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375 LESSON 15 09 2011 Siha Sutta To General Siha On GenerosityFREE ONLINE eNālandā Research and Practice UNIVERSITY & BUDDHIST GOOD NEWS LETTER Through http://sarvajan.ambedkar.org- FREE ONLINE CONCENTRATION PRACTICE INSTITUTE FOR STUDENTS(FOCPIS)- Theology- The Levels of FOCPIS Curriculum-2. Department of Languages-Literary PALI -FREE ONLINE CONCENTRATION PRACTICE INSTITUTE FOR STUDENTS (FOCPIS)-A Guide to Learning the Pali Language
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375  LESSON 15 09  2011 Siha Sutta To General
Siha On Generosity
FREE ONLINE eNālandā Research and Practice UNIVERSITY & BUDDHIST GOOD NEWS LETTER Through http://sarvajan.ambedkar.org- FREE ONLINE CONCENTRATION PRACTICE
INSTITUTE FOR STUDENTS(FOCPIS)- Theology- The Levels of FOCPIS Curriculum-2.
Department of Languages-
Literary PALI-FREE ONLINE
CONCENTRATION PRACTICE INSTITUTE FOR STUDENTS(FOCPIS-A Guide to Learning the Pali Language

AN 5.34

PTS: A iii 38

Siha Sutta: To General
Siha (On Generosity)

translated from the Pali
by

Thanissaro Bhikkhu

© 1997–2011

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying
near Vesali, in the Great Forest, at the Gabled Pavilion.
Then General Siha went to the Blessed One and, on arrival,
having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to
the Blessed One: “Is it possible, lord, to point out a fruit of generosity
visible in the here & now?”

“It is possible, Siha. One who gives, who is a master of
giving, is dear & charming to people at large. And the fact that who is
generous, a master of giving, is dear & charming to people at large: this
is a fruit of generosity visible in the here & now.

“Furthermore, good people, people of integrity, admire one
who gives, who is a master of giving. And the fact that good people, people of
integrity, admire one who gives, who is a master of giving: this, too, is a
fruit of generosity visible in the here & now.

“Furthermore, the fine reputation of one who gives, who is
a master of giving, is spread far & wide. And the fact that the fine
reputation of one who gives, who is a master of giving, is spread far &
wide: this, too, is a fruit of generosity visible in the here & now.

“Furthermore, when one who gives, who is a master of
giving, approaches any assembly of people — noble warriors, brahmans,
householders, or contemplatives — he/she does so confidently & without
embarrassment. And the fact that when one who gives, who is a master of giving,
approaches any assembly of people — noble warriors, brahmans, householders, or
contemplatives — he/she does so confidently & without embarrassment: this,
too, is a fruit of generosity visible in the here & now.

“Furthermore, at the break-up of the body, after death, one
who gives, who is a master of giving, reappears in a good destination, the
heavenly world. And the fact that at the break-up of the body, after death, one
who gives, who is a master of giving, reappears in a good destination, the
heavenly world: this is a fruit of generosity in the next life.”

When this was said, General Siha said to the Blessed One:
“As for the four fruits of generosity visible in the here & now that
have been pointed out by the Blessed One, it’s not the case that I go by
conviction in the Blessed One with regard to them. I know them, too. I am one
who gives, a master of giving, dear & charming to people at large. I am one
who gives, a master of giving; good people, people of integrity, admire me. I
am one who gives, a master of giving, and my fine reputation is spread far
& wide: ‘Siha is generous, a doer, a supporter of the Sangha.’ I am one who
gives, a master of giving, and when I approach any assembly of people — noble
warriors, brahmans, householders, or contemplatives — I do so confidently &
without embarrassment.

“But when the Blessed One says to me, ‘At the break-up of
the body, after death, one who gives, who is a master of giving, reappears in a
good destination, the heavenly world,’ that I do not know. That is where I go
by conviction in the Blessed One.”

“So it is, Siha. So it is. At the break-up of the body,
after death, one who gives, who is a master of giving, reappears in a good
destination, the heavenly world.”

