Click -> here to read the first page of Tripitaka that we converted to Romanized Sinhala (Dual-script Sinhala.)
Thank you kindly for volunteering to test our work on Pali.
In Sanskrit, 'paali' means rows, and the Sinhalese call the same 'peeli' (pron. pay-lee). The monks in Lanka called each palm leaf book a 'paali' as it indeed had many very long rows of text. The titles of most of these books have the suffix 'paali'. This name was ultimately used to call the language used in the books or Buddhist gospel. The actual language was maagadhi, the language of the ancient country called Magadha where Buddha lived, now partly in India and Nepal. Magadhi is said to have become the lingua franca of most of India later on with the spread of Buddhism.
Few years after Buddha's death, Buddhism was brought to Lanka and survived there while it declined in India. Being an island, Lanka perhaps provided better conditions for preservation minimizing external influence.
The Buddhist oral tradition had monks grouped into what are called nikaaya (Sanskrit: group) entrusted with the memorization of different areas of the history. This practice started soon after Buddha's death when a monk had expressed the freedom to relax rules, as their leader was now dead. The opening phrase of many discourses, 'evá me suþá' (So have I heard) by Ven. Ananda, Buddha's cousin and personal attendant epitomizes the desire to report 'as is' without editorializing. Editorials of Buddhist texts exist separately, originally written in Sinhala language and later translated into Pali, now often called 'commentaries'.
From time to time, conferences called Sangaayanaa were assembled for group chanting to reinforce the memory. The effect of group chanting is analogous to digital replay by sampling, which exposes the correct version through frequency probability. The Sanskrit and Pali alphabets, which are really phoneme charts, explain each phoneme precisely. This indicates that at that time, correct pronunciation was emphasized for the preservation of accuracy. Phonemes of a language, as understood by its speakers, are distinguishable from one another. When they are added with the channel of lexical knowledge, Buddhist oral tradition would have been quite accurate.
There is evidence that Brahmi writing existed in Lanka (600 BC) since before Buddha's time probably owing to its status as an important place of international commerce. However, for years there had not been an enthusiasm to write down Pali. We could surmise that this was because writing would have been considered less accurate than group chanting and therefore, redundant, even harmful.
In or around 92BC there had been a prolonged famine in the country. This caused the monks fear that due to malnutrition the ability to remember would decline, and they decided to put down the entire oral tradition into writing -- as a sort of a time-capsule. They assembled in (now unclear location) Alu Lena and held the Sangaayanaa. This is considered the fourth such assembly according to the Theravada tradition (tradition of the monks).
Tripitaka (in Sanskrit) literally means three baskets. This is written in Pali as 'þipitaka' (Anglicized: Tipitaka). It is believed that at the time of first writing, each palm leaf book was placed in a basket according to its subject matter: Vinaya (Rules for monks), Sutra (All sundry subjects), Abhidhamma (Deeper philosophy and analyses).
We believe that the Tipitaka pages at www.metta.lk has the best representation of the bulk of Pali preserved over the years in Lanka. It mainly compares text of two compilations of Tripitaka. Mr. and Mrs. Rhys Davids made the first of these in 1860s in a Latin transcription of Sinhala now known as PTS. It is the popular script used by Buddhist monks. The second was written in the Sinhala script in preparation for the 2500th anniversary celebration of Buddha's death held in 1956. The compiler of Tripitaka found at www.metta.lk, Ven. Mettavihari, (naturalized Sinhalese born in Denmark) also included into it comparisons from other obscure sources found in Lanka, making it truly a scientific effort.
Our purpose here is to transliterate the pages at www.metta.lk into romanized Sinhala (RS). RS has the unique ability to be viewed in the Latin script as well as the Sinhala script, which is the original script that Pali was written in. It also demonstrates how accurate the text at www.metta.lk by merely reading it in the Sinhala script comparing to the manuscripts. Our ultimate goal is to provide tool-tip meanings of the Pali words as in the following paragraph. (Hover the mouse over each word to see the English meaning).
evá me suþá:
eká samayá bhagavaa saavaþþhiyá viharaþi jeþavane anaaþhapiNdikassa aaraame. aþha kho aççaþaraa ðevaþaa abhikkanþaaya raþþiyaa, abhikkanþavaNNaa kevalakappá jeþavaná obhaaseþvaa, yena bhagavaa þenupasañkami, upasañkamiþvaa bhagavanþá abhivaaðeþvaa ekamanþá atthaasi. ekamanþá thiþaa kho saa ðevaþaa bhagavanþá gaaþhaaya ajjhabhaasi:
"bahuu ðevaa manussaa ca ~ mañgalaani acinþayú
aakañkhamaanaa soþþhaaná: ~ bruuhi mañgalam-uþþamá."
"asevanaa ca baalaaná, ~ paNdiþaanaç-ca sevanaa,
puujaa ca puujaniiyaaná: ~ eþá mañgalam-uþþamá.
paþiruupaðesavaaso ca, ~ pubbe ca kaþapuççaþaa,
aþþasammaapaNiðhi ca: ~ eþá mañgalam-uþþamá.
baahusaccaç-ca sippaç-ca, ~ vinayo ca susikkhiþo,
subhaasiþaa ca yaa vaacaa: ~ eþá mañgalam-uþþamá.
maaþaapiþu-upatthaaná, ~ puþþaðaarassa sañgaho,
anaakulaa ca kammanþaa: ~ eþá mañgalam-uþþamá.
ðaanaç-ca ðhammacariyaa ca, ~ çaaþakaanaç-ca sañgaho,
anavajjaani kammaani: ~ eþá mañgalam-uþþamá.
aaraþi viraþi paapaa, ~ majjapaanaa ca saççamo,
appamaaðo ca ðhammesu: ~ eþá mañgalam-uþþamá.
gaaravo ca nivaaþo ca, ~ sanþutthii ca kaþaççuþaa,
kaalena ðhammasavaNá: ~ eþá mañgalam-uþþamá.
khanþii ca sovacassaþaa, ~ samaNaanaç-ca ðassaná,
kaalena ðhammasaakacchaa: ~ eþá mañgalam-uþþamá.
þapo ca brahmacariyaç-ca, ~ ariyasaccaanaðassaná,
nibbaaNa sacchikiriyaa ca: ~ eþá mañgalam-uþþamá.
phutthassa lokaðhammehi, ~ ciþþá yassa na kampaþi,
asoká virajá khemá: ~ eþá mañgalam-uþþamá.
eþaaðisaani kaþvaana, ~ sabbaþþham-aparaajiþaa,
sabbaþþha soþþhí gacchanþi: ~ þá þesá mañgalam-uþþaman" þi.