Home  |  DPPN Index  |  Library Index


Preface:

One of my abiding memories of the days in the Nineties, when work under and with Rhys Davids became an essential part of my married life, was the foreground-presence of three interleaved volumes. These were Robert H. Childers's Pali Dictionary (a copy bequeathed by him to my husband) and the Pali Text Society's Journal for 1888, almost monopolized by an Index of Pali Names by the Swiss scholar Edward Müller-Hess. Daily those interleaved pages were becoming ever more filled, to say nothing of marginal additions, so keenly did Rhys Davids record as soon as it appeared the New—or shall I say, the Newly-rearisen from the Once-had-been. Even then the question of loyal collaborators in the new Dictionary and that of raising funds to print it were exercising energy and patience. The Names Dictionary, as less yet otherwise important, he consigned to a list of desirable publications worthy to be included in the programme of the Indian Texts Series, a subvention which he had persuaded Lord Curzon, at a Calcutta interview, to make. In that list, to give prior place to the works of other men, he gave it a place so low down that its publication could not come within his lifetime. Others would garner and arrange what he had reaped. I did not find the assigning of this an easy task. For a scholar in the best sense the work was not creative enough. For the analytical scholar its range was too scattered in space and time. And the scholar is a hopeful animal who will accept work he has neither time nor serious intention to take up without delay. Meanwhile I had to nurse impatience and wait. Then a keen and gifted student, once my pupil, consented to fill the breach. With Dr. Malalasekera, to undertake is to will to begin work there and then. And now, working as men-of-will work, in the leisure intervals of an educational appointment, with yet another large task on his shoulders—the Mahāvamsa-Ţīkā, published in 1935—unbaffled by a temporary breakdown through over-work, he has come as editor of the Names Dictionary to see land ahead. He has naturally not rested content with the materials collected by Rhys Davids. That collecting came to an end with the end of an earth life in 1922. Since that date the Pali Text Society has published 28 volumes of first editions of texts, and some 14 annotated translations. And this is to say nothing of other contributions made elsewise, referring to names associated with Buddhist history. Nor is there yet an end to nil that. For yet a few years the collecting of addenda will be necessary. None the less the hour for the book's appearance is come, and I am happy to have been yet here to say so.

Then President of Pāli Text Society: Mrs. C. A. F. Rhys Davids 1937.


 Home To Index