One who gives is dear.
People at large admire him. He gains honor. His status grows. He enters an
assembly unembarrassed. He is confident — the man unmiserly. Therefore the wise
give gifts. Seeking bliss, they would subdue the stain of miserliness.
Established in the three-fold heavenly world, they enjoy themselves long in
fellowship with the devas. Having made the opportunity for themselves, having
done what is skillful, then when they fall from here they fare on,
self-radiant, in Nandana.[1]

There they delight, enjoy, are joyful, replete with the five sensuality
strands. Having followed the words of the sage who is Such, they enjoy
themselves in heaven — disciples of the One Well-gone.

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(FOCPIS)


Fearlessness means Taking Refuge in Buddha Dhamma and
Sangha


Next, the Buddha begins his explanation
of the four types of fearlessness, here called the four kinds of intrepidity.
These four describe the confidence and competence with which the Buddha teaches
the Dhamma.


“Sariputta, the Tathagata has these four
kinds of intrepidity, possessing which he claims the herd-leader’s place, roars
his lion’s roar in the assemblies, and sets rolling the Wheel of Brahma. What
are these four?


“Here, I see no ground on which any
recluse or brahmin or god or Mara or Brahma or anyone else at all in the world
could, in accordance with the Dhamma, accuse me thus: `While you claim full
awakenment, you are not fully awakened in regard to certain things.’ And seeing
no ground for that, I abide in safety, fearlessness, and intrepidity. (Ibid, p.
167)


Here the Buddha states that he is fully
awakened and there is nothing more that he needs to realize. He has no fear
that he has overlooked anything.


“I see no ground on which any recluse…or
anyone at all could accuse me thus: `While you claim to have destroyed the
taints, these taints are undestroyed by you.’ And seeing no ground for that, I
abide in safety, fearlessness, and intrepidity. (Ibid, p. 167)


Here the Buddha states that he no longer
has any taints or defilements. In other words, the Buddha is confident that he
is totally free of all negative tendencies. He has reached the pinnacle of
human perfection.


“I see no ground on which any recluse…or
anyone at all could accuse me thus: `Those things called obstructions by you
are not able to obstruct one who engages in them.’ And seeing no ground for
that, I abide in safety, fearlessness, and intrepidity. (Ibid, p. 167)


Here the Buddha states that what he has
called obstacles to practice are in fact obstacles. He is not merely guessing,
relying on conventional wisdom, tradition, or his own subjective feelings. He
is claiming to know for a fact that certain actions and attitudes will hinder
practice.


“I see no ground on which any recluse…or
anyone at all could accuse me thus: `When you teach the Dhamma to someone, it
does not lead him when he practices it to the complete destruction of
suffering.’ And seeing no ground for that, I abide in safety, fearlessness, and
intrepidity. (Ibid, p. 168)


Finally the Buddha states that his
teaching will definitely lead those who practice it to liberation. He has no
fear that what he has taught will be ineffective. He is certain his teachings
are the way to attain liberation.


“A Tathagata has these four kinds of
intrepidity, possessing which he claims the herd-leader’s place, roars his
lion’s roar in the assemblies, and set rolling the Wheel of Brahma. (Ibid, p.
168)


The Buddha is supremely confident in his
awakening, his freedom from impurity, his ability to point out obstacles to his
disciples, and the efficaciousness of his teachings. Because he is without fear
he can teach all people without hesitation or worry that someone might point
out a flaw or mistake in what he teaches. He has no fear that someone else
might surpass his own teaching and example. This confidence and it’s basis in
the Buddha’s direct knowledge and many powers and abilities is what makes him a
leader who is qualified to teach others the Dhamma.


2.
Department of Languages

2.1
Tibetan Language Curriculum


DOL 510
Literary PALI
 - 1 credit



A Guide to Learning the Pali Language
by
John T. Bullitt


How to learn Pali   

It’s not difficult to learn a little Pali through self-study, using a
textbook or two as a guide. Many people find it helpful to study with
others, either in a formal classroom setting or in a more relaxed Pali
study group. For many of us, the goal is not to become expert scholars
and translators of the language, but simply to become acquainted with
enough of the basics of the language to enrich our personal
understanding of the suttas and the Buddha’s teachings. For self-study, Warder’s Introduction to Pali or de Silva’s Pali Primer are the basic texts. Johansson’s Pali Buddhist Texts: An Introductory Reader and Grammar is also immensely helpful. See the list of Pali language textbooks for more recommended titles.

