The conception and composition of ‘Buddhagunagathavali’
has given me joyous satisfaction. My poetic creativity has been
fulfilled. I felt so much rapture and bliss at the time of composing
these verses and I continue to feel the same when I read them
again and again now. The pious recollection of the Buddha's
qualities generates delight in the whole of my being. It is only
natural that my grateful mind becomes filled with such emotions
while singing the praise of the Lord Buddha whose teaching has
made my life so worthwhile and so fruitful.
Indeed, the immeasurable Buddha’s qualities are also infinite.
Pali language, a dialect of ancient India, that preserved the pure
Dhamma is also no less glorious. Therefore choosing a few gems
from the store of jewels of Pali and studding them in the verses
became easy. The heart of a poet likes alliteration to add beauty to
his creation. The vast vocabulary of Pali became useful for my
proclivity to compose in this style. I could easily choose suitable
words. A few of my Vipassana students are expert linguists. They
gave suggestions to make the verses in strict accordance with the
rules of grammar. May they be happy! May they share my merits.
The final draft of the verses was sent to my motherland
Myanmar’s greatest Pali scholar Bhadanta Panditabhivamsa, Agga
Maha Pandita, Agga Maha Ganthavacaka Pandita, Rector of the
State Pariyatti Sdsana University, Yangon, who had been giving
me valuable suggestions in the past.
He read the verses in spite of his extremely busy schedule
and has sent me his precious blessings. I am grateful to him. May
my devotion and gratitude towards him continue to grow! May he ~
share my merits! May his blessings help in the rejuvenation of Pali
language in India and may India benefit from the jewel of
Dhamma preserved in Pali!
I have also received blessings from Bhadanta
Rajadhammabhivamsa, learned Dhammiacariya Mahanayaka
Sayadaw of the Dhammadayada Monastery, New Masoyein
Institute of Mandalay. I am extremely grateful to him. His
blessings are also very valuable to me.
The number of Vipassana mediators in India is rapidly
growing. Many of these get enthused to learn the mother tongue of
the Buddha. These verses will not only improve their Pali
vocabulary but also the attendant Buddhanussati (while reading
these verses) will make their meditation stronger.
Computer technology made it easy to transliterate and
publish the verses easily in seven scripts in which the collection is
published. May these verses bring welfare to the Pali students and
followers of the Buddha’s path in the respective countries.
The most concise attribute of the Buddha is the single
word ‘Sammasambuddha’. One can expand this into two
attributes, ‘Araham Sammasambuddho’ by adding the word
‘Araham’; or one may express, with devotion, the nine attributes
of the Buddha somewhat more comprehensively as ‘Itipi so
Bhagava Araham..., Buddho Bhagava.’
But according to the verse beginning with
‘Asankhyeyyani namani sagunena mahesino...’ (Dha. Sa. Attha.
1313; Udana Attha. 53) the attributes of the Buddha are infinite.
Even the most Venerable Sariputta who was praised by the
Buddha for his great intellectual ability cannot encompass in his
mental field the whole extent of the glories and virtues of the
Buddha. The devotee can visualise the Buddha's attributes only as
much as his intellectual attainment is capable. (Di. Ni. Attha.
The attributes of the Buddha have been extolled and
praised by those who comprehend and appreciate them since the
time of the Buddha. Upali, a householder of Nalanda was, at first,
not a disciple of the Buddha. He was a follower of the Jain
teacher, Niganthanataputta. Then he heard the Dhamma taught by
the Buddha and became an Ariya disciple (Sotapanna). When
Upali was questioned explicitly by his old teacher, ‘You have all
along been known by the king and all the people as a disciple of
Niganthanataputta, now how should you be regarded as to whose
disciple you are?’ ‘In that case,’ Upali replied, turning himself
with palms raised towards the direction where Buddha was,
‘please listen to know whose disciple | am now.’ And he recited ;
ten verses, each of which extolled ten attributes of the Buddha. i
Thus by describing one hundred virtues of, the Buddha in ten
verses, he made it clear to his old teacher that he had become an
Ariya disciple of the Buddha. In like manner, the many attributes
of the Buddha can be found dispersed in all the Pitakas.
Everyone who sees and appreciates the glories of the
Buddha and treasures the Dhamma he taught, very highly honours
the Buddha by reciting them in reverence and devotion.
Authors of Scriptural expositions, Ganthakarakas, always
begin their works with a verse of salutation to the Buddha. And
ancient teachers had composed many verses of worship
(Mahanamakkara) based on their own intuition and stanzas on the
thirty-two marks of superman (dvattimsa Mahapurisalakkhana).
The great teacher of Vipassana, Guruji Goenka, has
honoured the Buddha, in great reverence, by composing one
thousand verses, extolling the many attributes, virtues of the
Buddha: we have found that the verses form a complete array of
the Buddha's glories and attributes as described in the Pitakas.
That a lay devotee such as Guruji who has not studied the
Pitakas like the bhikkhus in the monasteries has realised such a
comprehensive grasp and appreciation of the innumerable qualities
of the Buddha is a matter of great wonder and admiration.
For easy and felicitous recitation, each stanza is
composed of four lines, each line being made up of eight words.
Much merit will be gained if Guruji's verses are chanted as an aid
to the practice of Buddhanussati meditation, recollection of the
virtues of the Buddha.
Guruji Goenka will surely be commemorated in the
Annals of the Sasanas as a person of erudition who has honoured
the Buddha. in reverence and devotion, with one thousand Pali
verses glorifying the Buddha's attributes and virtues.
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