- by Venerable Sugatavaṁsa
From 23 January to 18 Febuary 2016
Course Notes Download (PDF files):
Introduction to Pali Course - Why everyone should study Pali
This stanza describes the importance of the Pāli language.
Sā māgadhī mūlabhāsā, narā yāyādikappikā;
brahmāno ca’ssutālāpā, sambuddhā cāpi bhāsare
Pāli is the Magadha language; it is the very first language in the world. The beings in the beginning of a world cycle would speak this language. It is the language for communication in the Brahma realm. For a new born who has not heard or learned any languages before, the first words spoken are in Pāli. Most importantly, Pāli is the language spoken by all the Sammāsambuddhas.
Hence, Pāli is the main language for everyone to learn. Without understanding Pāli language, it is very difficult to catch the real meaning of the Buddha's teachings. Every buddhist must therefore study the Pāli language. If you know the Pāli language, then you can understand clearly Lord Buddha's teachings, the real meaning of every word spoken by the Buddha.
If someone wishes to study the Pāli language, he must start with the Pāli grammar. Without understanding Pāli grammar, it is very difficult to grasp the real meaning.
The following Pāli stanza illustrates this:-
Yo niruttim na jānāti, jānāti piṭakattayaṁ;
pade pade vikaṅkheyya, vane andha gajo viya.
For one who does not understand the grammar of the Pāli language, even though he may know the whole Tipiṭaka, many doubts will arise in his mind. Word by word, he will doubt their real meaning, whether the word is a noun or a verb, etc. Just like a blind elephant roaming dangerously in the forest, many accidents lie waiting along the path. Similarly, if we study the Tipiṭaka without understanding Pāli grammar, we will face many doubts and difficulties in grasping the true teachings of the Buddha.
Therefore, everyone who wishes sincerely and truly to comprehend the Buddha's teachings should study the Pāli language.
About the Teacher:
Venerable Digana Sugatavaṁsa Thero ("Bhante") was born on November 16, 1981 in Sri Lanka. At the age of 16, he entered the order of Buddhist monks as a novice at the prestigious Galduwa Sri Kalyani Yogasramaya Monastery, in Ambalangoda, Sri Lanka under the preceptorship of Most. Venerable Kadawadduwe Sri Jinawansa Maha Thero and Most.Venerable Na-Uyane Ariyadhamma Maha Thero.
He received his higher ordination at the age of 20 and he re-took higher ordination on January 20, 2006 under the guidance of Ven. Devagoda Mangala Maha Thero and Ven. Na-Uyane Ariyadhamma Maha Thero.
Bhante has studied under many famous scholar monks in Sri Lanka and has gained proficiency in Vinaya (Monastic Discipline), Pali Language and Abhidhamma. He has received the titles “Vinaya Visarada” (Expert in Vinaya) “ Abhidhamma Visarada” (Expert in Abhidhamma) and “Tripitakacariya” (Proficiency in all three baskets of the Pali Canon), from both Sri Kalyani Yogasrama Samstha and the Monk University of Sri Viddyodaya Parivena, Sri Lanka.
Bhante has held many discussions on meditation and Dhamma (especially Abhidhamma) and conducted many retreats. He has been featured in both Buddhist Television and National Radio periodically and is well respected among the lay and monastic community in Sri Lanka. Bhante is fluent in Pali, Sinhala and English. He has authored several Dhamma Books in Sinhala and Pali.
He lives a life dedicated to Buddha Sasana and he works tirelessly towards the advancement and propagation of Dhamma.
- Short Biography by Ven. Gunodaya