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The Tíká also to the Mahawanso is equally faultless in these respects, save in one single, but very remarkable, instance. In enumerating, at the opening of the 5th chapter, the "schisms" which had prevailed in the buddhistical church, the Mahawanso states, that six had arisen in India, and two in Ceylon. The Tíká, however, in commenting on this point, mentions three schism in Ceylon, and specifies the dates when each occurred. I quote this passage, as it will serve to illustrate, what I have already suggested, as to the mode of computing the dates of a consecutive series of chronological events in buddhistical works.
Of these (schisms) the fraternity of Abhayagiri, at the expiration of 217 years after the establishment of religion in Lanká, in the reign of king Wattagámini, by separating the Pariwanan section of Bhagawa from the Winéyo, which had been propounded for the regulation of sacerdotal discipline; by both altering its meaning and misquoting its contents; by pretending also that they were conscientious seceders, according to the "therawada" rules; and assuming the name of the Dhammaruchika seceders, established themselves at the Abhayagiriwiháro, which was constructed by Wattagámini.
At the expiration of 341 years from that event, the fraternity (subsequently established) at the Jétawanno, even before the said Jétawanno wiháro was founded, severing themselves from the Dhammaruchika schismatics, and repairing to the Dhakkhina wiháro, they also by separating the two Wibhangos of Bhagawa from the Winêyo, which had been propounded for the regulation of sacerdotal discipline; by both altering their meaning and misquoting their contents, and assuming the appellation of the Ságalika schismatics; and becoming very powerful at the Jétawanno wiháro built by rája Maháséno, established themselves there.
Hence the expression in the Mahawanso, "the Dhammaruchiya and Sagaliya secessions in Lanká."
At the expiration of 350 years from that event, in the reign of the rája Dáthápatisso (also called Aggrabhódi) the maternal nephew (of the preceding monarch) a certain priest named Dátháwédhako resident at the Kurundachatta pariwéno at the Jétawnno wiháro, and another priest also named Dátháwédhako, resident at the Kolombálako pariwéno of the same wiháro; these two individuals, influenced by wicked thoughts, lauding themselves, vilifying others, extolling their heresies in their own nikayas, dispelling the fear which ought to be entertained in regard to a future world, and discouraging the resort for the purpose of listening to dhamma; and representing also that the separation of the two Wibhangos in the Dhammarachika schism, and the Pariwa'ran section in the Sa'galika schism, proceeded, severally, from the misconduct of the Maha'wiha'ro fraternity; and propagating this unfounded statement, together with other deceptions usual among schismatics; and recording their own version in a form to give it the appearance of antiquity, they imposed (upon the inhabitants).
In this case, also, for the conjectural solution of the difficulty in question, I am reduced to a selection between two alternatives. Either Mahanámo was not the author of the Tíká, or the last sentence has been subsequently added by another hand.
When I consider the general tenor of this commentary, more particularly in its introductory portions, as well as the passage in this particular extract, intervening between the notices of the second and third schisms, "Hence the expression in the Mahawanso, the Dhammaruchiya and Ságaliya secessions in Lanká;" which is in fact an admission that the comment on the third schism had no reference to the Mahawanso; and the total absence of all precedent of a buddhist author attributing his work to another individual, I cannot hesitate to adopt the latter alternative. But the interpolation (if interpolation it be) is of old date, as it is found in Nadoris Modliar's Burmese edition also.
I shall now close my remarks on the portion of the Mahawanso composed by Mahanámo, with three quotations; the first his own concluding sentence in the Tíká, which affords an additional, if not conclusive, argument to justify my judgment in pronouncing him to be the author of that commentary; the other two from the 38th chapter of the Mahawanso, which will serve to shew, in connection with the extract above mentioned, that “Mahanámo resident at the pariwéno founded by the minister Dighasandano," was Dhátuséno's maternal uncle, by whom that rája was brought up under the disguise of a priest; and that the completion and public rehearsal of his work took place towards the close of that monarch's reign.
Extract from the Tíká.
Upon these data, by me, the théro, who had, with due solemnity, been invested with the dignified title of Mahánamo, resident at the pariwéno founded by the minister Díghasandano*; endowed with the capacity requisite to record the narrative comprised in the Maháwanao;-in due order, rejecting only the dialect in which the Singhalese Atthakatha' are written, but retaining their import and following their arrangement, this history, entitled the " Palapadóruwanso," is compiled.
As even in the times, when the despotism of the ruler of the land, and the horrors arising from the inclemencies of the seasons, and when panics of epidemics and other visitations prevailed, this work escaped all injury; and moreover as it serves to perpetuate the fame of the Buddhos, their disciples and of the Paché Buddhos of old, it is also worthy of bearing the title of "Wansutthappaka'siní.”
