1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Sāsana Vaṃsa

SĀSANA VAṂSA, a history of the Buddhist order in Burma, which was composed, in that country, by Paññā-sāmi in 1851. It is written in Pali prose; and is based on earlier documents, in Pali or Burmese, still extant, but not yet edited. The earlier part of the work deals with the history of Buddhism outside of Burma. This is based on the Mahāvaṃsa, and other well-known Ceylon works; and has no independent value. The latter part of the work, about three-fifths of the whole, deals with Buddhism in Burma, and contains information not obtainable elsewhere. Down to the 11th century the account is meagre, legendary and incredible. After that date it is sober, intelligible and in all probability mostly accurate. This portion occupies about one hundred pages 8vo in the excellent edition of the text prepared for the Pali Text Society in 1897 by Dr Mabel Bode. It shows a continuous literary effort through the eight and a half centuries, and constantly renewed ecclesiastical controversy. The latter is concerned for the most part with minor questions relating to rules of the order, there being a tendency, as relaxations of the rules crept in with the lapse of time, to hark back to the original simplicity. Of differences in matters of doctrine there is no mention in this manual. Dr Bode has prefixed to her edition a detailed summary of the contents of the book.  (T. W. R. D.) 

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