Commentaries on the Pali Buddhist canon from ancient India and Ceylon. Pali commentaries had reached Ceylon by the 3rd century BC and been translated into Sinhalese by the 1st century AD. The scholar Buddhaghosa (5th century) reworked in Pali much of the early material plus Dravidian commentaries and Sinhalese traditions. The earlier atthakatha have disappeared, but the works of Buddhaghosa and his successors provide information on the development of life and thought in the Theravada Buddhist community and contain much secular and legendary material as well.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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