Publication Two-Part Bauddha Gita Hodiya | Sunday Observer

Publication Two-Part Bauddha Gita Hodiya

Widely reputed scholar, creative writer of exceptional prowess, Prof. J.B. Disanayaka, has a way of surprising academic circles, learned groups and other assemblies, by some of his literary products and pronouncements.

Prof. J.B. Disanayake has recently travelled (of all places) to the Alphabet. In terms of my personal definition his initials – JB – represent Jana Basa (folk usages). And in his latest work he has begun logically at the Alphabet.

But, if you expected that JB’s Alphabet is yet another routine publication in that category of product you will be in for an overwhelming surprise. The title he has selected for his two-part work is Bauddha Gita Hodiya (The recitable Buddhist stanza Alphabet).

J.B. has elevated the presentation of the Alphabet into a new dimension. In his introductory words he says, the ‘Gathas’ (stanzas) made use of at Buddhist rites and rituals are recited without any musical accompaniment. He quotes Pali Gathas recited by the Buddhist devotees when they perform religious rituals. These are recited in terms preferred by those who worship.

J.B. states that his texts are very much like the Buddhist stanzas.

To illustrate a given ‘character’ in the Alphabet, B introduces a recitable text. We could, for instance, study the text provided by author J.B., for the first character ‘A’.... Here, he introduces both parents under the first character – Amma and Appachchi. What is remarkable about this Alphabet, is that in all texts, religious lore, moral teachings or references to special topics are recorded and that too to make young ones remember the recital. As far as I can see Prof. JB’s “Buddhist Recitable Alphabet”, is exclusively for young ones. The adults can make use of the text, to take the children’s knowledge further afield by interpretation. That way, this is a recitable Alphabet, that can bring all the members of a family together. Most items included possess a spiritual depth. The teachers could utilize this as a hand-book, to assist the students to explore the content of the text. I am impressed by JB’s inclusion of even the sign ‘m’...., used to represent “f” and “ph” sounds. On page 39 of the first part of the Book “m”... is used to introduce the Chinese pilgrim monk Fa-Hsien.

The series of illustrations that is contributed to enhance the appeal of the text has an aesthetic that allures the young readers. The remarkable illustrative content of this book has been created by Nirupama Mahagamasekera. After my close scrutiny of JB’s two-part Bauddha Gita Hodiya, I have a view-point to pass on. All homes should be equipped with this two-part juvenile discourse. When that happens, adults can get the children together and proceed to explain the content of some of the textual matter.

Strangely enough, this is a minor juvenile handbook that the adults in a household could dip into occasionally to enrich the experience of the children in the home.

Nirupama Mahagamasekera’s contribution of Juvenile Art to this work deserves a special reference. JB has been able to elevate the quality of his 2 part publication through the work of Nirupama, who has elevated the holy and sacred content by Nirupama’s sustained work, that has given to this two part publication the element of a sacred recitable ‘sutra’ enriched with subdued art. JB’s work should acquire a special place in the homes where the work could be recited with the young ones in the family. All the elements that attract young ones in a household are present in this Bauddha Gita Hodiya. Over and above all that, even the very young ones may get attracted to the idea of performing their religious rituals, using the rhythmic text JB has utilized to support the whimsical illustrations. I hope, JB will continue to turn to some popular Buddhist rituals, proceeding beyond the ‘Bauddha Gita Alphabet.

Such a breakthrough is quite likely to bring some millennials, into a unique kind of Buddhist young. Meantime, take home JB’s two – part Buddhist Gita Hodiya, to alert the ‘young smart phone users into this two-part Bauddha Gita Hodiya.