John Kelly’s Pāli Class 2024 (G&K) Class 15

Thread for discussing JK’s Pāli Class 2024 (G&K) Class 15 by Stephen for the class on June 30/ July 1. .

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Homework preparation for this class:
Review Lesson 6 grammar
Complete Lesson 6 Initial Readings
Begin looking at Lesson 6 Further Readings


Dear @stephen

gacchaṃ as used below: DPD calls it a “reflexive” aorist…How is it “reflexive”? I don’t recall this usage, even in Warder.

Yathāpi cando vimalo – gacchaṃ ākāsadhātuyā…

how is abhivassaṃ below translated as a verb when it looks like an accusative adjective? Or is this part of an idiomatic expression?

thalaṃ ninnaṃ ca pūreti – abhivassaṃ vasundharaṃ

this is not so much a question but a comment: I was lost for much of Snp3.7 … the most difficult passage to date (including Warder!). :grimacing:

I could figure out who was doing what at first, then it all went to hell in a handbasket when it came to marriages, sacrifices, and who was visiting whom tomorrow. Without peeking at John’s translation, I would have had no idea.

Bhante Sujato’s translation solves some of the mystery this way:

“He saw the preparations going on…”


Hi, a quick answer from “the field”, without looking at any texts.

I don’t think I’ve ever heard of ‘reflexive aorist’. Both of these words appear to me to be ‘short form’ present participles. (Short for gacchanto, ‘going’, ‘raining’ etc. )
Can you find an analog in the G&K present participle paradigm?

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Q1: it occurs to me is that what your dictionary is referring to is what G&K calls the ‘middle voice’, quite rare in Pali. For G&K’s treatment of this see Lesson 11, section 4 and particularly 4.2 on p. 154.

In the G&K reading itself on p. 77, there is a footnote explaining this form as a nominative present participle.

Also see Lesson 5, section 3.1, for what I am calling the ‘short form’ of the nominative present participle.

Q3: I hope all will become clear in class!

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This squares with Bhante Sujato and Ven. Bodhi’s translations, respectively:

[the moon] journeying across the dimension of space

[the moon] moving through the sphere of space

versus John’s which may be more like DPD’s so-called reflexive aorist:

> [the moon] gone into the sky

In any case, it’s a beautiful simile.

@stephen as an aside, I’m not certain what your bracketed numbers refer to in your handouts. Your grammar deconstructions are very helpful – thanks.

Q: how can we know that gaccham here is indeed the nominative present participle as Gair & Karunatillake explain, and not a reflexive/middle form aorist?

A: because that form of the reflexive/middle voice aorist would be the first person (I went, similar to ‘root aorist’), and in the context of the verse the word clearly describes the moon, which would need a 3rd person.

Sometimes, the present participle can be translated with a past participle (gone), and vice versa.

The numbers in square brackets refer to the grammatical point in the G&K textbook, usually in the same chapter as the reading.


Hi Stephen–I won’t be able to attend class today. I’ll look forward to next week’s class. Thanks for your understanding!

Hi Stephen, can’t make the class today as I’m in a time zone far away from the us due to traveling:)

Stephen, I’m fairly exhausted this evening and won’t make class. I’ll touch base with you later this week :heart_eyes:


Dear Pali friends,

There was some discussion in today’s class about the word ‘svātanāya’ being an indeclinable adverb, which was news to me since I’ve always thought of it as a dative.

Looking through Wijesekera’s “Syntax of the Cases”, I found on p. 17-18 a discussion of ‘archaic adverbs’: “a few historical forms in Pāli which without exception can be traced back to Vedic. Some of these have lost their inflexional value in Pāli and come to be regarded as adverbs or prepositions, and according to commentators, even as particles or indeclinables”

“Pāli has two archaic dat. forms…svātanāya “for tomorrow” which however do not occur as such, that is to say adverbially, in the older dialect. “

On p. 190, section #115 he writes,
“In Vedic and Classical Sanskrit the dat. Is sometimes found denoting the time to come, when a limit is made in time for something to be done. It is parallel to the English ‘for’ in expressions like ‘we shall leave it for tomorrow’. So in Pāli the irregular old dat. form ‘svātanāya’ is frequently found in the sense of “for the morrow”…

So, I think it’s safe to regard this is a dative, and if one wishes to, to think of it as adverbial.

PS, the more I think of it, the more I like the idea of rendering ‘kula’, a somewhat challenging word to translate, as ‘House’.
Thank you for that suggestion.


The DPD shows it as both, where in the latter case it’s classified as an adjective (dative form) (“of tomorrow”). The good ol’ Pali Text Society dictionary seems to think it’s a dative as well:

relating to the morrow dat ˚-nāya for the following day

I wonder if that’s why, in French, “tomorrow” = a dative form (in effect) whereas “yesterday” doesn’t. I may research that etymology.

These time references are most mysterious…

I did not see the term kula anywhere in Lesson 6 passages – ah, I see it now in Further Reading Passage #1.

:pray:t3: :elephant:

In yesterday’s class, there was some discussion of the term ‘kula’, and translation choices. The challenge of rendering it as ‘clan’ for American readers was mentioned. We discussed King Bimbisara’s name ‘Seniya’, which actually seems a gotta rather than a kula.

“2. Seniya. The personal name, according to Buddhaghosa, of King Bimbisara (MA.i.292; but see SNA.ii.448, mahatiya senaya samannagatatta), who is almost always referred to as Seniya Bimbisara. Dhammapala says (UdA.104), however, that Bimbisara was called Seniya either because he had a large army, or because he belonged to the Seniya gotta (mahatiya senaya samannagatatta va Seniyagottata va).”

In fact, there is a difference between ‘gotta/ gotra’ and ‘kula’, but I’m unable to clearly enumerate it.

Gotama is clearly referred to as “Sakyaputto Sakyakulā pabbajito” in our reading, the Sakya (Śākya) is a kula.

Can I please have access to the recording of the last class please? Held on 1 July. Could not find in the usual share drive that Sumana kindly upload. Much Metta

It’s still in the same link that you were using before Indira. :slight_smile:

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Thank you and much merit Sumana… I could not spot it yesterday. May you be well and happy.