Bhante Sujato Pali Course 2023: lesson 8

I can’t distinguish Sanskrit from Pali. Do you mean this example?

Screenshot 2023-09-19 at 9.36.39 am

… it’s still duration!

Ya’know Bran, I’m thinking that the empty heading Age at which in Warder, with no text beneath it, could be a proofreading error, and that it should possibly have been taken out. ‘Point of time’ and ‘duration of time’ are semantically quite distinct … and see what Steven just said about the ablative.

Hi @luis, I think either construction can be used, though I would point out that, in my experience, the yena tena construction seems to be more common in the canon.

Some typo corrections for your sentences:
upāsakupā should be upāsakā in both.
padeso should be padesaṃ accusative in first example.


Hey y’all thanks for the questions and answers!

Probably, yes, as a generalization.

Hmm. “Spiritual wealth” seems like overinterpreting, but the syntax is fine.

It means to “leave” or “go away”.

In context, no. He’s not talking to a judge!

It is impersonal. “Victory breeds enmity”.

Context. Otherwise it could be right.

? It says “reflx aor 3rd sg”.

Ignore the idea of “reflexive”, it is just a different form of verb. Avoca is aorist.


Not really.

Maybe. You’d have to see the context.



I don’t know.

It’s not idiomatic. Checking the Pali, it seems that ca is used with the absolutive, not as here to express a series of present actions, but to coordinate simultaneous related actions. From AN 10.99.

nhatvā ca pivitvā ca paccuttaritvā yena kāmaṁ pakkameyya
(Having plunged into a pond), having washed and drunk and, having got out, would go where they want.


word order is fine, for ca see above.


Since both occur, it doesn’t really matter, but the masculine seems more common.

sure, why not?

Because its a respectful address to men.


I don’t know if we need it, but it is idiomatic.

Not always the case, see my example above.

Is “jhana” an English word? I’d say it is, but only within a specialized linguistic community, i.e. Buddhist meditators. So the choice of translating jhāna as “jhana” or as “absorption” depends on the audience.

But jhana in English is not the same as jhāna in Pali, any more than is zen in Japanese or chan in Chinese. It has its own set of meanings and connotations which are related to, but by no means identical with, the word in Pali. This is the problem with adopting foreign words: it tempts people to think that they understand the same thing because they use the same “word”.


Indeed, it is not.

That is unfortunately a bug in DPD. I’ve submitted a report for it.

The normal past participle is jita, “conquered”, or jina, with the latter especially used in the adjectival sense, “one who has conquered”, i.e. a “victor”. Thus it can mean both “victor” and “loser”, similar to English, “one who has conquered” vs. “one who has been conquered”

The persistent shall be rewarded!

That’s correct, although the actual Pali jayaṁ is impersonal: victory breeds resentment.


Thank you for this important point.
I suppose one can say the same for the rendering ‘absorption’- the average person on the street will have no idea what this means. We can be absorbed in a novel.
It’s a technical term through and through.


The point is not that people might misunderstand a difficult matter, which cannot be helped. It is that by using imported foreign words we are tempting the reader into a special kind of misunderstanding. We give the reader the impression that they know “the Pali” or “the original”, but they don’t have the context to make sense of it.

My thinking on this was prompted by a remark by Ken Wilber to the effect that Freud never used the words “ego” or “id”. He just used the ordinary German words das ich and das es, “the I”, “the it”. But when they translated them into English the editor thought it didn’t sound formal enough, so they used the Latin.

This kind of thing gives the impression that someone is privy to a secret, hidden knowledge that is inexpressible in ordinary language and only understood by a privileged elite. It tickles the ego (so to speak!)


Yes, another excellent point.
One wonders if the whole use of Pali as a liturgical language, a language that no one is sure anyone actually spoke, can be considered this way. Is there a special magic in reciting something in Pali vs. one’s native language?
Perhaps there is.

But certainly Pali language students are a privileged elite!!

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Apologies for the misinformation, everyone. Thanks for the correction, bhante.


