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An introduction, besides summarizing content, chronology, and authorship, attempts to solve the vexed question of the origin of the term sutra. The matter is so redolent of popular etymology that it would seem preferable to reverse the ostensible sequence of events and see in sutra a back-formation from MIA sutta based on the etymology alleged in Pali: sutta could then be identified, more attractively, as based on sukta. The relation between sukta and sutra in late Vedic would presuppose that existing in Pali between sutta in the sense of Suttapitaka gatha and sutta in the sense of Suttavibhanga vinaya. Before the advent of a spurious etymology, sutta and suttanta, comparable with veda and vedanta in formation and with sukta and sutra in sense, would have been morе clearly distinguishable.
It is clear that one of Ray's major weaknesses is his handling of the Pali tradition. His sympathies are perhaps shown by his practice of Sanskritizing the names of Pali texts. He seems unaware that for example sutta in Pali is probably from sukta and its Sanskritization to sutra is unhistorical, while bodhisatta in early sources is probably not equivalent to bodhisattva, but to bodhisakta 'one seeking awakening '. The latter is particularly important because it leads him, as part of an unconvincing attempt to trace the origins of the Mahayana back to the time of the Buddha, to misinterpret the earliest passages in which the Buddha refers to himself by this name. It is of course simply wrong to render the Pali paccekabodhisatta as pratyekabodhisattva, since the Pali users who utilize this expression certainly derived satta from the root SAJ. Indeed even the etymology of paccekabuddha itself has a number of problems. (BSOAS, Vol. 59, No. 1. (1996), pp. 172-173)
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