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was referred to, for the information I sought, though they contained much that was valuable, as regarded both the institutions and the history of the land, all professed to derive their authority from Páli sources. In further pursuit of the objects I had in view, I undertook the study of Páli, aided by the translation of the grammar before noticed. The want, however, of dictionaries, to assist in defining the meaning of words and terms in a language so copious and refined as the Páli is, was a great drawback; and the absence of Páli instructors in the island, who possessed an adequate knowledge of English, to supply the place of dictionaries, left me dependent on my knowledge of Singhalese, in rendering their vernacular explanations into English. I may, therefore, have formed erroneous conceptions of the meaning of some of the Páli roots and compound terms. On the other hand, I have possessed the advantage, from my official position, of almost daily intercourse with the heads of the buddhistical church, of access to their libraries, and of their assistance both in the selection of the works I consulted, and in the explanation of the passages which required elucidation.
This translation, however, has been hastily made, at intervals of leisure, snatched from official occupations; and each chapter was hurried to the press as it was completed. It has not, therefore had the benefit of a general revision, to admit of a uniformity of terms and expressions being preserved throughout the work; nor have I for the same reason been able to append notes to the translation; the absence of which has rendered a glossary necessary, which also is very imperfectly executed. correction of the press also (with which I had to communicate by the post at a distance of nearly eighty miles) has been conducted under similar disadvantages.
For the errata that have resulted from these causes, as well as from my total want of practice in conducting a publication through the press, it is scarcely possible for me to offer a sufficient apology; the more especially as nothing could exceed the readiness of the attention shown to my wishes and instructions by the establishment at which this volume was printed. The task of translating this historical work, as I have already shown, was tardily, and I may add, reluctantly, undertaken by me, solely influenced by the desire of rescuing the native literature from unmerited, though unintentional, disparagement. With perfect sincerity can I add, that could I have foreseen that the publication would have occupied so much of my time, or would ultimately have appeared disfigured so extensively with errata, I should certainly not have embarked in it. Nor have I, in its progress, been free from misgivings, as to my having, in my unassisted judgment, over-estimated the value and authenticity of the materials I was engaged in illustrating. To satisfy myself on these points, before this volume issued from the press, I circulated the Pamphlet before mentioned. However conscious I may be of my individual merits being overrated, in the decision pronounced on that Pamphlet, by the Asiatic Society (as recorded in their Journal of December last) I ought not to entertain any now as to those of the Mahawanso, considering that it is founded on the report of the Rev. Dr. Mill, the learned Principal of Bishop's College.
I have also recently seen, for the first time, through the kindness of Mr. Prinsep, the Secretary of the Asiatic Society, the numbers of the Journal des savans, which contain the criticisms of Mons. Burnouf, on the translation of the Mahawanso on which I have commented in this Introduction. Had that profound orientalist possessed the advantage of being able to consult the Tíká to the Mahawanso, his practised judgment as a critic, and his extensive acquaintance with the literature of the east, would have efficiently accomplished what my humble endeavours can scarcely hope to effect, in directing the attention of our fellow laborers in India, to the investigation of the buddhistical annals still extant in it.
In fulfilment of the conditional promise made in my Pamphlet, I shall now proceed with the translation of the second volume of the Maháwanso. Although deprived of the aid of a Tíká (which I have already explained extends only to the reign of Mahaséno) the narrative contained in the ensuing chapters of the Mahawanso, is not deficient in interest. A new series of links is formed with the southern kingdoms of continental India, the first of which arises out of the barbarously tragical incidents detailed in the concluding chapters of this volume; while the lapse of the age of pretended inspiration and miracles necessarily gives to the history a less fabulous character.
The second volume will contain also, as will be seen by the statement of the contents of the Mahawanso given in the appendix, twice as much of the text of the original work, as the present volume embodies, but I apprehend that I shall neither possess the materials, nor will there be the same necessity for affording any lengthened introductory illustration.
The map, and the plan of Anuradhapura, which was promised with this volume is withheld, as it cannot be completely filled up, till the second volume is translated; when separate copies will be furnished to those who possess the first volume. I regret to be obliged to add that as far as this volume is concerned, I have only been able to identify, and fix the positions of a few of the places mentioned, and those of the principal ones.
In printing the text together with the translation, every Páli or Sanscrit scholar is enabled to rectify any mistranslation into which I may have fallen. I have made no alteration in the text beyond separating the words, as far as the confluent character of the language would admit; punctuating the sentences; and introducing capital letters. In the translation no additions have been admitted but what are enclosed in parentheses; and those additions (as will be suggested by the passages themselves) are either derived from the Tíká, or were considered necessary for the due explanation of their meaning, in rendering those sentences into English.
A synopsis of the Roman alphabet, adopted as the substitute for the Páli in the Singhalese character, as well as a Glossary are appended to this volume.
REVISED CHRONOLOGICAL TABLE
SOVEREIGNS OF CEYLON,
AS PUBLISHED IN THE CEYLON ALMANAC OF 1834.
The dates at which the following events occurred being specified in the Native Histories, they have been used for the purpose of correcting the anachronism unavoidable in historical narratives which give only the number of years in each reign, without stating in every instance the fractional parts of a year, or the date at which, each reign commenced.
539 9 10
The arrival of the mission sent by Dharmasoka, emperor of Dambadiva, to establish Buddhism in Ceylon, in the first year of Dewenipeatissa's reign.
The deposition of Walagambáhu in the 5th month of his reign, and the conquest of Ceylon by the Malabars.
This is the date at which, according to the MAHAWANSE, Walagambáhu, on his restoration, founded Abhayagiri, being in the 217th year, 10th month and 10th day after buddhism was orally promulgated by the mission sent by Dharmasoka. But, according to Singhalese authority, it is the date at which the 10 doctrines of Buddhism were first reduced to writing in Ceylon, while Walagambáhu was still a disguised fugitive. In the former case, there would be an anachronism of at least 2 years at the restoration of this sovereign, which, however, in this uncertainty, as to the event to which the date is applicable, I have not attempted to rectify.
The date of the origin of the Wytuliya heresy, which occurred in the first year of the reign of 752 4 10 Waiwahara Tissa. The anachronism up to this period is consequently 6 years; and the error is adjusted accordingly.
545 1088 0
The date of a revival of the Wytuliya heresy in the 4th year of the reign of Golu Abhá. At the
The date of another revival of the Wytuliya heresy, in the 12th year of the reign of Ambahaira Sala Maiwan-anachronism 1 year, 6 months-adjusted.
The date of the origin of the Wijrawádiya heresy, in the reign of Mitwella Sen, but the year of the 0 reign is not given. Supposing it to have originated even in the year of his accession, the anachronism would amount to 4 years adjusted to that extent.
The accession of Sahasa Mallawa, which is corroborated by the inscription on the Dambulla rock.
1347 1890 0
The accession of Bhuwaneka Báhu 4th-As the term of the reign of the three immediately precced
In the remaining portion of the history of Ceylon, there is no want of dates for the adjustment
of its chronology, which, however, it would be superfluous to notice here.