Concept words in Pali


Can someone give the Pali word for concept in this sutta?

And the words used in Pali for concept.

Thank you in advance .

Hello @Upasaka_Dhammasara,

I haven’t had time to analyze the relevant parts of MN61, however I’m very sure that there is no word in those parts which explicitly equivalent to the English word “concept”. In seems that meaningful fragments in any language are, by nature, implicitly conceptual, and that sometimes words like “concept” must be used explicitly to render the fragments correctly. That seems to be the case here.

I hope that @sujato or one of our other Pali experts will comment on the subtleties of the Pali here. To me, the uses of the compound suffix “tipi” (which is, I think, “ti + pi”) is especially interesting and is worthy of comment by someone who knows Pali better than I.


thank you. I am interested to know the word, because I am is that. So what meaning the word connected to that had. That is my question in my mind.

Hi, I am not an expert, only Pali student. But this might help:
MN 64, Bhante Sujato’s translation:
"doesn’t even have a concept of ‘identity’ "
sakkāyotipi na hoti”

The English-Pali Dictionary by Buddhadatta Mahathera gives:
concept : (m.) saṅkappa. (f.) mati.
conception : (m.) saṅkappa; avabodha. (f.) gabbhāvakanti. (nt.) paṭisandhigahana.
conceptive : (adj.) bujjhanāraha.
conceptual : (adj.) saṅkappāyatta; avabodhāyatta.

Pali-English dictionary by the same author gives:
Sakkāya, m. the existing body. ~diṭṭhi. f. heresy of individuality.

Pali-text society gives more complete explanations:
Sakkāya [sat+kāya, cp. BSk. satkāya Divy 46; AvŚ i.85. See
on expln of term Mrs. Rh. D. in J.R.A.S. 1894, 324; Franke
Dīgha trsln p. 45; Geiger P.Gr. § 241
; Kern. Toev. ii.52] the
body in being, the existing body or group (= -nikāya q. v.); as
a t.t. in P. psychology almost equal to individuality; identified
with the five khandhas M i.299; S iii.159; iv.259; A ii.34; Th
2, 170, 239; DhsA 348. See also D iii.216 (cp. Dial. iii.2161
A iii.293, 401; Nd1 109.
-diṭṭhi theory of soul, heresy of individuality, speculation
as to the eternity or otherwise of one’s own individuality M
i.300=iii.17=DhS 1003, S iii.16 sq. In these passages this is
explained as the belief that in one or other of the khandhas
there is a permanent entity, an attā. The same explanation, at
greater length, in the Diṭṭhigata Sutta (Ps i.143 — 151). As
delusions about the soul or ghost can arise out of four sorts of
bias (see abhinivesa) concerning each of the five khandhas,
we have twenty kinds of s° diṭṭhi:

But no words, no written explanations, can fully explain the meaning, since they are just concepts, constructs, or pointers.


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It isn’t a translation of any word found in the Pali. Rather, it’s the translator’s own insertion, aimed at conveying the sense of the passage in as natural a way as possible. With the exception of I.B. Horner, all translators of this passage have adopted this course.

The Pali is:

Daharassa … sattātipi na hoti.

Or with the euphonically reduced part expanded:

Daharassa … sattā iti api na hoti.

Word for word: “For a baby even ‘beings’ is not.”

And four translations:

an infant is not conscious of ‘beings’…
(Robert Chalmers, Further Dialogues of the Buddha)

an infant does not even have the notion ‘beings’…
(Ven. Ñāṇamoli/Bodhi, Middle Length Discourses)

a little baby doesn’t even have a concept of ‘sentient beings’…
(Ven. Sujāto)

If there were not ‘beings’ for a baby…
(I.B. Horner, Middle Length Sayings)

The first three translations are dynamic equivalent renderings, meaning that the translators’ primary concern is to convey the sense rather than the form of the original. This may involve taking the liberty of inserting words in the translation that are not present in the original. I’ve marked these in bold.

The fourth translation comes close to being a form-equivalent one. As such it has the merit of most accurately replicating the form of the original phrase, but also the drawback of not reading at all well in the target language. (Or, to steal from Oscar Wilde: “Miss Horner has done a fine job of translating the MN from Pali into her mother tongue. Now we just need someone to translate it from Miss Horner’s mother tongue into English.”).


Thanks Ven, that’s just what I would have said!


If the word is

sakkāyotipi I kinda understand it as having to do with having this underlying tendency bonded towards the the three poisons. Greed hate and delusion. Since it end with tipi. Which sometimes is used in pali to refer to three. But it interesting also that in Sanskrit I found one meaning of Tapa was tormented by. Then if the tipi part is like that it would be interesting

Now that I read again your responses. Maybe it’s existence group of three :thinking:

I’m afraid it has nothing to do with either “three” or tapas.

Sakkāyotipi consists of three parts.

  • sakkāyo: this is nominative singular of sakkāya, itself a compound of sat + kāya, lit: “existing body”, more idiomatically, “embodiment” or “identity”.
  • ti: abbreviated form of iti, meaning “thus, so”, and commonly used to indicate a quote or quote-like passage or phrase. In this sense it indicates a reflexive awareness of the thing in question. Thus we translate “the concept of”.
  • pi: Abbreviated form of api, meaning “also, too”, and in this content “even, merely”.

So we translate, “doesn’t even have the concept ‘identity’.”


Thank you for that extra information. Understand more. Ok :+1:

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