manuscript in Pali in Sinhala script, on palm leaves between wooden boards decorated with scrolls and flower heads in red, yellow and dark green, pierced with string, title label on a portion of palm leaf threaded below the string boss, repeated in ink on paper label on top board, leaves 'etched' with a stylus and inked on both sides, rectos numbered at the left using the Sinhala syllabary, each letter (ka to jha, omitting cha) appearing plain, then with vowel strokes and finally with two circles to make groups of 16 leaves, patterns of overlapping circles enclose the text on f. 1 (ka), f. 48v (ga:) blank between the two portions, together 124 leaves of 7 lines 2½" x 18", roughly 900 characters to a leaf, n.p. but Sri Lanka, covers slightly little rubbed, left hand string defective, right hand string boss replaced with a metal ring, text in very good condition,
The discourse was delivered by the Buddha in 'a hamlet named Kamassadhamma in the Kuru country'. It is the classic approach to self-awareness and much admired for its practical value. Insight and practice go hand in hand, instead of insisting on insight first. Between the short introduction and conclusion the Buddha shows the monks how to be aware of one's body, one's feelings, one's mind, and of one's mental qualities. The discourse is in the Sutta-pitaka in two forms, in the Digha-nikaya, or Long Discourses of the Buddha, at DN22, and the Majjhima-nikaya, or Middle Length Discourses, at MN10. They are identical except that in DN22, as here, the section on the Four Noble Truths, just before the conclusion, is expanded to well over half the length of MN10, beginning at f. 24v line 6. These truths concern the definition of 'dukkha', 'unsatisfactoriness', sometimes rendered as 'stress'; its origin in certain kinds of cravings; its cessation; and the practice that leads to its cessation. The text is written in 'commas' or short passages, separated by ",," for recitation and memorizing. The translation repeats each comma in Pali, followed by its equivalent in Sinhala. The translation is old, of great beauty, and apparently unpublished. Such translations were handed down orally in a 'lineage' from master to pupil. While the main text begins simply 'This I have heard', the translation text opens with 'This I have heard from the Buddha', ascribing it to the great reciter Ananda. As commonly, the scribe does not identify himself, but states that he has made this copy in the eventual hope of becoming a buddha. At the end of the translation, before the date, he writes that this version was recited by a monk in a cave, inhabited by a colony of bats. The effect on them was so profound that, on dying, they went straight to heavenly bliss. We are grateful to the Ven. Bogoda Seelawimala for his most kind help with this note.
Stock ref: 12635