Update: 2016-01-31 07:23 PM -0500


Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Grammar and Dictionary


by Franklin Edgerton (1885–1963), Sterling Professor of Sanskrit and Comparative Philology, Yale University, Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Private Ltd., Delhi, 1st ed. New Haven, 1953. ISBN: 81 208-0998-x (Vol. 1), ISBN: 81 208-0997. (Set of 2 books).

Scanned from the original book by Dr. Zin Tun, up to p009, and digitized by Daw Khin Wutyi. From p010 onwards, Daw Khin Wutyi has typed from the original book which I (U Kyaw Tun) have brought with me on my trip from DeepRiver to Yangon where Daw Khin Wutyi is based. This TIL edition is edited, with additions from other sources, by U Kyaw Tun (UKT) (M.S., I.P.S.T., USA) and staff of Tun Institute of Learning (TIL) . Not for sale. No copyright. Free for everyone. Prepared for students and staff of TIL Research Station, Yangon, MYANMAR :  http://www.tuninst.net , www.romabama.blogspot.com

index.htm | Top

Contents of this page 

Read: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhist_Hybrid_Sanskrit 140118 as an introduction

Languages used in early Buddhism


Edgerton notes
Edgerton's footnotes are continuously numbered without any reference to pages. However for this TIL edition, I have given the page numbers as well. Thus fn001-02 means, it is footnote #02 found on p001, and fn003-07 is footnote #07 found on p003.


UKT notes 
Indic languages
Schools of Buddhism


Contents of this page

Languages used in early Buddhism


1.1. Buddhist religious texts have been preserved in at least four Indic languages.

UKT 140607, 160121: When you see the words "text" and "preserved", stop for a moment and ask
 #1 were the texts written down, or memorized using human hearing (by the ear) and reproduced (by the mouth)? 
 #2, how would you preserve without electronic means if the "texts" were based on sound waves. Then comes the question of language base. The Indic languages are based on the "syllables" and not on "letters", because of which the Indic languages are radically structured from the European languages. The Indic languages, an example being Sanskrit written in Devanagari script, are Abugida-Akshara systems whereas the European scripts are Alphabet-Letter systems.
See: Sanskrit in Unicode in TIL SD-Library -- Unicode-ch09<Ô> Unicode-ch09<Ô> (link chk 160121)
Go online and see: Unicode Consortium standard version 1.0.1, chapter 9, from which I learnt the structure of Abugida-Akshara languages of India - the first being Devanagari script in which Sanskrit speech is written.
- Uni4.indx.htm (link chk 140604 - not available on 160121).
Many of the misunderstandings by Western scholars, such as Prof. Franklin Edgerton (1885–1963), are based on their ignorance of the Abugida-Akshara system. They usually think in terms of what they are used to - the Alphabet-Letter system.

1.2. One is standard Sanskrit, used for example by the poet Aśvaghoṣa (attributed to the 2nd century A.D.) (fn001-01 )

UKT 160123: Since, Gautama Buddha had banned the use of Sanskrit as the only language to preserve his teachings, and since the Third Buddhist Synod was held ca. 250 BC in the reign of King Asoka, we can be sure that "standard Sanskrit" may have been one of the original languages, but never the original. I opine that Magadhi speech written in Asokan script was the original language. If we are to go by the assertion of Rev. F. Mason that Myanmar akshara is the direct descendant of Asokan script, the original language of Buddhism to be no other than Magadhi-Myan, the closest being the present Pali-Myan - the variety spoken in Myanmarpré.

1.3. Two of the others are Middle Indic. The better known, which contains the largest Buddhist literature now preserved in any Indic language, is Pali, the sacred language of Southern Buddhism [aka Theravada]. Most scholars now believe that it is, in the main, based on a western, or west-central, Middle Indic vernacular. The other is the dialect of the 'Prakrit Dharmapada' (ms. Dutreuil de Rhins) published by Senart in JAs. IX.12 (1898), pp. 193 ff. It was based on a north-western Middle Indic. (fn001-02). There is no need for me to discuss these languages further at this point. Especially Pali will be very often mentioned, for comparative purposes, thruout my Grammar and Dictionary. 

