Jewels of the Doctrine

Stories of the Saddharma Ratnāvaliya

By Dharmasēna
Translated by Ranjini Obeyesekere

Subjects: Buddhism
Series: SUNY series in Buddhist Studies
Paperback : 9780791404904, 259 pages, January 1991
Hardcover : 9780791404898, 259 pages, January 1991

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Table of contents



The Saddharma Ratnavaliya


The Monk Cakkhupala
The Senior Monk Nagasena
The Monk Tissa the Fat
The Demoness Kali
The Monks of Kosamba
The Monk Mahakala
Wearing the Ochre Robe
The Chief Disciples
The Senior Monk Nanda
The Pig-Killer Cunda
The Lay Devotee, Dhammika
The Two Monks Who Were Friends


Appendix 1





This is a translation of the first fifteen stories of the thirteenth century Sinhala work, the Saddharma Ratnāvaliya written by the monk Dharmasēna. The Saddharma Ratnāvaliya is in turn an expanded version of the fifth century Pali work, the Dhammapadattakata.

The stories are lively and entertaining, of interest to the general reader and the specialist. A skilled teacher, and raconteur, the author probes the depths of Buddhist philosophical doctrine and makes it meaningful for his lay audiences. Generations of Sri Lankans have read, heard and enjoyed the stories. They deal with the vicissitudes of the human condition and so, like all good literature have a timeless relevance and appeal.

Ranjini Obeyesekere teaches at Princeton University.


"It is a fascinating and rich repository of Buddhist culture from which I have learned much—the tales are so beguiling, and the imagery so striking. " — Steven Collins, Concordia University

"I like best the success with which the translator has been able to capture both the content and the flavor of the original. The translator accomplishes this task admirably, moving comfortably and authoritatively between the two languages, epochs, and cultures. All this, while preserving the leisurely flow and rhythm of the original, too. It is an elegant, beautiful work that also conforms to rigorous scholarly standards. " — H. L. Seneviratne, University of Virginia