DPPN Index |
Dr. Stede, the illustrious editor of the Pali
Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary, having said, in his
Afterword to that great work: It will be worth the trouble
to explore more thoroughly that range of civilization which
lies enshrined in the Pali Canon, added in a footnote: In connection
with this I may point out that one of the greatest needs of
Pali scholarship is a Dictionary of Names... The Name Dictionary
will be an indispensable supplement to the Word Dictionary.
That was in 1925, when I was yet a student at the School of
Oriental Studies, with the privilege of having Dr. Stede as
one of my teachers.
Somewhere in 1930 when, in the course of a letter to Dr. Stede,
I casually inquired what progress had been made with the Names
Dictionary, which (after the death of Rhys Davids), I knew he
was keen to edit, he wrote back to say that owing to circumstances
beyond the control of those moat concerned, nothing further
had been done since 1925. and that he had abandoned the idea
of doing the work himself because he was far from being veil
and was very busy with his teaching at the School. He also indicated
that there was much difficulty in getting someone else suitable
to undertake the task. Thereupon I wrote to Mrs. Rhys Davids,
as President of the Pali Text Society, offering my services
in the compilation of the Names Dictionary, if I could be of
any possible use. She replied very promptly and moat encouragingly.
The publication of the Names Dictionary, she said, was not in
the hands of the S.P.T.S.; the work was to be included
in the Indian Text Series, issued under the aegis of the India
Office in Whitehall. Now that her husband, by whom the Dictionary
had been originally prepared, was no more, the choice of an
Editor ultimately lay with the authorities of the India Office,
though the S.P.T.S. would naturally have a large say
in the matter. She would certainly recommend to the Council
of India, that the compilation be given over in my charge.
There followed the usual inevitable delays, and it was not till
July, 1931, that the India Office, in consultation with the
Government of India, accepted Mrs. Rhys Davids' recommendation
and asked me to undertake the work. Meanwhile Mrs. Rhys Davids
had, with remarkable, but characteristic generosity, sent me,
of her own accord, her husband's copy of the S.P.T.S.
Journal for 1888. containing Edward Müller's Index of
Pali Proper Names, interleaved with numerous additional references
entered by Rhys Davids himself. I was, however, at the time
deeply engrossed with my critical edition of the Mahāvamsa-Ţīkā
(since published by the S.P.T.S.) for the Ceylon Government,
and was therefore not able to devote much attention to the Names
Dictionary until 1933.
The original suggestion was that I should limit my sources to
the Tipiţaka, the fifth century Commentaries on the Pali Canon,
a few post-Piţakan works, published by the S.P.T.S.,
separately or in Journals, and the Milindapañha.
I was Not to compile a Lexicon, but to follow in general the
method adopted by Müller in J.P.T.S: 1888, giving, only in the
case of the more important names, short translations from a
few specified references, the material to go into one not very
bulky volume. Mrs. Rhys Davids was confident that the work could
be finished within a year. I took advantage of a visit I paid
to Europe in 1932 to discuss these matters with Mrs. Rhys. Davids,
Dr. Stede, Professor Turner, Dr. Barnett, Dr. Sylvan Levi and
other eminent Orientalists, and with the authorities of the
India Office. As a result of these discussions the original
scheme was considerably modified, and I was enabled to give
myself greater freedom in the selection of sources and in following
my own preferences in the treatment of the materials.
When I came to examine the materials at my disposal, I found
that I had undertaken a truly stupendous task. Müller's plan,
in general, was to give a name and a description of it, followed
by a series of references e.g. Yasa, son of Kākandaka; took
a principal part at the Council of Vesāli, C. xii 1,1 et seq.
2. 1 et seq. Sp. 293, 312 Dpv. v. 23; Mhv. 15-19.