UKT 140518, 160121: Terms like 'Middle Indic' and 'Vedic-Sanskrit' are coined by Western philologists who believed the languages in India to be of derived from Indo-European (IE) languages. They did not realized that Vedic was not Sanskrit as could be seen from the way the oldest Vedic verse, Gayatri Mantra was written.

We should also note the "Pali" to the Westerners like Prof. Edgerton, is the Sri Lankan variety, not that of Myanmarpré. In order to make this distinction clear, we should use Mag-Myan (Magadhi speech in Myanmar script) instead of Pali-Myan. 

As a side note, I should remark that a "Mantra" is not like a "Hymn" you sing in the Christian church. A Mantra is a verbal spell invented by a human Rishi to control the nature-spirits (Déva-gods, Asura-gods, Ghosts, etc. including the Heavenly King Indra himself. Such a human Rishi is Vishwamitra, who Indra sought to destroy using a low mean trick - sending a beautiful heavenly dancer to seduce him. Rishi Vishwamitra is the inventor of Gayatri Mantra said to be the most potent verbal spell to control all the forces of nature. In Myanmarpré, believers in Esoteric Sciences (with which I am familiar as a skeptical scientist), still recite (not singing to music) all the words of a Mantra one-by-one concentrating on the meaning.

The native languages particularly of the regions along the foothills of Himalayas from Afghanistan to the regions of northern Myanmarpré were Tibeto-Burman (Tib-Bur). The Westerners simply discarded them -- not worthy of discussion. If only the native Tib-Bur languages had been included, Bur-Myan would fall under the rubric of Indic. See my note on Indic languages .

1.4. There remains the subject of this work, which I call Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit (abbreviated BHS). Most North Indian Buddhist texts are composed in it. It is based primarily on and old Middle Indic vernacular not otherwise identifiable. But there seems reason to believe that it contains features which were borrowed (originally, or in the course of historical development, or both) from other Middle Indic dialects. In other words, even its Middle Indic aspects are dialectically somewhat mixed. (For that matter, we shall soon see that the same could be said of Pali*, and probably of all other Middle Indic dialects of which we have any considerable knowledge.) Most strikingly, however, BHS was also extensively influenced by Sanskrit, from the very beginning of the tradition as it has been transmitted to us, and increasingly as time went on. (p001c1end-p001c2-begin) Many (especially later) products of this tradition have often, tho I think misleadingly, been called simply 'Sanskrit', without qualification.

*UKT 160121: It is regrettable that Prof. Edgerton had failed to realized that Pali was an invention from Old Magadhi and Lanka speech. It was never spoken in eastern- and north-eastern India. It was Old Magadhi that was spoken. It is almost the same (my conjecture) as "Pali" spoken in Myanmarpré.

1.5. There have been attempts, as will be seen later, to identify the Middle Indic dialect on which this language was originally based. This question has also been somewhat blended, or confused, explicitly or implicitly, with the question of what language was used in what is presumed to have been the oldest, or 'original', form of the canonical literature of the Buddhists. Admittedly, no such 'original' canon is preserved to us.

1.6. The nature of the BHS language, and the question of an 'original' canonical language of Buddhism, can be understood best against the background of the attitude of early Buddhism towards the use of various languages as vehicles for its religious teaching. Fortunately that attitude can be quite clearly defined.

1.7. In the Pali canon (Cullavagga 5.33; Vin. ii.139.1 ff.) occurs a famous passage which, in abbreviated form, may be rendered thus:

Two monks, brothers, brahmans by birth, of fine language and fine speech, ( fn001-03) came to the Buddha and said: Lord, here monks of miscellaneous origin (literally, of various names, clan-names, races or castes, and families) are corrupting (dūsenti) the Buddha's words by (repeating them in) their own dialects; let us put them into Vedic**. ( fn001-04) The Lord Buddha rebuked them: Deluded men, how can you say this? This will not lead to the conversion of the unconverted ... And he delivered a sermon and commanded (all) the monks: You are not to put the Buddha's words into Vedic Sanskrit. Who does so would commit a sin. I authorize you, monks, to learn the Buddha's words each in his own dialect.

