Edited and Translated by Ānandajoti Bhikkhu
The variant readings between the texts are numerous, but, for the most part, trivial. I have attempted to give in the notes a summary of the difference and where such was necessary an alternative translation. This at least gives the student some idea of the significance of the alternatives.
In choosing the readings I have been guided by the grammar, the meaning, the metre and internal consistency, as these are the best guides, even though they are not infallible. It is always possible that a sentence which we believe to be ungrammatical is correct on the basis of the principle of lectio difficilior. But that also is by no means an infallible guide, and in the end an editor has to make his choice.
The text itself can be analysed in different ways: there is the story of the present, which acts as the reason for the Buddha telling the story of the past, which is the main part, and then there is the conclusion, in which the two sections are related to each other.
Another way would be to divide it into the verses, the word analysis, and the prose story sections. If we take the latter it seems to me we are dealing with two distinct strata, the verses being the oldest, and their analysis and the prose story being the younger. The reason for this is that the verses were never translated from the Pāḷi in the first place but were preserved in the original language.
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