Formal classroom courses in Pali are offered at many universities
with strong Eastern Religions departments as well as at several Buddhist
studies centers and institutes (see the University of Minnesota’s list
of schools that teach less commonly taught languages,
such as Pali). Some university-level Pali courses require previous
acquaintance with Sanskrit. If you are looking for a Pali teacher,
consider asking around at a university to see if there might be a
graduate student willing to tutor you or your study group, perhaps for a
small fee. Some professors may be willing to let you audit a course
without going through the official university registration process.

For more information of interest to Pali students of all levels, see “Pali Language Aids


Coping with Pali diacritical marks   

Writing without an alphabet

Pali is a phonetic language with no written alphabet of its own.
Students of the language have therefore relied on their own native
alphabets to read and write Pali, ever since the 1st century
BCE, when Sri Lankan scribes first recorded the Tipitaka in the Sinhala
alphabet. But the Europeans who began to take an interest in South Asian
languages in the 19th century quickly discovered that their
own roman alphabet was no match for the wide range of phonemes (sounds)
present in South Asian languages. European scholars thus began
representing the more problematic Pali phonemes by augmenting the roman
alphabet with a system of letter-pairs and diacritics, including the
macron (horizontal bar), dot-over, dot-under, and tilde:

problematic letters

Until well into the mid-20th century, Pali typefaces using
these characters were used almost exclusively by specialty book
publishers; a scholar’s day-to-day duties of transcribing, translating,
and editing had to be laboriously carried out with typewriter, pen, and a
steady hand with which to apply the diacritics. Unfortunately, the
first personal computers failed to address the typographic challenge of
diacritics, as they were designed around a very limited character set
(ASCII) that was only barely able to accommodate the upper- and
lower-case roman letters, ten digits, and a modest sprinkling of
punctuation marks. The extended-ASCII set, which soon followed, offered a
suite of additional special symbols, including many required for
northern- and eastern- European alphabets. But still no macrons or
dot-unders. In the absence of a universally accepted computer
representation of non-ASCII characters, students of non-European
languages were left to invent their own stopgap methods. These range
from giving ordinary punctuation marks double-duty as stand-ins for
diacritics, to designing special diacritic fonts (all of which are
incompatible with each other), and everything in between.

Evaluating the methods   

A good written phonetic representation of Pali — indeed, of any
language — using one’s native alphabet as a starting point should aspire
to each of the following ideals:

  1. It should be readable by a wide audience. It should
    introduce a minimum of special characters that are not already present
    in the alphabet. It is better to modify an existing letter with a small
    diacritic than to introduce an entirely new character that may look like
    an alien squiggle to the uninitiated. A newcomer to Pali, upon seeing a
    t with a dot-under, should be able to guess immediately that the letter stands for some variant of a t sound.
  2. It should be phonetically precise. The written text
    should precisely and accurately capture the phonetic content. Each
    phoneme (sound) should be unambiguously represented by a unique letter
    or combination of letters.
  3. It should be easy to type. Writing Pali should not be a cumbersome exercise in keyboard gymnastics. Typing an a-macron should not call for a long series of keystrokes (e.g., Alt-Ctl-Shift-Esc-a).
  4. It should be portable. If you hand me a book — or send
    me a text file by e-mail — it should appear to me exactly as it did to
    you. I should be able to sound out the text phonetically exactly as you
    intended.

No single method simultaneously realizes all of these goals; no
single method is “best.” (I should note, however, that one system —
Unicode — holds exceptional promise — but not until its fonts and
keyboard mappings become more seamlessly and universally integrated into
the mainstream of word processors, HTML authoring software, and web and
e-mail clients.) The choice of which method to use therefore depends
both on your particular needs (e.g., Do you demand phonetic precision?
Are you printing a book or dashing off a quick e-mail?) and on the
typing, printing, and computing resources you have at your disposal
(e.g., Do you have a Pali font? Does your PC support Unicode?).

In what follows I’ve singled out some of the more common strategies
that Pali students have used in recent decades, running the gamut from
ignoring diacritics altogether to using Unicode fonts. I evaluate the
success of each strategy in achieving the above-mentioned goals, to help
you decide which method best suits your needs.

Method 1. Ignore the diacritics   

This is certainly the simplest method. But the cost of that
simplicity is heavy: the irretrievable loss of crucial pronunciation
details. This is the method I use at Access to Insight. (I should add
that I do make use of the palatal nasal ñ because it is so easy
to implement using HTML and because it is contained in the
extended-ASCII character set found on practically everyone’s computer
nowadays.)

Examples: panatipata veramani sikkha-padam samadiyami [1] (HTML: panatipata veramani sikkha-padam samadiyami)

itihidam ayasmato kondaññassa, añña-kondañño’tveva namam, ahositi [2]
(HTML: itihidam ayasmato kondaññassa,
añña-kondañño’tveva namam,
ahositi).

Readability: Excellent
Phonetics: Poor
Ease of use: Excellent
Portability: Excellent
Overall: Fair. Its phonetic imprecision renders it next to useless in substantive discussions of Pali grammar
Uses: Informal correspondence, email. OK for low-budget print projects that don’t require linguistic precision.

Method 2. Use capital letters   

Capitalized letters represent letters with an accompanying diacritic.
The method is simple, but it has ambiguities: how, for example, would
you distinguish between the palatal and guttural n (n with a dot-under, and n with a dot-over)?

Examples:
pANAtipAtA veramaNI sikkhA-padaM samAdiyAmi (HTML: pANAtipAtA veramaNI sikkhA-padaM samAdiyAmi)

itihidaM Ayasmato koNDaññassa, añña-koNDañño’tveva nAmaM, ahosIti
(HTML: itihidaM Ayasmato koNDaññassa,
añña-koNDañño’tveva nAmaM,
ahosIti)

Readability: Poor. The ever-shifting case is disturbing. When caps appear at the end of a word it looks like mirror writing.
Phonetics: Fair. The palatal n and guttural n are indistinguishable.
Ease of use: Good. It may take time to get used to the shift key’s new significance.
Portability: Excellent
Overall: Fair. The manic appearance of caps at random points is hard to bear.
Uses: Informal correspondence, email. Not suitable for print.

Method 3. The Velthuis scheme: double the vowels, punctuate the consonants   

In the Velthuis scheme two basic rules are observed:

  1. Long vowels (those usually typeset with a macron (bar) above them) are doubled: aa ii uu
  2. For consonants, the diacritic mark precedes the letter it affects.
    Thus, the retroflex (cerebral) consonants (usually typeset with a dot
    underneath) are: .t .th .d .dh .n .l. The pure nasal (niggahiita) m, also typeset with a dot underneath, is .m. The guttural nasal (n with a dot above) is represented as “n . The palatal nasal (n with a tilde) is ~n.

Of the plain-ASCII methods, this one is the most precise, as it
carefully preserves the significance of each special character. To the
uninitiated, however, the sight of all those doubled vowels and
misplaced periods is utterly bewildering, perhaps leaving them to wonder
if someone’s keyboard is broken.

Examples:
paa.naatipaataa verama.nii sikkhaa-pada.m samaadiyaami (HTML: paa.naatipaataa verama.nii sikkhaa-pada.m samaadiyaami)

itihida.m aayasmato ko.n.daññassa, añña-ko.n.dañño’tveva naama.m,
ahosiiti (HTML: itihida.m aayasmato ko.n.daññassa,
añña-ko.n.dañño’tveva
naama.m, ahosiiti)

Readability: Fair. Text looks like it has been sprinkled with typos.
Phonetics: Excellent.
Ease of use: Good. Requires learning the dual significance of the period and double-quote keys.
Portability: Excellent
Overall: Good.
Uses: Formal scholarly correspondence, email. Not suitable for print
(except low-budget short-run projects that require scholarly precision).

Method 4. Use a little HTML   

HTML has access to the extended ASCII character set, which includes
many accented non-English European vowels (umlaut, circumflex, etc.),
some of which can serve as reasonable stand-ins for the long Pali vowels
(ä ï ü; à ì ù; or â î û etc.). The palatal n is straightforward: ñ. Whatever type of accent you adopt, use it consistently.

