Pali Literary Texts as Alaṅkāra Treatises for Thai Poets: A Case Study of the Vessantara Jātaka

Authors

  • Assanee Poolrak Ph.D. Candidate in Thai (Thai Literature), Department of Thai, Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University
  • Klairung Amratisha Lecturer, Department of Thai, Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University
  • Maneepin Phromsutthirak Associate Professor, The Royal Society, Thailand

Keywords:

alaṅkāra, Indian Poetics, Thai Classical Literature, Vessantara Jātaka

Abstract

Scholars of Thai literature agree that a number of ‘alaṅkāras,’ or literary embellishing techniques used in Thai literary classics, are of Indian origin and that Thai poets acquired the knowledge of alaṅkāra from both Indian poetic treatises and Pali and Sanskrit literature. This view, however, has not been thoroughly studied. This article aims to study an important Pali text, the Vessantara Jātaka, and its influence on the creation of alaṅkāra in Thai classical literature by using three texts of the Ayutthaya and early Rattanakosin periods as case studies. It was found that in Mahachat Khamluang, the oldest Thai translation of the Vessantara Jātaka, Thai translators attempted to transmit the use of alaṅkāras such as upamā and repetition from the Pali Vessantara Jātaka into Thai. Moreover, some passages containing figures of speech and formulaic expressions in the Vessantara Jātaka are found translated and adapted in two other original Thai texts, namely Samutthakhot Khamchan and Sapphasit Khamchan. Thus, it can be concluded that, besides being the most influential Buddhist literature in Thai society, the Vessantara Jātaka also played an essential role as a literary treatise for Thai poets of the classical period.

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Published

2020-12-24

How to Cite

Poolrak, A., Amratisha, K., & Phromsutthirak, M. (2020). Pali Literary Texts as Alaṅkāra Treatises for Thai Poets: A Case Study of the Vessantara Jātaka. Journal of the Faculty of Arts, Silpakorn University, 42(2), 220–252. Retrieved from https://so04.tci-thaijo.org/index.php/jasu/article/view/247994