Entry for:150 Years of Discovery: Emerging Research
1. Please provide a brief summary of your video and research.
Paṭhamasambodhi is a Buddha biography popular in mainland Southeast Asia. There are at least ten versions of the Paṭhamasambodhi manuscripts written in four languages such as Pali, Cambodian, Mon, and Tai. Hundreds of manuscripts are found in no less than five countries, which are Cambodia, Lao, Myanmar, Thailand, and the southern part of China. It has influenced Southeast Asian art and ritual since the end of the sixteenth century. For example, the mural paintings of Life of Buddha in Buddhist temples in Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia are inspired by the chapters in the Paṭhamasambodhi.
Despite its importance, most of the scholarship on Paṭhamasambodhi is written in Thai. Moreover, almost all of the Paṭhamasambodhi’s versions have never been translated into English.
I want to study the two kāyā or bodies of the Buddha, which are the Rūpakāya or physical body and the Dhammakāya or the Buddha’s Holy Spirit. The ten-chapter edition of the Paṭhamasambodhi that was written around the year 1855 by Pussadeva, the ninth Supreme Patriarch of Thailand, explains the meaning of these two bodies in detail. For my project I will translate it into English and analyse the idea of the Buddha’s twofold bodies.
I carry out the translation on my laptop using Microsoft Word and dictionary software. The source text I have obtained was printed in 1905. The language used in this text is Siamese Thai mixed with Pali loanwords, which is clearly distinct from the modern Thai language. Thus, in order to produce an accurate translation, I pay attention to the context .
My research is important because I shed some light on the true meaning of the Buddha’s twofold bodies as well as the controversy about the omission of Dhammakāya in some reprinted editions of this text.
This video was edited by Katie Smith.
2. Do you have a video hashtag for sharing via twitter?
I am a PhD student in Religious Studies at the Department of Theology & Religion, University of Otago, New Zealand.