Update: 2015-12-08 12:41 PM -0500


Language Problem
of Primitive Buddhism


by Chi Hisen-lin, Journal of the Burma Research Society, XLIII, i, June 1960
[current spelling: Ji Xianlin ]

Copied, and set in HTML by staff of TIL Research Station, Yangon, MYANMAR.
Edited, with additions from many by U Kyaw Tun (UKT) (M.S., I.P.S.T., USA). 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

UKT 140112, 151125: The Language problem of primitive Buddhism, a photocopy, was provided to me, sometime in 2004, by Daw Papa Aung, lecturer in Pali, Yangon University. Until I can come up with a photo copy of the original paper in pdf format, I request the reader to look into:
- the original in JBRS, or
- online on the Internet - http://phathoc.net/PrintView.aspx?Language=en&ID=76C213 151125 
- or in css format in TIL SD-Library - lang-problem-css<> (link chk 151125)

index.htm | |Top

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I have formed a TOC for easy reading. - 121122
I have included Pali passages from the Sixth Buddhist Synod held in Rangoon in 1954-1956 CE. The controversial passage sakāya nituttiyā is mentioned in  Cullavagga {su-La. wag~ga. pa-Li.}, passage 285 - ref to Pal-Myan made in 151123.

What language?
A Pre-Sanskrit language : interpretation of sakāya nituttiyā
Language spoken by the Buddha
 Chinese translations of the Tipitaka

Chi Hisen-lin note

Ji Xianlin (季羡林; August 6, 1911 July 11, 2009) was a Chinese Indologist, linguist, paleographer, historian, and writer who had been honored by the governments of both India and China. He was born in Qingping County, now Linqing, [1], and died in the No. 301 Hospital, Beijing.
-- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ji_Xianlin 121202

Message of the Gautama Buddha:
Look for this message in {su-La.wag~ga. pa-Li.} in ink-on-paper book form in Pal-Myan language. If you cannot read Pali in Myanmar-script, all I can say is "too bad". English transcriptions are just confusing!

UKT notes
Chanda : Prosody
Cemetery H culture 
Language - the medium for communication
Magadhi script on Asoka pillars
  See Inscriptions of Asoka by A. Cunningham, Calcutta 1877 in TIL SD-Library
  - Cunningham-Asoka-inscript<>
Nirutti - the problem word : sakāya nituttiyā {a.ka-ya. ni.roat~ti.}
Pali - multiple scripts
Panini - the first Sanskrit phonetician
Reply to F. Edgerton, 1885-1963,
 author of Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Grammar and Dictionary .
Yāska यास्क  = य ा स ् क  - the last Vedic phonetician
 Skt: {yaaS~ka.} aka Pal:  {yaa~ka.} 


Noteworthy passages in this file:
Rice became a main crop. [UKT: in Cemetery H culture]

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What language?

What language was used by primitive Buddhism? This is a problem yet unsolved among the learned circles. Based upon some new materials I wish to propose my personal views concerning this problem. In the Cullavagga, V. 33. 1, there is narrated the following story:

Now there were two Bhikkhus surnamed Yamelutekula {ya.m-Lu.t-ku.la}, who were brothers born in a Brahman {braah~ma.Na. poaN~Na:} family. [UKT ]

UKT 151121: See Pal-Myan version in Cullavagga {su-La. wag~ga. pa-Li.}, passage 285

They had good voice and were expert in conversation. They came to the presence of the Blessed One, to whom they paid their homage and sat aside. After having taken their seat, the two Bhikkhus said to the Blessed One,

"Bhante, now the Bhikkhus with different family names and personal names, of different social ranks and families, have come to join the Order. With their own vernaculars they have marred the Buddha's words. Please permit us to express the Buddha's words in Sanskrit."

The Buddha reproached them, saying,

"You fools, how dare you say, 'Please permit us to express the Buddha's words in Sanskrit!' Fools, by doing so you could neither induce those who did not have faith in the Buddha to have faith in him, nor could you enhance the faith of those who already had it in the Buddha. You could only help those who did not believe in the Buddha and change the mind of those who already believed in him."

After having reprimanded them, he preached the Dhamma for them, and then said to the Bhikkhus,

"Bhikkhus, you are not allowed to express the Buddha's words in Sanskrit. Those who act contrarily will be considered as having committed the offence of Dukkata {doak~ka.Ta.}."  fn09-01

And finally the Buddha said,

anujānāmi bhikkhave sakāya niruttiyā buddhavacanam pariyā punitum

UKT 101123 (I need to rewrite this note because it now involves two words, nirutta {ni.roat~ta.}, and a new idea sphoṭa (introduced by later {braah~ma.Na. poaN~Na:} scholars to elaborate on the word "nirutta " {ni.roat~ta.}) which could be interpreted as the "Word of God" - a heretical view according to the Buddha. Listen to a Skt-Dev pronouncing the word Nirutti {ni.roat~ta.}
- bk-cndl-nirutta<))
- lang-thot-indx.htm - (link chk 151101)
Caveat: my analysis may change!

A comparatively important problem of primitive Buddhism, the problem of language, is involved in this story. Buddhism during the period of its initiation may be considered, in many respects, as a sort of resistance to Brahmanism, the principal religion that occupied the position of predomination at the time. [See UKT note on Cemetery H culture  UKT01.] It was but natural that it should have opposed with determination the use of Sanskrit, the language of Brahmanism. In spite of the fact that during the 5th and 6th centuries B.C., the development of the Sanskrit language had reached its zenith, and if used, it would bring many advantages for the propagation of the Buddhist doctrines, but for the sake of carrying out his own ideas [Non-axiomatic Anatta {a.nt~ta.}], the Buddha would not consider the use of that language [used to propagate the Axiomatic Atta {t~ta.}] and scolded the two Bhikkhus as "fools" Probably because they were the descendants of a Brahman {braah~ma.Na. poaN~Na:} family, these two Bhikkhus still had some old conceptions in their brains. That was why they made the proposal to the Buddha for the adoption of Sanskrit and incurred his rebuke.

UKT 151123: Formally I had thought that the Buddha was very much against Brahmanism because of the Caste system which had pushed most of the commoners into the two lower Castes. The {braah~ma.Na. poaN~Na:} had made themselves the master caste pretending to be in direct communication with "God(s)" by performing various kinds of sacrifices or Yajna यज्ञ yaja (Skt: = {yiz~a}, Pal: {ya-za.na.}), protected by the warrior caste, but others as servants. Now I am sure that the objection of the Buddha is on doctrinal ground of Atta {t~ta.} vs. Anatta {a.nt~ta.}. Such pretenses by the {braah~ma.Na. poaN~Na:} in the historical past has made their progeny suffer in modern times. My friends from India who I have met in Canada told me that most of the present day {braah~ma.Na. poaN~Na:} in India are supporting themselves as cooks and taxi drivers. It is said that they find it very difficult to get into the universities and hence are denied top positions. It is interesting that the present day {braah~ma.Na. poaN~Na:} in Myanmarpr - most of them from Manipur - are disappearing because of their own Caste taboos. I write this note to honour my {braah~ma.Na. poaN~Na:} friend Saya Kalasan of Yangon who is a few years older than me.


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A Pre-Sanskrit language

UKT: 121122, 151119
Was Vedic the pre-Sanskrit language? What were the Prakrits? Whether there were more than one Prakrit is immaterial since my interest is the language of Magadha Janapada area.  The inhabitants of of an "area" known as Mahajanapada महाजनपद {ma.ha-za.na.pa.da.} is a 'foothold of a tribe' or 'area of the people of the same racial stock'. In this area may be found kingdoms such as Kosala kingdom {kau:a.la. ten:} and republics. Since they are of the same racial stock we can be sure that they would be speaking the same indigenous language with many dialects. Thus, the racial stock from {ma-ga.Da. ma.ha-za.pa.da.} area would speak a language known as Magadhi {ma-ga.Di}.

When King Asoka sent Buddhist missionaries to Ceylon (Sri Lanka), the Magadhi language went with them. The Buddhist converts formed a new language out of Magadhi and Lanka, and called the new language Pali.

Though, there had been no Asokan missionaries to northern Myanmarpr, there are footpaths across high mountain passes for individuals and small groups of people to travel between north-eastern India and north Myanmarpr. And Magadha must have been known to the people of northern Myanmarpr long before the time of Gautama Buddha. The recorded group migration was when a northern Indian king, known as King Abhiraza {a.Bi.ra-za} after losing a war took refuge in northern Myanmarpr in the area of Tagaung {ta.kaung:}. I have been trying to date him with known wars in northern India. So far, a war which resembles that recorded for King Abhiraza {a.Bi.ra-za} is the Battle of the Ten Kings.

From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Ten_Kings 151120
   "The Battle of the Ten Kings dāśarāj is a battle alluded to in the Rigveda (Book 7, hymns 18, 33 and 83.4-8), the ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns. The battle took place during the middle or main Rigvedic period [2], near the Ravi River in Punjab. It was a battle between the Puru Vedic Aryan tribal kingdoms of the Bharatas, allied with other tribes of the north-west India, guided by the royal sage Vishvamitra विश्वामित्र viśvā-mitra {wai~a mait~ta. ra..}, and the Trtsu ( Puru) king Sudas, who defeats the Bharatas."

UKT 151120: Vishvamitra {wai~a mait~ta. ra..}* is one of the ancient Vedic rishis revered by Gautama Buddha. "In the Buddhist Vinaya Pitaka of the Mahavagga (I.245) [14] section the Buddha pays respect to Vishwamitra by declaring that the Veda in its true form was declared to the Vedic rishis "Atthako, Vmako, Vmadevo, Vessmitto Yamataggi, Angiras, Bhradvjo, Vsettho Vsettho**, Kassapo, and Bhagu" [15] and because that true Veda was altered by some priests he refused to pay homage to the altered version. [16]
* see UHS PMD0925 for Pal-Myan spelling of the name.
** I cannot find Pal-Myan spelling of the name so far. Skt-Myan equivalent of the name is {wa.i.S~HTa.} from link to Vsettho in Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vashistha 151125.

The second group of refugees from northern India was in the time of the Buddha when a group of Sakka entered Tagaung. They had to flee because of persecution by King (Prince) Viḍūḍabha son of King Pasenadi of Kosala. Buddhism in Magadhi language would have been well known then. However, Pali from Lanka might have crossed over the sea to the Mon-Myan speakers of the southern part of the country. It is my conviction that the so called Myanmar Pali is Magadhi the language of the Buddha. See my note on Pali in multiple scripts

If Sanskrit was not used, then what language did they use? For the propagation of religion, the "policy of language" was a comparatively important problem, which must be settled. The Buddha's last sentence in the above story was for the solution of this problem. (JBRS09end-JBRS10begin)

But the point is that this sentence itself is rather ambiguous, and when literally translated it reads:

"I permit you, O Monks, to learn the word of the Buddha in his own language."

In the translation the meaning is comparatively clear, but the ambiguity lies in the original Pali words sakāya nituttiyā   (one's own language), which might be interpreted either as the "Buddha's own language" or as the "monks' own languages". [UKT ]

UKT 151121:
Pal: sakāya nituttiyā
Pal-Myan: {a.ka-ya.} - UHS PMD0937
  UKT from UHS: m. mother's womb
Pal-Myan: {ni.roat~ti.} - UHS PMD0540
  UKT from UHS: f. expression, explicit words, explanation of grammatical terms, elaboration 

For many years in the past this has been the point of contention among Sanskrit scholars and Buddhist research workers.

T.W. Rhys Davids and H. Olderberg interpreted this term as the "monk's own language", fn10-01 while W. Geiger was of the opinion that it meant the "Buddha's own language". fn10-02 Since they raised this dispute, many Sanskrit scholars and Buddhist research workers have joined in the discussion and a hot debate has been carried on. Generally speaking, they may be divided into three groups. One group of scholars agreed with Rhys Davids and Olderberg, another group accepted the opinion of Geiger, while the third one proposed a new interpretation of their own. Those who denied Geiger's opinion included F. Weller, fn10-03 A.B. Keith fn10-04 and M.Winternitz. fn10-05

E.J. Thomas proposed a new interpretation of the term and rendered the word nirutti as "grammar", thus translating the sentence as " I order you, Monks, to master the word of the Buddha (buddhavacanam) in its own grammar." fn10-06

But this is hardly justifiable, because the word nirutti can by no means be interpreted as "grammar". fn10-07

P.C. Bagchi had another new theory. He said that it was not a question of using one's own dialect for reciting the buddhavacanam, but using one's natural intonation for the recitation. His theory, however, does not have sufficient ground, because nirutti cannot be interpreted as "intonation".

It seems that W. Geiger was in a rather isolated position, but he had a powerful basis for his argument. He quoted the commentary of Buddhaghosa, the authoritative commentator of Pali texts, as the basis of his theory. He said, "Here the words sakā nirutti refers to the dialect of Magadha spoken by the Samyak-sambuddha." fn10-08

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Language spoken by the Buddha

UKT: 090807
Though the question of using Sanskrit to express Buddha's words should have been laid to rest with the above rule laid down by the Buddha, it is not so because the question resurfaced in our times around the meaning of the word of nirutti . So it is imperative to concentrate on this word and a work on it by Yāska, यास्क = य ा स ् क  {yaa~ka.}, an ancient Sanskrit grammarian. Refer to Wikipedia articles http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nirukta 090806 and  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vedas 090807; or my notes on it in the files buddh-philo.htm [UKT lost file 101107] and brah.htm [UKT lost file 101107] and accompanying files. At the present Nirukta has been identified with Etymology.

Then how is that so? To explain these questions and to settle these disputes, we must make a study of the dialect spoken by the  Buddha himself and the process of the compilation of the Buddhist scriptures.

As we all know that Sakyamuni was born in the frontier regions of North India in the territory of present Nepal. But he spend most of his time travelling in the then kingdom of (JBRS10end-JBRS11begin) Magadha (approximately in the present province of Bihar) for the propagation of his doctrines. Thus the language he spoke might most probably be the dialect of Magadha. Conjectured from different respects, no written record of the Buddhist texts in whatever language existed during his lifetime.

UKT 151126: In stead of describing the area where Buddha was born and spent most of his time in terms of present-day geo-political boundaries, think in terms of {ma.ha-za.na.pa.da.} 'the area of the same racial and linguistic group'. Then we can say that the Buddha spent most of his time among the peoples of {ma-ga.Da. ma.ha-za.na.pa.da.} who spoke Magadhi {ma-ga.Di} language but with different dialects. These dialects would be mutually understandable, and Buddha would understand the vowel variation amongst the dialects. Yet these are mutually understandable because of the same basic consonants.

Thus in present day Myanmarpr, a person from Irrawaddy basin would be able to speak with a person from Arakan because they both speak the basic Bur-Myan language. But he would have difficulty among the peoples of remote areas of the Karen State, Mon State and Shan State because of different languages even though they write the same Myanmar akshara. If he were to write down his syllables in Myanmar-akshara, the other person might understand him a little. But let him speak Pali, and most of the Pali speaking Buddhist monks would understand. This my underlying statement: Speech divides peoples, Script unifies them. Myanmar akshara is the unifying script of the country of Myanmarpr.

According to Buddhist tradition, not long after the Buddha's Nirvana [UKT: I would have used the word "death"], his disciple Mahakasyapa assembled five hundred Arahants at Rajagrha to recite the Buddhist scriptures. That assemblage, was known as the "Council of Five Hundred Arahants", because five hundred persons took part in the meeting. [UKT

One hundred years after the Buddha's Nirvana [UKT: "death"], the Buddhists again held another council at Vaisali, in which seven hundred persons were present, and so it was known as the "Council of Seven Hundred Persons". According to earlier tradition, the chief purpose of this council was to wipe out the ten points of erroneous views concerning the Vinaya. fn11-01 But according to later tradition it is said that this council lasted eight months, in which the participants recited and collated the Buddha's teachings. fn11-02 This supposition is apparently a bit exaggerated. It is possible, however, that one hundred years after the Buddha's demise, some of the Buddhist scriptures which were taught only orally, had been committed to writing at that time. Thus this tradition might have implied some historical facts.

According to the opinions of scholars in general, it was probably at the third Buddhist council that the possibility of compiling the Tipitaka on a large scale presented itself. fn11-03 That was the time when Asoka, a great protector of Buddhism (whose ascension occurred in about 273 B.C.), was on the throne. The eminent monk Tissa Moggaliputta assembled the monks at Pataliputra (present Patna) to compile the Buddhist texts. We have mentioned above that the language spoken by the Buddha for the propagation of his doctrines might have been the dialect of Magadha. If that was the case, when the Buddhists compiled the Buddhist texts, after the demise of the Buddha, out of the fragmentary scriptures orally taught to them, the language they used must also be the dialect of Magadha. But it cannot be pure Magadhi, for it is unimaginable that the purity of the language could be retained after the duration of a long time when Buddhism had been spread to more and more regions. [UKT ]

UKT 151125: If you take into consideration that Magadhi, and other languages in India are Abugida-Akshara languages with the aim of one-to-one mapping between speech and "script" by emphasising on Places of Articulation and the Manners of Articulation, I insist that it must be Magadhi. This fact of one-to-one mapping is not well appreciated by European linguists who are only used to Alphabet-Letter languages in which the vowels are undergoing change all the time which is known as the Vowel shift. Such vowel shifts are occurring in Canada and the US even today.

Therefore, the German scholar H. Liiders called this language used in primitive Buddhist texts as ancient semi-Magadhi. As Tissa Moggaliputra belonged to the School of Sthaviravada (or Theravada in Pali), the scriptures compiled under his supervision also belonged to this school. He also dispatched monks to various places to propagate the teachings of Buddhism. The one who was sent to Ceylon was Asoka's younger brother Mahinda (also said to be his son). fn11-04 According to the tradition of the Buddhists of Ceylon, the extent Pali Tipitaka was brought to Ceylon by Mahinda. And Pali means the language of Magadha (māgadhā nirutti or māgadhikā bhāsā), or in other words, Pāli is the language spoken by the Buddha and the Pali Tipitaka is the only orthodox Canon of the Buddhists.

UKT 151125: This conclusion must be contested because Magadhi has taken "refuge" in Myanmarpr, and the Pal-Myan recitations of the scriptures are different from recitations of Sri Lanka monks.

Now let us go back to the point about the explanation of the two words sakā nirutti given by Buddhaghosa, and we may understand that it was his standpoint that made him to interpret them in such a way. As he was an authoritative commentator on Pali texts and stood for them, he would surely try with utmost effort to procure an orthodox position for the Pali texts. And here lies the reason why his interpretation is unreliable and subjective. (JBRS-p11end-JBRS-p12begin)

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From linguistic characteristics we may also elucidate that the Pali language was not the language of Magadha. There have been various opinions concerning the problem of the region in which the Pali languages was prevalent. Westergaard fn12-01 and E. Kuhn fn12-02 considered that Pali was the local dialect of Ujjayini. From a research of this problem in the field of inscriptions, R. O. Franke came to the conclusion that Pali was the dialect of the regions in the central and western part of the Vindhya Ranges. fn12-03 Sten Konow was also of the opinion that the zone of the Vindhya Ranges was the home of the Pali language, fn12-04 because he discovered many similarities between the Pali and the Paisaci languages, and he fixed the home of Paisaci at Ujjayini. fn12-05 At first, H. Oldenberg advocated that Pali was the dialect of Kalinga, fn12-06 and E. Muller followed his opinion. fn12-07 But afterwards H. Oldenberg gave up his view and established a new theory, saying that Pali was the predecessor of the Magadhi language. fn12-08 Meanwhile E. Windisch fn12-09 and W. Geiger fn12-10 returned to the old theory, considering Pali as the dialect of Magadha. fn12-11

UKT 151125: The scholars of the past and even today, fail to note that Asokan script and Myanmar script shared at least 33% similarity. They also fail to note that the Myanmar {ta.} and Georgian თ (U+10D7 Georgian Letter Tan) are the same. If only they would note these facts, their conclusions would have surely changed.
See Magadhi script on Asoka pillars , and Inscriptions of Asoka by A. Cunningham, Calcutta 1877 in TIL SD-Library
  - Cunningham-Asoka-inscript<>

Although the above-mentioned views vary from one another, there is a comparatively concordant point, that is, most of the scholars advocated that the Pali language was a Western dialect, and such was truly the fact. The declensions of the Pali words are similar to those of the language used in the Girnar Inscriptions of the Asokan Pillars, such as the locative case ending in-amhi and -e, the accusative case in -ne, etc. But on the other hand, the Magadha language was an eastern dialect, in which r  {ra.} had become as l {la.}, and s as ś  [UKT: "s as ś " should read: {a.} /θ/ as /ʃ/ - remembering that / is derived from / (dental) and NOT from / (palatal)], while the nominative case of words ending in -a, ended in -e, etc. There is a vast difference between the two languages and they should by no means be confused with each other.

UKT: See The Edicts of King Asoka , An English rendering by Ven. S. Dhammika, The Wheel Publication No. 386/387, ISBN 955-24-0104-6, Published in 1993, BUDDHIST PUBLICATION SOCIETY, KANDY SRI LANKA, Copyright 1993 Ven. S. Dhammika, DharmaNet Edition 1994. -  http://www.cs.colostate.edu/~malaiya/ashoka.html

Watch downloaded pdf in TIL SD-Library
- Cunningham-Asoka-inscrip<>

The Girnar version mentioned in this article was issued in 257 B.C. These fourteen edicts, with minor differences, are found in five different places throughout India. In two other places, they are found minus numbers 11, 12 and 13.
   See Ven. S. Dhammika's The Edicts of King Asoka in TIL collections.

Based upon the above evidences, I feel we can safely come to the conclusion that sakā nirutti neither means the "Buddha's own language", nor implies "grammar" or "intonation", but it indicates the "monks' own languages". The Buddha permitted the monks to learn his word with their own dialects and vernaculars.

If the above evidences are considered as insufficient, then some more new testimonies can be produced. The story from the Cullavagga as quoted above, has many variant versions in the Chinese translations of the Tipitaka. Some of them are enumerated as follows (JBRS12end-JBRS13begin):

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In the Vinaya-mātrkā-sūtra

There were two Brahman Bhikkhus, named Usaha and Samadha, who went to the Buddha and said to him, "The disciples of the Buddha come from different castes of different places in different countries. Their language is not the same and their pronunciation is incorrect, and thus they distorted the right teachings of the Buddha. May the Blessed One allow us to carry out debates and compile the scriptures according to the Chandas way (referring to Sanskrit), so that the sentences may be arranged in order and the pronunciations corrected, in order to unveil the teachings of the Buddha." [UKT ]

UKT 151126: "Chanda" is one of the Vedangas vedāṅga {w-dn~ga.}. Chanda {hsn~dau:wi.si.ti.}. See Dict. of Pali-derived words, UTM-PDMD302 for "Vedanga" and "Chanda". In modern terms Chanda comes under the heading "Sanskrit Prosody".

The Buddha told the Bhikkhus, saying, "In my teachings emphasis is not laid on rhetoric. What I mean is that the doctrines should not be misunderstood. They should be taught in any language which is understood by the people, according to their suitability." Therefore, his teachings were taught according to the circumstances of the land." fn13-01

UKT 151125: And now I have a problem. The "language which is understood by the people" would surely include the Sign Languages of many lands so that the handicapped "Mute & Deaf" would not be denied the Word of the Buddha.


