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The ‘Path of Purification’, one of the most influential Pāli commentarial texts. This compendium of Buddhist doctrine and metaphysics was written by Buddhaghoṣa (5th century ce) at the request of Saṇghapāla Thera. It is the most important book written by this author, providing a systematic exposition of Buddhist teaching besides being a detailed manual for meditation. The structure of the work follows the three divisions of the Eightfold Path into morality (śīla), meditation (samādhi) and insight (prajñā). The commentary to the Visuddhimagga was compiled by Dhammapāla and is known as the Paramattamañjūsā or Mahā-Ṭikā. According to tradition, the two stanzas quoted at the beginning of the book were given to Buddhaghoṣa as a test by the monks of the Mahāvihāra when he asked permission to translate the Sinhalese commentaries into Pāli. The Visuddhimagga seems to have been inspired by the earlier Vimuttimagga of Upatissa.

Subjects: Buddhism.

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