Extracts from the Mahawanso-Chapter 38.
Certain members of the Móriyan dynasty, dreading the power of the (usurper) Subho, the balatho, had settled in various parts of the country, concealing themselves. Among them, there was a certain landed proprietor named Dha'tuséno, who had established himself at Nandiwa'pi. His son named Dha'ta', who lived at the village Ambiliya'go, had two sons, Dha'tuséno and Silatissabodhi, of unexceptionable descent; their mother's brother, devoted to the cause of religion, continued to reside (at Anuradhapura) in his sacerdotal character, at the edifice built by the minister Dighasandano. The youth Dha'tuséno became a priest in his fraternity, and on a certain day while he was chaunting at the foot of a tree, a shower of rain fell," &c. Causing an image of Maha' Mahindo to be made, and conveying it to the edifice (the Ambamaʼlako) in which his body had been burnt, in order that he might celebrate a great fesival there; and that he might, also, promulgate the contents of the + Dipawanso, distributing a thousand pieces, he caused it to be read aloud thoroughly."
As a spcimen of the style in which a subsequent portion of the Mahawanso is composed by a different author, I have added the fifty ninth chapter also to the appendix. This particular chapter has been specially selected, that 1 might draw attention to another instance of the mutual corroboration afforded to each other, by professor Wilson's translations of the hindu historical plays and this historical work. It will be found in the Retnáwali, and the professor's preface thereto, (which is reprinted in the appendix) that that play was written between A. D. 1113 and 1125, and that its principal Ceylonese historical characters are "Retnáwali" and "her father Wikkramabahu, king of Sinhala." Now, on referring to the appendix, in which the narrative portion of the Epitome, as regards these reigns, has been retained it will be seen that the only discrepancies apparent between the two works, are those variations which would reasonably be expected in productions of such opposite characters.
From the circumstances of the name of Wikkramabahu, § who was Retna wali's brother, being given to her father, whose name was Wijayabáhu, who reigned from A. D. 1071 to a. D. 1126; and of Vatsa's solicitation of Retnáwali proving unsuccessful according to the Mahawanso, instead of its being successful as it is represented in this play, it would appear to be allowable to infer (unsatisfactory
* Vide p. 102 for the construction of this pariwéno.
Appendix A. D. 1071; a. B. 1614 p. 38.
§ Appendix A. D. 1127; a. B. 1670 p. 40.
as such inferences generally are) that this play was written while the embassy was pending, and in anticipation of a favorable result: all the details connected with the shipwreck of Retnáwali, and the return of the embassy to the court of the Kósambiam monarch, being purely the fictions of the poet.
With the view of attempting to account for Vasavadata, Vatsa's queen, calling the monarch of Ceylon uncle," and Ratnáwali "sister," I may suggest, that the term "mátulo," in Páli, or its equivalent in Sanscrit, applies equally to "a maternal uncle” “the husband of a paternal aunt,” and to a "father in law ;" and that there is no term to express the relationship of "cousin." The daughter of a maternal aunt would be called "sister." I should hence venture to infer, that Wijayabahu was Vasavadatta's uncle only by his marriage to her maternal aunt; in which case her mother, "the consort of the rája of Ujéni," would, as well as Tilókasundari, the wife of Wijayabáhu, be princesses of the Kálinga royal family. Colonel Tod's Annals notice the matrimonial alliances which had been formed, between the rájas of western India and Kálinga, about that period.
By the publication of this volume, unaccompanied by any allusion to Mr. Hodgson's labours, in illustrating the buddhistical system now prevalent in Nepal and countries adjacent to it, I might unintentionally render myself accessory to the protraction of an unavailing discussion, which has been pending for some time past, between that gentleman and other orientalists, who derive their information connected with buddhism entirely from Páli annals.
I trust that I shall not incur the imputation of presumption, when I assert that the two systems are essentially different from each other; their non-accordance in no degree proceeding, as it appears to be considered by each of the contending parts, from erroneous inferences drawn by his opponent.
Mr. Hodgson's sketch of Buddhism, prepared as it has been with the assistance of one of the most learned of the buddhists in Nepal, is presented in a form too complete and integral, to justify any doubt being entertained as to its containing a correct and authentic view of the doctrines now recognized by, a portion at least of, the inhabitants of the Himalayan regions.