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In the Dharmagupta-vinaya, Vol. LII:

There was a Bhikkhu named Bravery, who was the descendant of a Brahman family. He came to the presence of the Buddha, and after having worshipped him, he sat aside and said to the Blessed One, "Venerable Sir, the Bhikkhus come from different castes and have different names. They misinterpreted the teachings of the Buddha. May the Blessed One permit us to rearrange the Buddhist scriptures in Sanskrit." The Buddha said, "You are fools! That would be a defacement to mix the Buddhist scriptures with a heretical language." He further said, "Recite the scriptures in the language of the country according to the custom of the people." fn13-02

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In the Mahisasaka-vinaya, Vol. XXVI:

There were two Brahman brothers who were versed in the Chandas-veda and later became monks in the Buddhist Order. They heard that the Bhikkhus were reciting the scriptures in an improper way, and said to them scornfully, "You venerable sirs have become monks for a long time, and yet you don't know the masculine and feminine genders, the singular and plural numbers, the present, past and future tenses, the long and short vowels, and the heavy and light accents. In such a way you are reciting the scriptures!" The Bhikkhus were ashamed to hear this remark, and the brothers went to the Buddha and reported the case to him. The Buddha said, "They are allowed to recite the scriptures in their own native tongue, only that they should not misunderstand the Buddha's meaning. NO one is allowed to mix the Buddha's word with a heretical language. One who acted contratily would be considered as having committed the offence sthulatyaya." fn13-03

In the Sarvastivada-vinaya, Vol. XXXVIII (JBRS13end-JBRS14begin):

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In the Sarvāstivāda-vinaya, Vol. XXXVIII:

Once the Buddha was in Sravasti. There were two Brahmans, one being names Gopa and the other one, Yapa, who had a devout faith in Buddhism and become Buddhist monks. They had formerly leaned the heretical four Vedas, and after having become monks they recited the Buddhist scriptures with Vedic intonations. Then one of them died, and the one who was alive forgot some passages of the scriptures and could not recite them fluently. He could not find a companion and was unhappy of it. Thus he told it to the Buddha, who said to the monks, "From now onwards anyone who recites the Buddhist scriptures with a heretical intonation will be considered as having committed the offence of Dukkata." fn14-01

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In the Mūlasarvāstivāda-nikāya-vinaya-samyuktavastu, Vol VI:

Once the Buddha was in Sravasti. At that time the Ven. Sāriputra ordained two Brahmans into the Order. One of them was called Ox-given and the other one, Ox-born. [UKT ]

UKT 151125: I am intrigued by the names "Ox-given" and "Ox-born". The names seem to suggest that the word "Ox" is Sanskrit "gotra", literally meaning "cow-shed" implying the same family or the same Brahmin-Poannar {braah~ma.Na. poaN~Na:} village. "Ox" does not refer to the animal!

Both of them studied the recitation of Buddhist scriptures. Afterwards they travelled about and came to a village, where they obtained many offerings and took up their lodgings there. Now these two persons had formerly learned the grammatical method of Brahmanic hymns. So when they recited the Buddhist scriptures, they habitually followed their old method. [UKT ]

UKT 151125: To appreciate the problem faced by the two monks, listen to such a recitation of a passage from  Bhagava Gita in a TIL SND clip - bk-cndl-Gita18-2<))
Text in Skt-Dev, IAST transcription, and meaning: श्रीभगवानुवाच śrī-bhagavān uvāca 'the Supreme Personality of Godhead said' - काम्यानां kāmyānāṁ 'with desire' - कर्मणां karmaṇāṁ 'of activities' - न्यासं nyāsaṁ 'renunciation' - सन्न्यासं sannyāsaṁ 'the renounced order of life' - कवयो kavayaḥ 'the learned' - विदु: viduḥ 'know' - सर्वकर्मफलत्यागं sarva 'of all' karma 'activities' phala 'of results' tyāgam 'renunciation' - प्राहुस्त्यागं prāhuḥ 'call' tyāgam 'renunciation' - विचक्षणा: vicakṣaṇāḥ 'the experienced' .

Then one of them suddenly died of illness. The one who was living was grieved by the death of his friend, and forgot most of the scriptures through negligence. Thus he returned to Srāvasti and came to the Jetavana Grove. After having taken rest, he went to see the Ven. Kaundinya, to whom he paid his respect and said, "Venerable Sir, let us review the scriptures together." "Very well, I shall recite them for you," was the reply. [UKT ]

UKT 151125: Since Ven. Kaundinya {kaunN~i~a.}/{kaunN~ia.} of the First Five Disciples {pi~sa. wag~gi} was a Brahmin-Poannar {braah~ma.Na. poaN~Na:} himself, he could have easily recited the Buddhist scriptures in Sanskrit fashion. That he did not do so showed that even monks from the Brahmin-Poannar origin have abandon the Sanskrit intonations and were recitation in Magadhi and other Prakrit fashion.

After the elder had recited some passages of the scriptures, the monk said to him, "Venerable Sir, your recitation of the scriptures is mistaken. The vowels are not pronounced as long ones, and so there is something missing". The elder said in reply, "I have always recited the scriptures in this way." [UKT ]

Thus the monk took his leave and went to see Asvajit, Bhadra, Mahānāma, Vasas, Yaśas, Pārna, Gavāmpati, Vimala, Subāhu and Rāhula, to each of whom he said, "Venerable Sir, let us review the scriptures together." [UKT ]

UKT 151125: Some of the elders, the monk went to see were from the group {pi~sa. wag~gi}. The group is the group of the very first disciples of the Buddha. Buddhist Myanmar Burmese Index (Bambi Index) gives the group as:
Kaundinya {kaunN~i~a.}, {wup~pa.}, {Bd~di.ya.}, {ma.ha-naam}, {a~a.zi.}

After the elder had recited some passages, etc. etc., the monk took his leave and went to see the Ven. Sāriputra, to whom he paid his respect and said, "Upādhyāya, let us review the scriptures together." While they were reciting the scriptures together the monk elongated the vowels, and Sāriputra pronounced them with double length. The monk said, "Venerable teacher, all the other elders are mistaken in their recitation. Only you, Venerable teacher, are correct in pronunciation and grammar." Sāriputra said to him, "You are a fool. You are mistaken yourself, and yet you slander those wise men, saying that they do not know how to recite the scriptures. None of the elders is mistaken in the recitation." Having been rebuked, the monk remained silent. [UKT ]

Then the monks reported this to the Buddha, who thought in his mind, "All this trouble is caused by the elongation of vowels in the way of singing hymns when the monks recite the scriptures. Therefore the monks should not elongate the vowels in the way of singing hymns when they recite the scriptures. Any monk who recites the scriptures in the Chandas (Sanskrit) way shall be considered as committing a transgression. But one is not considered so, if the vowels are elongated according to his own dialect." fn14-02 ( JBRS14end-JBRS15begin)

The above are quoted five different versions of the story. It is not unusual to find different versions of one passage, one version or one story in the Buddhist scriptures. There are similarities and dissimilarities in the above quoted different versions of the story. The similarities indicate that they were derived from the same origin, and the dissimilarities denote that they have been developed along different lines. In spite of fact that some of them are in detail and some are brief, but the fundamental contents are the same. Comparing with the story contained in the Cullavagga, the fundamental contents are also the same. Therefore, we may also say that these variant Chinese versions are derived from the same source as the Pali version. It is necessary to make this point clear, because it is on this basis that we can ascertain the interpretation of the Pali version of the story in accordance with the Chinese versions.

In these Chinese versions the same thought is expressed concerning the "policy of language", namely, the use of Sanskrit was absolutely disallowed, while the use of dialects and vernaculars was quite permissible. With this point in view, the meaning of the last sentence spoken by the Buddha as mentioned in the story in the Cullavagga is perfectly clear and has left no room for doubt. This sentence which has caused contention for many years without a decision should thus be rendered only as:

"I permit you, O monks, to use (your) own language to study the word of the Buddha."

This conclusion seems to be quite plain and simple, and yet it factually solved the problem of comparative importance in the history of Buddhism -- the problem of language of primitive Buddhism. As we have mentioned above that Buddhism, during its first period of propagation, was a sort of resistance against Brahmanism. Therefore it attracted many followers among the oppressed masses. These people were of different social ranks, speaking different languages and coming from various castes of various places. If Sanskrit was adopted, or the language of Magadha was used as the medium of study, it would certainly cause many difficulties and would have an unfavourable influence upon the spread of Buddhism among the masses. Therefore, primitive Buddhism adopted a liberal policy of language, disallowing on the one hand, the use of Sanskrit which was the language of Brahmanism, and on the other hand, not sanctifying the Magadhi dialect spoken by the Buddha so as to raise it to the position of the only scriptural language. It permitted the monks to use their own dialects and vernaculars for the study and propagation of the Buddhist teachings. This had a great advantage for approaching the masses and going deep into them. According to my personal view, the fact that Buddhism during its first period of propagation had such a great force among the masses, and that it could spread so fast, was inseparable with its policy of language. On the other hand, at later times Buddhist scriptures had many variant versions in quite a number of variegated languages, unlike Brahmanism which could basically preserve the unity and purity of its canons, and this was also due to the liberal policy of language adopted by primitive Buddhism.

UKT 151126: The lesson that I got out of this paper is that it is not the consonants that are the obstacles in understanding of the same Pali sound by peoples of different language groups, it is the vowels. As young children we are taught the pronunciation of akshara-consonants with the same intrinsic vowel over and over again in the monastic schools.  The vowels are put ina secondary position.

Thus, our system start with {ka.kri:} /ka./, {hka.hkw:} /kʰa./, and {ga.ng} /ga./ short-vowel sounds of 1 eye-blink duration.

Then comes the vowel sounds of  varying duration: {ka.} (1 blk), {ka} (2 blk), {ka:} (2 blk +emphasis). For the 1/2 blink we have {kaar.} which is equal to Mon {ka:.}. For combined Bur-Myan and Mon-Myan we have:

{ka:.} (1/2 blk); {ka.} (1 blk); {ka} (2 blk); {ka:} (2 blk +emphasis)

Then, in Bur-Myan we proceed to {hka.}, {hka}, {hka:},
followed by {ga.}, {ga}, {ga:}.
Since, Mon-Myan method is different, and I have no knowledge of it, I have no comment on it.

Our Myanmar system of Abugida-Akshara is our heritage, which protects our languages. If only we had used the Alphabet-Letter system, it would have been a disaster since long time ago.


Contents of this page

C. Hisen-lin note

fn09-01. The Vinaya Pitakam, ed. by Hermann Olderberg, Vol. II, The Cullavagga, London, 1880, p. 139. fn09-01b

fn10-01. Vinaya Texts, III, Sacred Books of the East, XX, p. 151 fn10-01b
fn10-02. Pali-Literatur und Sprache. Strassburg, 1916, p. 5 fn10-02b
fn10-03. Zeitschrift fur Buddhismus, n. F. I, 1922, p. 211 ff fn10-03b
fn10-04. Indian Historical Quarterly, I, 1925, p. 501 fn10-04b
fn10-05. A History of Indian Literature, II, p. 602 fn10-05b
fn10-06. The Life of Buddha, New York, 1927, p. 253 ff. fn10-06b
fn10-07. Cf., M. Winternitz's A History of Indian Literature, II, p. 602 ff. fn10-07b
fn10-08. Samantapasadika, ed. Saya U Pye, IV, pp 416-20 fn10-08b

fn11-01. Cullavagga, XX, Sacred Books of the East, Vol. XX, p. 409 ff. fn11-01b
fn11-02. Dipavamsa, V. 27 ff.: Mahavamsa, IV fn11-02b
fn11-03. E.J. Thomas, The Life of Buddha, p. 170 ff.: Copleston, Buddhism, pp. 154, 171, 175 fn11-03b
fn11-04. Barth, Religions of India, London, 1921, p. 130: Copleston, Buddhism, p. 176 ff. fn11-04b
JBRS, XLIII, i, June 1960

fn12-01. Uber den altesten Zeitraum der indischen Geschichte, pp.87 fn12-01b
fn12-02. Beitrage zur Pali-Grammatik, p. 6 ff. fn12-02b
fn12-03. Pali und Sanskrit, p. 131 ff. fn12-03b
fn12-04. The Home of Paiśāci, ZDMG. 64, p. 95 ff. fn12-04b
fn12-05. Grierson, The Paiśāci Languages of North-Western India, Asiatic Society Monographs, Vol. VIII. 1906,
  in which it is said that Paiśāci was the dialect of North-Western India. fn12-05b
fn12-06. The Vinaya Pitakam, Vol. I, London, 1879, p. L. ff. fn12-06b
fn12-07. Simplified Grammar of the Pali Language, London, 1884, p. 111 fn12-07b
fn12-08. Die Lehre des Upanishaden und die Anfnge des, Buddhismus, Gottingen, 1915, p. 283 fn12-08b
fn12-09. Uber den sprachlichen Charakter des Pāli, Actes du XIVe Congres International des Orientaliste,
  prem. partie, Paris. 1906, p. 252 ff. fn12-09b
fn12-10. Pali - Literatur und Sprache, p. 5 fn12-10b

fn12-11. Concerning this problem there are numerous literatures. Cf. Chi Hsien-lin: "Die Verwendung des Aorists als Kriterium fur Alter und Ursprung buddhistischer Textes," Collected Publications of the Academy of Sciences of Gottingen, the Section of Languages and History, 1949, p. 288, Anm. 2. fn12-11b

fn13-01. The Revised Taisho Edition of the Tripitaka, Vol. XXIV, p. 822 fn13-01b
fn13-02. The Revised Taisho Edition of the Tripitaka, Vol. XXII, p.955 fn13-02b

fn13-03. The Revised Taisho Edition of the Tripitaka, Vol. XXII, p.174. Cf. the Mahisasaka-vinaya, Vol. VI
(The Revised Taisho Edition of the Tripitaka, Vol. XXII. p. 39): "The Bhikkhus came to become monks from different countries, and their intonation for the recitation of the scriptures was incorrect. Some laymen sneered at them and said, 'How is it, monks, that you are under the direct instruction of the Buddha and yet do not know the masculine and feminine genders and the singular and plural numbers in grammar?' Upon hearing this the monks felt ashamed and told it to the Buddha. On account of this event the Buddha assembled the monks and asked them, 'Was it really so?' They replied, 'It was really so, sir.' Then the Buddha reproached the laymen from a distance, saying, 'You fools, why should you have sneered at these foreign monks, saying that their pronunciation and grammar are incorrect in the recitation of the scriptures?" fn13-03b

fn14-01. The Revised Taisho Edition of the Tripitaka, Vol. XXIII, p. 274 fn14-01b
fn14-02. The Revised Taisho Edition of the Tripitaka, Vol. XXIV, p. 232 fn14-02b

Contents of this page

UKT notes


-- UKT 090720, 150317

What I had known about Hinduism or Brahmanism has undergone dramatic changes over time. Hinduism has 3 distinct forms at odds with each other in historical times. There are the worshippers of Deva-god Vishnu, worshippers of Deva-god Shiva, and worshippers of Mother-god Devi. The first form is known as Vaishnavism with the Trinity of Mahabrahma, Vishnu and Shiva. In this form Mahabrahma is the Creator, Vishnu is the Administrator, and Shiva is the Destroyer.

UKT01: I cannot agree with Chi Hisen-lin that Brahmanism was the predominant principal religion of the time. Though I have no supporting evidence for my view. Why Buddha was against the use of Sanskrit was probably due to :

Sanskrit being the language of Brahmanism which was the embodiment of the caste system which was anathema to Buddhism.

Sanskrit is supposed to be speech of the creator of the universe, Brahma, and is "heard" by his chosen "Shrautins". (The word "Shrautins" is derived from the Sanskrit Śrauta श्रौत {shrau-ta.}. Buddha obviously did not want any reference to Brahma or the idea of "Creation".

UKT 151126: The word "Shrautins" is derived from श्रौत śrauta 'hearer' = श ् र ौ त -->
Skt: श्रौत [srauta] - a. ( ) relating to the ear ... - Mac322c2
Pal: Sotar [n. ag. fr. suṇāti ] a hearer -- PTS-725
Pal: {au:ta.} - UHS PMD
  UKT from UHS: . n. ear

UKT 151126: I would link this word to the process of "hearing" than to the organ itself. I base my conjecture on the word {au:Na.} 'mute', and the well known fact that speaking and hearing are related, and also on the opposite articulation of the consonant-aksharas {ta.} and {Na.}.

Buddha was probably aware of the works of Vedic linguists such as Śākaṭāyana śākaṭāyana & Yāska यास्कः yāska , and that of Sanskrit linguists beginning with Pāṇini पाणिनि pāṇini. They were engaged in the origin words, particularly the Sanskrit linguists who maintain that it is the Creator who communicates with his chosen the Brahmin Poannars {braah~ma.Na.}. The Buddha had respect for the Vedic rishis, but not the later Sanskrit ones who were trying to promote their male dva-gods whom no one had seen including the {braah~ma.Na.} themselves. To the Buddha, the "Shrautins" were just pretending that they are the mouth piece of the Creator himself. 

For the alleged influence of Hinduism on Buddhism see the accompanying article, Early Buddhism and Bhagavagītā by Kashi Nath Upahyaya, Google Book Preview, 100224 - Budd-Gita.htm .

The rise of Sanskrit as a language and the suppression of Magadhi and Pali by the Sanskrit speaking kings were the main cause for the eventual disappearance of Theravada Buddhism in India and to some extent in Nepal. UKT01b

UKT: What was Brahmanism and what is the situation of its modern version "Hinduism" at the present? We are not interested in the present-day Hinduism, and so we turn our attention to the ancient form of Vedic (disappearing) and Sanskrit (becoming dominant) Brahmanism, then current in the time of Buddha.

Historical Vedic religion

From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vedic_Brahmanism 090720

The religion of the Vedic period (also known as Vedism or Vedic Brahmanism or, in a context of Indian antiquity, simply Brahmanism [Wiki-fn01] ) is the historical predecessor of Hinduism. Its liturgy is reflected in the Mantra portion of the four Vedas वेद vda {w-da.} 'knowledge', which are compiled in [Vedic and] Sanskrit. The religious practices centered on a clergy administering rites that often involved sacrifices. This mode of worship is largely unchanged today within Hinduism; however, only a small fraction of conservative Shrautins continue the tradition of oral recitation of hymns learned solely through the oral tradition.

UKT 151126: Scholars place the Vedic period in the second and first millennia BCE continuing up to the 6th century BCE based on literary evidence. -- from Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vedic_period 090720

The word "Shrautins" is derived from श्रौत śrauta 'hearer' = श ् र ौ त -->
Skt: श्रौत [srauta] - a. ( ) relating to the ear ... - Mac322c2
Pal: Sotar [n. ag. fr. suṇāti ] a hearer -- PTS-725:

Texts dating to the Vedic period, composed in Vedic Sanskrit, are mainly the four Vedic Samhitas, but the Brahmanas, Aranyakas and some of the older Upanishads (Bṛhadāraṇyaka, Chāndogya, Jaiminiya Upanishad Brahmana) are also placed in this period. [UKT ]

The Vedas record the liturgy connected with the rituals and sacrifices performed by the 16 or 17 shrauta priests and the purohitas {pu.rau:hait}. [UKT ]

{pu.rau:hait} - n. court Brahmin Brahmin who officiates at royal ceremonies and advices the king. -- MLC MDP2006-258

According to traditional views, the hymns of the Rigveda and other Vedic hymns were divinely revealed to the rishis, who were considered to be seers or "hearers" (shruti means "what is heard") of the Veda, rather than "authors". In addition the Vedas are said to be "apaurashaya", a Sanskrit word meaning uncreated by man and which further reveals their eternal non-changing status. However, the Rigvedic hymns clearly speak about composing new hymns by individual authors who were in competition with their colleagues and looked to being rewarded dakṣiṇā by local chieftains.

The mode of worship was worship of the elements like fire and rivers, worship of heroic gods like Indra, chanting of hymns and performance of sacrifices. The priests performed the solemn rituals for the noblemen kshsatriya and some wealthy Vaishyas. People prayed for abundance of children, rain, cattle (wealth), long life and an afterlife in the heavenly world of the ancestors. This mode of worship has been preserved even today in Hinduism, which involves recitations from the Vedas by a purohita (priest), for prosperity, wealth and general well-being. [UKT ]

UKT 151126: The above passage shows that Indra 'the heavenly king' is important just as kshsatriya 'the terrestrial kings'. There are more hymns directed to Indra than later god-dvas.

However, the primacy of Vedic deities has been seconded to the deities of Puranic literature.

UKT: This insert is from Social Classes and Castes in Ancient India adapted from the Mystica site @ Indiaculture online.
   "The Rig-Veda ... divides ancient Indian society into four separate but interdependent castes or classes of people. According to the Puranas ... Brahmins or priests were born of the mouth of Lord Brahma ... Kshatriyas or rulers and warriors were born of Lord Brahma's arms ... using weapons. The Vaishyas (business people and originally farmers) were born of his thighs ... Shudras (or common laborers) were born of Brahma's feet ... In addition to the four named castes, another category ... Chandalas. They were the outcastes or "untouchables" ... This "caste sytem" grew in the later days of Magadhan imperialism (i.e. after 500 B.C.E.). Buddhism and Jainism were both against this system and drew converts from all groups of people."

Elements of Vedic religion reach back into Proto-Indo-European times. The Vedic period is held to have ended around 500 BC, Vedic religion gradually metamorphosizing into the various schools of Hinduism, which further evolved into Puranic Hinduism. Vedic religion also influenced Buddhism and Jainism.  However the Historical Vedic Religion survived in corners of the Indian Subcontinent, such as Kerala where the Nambudiri Brahmins continue the ancient Srauta rituals, which are considered extinct in all other parts.

Go back brahmanism-note-b

Contents of this page

Chanda : Prosody

- UKT 151126:

"Chanda" is one of the Vedangas vedāṅga {w-dn~ga.}. Chanda {hsn~dau:wi.si.ti.}. See Dict. of Pali-derived words, UTM-PDMD302 for "Vedanga" and "Chanda". In modern terms Chanda comes under the heading "Sanskrit Prosody".

From Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanskrit_prosody 151127

Sanskrit prosody is the study of metre in Sanskrit poetry. Standard traditional works on meter are Pingala's Chandaḥśāstra and Kedāra's Vṛttaratnākara. The most exhaustive compilations, such as the modern ones by Patwardhan and Velankar contain over 600 meters. This is a substantially larger repertoire than in any other metrical tradition. [1]



Go back Chanda-note-b

Contents of this page

Cemetery H culture

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cemetery_H_culture 090805

The Cemetery H culture developed out of the northern part of the Indus Valley Civilization around 1900 BCE, in and around western Punjab region located in present-day Pakistan. It was named after a cemetery found in "area H" at Harappa.

The Cemetery H culture is part of the Punjab Phase, one of three cultural phases that developed in the Localization Era of the Indus Valley Tradition [1]. It is considered to be part of the Late Harrappan phase.

The distinguishing features of this culture include:

The use of cremation of human remains. The bones were stored in painted pottery burial urns. This is completely different from the Indus civilization where bodies were buried in wooden coffins. The urn burials and the "grave skeletons" were nearly contemporaneous. [2]
Reddish pottery, painted in black with antelopes, peacocks etc., sun or star motifs, with different surface treatments to the earlier period.
Expansion of settlements into the east.
Rice became a main crop.
Apparent breakdown of the widespread trade of the Indus civilization, with materials such as marine shells no longer used.
Continued use of mud brick for building.

The Cemetery H culture also "shows clear biological affinities" with the earlier population of Harappa. [3]

The archaeologist Kenoyer noted that this culture "may only reflect a change in the focus of settlement organization from that which was the pattern of the earlier Harappan phase and not cultural discontinuity, urban decay, invading aliens, or site abandonment, all of which have been suggested in the past." [4]

Remains of the culture have been dated from about 1900 BCE until about 1300 BCE. Together with the Gandhara grave culture and the Ochre Coloured Pottery culture, it is considered by some scholars a nucleus of Vedic civilization.

Go back cemetery-H-culture-note-b

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- UKT 151124

I became interested in the Gujarati language soon after I arrived in Deep River, On., Canada, when I became close friends with Pravin Shah, and his wife Jackie whose Indian name is Yaśodharā aka {ya.au:Da.ya}. The name Yashodhara is familiar to Myanmar Buddhists, because of the Princess who was married to Prince Siddhārtha Gautama (who eventually became Gautama Buddha).  See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yasodhar%C4%81 151124

The Shahs are Jains (who rejects the idea of a Creator). But the Shahs are slowly becoming Hindus (who accepts the Creator) because their mix up of the two diametrically opposite religions. Their religious text is Agama which is written Ardhamagadhi 'half-Magadhi' Prakrit. It is similar to Pali. See the Jainism Agama in Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jain_Agamas 151124

Note Pali was formulated from old Magadhi and Ceylonese language only when King Asoka's missionaries arrived in the island. Because of the time of its formulation, Gautama Buddha would not have spoken Pali. The language he spoke was old Magadhi, which I insist is the "so-called Pali" spoken in Myanmarpr. Magadhi must have arrived in northern Myanmarpr long before the time of the Buddha when King Abhiraza took refuge in the area of Tagaung.

