Chandaso in bhikkhuni parajika 1


I’m reviewing my work on my trilinear notes for the bhikkhuni patimokkha and am not sure what Pali grammar notes to enter for ‘chandaso’ from
Bhikkhuni Parajika 1:
Yā pana bhikkhunī chandaso methunaṁ dhammaṁ paṭiseveyya, antamaso tiracchānagatenapi, parajika hoti asaṁvāsā.

Is it an adverb (‘willingly’)? Or some atypical noun declension? Ie. how is it related to ‘chanda’ (desire, will)?

Pali experts, your thoughts much appreciated.

Thank you!
(And sorry if this is posted under the wrong category. Seemed like the closest fit.)


I think it is an adverb with an ablative form (click for details). Hope that helps, Venerable!


Good afternoon, Ayyā!
I think chandaso is the instrumental case functioning as an adverbial of accompaniment here. The explanation from the Kaṅkhāvitaraṇī Bhikkhunīpātimokkha commentary describes it using the instrumental chandena:

Therein, with desire (chandaso) means: with desire (chandena) and even liking connected with sexual lust (tattha chandasoti methunarāgappaṭisaṃyuttena chandena ceva ruciyā ca).

With mettā! :pray:


Interesting to note that the Hybrid Sanskrit version also has chandaso. It’s glossed raktacittā.

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Ablative functioning as instrumental?
‘With regard to…’

I tend to disagree, but anybody please correct me if I’m wrong. :blush:

The commentary doesn’t give the case but the meaning of the word. Chandaso clearly has an instrumental-like meaning, because it can be interpreted as “with consent/wish [to have intercourse]”. However, that does not make the word itself an instrumental.

According to Wijesekera the -so ending “is itself no case-ending at all”. So then it can not be an instrumental. Nor is it an ablative, technically. It “is however regarded as an ablatival form by Pāli grammarians” (meaning the ancient grammarians). I can’t remember any word with this ending functioning as a true ablative noun, though.

So on second thought I think -so is better regarded as a pure adverbial suffix, not derived from any particular case, similar to -tra for example. That would agree with Duroiselle paragraph 531(g): “Suffixes so and likewise form adverbs”, and he separates these adverbs from the case-form ones. (Unlike Wijesekera who despite saying it is no case ending discusses it under the ablative.)

Even adverbs which clearly stem from a case (e.g. santike) I prefer to class as indeclinables, which, not declining, technically don’t have a case.

With -so, Nyanatusita’s analysis of the patimokkha glosses in a similar vein: “antamaso: even so much as, even; indecl[inable]. Originally an ablative of anta[ma].” I.e. it originally may have been an ablative (although Wijesekera and Duroiselle may doubt that), but it now functions as an indeclinable, so has no case. Likewise, the Digital Pali Dictionary gives words like yoniso, bahuso, and dīghaso as indeclinables. It doesn’t include chandaso, but I think it can be classed similarly.

I had trouble explaining this in my Pali classes too, partly because grammarians tend to talk differently about these case-derived adverbs. Some say they have a case; others, like Duroiselle, say adverbs per definition don’t have a case. Also it is sometimes hard to say whether a word is an adverb or a noun with a case. But with chandaso I think it clearly is a pure adverb, just like “willingly” in English, even though it’s derived from a noun ‘will’.

Part of the problem of trilinear translations is that sometimes you have to/want to classify things strictly which perhaps aren’t strictly classifiable. Wish Pali was like mathematics, where definitions are clear cut and indisputable. :smiley:


Hard to say from that passage alone if it is a gloss without the commentator actually wanting to clarify the grammatical case of the word at issue. What would convince me of your argument is when you would point me to some passage within Pāḷi literature itself (in some grammar or commentary) that would specify “chando” or “chandaso” as a nipāta, the class to which true indeclinables belong. I am not aware of any such passage.