UKT 160124: The incident is mentioned in Cullavagga Pali, Sixth Synod version in Pal-Myan. (inset pix: The Sixth Synod was held in Yangon beginning in 1955. The finalized recitations in Pal-Myan covered 61 volumes which on transcription into Pal-Lat covered 40 volumes. The Pal-Lat was completed in 2005.). The Vinaya rule set down by the Buddha can be seen in the concluding line of Pali text:

"anujānāmi bhikkhave sakāya niruttiyā buddhavacanam pariyā punitum"

 **UKT 160120: I opine that Prof. Edgerton has failed to differentiate Vedic from Sanskrit. These two were not the same. Vedic was the older language, belonging to Tib-Bur language group of the former indigenous peoples, whereas Sanskrit belongs to IE language group. The IE speakers began infiltrating into the Indian subcontinent through north-western passes many thousands of years before the age of the Gautama Buddha. The story was told in the history of Kashmir - the Battle of the Ten Kings दाशराज्ञ युद्ध - a war mentioned in the Rig Véda. Buddha has respect for Vedic Rishis, but he accuses the later Sanskrit Rishis of changing the Vedic texts to promote their own gods.


1.8. The Pali commentator Buddhaghosa takes the last clause to mean rather 'in (the Buddha's) own dialect'; and some moderns (notably Geiger p.5) follow him. (fn002-05) [UKT¶]

UKT 140518: #1. Who was Buddhaghosa? According to some scholars he was Indian, but he could very well be a native of Thaton, in southern Myanmarpré. See : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhaghosa 140518
#2. "Geiger" was Wilhelm Geiger, who wrote "Pali Literature and Language". See Introduction, https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/Pali/conversations/messages/5761 140524

In my [Edgerton] opinion, however, as in that of most scholars, there can be no real doubt of the above interpretation; and it is made doubly sure by several Chinese versions of the same incident, ( fn002-06) which never speak of 'the Buddha's dialect'. Some of them specifically authorize use of 'the ordinary language of each country' or the like. This is clearly a very old tradition, supported by closely parallel texts in both the northern and southern canons. It justifies us in assuming that the Buddha himself and his earliest disciples used only popular dialects as vehicles for their teachings, and refused to employ the venerated 'Vedic' Sanskrit language of the brahmans {braah~ma.Na. poaN~Na:}.

UKT 140518, 160120: The Vedic Rishis were venerated by Gautama Buddha, and so it was probably not the original Vedic language that Buddha was referring to. By the time of the Buddha the Vedic speech had been put into script form as was attested by the script on the inscriptions of King Asoka (who came just a couple of centuries after the Buddha).

Sanskrit was the language of new comers the Brahmin-Poannas {braah~ma.Na poaN~Na:}. It was the celebrated linguist Panini, a Brahmin-Poanna himself, who codified the Vedic into Classical Sanskrit. Since the Brahmin-Poanna scholars could not decipher the Asokan inscriptions when called upon to do so by their Mughal Emperor, Asokan script was not the "script of the Brahmans". From this it may be said that Vedic was also not the "language of the Brahmin-Poannas".

1.9. Taken together, the various reports of this incident seem to me to indicate more than that, and more than has usually been recognized. Let us look at some Chinese translations of lost Indic versions, as given by Lin Li-kouang (note 6).

1.10. The Vinava of the Mahīsāsaka sect [Theravdin], translated by Buddhajīva in 423-424 A.D., reports that the two originally brahman brothers heard monks reciting the sūtras 'incorrectly'. (UKT ¶)

UKT 160201: The sūtra recited fortnightly is Patimokkha 'rules of discipline for male society of monks'.