I am sorry to note that many Myanmar Buddhists outside Myanmarpr are losing their religion because of such mix ups, and because of modern scientific ideas. They are really surprised when I told that at least in the first sermons or Principles of Buddhism, it is very scientific in nature. The First Buddhism would have nothing to do with Axioms just as modern Science is. I find that the scientists and engineers in Deep River could easily accept the Four Noble Truths and Anatta doctrine.

From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gujarati_language 101114

Gujrati (ગુજરાતી Gujrātī ) is an Indo-Aryan [ IA] language, and part of the greater Indo-European (IE) language family. It is derived from a language called Old Western Rajasthani (1100 - 1500 AD) which is the ancestor language of the modern Gujarati and Rajasthani languages. It is native to the Indian state of Gujrat, and is its chief language, as well as of the adjacent union territories of Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli.

There are about 46.1 million speakers of Gujrati worldwide, making it the 26th most spoken native language in the world. Along with Romany and Sindhi, it is among the most western of Indo-Aryan languages. Gujrati was the first language (L1) of Mohandas K. Gandhi, the "father of India" and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the "iron man of India."

Gujarati (also having been variously spelled as Gujerati, Gujarathi, Guzratee, Guujaratee, Gujrathi, and Gujerathi[1][6]) is a modern Indo-Aryan language evolved from Sanskrit. The traditional practice is to differentiate the IA languages on the basis of three historical stages [6]:

1. Old IA (Vedic and Classical Sanskrit)
2. Middle IA (various Prakrits and Apabhramshas)
3. New IA (modern languages such as Hindi, Punjabi, Bengali, etc..)

UKT 101114, 151127: What were the spoken languages of the India before Sanskrit came into being? My conjecture is just south of the Himalayas, the language family in dominance was Tib-Myan (Tibeto-Burman) and in the southern part Austro-Asiatic (Dravidian included). IE languages were imported languages that came through the north-western overland routes or through south-western sea routes. Of course, Tib-Bur languages and Austro-Asiatic languages would also be exported through the same routes. The statement in the above paragraph "Gujarati ... is a modern Indo-Aryan language evolved from Sanskrit" should be disputed.

I suggest Vedic and Magadhi are not IE (Indo-European) - the word "Aryan" is to be avoided because of its present-day association of Hitler's Nazism.

Another view accords successive family, tree splits, in which Gujarati is assumed to have separated from other IA languages in four stages [7]:

1. IA languages split into Northern, Eastern, and Western divisions based on the innovate characteristics such as stops [UKT. tenuis plosives: /k/ /t/ /p/] becoming voiced [UKT: vd. plosives: /g/ /d/ /b/] in the Northern (Skt. danta 'tooth' > Punj. dānd) and dental and retroflex sibilants [UKT: fricatives] merging with the palatal in the Eastern (Skt. sandhya "evening" > Beng. śājh).[8]

Skt-Dev: दन्त  danta  m. tooth - SpkSkt
  Pal-Myan: {dn~ta.} -  - UHS-PMD0459

Skt-Dev: सांध्य  sāṃdhya  adj.  evening - SpkSkt
  Pal-Myan: {n-wa.ri} - - UHS-PMD0930

2. Western, into Central and Southern.

3. Central, in Gujarati/Rajasthani, Western Hindi, and Punjabi/Lahanda/Sindhi, on the basis of innovation of auxiliary verbs and postpositions in Gujarati/Rajasthani.[6]

4. Gujarati/Rajasthani into Gujarati and Rajasthani through development of such characteristics as auxiliary ch- and the possessive marker -n- during the 15th century.[9]

The principal changes from Sanskrit are the following[7]:


Loss of phonemic length for vowels
Change of consonant clusters to geminate and then to single consonants (with compensatory vowel length)

UKT: The following examples are given in tabular form in Wiki article. I've reformatted them as follows with additions of Skt-Dev and Pal-Myan characters. The word "Prakrit" used here presumably is the Western division and is not the Eastern division nor the Northern division. This Western Prakrit (sibilant) is expected to be different from Eastern Prakrit and Northern Prakrit. Pal-Myan (thibilant) would be similar to Eastern-Prakrit and more so to Northern Prakrit. I expect the reader would pay close attention to "pronunciation" differences between Prakrit (sibilant /s/) and Pal-Myan (thibilant /θ/) using Romabama transcription provided. Note also the vowel lengths in Pal-Myan and Gujarati. - UKT101114

<hand> ref. [10]
 Skt-Dev: hasta  हस्त  = ह स ् त  hasta  m. hand - SpkSkt
 Prakrit: hattha
 Pal-Myan: {ht~ta.} - - UHS-PMD1076
 Gujarati: hāth

<seven> ref. [11] [UKT: note /s/ of Prakrit and /θ/ of Pal-Myan]
Skt-Dev: sapta  सप्त = स प ् त  sapta  adj. seven - SpkSkt
Prakrit: satta
Pal-Myan: {t~ta.} - - UHS-PMD0958
Gujarati: sāt 

<eight> ref. [12]
Stk-Dev: aṣṭā  अष्ट = अ ष ् ट  aṣṭa -- eight - SpkSkt
Prakrit: aṭṭha 
Pal-Myan: {T~Hta.} -   - UHS-PMD0024
Gujarati: āṭh 

<snake> ref. [13]
Stk-Dev: sarpa  सर्प = स र ् प  m. snake 
Prakrit: sappa
Pal-Myan: {p~pa.} - - UHS-PMD0973
Gujarati: sāp


Reduction in the number of compounds
Merger of the dual with plural
Replacement of case affixes by postpositions
Development of periphrastic tense/ voice/ mood constructions


Split ergativity
More complex agreement system

Gujarati is then customarily divided into the following three historical stages[6]:

Old Gujarati or Gujjar Bhakha (AD 1100 - 1500), ancestor of Gujarati and Rajasthani,[4] was spoken by the Gurjars in northern Gujarat and western Rajasthan.[14] Texts of this era display characteristic Gujarati features such as direct/oblique noun forms, postpositions, and auxiliary verbs.[7] It had 3 genders as Gujarati does today, and by around the time of 1300 CE a fairly standardized form of this language emerged. While generally known as Old Gujarati, some scholars prefer the name of Old Western Rajasthani, based on the argument that Gujarati and Rajasthani were not yet distinct at the time. Also factoring into this preference was the belief that modern Rajasthani sporadically expressed a neuter gender, based on the incorrect conclusion that the [ũ] that came to be pronounced in some areas for masculine [o] after a nasal consonant was analogous to Gujarati's neuter [ũ].[15] A formal grammar of the precursor to this language was written by Jain monk and eminent scholar Hemachandra Suri in the reign of Solanki king Siddharaj Jayasinh of Anhilwara (Patan).

Major works were written in various genres, for the most part in verse form, such as[16]:

rāsa, predominantly didactic narrative, of which the earliest known is Śālibhadrasūri's Bhārateśvarabāhubali (1185).
phāgu, in which spring time is celebrated, of which the earliest is Jinapadmasūri's Sirithūlibadda (ca. 1335). The most famous is the Vasantavilāsa, of unknown scholarship, which is undeterminedly dated to somewhere in 14th or 15th century, or possibly earlier.
bārmāsī, describing natural beauty during each of the twelve months.
ākhyāna, in which different sections are each in a single metre.

Narasimha Mehta (c. 1414 - 1480) is traditionally viewed as the father of modern Gujarati poetry. By virtue of its early age and good editing, an important prose work is the 14th-century commentary of Taruṇaprabha, the Ṣaḍāvaśyakabālabodhavr̥tti. [16]

Middle Gujarati (AD 1500 1800), split off from Rajasthani, and developed the phonemes ɛ and ɔ, the auxiliary stem ch-, and the possessive marker -n-. [17] Major phonological changes characteristic of the transition between Old and Middle Gujarati are [16]:

i, u develop to ə in open syllables
diphthongs əi, əu change to ɛ and ɔ in initial syllables and to e and o elsewhere
əũ develops to ɔ̃ in initial syllables and to ű in final syllables

These developments would have grammatical consequences. For example, Old Gujarati's instrumental-locative singular in -i was leveled and eliminated, having become the same as Old Gujarati's nominative-accusative singular in -ə. [16]

Modern Gujarati (AD 1800 - ). A major phonological change was the deletion of final ə's, such that the modern language has consonant-final words. Grammatically, a new plural marker of -o developed. [16] In literature, the third quarter of the 19th century saw a series of milestones for Gujarati, which previously had had verse as its dominant mode of literary composition. [18]

1840s, personal diary composition; Nityanondh, Durgaram Mahetaji.
1851, first essay; Maniaḷī Maḷvāthi thātā Lābh, Narmadashankar Lalshankar Dave.
1866, first novel; Karaṇ Ghelo, Nandashankar Mehta.
1866, first autobiography; Mārī Hakīkat, Narmadashankar Lalshankar Dave.


Demographics and distribution

Of the approximately 46 million speakers of Gujarati, roughly 45.5 million reside in India, 150,000 in Uganda, 250,000 in Tanzania, 50,000 in Kenya and roughly 100,000 in Pakistan.[1] There is also a large Gujarati community in Mumbai [Bombay, India.

The United Kingdom has 300,000 speakers, many of them situated in the London areas of Wembley, Harrow and Newham and in Leicester, Coventry and Bradford. A considerable population exists in North America as well, most particularly in the cities of New York, USA and Toronto, Canada. A portion of these numbers consists of East African Gujaratis who, under increasing discrimination and policies of Africanisation in their newly-independent resident countries (especially Uganda, where Idi Amin expelled 50,000 Asians for not participating in the local cultures or allowing Asian women to marry African men though Asian men did marry African women), were left with uncertain futures and citizenships. Most, with British passports, settled in the UK. [4][19]

Indeed, due to the large Gujarati diaspora in the UK, Gujarati is offered as a GCSE subject for students in the United Kingdom.

Besides being spoken by the Gujrati people, non-Gujarati residents of and migrants to the state of Gujarat also count as speakers, among them the Kutchis (as a literary language)[4], the Parsis (adopted as a mother tongue), and Hindu Sindhi refugees from Pakistan.

... ... ...

Writing system

Similar to other Nāgarī writing systems, the Gujarati script is an Abugida-Akshara. It is used to write the Gujarati and Kutchi languages. It is a variant of Devanāgarī script differentiated by the loss of the characteristic horizontal line running above the letters and by a small number of modifications in the remaining characters.

Gujarati and closely related languages, including Kutchi, can be written in the Arabic or Persian scripts. This is traditionally done by many in Gujarat's Kutch district.

UKT: More in the Wikipedia article.

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Language - the medium of communication

- UKT 151120

If one accepts the view that language is just a medium of communication between two persons, -- for example, the monk teaching Buddhism and the layperson learning it -- then there is no ambiguity. Language does not necessarily mean words carried through the air, it can also mean a sign language. How would a monk carry his message to a deaf-mute person? Unless the monk used the sign-language of the deaf-mute person (please note there are many sign languages which are different from each other) , then the word of Buddha would be denied to a fairly large part of the world's population -- the deaf-mutes!

Please note that this article by Chi Hisen-lin was published in the Journal of the Burma Research Society, XLIII, i, June 1960. His conclusions as well as the conclusions of the authors of the references cited by him, were all written in periods in or before 1960. One of the papers cited by him went as far back as 1884 fn12-07.
   There have been more archeological discoveries made since 1960 (the date of publication of this paper), and the science of linguistics has changed considerably. At the present, linguists have made a clear distinction between the "spoken language" (now technically "language"), and "written language" (now technically "script"). Since voice recording machines suitable for field work were not available before 1960, all references to "languages" must mean "written languages" and not "spoken languages". Since no one has heard the Pali language spoken (if we assumed it was spoken at all), I am not convinced of the conclusions on "languages" made by Chi Hisen-lin and the authors cited by him.

