Pali is a middle Prakrit language. It is most famous as the language in which the scriptures of Theravada Buddhism were written down. Pali has been written in a variety of scripts, from devanagari to Lao and other Indic scripts, through to Romanised (western) form.

It is uncertain whether Pali was ever a spoken language. A significant number of scholars maintain that it was a purely literary language devised from a number of Indic dialects, Magadhan being mentioned as one of the most likely ancestors.

Today Pali is studied mainly to gain access to Buddhist scriptures, and is thus frequently chanted. The Pali Text Society, based in the United Kingdom, has since its founding in 1881 been a major force in promoting the study of Pali. The society publishes these scriptures both in Romanised Pali and in English translation.

Dhammapada verses :

  • Manopubbangam‚ dhamm‚, manosetth‚ manomay‚ ;
  • Manas‚ ce padutthena, bh‚sati v‚ karoti v‚ ;
  • Tato nam dukkhamanveti, cakkam'va vahato padam.

  • Mind is the forerunner of all states, mind is chief, mind-made are they;
  • If one speaks or acts with wicked mind, suffering follows one,
  • As the cart-wheel pursues the hoof of the draught ox.

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