Examples:
pâ.nâtipâtâ verama.nî sikkhâ-pada.m samâdiyâmi (HTML:
pâ.nâtipâtâ verama.nî
sikkhâ-pada.m samâdiyâmi)

itihidam âyasmato kondaññassa, añña-kondañño’tveva nâmam, ahosîti
(HTML: itihidam âyasmato kondaññassa,
añña-kondañño’tveva
nâmam, ahosîti)

Readability: Very good.
Phonetics: Fair. The consonantal diacritics are missing.
Ease of use: Good. Easy to produce using most HTML authoring tools.
Portability: Good. Limited to web browsers and other HTML-savvy software.
Overall: Fair-Good. Improves upon the capital letter method, but doesn’t capture the consonantal diacritics.
Uses: Informal correspondence, email, print.

Method 5. Mixed Velthuis/HTML   

This method attempts to clear up the stuttering of Method 3’s doubled vowels, by using a little HTML (Method 4).

Examples:
pâ.nâtipâtâ verama.nî sikkhâ-pada.m samâdiyâmi (HTML:
pâ.nâtipâtâ verama.nî
sikkhâ-pada.m samâdiyâmi)

itihida.m âyasmato ko.n.daññassa, añña-ko.n.dañño’tveva nâma.m,
ahosîti (HTML: itihida.m âyasmato
ko.n.daññassa,
añña-ko.n.dañño’tveva
nâma.m, ahosîti)

Readability: Fair. It looks like it has typos, although perhaps not quite as many as pure Velthuis.
Phonetics: Excellent.
Ease of use: Fair. More complex than Velthuis, since it requires a combination of special punctuation and the use of special HTML characters.
Portability: Good. Limited to web browsers and other HTML-savvy software.
Overall: Fair. Although this hybrid does slightly improve the appearance of Velthuis, it still looks like an error-filled jumble.
Uses: Informal correspondence (scholars who demand precision are bound
to prefer good old pure Velthuis). Not generally suitable for e-mail or
print.

Method 6. Special Pali fonts   

For high-quality print projects, nothing beats a well-designed Pali
font. For an extensive review of available Pali and Sanskrit fonts, see Transliteration and Devanagari Fonts for Sanskrit, by Ulrich Stiehl. The Association for Insight Meditation’s Pali Font Resources page offers several ANSI and Unicode fonts suitable for working with Pali.

Example (in “Normyn” font): Example using Normyn font
Readability: Excellent.
Phonetics: Excellent.
Ease of use: Variable — it depends on the keyboard mappings used by a particular font.
Portability: Poor. These fonts don’t all share the same coding standards; they
are not interchangeable. If I send you a text document that I formatted
with font X, and you display it with font Y, the Pali characters may
not show up properly.
Overall: Excellent — but only for documents that are to be shared in print (hard copy) form or as PDF files or GIF images.
Uses: Printing. Not suitable for e-mail or the web, except when embedded in PDF files or GIF images.

Method 7. Unicode and Unicode fonts   

Unicode
has emerged in recent years as the international standard for
representing characters from most of the world’s alphabets. All the
special characters we need for Pali transliteration may be found in
Unicode’s Latin Extended-A, and Latin Extended Additional code charts. They can therefore be easily generated using HTML, provided that your web browser uses a Unicode-savvy font.

There are many Unicode fonts available that contain the characters
needed for Pali. Two useful sources are the Association of Insight
Meditation’s ” Pali Font Resources” and BuddaSasana’s ” Unicode Fonts for Romanized Viet-Pali-Sanskrit

The following table lists the HTML Unicode entities required to
generate each of the special Pali characters. If your web browser
supports Unicode, the characters appearing in the last column of the
table should resemble those appearing the shaded column. If they do not
match, then you may have to upgrade your web browser, install Unicode
fonts on your computer, or both. For details about configuring your
computer and browser to use Unicode, see the Unicode website.

Pali letter Velthuis HTML Rendered on your browser as[3]
A macron A big macron AA Ā Ā
A small macron aa ā ā
I macron I big macron II Ī Ī
I small macron ii ī ī
U macron U big macron UU Ū Ū
U small macron uu ū ū
N dot-over N big dotover “N
N small dotover “n
M dot-under M big dotunder .M
M small dotunder .m
N tilde N big tilde ~N Ñ Ñ
N small tilde ~n ñ ñ
T dot-under T big dotunder .T
T small dotunder .t
D dot-under D big dotunder .D
D small dotunder .d
N dot-under N big dotunder .N
N small dotunder .n
L dot-under L big dotunder .L
L small dotunder .l
Examples:

pānātipātā veramaṅī sikkhā-padaṁ samādiyāmi
(HTML: pānātipātā
veramaṅī sikkhā-padaṁ
samādiyāmi)

itihidaṁ āyasmato Koṇḍaññassa, añña-koṇḍañño’tveva nāmaṁ, ahosīti
(HTML: itihidaṁ āyasmato
Koṇḍaññassa,
añña-koṇḍañño’tveva
nāmaṁ, ahosīti)

