E - JournalBuddhaghosa - a Great Commentator of Buddhism

Buddhism is recognized by many people as a philosophy, not as a religion. The 45 years of teachings of the Buddha Sākyamuni Gotama are recorded in the Pāli Canons, known as the Tipitaka ( Sutta, Vinaya and Abhidhamma), comprising 84,000 subjects of teachings. The historical Buddha was not a divine person who received divine power; he was an enlightened human being who discovered the universal or absolute truth (Paramattha sacca). His teachings consist of deep and enlightened words. Due to that reason, after the death of the Buddha, his leading disciples deemed its necessary to comment on the original teachings of the Master. It is noteworthy that, according to Sri Lankan chronicle evidence, some original sacred texts of Buddhism together with all available commentaries were brought to Sri Lanka by the Arhant Mahinda, son of Emperor Asoka, when he introduced Buddhism in ancient Tambapanni (modern Sri Lanka) in the 3rd century BCE. It is known that commentaries on the original teachings of the Buddha existed in Sri Lanka in the Sīhala (Sinhala) language. Since these commentaries were not easily accessible, the Mahāthera Rewata of India, requested Buddhaghosa, a great son of Buddhism, to go to Sri Lanka. Complying with this request, Buddhaghosa went to Sri Lanka in the 5th century C.E. and translated all ancient commentaries fromSīhalabhāsā into Māgadhī Bhāsā. (i.e. Pāli). In addition, at the request of leading monks of the ancient Mahāvihāra of Anuradhapura, he composed commentaries on the Tipitaka which are recognized as most valuable and authentic commentaries on Buddhist teachings. In many Buddhist countries Buddhaghosa is highly respected and venerated as a great commentator of Buddhism, and some believe him to be a Bodhisattva. His composition of the Visuddhimagga is highly recognized as a guide book or comprehensive introduction to the enlightened teachings of the Buddha. This master piece was translated for the first time into a western language (German) by Gñānatiloka in 1927 in Ceylon (Sri Lanka).

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