They ridiculed them, saying: 'Tho they have long since become monks, they recite the sūtras in this fashion! not knowing masculine and feminine gender, nor singular and plural, nor present, past, and future, nor long and short sounds (vowels), nor (metrically) light and heavy sounds (syllables).' [Edgerton's addition: A student of BHS might be forgiven for thinking that the writer had this very dialect in mind! But most if not all of these 'errors' can be found in most Middle Indic dialects.] When they appealed to the Buddha, he ordered that the texts be recited 'according to the sounds of the regions, but taking care not to distort the meaning. It is forbidden to make of the Buddha's words an "outside" (non-Buddhist, heretical) language.'

UKT 160122: See in my notes: Schools of Buddhism

UKT 160122: Note also that what the two Sanskrit speaking monks had complained to the Buddha is about the absence of gender, number, tense - the devils of Sanskrit (IE) grammar. Even though not many in Myanmarpré would know Sanskrit (Skt-Dev), we know very well how we had to suffer studying the English (another IE) grammar. We are used to the very simple Burmese (Tib-Bur) grammar of the colloquial language - the language of the man on the street. The classical form used by the literati is "Pali grammar in Burmese dress" as mentioned by A. W. Lonsdale in 1899. See
¤ Burmese Grammar and Grammatical Analysis 1899, by A. W. Lonsdale, Rangoon: British Burma Press, 1899 xii, 461, in two parts: Part 1. Orthoepy and orthography; Part 2. Accidence and syntax, in
- BurMyan-indx.htm BG1899-indx.htm
  > Orthoepy and orthography BG1899-1-indx.htm
  > Preface and original TOC -- ch00.htm (link chk 160122)
" • The Burmese language is constructed on scientific principles, and there is no reason why its grammar should not be dealt with also from a scientific standpoint. But it may be safely said that Burmese grammar as a science has not received that attention it deserves.
" • With regard to the grammatical treatises by native writers, it is no exaggeration to say that there is not one which can be properly called a Burmese grammar. These writers, not content with merely borrowing the grammatical nomenclature of the Pali language, also attempted to assimilate the grammatical principles of the uninflected Burmese to those of the inflected Pali; so that they produced, not Burmese grammars, but modified Pali grammars in Burmese dress. The servile veneration in which they held Pali, the language they had adopted as the classic, is, no doubt, directly responsible for the composition of such works. In their endeavour to conform strictly to Pali methods, they often introduced unnecessary terms and misapplied them, ignoring those grammatical points in Burmese for which they could find no parallel in Pali. How futile their attempts were may be judged by the numerous difficulties and anomalies they created, from some of which even now teachers of the language have not quite extricated themselves - take, for instance, the case-inflexions."

1.11. The Vinaya of the Dharmagupta sect [Theravadin] is closer to the Pali, but speaks of only one originally brahman monk, not two. He complained to the Buddha that 'monks of different clans and bearing different names were ruining the sūtra', and proposed to 'arrange them according to the good language of the world', that is, no doubt, Vedic or Sanskrit, the language of culture. In his rebuke the Buddha said that it would ruin the sūtras to use 'the language of heretics', and that 'it is allowed to recite and learn the Buddha's sūtras according to the interpretation of the popular languages of (various) regions.'

1.12. Even more striking for my purpose is the Chinese rendering (between 350 and 431 A.D.) of the lost Vinayamārkā ('Summary of the Discipline'). Here, the two monks of brahmanic origin say to the Buddha: 'Among the disciples there are men of different clans, of different countries, of different prefectures and sub-prefectures. Their pronunciations (lit. sounds of language) are not the same. As their languages are not correct, they all corrupt the true meaning of the Buddha.' They wish to compile and regulate the sūtras according to the 'Chando-(vi-)citi-sāstra'. (UKT ¶)

The Buddha replies: 'In my religion, fine language is not recognized. All I want is that the meaning and reasoning be correct. You are to preach according to a pronunciation (lit. sound) which people can understand. Therefore it is proper to behave (sc. in the use of language) according to the countries.'

1.13. There are other, less close reflexes of this old (p002c1end-p002c2begin) passage, but they seem to add nothing important for my present purpose. The net result seems to me to show, not only that the Buddha authorized and commanded the recitation of his teachings in local dialects everywhere; but also that from the very start there were clearly perceptible differences in the speech of different members of the Buddhist order, which showed in their ways of reciting the sacred texts. 'Their pronunciations are not the same, says the last quoted text; and if no other has been found recording this fact quite so clearly, others, including the Pali, emphasize the miscellaneous origins of the monks and the fact that the Buddha ordained that everyone, monks included, should use his own particular dialect in reciting the sacred texts. (p002c2cut for next file)


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Edgerton Footnote

Edgerton's footnotes are continuously numbered without any reference to pages. However for the TIL edition, I have given the page numbers as well. Thus fn001-02 means, it is footnote #02 found on p001, and fn003-07 is footnote #07 found on p003.

fn001-01 - 'His Sanskrit is faultess, even though it does not always comply strictly with the rules of Paṇini' Winternitz, Hist. Ind. Lit., vol. 2, 1933, p.260.) Very many brahmanical Sanskrit works likewise fail to comply strictly with these rules. 
- fn001-01b

fn001-02.   J. Blocli, JAs. 1912, I, p. 331 ff. This text, with a translation of Senart's French notes, and new textual and exegetic notes, was reprinted by B. Barua and S. Mitra, Calcutta, 1921; a new edition of the greater part of the text, with an index of words and bibliography, by H. W. Bailey, BSOS 11. 488-512. I know of no evidence that Buddhist religious texts (such as might have formed parts of a canon, or have been ancillary to a canon) have been preserved to us in any other Middle Indic language. Aśoka's inscriptions, and most other Buddhist inscriptions, mainly memorial and votive, from the celebrated Piprawa vase (most recently treated by Lin Li-kouang, Aide-Mémoire 227; see note 6 below) onward, are not 'religious texts' in my sense. (See 1.18 ff. for their bearing on dialects used in Buddhism.) The finds from Central Asia (Chinese Turkestan) have revealed such Buddhist texts only in Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit, and to some extent in standard Sanskrit (to ignore non-Indic languages). The 'Niya' inscriptions (Stein, Ancient Khotan, pp.321, 364-8), published by Boyer, Rapson, Senart, and Noble, 3 vols., Oxford, 1920, 1927, 1929, seem to contain only two frag-(p001fnc1end-p001fnc2begin) ments of Buddhist religious texts (Nos. 510, 511), both in Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit, besides one set of nīti verses (which have no obvious distinctively Buddhist traits) in what is meant for standard Sanskrit (No. 523). The rest, in what has been called 'Niya Prakrit', seem to be purely secular. According to Konow, BSOS. 8.611, this and the dialect of the ms. Dutreuil de Rhins are 'closely connected forms of one and the same ancient dialect'. 
- fn001-02b

fn001-03. kalyāņavācā  seems to mean that their language was cultivated and elegant; kayāņavākkaraņā , that they were eloquent and mellifluous speakers (comm. madhurasaddā ; similary 'AN comm. ii.40.15 kalyāņavākkaraņatāti  vacanakiriyāya  madhurabhāvo , 'mellifluence in the use of the voice, or of word').
- fn001-03b

fn001-04. chandaso  āropema . Not, as, some have thought, 'into verses', Sanskrit or other; the context makes it quite clear the chandaso  means texts in a certain language or dialect; and more precisely in the Vedic language (whether prose or verse). This is the regular meaning of chandas  in Pāņini, and is familiar in Epic and Classical Sanskrit (BR s.v. 3). To these brahmans by birth, the proper language for sacred texts was Vedic (which included the Brāhmaņa  and Upsanişad  dialects). Comm., vedam  viya , sakkatabhāsāya (not 'Sanskrit'! but 'respectable, elegant') vācanāmaggam  āropema .
- fn001-04b

fn002-05. Buddhaghosa says 'the Māgadha language, spoken by the Buddha', which Geiger thinks means real Māgadhi, while Lin (see n. 6), p. 226, supposes that he referred to Pali. It makes little difference; Buddhaghosa was surely mistaken in any case.
- fn002-05b

fn002-06. First recorded (as far as I know) by S. Lévi, JAs. 1915, I, 441 ff., and more recently discussed at length by Lin Li-kouang, L'aide-mémoire de la vraie loi (Paris, 1949), 218 ff. fn002-06b

UKT: Edgerton fn #07 is on p003.

