Evolution of Pali and the content of the tipitaka

Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and texts.

Evolution of Pali and the content of the tipitaka

Postby Sekha » Sat Jun 12, 2010 11:44 am

To which extent can one state rightly that there was no evolution of the Pali langage as well as the content of the tipitaka from the day they reached the shore of Sri Lanka?
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Re: Evolution of Pali and the content of the tipitaka

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Jun 12, 2010 11:48 am

Greetings Dukkhanirodha,

There are expressions, compounds and such which only appear in the commentarial literature.

If one accepts that these commentaries were written in Sri Lanka, then it would seem that the utilisation of Pali did continue to evolve upon reaching Sri Lanka.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Evolution of Pali and the content of the tipitaka

Postby gavesako » Sat Jun 12, 2010 7:08 pm

There is the obvious "sanskritization" of Pali in the centuries in which later commentaries and manuals were written.
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Re: Evolution of Pali and the content of the tipitaka

Postby Sekha » Sat Jun 12, 2010 11:01 pm

Thank you for your answers.

But what about the evolution of the content of the tipitaka? I think people generally believe it to have been preserved thoroughly... to which extent is that right?
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Re: Evolution of Pali and the content of the tipitaka

Postby Kare » Sat Jun 12, 2010 11:20 pm

Dukkhanirodha wrote:Thank you for your answers.

But what about the evolution of the content of the tipitaka? I think people generally believe it to have been preserved thoroughly... to which extent is that right?


The Chinese translations of the Agamas (corresponds to the Nikayas) give parts of an answer. These Agamas are not identical to the Pali Nikayas, so they can not be translated from the Pali. They are probably translated from another Prakrit version - independent of the Pali version. Still, they seem to be so similar to the Pali texts that there are good reasons for assuming that these two versions go back to a common source - back to an oral Tipitaka that existed before the Agamas and the Nikayas. Thus we can move the time horizon for the Tipitaka back to a period before the formation of the Nikayas and the Agamas, probably rather close to the Buddha's own time. And then we find that the the Pali Tipitaka and the Chinese Agamas independently of each other probably do present quite faithful versions of the Buddha's teachings.
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Re: Evolution of Pali and the content of the tipitaka

Postby Sekha » Sat Jun 12, 2010 11:47 pm

Thanks a lot for this answer.

But it calls another question: what do we know of the time when the Agamas where composed?
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Re: Evolution of Pali and the content of the tipitaka

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Jun 12, 2010 11:51 pm

Greetings Dukkhanirodha,

Would you like us to move this topic to the Early Buddhism forum?

It is likely to be difficult to pursue your line of inquiry here in detail given the constraints of this particular sub-forum.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Evolution of Pali and the content of the tipitaka

Postby Kim OHara » Sun Jun 13, 2010 12:23 am

Hello, Dukkhanirodha,
I asked similar questions on e-sangha when it still existed and Ven Pannasikkhara was most helpful.
The gist of what he said, as far as I can remember, agrees with what Kare has said. Further, that no-one has ever attempted a close comparison of the whole of the two canons because there is just too much material but partial studies show that they do appear to agree very closely.

I did a quick search. Google still lists that e-sangha thread but then, of course, we can't get to it. This - http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=29&t=3507 - is the most relevant result from the search.

:namaste:
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Re: Evolution of Pali and the content of the tipitaka

Postby Sekha » Sun Jun 13, 2010 9:22 am

retrofuturist wrote:Would you like us to move this topic to the Early Buddhism forum?

do as you think fit, it doesn't matter to me


and thank you, Kim

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Re: Evolution of Pali and the content of the tipitaka

Postby Bankei » Mon Jun 14, 2010 6:23 am

Dukkhanirodha wrote:Thanks a lot for this answer.

But it calls another question: what do we know of the time when the Agamas where composed?


We can't be sure when they were composed, but we can know with good accuracy when they were first translated into Chinese. The Chinese seemed much more concerned with dates than the early Indian were.

As for the Pali canon, it has undergone frequent revision and correction during the many 'councils' over the years. There are variations in manuscripts, but these appear only slight. It is probable that overall it is very similar to that which was transmitted to Sri Lanka in the BC years.
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Re: Evolution of Pali and the content of the tipitaka

Postby gavesako » Fri Jun 17, 2011 5:32 pm

Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Re: Evolution of Pali and the content of the tipitaka

Postby daverupa » Fri Jun 17, 2011 7:48 pm

Comparisons with the Gandhari scrolls show a likelihood that the Nikaya format was in place circa 10-30 AD (which is to say, at least the Fours section of an Anguttara Nikaya).

What are the chances that the Nikaya format was developed as part of a plan to write it all down? I believe Bhikkhu Bodhi remarks in the Samyutta Nikaya introduction that it's possible the Samyutta was a compilation of Suttas from other, earlier collections which were organized into vaggas by topic, or in the case of the Anguttara by numbered reference. Ancient stuff, and getting quite close to the Blessed One's time.

It does mean the abhidhamma was developed relatively early, but it's interesting that the abhidhammas of various schools differ greatly while SuttaVinaya differs to a vastly lesser extent.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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