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A Comparison of the Pāḷi Udānas
and the Sanskritised Udānavarga
collected and edited by
A comparative edition of the eighty Udāna verses as found in the Pāli Canon and in the Udānavarga.
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This document presents a comparison between the Udānas found in the eponymous collection in the Pāḷi and the Udānavarga. The text of the Pāḷi Udāna used here is substantially a transliteration of the Sinhala version of the text as printed in the Buddha Jayanti Tripitaka Series, Volume XXIV, under the title Udānapāḷi, with the corrigenda as printed on page xxvi of that volume taken into account.
Very occasionally it has been necessary to correct the readings in BJT, and these have been noted in the appropriate place. The edition has been chosen because it is far better than the PTS edition (edited by P. Steinthal in 1885), which has many mistakes in it; and the readings in BJT are usually to be preferred to the readings in the Burmese edition of the text also.
The text of the Udānavarga has been taken from the edition by Dr. Franz Bernhard, which was published by Vandenhoeck + Ruprecht (Gottingen, 1965), with punctuation added by the present writer, and a few minor changes in format to bring it into line with the presentation of the Pāḷi version.
All the Udānas in the Pāḷi edition of the text find parallels in the Udānavarga; but the reverse is far from the case. There are many verses in the Udānavarga which do not find parallels in the Pāḷi. In many cases this seems to be because the Udānavarga has been expanded, often by adding variations to an existing verse or series of verses.
To give an example, there are good parallels to the first 3 verses in the Pāḷi Udāna, as can be seen from the text below; this hides the fact that the Udānavarga contains no fewer than 8 verses which have variants on the same theme. Although not all the verses have been expanded in this way, this is still typical of the way the text has been filled out.
Although both the Pāḷi and the Sanskritised Prākṭ must be ‘translations’ We must understand the use of the word translation in this context in a broad way - sometimes it may mean nothing more than a transliteration (many times even a transliteration may not have been necessary); but at other times it may be that, as in the Sanskrit, forms have been regularized, or verses that were no longer understood, have been rewritten.01 from an earlier dialect, there can be no doubt that the Pāḷi as a whole contains the older and more authentic recension of the verses. As is well known udānas were normally spoken as verse. In the Pāḷi version of the text, however, there are some udānas (3-10, 6-8, 6-10, 8-1, 8-3, 8-4) that are either prose or a mixture of verse and prose. One of the most noticeable difference between the two versions is that in the Prākṭ the prose udānas have been versified.
This is indicative of the kind of rewriting and standardization that has been at work in the later text. Many awkward expressions that are found in the Pāḷi we find have been rewritten in the Udānavarga; and many times it can be seen that the Udānavarga redactor(s) have changed a metre when they don't understand it, or tidied it up so that it accords with more classical norms.
This comparison text has been prepared incidently as part of the work accompanying the Udāna translation. Because of this the notes to the present text have not been written up as completely as they could have been. I have therefore contented myself with pointing out such matter as came to my attention while preparing the text for publication, and making some translations to facilitate easier comparison. More complete notes to the Udāna accompany the translation text itself.
last updated: August 2006