Contents of this page

UKT notes

Indic languages

- UKT 140518, 160122:

In spite of the fact that Pali and Burmese are so entwined, Bur-Myan had been grouped together with Thai. These Westerners had forgotten that people have been constantly travelling between north-eastern India and northern Myanmarpré throughout human history. They speak languages belonging to the same linguistic group - the Tibeto-Burman. These northerners have no fear of crossing the mountain passes with their herds of cattle. On the other hand they have a lethal fear of the ocean and heavy rains of the southern parts and would not even dream of sea voyages from southern India or Sri-Lanka to the southern part of Myanmarpré.

Moreover, it has been suggested by Rev. F. Mason in 1868, in his
¤ A Pali grammar on the basis of Kaccayano {kic~sæÑ:} - PEG-indx.htm
that Pali spoken in Myanmarpré written in Myanmar script is no other than the language of King Asoka of Magadha kingdom who came a few centuries after the Gautama Buddha himself. Thus I am convinced that Pal-Myan is almost the same as Old Magadhi, the mother tongue of the Buddha. Because of these facts, I suggest that Bur-Myan - a Tibeto-Burman language - should be studied together with the Indic languages. It is should not have been grouped together with Thai, a language belonging to a different linguistic group.

From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middle_Indo-Aryan_languages 140518

Middle Indo-Aryan languages (Middle Indic languages, sometimes as Prakrit) is a group in the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-Iranian languages. Middle Indo-Aryan languages are the descendants of the Old Indo-Aryan languages such as Vedic, Epic Sanskrit and Classical Sanskrit [of Panini], and the predecessors of the Modern Indo-Aryan languages such as Hindustani (Hindi-Urdu), Oriya, Bengali, and Punjabi.

UKT 160122: This old Wiki article does not take into consideration that the original indigenous peoples of the Indian subcontinent of the Bronze Age spoke Tibeto-Burman (Tib-Bur) languages. Thus Vedic was Tib-Bur. Sanskrit belongs to the new comers who spoke Indo-European (IE) languages. They with their iron weapons were more militant and could easily overcome the Bronze Age Tib-Bur speakers. The Bronze Age ended and Iron Age emerged.

Iron Age new-comers adopted many ideas - science, arts, technologies and philosophies collectively known as The Knowledge or Véda of the Bronze Age. The Vedic Mantras - "Formulas to control Nature, or the Knowledge of the {I.þi.}" became Rig Véda. I base this conjecture on the well-known fact that the modern English and Hindi speeches (examples of IE) are rhotic {ra.}- and hissing {þha.}-sounded, whereas Bur-Myan speech (example of Tib-Bur) is non-rhotic {ya.}-sound and non-hissing {þa.}-sound. Hindi and Sanskrit speeches use a highly rhotic vowel-pair, ऋ & ॠ, which is absent in Bur-Myan and Pali-Myan. You may argue that Pali-Myan is rhotic to some extent, but its rhoticity is that of {ra.}-sound and not of ऋ {iRi.}-sound. Please note that as a skeptical chemist - a down-to-earth scientist - I base my conjecture of facts based on observation. I rely more on instrumental (objective) findings and less on human-based (subjective) observations. Please remember that History based on old-writings is unreliable because it is being changed all the time by clever writers and present day journalists. Even Archeological artifacts can be faked in the Past and Present!

As a side note, I must warn you against the use the word "Aryan", as it is associated with the racist Nazi regime of Hitler. The word "Aryan" has become a tainted word in the West.

