Pali Language Classes at Oxford

A Burmese epic tale written in Pali. Manuscript dated 1803AD

Pali is a Middle Indo-Aryan language of India. It is best known as the language of the earliest extant Buddhist canon, the Pāḷi Canon (Pāḷi: Tipitaka), and as the liturgical language of Theravada Buddhism.

Today Pāli is studied mainly to gain access to Buddhist scriptures, and is frequently chanted in a ritual context. The secular literature of Pāli historical chronicles, medical texts, and inscriptions, is also of great historical importance. The great centers of Pāli learning remain in the Theravada nations of South-East Asia: Myanmar (Burma), Sri Lanka, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia.