Bhante Sujato Pali Course 2023: Warder lesson 1

A great protocol for memorising meaningful text. :heavy_check_mark:

You have offered to share a list of recommended sutras for memorisation. It would be great if you could group them for beginner, intermediate and advanced learners.


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I just posted the first three suttas in the reference list. That’s probably enough, once someone’s learned that much, my recommendation would be, “learn what your heart feels inspired!”.

The only more general advice would be, avoid memorizing verse if your intent is to learn Pali. All verses should be considered advanced.


Also, dear Bhante, may I recommend to the other students that we refrain from using the Jitsi chat feature to discuss Internet quality/video session quality while you are teaching the course. I, too, have to remind myself to refrain. It is very distracting for me. I’m sure many of us have been in the position of leading meetings over Zoom (or other) professionally. It becomes a real distraction to the one leading – as well as to all the other participants – to have to keep checking the chat and see it cluttered with everyone’s comments about the technology performance. I understand this is our tendency but perhaps we can use this as an exercise in watching our impulses and just letting them be. Thanks.


I’ve managed to find the Holy Grail, or at least the Rosetta Stone.

A list of Pali roots (about 1700), which conjugation group they belong in, their English meaning, the equivalent Sanskrit root and meaning, plus indexes into the various Pali grammar books they came from.

As you can see, the majority of verbs (just under 65%) belong in conjugation group 1 (bhūvādigaṇa) so if you encounter a word you don’t know, the chances are it’s in this group. The other groups are very small, quite often less than 100 roots per group.

This is the list of roots from various sources, summarised into a spreadsheet:

B. Bhikkhu’s Root Bible

And these are the various books they came from:

The Pali Dhatupatha and the Dhatumañjusa

The Pali Roots In Saddaníti

Please enjoy and practice safe conjugation!


Bhante where can I find the reference list please? Learning from scratch I tried to get the essence of the basics and summarized in a table–Learn Pali Channel and A.K. Warder book (attached–I am learning in my own pace…). Much merit to you for giving me a chance.
Pali Lesson1.pdf (511.6 KB)

Here you go!

Nice, you’ve summarized it well, not an easy task!

Great stuff, can you add them as a comment in the Reference thread? I’ll keep the OP there for things directly relevant for the course, but we can add more references underneath.


Everybody here sounds so knowledgeable. I’m feeling so far behind. Ah well, … Please bear with this classmate of yours…

Question 1 (very stupid, I know): where can I get the answer key? I found Kelly’s on Access to Insight: Answer Key to Warder's 'Introduction to Pali': Exercises 1-21

Is it the right version?

Question 2: Bhante @sujato, I’d be grateful if you could please explain the word ‘evam’ in more details.

Question 3: Where can I get all Pali alphabets that I can do ‘copy and paste’ easily? At the moment, I’m struggling with typing m (with a dot below) and i with the lengthening diacritical mark.

Question 4: What’s the difference between samano and brahmano? I understand samano to be monastic or renunciate, while brahmano is brahmin.

Question 5: what is the meaning of khattiyo? I understand it to be person of a ruling class (royal family)

Question 6: Can the word ‘jivati’ mean ‘to be alive’? manusso jivati (man lives) sounds incomprehensible to me.

Question 7: What is the difference between marati and cavati. The sentence in the exercise is ‘The god dies’. I think die here is marati, but Kelly says cavati.

Question 8: What is the difference between bhasati and vadati?

Question 9: What is the meaning or usage of vowel strengthening/vowel gradation?
Learn Pali said that it was like ‘sing sang sung’. This comparison has got me totally confused!

It seems that most of my questions concern vocab. Yes, I know that the best place to go is a dictionary. At the moment, I’m using Concise Pali-English Dictionary by Buddhadtta and Golden Dictionary. Is there a very good ‘learner’s dictionary’ somewhere? (One belonging in the same high standard as Oxford Learner’s Dictionary of English would be lovely.)

Thank you.

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The Pāli romanization scheme is pretty much identical to the Sanskrit romanization scheme IAST – International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration - Wikipedia
Just ignore the additional sanskrit letters like ṛ , ḷ , ḥ , ś , ṣ etc (which don’t exist in Pali).

Question 8: What is the difference between bhasati and vadati?

Bhāsati is ‘speaks’, vadati is ‘says’

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Oh, that would indeed be marvelous. The OLDE is an amazing thing. I don’t believe there is anything comparable.

What operating system are you using? If you are on Windows there is a simple app here that lets you type easily.


Don’t be intimidated. A few students are rocking some advanced stuff, but most of them are with you!


Evaṁ is an indeclinable particle, which means that it (almost always) appears in the same way in any context, without being inflected. (I say “almost” because the final letter can change when it is is combined with a following word (eg. evam’eva “in just this way”, or evan’ti “It is so!”, but this does not change the meaning.)

Generally evaṁ means “thus”, “suchways”, “in this/that way”, “likewise”, “so”, etc. The exact nuance must be inferred from context.

