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and written books in the native dialects. names of several of those then existing.
And we know the
1. The Commentary of the dwellers in the North Minster" the Uttara Vihara-at Anuradhapura.1
2. The Mula-, or Maha-Atthakatha, or simply "The Atthakatha", of the dwellers in the "Great Minster "-the Maha-Vihara also at Anuradhapura.2
3. The Andha-Atthakatha, handed down at Kāñcipura (Congevaram), in South India.
4. The Maha-Paccari, or Great Raft, said to be so called from its having been composed on a raft somewhere in Ceylon.3 5. The Kurundi Atthakatha, so called because it was composed at the Kurundaveļu Vihāra in Ceylon.a
6. The Sankhepa-Atthakatha or Short Commentary, which, as being mentioned together with the Andha Commentary,5 may possibly be also South Indian.
Buddhaghosa himself says in the introductory verses to the Atthasalini : 6
I will set forth, rejoicing in what I reveal, the explanation of the meaning of that Abhidhamma as it was chanted forth by Maha-Kassapa and the rest (at the first Council), and re-chanted later (at the second Council) by the Arahats, and by Mahinda brought to this wondrous isle and turned into the language of the dwellers therein. Rejecting now the tongue of the men of Tambapanņi and turning it into that pure tongue which harmonizes with the texts [I will set it forth] showing the opinion of the dwellers in the Great Minster, undefiled by and unmixed with the views of the
1 JPTS., 1882, pp. 115, 116. English in Turnour's MahāVamsa, pp. xxxvii, xxxviii.
2 Sum. 180, 182; Saddhamma-Sangaha, 55; MBV. 134–6. 3 Papañca Sudanī on M. ii, 13; Saddhamma-Sangaha, 55.
4 Saddhamma-Sangaha, 55.
5 Vijesinha in the JRAS., 1870 (vol. v, N.S.), p. 298: "Origin of the Buddhist Arthakathās.”
sects, and adducing also what ought to be adduced from the Nikayas and the Commentaries." 1
It would be most interesting if the book as we have it had been written at Gayā in North India, or even if we could discriminate between the portion there written and the additions and alterations made in Ceylon. But this we can no longer hope to do. The numerous stories of Ceylon Theras occurring in the book are almost certainly due to the author's residence in Ceylon. And we cannot be certain that these and the reference to his own book, written in Ceylon, are the only additions. We cannot, therefore, take the opinions expressed in the book as evidence of Buddhist opinion as held in Gaya. That may, in great part, be so. But we cannot tell in which part.
In the course of his work Buddhaghosa quotes often from the Nikayas without mentioning the source of his quotations; and also from the Vibhanga 2 and the Mahā-Pakaraṇa 3 (that is the Paṭṭhāna), giving their names. Besides these Pitaka texts, he quotes or refers to the following authorities :1. His own Samanta-Pāsādikā, e.g. pp. 97-8.
2. His own Visuddhi-Magga, pp. 168, 183, 186, 187 (twice), 190, 198.4
3. The Maha-Atthakathā, pp. 80, 86, 107.
4. The Atthakathācariyā, pp. 85, 123, 217.
5. The Atthakathā, pp. 108, 113, 188, 267, 313.
6. The Atthakatha's, pp. 99, 188.
7. The Agamatthakatha's, p. 86.5
1 Agamatthakathāsu, perhaps from the commentaries on the Nikayas ".
See note 5 below; cf. Expositor, 3.
See its index for list of references to commentaries.
2 For instance, pp. 165-70, 176, 178.
3 For instance, pp. 7, 9, 87, 212, 409.
4 The apparent references at pp. 195, 196 are not to the book. 5 The reading in the printed text is a ga ma natthakathasu. But this is not intelligible. And as we have ā gamatthakathāsu at p. 2, v. 17, it is probable we
8. Acariyānam samānaṭṭhakathā, p. 90.
9. Porāņā, pp. 84, 111, 291, 299, 313.
10. The Thera (that is Nāgasena), pp. 112, 121, 122.
11. Nāgasenatthera, p. 114.
12. Ayasmā Nāgasena, p. 119.
13. Ayasmā Nāgasenatthera, p. 142.
14. Thera Nagasena, p. 120.
15. Dīgha-bhāṇakā, pp. 151, 399 (cf. p. 407).
16. Majjhima-bhānakā, p. 420.
17. Vitaṇḍa-vādī, pp. 3, 90, 92, 241.
18. Peṭaka, Peṭakopadesa, p. 165.
I do not claim to have exhausted the passages in the Atthasalini quoted from these authorities, or to be able to define precisely each work-what, for instance, is the distinction between 5 and 6, and whether 4 was not identical with either. Nor is it clear who were Porānā or Ancients, though it seems likely, from the passages quoted, that they were Buddhist thinkers of an earlier age but of a later date than that of our Manual, inasmuch as one of the citations shows that the "Door-theory" of cognition was already developed (see below, p. lxviii, etc.). From the distinct references to 3 and to 7, it seems possible that the so-called
Great Commentary" (3) dealt not so much with any particular book, or group of books, as with the doctrines of the Pitakas in general.