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Magadhi script on Asoka pillars

- UKT: 151125

On JBRS-p12, we find "From linguistic characteristics ... ... the Magadha language was an eastern dialect, in which r had become as l, " is acceptable, except for the term "dialect". The term "dialect" is incomplete, because a "dialect" is a subset of a "language" , and the author has not explicitly stated what language he meant. However, if Magadi had been a distinct language -- a Tibeto-Burman language, and being in the east, far from the place in north-western India through which the Sanskrit speakers had filtered in from the west (a view now being questioned after extensive archeological in the Sarawati-Indus area), we could expect it to be relatively free from the rhotic nature of Indo-European languages. And we should expect to see /l/ in the place of /r/. I am basing my conclusions from my knowledge of Burmese, a typical Tibeto-Burman language.

In the above paragraph we see "in which r  had become as l, and s as ś " : this I presumed to be
  r  {ra.}  --> {la.}  
   र U0930 Devanagari letter Ra --> ल U0932 Devanagari letter La
  s {a.} --> ś  {sha.} / {sh}
   स U0938 Devanagari letter Sa --> श U0936 Devanagari letter Sha

There is a problem in the second statement because of ś {sha.}. Pali-Myan and Bur-Myan (Tib-Bur aka Tibeto-Burman) sharing the same set of graphemes, do not have a basic grapheme to represent the IPA phoneme /ʃ/. This phoneme is represented by a conjunct {hya.} which indicates that /ʃ/ is considered to be a medial and thus cannot have its vowel killed by a viram, whereas in Skt-Dev (IE aka Indo-European), it is allowed.

Skt-Dev:    श + ् --> श्  - allowed
Bur-Myan: + -->   - not allowed.

This has prompt me to suggest that for Skt-Myan, a dedicated grapheme with the "pure" sound IPA /ʃ/ be introduced. Since, the sound would be close to /s/, the shape of the grapheme should be close to Bur-Myan Palatal plosive-stop {sa.}/{c} suggesting that it is derived from it by the application of {ha.hto:}. Since Palatal {sa.}/{c} cannot be modified with {ha.to:}, I have to introduce a new phoneme into BEPS consonants in the form of Dental hisser {Sa.}/ {S}. But to avoid difficulty in interlanguage-transcription of Burmese into English and back, I have to use the same glyph. However the two can still be differentiated if you note that:

BEPS has two look-alikes: Palatal-stop {sa.}/{c} and Dental-hisser {Sa.}/{S}

Since, {sha.} is a grapheme representing a medial sound, it would not be allowed in Myanmar akshara system. To show that it is a special case for use with IE languages like Sanskrit and English, the shape should be modified to {sha.}/ {sh}.

Then I can safely transcribe English <she> as {shi} . This would make more phonological sense than {rhi}.

Transcription of English <ship> into Bur-Myan is problematical. My older rendition as {ship} is unsatisfactory when we compare it to the pronunciations of {saip} and {sait}. The pronunciation of <ship> is comparable to Bur-Myan {hkt} 'time of" or 'age of' as in 'in our modern age'. My suggestion is to spell <ship> as {shp}. Of course, spelling with an {ra.} as would be the most unsatisfactory.

I am waiting for comments from my peers who know Devanagari and Myanmar especially from MLC (Myanmar Language Commission).

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Nirutti - the problem word

- UKT 101115, 140112, 151119:

Gautama Buddha ruling and my translation:

anujānāmi bhikkhave sakāya niruttiyā buddhavacanam pariyā punitum

"Oh monks, I allow Buddha's words to be preached to the locals in their own language"

The problem word is not just nirutti . The problem is a combination of two words: "sakāya nitutti" {a.ka-ya. ni.roat~ti.}, the the literal translation: "I permit you, O Monks, to learn the word of the Buddha in his own language.". To this problem the Brahmin Poannars {braah~ma.Na. poaN~Na:} have added another: the original of the words - whether "God given" or "something else" with their theory of Sphota. Because there are at least two kinds of Brahmin Poannars {braah~ma.Na. poaN~Na:}: Vaishnavites those who take the Mahabrahma as "God", and Shaivites who insist that the God is Shiva. Now those who have to rely on English translations are totally confused. Not many are aware that Shiva is the Dancing god of the southern Indians, and that his dancing partner is the Black Mother Kali.

Pal: sakāya nituttiyā
Pal-Myan: {a.ka-ya.} - UHS PMD0937
  UKT from UHS: m. mother's womb
Pal-Myan: {ni.roat~ti.} - UHS PMD0540
  UKT from UHS: f. expression, explicit words, explanation of grammatical terms, elaboration

I am sure when Buddha used the word {ni.roat~ta.} he would have used it in the sense used by Yāska यास्कः Skt: {yaaS~ka:.} Pal:  {yaa~ka.}, the grammarian phonetician (5th or 6th century BC), who preceded Pāṇini {pa-Ni.ni.} (fl. 4th c. BC).

If we assumed the Classical Sanskrit began with Pāṇini {pa-Ni.ni.}, Yāska यास्कः   {yaaS~ka:.}/ {yaa~ka.}, must be referred to as the last of the Vedic grammarians phoneticians. The question now arises whether there is a difference in the theories of the two.

Over the centuries another word has come to be used, and the word is sphoṭa . While the sphoṭa theory proper (sphoṭavāda) originates with Bhartṛhari भर्तृहरि {Bar~tRi.ha.ri.} - a very late Sanskrit author of c. 5th century CE, the term has a longer history of use in the technical vocabulary of Sanskrit grammarians, and Bhartṛhari may have been building on the ideas of his predecessors, whose works are partly lost.

Sanskrit sphoṭa is etymologically derived from the root sphuṭ  'to burst'. It is used in its technical linguistic sense by Patajali {pa.ti~za.li.} (2nd c. BCE), in reference to the "bursting forth" of meaning or idea on the mind as language is uttered. Patajali's sphoṭa is the invariant quality of speech. The acoustic element (dhvani, audible part) can be long or short, loud or soft, but the sphoṭa remains unaffected by individual speaker differences. Thus, a single letter or sound ('varṇa' {wuN~Na.}) such as /k/ {ka. n} 'the sound of {ka.}-akshara', /p/ {pa. n}, or, /a/ {a. n} is an abstraction, distinct from variants produced in actual enunciation. Eternal qualities in language are already postulated by Yāska (यास्कः) {yaaS~ka:.}, in his Nirukta (1.1), where reference is made to another ancient grammarian, Audumbarāyaṇa , about whose work nothing is known, but who has been suggested as the original source of the concept. The grammarian Vyāḍi, author of the lost text Saṃgraha, may have developed some ideas in sphoṭa theory; in particular, he made some distinctions relevant to dhvani are referred to by Bhartṛhari.

There is no use of sphoṭa as a technical term prior to Patajali, but Pāṇini (6.1.123) refers to a grammarian named Sphoṭāyana as one of his predecessors. This has induced Pāṇini's medieval commentators (such as Haradatta) to ascribe the first development of the sphoṭavāda to Sphoṭāyana.

Secondly, what about the word 'Sanskrit' itself. Was the Buddha referring to the Vedic language, or the Classical Sanskrit of Pāṇini {pa-Ni.ni.} who flourished about the same time as the Gautama Buddha (probably at a later date)? It is accepted that Vedic (sometimes referred to as Vedic Sanskrit) was passed on from master to student orally. But what about Pāṇini's Sanskrit? Was it oral or written? If written, how was it's script like? The Asokan Brahmi (the script found on Asoka inscriptions - the oldest writing in the Indian subcontinent) has more glyphs to represent consonants. The Devanagari script in which Panini's Sanskrit is written has to make up for the absent phonemes with borrowed glyphs: ङ (borrowed from ड), ब (borrowed from व), and ष (borrowed from प). According to Rev. F. Mason who wrote A Pali grammar on the basis of Kaccayano {kic~s:}, 1867, the Myanmar script used to write Pali, is the modern form of Asokan.
See: - PEG-indx.htm (link chk 151118).


The English word "God" itself is a problem. Presumably it is used in the 'Christian sense'. However, we need to make sure whether it is YHWH, God the Father, or Allah. Here the "Word of God" should be written the "Word of the Creator". Since the very idea of Creation and Creation could not be scientifically verified, it is nothing but axiomatic. Therefore the reason why Buddha had dubbed Sanskrit to be a heretical language must be on doctrinal grounds. Vedic, on the other hand, was pre-Sanskrit, and Buddha held the Vedic Rishis in high esteem.

Though the question of using Sanskrit to express Buddha's words should have been laid to rest with the above rule laid down by the Buddha, it is not so because the question resurfaced in our times around the meaning of the word of nirutti .
- bk-cndl-nirutta<)) So it is imperative to concentrate on this word and a work on it by Yāska यास्कः Skt: {yaaS~ka.}, Pal: {yaa~ka:}, an ancient phonetician who undoubtedly preceded the Buddha. Refer to Wikipedia articles:
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nirukta 090806, 
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vedas 090807, and
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sphota 101123
[Sphota could be interpreted as Revelation or the Word of the Creator.]
See The Sphoṭa theory of language : a philosophical analysis
- by H. G. Coward in 2 parts:
 - spho-cwrd-indx.htm (link chk 151117)
Metaphysical background of the Sphota theory.
The Spota theory of Language as Revelation
Bhartṛhari's Syntax, Meaning, Sphoṭa
 - bartrhari-matilal.htm (link chk 151117)
Speech vs. Writing in Derrida and Bhartṛhari
- by H. G. Coward - sp-writ.htm (link chk 151117)

At the present Nirukta has been identified with
Etymology. -- UKT 090807
Surprisingly, SpkSkt, does not give Nirukta निरुक्त - bk-cndl-nirutta<))
IPA:  [n̪irukt̪ə], given by
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nirukta 101115 - UKT101115

The following are from different reprints of PTS Dictionary:

Nirutti (f.) (Sk. nirukti nis+vac)
- one of the Vedāngas, (see chalanga), explan of words, grammatical analysis, etymological interpretation, pronunciation, dialect, way of speaking, expression Vin II.139 (pabbajitā ...) PTS dictionary1999, p370

-- PTS dictionary version from Abhidhamma.com, pdf 686/1358
- PTS-Dict-1925-Abidhama-com.pdf<> (link chk 151118)

-- PTS dictionary reprint 1952, pdf  - palitextsocietys00pali.pdf<> (link chk 151118)

  Pal-Myan: {ni.roat~ti.} - - UHS-PMD0540

Skt-Dev: निर्वचन  nirvacana  n. etymology, pronunciation, utterance, interpretation, election - SpkSkt

UKT 151121: The above literal translation: "I permit you, O Monks, to learn the word of the Buddha in his own language.", is the problem - not the Pali expression . My position is the L1 (used to be called "mother tongue") of the Buddha is old  Magadhi. I base my position on the following points:

  Point #01. Magadhi has a script. The script can be found on the Asoka's pillars which were erected by King Asoka some 250 years after Buddha's death.

  Point #02. Magadhi is an Akshara script, in which there is a one-to-one mapping between script and speech. It is the fore runner of the modern IPA script. The word "Akshara" means this one-to-one mapping is unchangeable. Magadhi is a phonetic script.

  Point #03. Though the script is now commonly dubbed "Brahmi", the Brahmin Poannar {braah~ma.Na. poaN~Na:} of Atta faith has no claim to it. They could not read it when their Muslim emperor of India asked them to. The "Asokan" script - the term used by F. Edgerton - was deciphered by James Prinsep, an Englishman in 1830.
Point #04. According to Rev. F. Mason, who wrote A Pali grammar on the basis of Kaccayano, 1868, the "Pali characters" on Asoka's pillars and the Pali as used in Burma - the Pal-Myan characters, are the same.

  Point #4. Bur-Myan, my L1, and Pal-Myan are different languages. Therefore, the Myanmar Buddhist monks, and layman like me have to learn Pali as an L2 - a second language.

