Text and Translation of Namakkārapāli


I have just finished a text and translation of an important and popular Burmese chanting text, the Namakkārapāḷi, or Reverence Text. The work was written by one Ven. Sāsanasodhaka sometime in the medieval period, and consists of 28 verses in high medieval Pāḷi.

The topic is praise of the Buddha, both his body is mentioned, with frequent mention of the thirty-two marks of a Great Man, and also the eighty lesser marks that are recorded in the discourses, [1] and also his incomparable attainments as a Sammāsambuddha, who shows people how to live correctly, and leads them out of saṁsāra.

The verses are written in ascending fixed syllabic length samāvutta metres, starting with the eight-syllable Vatta, which is treated as a samāvutta metre in the text, and ending with the Saddharā, a 21-syllable metre, of which there are seven verses [2], and the Venerable writer shows great skill in handling these complex metres.

The text is also very sophisticated in its use of alankāra (ornamentation), and includes a number of verses [3] making use of silesa, or syllablic repetition, often in a very effective way, as well as metaphor and simile in the usual fashion.

At the end there are five verses in Vatta metre that extol the memorisation of even one of the verses, promising great rewards for such a meritorious act, let alone the reward that would be attained for memorising all of them.

In preparing the text I have also extracted sections from the Ṭīkā, which give a word-commentary on the text. This was mainly done to show how the translation was arrived at, as the text is very ambiguous, and could be read in more than one way on a number of occasions, but I have not translated these sections.

I have called these sections the Sankhepayojanā, as they are always introduced thus: ayaṁ panettha sankhepayojanā; now this is the short word-commentary… and they are very useful to the student who can read some Pāḷi, as they show how the commentator understood the text.


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  1. e.g. 32 at DN 30, Lakkhaṇasutta and 80 at MN 81, Brahmāyusutta.
  2. A couple of the metres are unidentified by name, being unknown to the main prosodies.
  3. e.g. 1, 8, 9 and 22.

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