The foregoing notes may prove useful when the times are ready for a full inquiry into the history of the Buddhist Commentaries.1 With respect to the extent to which the Atthasālinī itself has been quoted in the following pages, it may be judged that the scholastic teaching of eight centuries
must so read also here, where the meaning clearly is "in the commentaries on the Nikayas ".
1 I may add that a Tikā, or sub-commentary on the Atthasālinī, written by a Siamese scholar, Ñāṇakitti, of unknown date, was edited in Sinhalese characters by Kodagoḍa Paññāsekhara of Kalutara, in Ceylon, and published there in 1890.
later is a very fallacious guide in the interpretation of original doctrines, and that we should but darken counsel if we sought light on Aristotle from mediaeval exegesis of the age of Duns Scotus.
Without admitting that the course of Buddhist and that of Western culture coincide sufficiently to warrant such a parallel, it may readily be granted that Buddhaghosa must not be accepted en bloc. The distance between the constructive genius of Gotama and his apostles as compared with the succeeding ages of epigoni needs no depreciatory criticism on the labours of the exegesists to make itself felt forcibly enough. Buddhaghosa's philology is doubtless crude, and he is apt to leave cruces unexplained, concerning which an Occidental is most in the dark.1 Nevertheless, to me his work is not only highly suggestive, but also a mine of historic interest. To put it aside is to lose the historical perspective of the course of Buddhist philosophy. It is to regard the age of Gotama and of his early Church as constituting a wondrous "freak" in the evolution of human ideas, instead of watching to see how the philosophical tradition implanted in that Church (itself based on earlier culture) had in the lapse of centuries been carefully handed down by the schools of Theras, the while the folklore that did duty for natural science had more or less fossilized, and the study of the conscious processes of the mind (and of atheistic doctrine) had been elaborated.
This is, however, a point of view that demands a fuller examination than can here be given it. I will now only maintain that it is even more suggestive to have at hand the best tradition of the Buddhist schools at the fullness of their maturity for the understanding of a work like the DhammaSangani than for the study of the Dialogues. Our Manual is itself a book of reference to earlier books, and presents us with many terms and formulæ taken out of that setting of occasion and of discourse enshrined in which we meet them
1 Cf. Dr. Neumann in Die Reden Gotamo Buddhos, p. xv et seq.
in the Nikayas. The great scholar who comments on them had those Nikayas, both as to letter and spirit, well pigeonholed in memory, and cherished both with the most reverent loyalty. That this is so, as well as the fact that we are bred on a culture so different in mould and methods (let alone the circumstances of its development) from that inherited by him, must lend his interpretations an importance and a suggestiveness far greater than that which the writings of any Christian commentator on the Greek philosophy can possess for us.
On the Method and Argument of the Manual.
The title given to my translation is not in any way a faithful rendering of the canonical name of the Manual. This is admitted on my title-page. There is nothing very intelligible for us in the expression "Compendium of States", or
Compendium of Phenomena ". Whether the Buddhist might find it so or not, there is for him at all events a strong and ancient association of ideas attaching to the title Dhamma-Sangani which for us is entirely nonexistent. I have, therefore, let go the letter, in order to indicate what appears to me the real import of the work. Namely, that it is, in the first place, a manual or textbook, and not a treatise or disquisition, elaborated and rendered attractive and edifying after the manner of most of the Sutta Piṭaka. And then, that its subject is ethics, but that the inquiry is conducted from a psychological standpoint, and, indeed, is in great part an analysis of the psychological and psycho-physical data of ethics.
I do not mean to assert that the work was compiled solely for academic use. No such specialized function is assigned it in the Commentary. Buddhaghosa only maintains that, together with the rest of the Abhidhamma,1 it was the
1 But including the Mātikā only of the later Kathā Vatthu. Cf. Dialogues of the Buddha, p. xi; Asl., p. 1.