42. In his bibliography he indicated, that he had indexed the
Vinaya Piţaka. the
and Samyutta Nikāyas, the Mahāpari- Nibbāna- and Sāmaññaphala
Suttas of the Dīgha Nikāya, the Sutta Nipāta, the Thera- and
Theri-gāthā, Udāna, Buddhavamsa, Cariyāpiţaka, Dhammapada (text
only), the Jātaka, Puggalapaññatti, the Mahāvamsa and Dīpavamsa
and the Milindapañha, and, of. the Commentaries, the first volume
of the Sumangala-Vilāsinī, the portion of the Samantapāsādikā
quoted in Vol. III. of Oldenberg's Vinaya, and a few extracts
from the Paramatthadīpanī on the Udāna and Thera- and Therigāthā.
I soon discovered, however, that except in the case of the Vinaya
Piţaka and the Dīpavamsa, there were numerous and serious omissions.
Rhys Davids, in his interleaved copy of Müller's Index, had
inserted a very large number of fresh names and numerous additional
references in the case of names already included by Müller.
This lightened my task considerably, but not to the extent I
should have desired. For it is a well-known fact that a scholar's
collectanea, however carefully prepared, can be used, if at
all, by another only after a great deal of trouble and with
extreme caution. Everyone has his peculiar intentions and his
peculiar methods in the handling and arrangement of scientific
materials. I found, for instance, that I could not verify numerous
references because of the absence of a key to some of Rhys Davids'
abbreviations. Of the Indexes to the volumes published by the
S.P.T.S. only those of the Ańguttara, Samyutta and Majjhima
Nikāyas and the Sutta Nipāta Commentary were found to be at
all adequate, but even in these cases I soon discovered that
if I relied solely on the passages referred to in the Indexes,
without knowing what went before in the context and what followed,
I should miss a great deal of valuable information and run grave
risk of inaccuracy. As a result of these considerations, I decided
that the only safe course to adopt would be to go through the
books myself and make my own indexes and notes. And this I did,
except in the case of the Vinaya Piţaka, where I found Müller's
Index unimpeachable. As regards the Commentaries, the indexes
both of the P.T. S.P.T.S. volumes and those issued in the Simon
Hewavitarne Bequest Series were quite unsatisfactory. It will
be seen, therefore, that I hold myself entirely responsible
for the accuracy (or otherwise) of the references contained
in this Dictionary.
The work in its present form includes, besides other materials,
information obtained from the whole of the Tipiţaka and all
the Commentaries thereon. It was my intention, at first, to
index the tikas as well, but after reading through several of
them I decided that the additional material to be gleaned from
them would not be sufficient recompense for the trouble and
inevitable delay involved. There was also the difficulty of
obtaining satisfactorily uniform editions of the tikas, in spite
of the great attention apparently devoted to these texts in
Burma. Among non-Canonical works, I have included, besides the
Milindapañha, the Mahāvamsa, Dīpavamsa, Mahābodhivamsa, Sāsanavamsa,
Gandhavamsa, and the Sāsanavamsadīpa. I have also included the
Cūlavamsa, chiefly in order to complete the information
contained in the Mahāvamsa, and the Mahāvamsa-tika, because
it contains valuable data regarding names occurring in the Mahāvamsa.
It was suggested, while the work had made considerable progress,
that I should not forget the many short volumes in S.P.T.S.
Journals e.g. the Jinacarita, Dāţhāvamsa,
etc. References to some of them are already given in the main
body of the Dictionary, while others will be given in the Appendix,
at the end of the second Volume. I have attempted to give the
names of all Suttas and Jātakas and of Pali works of any literary
importance written in India, Burma and Ceylon, prior to about
1700 AC. With regard to these works it was not my intention
to do more than merely mention their names; for further details
concerning them reference should be made to Bode's Pali Literature
of Burma and my Pali Literature of Ceylon, both published by
the R.A.S. in their Prize Publication Fund Series. In some cases
doubts arose in my own mind as to the exact category of names.
Where such doubt existed, I included the name in the Dictionary.
It will be seen that I have also included a few articles on
what, strictly speaking, are Common and not Proper Names e.g.
Asura, Cakkavatti Deva, Buddha (in addition to Gotama), Mahāpurisa,
Māra, etc. My only excuse is that detailed information on these
topics is not available elsewhere without reference to numerous
In order that this Dictionary might be completed within reasonable
limits, both of time and space, I have deliberately avoided
mention of Buddhist Sanskrit Tests, except to give very occasional
references to the Mahāvastu, Divyāvadāna, Jātakamālā and the
Avadānasataka, where I felt that such references would be useful.
