabhūtā. 
sotabbarūpaṁ pana buddhavaṁsa-
kathāya aññaṁ idha natthi yasmā.
pasādanaṁ buddhaguṇe ratānaṁ,
pavāhanaṁ pāpamahāmalassa. 
tasmā hi sakkaccasamādhiyuttā,
saṁvaṇṇanaṁ vaṇṇayato suvaṇṇaṁ,
nidhāya kaṇṇaṁ madhuraṁ suṇātha. 
sabbam-pi hitvā pana kiccam-aññaṁ,
sakkacca maccenidha niccakālaṁ.
sotuṁ kathetum-pi budhena yuttā,
kathā panāyaṁ atidullabhāti. 
taṁ sambahulavāram-pi, yathāṭṭhāne mayaṁ pana,
dassetvā va gamissāma, tattha tattha samāsato. 
kenāyaṁ desito kattha, kassatthāya ca desito,
kim-atthāya kadā kassa, vacanaṁ kena cābhato. 
sabbam-etaṁ vidhiṁ vatvā, pubbam-eva samāsato,
pacchāhaṁ buddhavaṁsassa, karissām-atthavaṇṇanan-ti. 
kenāyaṁ desito kattha, kassatthāya ca desito;
kim-atthāya kadā kassa, vacanaṁ kena cābhato ti 
⏑−−−⏑¦−⏑−−¦¦−−−−¦⏑−⏑− 9 syllables
kadāyaṁ dhammadesanatthaṁ, ajjhiṭṭho brahmunā jino;
kadā kattha ca kenāyaṁ, gāthā hi samudīritā ti. 
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last updated: March 2006