I recently finished reading in all the texts I have available in the English section of my Ancient Buddhist Texts website (also available through the Audio page). According to the History page on the website it appears I started reading the texts in around June 2007, so it has taken nearly 4 years to get the recordings finished.
Of course I have been doing many other works at the same time, but it may give some idea of the amount of time I have devoted to this. The total is now well over 50 hours of recordings that are available on the website, covering all aspects of Buddhism: biographies, stories, doctrines, meditation instructions and ethics.
From the beginning I always had the idea of reading in at least some of the Pāḷi and Sanskrit texts as well, at least to give some idea of how the texts, especially the verse texts, would sound in the original.
Indeed in the last recording I made for the English section I also included a reading of the Pāḷi (see Buddhist Wisdom Verses), as I intend eventually to publish the Pāḷi and English translation together.
Looking at the History page I can see that the first of the English texts I read in was the translation of Pārāyanavagga, which goes under the title of The Way to the Beyond. That is quite a coincidence as I have just now read in the text of Pārāyanavagga also at the beginning of the project to read in the Pāḷi works.
While reading the text in I noticed that there had been some information loss in the .htm files, and parts of the analysis of the metre were short by one marker. Exactly when this has happened I am unsure, of course.
But it prompted me to go over the text again very carefully and to re-establish the readings in the metrical markers. While doing so I also started adding in better information in some places as to why a reading had been preferred over another.
Then once I had got going 🙂 I also started doing some small corrections to the analysis, and to update the Study I had made of the work accordingly, so that eventually I have landed up with what amounts to a 2nd revised edition with many improvements.
I might say that none of the readings or the conclusions have been affected by this revision, which says something for the care with which it was first produced, it is only the annotation and other peripheral material that has been improved.
I have also now hyperlinked the Complete Line, Shared Line and Main Word indexes so that you can immediately go to the line or verse in question, which should greatly help those who wish to study the text.
It was mainly because of the Pārāyanavagga, and its sister text the Aṭṭhakavagga, that I first started to learn Pāḷi way back when I first ordained: their beautiful and ancient rhythms have always held a fascination for me.
Here is a short extract from the work, in which the brāhmaṇa student Ajita asks the Buddha various questions and gets replies that lead to his attainment of liberation.
“Kenassu nivuto loko? (icc-āyasmā Ajito), Kenassu nappakāsati?
Kissābhilepanaṁ brūsi? ~ Kiṁ su tassa mahabbhayaṁ?”
“Avijjāya nivuto loko, (Ajitā ti Bhagavā), vevicchā pamādā nappakāsati.
Jappābhilepanaṁ brūmi ~ dukkham-assa mahabbhayaṁ”
“Savanti sabbadhi sotā, (icc-āyasmā Ajito), sotānaṁ kiṁ nivāraṇaṁ?
Sotānaṁ saṁvaraṁ brūhi, ~ kena sotā pithiyyare?”
“Yāni sotāni lokasmiṁ, (Ajitā ti Bhagavā), sati tesaṁ nivāraṇaṁ.
Sotānaṁ saṁvaraṁ brūmi, ~ paññāyete pithiyyare.”
“Paññā ceva sati cāpi, (icc-āyasmā Ajito), nāmarūpañ-ca mārisa,
etaṁ me puṭṭho pabrūhi: ~ katthetaṁ uparujjhati?”
“Yam-etaṁ pañhaṁ apucchi ~ Ajita taṁ vadāmi te!
Yattha nāmañ-ca rūpañ-ca ~ asesaṁ uparujjhati:
viññāṇassa nirodhena, ~ etthetaṁ uparujjhati.”
“Ye ca saṅkhātadhammāse, ~ ye ca sekhā puthū idha,
tesaṁ me nipako iriyaṁ ~ puṭṭho pabrūhi mārisa.”
“Kāmesu nābhigijjheyya, ~ manasānāvilo siyā.
Kusalo sabbadhammānaṁ ~ sato bhikkhu paribbaje” ti.