The Buddha belonged to that genre of the enlightened who were not content with what they had achieved for themselves but also strove to help the humanity to get deliverance. Out of compassion towards the sorrowing millions the Buddha showed them Dhammapada, a sure way of liberation from sorrow. The core of this Dhamma may be agreeable to all major religions of the world which might vary in their ritual practices. These religious practices may change from time to time, but the principles of Dhamma defy time and clime. Buddha-Dhamma is universal transcending all barriers, territorial, political, cultural etc. In fact the teachings of the Buddha are more relevant in the contemporary scenario of moral degradation, religious terrorism, chaotic politics, mutual distrust, skyrocketing consumerism, growing arrogance and engulfing ignorance, than ever.
Just as Buddhism became one of the great religious and spiritual movements of the world, a great part of the Buddhist literature in Pali and Sanskrit languages was also universalized. Ever since then, Buddhist literature has inspired the minds of thinkers and the hearts of poets' world-over. The post-modern civilization has once again challenged the peaceful co-existence of nations and the whole of the cultural biome. Through wide impact of Buddhism, the nations of the world can be led out of the impasse in which modern man is miserably enmeshed today. Here different aspects of Buddhism require a fresh investigation with fresh points of view.
The Buddhist literature, particularly the canonical literature, containing the collection of the words of the Buddha, was collected verbally by his monk disciples in different regional dialects of north and central India. However a considerable part of these collections is lost in original Indian languages and is available only in Chinese and Tibetan Translations. However, Theravada tradition is the only tradition which has preserved the largest collection of Buddha teachings in original in a language which is called Pali. The Buddhist literature preserved in Pali is undoubtedly most authentic and earliest source for the knowledge of earliest form of Buddhism. For centuries after the Mahaparinibbana of the Buddha, the Pali Tipitika was traditionally handed down orally and was compiled in the form of the books for the first time in Ceylon in 29 B.C. Latter on it was again compiled with revision and re-edition at Mandlay, upper Myanmar in 1871 and finally upto date edition of the Pali Tipitika was printed by the sixth great council held in Rangoon in 1954. In the Theravada countries like Ceylon, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia, the Pali Tipitika was printed in the native scripts of the countries. However, complete Pali Tripitaka was not available in any script of India, the land of origin of Buddhism and Pali Tipitaka.
In the 19th Century the lost Buddhist tradition especially the Pali-Tradition of the Theravada Buddhism was revived. Subsequently separate departments and institutions for the study of Pali were established. Nava Nalanda Mahavihara was one of them. The principal aim and objective of establishing the Nava Nalanda Mahavihara was to publish entire Pali Tipitika Text in Deva Nagari Script. To materialize this objective the Government of India and State Government of Bihar jointly sanctioned a project of editing and publishing the entire Pali-Tipitika in 41 Volumes in Deva-Nagari Script. The Mahavihara, under the able guidance of Late Bhikkhu Jagdish Kashyap, published for the first time the entire Pali-Tipitika Text in Deva-Nagari Script in 1955-56 on the occasion of 2500th year of Buddha Jayanti in 41 Volumes. This publication of Pali Tipitika presented a coordinated edition of Texts based on the printed books in Roman, Sinhali, Burmese and Siyamese scripts. This publication gave a golden opportunity to the people, especially the people of Hindi speaking areas, to know more about the Buddha and his Dhamma, which was lost in India several centuries ago. It also became very popular and highly useful among the students and scholars of all over the world and was highly appreciated for the quality of the editing. Due to its popularity and high demand it went out of the market quickly. Its second edition or reprint became the need of the day.
In 1994, the Mahavihara was taken over, by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India to make this institute an International Center for the study in the field of Pali & Buddhist Studies. The Ministry of Culture, Government of India took various major steps to enrich the publication project in the Mahavihara. Besides, starting the project of the compiling an authentic Pali-Hindi Dictionary, several volumes of Deva-Nagari Pali Tipitaka were also reprinted. However, dream project of reprinting entire Deva-Nagari Pali Tipitaka could not materialize.
I am happy to present the second edition (reprint) of 41 volumes of Deva Nagari Tripitaka before the world of scholars as well as the common readers, interested in the words of the Buddha and hope that it will be helpful to all of those who are desirous to taste the Dhamma-rasa of the Buddha.
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