It can also be used as an affirmative particle like the English “Yes”, “it is so”. Example: “Is that you?” “evaṁ”. In this sense, it is sometimes added at the end of Dhamma talks, affirming that “this is correct” and marking the end of the talk.

Don’t copy/paste, find out how to type Pali on your operating system. See Snowbird’s answer, and also find various discussions on here by searching “diacriticals”. Ask for help for your operating system if you need it.

But if you must copy/paste, you can use Wikipedia as a source.

A samaṇa is a member of an ascetic renunciate order such as the Buddha, who has given up the home life to pursue their vision of the truth. Samaṇas typically rejected caste. The samaṇas most commonly met with in the Suttas are the Buddhists, Jains, and Ajivakas.

A brāhmaṇa is a member of a hereditary caste believed to have a divine sanction to recite holy scripture and perform essential rituals. Most brāhmaṇas are householders, but some, following the example of Yajnavalkya, have left home to establish renunciate orders similar to those of the samaṇas.

The Buddha identified as a samaṇa in terms of lifestyle and philosophy, but he also redefined (or restored) brāhmaṇa in the sense of “holy man”.

Grammarians sometimes give these as an example of two things that are commonly put together but are constantly in conflict!

Pretty much, yes. But more along the lines of aristocratic rather than royal as such, since all kings are khattiyas (in theory), but not all khattiyas are kings.

They are often said to be a warrior class, akin to the knights of the west, but most of the khattiyas we meet with in the Suttas are not warriors. Soldiering had already become a professional rather than hereditary occupation. Still, Kings and their generals would have been khattiyas.

Yes. Manusso jīvati means “The man is alive”.

For us, none, they both mean “death”, and both answers are correct.

Marati means specifically “to die”. Cavati means “to fall away” and is often used in the sense of “dies”.

They have a similar basic meaning like English “speak” and “say”, but in context can be used in idiomatic ways.

  • There is no meaning to vowel gradation as such, it is purely a phonetic phenomenon. The purpose of learning it is to understand that some words that look different are in fact the same. Eg., the word “descent (into a womb)” is sometimes spelled avakkanti, sometimes okkanti, but these are exactly the same in meaning.
  • Usage is widespread, we encounter the same phenomenon in many different contexts.
  • In some cases, the occurrence of vowel gradation indicates that a certain kind of transformation has occurred that is meaningful. For example bhava is “existence” while bhāva is “state”. Thus while the vowel change as such is not meaningful, it can act as a marker for a grammatical change that differentiates meaning.

Not a great example, as these are different vowels. Better would be child and children, where the initial “i” has been irregularly weakened in the plural. Similarly, wild and wilderness.

That’s fine. Sadly, we do not have the resources that the English language has, but the best available general dictionary is the Digital Pali Dictionary on GoldenDict.


The link to join the class today (at 3.30 p.m. for Sri Lanka); is it the same link that Deepika shared with us for the first class? With Metta

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The link for the class each week will be at the top of the thread for that class.


Much Metta Bhante… didn’t know Bhante creates a link for the following class… feel rather ignorant …


Dear Bhante,

When you have time, it could be your next project? You could work with Ajahn Brahmali and some other scholars. It would hugely benefit the next generation of readers and translators.

As @Snowbird says, Oxford is a marvelous dictionary. It’s useful not only for learners but also for teachers and translators.

When you decide to embrace this idea, I could send you some relevant literature on lexicography to save you time (coz I can’t help you in any other way :grin: )

I’d pray every day that you would do it. :pray: :pray: :pray:

:rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

Sure, when I have time!

But it’s not really needed, as we live in a golden age of Pali dictionaries. The Digital Pali Dictionary is great and getting greater, and soonish Cone’s Dictionary of Pali will be complete. The folks doing this are vastly more competent at it than I!

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Dear Bhante @sujato

Grammar question, ka :slight_smile:


devo amanusso hoti

If we want to be precise (and to avoid lack of awareness of the gender implication), should we translate the above sentence as:

The male deity (deva) is not human.

Because if we translate it just as ‘The deva is not human’, we may tend to assume (like most native speakers of English do) that the male form of a word refers to the whole?

Or, we should learn that Pali, like many modern languages, use the male form to mean the whole group (male and female and +)?

P.S. This is a question for a language discussion, not a feminist advocacy rhetorical question. :grin:

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Typically yes, Pali uses the masculine form as default.

In that instance, I would translate as “the god is not human”. If gender is relevant it should emerge from context.

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Thank you so much.

So, it is the same as when the Buddha said, “Bhikkhū, …” he may have meant his disciples both male and female?

I’ll put the ‘male’ in parentheses just to remind myself of the ‘form’. :grin:

Indeed. This is why I translate as “mendicant”. It’s both literal and avoids specifying gender.

Context matters, though. In the Vinaya, the texts are neatly divided into two for monks and nuns, so there it makes sense to render bhikkhu as “monk”.

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I’ll remember that, ka. :slight_smile: