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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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