Bhante Sujato Pali Course 2023: lesson 6

Thread for discussing chapter 6 of Warder for the class on September 5.

Meeting ID: 869 8997 6290
Passcode: 2023


Q1 Nibbeṭhehi sace pahosi
My answer: If you can, you must escape!
Can’t nibbeṭheti have the meaning of escape…?

Q2 Let not the honourable Govinda go forth.
My answer: Na bhavaṁ Govindo pabbajatu
John Kelly: Mā bhavaṁ Govindo pabbaji

John’s answer uses the ‘mā + aorist’ does this make it a stronger negation (like a prohibition) than just ‘na + imperative’?

And also is pabbaji in the 2nd or 3rd person here? I think it is 3rd person, if we were speaking to Govinda it would be in the vocative (Govinda instead of Govindo).


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The first sentence has strange syntax but would seem to mean ‘explain if you are able.’

Edit: I see this phrase does occur as part of a stock phrase in the Digha. The sense is to explain one’s self/ twist out of an argument.

The mā prohibitive takes the aorist tense, but does not give a sense of past.
The sentence probably is not directly addressed to Govinda.
(Do not allow Govinda (him, 3rd person singular aorist) to go forth, vs. Govinda, you may not go forth)

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At the begginig of the pali to english exercise we have:

yena Jotipālo manavo ten’upasaṃkama

In goldendict the only case I could find for upasaṃkama was as an aorist reflexive 1st person singular. Thus, I translated : “I approached Jotipala the young brahmin”

But John Kelly translated it as an imperative: “Approach the young Brahmin Jotipala.”

upasaṃkama is a 2nd person singular imperative? I can’t find this declension in the dictionary :disguised_face:

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Two more questions:

  1. āgacchati > I translated as “comes”. John Kelly translated as “is coming”.
    Does pali has a specific conjugation for gerund or is it always the same as the present tense and translation goes according to what is more appropriate?

  2. Anusāsatu bhavaṃ Jotipālo māṇavo

In PDD I found bhavaṃ as the accusative declension of good fortune/benefit and of existence/becoming, and after checking John Kelly’s answer I saw it can also be the nominate case for “venerable/honorable person”.

Can this phrase also be translated as: “May Jotipala the young brahmin teach good fortune” or “May Jotipala the young brahmin teach existence”? Or does the order of the words somehow hint that bhavaṃ here is a nominative noun that go together with Jotipala, as in “May venerable Jotipala the young brahmin advise”.?

If you spell it: upasakama instead of upasaṁkama you might have more luck.

I only know this because I had a similar problem:


I believe that with verbs that have a present stem that ends in -a. (The 1st class,) the stem alone can be used for the second person singular imperative.

Labha! Pavisa! etc. instead of the full labhāhi…

Edit: Looking at Warder I see this is explained on p. 34, where the imperative is introduced.

“The second person singular has usually no inflection [i.e. personal ending] but sometimes the inflection hi is added, in which case the stem vowel a is lengthened. “


It indeed means ‘venerable’ or ‘honorable’.
From ‘bhavant’.

The forms ‘bho’ and ‘bhoto’ are common.


Right, but isn’t it also good fortune/benefit, existence/becoming?

Perhaps with atthu (see footnote 4), but not in the sentence you asked about.

Note the difference in
‘Bhavam atthu bhavantam Jotipālam mānavam’.

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Thank you. Wow. It gets harder when the exact same word can have such wildly different meanings,


Indeed, it is not a sentence I would have chosen to teach elementary Pali.
Context means a lot.


On the pali to english part of the lesson, I don’t understand how to convey the meaning of the English word “let” in pali. Should we just use the imperative case? Or do we need to use the verb tiṭṭha?

Let the fortunate one sit down - the imperative “nisīdatu sugato” is enough to convey the wish that the Sugata may sit down but also to command someone to let the Sugata sit down? I’m not a native English speaker, so maybe this is more of a doubt about how the English language works. In my native tongue these two ideas or expressions would be completely different.

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Hmmm I have a similar question with “Te atthe anusāsati.”

I took it as another unconjugated imperative (“anusāsa”) + the end quote (“ti”) for “Teach me your instructions.” :thinking:

@johnk ’s Key has “He advised on those issues” But I don’t see how this works. First off, shouldn’t -ati be present tense? And second, where did the missing 'ti go to close the King’s speech? For what it’s worth, Warder himself gives this as present indicative, which at least makes some sense (though putting the 'ti in the ellipsis is a bit sloppy pedagogically…)

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It certainly looks like good old present indicative. Perhaps an example of what’s sometimes called the ‘historical present’, common in Pali. The present used to refer to events in the past.
(I don’t have the context to see why you think it would require the ‘ti. )

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It’s the first Pāḷi to English exercise in Warder…

If it’s a stand alone sentence, why do you think it might require an end quote?

Warder’s own translation is “Rebut (it) if you can.”

Warder gives “He advises those purposes (objectives).”
& I read anusāsati as 3rd pres singular; if it is iti endquote it would be nusāsāti would it not?

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Oh yes! Thank you. Forgot about the final vowel lengthening before 'ti :grin:

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Yes, the ‘he’ in ‘he advises’ is built into the conjugation.

(Or maybe anusāsatī’ti)