A concise Pali-English Dictionary for use by students in schools and colleges has been a long-felt need. The only available Pali-English lexicon-the work of Childers being long out of print- is the famous publication of the Pali Text Society, but this too is fast becoming rare and difficult to procure. In any case the cost is too heavy for the average student. Hence it is gratifying to note that at long last a reputed scholar has come forward to satisfy this need and after several years of hard work has compiled what may prove to be the standard practical dictionary of the Pali language.
The author is not only an eminent Elder of the Buddhist Order but one of the leading Pali scholars recognized both in the East and in the West as an authority on the subject. His experience as a teacher at Ananda College. Colombo, and the considerable experience he has gained as a writer of text-books for school use, such as the now famous New PaIi Course, make him admirably suited for the undertaking. There are but a few Buddhist Elders in direct contact with western scholarship through the English medium and the Rev. Buddhadatta is the most senior among that class of monks.
It is to be observed that the author has kept more or less to the traditional sense of words while not altogether ignoring the meanings given by western scholars in their translations and lexicons. Many errors in the latter sources have also been rectified. But the basic sense adopted is in nearly every instance the traditionally accepted meaning in accord with the commentaries and the glossaries. This, perhaps, is of special value to beginners 3.lS thereby they get introduced to the indigenous tradition, thus providing a useful basis on which to build up a more scientific knowledge as the study advances.
I am certain that this dictionary will be found indispensable by all student" of the Pali language in acquiring a practical and working knowledge of the subject even at the University level, and also serve as a reliable guide to the more abstruse language of the Tipitaka.
Some twenty-five years ago when the teaching of Pali was commenced at Ananda College, the text-books used by Buddhist monks, which were centuries old, were found unsuita.ble for use by it pupils. Mr. P. de S. Kularatna, then Principal of Ananda College, who appointed me as tutor in Pali, urged me to produce some suitable text – books, and I wrote in three parts the Palibhashavatarana in Sinhalese and compiled a Pali Reader named Palipathavali.
Later I wrote the New Pali Course in two parts for the benefit of those who wished to learn Pali through the medium of English. This hook j" used even in some foreign countries, and is now in its third edition. A Higher Pali Course too is now ready for the press.
There yet lacked for the study of Pali a concise Pall-English Dictionary and an English-Pall Dictionary. The Pali-English Dictionary the Pali Text Society is too large and too expensive for those in schools and colleges. Therefore I prepared two such works during the war, but owing to paper control, which was lifted only recently, the Paii-English Dictionary alone is now appearing in print. The English-Pall Dictionary will he, printed as early as possible.
In compiling this work I have constantly referred to the Pali-Ellglish Dictionary, published by the Pali Text Society (of England), but I have not followed its method. In some places I have not accepted the meanings and constructions it has given; for instance, the construction of anabhava is given by me as anu + abhava, in agreement, with the commentaries, while the P. T. S. Dictionary gives it as ana + abhava. There is no prefix alia in Pali, and JUt beforr- a. vowel is changed to an and not to ana. Moreover na + abhava would mean "noll-cessation", and not "utter' cessation " as the P. T. S. Dictionary gives it. Similar is the construction given there for anugghaleti as an + ugghateti. The meaning given there for terovassika is "lasting over or beyond a year (or season)"; here te stands, according to the commentary, for three, and no represents “four"; then terovassika means: "three or four years old".
I have included some important words missing in that dictionary although my work is of smaller compass. In giving the roots of verbs I have preserved their traditional Pali forms as far as possible though the P. T.S. Dictionary has always followed the Sanskrit Dictionaries.
My thanks are due to Prof. O. H. de A. Wijesekara, M.A., Ph.D., and Dr. G. C. Mendis, B.A., Ph.D., both of the University of Ceylon, who encouraged me to begin this work. Prof. Wijesekara has always readily helped me whenever I met with any difficulty. He has now kindly consented to revise my English- Pali Dictionary.
Pali verbs are given here in the third person singular of the Present Tense. As there are different ways of forming the Aorist and Past (Passive) Participle I have given both these forms too under each verb. The P.P. is sometimes separately given when it has some meaning not expressed by the verb, or when it is difficult to understand from which verb it is derived. Ordinary Absolutives ending in tva and tvana are not generally given after the verbs, but the peculiar forms, such as nikkhamma, pahaya, ucchijja are given. It is not to be understood, however, that these stems do not have their general forms ending in tva or tvana.
The Pall-English Dictionary of the Pali Text Society has given stems of some Pali nouns with consonantal endings, in tta and ttana; but I have not followed this method as none of the Pali Grammarians have adopted it. They have always given these stems with vowel endings.
The Secondary Derivatives ending in ta are included in the feminine; they have their neuter forms ending in tta and ttana: but for the sake of brevity only one form, either ending in ta or tta is given in one place.
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