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Book Reviews

Pali Text Society

The Society was founded in 1881 by T.W. Rhys Davids "to foster and promote the study of Pali texts ". It publishes Pali texts in roman characters, translations in English and ancillary works including dictionaries, concordances, books for students of Pali and a journal.

As the List of Issues shows [see: Bibliography], most of the classical texts and commentaries have now been edited and many works translated into English. The Society aims to keep almost all its publications in print and to produce at least two new books and a volume of its Journal each year.

The Society is non-profit making and depends on the sale of its publications, on members' subscriptions and on the generosity of donors. Alongside its publishing activities, it provides Research Studentships for a number of people in a variety of countries who are working in the field of Pali studies. It also supports the Fragile Palm Leaves Project, which is involved in the conservation and identification of Southeast Asian manuscripts.

The Pali Text Society
c/o CPI Antony Rowe Ltd
Unit 4, Pegasus Way
Bowerhill Industrial Estate
Melksham, Wilts
SN12 6TR
Tel: +44 (0)117 917 5341
Fax: +44 (0)117 917 5005 [mark "for Pali Text Society"]


Office Hours: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday / Wednesday / Friday
Email: [email protected]
Web site:



Monday, July 14, 2003 12:22 PM




Introduction to Pali CD (the same recording by Ven. H. Saddhatissa that is available on tape cassette)
ISBN 0 86013 410 5, price: 10.50 pounds.




Pa.thamasambdhi, in Pali, edited by George Coedes (edition prepared by Jacqueline Filliozat) with a translation of an article by Coedes, "An Indochinese Life of the Buddha". lxvii + 311 pp. Hardback.
ISBN 0 86013 411 3, price 24.00 pounds.




The Paali Dhaatupaa.tha and the Dhaatuma"njuusaa published in 1921 by the Danish Royal Academy, Copenhagen. 82 pp. Paper cover.
No ISBN, price 16.00 pounds.




We are distributing copies of Paali Literature Transmitted in Central Siam by Peter Skilling and Santi Pakdeekham, published by the Fragile Palm Leaves Foundation and Lumbini International Research Institute, Bangkok 2002. c + 361. This is the first in a series of catalogues an resource materials for the study of Pali texts and Buddhist literature entitled Materials for the Study of the Tripitaka.
ISBN 974 13 2148 1, price 16.00 pounds.



Wednesday, June 11, 2003 7:53 AM

The Buddha's Last Days:

Buddhaghosa's Commentary on the Mahaaarinibbaana Sutta.
Translated by Yang-Guy An.

ISBN 0 86013 405 9. Hardback. Price, 16.00 pounds. xi + 266 pp.




(the commentary on the Paatimokkha).
A new edition with a full index prepared by K.R. Norman and William Pruitt is now available.

ISBN 0 86013 413 X. Price, 30.00 pounds.
xix + 596 pp.



Summary of the Topics of Abhidhamma
Exposition of the Topics of Abhidhamma

R.P. Wijeratne and Rupert Gethin, translators.

(the Abhidhammattahsagaha and its commentary).



The Casket of Medicine
Chapter 1-18

translated by Dr Jinadasa Liyanaratne

This is a translation of the Bhesajjamanjuusaa, the only extant Pali medical text book (13th century CE).

I have just received my copy of this book, and while I have not yet finished it, I thought I would quote a paragraph from the Introduction:

"The only known medical treatise written in Pali . . . has drawn from nearly eighty medical works, some of them lost today. Apart from their purely medical interest, the value of both Bhes and Bhes-sn for ethnomedicine, ethnobotany, medical anthropology, the history of South Asian traditional medicine, and Pali lexicography will be noticed by readers of this English translation."

This misses the buzz-words: This is a compendium of the early works in Ayurvedic and Herbal Medicine.

Just so we keep an even keel here, the Buddha had this to say about medicine and doctors: "Do not ridicule doctors, beggars, for there will be some who are cured of their illnesses in this way."



A new edition (2nd) of

The Group of Discourses

K.R. Norman's translation of the Suttanipata.



A hardback edition of A.K. Warder's

Introduction to Pali



A Dictionary of Paali

Part I, A-Kh
by Margaret Cone.

A new Pali-English dictionary that will replace the Rhys Davids-Stede Pali-English Dictionary (PED) when it is completed. Part I covers the letters A-Kh (all the vowels and the first two consonants), and it will obviously be some time before the entire alphabet is covered. This dictionary takes into account the Pali commentaries as well as the Pali canon, and so is more complete than PED.

