Listening to the Theragatha

Interplay of Rhythmic Uniformity and Change in Pali Verses

Authors

  • Kam Wai Erich Tam Mahidol University

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/bsrv.20059

Keywords:

Theragāthā, pali, metre, literary analysis, Buddhist verses

Abstract

In the study of Pali metres, abundant research has been conducted on the establishment of rules and taxonomy, and scanning of unscanned verses. In comparison, the stylistic aspects of metres have been somewhat neglected. When the audiences listen to verses with their ears only set for metrical rules but not also the interplay of various rhythmic patterns, they fail to fully capture the aesthetic beauty and the very philosophical messages embedded in them. Taking the verses in the Dasanipata of the Theragatha as examples, this article focuses on the stylistic interplay of rhythmic uniformity and change in the expression of core messages in a Pali poem. It aims to unveil the poets’ strategies in the use of various types of metres and prosodic elements (opening, trimetre break, caesura and cadence) to create the narrative style of each poem and draw the audiences’ attention to the Buddha’s key teachings in the verses.

References

Primary Sources

The references to the Pali texts are to the Pali Text Society (PTS) editions unless otherwise specified. The following references to Pali and Sanskrit texts are also consulted:

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Published

2022-09-06

How to Cite

Tam, K. W. E. (2022). Listening to the Theragatha: Interplay of Rhythmic Uniformity and Change in Pali Verses. Buddhist Studies Review, 39(1), 113–140. https://doi.org/10.1558/bsrv.20059

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