The Middle Indo-Aryan stage in the evolution of Indo-Aryan languages is thought to have spanned more than a millennium between 600 BC - 1000 AD, and is often divided into three major subdivisions.

1. The early stage is represented by the inscriptions of Asoka (c. 250 BC) [Buddhist and not Hindu] and by Pāli (an artificial language derived from Old Magadhi, and Lankan speech: used in Theravada-Buddhist scriptures) and Ardhamāgadhī (used in Jain scriptures).

UKT 140518: The Buddhist descendant of Asoka was assassinated in 185 BCE by his own Brahmin general who was a Hindu religionist. It was the beginning of Sanskrit being promoted as an official language and the beginning of the end of Buddhism in mainland India. See also Nepal language , नेपाल भाषा «nepāl bhāṣā» (a Tib-Bur language), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nepal_Bhasa 140518

2. The middle stage is represented by the various literary Prakrits, especially Sauraseni, Maharashtri and Magadhi. The term Prakrit is also often applied to Middle Indo-Aryan languages (prakrita literally means "natural" as opposed to sanskrita, which literally means "constructed" or "refined"). Modern scholars such as Michael C. Shapiro follow this classification by including all Middle Indo-Aryan languages under the rubric of "Prakrits", while others emphasise the independent development of these languages, often separated from Sanskrit by social and geographic differences. [1]

3. The late stage is represented by the Apabhraṃśa languages of the 6th century AD and later that preceded early Modern Indo-Aryan languages [2] [3] (such as Brij).

Go back indic-note-b

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Schools of Buddhism

- UKT 160122

I used to think that there are only two schools of Buddhism: Theravada and Mahayana. There are more. The Indian records show that Buddhist missionaries of King Asoka had reached Rome itself. I am not surprised to read that there are no records of it in Rome, when it is a well known that the early Christians, in their zeal to eliminate all forms of "heathenism" from the worship of Greeks and Romans to Wicca religion of the British Isles. More than that, not knowing the worth of Mathematics and Astronomy, but thinking these studies as belonging to "heathenism", the Christians lynched by skinning alive the woman scholar of Alexandria. See accounts of Hypatia (born c. AD 350-370, died 415) - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypatia 160122

That Buddhism, including Pali-Myan script had reached the West can be seen by the presence of the consonant "Tan" თ (U+10D7) - the same glyph as {ta.} - in the name of Tbilisi , the capital of Georgia - the country bordered by Russia in the north and Turkey in the south. The only difference between the Georgian "Tan" თ (U+10D7), and Bur-Myan {ta.} is:

{ta.} containing an inherent vowel is a syllable and is pronounceable. It is a basic unit in the Abugida-Akshara system. On the other hand , whereas the consonant თ {t} /t/ has no inherent vowel because of which it is mute. You have to supply the inherent vowel "An" ა (U+10D0) /a/ to make the combination თა {ta.} pronounceable. The consonant თ {t} /t/ is a basic unit in Alphabet-Letter system.

თ {t} /t/ + ა {a} /a/ <--> {ta.}


From Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schools_of_Buddhism 160122

Schools of Buddhism refers to the various institutional and doctrinal divisions of Buddhism that have existed from ancient times up to the present. The classification and nature of various doctrinal, philosophical or cultural facets or schools of Buddhism is vague and has been interpreted in many different ways, often due to the sheer number (perhaps thousands) of different sects, subsects, movements, etc. that have made up or currently make up the whole of Buddhist traditions. The sectarian and conceptual divisions of Buddhist thought are part of the modern framework of Buddhist studies, as well as comparative religion in Asia.

From a largely English language standpoint, and to some extent in most of Western academia [English-, French- and German-speaking] Buddhism is separated into two groups at its foundation: Theravāda literally, "the Teaching of the Elders" or "the Ancient Teaching," and Mahāyāna, literally the "Great Vehicle." The most common classification among scholars is threefold, with Mahāyāna itself split between the traditional Mahāyāna teachings, and the Vajrayāna teachings which emphasize esotericism.

