Peṭakopadesa manuscripts

Unfortunately the Peṭakopadesa has no reliable, or even complete, edition in the Pali, let alone the English translation.

Nanamoli in his introduction xiii (PTS the Pitaka disclosure) writes that

*all these editions are found…to be full of mistakes, some very gross, a great proportion of which are common to all editions […] their version is worse and often consists not only of words wrong in context but often of meaningless jumbles of syllables. All this simply indicates that all four MSS stem originally from a single (…delapidated) ancient MS containing mistakes common to all…"

Very interesting! What about to supply some examples?

Anyway, here is the Pali, Burmese, and Sinhalese version of the Petakopadesa checked at the 6th Sangayana. I am supplying also Zetawun (Jetavana) Mingun Sayadaw’s Petakopadesa Commentary and the verbatim (word-by-word) translation of the Pali Petakopadesa into Myanmar as well as verbatim translation of the Mingun Sayadaw’s Commentary. You may like to look at it and if you see anything jumbled, let me know. I will submit it to the Burmese monks for correction.

Corrections in Tipitaka are happening until today. Most importantly, Patthana underwent a lot of corrections during the sixth sangayana. I also found some problems even in the nikayas. Not sure where I still have them, I was not able to appreciate the importance of collecting those errors.

I do not expect that you can understand Burmese or Sinhalese. I,however, expect that you can provide the portions where the text is jumbled and I will thereafter examine whether it is true or not and whether we get a solution. :sun_with_face:

Dear Venerable Sarana
I attach the preface and full introduction below.
I last read the translation over 30 years ago and found enough doubtful points[ I can’t remember what now), even with all the “attempted restorations”, and even with the “careful and helpful work of a greatly respected Burmese scholar”(Nanamoli pxx1 )
[possibly the Mingun Sayadaw?], that it doesn’t interest me much.

. The Netti , on the other hand, with similar topics, is wonderful, and IMHO worthwhile of serious and repeated study.

If you need the complete English edition of the Petakopadesa I will post it in sections?
with respect

327419661-PTS-Petakopadesa-pdf-Copyintro.pdf (1.3 MB)

Thank you very much for your careful reply. I am interested in your particular questions on the passages that you find particularly challenging. My point is that we could resolve the most serious issues right away, right here.

I do have the English translation of Peṭakopadesa as well as Nettippakaraṇa.

Regarding Nettippakarana, there was a two-week course with Sayadaw Nandamalabhivamsa in Myanmar about six years ago, specifically related to studying Nettippakarana. I was lucky enough to attend it all and read the whole book there. He explained the matters of Nettippakarana in detail.

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Dear Venerable
I will try to make time to reread the book and post comments as I go…

I finished the first chapter.
I attach one point that Nanamoli made about a 'badly remembered version".

So far I haven’t found any doctrinal issues but the reading goes slow. It seems much less digestible than the smoothly written Netti.


Well… eh… you wrote

Peṭakopadesa has no reliable, or even complete, edition in the Pali

If so, what is the portion (or what are the portions) of the Peṭakopadesa that is/are missing or that is/are not reliable? Can you explain why those portions are missing or not reliable?

Thank you :sun_with_face:

Dear Venerable Sarana
on page xv nanamoli writes
“when the best is made of type I texts as they stand they present a rather fantastic number of errors…”
and 'with the exception of the lost end of CH IV, there is nothing really insoluble to it…"

“…the amount of corruption varies greatly in different parts of the book”

looking at the part I bolded it does seem to leave room for optimism.

with respect

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He says that the Chapter IV end portion is missing, but actually it is there in his translation and I also have it in my Petakopadesa Burmese Nissaya (verbatim translation).

If you find a particular portion that is missing or seriously doubtful please let me know exactly the paragraph and page number in the English translation, so I can find the alternative in Burmese (and/or in Sinhalese).

My advantage is that I can read and thoroughly understand both Sinhalese and Burmese translations. If I understand it well, ven. Ñāṇamoli had access only to Sinhalese. Therefore, there is a high chance that I can actually provide the missing piece if you tell me exactly which.


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Dear venerable
I have slowly worked my way through most of the English translation up till the end of chapter V, and - thanks to your inspiration- find it not as deficient as I remembered. The worst aspects seem to be it is lack of smoothness compared with the Netti.

Nanamoli writes note: 250/1 there is no indication how to fill out the “pe” in the text. the whole of this chapter is written in a consistenly crabbed , difficult and unpolished style.

he writes on note 315/1"this passage is nonsense as it stands…"

I dont know if you have any idea here?

One comment . I tend to agree with Nanamoli when he states that the "Netti […] quite eclipsed the older work [the petaka.].

However this conclusion is not without its problems as how do we account that both works are, I think, accounted as being by the great disciple Mahakaccana.
Nanamoli suggstes that the Netti was a 'revised and improved" version of the Pe(xii) - so he seems to accept that the pe came from the first council and possibly the Netti was a revised version completed at a later date…?

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315/1 Doesn’t seem like a nonsense to the Nissaya and Atthakatha of Jetawun Mingun Sayadaw. But I admit that their explanations are not obvious from the original text.

Jetawun Mingun Sayadaw explains the meaning as that these three khandhas cannot be explained by desanāhāra or vicayāhāra, they need to be explained by yuttihāra.

The Mūla Nissaya explains that sahetu is related to janakapaccaya and sappaccaya is related to upanissayapaccaya. Again, information not obvious from the original text.

When we translate from Pali it is always good to have at hand the Burmese and Sinhalese ancient translations which will take us closer to the Buddha’s time (or to the time when those scriptures were written) and therefore increase the probability that we will understand the texts.

To summarize, it seems that a new and comprehensible translation of Petakopadesa is not only needed, but actually possible.

If you know any Pali scholars who can speak in Burmese and English, I am most happy to provide maximum support. At this moment, however, I am getting mentally ready to translate MNA. Not sure if it will happen, but just thinking about it. In fact, I am waiting for someone to join me, so I do not spend with it ten years or more.

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Dear venerable
MNA? Majjhima nikaya atthakatha?
I would like to offer any support that might help - probably financial if that is of use.

Btw I heard last week that bhikkhu bodhi is planning to start a translation of the commentary to patisambhidhimagga.
With respect

The translation of the Commentary to Psm sounds great. I am reading his translation of Suttanipāta Commentary with a group of Vietnamese people (almost) every week, and we have already finished, I think, over half of it. It is a treasury of very important Dhamma knowledge.

Thank you so much for your kindness and willingness to support me. I cannot think of how a monetary contribution could be used. At this point, I am searching for people who would put their hands to the plow (or lend a hand), so to speak. In other words, I am looking for fellow translators and proofreaders. :sun_with_face:

Please, see my call for help here: