Aggregate is impermanent formula: singular or plural?

Here is the relevant Pali stock passage (here from AN 10.60):

‘rūpaṃ aniccaṃ, vedanā aniccā, saññā aniccā, saṅkhārā aniccā, viññāṇaṃ anicca’nti.’

Here is Ven Bodhi’s translation:

‘Form is impermanent, feeling is impermanent, perception is impermanent, volitional activities are impermanent, consciousness is impermanent.’

My question: does the translation match the Pali wrt being singular and plural? I find it strange that the only plural in the translation is for volitional activities and the rest of the aggregates are singular. Is this also the case in the Pali?


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Yes, as far as I can see everything is in the singular except 'saṅkhārā’
rūpa and viññāṇa are neuter, nominative, singular hence the sing 'ṃ’
and vedanā and saññā are feminine, nominative, singular, with a final ā
and saṅkhāra is masculine - nom. sing. should be just that, but the final ‘ā’ indicates a


rūpa is neuter and in nominative singular form is rūpaṃ
vedanā is feminine and in nominative singular form is vedanā
saññā is feminine and in nominative singular form is saññā
sankhāra is masculine and in nominative plural form is sankhārā
viññāṇa is neuter and in nominative singular form is viññāṇaṃ


oops a few minutes behind gabriel - well, it is now double checked :grin:



Does anyone have any idea why this is the case? Speculation welcome. :slight_smile:

All begins with the mind, etc. Singular is correct for most, as … categories? But volitional activities are complicated, mixed to mixed, so plural?

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Interesting observation, also in the paticcasumppada we have saṅkhārā

Thought as in the noun- is it always plural…?

Yes, I think the sankharas aggregate includes a wide range of functions and mental activities, so it’s a catch-all of assorted categories.