Manusya, Journal of Humanities

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Pathamasambodhi is widespread in at least 5 countries in Southeast Asia. Hundreds of manuscripts and not less than 10 versions have been discovered.They are composed in 4 languages: Pāli, Mon, Cambodian and Tai, including Tai vernaculars: Siamese Thai, Northern Thai, Northeastern Thai, Lao, Tai Lue, and Tai Khoeun. The styles of composition dramatically vary between detailed enumeration and concision, prose and verse, translation in the style of nissaya and non-nissaya, single language and dual languages- Pāli and another language. The comparative study of the different versions, with emphasis on their content, reveals their relation and the evolution of Pathamasambodhi. The Pāli version found in the Lanna region is the oldest complete version. It is probably the original version, which not only is rendered to Tai Lue, Tai Khoeun, Lao and Northern Thai, but evolved over centuries to become the three newer Pāli recensions which later were rendered to northeastern Thai, Mon and Siamese Thai. The latter version was finally rendered to Cambodian. The content of Pathamasambodhi was gradually enhanced in three phases with different genres: 1) the legend of the Siddhattha Bodhisatta in the Pali of the Lanna region, the Northern Thai, the Lao, the Tai Khoeun and the Tai Lue version; 2) the legend of the Gotama Buddha in the two late Pāli versions as well as the Mon and the northeastern Thai versions; and 3) the legend of the Gotama Buddha's sāsana or teaching in both Pāli and Siamese Thai versions by His Supreme Patriarch Prince Paramanujitjinorot and the Cambodian version. The Northern Thai version is the transition link between the first and the second phrase. The result of this study also provides the genesis of Pathamasambodhi.

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