:grin: :grin: :grin:

:grin: :joy: :rofl:

Lovely English! :heart:

Good to know. :slight_smile:

It is a situation that I’ve seen a lot in real life in Thailand. The claim “ahaṃ sivā mantemi” generates a lot of wealth. :grin: :grin: :grin:

A bit off topic, but the Thai language has borrowed a lot of Pali and Sanskrit words, but adopted only certain definitions to suit whatever was thought appropriate at that time (hundreds of years ago). As a result, we have lots of ‘false friends’. For instance, viññāṇa means 1. what’s inside a living creature which will go to a new body when the body dies, 2. spirit in the sense of a mother’s spirit (= being protective).

Hence, only monks can explain the Buddha’s teachings / suttas to you. :grin: :grin: :grin:

Thank you so much, Bhante @sujato for trying to remove this ‘elitism’ that (Thai) monks have enjoyed for centuries!

And for your compassion and patience in teaching us Pali.

And thank you, @stephen and @johnk for your kindest help.

I really love this kind of ‘learning’. I think I could imagine how Socrates taught his disciples…


Um… I don’t understand why it has to be impersonal?

I had: “Being victorious, he generates hatred
jayaṁ = m. sing. nom. present participle
veraṁ = nt. sing. acc.
pasavati= 3rd p. sing.

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Dear Bhante, since I’m still sick, I couldn’t manage to do the exercises concentrated and completely this week and I’m still not sure if I’m fit for today’s Zoom session.

Best wishes

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It’s all about context of the sutta this sentence comes from. What you have is correct grammatically.


So I looked at the Kelly Key

Then I pasted “D.iii.183” into the PTS reference to sutta number converter (which is also available offline as a Chrome app :slight_smile: ) and found that it refers to DN31.

I got up DN31, Siṅgālasutta, and searched for jayaṃ veraṃ pasavati.
It’s a terse sentence, but in context it’s no longer puzzling. … Great stuff!

It’s really cool to be given the references and to then locate them easily.

Remaining Questions

  1. What does the xxxi refer to please?
  2. & what is .11? A typo for the Sutta Central segment number 11.1? :thinking:

  1. The Roman numeral xxxi refers to the sutta number in DN - thus DN 31. (Remember all the passages from Warder are from Dīgha Nikāya)
  2. The number 11 refers to corresponding section in the Walshe translation (Wisdom Publications) - the only translation available to me at that time.

Did anyone record today’s lesson? I had to leave a bit before the end and would appreciate to watch the recording if anybody has it.

@sujato . Thank you for taking the time to teach us pali. I really enjoy this style of teaching and how much confidence you show in the students’ capacity. The lessons are often hard, but the discourse threads really help understand them and then the live lesson works as a good way to review and summarize it all. Sometimes the pace is quite fast for me when we go over some of Warder’s lessons, but overall I’m managing to follow.
Your general comments on grammar and language are also really insightful, such as on how often words borrowed from pali or sanskrti gain new meanings when they are borrowed, which may be misleading. Thanks for sharing :heart:


So I didn’t even need to use the PTS look up @stephen !!!

Thanks John so much. From now on it will be easy to check context.

Wow! You’re a real learner (and explorer)! :pray:

I wish our exercise would be in a context. It doesn’t mean that students have to translate the whole passage, but it would be easier for us if the question was like this:

Please translate the Pali sentence in this paragraph:

“There are these six drawbacks of habitually gambling. jayaṃ veraṃ pasavati. The loser mourns their money. There is immediate loss of wealth…”


Related to @Luis 's request, would it be possible for those who have recorded the session to post them on the Cloud and share the links with us for internal use? I tried to type and take notes as fast as I could, but my typing speed can’t be compared to Bhante’s speaking speed! :grin: :laughing: :rofl:


I couldn’t agree more. Thank you Bhante :drop_of_blood:@sujato.
Also, what a great group of people to be studying with. :wave:


Since the end of this thread is nigh as the new one is soon to begin, my midnight mind suddenly goes back in time to when it had to learn a famous quote…

To learn or not to learn, that is the question:

Whether it’s nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,

And by opposing end them? To loll, to laze;
No more; and by ‘laze’ to say we end
The heartache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To learn, to laze;

To laze: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub;
For while lazing away, one knows not when dukkha may come…

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