SuttaCentral

Omaka, Lamaka, and Vilasa - different readings, different meanings

We have a little difficulty understanding a word in a Commentarial text. There are different readings in Burmese and Khmer versions, which seem to change the meaning of the text. I suppose that one of the readings is wrong and one is correct.

Question -

I am reading the Atthakatha of Mangala Sutta.
samaṇānaṃ dassanaṃ nāma upasamitakilesānaṃ bhāvitakāyavacīcittapaññānaṃ uttamadamathasamathasamannāgatānaṃ pabbajitānaṃ upasaṅkamanupaṭṭhānānussaraṇassavana-dassanaṃ, sabbampi omakadesanāya dassananti vuttaṃ, taṃ maṅgalanti veditabbaṃ.


I checked the omakadesanāya but the meaning is not suitable for the whole paragraph. Please help me with this case. What is the meaning of this word?

My answer so far -
This Commentary is translated word-by-word in the MoeThi version of Khuddakapatha Atthakatha Nissaya. You will find your text on page 327 of the book, 329 of the PDF file. It starts somewhere in the middle of the page. Let me transcribe it for you.

သမဏာနံ၊ ရဟန်းတို့ကို။
ဒဿနံနာမ၊ ဖူးမြင်ခြင်း မည်သည်ကား။
ဥပသမိတကိလေသာနံ၊ ငြိမ်းပြီးသောကိလေသာ ရှိကုန်သော။
ဘာဝိတကာယစိတ္တပညာနံ၊ ပွါးစေအပ်သော ကိုယ်စိတ်ပညာရှိကုန်သော။
ဥတ္တမဒမထသမထသမန္နာဂတာနံ၊ မြတ်သော ဣန္ဒြေကို ဆုံးမခြင်း ငြိမ်းသက်ခြင်းနှင့် ပြည့်စုံကုန်သော။
ပဗ္ဗဇိတာနံ၊ ရဟန်းတို့ကို။
ဥပသင်္ကမနုပဋ္ဌာနုဿရဏသဝနဒဿနံ၊ ချဉ်းကပ်ခြင်း၊ လုပ်ကျွေးမွေးခြင်း၊ အောက်မေ့ခြင်း၊ ကြားနာခြင်း ဖူးမြင်ခြင်းတည်း။
သဗ္ဗံပိ၊ အလုံးစုံကိုလည်း။
ဝိလာသိတဒေသနာယ၊ တန်ဆာဆင်၍ ဟောအပ်သောကြောင့်။
ဒဿနန္တိ၊ ဒဿနံဟူ၍။
ဝုတ္တံ၊ ဟောတော်မူအပ်၏။

As you can see, the author of MoeThi version didn’t see the word “omakadesanāya”, but rather “vilāsitadesanāya.” The word vilāsitadesanāya is translated here as “because of teaching Dhamma adorned by adornments.” Here I think this means that seeing monks is a blessing because their Dhamma-teaching (metaphorically) wears adornments; the teaching of these monks is beautiful at the beginning, middle, and end.

The text that you ask about also appears in Suttanipata Commentary, the third volume in the nissaya version, pp.359-360 (PDF pages are the same). Let’s see what does our Suttanipata Nissaya tell us -

သမဏာနဉ္စ၊ ရဟန်းတို့အားလည်း။
ဒဿနံနာမ၊ ဖူးမြင်ရခြင်းမည်သည်ကား။
ဥပသမိတကိလေသာနံ၊ ငြိမ်းပြီးသောကိလေသာရှိကုန်သော။
ဘာဝိတကာယသီလစိတ္တပညာနံ၊ ပွါးစေအပ်သော ကိုယ်သီလစိတ်ပညာရှိကုန်သော။
ဥတ္တမသမထ သမန္နာဂတာနံ၊ မြတ်သော သမထတရားနှင့်ပြည့်စုံကုန်သော။
ပဗ္ဗဇိတာနံ၊ ရဟန်းတို့အား။
ဥပသင်္ကမနုပဋ္ဌာနအနုဿရဏသဝနဒဿနံ၊ ချဉ်းကပ်ခြင်း၊ လုပ်ကျွေးခြင်း၊ အစဉ်မပြတ် အောက်မေ့ခြင်း၊ ဖူးမြင်ခြင်းဟု ဆိုအပ်သော။
သဗ္ဗမ္ပိ၊ အလုံးစုံကိုလည်း။
ဝိလာသိတဒေသနာယ၊ ဒေသနာတော်၏ တင့်တယ်သောအားဖြင့်။
ဒဿနန္တိ၊ ဒဿနဟူ၍။
ဝုတ္တံ၊ ဆိုအပ်၏။

So, as you can see, here we again do not see “omakadesanāya”, but rather “vilāsitadesanāya.” The Burmese translation is however slightly different from the Khuddakapatha version. Here it is translated as “as the Teachings is befitting.” I think here it is meant that seeing monks is a blessing because monks teach a befitting Dhamma.

