Survey of the Pāli Milindapañha Manuscripts kept at the National Library of Thailand

A Brief Catalogue

  • Eng Jin Ooi Mahidol University, Bangkok


Several catalogues of Pāli palm-leaf manuscript collections, preserved at the National Library of Thailand, have been published. These catalogues, however, are mere lists of titles and they do not record the number of physical manuscripts under each title. For instance, the Milindapañha (Questions of King Milinda) appears as a single entry in these catalogues, but, in fact, the library holds seventy copies. These seventy manuscripts, though not all are complete, are not necessarily direct copies of each other or of a single original exemplar: they are, rather, distinct recensions that were copied in different periods of Thai history. Therefore, they serve as a valuable repository for the study of the text’s diverse textual traditions to elucidate the background of its transmission. Moreover, there are other related works, like the Milindapañha-ṭīkā, the Milindapañha Saṅkhepa, and the Milindapañhagāthā, which is embedded in the Vaṃsamālinī. The last two are yet to be found outside Thailand. Thus, this short article aims to present a concise listing of them in the hope that they will facilitate further research into these texts.


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Primary Texts:

Bv Buddhavaṃsa, ed. N.A. Jayawickrama. 1974. London: The Pali Text Society.
D Dīghanikāya, ed. T.W. Rhys Davids, J.E. Carpenter. 1890–1911. London: The Pali Text Society.
Dhp-a Dhammapada-aṭṭhakathā Vol I, ed. H.C. Norman. 1970 [1906]. London: The Pali Text Society.
Ja The Jātaka together with its commentary Vol I–VI, ed. V. Faüsbøll. 1877–96. London: Messrs. Luzac & Company for the Pali Text Society.
M Majjhimanikāya Vol I, ed. V. Trenckner. 1979 [1888]. London: The Pali Text Society.
Mil Milindapañho, ed. V. Trenckner. 1880. Edinburgh: William and Norgate / London: the Pali Text Society.
Paṭis Paṭisambhidāmagga, ed. A.C. Taylor. 1905–07. London: The Pali Text Society.
S Saṃyuttanikāya, ed. L. Feer. 1888. London: The Pali Text Society.
Si Milindapañhā, ed. Cattasalla Thera et al. 1923. Bangkok: Mahāmakuṭarājavidyālaya. [มิลินฺทปญฺหา. จตฺตสลฺลเถเรน ธมฺมปาโมกฺเขน มกุฏขตฺติยารามวาสินา โสธิตา. สฺยามรฏฺฐสฺส ราชธานิยํ: มหามกุฏราชวิทฺยาลเยน, ๒๔๖๖.]
Sp Samantapāsādikā: Buddhaghosa’s Commentary on the Vinaya Piṭaka IV, ed. J. Takakusu and M. Nagai. 1934. London: The Pali Text Society.
Vism Visuddhimagga, ed. C.A.F. Rhys Davids. 1920–21. London: The Pali Text Society.

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Geiger, Wilhelm. 1916. A Pāḷi Grammar. Translated into English by Batakrishna Ghosh, 1943. Revised and edited by K.R. Norman, 1994, Reprinted 2015. Bristol: The Pali Text Society.
von Hinüber, Oskar. 1996. A Handbook of Pāli Literature. Berlin & New York: Walter de Gruyter.
von Hinüber, Oskar. 1987. “The Pāli Manuscripts Kept at the Siam Society, Bangkok: A Short Catalogue.” Journal of the Siam Society, 75: 9–74
von Hinüber, Oskar. 2013. Die Pali-Handschriften des Klosters Lai Hin bei Lampang in Nord-Thailand. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag.
Hundius, Harald. 1990. “The Colophons of 30 Pāli manuscripts from Northern Thailand.” Journal of the Pali Text Society XIV: 1–173.
Iijima, Akiko. 2005. “A Historical Approach to the Palm-Leaf Manuscripts Preserved in Wat Mahathat, Yasothon (Thailand).” In The Literary Heritage of Laos Preservation, Dissemination and Research Perspectives, eds. Kongdeuane Nettavong, Harald Hundius, Dara Kanlaya, David Wharton, Khanthamaly Yongnouvong. Vientiane: National Library of Laos: 341–357.
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Mizuno, Kogen. 1959, “ミリンダ問経類について (On the Recensions of the Milindapañha).” In Komazawa Daigaku kenkyu kiyo 17: 17–55.
National Library of Thailand. 2004. Ancient Scripts – Student and Graduate Student edition. Bangkok: The National Library Division, The Fine Arts Department [แบบอักษรโบราณ ฉบับนักเรียน นักศึกษา สำนักหอสมุดแห่งชาติ กรมศิลปากร พิมพ์เผยแพร่ พุทธศักราข ๒๕๔๗].
Ñāṇamoli, Bhikkhu, transl. 1975 (4th edition, 2010). The Path of Purification (Visuddhimagga) by Bhadantācariya Buddhaghosa. Colombo: Buddhist Publication Society.
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Wat Muang Folk Museum. 1993. The Mae Klong Basin: Socio-cultural Development: in Honour of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit on the Occasion of Her Fifth Cycle Birthday, August 12, 1992. Bangkok: Silpakorn University. [ลุ่มน้ำแม่กลอง: พัฒนาการทางสังคมและวัฒนธรรม. พิพิธภัณฑ์พื้นบ้านวัดม่วง].
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