UKT 160122: The relatively little known Vajrayāna Buddhism can be found in Myanmarpré under the umbrella of Theravada. What Maung (Dr.) Htin Aung has described in his:
¤ Folk Elements in Buddhism -- flk-ele-indx.htm (link chk 160122)
are some practices of Vajrayāna which can be tolerated to some extent by Theravada Buddhist clergy. Some of the clergy, monks and nuns, even practices some forms such as reciting Mantras, and construction of Yantras (Yan in Cambodia and Thailand). Before King Anawrahta's purification of Buddhism in the 11th century, even sex-biased Tantric traditions were practiced in Pagan kingdom.

The Macmillan Encyclopedia of Religion distinguishes three types of classification of Buddhism, separated into "Movements", "Nikāyas" and "Doctrinal schools":

¤ Theravada, basically in South Asia and Southeast Asia.
¤ Mahāyāna, basically in East Asia.
¤ Vajrayāna, basically in Tibet, Bhutan, Mongolia and the Russian republic of Kalmykia.

Nikāyas, or monastic fraternities, three of which survive at the present day:
¤ Theravāda, in Southeast Asia and South Asia
¤ Dharmaguptaka, in China, Korea and Vietnam
¤ Mūlasarvāstivāda, in the Tibetan tradition

Doctrinal schools

UKT: More in Wiki article

From: Dissent and protest in the ancient Indian Buddhism, by Ven. Tran Dong Nhat (b.1968), Ph.D. thesis submitted to Univ. of Delhi, 2008. Ch. 5 (downloaded 160124). The following are my (UKT) excerpts:


Buddhism is a universal religion. It is very lively and the most scientific religion. It benefits not only one community, nation or religion but the whole mankind. ...

From a philosophical perspective, Buddhism is a pure and harmonious community. Buddhism stands for the democratically elected leader and supports freedom of speech. As a matter of fact, the teachings of the Buddha are not only the basic teachings but also practical guidelines to make the Dhamma meaningful and applicable to daily life. Only one who lives with Dhamma will experience the qualities of the Dhamma. The method which the Buddha proposed for this process of self-examination is a subject of observation and critical study. His own philosophy was described as ehi-passika (dhamma should be come and seen) and paccatta veditabba (should be realised by oneself). Thus, it is considered as a means to help a person to steadily reach complete liberation (vimutti) from the edge of non-suffering. The Buddha-dhammas are like a raft which is left behind when one reaches the other, i.e., the Ultimate destination (Nibbāna) and is not carried along.

... ... ...


Historically speaking, after the Second Council, two Buddhist sects appeared: the Theravāda (Sthaviravāda) and Mahāsanghikas. (UKT ¶)

The Theravādins were split up into eleven sub-sects known as:
  01. Theravāda (or Ārya Sthaviranikāya), 02. Mahīsāsaka (go back fn-b),
  03. Dhammagupta (fn-b), 04. Sarvāstivāda,
  05. Sammitya, 06. Kāsyapīya,
  07. Sankantika (Sautrāntika or Sankrātika), 08. Vātsīputrīya (or Sammitīya),
  09. Dharmottarīya, 10. Bhadhrayānīya, and
  11. Shan-nāgarika. (UKT ¶)

The Mahāsaṁghikas were split into seven sub-sects known as:
  01. the Mahāsaṁghika, 02. Gokulika (Kukkulika),
  03. Paññattivāda (Prajñaptivāda), 04. Bahusrutīya,
  05. Chetiyavāda, 06. Ekvyavahārika and
  07. Lokottaravāda.
Besides these eighteen, we are told, there arose a few more sub-divisions known as the Siddhatthika or Siddhārthika, Rājagirika, Aparasaila, Vetulyaka, Hemavatika (Haimavata), Vajiriya, Hetuvāda, and Sāgalīya.[1] In the academic field, these sects are summarized into the two main sects: The Theravāda and Mahāyāna.

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