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Ancient Buddhist Texts Home Page
Grammar and Prosody
This section contains studies of the grammar and prosody of Buddhist texts, with original texts in Pāli and Sanskrit (together with extensive annotation).
Old Javanese Metres Updated, 2020
The material in this section was originally concerned with the prosody of the Pāḷi texts. The first work prepared here was An Outline of the Metres in the Pāḷi Canon, which seeks to give a summary of the metres found in the Pāḷi Canon, within a reasonably short compass, together with sufficient examples drawn from the Canonical texts to illustrate the metres. Although this work is mainly a summary of what is so far understood about the metres in the Canon, it also presents the results of my own research in this area.
A second work, which seeks to substantiate some of these findings in regard to the earliest metrical material in the texts in detail, is presented in Pārāyanavagga - A Study of its Metre, which analyses one of the earliest texts in the Canon, to ascertain the usage at that stage in the development of the metres.
There is now new material relating to the Medieval Pāḷi period, the first of these texts is Examples of Classical Metres from Mahāvaṁsa, which I assembled in order to illustrate the various Classical Metres that are presented in the medieval prosody Vuttodaya, a text and translation of which is presently being prepared. A second set of texts has now been added, which analyse and illustrate Ven. Buddhadatta’s prosody as used in his verse summaries and commentaries written in the early Medieval period. All the metres are illustrated, including some which are very rare in the literature.
Also in connection with the Vuttodaya project I have prepared a number of Sanskrit prosodies, the most important of which is a new edition of Vttaratnākara, which was the immediate source for Vuttodaya. Also in the Sanskrit section is a transcription of the texts of Śrī Piṁgala’s Chandaḥśāstra, and Śrī Kāḷidāsa’s Śrutabodha, both of which are classic works on Sanskrit prosody.
There are also two reference works available, A Comparative Table of the Metres found in Chandaḥśāstra, Vttaratnākara, & Vuttodaya; and Metre Tables (Chandaḥprasthāra), which gives listings of all the metre names and descriptions I have yet come across.
Recently I have started transcribing a number of summaries and articles dealing with the subject of Indian Prosody from its beginnings in Vedic times, through the Pāḷi period, and upto its consummation in the Classical period. I will add more to this section as and when I can get the material prepared.
In 2015 I also moved all the grammatical works I had prepared into this section also and retitled it to match. A number of these are reference works, like Navapadamañjarī (illustrating Pāḷi case endings); A Practical Guide to Pāḷi Grammar; and Grammatical Terms; and some are more expository, like: A Grammatical Analysis of Three Discourses (Maṅgala, Ratana and Mettā); and Light on Pāḷi Pronunciation (Ledi Sayadaw). The intention is to add more works in here making it a good source for Indian grammar and prosody.
transliteration of the text above:
namo buddhāya ..... namatthujanasantānatamasantānabhe
no ...... piṅgalācariyādīhichandaṁyamuditaṁpurāsuddhamāgadhi
kānantaṁnasādhetiyathicchitaṁ ..... tatomāgadhabhā
pasannatthapadakkamaṁ ..... idaṁvuttodayannā
tesaṁsukhavibuddhiyā ..... sabbaglāmnādigalahubhyā
Opening of Vuttodaya, Ola Leaf Book written in Sinhala Script,
now in the Peradeniya University Arts Library, Sri Lanka.
last updated: April 2016