According to that sketch the buddhistical creed recognises but one Swyambhu; designates the Buddhos to be "manusiya" and "dhyáni Buddhos;" the former inferior to the latter, and both subordinate or inferior to the Swyambhu; defines a "Tathágatá" to signify a being who has already attained “nibbuti," and past away; and, moreover, Mr. Hodgson advances, that in the early ages the sacerdotal order had no existence, as an institution contradistinguished from the lay ascetics. This scheme is, unquestionably, entirely repugnant to that of the buddhism of Ceylon and the eastern peninsula; wherein every Buddho is a Swyambhu,-the self-created, self-existent, supreme and uncontroled author of the system, to reveal and establish which he attained buddhohood: " manushi" and "dhyani Buddhos are terms unknown in the Páli scriptures: the order and ordination of priests are institutions prominently set forth in Gótamo's ordinances, and rigidly enforced, even during his mission on earth, as will be seen even in the details of a work purely historical, as the Mahawanso is; and "Tathágatá" is by no means restricted to the definition of a person who has ceased to exist by the attainment of "nibbuti."
Mr. Hodgson has been at some pains to explain the meaning of the word "Tathágatá," as recognized in the countries to which his researches extended. Among other essays, in a contribution to the Bengal Asiatic Journal of August, 1834, he says:
The word "tatha'gata" is reduced to its elements, and explained in three ways: 1st thus gone; which means, gone in such a manner that he (the tatha'gata) will never appear again; births having been closed by the attainment of perfection. 2nd thus got or obtained: which is to say (cessation of births) obtained, degree by degree, in the manner described in the Buddha
scriptures, and by observance of the procepts therein laid down. 3rd thus gone, that is, gone as it (birth) came; the pyrrhonic interpretation of those who hold that doubt is the end, as well as beginning, of wisdom; and that that which causes birth, causes likewise the ultimate cessation of them, whether that 'final close' be conscious immortality or virtual nothingness. Thus the epithet tathágata, so far from meaning 'come' (avenu), and implying incarnation, as Remusat supposed, signifies the direct contrary, or 'gone for ever,' and expressly announces the impossibility of incarnation: and this according to all the schools, sceptical, theistic, and atheistic.
I shall not, I suppose, be again asked for the incarnations of the tathagatas.* Nor, I fancy, will any philosophical peruser of the above etymology of this important word have much hesitation in refusing, on this ground alone, any portion of his serious attention to the 'infinité' of of the buddhist avata'rs, such as they really are. To my mind they belong to the very same category of mythological shadows with the infinity of distinct Buddhas, which latter, when I first disclosed it as a fact in relation to the belief of these sectaries, led me to warn my readers "to keep a steady eye upon the authoritative assertion of the old scriptures, that Sa'kya is the 7th and last of the Buddhas. +
P. S.-Whether Remusat's 'avenu'‡ be understood loosely, as meaning come, or strictly as signifying' come to pass,' it will be equally inadmissible as the interpretation of the word tatha'gata; because tatha'gata is designed expressly to announce that all reiteration and contingency whatever is barred with respect of the beings so designated. They cannot come; nor can any thing come to pass affecting them.
* To the question, "What is the tatha'gata ?" the most holy of buddhist scriptures returneth for answer, again."
+ Asiatic Researches, vol. xvi. p. 445.
It does not come
Avenu, signifies quod evenit, contigit, that which hath happened.-(Dictionnaire de Trevoux.) Tatha'gata'-tatha' thus (what really is), gata' (known, obtained).-Wilson's Sans. Dict. Ed.
Without the remotest intention of questioning the correctness of Mr. Hodgson's inferences, as drawn from the authorities accessible to him, I may safely assert that the late Mons. Able Remusat's definition of that term by rendering it "avenu" is also perfectly correct according to the Páli scriptures. The following quotations will suffice, according to those authorities, to shew both the derivation of that word, and that Sakya so designated himself, while living, and actively engaged in the promulgation of his creed, in the character of Buddho.
Taken from the Sumangala-wila'sini Atthakatha', on the Brahmaja'la Suttan, which is the first discourse in the Díghanika'yo of the Sutto-pittako.
"Of the word Tathágato. I(proceed to) give the meaning of the appellation Tathágato which was adopted by Buddho himself. Bhagawa' is Tathagato from eight circumstances. Tathá ágato, he who had come in the same manner (as the other Buddhos) is Tathagato. Tatha gato, he who had gone in like manner, is Tathagato. Tathálakkhanan ágató, he who appeared in the same (glorious) form, is Tathágato. Tathá dhammé yatháwato, abhîsumbuddho, he who had, in like manner, acquired a perfect knowledge of, and revealed, the dhammos, is Tathagato. Tathá dassitaya, as he, in like manner, saw, or was inspired, he is Tathagato. Tatha wáditáya, as he was similarly gifted in language, he is Tathágato. Tathá káritáya, as he was similarly gifted in works, he is Tathágato. AbhíbhawanattƐna, from his having converted (the universe to the recognition of his religion) he is Tathagato.”
