By the Rev. Mohottivatte Gunanande, Chief Priest of Dipaduttama Vihare, Colombo, Ceylon; Member of the General Council of the Theosophical Society.

Understanding that even Oriental folk-lore will find a place in your new magazine, the Theosophist, I purpose to send you for publication from time to time “Extracts from the Pali Buddhistical Scriptures of Ceylon,” propounding the popular Buddhism of my countrymen the Sinhalese, the Natives proper of Sri Lanka. My first selections are from the “Saddhamma Samgaho.” It is a book very generally read in Ceylon, but it has never been translated into any European language. The book treats in detail, and in regular order, on Thirty Theses of Buddhism, each of which is a grand division in the exoteric creed of the land: and, the denominations of the three and thirty several subjects are embodied in the following gathas

“Lokuppatti katha ceva,
“Atho satta katha pica,
“Bodhisatta kathaeapi,
“Abhisambodhiya katha,
“Dhamma cakkappavattica,
“Savakanam katha puna,
“Katha vinaya dhammeca,
“Lakanathena desite,
“Acchariya katha catha,
“Buddhadi ratanattaye,
“Bhavana rannanaceva,
“Brahma-loka katha puna,
“Tanhakkhaya katha capi,
“Parinibbinaka katha,
“Tatha dhatuvibibhagassa,
“Uttarnassa mahesino,
“Katha samgitiyacapi
“Sasanavamsakh katha
“Devalokassa, gamane,
“Kathabhidhamma-ke katha,
“Bodhipakkhika dhammanam,
“Kathhtha ditthiya katha,
“Saranagamanam ceva,
“Gahattha vinayam tatha,
“Kammabheda kathaceva,
“Dana sila kathapica,
“Saggapaya kathacapi,
“Kamadinavaka katha,
“Lamkadipassa sambuddha,
“Muninda sununo tatha,
“Mahinda yatinomassa,
“Gamanassa kathapana,
“Metteyya loka-nathasso,
“Dayassa dipana katha,
“Katha pakinnakacapi,
“Timsatettha bhave kama.”

(1) The Discourse on the birth (coming into being) of the World, (2) on Creatures, (3) on Bodhisatva (Buddha prior to his attaining to Buddhahood), (4) on Buddha’s attaining to Buddhahood, (5) on the Preaching of his Wheel of Dharma or Law, (6) on his Disciples, (7) on Vinaya or Ceremonial Law, (8) on the Sublimity of the Three Gems,(9) on the Celestial Worlds,(10) on Abhidhamma or the Transcendental Doctrines, (11) on the peculiar Dogmas of Buddhism, (12) on False Creeds, (13) on the taking of Refuge, (14) on Lay-Vinaya or Precepts regulating the conduct of Laymen, (15) on the Destiny of men, (16) on Alms, (17) on Religious Life, (l8) on Heaven, (19) on Hell, (20) on Passions, &c., (21) on Meditation, (22) on Brahma-Worlds, (23) on Nirvana, (24) on Pari-Nirvana, (25) on Relics, (26) on Collation and Recitation of Dhamma or Buddha’s Teachings, (27) on the Importation of the Religion into Ceylon, (28) on the Promulgation of the Dispensation, (29) on Maittri Buddha, and (30) on the Miscellaneous Discourses.

It is necessary, I believe, to set forth, in limine, the authority for the statements contained in the book I have chosen, from which to extract selections. Relative to the genuineness and orthodoxy of the doctrines explained in “the Saddhamma Samgaho,” the author says: —

Atho lokahitatthaya,
Uddharitwa tato tato,
Pali Attha kathadisu,
Saramadiya sadhukam,
Saddhamma Samgaha’ mdani,
Karisama yatha balam
Gahetwatambi sujana
Ugganhatha hitesino,
Samattimsatime dhamma,
Lokuppatti kathadayo
Saddhamma Samgahe ‘masmim,
Susamma samgaham gata

“And for the good of the world, having carefully selected (sadhukam uddharitva) the important (saram) teachings found scattered ‘up and down’ in (tato tato) in the [voluminous] Pali Attakathas, &c., we now [shall] compile the ‘Saddhamma Samgaho,’ — O good men! Ye, therefore, who strive to be good (hitesino sujana) learn these Thirty Dissertations, beginning with the account of ‘The coming into being of the World, &c’ They are well contained in this ‘Saddhamma Samgaho.’

The above declares that the author of the Dhamma Treatise has taken the accounts contained in his Work from the Pali Attahakathas; and, notwithstanding aught said to the contrary by Missionaries and other biassed opinionatists of these times, these Attahakathas (commentaries) have ever been held as most sacred by, at least, the generality of Buddhists of Ceylon, Burma and Siam. They are received as equally infallible as the Tripitaka Volumes; and, holy inspiration is ungrudgingly attributed to their rahat authors.

There is no doubt that exoteric Buddhism has them all as “gospel truth,” and the generally prevailing religion in Ceylon is all made up of their teachings as well as of the Pitaka volumes.

M. G.