The Guide (Netti-ppakaraṇaṁ)
The book here translated—as it stands, it was perhaps composed more than two thousand years ago—sets forth a method intended for the guidance of those who already know intellectually the Buddha's teaching and want to explain his utterances. It is not a commentary but a guide for commentators: it deals with scaffolding, not with architecture. Its name, Nettippakarana, means 'guide-treatise', but the translation has been called, more simply, the
There are two recognized aspects of language, which are complementary, that is to say the Normative and the Contextual.
Of the normative theory of language the familiar characteristic product is Grammar, which fixes the forms of words in a given language and the rules for their formal association. Subordinating ideas to words, it tacitly assumes that the correct meanings of known words can, if not yet ascertained, inherently all be defined unequivocally in the Dictionary. There words (with their rules) figure as the keys to ideas regarded as named by them, and contexts
are thus relegated to a mere matter of style. But the Guide disposes of Grammar in one sub-heading (§186) and the Dictionary in one heading (Mode 11, 'Synonyms'). It cannot be called even a 'hermeneutic grammar'. Grammar seeks to govern all ideas through words.