V. F. Gunaratna
world of English Buddhist literature has been enriched by the
publication of this book entitled 'The Book of Protection'. This
is a translation by the Ven. Piyadassi Maha Thera of what is well
known to every Sinhala Buddhist home as the 'Pirit Potha' which
means the book of protection. It contains a collection of suttas
or discourses taken from the teaching of the Buddha and are meant
to be recited in temples and homes for the purpose of obtaining
protection from all harm. This is achieved by recalling with saddha
or confidence the virtues of the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha referred
to in these discourses. There are many who listen to the recitation
of these discourses but who hardly understand the import of these
discourses and therefore any benefit they may gain must be necessarily
slight. This translation, therefore, supplies a long-felt need
as it will help such persons to listen with understanding when
pirith is being recited. The venerable translator is therefore
to be congratulated as being the first to translate a book of
translate a book is not so easy as to write a book. The work of
translation calls for precision and concentrated thought. A translation
that keeps too close to the original is apt to suffer from a failure
to convey the spirit underlying the original text.
the same time a translation that is too free runs the risk of
expressing more than the author of the original composition had
intended and thereby misrepresents him. The venerable translator
has certainly done well by steering clear between these two extremes
and therefore deserves special praise.
more, he has by the manner of his translation made it evident
that he has been at pains to facilitate the purpose for which
pirith is recited. By means of explanations in parenthesis
and helpful foot notes he has striven to elucidate the meaning
of words and phrases where their full significance appears to
be obscure. If a further clarification is needed the reader is
invited to refer to Ven. Piyadassi Maha Thera's book 'The Buddha's
Ancient Path' (1) which deals with quite
a number of points concerning the Buddha-dhamma.
can be no doubt that this translation of the 'Pirith Potha'
by one such as the Ven. Piyadassi Maha Thera - a reputed author
of several Buddhist books and a preacher whose sermons have gained
great acceptance both in the East and the West - will be hailed
with delight by those who desire to obtain a full understanding
of the pirith that is recited in temples and homes - sometimes
with marvelous effect.
The Buddhist Publication Society, PO Box 61, Kandy, Sri Lanka.
Anurodha virodhehi-vippamutto Tathagato'
and compassion does the Enlightened feel
Towards another when he instructs him
The Tathagata is fully released
From attachment and resentment.
Samyutta Nikaya i. p. iii.