On the contrary: Kaccāyana (sutta 105), for example, explains that the singular instrumental case (tatiyā) ending is at times changed into so, just as, per sutta 103, it is sometimes changed into ena, which probably no one would suggest makes for a nipāta, even when used adverbially. The dictionaries also say that chanda is a masculine noun, not a nipāta. But, as Ven. Thitzana in his translation of Kaccāyana points out, “[s]uch examples [i.e., of instrumental ending *so*] are widely found in the Buddhist texts used as either adjective or adverb” (p. 237). Usage doesn’t make it an adverb proper, though …

Hmm, yes, perhaps according to the classification system of Western Pāḷi grammarians, but within the Pāḷi tradition as such, the categories are quite well delineated, at least in our case. Based upon all the above reasoning, I would still maintain that chandaso is to be taken as an instrumental in our case.


Thanks for the clarification, honorable! (That’s how I sometimes address anagarikas. :wink: ) I guess it then depends on whether Ven. Munissara is following Western “modern” or Pāli traditional grammar… :slight_smile:

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I learned a lot from this discussion, thanks.

I’m wondering exactly how many -so there are.

  • My version of DPP (updated?) gives chandaso as a gen/dat form of chandas.
  • Nyanatusita’s tables give -so as a taddhita suffix in pronominal and numerical distributive ( ekaso) senses.
  • Magadhabhasa gives taddita -so as possessive (medhaso).
  • And also - isa: (e.g. √ ala + isa + si [o] → alaso – “a lazy man”; Kacc 673).
  • nimiso

Me too.

  • DDP indeed lists that chandaso, but that’s the -aso ending of a noun in -as (chandas, ‘meter’). That’s not the chansaso we have here: clearly some sort of derivation of chanda, which DDP doesn’t include.
  • The labeling by Nynatusita is a bit confusing. By ‘pronominal’ he means they are added to a pronominal base. They do not form pronouns themselves but rather adjectives or adverbs. E.g. -tra is “pronominal” since it’s added to things like ta(d) to form tatra. I can’t think of which words he is referring to, though, that have a pronominal base and -so ending, and in Duroiselle’s similar list of suffixes (par 337), -so is not included. It’s also interesting that Nyanatusita does not list -so as an ablative (or instrumental or other case).
  • I’m also not sure what Magadhabhasa means by “-so: From this are made a few adjectives”. I’ve never seen an adjective in -so. Perhaps Thanuttamo can clarify?
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Thank you, Venerables and Honorable for taking the time to look stuff up and reply.

Only had a chance to read all your posts today.

I shall ruminate further on your ideas.

I have only one small point that immediately comes to mind, that is - regarding the Kkh passage @Thanuttamo quoted
tattha chandasoti methunarāgappaṭisaṃyuttena chandena ceva ruciyā ca

Is it unusual for the word being defined (chandaso) to be an alternative form of the same case (instrumental) as the definition’s gloss ‘chandena’? Are there many other instances of this happening in Kkh? Or is it more natural that the definition would use a form of the related word (chanda) that is in a different case from the word being defined?

In the meantime, I can only contribute a quote from a non-grammarian authority on matters related to -so:

“So - a needle pulling thread…La - a note to follow ‘So’…”
-Maria (the unsolvable problem)

No, this is a common practice in the commentary. They gloss rare forms with more recognizable forms. Sometimes it is just a different form of the same case, other times it might be a different case but with a similar sense.

thanks, bhante.

the question then is whether ‘chanda’ in the rule itself means ‘with desire’, ie. ‘desire connected with sexual lust’ (as per Kkh) or ‘with consent/willingness’, to go with a more neutral usage of ‘chanda’.

or if we go with the analysis that chandaso is an adverb, then either it can be translated as ‘desiringly’ (bad english, but you know what i mean) or ‘willingly.’

i think you discuss this point in your bhikkhuni vinaya studies book, and say something to the effect of: we can’t tell what the earlier Pali tradition’s opinion is on it because there is no vibhanga explanation preserved for bhikkhuni parajika 1 in the Pali text and all we have to work with is the later commentarial explanation.

So i personally think it is safer to translate ‘chandaso’ in the rule more broadly as ‘willingly’ rather than ‘with desire,’ as one can be willing for reasons other than desire/lust.

(This is beside the point of whether it is an instrumental or indeclinable adverb. But putting it up here for the sake of completeness of discussion. No need to reply.)

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