  Point #5. Because of similarities between Magadha region where the Buddha spent most of his life and northern Myanmarpr, we can say our present Burmese phonology and that of Magadhi would be the same or very similar. In other words, what we hear in the speech of "Pali" as used in Myanmarpr is the same or almost the same with slight variation. As my model I use the Pali pronunciation of Mingun Sayadaw U VicittaSarabiWamsa {U: waic~si.ta. a-ra-Bi.wn-a.} as the closest to the old Magadhi pronunciation. Listen to Mora Sutta by Mingun Sayadaw - bk-cndl-Mingun<))

  Point #7. the Brahmin Poannar {braah~ma.Na. poaN~Na:} of Atta faith believes in the mystic power of sound-waves that travels through the air. The Buddha has no such faith - his doctrine is Anatta. As such I would not rely on "literal translation", but only on the meaning of message. What the preacher has to do is to convey the meaning of the Buddha's message.

Therefore, sakāya nituttiyā  is neither the L1 of the Buddha, nor that of the monk, but the L1 or the language of the hearers. If the hearers are deaf-mutes the monk must use the Sign Language of the recipients - NOT the acoustic sound !

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Pali in multi-scripts

- by UKT 101112, 151122

Pal-Myan (Pali speech in Myanmar script), like Bur-Myan (Bama speech in Myanmar script), but unlike Eng-Lat (English speech in Latin script), does not have uppercase letters. In order to keep this tradition intact, I have changed upper case letters in Pal-Lat into lower case letters.

Please note even today, the word "language" is meant to be the spoken part. People tend to forget that there is also a written part. Pal-Lat sentences were written by the Chi Hisen-lin like regular English sentences. In this paper, I (UKT) have given the Pali words both in Bur-Myan script and Romabama {ro:ma.ba.ma} aka Bur-Lat (Burmese speech in extended Latin script).

Though we say that Pali is the holy language of Theravada Buddhism, it is not exactly correct. At present, both Theravada and Mahayana are not language-specific.

Moreover, Pali was invented in Sri Lanka aka Ceylon for Theravada Buddhist converts. It was derived from Magadhi (brought over from Magadha kingdom by Asokan missionaries) and native Lanka language. Ma gadi is Tib-Bur, and Lanka language is Austro-Asiatic similar to modern Tamil and Telugu.

However, in Myanmarpr, the so-called "Pali" was derived from old Magadhi itself. It was brought over into northern Myanmarpr long before the time of the Buddha by King Abhiraza {a.Bi.ra-za} as mentioned in the Glass Palace Chronicles and other native Myanmar sources. It was obvious that during the persecution of the Arigyi {a.ri:kri:} monks in the 11th century in Pagan, the liturgical language of the Arigyi would have been old Magadhi, though their L1 would be Bur-Myan. When they were ruthlessly suppressed and displaced by Mon-Myan monks from the southern Myanmarpr, Magadhi  became adulterated with the Pali from Lanka. I maintain that Pal-Myan is the old Magadhi itself or its closest.

However, in the continental Indian subcontinent (in modern times split up into Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Pakistan, and Sri Lanka), before Buddhism was rooted out by the Shaivites and MusIims, Mahayana Buddhism was in Sanskrit - the language of new comers into India throuh the north-western mountain passes. Sanskrit is an IE (Indo-European) language, but Magadi is Tib-Bur (Tibeto-Burman). The IE phoneticians, starting with Panini, called the indigenous languages Prakrits 'proto-languages' and invented Sanskrit 'refined-language'. Panini had to formulate the Aṣṭādhyāyī 'eight chapters' rules to convert Vedic (which I maintain was Tib-Bur) into Classical Sanskrit.

There was also a Prakrit in the area of modern Gujarat. This Gujarat-Prakirit was also a Tib-Bur similar to Magadhi. This became the holy language of the Jains. The earliest Jaina Sutras aka Agamas were written in Ardhamagadhi 'half-Magadhi' Prakrit. See Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jain_Agamas 151122

I had thought previously that the two Prakrits were both "Pali". When F. Edgerton's, Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Grammar and Dictionary, - BHS-indx.htm (link chk 151122), came into hands I have to change my view.

The Language problem of Primitive Buddhism by Chi Hisen-lin aka Ji Xianlin, Journal of the Burma Research Society, XLIII, i, June 1960, and its rebuttal by F. Edgerton, involves around an incident involving the proposal to have a standardised liturgy for Buddhism in which Buddha specifically allowed his teachings to be propagated in the vernacular and not in any specific language such as Sanskrit.

I have been asked why the Buddha was so much against Sanskrit as a language. After going through my present work, I have come to realize that the Vedic language and the Sanskrit language are the holy languages of the Hindus, and that they are now intertwined thanks to the Brahmin-Poannars {braah~ma.Na. poaN~Na:} of the Atta faith. Because Buddhism of Anatta doctrine is diametrically opposite, Gautama Buddha had no choice but to ban the use of Sanskrit as the liturgical language in Buddhism. See the idea of sphoṭa in the following files:
sp-writ.htm .
[At present the links to these files are lost. But I hope the files themselves are not. -- UKT121122]

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- UKT 151119

Who is Panini? As it now stands in my knowledge he was the first of Sanskrit phoneticians (or grammarians). It might be said he was the originator of Classical Sanskrit. He was instrumental in codifying grammatical rules - Prescriptive Grammar - to change Vedic language, erroneously called Vedic Sanskrit, into Sanskrit. The word Sanskrit means a "purified" language. The question now remains who was the last Vedic phonetician. The last of Vedic phoneticians was Yaska, Pal:  {yaa~ka.} Skt: {yaaS~ka.}. Since Yaska was a Vedic speaker, I prefer to call him by his Pali name  {yaa~ka.} instead of the Sanskrit name {yaaS~ka.}.

Now the Pali language itself. It is constructed from ancient Magadhi (the language of Magadha Mahajanapada) and Ceylonese language in Sri Lanka for use by the Theravada Buddhists. Pali is a relatively new language and we may say it was only formed after the Buddhist missionaries of King Asoka arrived in the island of Lanka.

Ancient Magadhi is now lost, and what we have is Adha-Magadhi, the "half-Magadhi" language in south-western India, whereas the ancient Magadhi was spoken in north-eastern India bordering northern Myanmarpr.

See Adha-Magadhi - the Prakrit of the Jains with two traditions: that of the "Sky-clad" (derogative "naked" or Nigranthas) monks, and "white clad" monks.
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ardha_Magadhi 151119
Most of the followers of Jainism - the religion of Mahavira 'the Buddha of the Jains' - are Gujarati  speakers.
See also - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahavira 151119.
UKT 151119: With this note of mine, I remember my Jain friends in Deep River, Ontario, Canada.

Because of overland footpaths used by the ancients between north-eastern India and northern Myanmarpr, ancient Magadhi must have been known long before the time of the Buddha. I, therefore opine that the so-called Pali of Myanmarpr is ancient Magadhi - the language spoken by Gautama Buddha. And also that  {yaa~ka.} was a Magadhi speaker. Because it came before Sanskrit, Magadhi is a Prakrit - "pra" meaning "pre" in English.

From Wikipedia: Panini - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P%C4%81%E1%B9%87ini 151119

Pāṇini (a patronymic meaning "descendant of Paṇi"; fl. 4th century BCE [1] [2] [3]), or Panini, was a Vyākaraṇin from the early mahajanapada {ma.ha-za.na.pa.da.} era of ancient India. [4] He was born in Pushkalavati, Gandhara (on the outskirts of modern-day Charsadda, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan). [1] [3]

Pāṇini is known for his Sanskrit grammar, particularly for his formulation of the 3,959 rules [3] of Sanskrit morphology, syntax and semantics in the grammar known as Aṣṭādhyāyī, meaning "eight chapters"), the foundational text of the grammatical branch of the Vedanga, the auxiliary scholarly disciplines of the historical Vedic religion.

UKT 140112, 151117: In the following, and many similar texts, there is a mix up between Vedic and Classical Sanskrit. It was IE (Indo-European) phonetician (generally known as grammarian) Panini पाणिनि {pa-Ni.ni.} who in his Ashtadhyayi अष्टाध्यायी 'Eight Chapters' who codified the language. Only then what follows can be called Classical Sanskrit or simply Sanskrit.

Transliteration of Ashtadhyayi अष्टाध्यायी is a challenge.
step 1: अष्टाध्यायी  = (अ ष ् ट ा)   (ध ् य ा)  (य ी) --> {S~Ta Dya-yi} ?
step 2: (अष्टा)  (ध्या)(यी)
step 3: (अष्टा)  (ध्यायी)
step 4: Pal: {T~HTa.} (?)
showing that I still have to learn more Skt-Dev & Pal-Myan.

The Ashtadhyayi is one of the earliest known grammars of Sanskrit, although Pāṇini refers to previous texts like the Unadisutra, Dhatupatha, and Ganapatha. [3] It is the earliest known work on linguistic description, and together with the work of his immediate predecessors (the Niruktas, Nighantus, and Pratishakyas) stands at the beginning of the history of linguistics itself. His theory of morphological analysis was more advanced than any equivalent Western theory before the mid 20th century, [5] and his analysis of noun compounds still forms the basis of modern linguistic theories of compounding, which have borrowed Sanskrit terms such as bahuvrihi and dvandva.

Pāṇini's comprehensive and scientific theory of grammar is conventionally taken to mark the end of the period of Vedic Sanskrit, introducing the period of Classical Sanskrit.

UKT: More in the Wikipedia article.

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Reply to F. Edgerton, American Sanskrit scholar

From: http://hk.plm.org.cn/qikan/xdfx/6105-020B.htm 121202
期 刊 号:6105
作 者:
文章名称: A Further Discussion on the Language of Primitive Buddhism
(Including a criticism on the methodology of the American Sanskrit scholar, Mr. Franklin Edgerton)
(An abstract)

This article is written by Prof. Chi Hsien-lin, a famous Sanskrit scholar in China and Head of the Department of Oriental Languages and Literature. Peking University.

Buddhism, says Prof. Chi, began to ramify into many sects at a very ancient date. Each sect, as a rule, had its own holy texts in some quantity. Those that have come down to the present may be grouped roughly under four classes:

(1) those written in Pali,
(2) those written in other mediaeval Indian scripts,
(3) those written in hybrid Sanskrit, and
(4) those written in pure Sanskrit. [UKT ]

These texts differ from one another in many respects, e. g. the sects they belonged, the scripts they used, the times when they were put to writing, the quantities in which they survive, the regions where they prevailed, etc. But there is one phenomenon common to them all, that is, the differences are present only in such cases where linguistic specialities are concerned; while in many chapters and sections parallels may be drawn almost word by word. Therefore Prof. Chi agrees with the opinion of the German Sanskrit scholar, Heinrich Lders, that there was a Buddhist Canon written in a certain primitive language of Buddhism.

In what language was this primitive Canon written? After a process of rational andlogical reasoning Prof. Chi concludes that it ought to have been a certain dialect spoken in ancient East India. The reason is that the Buddha himself and the prominent, Buddhist masters during the earliest period were all natives of East India. They spoke the dialect of that region. Consequently it is perfectly reasonable to infer that the so-called primitive Buddhist Canon was put down in that dialect. This dialect was not pure, but rather half, Magadha dialect. This hypothesis has found strong support in the result of the modem study of Megadhismus.

UKT 121202: What was the dialect in which the "primitive Buddhist Canon" was written. Well aware that I certainly would be accused of being biased, I suggest that it is related to the Pali as is spoken in Myamarpr which I am calling Pal-Myan (i.e. Pali speech written in the circularly rounded script known as Myanmar, because it was widely used by the natives of Myanmarpr, Bama, Karen, Mon, Shan speakers). I have come to this conclusion after a cursory comparison of A. A. Macdonell's A Practical Sanskrit Dictionary (in English) and U Hoke Sein's Pali Myanmar Dictionary (in Bur-Myan).

