Responsable: Jacques Leider

Ecole française d'Extrême-Orient
Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Anthropology Centre
20 Borommaratchachonnani Road
Bangkok 10170
Tel: +66 2 433 12 68
Fax: +66 2 880 93 32

In the photograph: Peter Skilling (2nd person from the left of 2nd row), Jens-Uwe Hartmann (6th person from the left of 2nd row) and Paul Harrison (2nd person from the left of 3rd row).
In the photograph: Peter Skilling (2nd person from the left of 2nd row), Jens-Uwe Hartmann (6th person from the left of 2nd row) and Paul Harrison (2nd person from the left of 3rd row).
New publication of Peter Skilling: “Reflections on the Pali Literature of Siam”
28 MARCH 14
The paper by Peter Skilling, "Reflections on the Pali Literature of Siam", presented at the conference "Indic Buddhist Manuscripts: The State of the Field Stanford", June 15-19, 2009, is now published in FROM BIRCH BARK TO DIGITAL DATA: RECENT ADVANCES IN BUDDHIST MANUSCRIPT RESEARCH, edited by Paul Harrison and Jens-Uwe Hartmann.

These are the excerptions from the paper:

" (...) what is commonly understood by "Pali Literature" today is essentially the "Pali Literature of Ceylon," in the sense of having been transmitted by the Mahāvihāra tradition of the island. (...) the Pali literature of Siam has not been adequately described, and it is scarcely recognized as an independent category or field of research. A large number of Pali texts, presumably composed in Siam, remain in manuscript, unstudied, unedited, and often uncatalogued. (...) " 

 " (...) Siam has been especially significant in the European awareness of Buddhism and of Pali. The idea of Pali as a language of Buddhism seems to have first been encountered by Europeans in early seventeenth-century Ayutthaya, and some of the first Pali manuscripts to reach Europe were Khom-script texts, also from Ayutthaya, preserved today in the Bibliothèque nationale and the Missions Étrangères in Paris. (...) " 

 " (...) it is clear that Siamese Pali literature is not a piecemeal collection of discrete texts passively received from abroad and mechanically translated into vernaculars, or composed by monks in isolated retreats. The Pali literature of Siam has never been inert; active and interactive, it has developed in contact and collision. (...) "

" (...) After initial surveys of manuscript holdings at several temples in Chaiya District, Surat Thani province in central southern Thailand, the Office for Art and Culture (Surat Thani Rajabhat University) has initiated a project to catalogue, preserve, and digitize several of the collections, with Santi Pakdeekham and Peter Skilling as participants. (...) Among the rare texts are Mūlakammaṭṭhāna and Mahāmūlakammaṭṭhāna, meditation texts in Pali which have not yet been edited or published. (...) " 

 " (...) The study of the "new manuscripts" has transformed our understanding of the evolution of South Asian, Central Asian, and Southeast Asian Buddhism as well as of Buddhist languages, literature, and school affiliation. Our old textbooks have become drastically outdated, and we have to consider new approaches and new paradigms, and reflect on new questions. Surely the Pali literature of Siam should have a place in these paradigms. "

Key words: Pali literature; Pali literature of Siam; Evolution of Pali literature (especially in Siam/Thailand); Palm leave manuscript (คัมภีร์ใบลาน); Preparation of palm leaves; Buddhist literature; Thai Buddhist literature. 

In the photograph: 

Front row (from left to right): DUAN Qing (Beijing), Richard Salomon (Seattle), Irene LIN (Stanford), Collett Cox (Seattle), Michael Hahn (Marburg), Helmut Krasser (Vienna), Harunaga Isaacson (Hamburg), Oskar von Hinüber (Freiburg), Kazunobu Matsuda (Kyoto), LUO Hong (Beijing), Saerji (Beijing). 

Second row: Jundō Nagashima (Tokyo), Peter Skilling (Bangkok), Shin'ichiro Hori (Tokyo), Jens Braarvig (Oslo), Lore Sander (Berlin), Jens-Uwe Hartmann (Munich), Ingo Strauch (Berlin), Klaus Wille (Göttingen), Yoshiyasu Yonezawa (Tokyo).

Third row: Mark Allon (Sydney), Paul Harrison (Stanford). 

In absentia: Harry Falk (Berlin).