Dr. S. C. Banerji, M.A., D.Phil.
Maulana Azad College, Calcutta.
Published by Sankar Bbattacharya
Of the Middle Indo-Aryan languages, Pali is the earliest. The literature, written in this language, is also very old and extensive. It is necessary for one to be familiar with this literature in order to have an idea of the Buddha, Dhamma and Saqigha, the three pillars on which Buddhism rests. In the strife-torn world of to-day the message of the Buddha can serve as a healing balm. The Pali literature is the repository of this message. In the busy life of the present age it is well-nigh impossible to perform the Brahmanical religious rites requiring not only a good deal of time but also a lot of money. This is why the thinkers are being gradually attracted towards the cardinal principles of Buddhism, viz. right thinking, right conduct, right speech and so on. Buddhism, born in India, spread to many other lands, particularly those in the Far East. The national religion of most of the Far Eastern countries is Buddhism. The study of Pali literature, besides inculcating high moral principles among the readers, will go a long way in fostering a sense of unity among the Indians on the one hand and the people of the countries, which adopted Buddhism, on the other.
Viewed from other directions too, the study of Pali literature is necessary. It is a mine of information about the social life, the ideas of various religious sects and the topography of ancient and medieval India.
There are some works dealing with the history of Pali literature. Of such books, the best known are the History of Indian Literature (Vol. II) by Winternitz, the Pãli Literature and Language by Geiger and A History of Pãli Literature (Vols. I, II) by B. C. Law. These works are too learned and voluminous for the general reader. A work, dealing with the history of Pali literature within a brief compass, is a desideratum. The author of the present brochure keenly felt the need for such a work. He will consider his labour amply rewarded if this little book enables the reader to have an idea of the canonical and non-canonical Pali works within a short time, and introduces him to some of the sublime thoughts enshrined in this literature.
In an appendix excerpts from some of the Pali works, with their corresponding English rendering, have beer given in order to acquaint the general reader with the Pali language and literature.
At the end of this book a glossary of some of the important Pali terms has been appended.
Calcutta, I. 3. 64 S. C. Banerji
I Buddhism—its origin, nature and development
II Pali Language
III Pali Literature—the canonical works
VII Miscellaneous works—old commentaries
VIII The famous commentaries
IX Historical works
XI Poetical compositions
XIII Metrics. Rhetoric and Lexicography
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