Jewels of the Doctrine: Stories of the Saddharma Ratnavaliya

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SUNY Press, 1991 - Religion - 259 pages
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This is a translation of the first fifteen stories of the thirteenth century Sinhala work, the Saddharma Ratnāvaliya written by the monk Dharmasēna. The Saddharma Ratnāvaliya is in turn an expanded version of the fifth century Pali work, the Dhammapadattakata.

The stories are lively and entertaining, of interest to the general reader and the specialist. A skilled teacher, and raconteur, the author probes the depths of Buddhist philosophical doctrine and makes it meaningful for his lay audiences. Generations of Sri Lankans have read, heard and enjoyed the stories. They deal with the vicissitudes of the human condition and so, like all good literature have a timeless relevance and appeal.
 

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Contents

IV
2
V
9
VI
37
VII
53
VIII
85
IX
97
X
111
XI
125
XV
189
XVI
195
XVII
201
XVIII
223
XIX
227
XX
235
XXI
237
XXII
249

XII
139
XIII
147
XIV
177

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Page xiv - ... fiction to his main purpose, the exegesis of the text. He never introduces a good story merely for the sake of the story. The tendency of the commentators on the Pali texts, however, is just the reverse. The verbal glosses begin to shrink, both in size and importance, and the stories begin to grow. ... to all intents and purposes what was once a commentary has become nothing more or less than a huge collection of legends and folk tales.
Page xii - ... selfconquered, living in tranquillity, steadfast in resolve. His earnest request was made to me because of his desire that the Good Law might endure. Therefore I shall discard this dialect and its diffuse idiom and translate the work into the pleasing language of the Sacred Texts. Whatever in the Stanzas has not been made clear in the Stanzas themselves, whether in letter or in word, all that will I make clear. The rest I will also tell in Pali, in accordance with the spirit of the Stanzas. Thus...
Page xii - A subtile commentary thereon has been handed down from generation to generation in the island of Ceylon. But because it is composed in the dialect of the island, it is of no profit or advantage to foreigners. It might perhaps conduce to the welfare of all mankind. This was the wish expressed to me by the Elder Kumara Kassapa, self-conquered, living in tranquillity, steadfast in resolve. His earnest request was made to me because of his desire that the good Law might endure. Therefore I shall discard...
Page xvi - MahaSuvanna. He was rich, possessed of great wealth, possessed of ample means of enjoyment, but at the same time he was childless. One day, as he was on his way home from bathing at a ghat, he saw by the roadside a large forest tree with spreading branches. Thought he, " This tree must be tenanted by a powerful tree-spirit.
Page x - Buddhist values and doctrine, and for this very reason were preserved and cherished, copied and recopied by monks, and passed on from generation to generation. In recent years their role has diminished. Buddhism is taught as a subject in schools, in Sunday Schools or Daham pasal, that have sprung up all over the country, and children study doctrinal texts and understandably, are extremely bored with them. Ours was a much more exciting way to come to the Teachings.
Page xix - Your majesty, the sun has not risen, and you are king. Make the sun rise for us." The king surveyed his own deeds, words, and thoughts, and seeing no impropriety, thought to himself, "What can be the cause?" Suspecting that it might be because of a quarrel of the monks, he inquired, "Are there any monks in this city?

About the author (1991)

Ranjini Obeyesekere teaches at Princeton University.

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