The Dipavamsa, an edition of which I here lay before the public, is a historical work composed in Ceylon by an unknown. author. George Turnour, who first drew. the attention of European scholars to the Dipavamsa) declared it to be identical with a version of the Mahavamsa to which the Mahavamsa Tika occasionally alludes, the version preserved in the Uttaravihara monastery. This is certainly wrong. We must undertake, therefore, a research of our own as to the origin of the Dipavamsa and its position in the ancient literature of the Ceylonese.
I have made use in editing the text of the Dipavamsa, of the following MSS.:
1. MSS. written in Burmese characters. (1) F: MS. belonging to Major Fryer who brought it to England from British Burmah. About the third part of the Dipavamsa (6, 87-15,91) is wanting; instead of this the MS. contains a fragment of the Thupavamsa. The MS. has been written Sakkaráj 1190=AD 1828.
(2) NA Collation of the MS. presented by the late king of Burmah to the Colonial Library in Colombo. This MS. was collated by Gombadde Watte Dewa Aranolis with the MS. I designate sucht readings by n. If only a part of the single words is indicated, I include in brackets those parts which we are to supply from M. II. MSS. written in Sinhalese characters.
(3) GMS. of the Paris National Library (collection Grimblot: fonds Päli 365). Although this MS. is written in Sinhalese characters, its readings agree at a good many passages with the Burmese MSS. The text of G has been corrected from a MS. very similar to B.
(4) A: MS of the India Office (Pali Collection no. 95) (5,6) BC: Copies of two MSS of the Dadalle Wihare, made for Mr. Rhys Davids, now in the Cambridge University Library (Add. 945. 946).
(7) M: Copy made by Gombadde Watte Dewa Aranolis for Mr. Rhys Davids from a MS. of the Busse Wihare. Written on paper. Now in the Cambridge University Library (Add. 944).
I cannot finish without having expressed my sincere thanks to the librarians and owners of MSS. who very liberally lent them to me or allowed me to collate them. My special thanks are due also to Dr. R. Rost who aided my undertaking from its beginning to its end with the greatest kindness in many various ways, and to my learned friends Dr. G, Buhler and Mr. Rhys Davids, but for whose kind and indefatigable assistance I should not have: been able to the Pali text of the Dipavamsa a translation written in the language of a foreign country.
The DIPAVAMSA, an edition of which I here lay before the public, is a historical work composed in Ceylon by an unknown author. George Turnour, who first drew the attention of European scholars to the Dipavamsa') declared it to be identical with a version of the Mahavamsa to which the Mahavamsa Tikä occasionally alludes, the version preserved in the Uttaravihara monastery. This is certainly wrong. We must undertake, therefore, a research of our own as to the origin of the Dipavamsa and its position in the ancient literature of the Ceylonese.
The Mahavamsa Tika, when commenting on the title of the Mahavamsa, contains the following important. remarks):
Mahavamsam pavakkhamiti mahantanam vamso tantipaveniparampară ti pi sayam eva va mahantatta ubhayattha paridipitatta va Mahavamso, tam Mahavamsam, tesam pi buddhabuddhasävakädinam pi gunamahantanam Mahasammatadinam pi và rajamahamattanam (rajamahan tanam?) pavenidipitattă ca buddhagamanadipakarehi mahadhikarättä sayam eva mahantattam veditabbham.
anupamavamsaanuggahadinam (dinam Paris MS).
sabbam annatam (annatam Par. MS.) katam suppakasitam
apariyagatam (ariyabhatam Par. MS.) uttamasabbhi vannitam sunantu dipatthutiya sädhusakkatan ti (comp. Dipav. 1, 5) imina Atthakathanayen' ev' assa mahantattam paridipitam (paridipitattam?) ca veditabbam.-tenähu poraṇa : dipagamanam buddhassa dhatun ca bodhiagamam (bodhiyagamam Par. MS.)
samgahattheravadan ca dipamhi sasanagamam
narindagamanam vamsam kittayissam sunatha me ti (comp. Dipav. 1, 1). imaya pana gathaya nayena (gathanayena Par. MS.) pi assa sakhya (samkhya Par. MS.) mahantat taparidipitattam neyyam. evam Mahavamsan ti laddhanamam Mahaviharavasinam vacanamaggam poraṇatthakatham ettha Sihalabhasam hitvä Magadhikabhasaya pavakkhamiti adhippayao."
As two stanzas are quoted here, the first of which is said to be taken from an Atthakatha, the second from a work of the "Porana," and as immediately afterwards mention is made of the Sinhalese "Poranatthakatha," the contents of which are expressed in the Mahavamsa is Päli, there can be every little doubt that this Atthakatha and that work of the Porana are identical with each other and with the Poränatthakatha mentioned afterwards. If I am right in asserting the identity. of the works alluded to under these various expressions, we learn from this passage the following important fact, viz.: there was an Athakatha handed down and probably also composed in the Mahävihara, written in Sinhalese, the introductory stanzas of which allude to a historical account of Buddha's visits to Ceylon, of the Councils, of Mahinda etc., intended to be given in that very Atthakatha, and these stanzas are almost identical with the opening lines of the Dipavamsa. There must, therefore, most probably be somet relation between this Atthakatha and Dipavamsa which will be of a sufficient interest to justify a further inquiry.
Let us see what results we may obain as to the contents of this Atthakatha and as to its literary form? Let us ask particularly in what way the Pali stanzas quoted from this Atthakatha were connected with the main substance which was composed in Sinhalese?
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