The Pali text written in the Burmese Kammavaca Palm leaf Prayer Manuscipts and Paysar in Burma owes its origins to the Pali text of India. Burma has been the home of Buddhism for many centuries and no Buddhist country has kept this faith more sheltered from change than Burma.
The Pali language is closely related to Sanskrit. The Tripitaka (Pali, Tipitaka), the Buddhist name for the three great groups of canonical texts.
- Vinaya – The Vinaya, as known in Burma, is the monastic code handed down by the Theravadin sect in Ceylon, that is the sect professing the doctrine Theravadin sect in Ceylon.
- Sutta, and Abhidhamma – known as the Abhidhammatthasangaha, also of Sinhalese origin.
- Pitahas “baskets” is known in Burma as the Pali recension consecrated in Ceylon.
The production of special and sometimes ornate manuscripts devoted to the Burmese Kammavaca Palm Leaf Prayer Manuscripts with Buddhist Pali texts is more largely a Burmese tradition, although there are some special kammavaca texts that are also used by the Tai Khun and the Mon.
The text within the Kammavaca manuscripts are the formal monastic acts or ceremonies prescribed in the Vinaya. The manuscripts have been produced in many forms and sizes such as Ivory, palm leaf, metal and stiffened cloth.
The traditional Burmese and Mon manuscripts present the text in lacquered black “tamarind seed” lettering on an ornate gilt red and gold (or silver) background, on both sides of the leaves. The Tai Khun use black ink lettering on white paper accordion books, the covers of which have stenciled designs, often in silver and red lacquer.
Usually these Burmese Kammavaca” and Palm leaf manuscripts (Paysar) are held together with bamboo sticks holding the pages together and a narrow woven ribbon called sasigyo or sarsekyo (silk, cotton, or felt) wound around the outside of a manuscript.
The weaving in the sasigyo includes either text or patterns, or both. Informative articles on the Burmese Burmese Kammavaca and Palm Leaf Prayer Manuscripts