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Subcommentaries, Theravada

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Theravada Buddhism

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The subcommentaries (tika, ṭīkā) are commentaries on the commentaries on the Pali Canon of Theravada Buddhism. They continue the commentaries' development of the traditional interpretation of the scriptures. The official Burmese collected edition contains the following texts:[1]

  • Paramatthamanjusa, tika by Dhammapala on Buddhaghosa's Visuddhimagga; scholars have not yet settled which Dhammapala this is
  • Three tikas on the Samantapasadika, commentary on the Vinaya Pitaka:
    • Tika by Vajirabuddhi
    • Saratthadipani by Sariputta (12th century)
    • Vimativinodani by Kassapa (13th century)
  • Two tikas on the Kankhavitarani, commentary on the Patimokkha
  • Tikas by Dhammapala on Buddhaghosa's Sumangalavilasini, Papancasudani and Saratthapakasini, commentaries on the Digha, Majjhima and Samyutta Nikayas; it is generally considered by scholars that this is a different Dhammapala from the one who wrote commentaries
  • Visuddha(jana)vilasini by Nanabhivamsa, head of the Burmese sangha, about 1800; a new partial tika on the Sumangalavilasini, covering only the first volume of the Digha
  • Saratthamanjusa by Sariputta on Buddhaghosa's Manorathapurani on the Anguttara Nikaya
  • Nettitika on Dhammapala's commentary on the Netti
  • Nettivibhavini by a 16th century Burmese author whose name is given in different manuscripts as Saddhamma-, Samanta- or Sambandha-pala; this is not a new tika on the Netti commentary, but a new commentary on the Netti itself
  • Mulatika by Ananda on the commentaries on the Abhidhamma Pitaka
  • Anutika on the Mulatika

There are other tikas without this official recognition, some printed, some surviving in manuscript, some apparently lost. The name tika is also applied to commentaries on all non-canonical works, such as the Mahavamsa. There are also some subcommentaries in vernacular languages. Extracts from some of these works have been translated, usually along with translations of commentaries.


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