The great mass of information to be found in Buddhist Sanskrit
Texts would supply more than ample material for at least one
other volume of this nature. For the same reason I have refrained
from any special effort to refer, for purposes of this Dictionary,
to articles in various books and journals, published in Europe
and India, dealing with matters discussed herein. I have satisfied
myself with only such references as had already come under my
notice in the course of my studies, one way or another.
Two books, that reached me after I had more or less finished
the Work of indexing, proved of great use; the first, A Dictionary
of Buddhist Proper Names, especially in India by Professor C.
Akanuma of Nagoya, Japan; and the second, The Geography of Early
Buddhism, by Dr. B. C. Law of Calcutta. Professor Akanuma's
work is, unfortunately for me, in Japanese, and my ignorance
of that language prevented my making full use of it, but many
of the references are given in Roman script and helped me to
check my own indexes. Dr. Law's book was of more immediate benefit
to me. I wish to acknowledge my indebtedness to both these authors.
It now remains for me to express my gratitude to some of those
that helped in various ways to bring this work to its close.
First and foremost is my teacher Mrs. Rhys Davids, but for whose
active sympathy, forceful assistance and kindly guidance in
all its stages this Dictionary could never have been undertaken,
much less completed. Throughout its progress I have been impelled
by the desire to offer it to her, with deep humility, as a token
of my great gurubhakti. It is a matter of intense satisfaction
to me that this ambition has been fulfilled.
To the Secretary of State for India in Council I am exceedingly
grateful for the honour he has done me in allowing me the privilege
of continuing the work originally entrusted to a scholar of
the unique distinction of the late Professor Rhys Davids, I
trust I have, in some small measure at least, succeeded in justifying
the confidence he thought fit to place in me. I should like
also to add my gratitude to Mr. W.T. Ottewill, O.B.E., Superintendent
of Records at the India Office, for his unfailing courtesy and
To my friends and erstwhile students at the Ceylon University
College, Mr. K.C. Fernando, Mr. D.E. Hettiaracchi, Mr. M.A.
Perera, Mr. J.V, Fonseka, Mr. N. D. Wijesekera and Dr. 0.H.
de A. Wijesekera, I am indebted for their willing assistance
in looking up some of the references in Buddhaghosa's Commentaries.
To the Rev. A.P. Buddhadatta, whom I have had occasion to consult
more than once, I am grateful for the benefit of his erudition.
Finally, to Alice de Zoete Elliot—she dislikes appellations—I
owe more than I can hope to repay, When I told her about the
Dictionary, she most cheerfully volunteered to revise the whole
of my manuscript articles and to type them for the printer—in
itself a stupendous task. This undertaking she has most scrupulously
and assiduously fulfilled, in spite of great inconvenience,
trouble and discomfort, making many sacrifices in order to help
me. My friendship with her—which began when we were fellow-students
at the School of Oriental Studies and soon ripened into deep
affection—and with her versatile husband, Dr. Elliot, has been
among the greatest joys and blessings of my life- It is not
too much to say that the completion of this task within so short
a time as four years would never have been possible but for
her great assistance and heartening support.
For all deficiencies in this Dictionary—I am profoundly conscious
of them —and for all errors of omission and commission I sincerely
apologize. It has meant very strenuous work for nearly four
years without a break of any sort, work undertaken in addition
to the difficulties which devolved upon me as a fulltime teacher
in charge of a department of studies at the Ceylon University
College. In these circumstances it was inevitable that the following
pages should contain numerous imperfections. The fact that printing
has been going on all the time the Dictionary was in progress
has also been a great drawback to its uniformity in various
features. If I had been allowed ten years within which to complete
the work, I might, perhaps, have made a better job of it, but
everybody intimately concerned with the undertaking was anxious
that it should be finished with the least possible delay. I
only hope that my efforts will in some slight degree help in
the exploration of that wonderful culture and civilisation which
lie enshrined in Pali tradition. The second and final volume
of the Dictionary will be issued in the course of this year,
G.P. MALALASEKERA. January 1937,