How to best translate 'vusitam'?

To @sujato and the other Pali-stas: we have the formula vusitaṃ brahmacariyaṃ:

Do you go for the option of ‘lived’ like Bh. Bodhi, or ‘accomplished’? The PTS says that the two options would come from different roots. It would make more sense to me that brahmacarya is ‘accomplished’ rather than ‘lived’ but maybe you have other more compelling arguments.

At least I couldn’t find an equivalent sanskrit expression that could shed some light on it…

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I would support ven. Bodhi’s take.

I am not sure what vosita would be the past participle of in the assumption vusita = vosita you seem to refer to (PTSD indicates “pp. of ava+sā” and I have no idea which verb exactly is “ava+sā”).

On the other hand, there is evidence of using brahmacariya with the verb vasati:

MN 76
yasmiṃ kho, sandaka, satthari sāvako evarūpaṃ uḷāravisesaṃ adhigacchati tattha viññū puriso sasakkaṃ brahmacariyaṃ vaseyya, vasanto ca ārādheyya ñāyaṃ dhammaṃ kusalaṃ.

A wise man certainly would live the holy life with a teacher under whom a disciple attains such a lofty distinction, and while living it he would attain the true way, the Dhamma that is wholesome.

SN 35.151
anantevāsikamidaṃ, bhikkhave, brahmacariyaṃ vussati
Bhikkhus, this holy life is lived without students and without a teacher.

vussati being the passive voice of vasati, to live, dwell etc.

It would not seem too far fetched that vusita would actually be the past participle of vussati, and it seems that it is what ven. Bodhi goes for.


Thanks for the relevant sutta references!


Thanks for the question.

Up till now, I have been taking it in the sense of “completed, finished”. For two reasons: first, because that seems to be the dominant sense; and second, because I want to avoid overburdening “live”.

But as you point out, the examples above do seem to indicate a sense of “lived”. And this sense is indicated by the two authorities that the PTS refers to (Kern and Geiger), against which the Dict itself proposes “fulfiled, accomplished”.

Checking the Sanskrit sources, it seems that they rather consistently use uṣitaṃ brahmacaryaṃ (SF 271, SF 156, SF 89), which supports the derivation by Kern/Geiger. So it seems that “live” is, after all, correct.

An interesting light is shed on this from the Sanskrit derivation. It seems that the ultimate root of the term is related to uṣā, dawn or daybreak. So the original sense would have been, “to stay overnight, until dawn”, thus conveying the sense of both “staying, living” and “completion”.

I wonder if there’s a better way of capturing this?


According to Sri Lankan usage , we accept and live in accordance with Brahmacariya.

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In the meantime I found some references in Pali Grammar books too, e.g. Warder gives vusita as similar to vuttha as pp. of vasati .

So I guess we can take it as solved?


But we use a different word “pili padima”