Dr Cone has also benefited from research on the Pali language that has been published since PED was completed, and in particular editions of Pali texts (including editions in Burma, Thailand, Sri Lanka, etc.). The translation of the words is also in more up-to-date English. The volume is 778 pages, and the cost has been kept as low as possible to make it possible for students to afford it.

This dictionary is not as complete as A Critical Dictionary of Pali (CDP), but it does go further in the alphabet, and it will be more current for most of the words beginning with vowels since the first two volumes of CDP were published some time ago.




I have just received my copy of the brand spanking new A Dictionary of Pali

Let me quote the introduction as introduction:

"This dictionary has two main aims: first, to help its user read and understand the Pali Canon and its commentaries; and second, to provide a picture of the language, syntax, and even grammar of these texts.

"To achieve the first aim, I have tried to define all the words which apear in the texts in so far as that is possible given the fallibility of even the most recent technological aids and the limits of human capability. For the second, I have extensively used quotation to illustrate meaning, rather than providing mere references, and have given detailed information on declension and especially on parts of verbs. As a secondary aim was to produce a relatively concise dictionary, there are some things this dictionary is not. It is not an etymological dictionary, its primary reference being to Sanskrit. It is not a concordance, but quotes selectively. I have tried to show the range of texts in which a word appears, but the emphasis is on canonical texts, with less reference to commentaries. Not every compound is listed, only those where the members do not appear independently, or where the meaning might not be immediately apparent. Negative forms and many forms with su-, du(r) or ni(r)- are given under the primary word."

First quick-look observation:

There are no running heads! The publishers apparently have no sympathy for those who have spent hours looking up every word of a sutta where the quick glance at the words from the start of the page and the end of the page make zeroing in on the target word slightly less trouble.

No etymology? Reference to Sanskrit? Oh, well. Don't throw away your PED. Since it is inevitable that this work will become the standard for the forseeable future, what it all means is that to be scrupulous about your research you are going to have to look the word up in both Dictionaries.

And I want the references back, they are an invaluable aid in finding the sutta you are looking for when all you remember is it dealt with ...

And where is APPAMADA? No doubt confined to subserviance to PAMADA. Putting aside the fact that this is an incomplete reading of the word, it's like saying disfunction should be listed under function.

And another thing! The book is perfect-bound clothbound (that means the pages are sliced off even as with a paperback and glued to the spine, not sewn in folios and then glued). It won't last a year under hard use.

What has the world come to!
I feel like Nero Wolf looking at a new improved revised Websters. This will never do! haha.

I must go order myself a new copy of PED before they go out of stock.

Never mind, anyone who is interested in Pali will have to get this book whether I like it or not!



The Patimokkha

Edited by William Pruitt
Translated by K.R. Norman

This book is a duffer-translator's dream: the Pali and English are on facing pages!

From the Preface:
Our aim in this book has been to produce the first complete English translation of the Pali Bhikkhu and Bhikkhuni-Patimokkhas . . . is intended as a preliminary to a tdranslation of the Kankhavitarani . . . and it is therefore not rendered into idiomatic English but . . . follows the structure of the Pali as closely as is possible in acceptable English.

From the Introduction:
The Patimokkha contains the rules of conduct for Buddhist bhikkhus and bhikkhunis, and consists of two sections: the Bhikkhu-Patimokkha and the Bhikkhuni-Patimokkha.
The two Patimokkhas do not include every rule for bhikkhus and bhikkhunis but serve more as a summary.
For bhikkhus there are 227 rules . . . For bhikhunis, there are 311 rules
In general the names of the rules, which are clearly secondary and are not recited as part of the Patimokkha, are taken from the most important word or phrase in the rule
The background of the fortnightly recitation of the Patimokkha is found in the second section of the Mahavagga of the Vinaya-pitaka. King Bimbisara noticed that people went to hear the teachings of other sects when they met on the eighth day and the fourteenth or fifteenth day of the fortnight. He suggested to the Buddha that his bhikkhus should do the same. When the Buddha informed the bhikkhus that they were allowed to meet in this manner, they did so but remained silent. People criticized them for this, and the Buddha then told the bhikkhus they could teach the doctrine at those times. Then he decided to have the bhikkhus recite the rules of training he had laid down.
The Patimokkha is normally recited by a thera, but if a thera is not able to do so, an experienced, competent bhikkhu may recite it.

There is much other detailed information about the Patimokkha in the Introduction.

Index of Pali Words
Index of English Words

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