Ratanapañña’s Vajirasāratthasaṅgaha and its Ṭīkā
We are pleased to announce the publication of the latest book by GREI member Javier Schnake: Ratanapañña’s Vajirasāratthasaṅgaha and its Ṭīkā edited by Javier Schnake, The Pali Text Society, Bristol, 2021, xvii + 184 p.
This book is a critical edition of a Buddhist text in Pali and its commentary, the Vajirasāratthasaṅgaha composed in the sixteenth century by a monk named Ratanapañña in the kingdom of Lanna (present-day northern Thailand).
This compendium is unique in the field of Pali literature, both in the nature of its contents and in its mode of presentation. It embraces a large volume of teachings that deal with various themes, such as points of religious doctrine, etymology, mathematics, poetics, cosmology, riddles, etc. The singular mode of composition of this text is based on the coding of each of its chapters, using mechanisms and games that essentially concern language and its construction: learned riddles, grammatical notions, polysemy, acrostics, etc.
This work is thus an original synthesis of scholarly elements (hua chai, ekakkhara, etc.) which testifies on the one hand to the importance that the advanced study of language may have had in the context of sixteenth-century Lanna, which was characterised by a political and cultural ‘golden age’. On the other hand, some of his teachings shed new light on certain regional specificities in their practical and esoteric dimensions. It thus opens up new ways of understanding the status of Pali as a sacred language.