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Royal Court of Ava 1

Lokanīti – The Nîti Literature of Burma

The Lokanīti was one of the most venerated works in Burma. It belongs to the Pāli non-canonical literature; to the gnomic literature of Burma. Today it is known more by its name than by its contents. It is most probable that it was prepared for a king’s ācārya (religious instructor), in order to help him discourse on ethics and polity, to pronounce moral maxims and give advice. Since it was in use in the royal courts of India, it could have been introduced into the court of Ava

Ludwik Sternbach S.O.A.S Bulletin, Vol. 26, No.2, 1963

  ‘The Lokanîti and Dhammanîti embrace a miscellaneous collection of subjects, and serve as suitable handbooks for the general reader for the study of prudential rules and principles of morality. The former is taught in almost every monastic school in Burma, and printed editions of it have helped considerably to extend its popularity. That a work of the kind should have charms for the Buddhist is not to be wondered at. He firmly believes that his future happiness depends upon his behaviour in this present life, and relies more on practical deeds rather than on the faith which his religion demands; and nothing could be more suitable to his wants than a literature which lays down for him, in pithy stanzas, and often in metaphoric language, a number of simply-worded apophthegms which are to shape his career in this world and fit him for a better sphere of existence when he leaves it ..’

James GrayLokanîti, Trübner & Co, 1886

Further Reading:

Burmese Proverbs – Hla Pe

The Pali Literature of Burma – Mabel Haynes Bode

A Burmese History of Buddhism – Mabel Haynes Bode

A Burmese Tract on Kingship – Ryuji Okudaira and Andrew Huxley

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The Pali Literature of Burma – Mabel Haynes Bode

 

‘Our purpose is not to describe again the outward aspect of the temple, the monastery, and the village, very vividly presented to Western readers by learned and sympathetic writers from Bishop Bigandet onwards. So many Europeans have come under the charm of Burma – of the Burmese people, their life and religion – that there is no need to do more than recall to readers the names of the writers who have made that charm a familiar thing to us. We have chosen for our study the less well-known subject of the Pali Books of Burma. The authors were the ancestors and masters of the monks to-day, through whom we know those old-time scholars and can still see, as it were, a far-off picture of their lives, their schools, and their work.’

Mabel Haynes Bode

The Pali Literature of Burma

The Royal Asiatic Society, 1909

 

 

Mabel Haynes Bode (1864–1922) was one of the first women to enter the academic fields of Pāli, Sanskrit and Buddhist studies. She lectured in Pāli and Sanskrit, made an edition of the Pāli text Sāsanavaṃsa, and helped with the English translation, from German, of the Mahāvaṃsa. She specialised in the Pāli literature of Burma, about which she wrote the book above, published in 1909, by The Royal Asiatic Society.

 

royal barge

 

Further Reading:

Sāsanavamsa – Mabel Haynes Bode, Pali Text Society, 1897

Mahāvamsa (The Great Chronicle of Ceylon)

Translated by Willhelm Geiger (Assisted by Mabel Haynes Bode), Pali Text Society, 1912

Recherches sur le Bouudhisme

I. P. Minayeff, 1894  (French – Translated from the Russian by R.H. Assier de Pompignan)

Arakan

Emmanuel Forchhammer, 1891 (Report on the antiquities of Arakan (western Burma))

The Life, Or Legend of Gaudama, The Budha of The Burmese

Rev. P. Bigandet, American Mission Press, 1866

The Origin of the Buddhavarsha – J. F. Fleet, Journal of The Royal Asiatic Society, 1909

The Day on which Buddha Died – J. F. Fleet, Journal of The Royal Asiatic Society, 1909

T’Oung Pao (Vol. VI) – Henri Cordier, Gustave Schlegel, 1895

 

 

 

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