The following are extracts from different sections of the Pitakattaya, showing that Gótamo Buddho designated himself Tathagato in his discourses. Buddho invariably speaks in the third person in the Pitakattaya.
In the Lakkhanasuttan in the Dighanika'yo. "Bhikkhus! this Tathagato, in a former existence, in a former habitation, in a former world, in the character of a human being, having abjured the destruction of animal life, &c."
In the Dakkhinawibhangasuttan in the Majjhimanika'yo. "Anando! the offerings made in common to the assembled priesthood are seven. The offering that is made in the presence of Buddho to both classes (priests and priestesses) is the first of (all) offerings made in common. After Tathagato has attained parinibbuti, (similar) offerings will continue to be made to both classes of the priesthood.
In the Dhammachakkappawattanasuttan in the Sanyuttakanika'yo (Buddho's first discourse, delivered on his entrance into Benares, as noticed in the first chapter of the Maha'wanso). "Bhikkhus! without adopting either of these extremes,
by Tathagato, an intermediate course has been discovered, &c."
In the Wérangasuttan in the Anguttaranikayo. "Brahman! the repose of Tathagato, in another (mortal) womb, his reappearance by any other birth in this world, is at an end :—like the tree uptorn by the root, like the palmyra lopt (of its head), the principle of (or liability to) regeneration is overcome; the state of exemption from future reproduction
has been achieved."
Under these circumstances, it cannot be possible to deprecate too earnestly a perseverence in the fruitless attempt to reconcile the conflicting doctrines of two antagonist sects, professing the same faith. It is to Mr. Hodgson that the literary world is indebted for having obtained access to the Sanscrit and Tibetan works on buddhism. Much remains to be done in analyzing the Sanscrit version; defining the age in which they were compiled; ascertaining the extent of their accordance with the Páli version; and deducing from thence a correct knowledge, as to whether the differences now apparent, between the buddhistical systems of the northern and southern portions of Asia, are discernible as exhibited in those ancient texts, or are the results of subsequent sectarian divisions in the buddhistical church.
In these introductory remarks, I have shewn that "Páli" is synonymous with Mágadhi, the language of the land in which buddhism, as promulgated by Sákya or Gótamo, had its origin; and that it was at that period no inferior provincial dialect, but a highly refined and classical language. I have fixed the dates at which the buddhistical scriptures, composed in that language, were revised at three solemn convocations held under regal authority; traced their passage to Ceylon, and defined the age in which the commentaries on those scriptures (which also are considered inspired writings) were translated into Páli in this island. Although there can be no doubt as to the belief entertained by buddhists here, that these scriptures were perpetuated orally for 453 years, before they were reduced to writing, being founded on superstitious imposture, originating perhaps in the priesthood denying to all but their own order access to their scriptures; yet there is no reasonable ground for questioning the authenticity of the history thus obtained, of the origin, recognition and revisions of these Páli scriptures.
As far as an opinion may be formed from professor Wilson's analysis of M. Csoma de Koros' summary of the contents of the Tibetan version (which is pronounced to be a translation from the Sanscrit made chiefly in the ninth century), that voluminous collection of manuscripts contains several, distinct editions of the buddhistical scriptures, as they are embodied in the Páli version; enlarged in various degrees, probably, by the intermixture into the text of commentaries, some of which appear to be of comparatively modern date.
The least tardy means, perhaps, of effecting a comparison of the Páli with the Sanscrit version, will be to submit to the Asiatic Society in Calcutta (by whom the Sanscrit works could be consulted in the original) a series of summaries of the Páli scriptures, sufficiently detailed to afford a tolerably distinct perception of the contents of the text; and embodying at the same time in it, from the commentaries, whatever may be found in them either illustrative of the text, or conducive of information in the department of general history.
It only remains for me now to explain the disadvantages, or advantages, under which I have undertaken the translation of the Maháwanso, in order that no deficiency on my part may prejudice an historical work of, apparently, unquestionable authenticity, and, compared with other Asiatic histories, of no ordinary merit. I wish to be distinctly understood, that in turning my mind to the study of Páli, I did not enter upon the undertaking, with the view of either attaining a critical knowledge of the language, or prosecuting a purely philological research. A predilection formed, at my first entrance into the civil service, to be employed in the newly acquired Kandyan provinces, which had been ceded on a convention which guaranteed their ancient laws, led me to study the Singhalese tongue. The works I