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"""The Commentary on Auspicious things"". A Pali text from Northern Thailand" (MGD)
Start date: Oct 1, 2013, End date: Sep 30, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The aim of this project is to study a major work of Buddhist literature in Southeast Asia, the Mangalatthadīpanī (“Discourse on Auspicious Things”). This text is of considerable length and reaches about 30 folios in manuscript form and about 1000 pages in printed editions in vernacular scripts. Written in Pali (the canonical language of Theravada Buddhism) in Chiang Mai (present day Northern Thailand) at the beginning of 16th century, this text was spread, glossed and translated across a large part of the Indochinese peninsula, including Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Burma, becoming one of the most famous and most influential texts throughout the whole region. Indeed many monks of the Thai-Lao and Khmer cultural worlds consider the Mangalatthadīpanī to contain the crucial and essential points for their knowledge of the Pali tradition. As it quotes extensively from canonical and postcanonical texts, it is valuable for indicating which texts were known in the region four centuries ago. Many vernacular texts – sermons, preaching and recitation texts – are extracted from this book. The Mangalatthadīpanī is regarded as so important that it has been used in the official Pali curriculum in Thailand since 1927 despite its northern origin.If there is a strong tradition of philology in the study of Indian, Chinese and Tibetan literature, religious texts from Southeast Asia have drawn little attention from specialists. Despite some notable exceptions, the rich literary tradition of Indochina remains largely unknown until today. For many scholars – this is particularly true in recent decades – texts are taken as an ancillary rather than as things which have a value in themselves. While this perspective may be valuable, our knowledge of the spirituality and psychology of peninsular Southeast Asia can only benefit from finding a counterpart that allows us to consider the textual tradition as equally representative of the genius loci as the Indian Veda or Chinese Sūtra do.
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