I am now looking in the printed version of these Commentaries in Burmese script. I see that in the Khuddakapatha Commentary, p.126, there are different readings -
Burmese reading - omakadesanāya
Thai reading - lāmakadesanāya
Khmer (Cambodia) reading - vilāsitadesanāya

Let me see the printed version of Suttanipata Commentary, vol.2, p.32 in the Burmese script. The readings here are exactly the same as above -
Burmese reading - omakadesanāya
Thai reading - lāmakadesanāya
Khmer (Cambodia) reading - vilāsitadesanāya

So, now we only need to see, whether “omakadesanā” and “lāmakadesanā” appear somewhere else in the Pali text and try to understand why would they be used in this context.

There is a related word in Culaniddesa (MM p.208) and its explanation in the related Commentary (MM p.82).

Main text - Evamahaṃ appadasse pahāya, mahodadhiṃ haṃsoriva ajjhapattoti. Evanti opammasampaṭipādanaṃ. Appadasse pahāyāti yo ca bāvarī brāhmaṇo ye caññe tassa ācariyā buddhaṃ bhagavantaṃ upādāya appadassā parittadassā thokadassā omakadassā lāmakadassā chatukkadassā [jatukkadassā (syā.), jatukadassā (sī. aṭṭha.)] vā.

Commentary - Appadassāti mandadassino. Parittadassāti atimandadassino. Thokadassāti parittatopi atiparittadassino. Omakadassāti heṭṭhimadassino. Lāmakadassāti appadhānadassino. Chatukkadassāti na uttamadassino.

I have made bold lāmakadassā also because it is a potential reading variant in the text we now discuss. From this text, it seems to me that “omaka” and “lāmaka” here may mean “rare.” I am aware that this is a meaning that I have created now, but let me know if you have a better idea. With the meaning of “rare”, we can understand from the Burmese reading of the Commentarial portion in question that the Buddha says that “seeing monks is a blessing,” to show how all of the monks’ Teachings is rare.

Let me know what do you think. :sun_with_face:

3 Likes

Thanks for the article. I’m not quite sure how to assess it, as I’m not familiar enough with the context. But it is interesting to see such a major difference between traditions of the commentaries. As we know, in the Tipitaka it is rare to find differences other the mere spelling variations and the like; there are very few variants that significantly affect meaning. I wonder if that is still the case with the commentaries, or whether we might expect to find more cases like this?

2 Likes

Well, there are actually differences in meaning in the original Tipitaka, if we consider the readings.

The most striking one I can mention now is in Vinaya Pitaka. It is on the last page of Parajika Pali, and it is a difference between Burmese and Sinhalese reading. (Not sure about Thai.)

Pariṇate apariṇatasaññī attano pariṇāmeti, anāpatti.

As you can see, the Nissaggiya 30 in Burmese reading suggests, that if a donation is not meant for me but I think that it is meant for me and ask for it, it is no offense. However, Sinhalese reading is different -
Pariṇate apariṇatasaññī attano pariṇāmeti, āpatti dukkaṭassa.

So, in Sri Lanka, I would have a dukkata offense for the same thing.

I personally prefer the Burmese tradition, so I follow the Burmese reading. :sweat_smile:
You will never see this reading difference, neither in the Burmese book, nor Sinhalese book, nor Chattha Sangayana Software. I think the difference is too strong to be mentioned. (?)

I know about this problem because I memorized all Parajika Pali word by word and was enough lucky to have both Sinhalese and Burmese book with me. :sun_with_face: My background in Pali education is in Sri Lanka BPU, so when I memorized Parajika Pali in Burmese pronunciation I had serious difficulties. That’s why I checked both of the books, learning first in Sinhala pronunciation and then training in Burmese pronunciation. :grin: Who knows how many such differences are hiding in these books! Please, note, that Burmese monks don’t use CST software, they use their printed version. Sri Lanka monks and laypeople also rarely ever use CST, they love their printed hardcover. So, the differences, although not in CST, still linger in the books and might be worthy of searching and debating. :blush:

3 Likes

Interesting. The same phrase occurs in pacittiya 8, I wonder if the variation applies there, too?

And to confirm, our texts have no variant recorded at this point.

2 Likes

Can’t find this phrase in Pacittiya 8 - Bhūtārocana sikkhāpada. Please, make sure that the text is exactly the same. :sun_with_face: I searched attano pariṇāmeti in CST4 with word distance 1 and it finds this text only in Parajika Pali.

I don’t remember having seen such variation anywhere else, also considering the practical consequences of this difference. :sun_with_face:

Do you, ven. Sujato, also think that omaka in “omakadesanaya” in the context I am mentioning in the first post could be translated as “rare?” Otherwise how would you translate it? It seems that Thais, with their “lamaka” version seem to have understood the text with a similar meaning. But what meaning could it be? How could we translate omaka and/or lamaka to fit in the context?

:sun_with_face:

1 Like