Readability: Excellent
Phonetics: Excellent
Ease of use: Poor-Good, depending on the particular software you use (HTML authoring program, word processor, e-mail client, etc.).
Portability: Good-Excellent. Requires the installation of at least a basic set of Unicode fonts.
Overall: Good. Still a little cumbersome to use in some software apps, a shortcoming that will probably fade in the next few years.
Uses: Web, email (if email client permits easy typing of Pali characters), print (with well-crafted Unicode fonts).


Pali language textbooks   

There are quite a few Pali books out there, but so far none surpasses the breadth and depth of A.K. Warder’s superb Introduction to Pali. de Silva’s Pali Primer,
a relative newcomer to the Pali textbook scene, offers a light and
refreshing complement to the high-density Warder. If you’re trying to
learn Pali on your own, it can be helpful to have several books to turn
to, as each offers its unique perspective on the language.

  • Introduction to Pali, by A.K. Warder
    London: Pali Text Society, 1963; rev. 1991
    464pp, with exercises.
    About $15 from Pariyatti. Companion audio CD also available.
    Known popularly as “Warder,” this is the standard Pali textbook widely
    used today. It is systematic and thorough, ideally suited to those with
    some prior familiarity with basic linguistic concepts (case, declension,
    gender, etc.) or to the motivated newcomer. Although beginners may at
    first find some of Warder’s explanations impenetrable, it’s still the
    best overall Pali textbook around.

    The companion CD is well worth purchasing, as it gives the student a good idea of what “real” spoken Pali should sound like.

    Although each chapter contains numerous exercises or passages for
    reading and translation, the latest edition contains answers to only the
    first seven exercises. Several independently prepared answer keys are
    currently available:

  • Pali Primer, by Lily de Silva
    Igatpuri, India: Vipassana Research Institute, 1994
    154pp.
    Vipassana Research Institute
    Dhammagiri
    Igatpuri 422403
    Maharashtra, India
    Available by mail order via the Pariyatti Book Service.
    This is a nice first book for those who think they’re not ready yet for Warder.
    Each chapter focuses on a single concept of Pali grammar, and contains
    numerous exercises. I found, though, that there comes a point in the
    book (somewhere around Lesson 11) when the brief grammatical
    introductions in the beginning of the lessons begin to fall short. In
    particular, there is no explanation of word order in Pali sentences. At
    this point, Warder
    can come to the rescue. An Appendix to the book, containing solutions
    to the exercises, is reportedly forthcoming from the publisher.
  • Pali Buddhist Texts: An Introductory Reader and Grammar (formerly titled: Pali Buddhist Texts Explained to the Beginner), by Rune E.A. Johansson
    Scandinavian Institute of Asian Studies Monograph Series, No. 14. London: Routledge/Curzon, 1998
    160pp.
    This book consists of 52 short chapters, each consisting of a brief
    passage from the Pali canon along with a word-for-word grammatical
    analysis and translation. Useful to the student with some prior grasp of
    the fundamentals of Pali, or when used in parallel with Warder (above).
    It also stands well on its own for newcomers who wish to develop a
    “feel” for the language. An excellent 25-page summary of Pali grammar
    appears in the back of the book. The book has been difficult to find in
    the US lately, although it has surfaced in bookshops in Britain and
    Asia. If you can’t find it, write to the publisher: Scandinavian
    Institute of Asian Studies, Kejsergade 2, DK-1155 Copenhagen K.
  • A New Course in Reading Pali: Entering the Word of the Buddha
    New Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, 1998
    207pp. ISBN 81-208-1440-1 cloth, 81-208-1441-x paper. About $20.
    I haven’t seen this one yet, although I’ve heard several favorable
    reports about it. From the dust jacket (courtesy of Henry Grossi):


