[ilds] ILDS Digest, Vol 86, Issue 24_Pali

Sumantra Nag sumantranag at gmail.com
Tue Jul 1 04:19:50 PDT 2014

I replied to Richard mentioning my scant knowledge about Pali, and then came
across the post from Bruce where he displays a good deal of knowledge about


-----Original Message-----
From: Sumantra Nag [mailto:sumantranag at gmail.com] 
Sent: Tuesday, July 01, 2014 4:15 PM
To: 'ilds at lists.uvic.ca'; 'Richard Pine'
Subject: RE: ILDS Digest, Vol 86, Issue 24


The word Pali is right, and that's the text I think is mentioned in the AQ
in the context of Mountolive's father. But it is a text which seems to have
been visibly  taught and followed in Burma during the early twentieth
century, as I learnt from my mother, a Bengali from India like my father.
The teaching of Pali in Burma corresponds with the association that Pali has
with Buddhist scriptures. 

My mother and her brother were brought up in Burma until WWII broke out when
the family returned to India. Their parents - my maternal grandparents -
were both Bengalis settled for some years in Burma in the field of

Quite honestly, I don't know to what extent Pali is studied in India. You
only have to look up the Internet for details of its history and presence in

Message: 2
Date: Mon, 30 Jun 2014 08:36:55 -0700
From: Bruce Redwine <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net>
To: Richard Pine <rpinecorfu at yahoo.com>, Durrell list
	<ilds at lists.uvic.ca>
Cc: Bruce Redwine <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net>
Subject: Re: [ilds] The Cretan Connection
Message-ID: <264567A0-0BB1-4338-82D7-B3C88D8EC4E8 at earthlink.net>
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Yes.  Mountolive's father is an expert in Pali texts.  He lives in a
monastery outside Madras (now Chennai in southeastern India).  All this in
the Dewford Mallows episode in Mountolive.  Why Pali?  Pali is a Sanskrit
dialect, which some scholars believe was the original language of Siddhartha
Gautama, the Buddha.  It is also the dialect of the Thervada school of
Buddhism, the oldest, which emphasizes liberation through meditation and
monastic discipline.  Also, as you rightly point out, "we all had a distant
father, didn't we?"  Well, I certainly did, and there's a whole lot of
literature on the subject.  More importantly is the relevance to LGD.
Recall that Siddhartha might be the original absent father, for the legend
is that around the age of 28 he leaves his wife and son and begins the
search of enlightenment.  Which he finds.  Isn't this Durrell's own path
(forget his dubious success) or at least the one he mythologizes?  Too much
analysis?  I don't think so.  Durrell!
  doesn't drop casual allusion.


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