[INDOLOGY] Visuddhimagga

Dominik Wujastyk wujastyk at gmail.com
Sun Nov 9 20:44:20 UTC 2014

The Visuddhimagga was edited and then published twice in Roman script in
the first half of the 20th century.  By Caroline A. F. Rhys Davids for the
PTS, published 1920 & 1921, and by Henry Clarke Warren for HOS,
posthumously published in 1950.  Neither edition refers to the other.

Did Warren not know about Caroline Rhys Davids' work?  Warren met him in
Oxford in 1884, as Lanman's *Memorial* notes, and was greatly influenced by
him.  Warren's work was done long  before that of Caroline Rhys Davids,
since Warren died in 1899.  But why wouldn't Dharmananda Kosambi have
mentioned Caroline RD's edition in his 1927 preface to Warren's?  It's
understandable that Warren's brother Edward wouldn't have known about
Caroline RD's edition, when he wrote his pathetic Foreword in 1927, since
he was not an indologist.  Why did Warren's edition take 23 years to be
printed, even after Kosambi had finished his editing of the MS?  1950 looks
like five years after the war, which is understandable.  But that doesn't
explain the twelve years of inaction before the war (and after the
editing).  Since Warren had paid for the HOS to exist, one would have
thought some priority might have been given to publishing his work.

And why didn't Caroline RD mention Warren's work?  Warren had used one of
her husband's manuscripts of the VM, so there would surely have been some
awareness of Warren's work.  And Thomas Rhys Davids was alive until the end
of 1922, and was aware of his wife's work on the VM, since she gave him
some pages for checking, some time before the end of 1920 (mentioned in her
foreword).  Caroline RD also knew that Warren had published an subject
analysis of the VM in the JPTS in 1892, but appears not to know his article
"Buddhaghosa's VM" of the same year, or his "Report of Progress" on his
work on the VM, published in 1894.   She mentions Warren in her afterword
on p. 767, but only as the author of Buddh. in Tr. (1896), which
incidentally contains a 50 passages  translated from the VM.

Has someone worked out all these matters?  I would have expected Ñanamoli
to say something about this in his translation, but he doesn't.  He just
says he's using both editions.  Perhaps there are book reviews from the
later 1920s or 1950s that explain matters, I haven't looked yet.

Has anyone systematically compared the two editions for variants?  Caroline
RD's edition is a reproduction of four earlier printed editions, two from
Rangoon, two from Ceylon; Warren worked from MSS, two Burmese and two from
Ceylon.  One of Warrens' MSS came from the India Office and one from T RD's
private collection, as mentioned, so it must have been known in England,
and to T RD, that he was working on this text.


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