An opposition to this theory, however, has come from Mr. Franklin Edgerton, an American Sanskrit scholar, in his Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Grammar and Dictionary (Yale University Press, 1953). [UKT ]
See Original Language of Buddhism, by F. Edgerton - origin-lang.htm (vol. 1)
- online: http://doc.thanhsiang.org/... (link chk 140112) (vol. 2)

This book, Prof. Chi admits, is not without merit in its considerable collection of materials. But, owing to the inadequacy of his methodology, Mr. Edgerton has not been able to draw out the basic principles from the heap of heterogeneous materials. Without any concrete analysis, he bluntly denies the existence of a primitive Buddhist Canon written in semi-Magadha dialect. In this article, Prof. Chi gives a thorough-going refutation on Mr. Edgerton's erroneous theory with a series of well-grounded evidences. Finally he comes to the following conclusion:

The hybrid Sanskrit [aka BHS 'Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit] was in itself a mixture of many constituent elements. What there after needs is precisely something summarizing and conclusive. Such methodology as used by Mr. Edgerton would simply worsen the complexity of a problem that is already very complex. It would make the reader at a complete loss as to which way he should follow. Mr. Edgerton's methodology, says Prof. Chi, has many similarities with that wielded by those who hold up the banner of empiricism. Their high-pitched demand for evidence sounds quite scientific, as if they were sincerely seeking for truth from facts. But in reality, they are not so. They do not care for truth at all. Their attitude is the most subjective one. To them, materials do not have any objective existence in themselves, but rather present a heap of meaningless stuff to be handled and shaped at one's sweet will. The typical representative in China is the foreign slave Hu Shih, whose History of Chinese Literature in Spoken Language is the typical piece of all typical writings of this kind. Such a method has nothing in common with the genuine scientific methodology. In Mr. Edgerton's book, too, we detect something of the same scent. We must do our best to cleanse all influence of this undesirable trend.

UKT: We must note that the above abstract was written by someone other than Prof. Chi himself. I am finding such words as "the foreign slave" is a little too much for me. -- UKT 121202

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Tenuis consonant

-- UKT 151119

English (Eng-Lat) does have tenuis consonants. What it has is simply "voiceless"(vl) after which comes the "voiced" (vd). They pronunce the tenuis only after uttering the dental hisser {Sa.}/{S}. Thus English syllables such as  spa, sta, ska  are {S~pa.}, {S~ta.}, {S~ka.}.  Since Bur-Myan does not have {Sa.}/{S}, but only the palatal plosive-stop {sa.}/{c}, Bur-Myan speakers have difficulty pronouncing these syllables.

From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tenuis_consonant 101030

In linguistics, a tenuis consonant (pronounced /ˈtɛnjuː.ɨs/) is a stop or affricate which is unvoiced, unaspirated, and unglottalized. That is, it has a "plain" phonation like [p, t, ts, tʃ, k], with a voice onset time close to zero, as in Spanish p, t, ch, k, or English p, t, k after s, as in spy, sty, sky.

UKT: In Bur-Myan, c1 consonants of the {wag}-consonants are tenuis, i.e.:
{ka.}, {sa.}, {Ta.}, {ta.}, {pa.}

Tenuis consonant are not normally marked explicitly, with voiceless IPA letters such as [p, t, ts, tʃ, k] assumed to be unaspirated unless indicated otherwise. However, there is an explicit diacritic for a lack of aspiration in the Extensions to the IPA, the superscript equal sign: [p⁼, t⁼, ts⁼, tʃ⁼, k⁼].

The term tenuis comes from Latin translations of Ancient Greek grammar, which differentiated three series of consonants, voiced β δ γ /b d ɡ/, aspirate φ θ χ /pʰ tʰ kʰ/, and tenuis π τ κ /p⁼ t⁼ k⁼/; these series have close parallels in other IE (Indo-European) languages.

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-- UKT 141023, 151117:

The problem-akshara in transcribing यास्क is Skt-Dev स.

In many Skt-Dev words स is changed into Dental hisser ष {Sa.}. It is described as Dental fricative sibilant.

However in Pal-Myan, it is {a.}. It is pronounced as Dental fricative thibilant, and it has no hissing sound. This is not so in Mon-Myan, with the result that I have to specify Romabama is based on Bur-Myan phonology.

Please note I cannot use IAST and IPA here, because Skt-Dev (r4c2) ष is usually described as U+0925 Devanagari Letter Tha. This messes up with our Bur-Myan description of {a.} as "Tha".

However to come up with a closer transcription, I have to change Pal-Myan {a.} --> Skt-Myan {Sa.}.

Now, we have two looks-a-like -- one in Palatal, and the second in Dental. Since I am reluctant to introduce another glyph, I have introduced the following scheme for Romabama: {sa.}/ {c} , and Dental {Sa.}/ {S}. I am also reluctant to transcribe Note also that as {ca.}. Killing the intrinsic vowel of {sa.} gives {c} which does not result in a hissing sound for the coda. Thus, {kic} /kic/ pronounced as 'kick'
and {kiS} /kis/ pronounced as 'kiss'.

I can now transcribe यास्क from Skt-Dev to Skt-Myan using
as {yaaS~ka.}.

The first time I handled the transcription of Yāska (यास्क) was at the beginning of Skt-Dev study. I had failed to take note that the problem-akshara is Skt-Dev स (non-hissing thibilant in Pal-Myan) - not the hissing sibilant ष . If only I had done so I would have understood the problem between the Chinese-Sanskritist Chi Hisen-lin and the American-Sanskritist F. Edgerton.

From Wikipedia : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Y%C4%81ska 101115, 151119
UKT 151119: The following is the combination of the two. I am responsible for any mistakes made in the following presentation.

Yāska यास्क Skt: {yaaS~ka.}, Pal:  {yaa~ka.}, was an early phonetician Sanskrit grammarian who preceded Pāṇini {pa-Ni.ni.} (fl. 4th BC), assumed to have lived in the 6th or 5th century BC. Nothing is known about him other than that he is traditionally identified as the author of Nirukta, the discipline of "etymology" (explanation of words) within Sanskrit grammatical tradition.

UKT 151119: I hold the view that the language of Yaska was Vedic - not the Sanskrit of Panini. If so Yaska's language would be Tib-Bur (Tibeto-Burman) similar to Pali spoken in Myanmarpr. It would lack hissing dental sounds, and his {a.} स would be the non-hissing thibilant, and not  the hissing sibilant like {Sa.}/ {S} ष. Skt-Dev speakers lack the thibilant sound, and Bur-Myan speakers lack the hissing sibilant {Sa.}/ {S} ष. Being an IE (Indo-European) Panini's L1 would lack the thibilant. Just as we in modern times are having transcription problems between Burmese and English, Sanskrit speakers would be having transcription problem between Magadhi and Sanskrit. It therefore became imperative for Panini to give the rules for transcription from Vedic to Sanskrit.

Yaska is the author of the Nirukta, a technical treatise on etymology, lexical category and the semantics of Sanskrit words. He is thought to have succeeded Śākaṭāyana , an old grammarian and expositor of the Vedas, who is mentioned in his text.

The Nirukta was one of the six vedangas {w-dn~ga.} or compulsory ritual subjects in syllabus of Sanskrit scholarship in ancient India.

UKT 151119: Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vedanga 151119
lists the six vedangas as follows. I have given their equivalents in Pal-Myan from UTM-PDMD (Dictionary of Pali-derived Myanmar words (in Bur-Myan) by U Tun Myint, Univ. of Rangoon Press, 1968, pp627), p302

1. Shiksha śikṣā: phonetics, phonology and morphophonology (sandhi) - {aik~hka}
2. Kalpa kalpa: ritual - {kp~pa.}
3. Vyakarana vyākaraṇa: grammar - {bya-ka.ra.Na.}
4. Nirukta nirukta: etymology - {ni.roat~ti.}
5. Chandas chandas: meter -
6.Jyotisha jyotiṣa: Time measurement, astronomy-astrology - {zau:ti.t~hta.}

The Nirukta attempts to explain how certain words get to have their meanings, especially in the context of interpreting the Vedic texts. It includes a system of rules for forming words from roots and affixes, and a glossary of irregular words, and formed the basis for later lexicons and dictionaries. It consists of three parts, viz.:
1. Naighantuka, a collection of synonyms;
2. Naigama, a collection of words peculiar to the Vedas, and
3. Daivata {nt-d-wa.ta}, words relating to deities and sacrifices.

UKT 141024: The vowel-digraph <ai> standing for {:} is present only in Skt-Dev and Bur-Myan. In Pal-Myan its equivalent is {}. Thus Daivata is {d-wa.ta}. The equivalent of "Deity" (pl. deities") is {nt-d-wa.ta} in Bur-Myan.

UKT 151119: 2. Naigama, 'a collection of words peculiar to the Vedas'. Since I am interested in Vedic as a language different from the Classical Sanskrit of Panini, I have looked into UHS PMD:
Pal: {ni.ga.ma.} - UHS PMD0521

The nirukta was one of the six vedanga {w-dn~ga.} or compulsory ritual subjects in syllabus of Sanskrit scholarship in ancient India.

UKT 151117: See the six {w-dn~ga.} in UTM PDMD302. Note the {kn:si:} 'centipede-ridden' spelling. From UTM, I got the impression that {w-dn~ga.} is more important than Veda, because appropriating the {nt-d-wa.ta} - the unseen entities who themselves are still subject to aging, disease and death - is unimportant. What is important is the teachings of the Gautama Buddha which is based on non-Axiomatic Anatta, and logic. Veda as is presently understood is a mere collection of "hymns" extolling the virtues of Axiomatic entities.

Yāska defines four main categories of words:[1]

  1. nāma nouns or substantives
  2. ākhyāta verbs
  3. upasarga pre-verbs or prefixes
  4. nipāta particles, invariant words (perhaps prepositions)

Yāska singled out two main ontological categories: a process or an action (bhāva), and an entity or a being or a thing (sattva). Then he first defined the verb as that in which the bhāva ('process') is predominant whereas a noun is that in which the sattva ('thing') is predominant. The 'process' is one that has, according to one interpretation, an early stage and a later stage and when such a 'process' is the dominant sense, a finite verb is used as in vrajati, 'walks', or pachati, 'cooks'.[1]

But this characterisation of noun/verb is inadequate, as some processes may also have nominal forms. For e.g., He went for a walk. Hence, Yāska proposed that when a process is referred to as a 'petrified' or 'configured' mass (mUrta) extending from start to finish, a verbal noun should be used, e.g. vrajyā, a walk, or pakti, a cooking. The latter may be viewed as a case of summary scanning,[2] since the element of sequence in the process is lacking.

These concepts are related to modern notions of grammatical aspect, the murta constituting the perfective and the bhāva the imperfective aspect.

Yāska also gives a test for nouns both concrete and abstract: nouns are words which can be indicated by the pronoun that.

Words as carriers of meaning: atomism vs holism debate

As in modern semantic theory, Yāska views words as the main carriers of meaning. This view that words have a primary or preferred ontological status in defining meaning, was fiercely debated in the Indian tradition over many centuries. The two sides of the debate may be called the Nairuktas (based on Yāska's Nirukta, atomists), vs the Vaiyākarans (grammarians following Pāṇini, holists), and the debate continued in various forms for twelve centuries involving different philosophers from the Nyaya, Mimamsa and Buddhist schools.

In the prātishākhya texts that precede Yāska, and possibly Sakatayana as well, the gist of the controversy was stated cryptically in sutra form as "saṃhitā pada-prakṛtiḥ". According to the atomist view, the words would be the primary elements (prakṛti) out of which the sentence is constructed, while the holistic view considers the sentence as the primary entity, originally given in its context of utterance, and the words are arrived at only through analysis and abstraction.

This debate relates to the atomistic vs holistic interpretation of linguistic fragments a very similar debate is raging today between traditional semantics and cognitive linguistics, over the view whether words in themselves have semantic interpretations that can be composed to form larger strings. The cognitive linguistics view of semantics is that any definition of a word ultimately constrains it meanings because the actual meaning of a word can only be construed by considering a large number of individual contextual cues.

Etymologically, nouns originates from verbs

Yāska also defends the view, presented first in the lost text of Sakatayana that etymologically, most nouns have their origins in verbs. An example in English may be the noun origin, derived from the Latin originalis, which is ultimately based on the verb oriri, "to rise". This view is related to the position that in defining agent categories, behaviours are ontologically primary to, say, appearance. This was also a source for considerable debate for several centuries (see Sakatayana for details).

UKT: End of Wikipedia article.

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