    This book is intended to serve as an introduction to the reading of Pali
    texts. For that purpose it uses authentic readings especially compiled
    for the purpose drawn largely from Theravada canonical works, both prose
    and poetry. The readings are in Roman script, and carefully graded for
    difficulty, but they have also been selected so that each of them is a
    meaningful and complete reading in itself, so as to introduce some basic
    concepts and ways of thought of Theravada Buddhism. This book thus
    offers an opportunity to become acquainted with the ways in which the
    teachings of the Buddha are embodied in the language; a sense that is
    impossible to determine from English translations. The book contains 12
    lessons. Each of them has three parts: (1) a set of basic readings and
    an accompanying glossary, (2) grammatical notes on the forms of the
    lesson, and (3) a set of further readings with its own glossary. The
    further readings introduce no new grammatical points, but reinforce ones
    already presented and give further practice in them. The work
    concludes, fittingly, with the Buddha’s first sermon, The
    Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta. A cumulative glossary and index to the
    grammar is also provided.

  • An Elementary Pali Course, by Narada Thera
    Second edition, 1952.
    Several on-line versions are available.
  • The New Pali Course — Parts I & II, by A.P. Buddhadatta
    1937; 268pp.
    Available for about $4 + shipping from the Buddhist Cultural Centre, Sri Lanka.
    Topics are arranged systematically in short, digestible chunks (e.g.,
    “The Alphabet,” “Pronunciation,” “Parts of Speech”). Sometimes more
    explanation would be helpful. Lots of good exercises, but no answers are
    given. This would work best in a teacher-led course, rather than as a
    tool for self-study.
  • Pali Language by E. Muller
    Delhi: Bharatiya Book Corporation, 1986
    144pp. Available at bookstores in Asia.
    A compact grammar, written in 1884. Sanksrit students may find it
    useful, as it compares and contrasts Pali and Sanskrit at every turn.
    Not recommended for the rank beginner.
  • A Pali Grammar, by N.C. Vidyabhushan and M.K. Ghose
    Calcutta: Kiron Moy Ghose, 1982
    90pp. Available at bookstores in Asia.
    Another Pali grammar, similar to The New Pali Course, above, but without any exercises. Useful as a compact reference book after you’ve learned the basics.


Pali language reference books   

  • Buddhist Dictionary, by Nyanatiloka Thera
    Kandy: Buddhist Publication Society, 1988
    260pp. About $20, from Pariyatti Book Service, and the Buddhist Publication Society.
    This one is a classic. It’s a fascinating mixture of Pali and English
    words, arranged in English word order (e.g., “Killing… Kiñcana…
    Kiriya… Knowledge…”). Most entries have thorough explanations with
    references to passages in the Pali canon. Excellent tool for beginner
    and veteran, alike.
  • Concise Pali-English Dictionary, by A.P. Buddhadatta
    Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1989
    295pp. Available by mail from the publisher: Motilal Banarsidass, Bungalow Road, Jawahar Nagar, Delhi 110 007, India.
    Very handy for quickly finding the meaning of a word, without the detailed grammatical and contextual analysis offered by the Pali-English Dictionary.
  • A Dictionary of Pali (Vol I: A-Kh)
    Oxford: Pali Text Society, 2001
    778pp. About $50, from Pariyatti Book Service.
    This impressive new dictionary has several improvements over the classic PED,
    including the use of Pali quotations from the Canon to illustrate the
    meaning of words, instead of simply references to those passages. The
    publication date for volume II has not yet been set.
  • English-Pali Dictionary, by A.P. Buddhadatta
    London: Pali Text Society, 1979
    588pp. $48 through Wisdom Publications.
    What are the various Pali words for “mind”? How do you say “penknife” in
    Pali? (!) This handy book can be particularly valuable when exploring
    Pali-English translations — your own or others’.
  • Pali-English Dictionary
    London: Pali Text Society, 1986
    754pp. About $40, from Pariyatti Book Service.
    The primary table-top reference tool for the Pali student. Affectionately known as the PED.


Notes   

1.
The first of the five precepts: “I undertake the precept to refrain from taking life.”
2.
The last line of the Buddha’s first sermon (SN 56.11): “And that is how Ven. Kondañña acquired the name Añña-Kondañña — Kondañña who knows.”
3.
These characters will display properly only when your browser is
set with a default font that contains appropriate Pali Unicode
characters.

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