PALI LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE WITH BUDDHIST STUDIES
Prof. Yojana Bhagat
Introduction: Pali is one of the ancient languages of India and is the MOTHER of most of the languages spoken in India today.
The importance of the Pali language lies in the fact that ‘Pali has protected the buddhavacana- that is the words of the Buddha’- and hence it is called Pali. The name Pali is given to the language in the 5th CE by acariya Buddhaghosa thera, prior to that Pali was known by the name of Magadhi.
As we all know that Buddha used the lingua franca the local language of the people to give the dhamma- the teachings, so that it reaches all.
We have references in the Pali literature where Buddha admonished his disciples who wanted to translate the teachings in the Chandas language, Chandas being the name of Sanskrit prior to its modification by Panini. We thus understand that learning Pali or the original words of the Buddha is more relevant to know the dhamma than the gist of the dhamma through translation.
The traditional learning of Pali is with Pariyatti, Patipatti and Pativedhana, where Pariyatti is listening to the dhamma, reading the books, discussions on the subject and so on, the Patipatti means genuine efforts to walk on the path of the dhamma, that is following the precepts, being aware of oneself through meditational practices and so on and the last is the Pativedhana- which means the experiential knowledge of the teachings of the Buddha, which develops your insight- the Panna.
Each and every word of the Buddha can be experienced and that is the beauty of the teachings of the Buddha.
We donot learn Pali through translation, because no language of the world has the richness or the strength of the words to hold or carry the meanings or experience which the Pali words carry. That is the reason the most of the buddhavacana cannot be translated in any other language and remains the same in Pali as the Buddha, the Dhamma, the Sangha- the Vipassana and so on.
Learning Pali is very important today because- Pali has the teachings of the Buddha and whatever written on the teachings of the Buddha for 2500 years. Pali has the Dhamma- and the characteristic of the dhamma is it is akaliko- that is not bound by time.
The teachings of the Buddha were true 2500 years ago, are true today and will be true 2500 years henceforth. That is the reason; the scholars all over the world are learning Pali to find answers to the contemporary issues faced by the society today. The problem could be personal or social; the answer is in the teachings of the Buddha.
Buddha is called the Management guru, who gave the principles of Management which still governs the Sangha after 2500 years, Buddha is called the Mahabhessajja guru- the greatest doctor, who not only cured the illness, but showed the path to eradicate completely the suffering, Buddha is called the greatest psychotherapist who explained that Mind is the sixth sense, Buddha is the greatest leader who showed the right path to the millions and gave the principles of democracy and equality. Buddha is the greatest teacher the world has ever seen.
Thus when one learns Pali, it is not just the language- it is the way of life.
THINGS WE CAN DO AT
THE 15 DAYS WORKSHOP ON PALI LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE WITH BUDDHIST STUDIES.
- Introduction to the Pali Language and Literature
- Workshop on Brahmi Script and Pali Language
- Relation of Pali language and Buddhist Art and Architecture
- Places of Buddhist interest and Buddhist Pilgrimage
- Contemporary Issues and the Teachings of the Buddha
- Decline and Revival of Buddhism in India
- Flower Arrangement and the Teachings of the Buddha.
- Buddhist Education and Culture
- Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar and Buddhism