I was supposed to join SSBU in Taunggyi in May, but due to sickness, I had to rush back to Barcelona. I spent this month at my place in Martorell, a town near Barcelona. I do not know yet when I will be able to join SSBU. Doctors want me to do more medical tests. At the moment I am working on a few things. One is a Spanish translation of an anthology of suttas, basically a Spanish version of Bhikkhhu Bodhi’s In the Buddha’s Words. This is going to be a direct translation from the Pali, not from Bodhi’s English translation. We have done it in collaboration Professor Abraham Vélez de Cea and I. Mr. Ricardo Guerrero has been woorking on translating Bodhi’s introduction into Spanish. This book is almost done. Then I am also working on a Spanish translation of the Mahāparinibbānasutta. We do not have a deal with the publisher yet, because they needed a complete draft. The sample in the proposal was not enough. But they have shown some interest, which is good. Then I have to finish the Catalan translation of the Pancatantra. It needs some more work. This is all translation work. It takes time.
Then I am working on the Mukhamattasāra. This is a grammatical work in Pali, written around the 13th century in Pagan. I “discovered” a manuscript of this work in Thaton and decided to transcribe it. In the course of time I have been able to collect five manuscripts. This work has never been edited. It is quoted very often in the Suttaniddesa and I decided to edit it myself and if the result is good, maybe I will publish it. It is quite long, about one thousand stanzas. The Mukhamattasāra has some interesting features, such as fancy metrical patterns, in the kāvya style, marking the end of several chapters. But overall is a boring summary of the Mukhamattadīpanī. I guess its value is mostly historical. I am not sure the author was a great grammarian. There was already a scheduled lecture on this work at Mahidol University, Bangkok, in April, but I had to cancel that due to health issues. The silverline is: this lecture, its draft, will become an article or the introduction to the edition, if I ever complete it.
My main work now should be the revision and edition of my thesis. But that takes time. I have been able to collect more manuscripts of the Suttaniddesa. I already started the collation of one of them. It is definitely necessary to collate more. The Suttaniddesa is after all an interesting scholastic text. I have chosen the Samāsaniddesa because the grammar and syntax of compounds involves a great deal of philosophical speculation and it requires the solution of fundamental scholastic problems such as the relationship between the part and the whole (a compound is a whole made of parts), the concept of sāmarthya “power [of expression]” which is also a pillar in the Indian tradition of linguistic philosophy. Since my thesis tried to show that grammar, in Pali, contains high calibre philosophical speculations, I thought the Samāsa would be a good chapter, rather than going through the Kāraka again. The groundwork for this book is available in the Library of this website, that is, chapters II and III of my thesis. But this thesis needs to be revised and corrected in many ways. That is why I recommend not to use the thesis and wait until the book is published. The thesis may be otherwise helpful for names and dates and getting a general idea of the problems. Chapter I is already published (with some improvements) at the Journal of Burma Studies.
That’s all. One project I have in mind when I will be healthy again is to work on the poet Raṭṭhasāra, especially one of his poems that describes a pilgrimage to a footprint of the Buddha in Burma.
I am a bit tired of writing specialised articles and I would like to develop my thoughts on Pali grammar and oral culture. I am taking notes. I do not see a book coming any time soon.
I usually work at the balcony of my our flat. The weather is cool, but not cold: temperate. Without rain, May is a very hot month here, but fortunately we had a lot of rain. This is also the month of bird migrations. They come from Africa and go north. I see them sometimes stopping at the Llobregat river (it’s the river that ends near the Barcelona El Prat Airport, so if you land in Barcelona, you’ll probably see the fertile land watered by this river, surrounded by factories, roads, the airport, and so on). After living three years in Asia, life here is quite soothing. There is a thin line between soothing and numbing. One has to be careful. But overall, I like to sit in the balcony and do nothing. Just look at the clouds or the people going to places. Even the movement of the cars seems orderly and gentle. Somehow I have managed to remain unaffected by the political turmoil.