Well, now that I have discovered ‘Discuss and Discover’ and its helpful and knowledgeable inhabitants – you might be hearing from me repeatedly as I plod my way through my trilinear project, leaving no pebble unturned. But don’t worry, you’ll get a break soon cos the rest of the Sanghadisesas are shared with the bhikkhus so I can just cadge my answers from Ven Nyanatusita’s superbly detailed Analysis of the Bhikkhu Patimokkha.
In the meantime, though, hope these questions might be fun quizzes for the Pali whizzes! None of these questions would actually impact how the rule is to be practiced, but am using this passage as an example to better understand Pali syntax.
Sanghadisesa 13 is quite long so I will just quote the relevant part:
Yā pana bhikkhunī evaṃ vadeyya: “saṃsaṭṭhāva, ayye, tumhe viharatha, mā tumhe nānā viharittha, santi saṅghe aññāpi bhikkhuniyo evācārā evaṃsaddā evaṃsilokā bhikkhuni saṅghassa vihesikā aññamaññissā vajjappaṭicchādikā, tā saṅgho na kiñci āha tumhaññeva saṅgho uññāya paribhavena akkhantiyā vebhassiyā dubbalyā evamāha
Am trying to figure out how ‘tumham’ and ‘dubbalyā’ function in this sentence.
1.Can āha take the dative? PED had it that it takes the accusative. As seems to have happened early in the passage: tā saṅgho na kiñci āha (the Sangha does not say anything to them.)
If āha can also take the dative perhaps the tumham (dative of ta(d) in the compound word tumhaññeva) is paired with āha: ie. The sangha says only (eva) to y’all. (as opposed to saying it to the other badly behaving bhikkhunis that also exist). That’s just my stab at it.
IB Horner had it a bit differently, but still pairing tumham with āha as far as I can tell: It is to you yourselves that the Order, out of disrespect, out of contempt, out of impatience, in gossiping, on poor evidence, says this:
Other translators had interpreted the function of tumham differently.
Aj Thanissaro had paired it with ‘dubbalyā’:
“It’s simply because of your weakness that the Sangha…says”
Aj Brahmali had paired it with ‘sangha’:
“It’s because of disrespect, contempt, impatience, slander, and weakness that your Order of nuns says this”
2.In deciding what goes with what, does proximity matter at all? I am told that in Pali grammar word order does not matter. But is it total anarchy?
3.In a string of related words, can one word use the common form of an instrumental ending and another word use a more archaic or uncommon form? Or is it only in 2 different texts from different time periods that would use different kinds of endings for the same case?
Like in uññāya paribhavena akkhantiyā vebhassiyā dubbalyā
paribhavena is clearly instrumental, which makes me guess that all the other ones are also instrumental. Except dubbalyā which looks like an ablative. Unless it is the less common form of the instrumental which has the ā ending. (From Wijesekara p. 122 I understand this ending is older: “In Pāli the confusion is worse confounded by the fact that the old inst. in -ā, which Franke has definitely shown to survive in Pāli”)
But I suppose if the instrumental here is an instrumental of cause, it works like an ablative anyway so the distinction doesn’t matter much. But again, whose weakness is it? A. Brahmali has translated the whole string here as a unit, so it’s the Sangha’s weakness whereas A. Thanissaro had it as the accused bhikkhunis’ weakness.
4.Intriguingly, both the PED entry for dubbalyā and the footnote for it in IB Horner’s translation had suggested it meant “on poor or weak evidence” referencing a JPTS article from 1886. So apparently this discussion has been literally going on for centuries. How cool is that, though, to reference something from back in the time when Prussia was a country? Of course I then had to look it up. With no explanation, dubbalyā was said to = appakkhata = groundlessly. (p. 129). Does anyone agree with this? I kind of think it does flow logically from vebhassiyā (‘gossiping.’)
Thank you very much for reading, and to anyone who might reply. Rock on, Pali scholars!