The nature of search for meaning, naming and the etymology of the word Pali from the perspective of Pali literature
Keywords:Pali literature, Pali
The Language of Theravada Buddhist literature is known as Pali. The Theravada literature is also known as Pali literature. Tripitaka, the sacred book of the Buddhists, is the oldest among the books that written in this language. After the Tripitaka, Nettipakarana, Petakopadesa and Milindapanha were written in this language, which are regarded as the paracanonical texts of Pali literature. But in these books, this language is not mentioned as Pali. Moreover, no name is found for this language in the books cited above. Even, the very word `Pali' is not found in these books. The word `Pali' is found in the commentary books that were written in the fifth century A.D. and other books that were written between the fifth century A.D. and 13th century A.D. In these books, however, the word `Pali' is used to denote the Tripitaka Texts and here `Pali' does not denote the name of any language. Besides, scholars are not unanimious as to the meaning and origin of the word `Pali'. So, when and how the language of Theravada Buddhist literature became known as `Pali' and the debate as to the origin and meaning of the word `Pali' - has been discussed with the help of books of Pali literature, in this article. The article also tries to find a solution to this conundrum.
Dhaka University Journal of Linguistics Vol.1(1) 2008