The Patna Dhammapada : transcribed and translated with a commentary
The dissertation consists of the first place of a transcription, based on the only photograph, of a twelfth century MS containing a Dhammapada collection in a Middle Indo-Aryan dialect. This provides a new edition, with readings which improve on those of the previous two editions. To this is added a translation of the text. The dissertation further contains a commentary, discussing the meaning and form of the text itself, and making reference to parallel text, in particular the Phali Dhammapada, the Sanskrit Udana-varga, and the Gandhari Dharmapada. These references are intended primarily as material for a study of the original form and development of the Dhammapada verses. An introduction describes first the MS and its script, suggesting the twelfth century date; and secondly the morphology and dialectal affiliations of the language, which, while basically conforming to the general pattern of Middle Indo-Aryan dialects, shows, as does Pali, signs of Sanskritisation. Thirdly, there is a short account of the main types of difference between the four collections, which can be classified as: difference in content; differences in form and arrangement of padas or verses between the Udana-varga and the other collections; differences between all the versions in the arrangement of the verse or in the form of individual words; and differences in the arrangement of chapters. Some suggestions are made of reasons to account for these differences, e.g. some changes arose by misunderstanding during an early 'translation' from a different dialect, or during copying of an ambiguous exemplar, and some were necessary because of a 'translation' into Sanskrit. The differences in arrangement of the chapters argue against the existence of a primitive organised Dhammapada text.