John Kelly’s Pāli Class 2024 (G&K) Class 16

Thread for discussing JK’s Pāli Class 2024 (G&K) Class 16 by Stephen for the class on July 7th/ 8th 2024.

Stephen Sas is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Stephen Sas’s Personal Meeting Room

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 845 813 2571

You will need to remain in the “waiting room” until host lets you in.

Homework preparation for this class:

  1. Complete G&K Lesson 6: Initial Readings
  2. Study G&K Lesson 6 Grammar
  3. Continue to work on G&K Lesson 6: Further Readings

This Pali recitation was shared in a different thread: hommage to the Buddha, refuge, and precepts.
Since the Pali precepts were recently studied, I though sharing this beautiful pronunciation would be helpful.


Thank you Stephen for sharing this beautifully articulated Pali.

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‘sacce atthe ca dhamme ca’ - āhu, ‘santo patiṭṭhitā.’

Regarding the last line in Snp. 3.3. Subhāsitasuttaṃ Bhikkhu Bodhi’s footnote is helpful.

The [commentarial] explanation here presupposes that the three nouns — sacce, atthe, and dhamme — are all locatives and āhu an aorist of honti (= ahū). But āhu should probably be taken instead as a perfect meaning “[they] said.” Based on the work of Lüders, Norman suggests (1969, note to 1229) that atthe and dhamme were originally nominatives in an Eastern dialect that had the nominative singular in –e. When transposed into Pāli they were mistaken for locatives. I follow Norman in my rendering of the line, and thus there is dissonance between my translation and the explanation of Pj II.

Bhikkhu Bodhi’s translation of the line: " The good and the Dhamma, good people say, are established upon truth.

Bodhi. The Suttanipata: An Ancient Collection of the Buddha’s Discourses Together with Its Commentaries (The Teachings of the Buddha) (p. 1708). Wisdom Publications. Kindle Edition.

ps. Here is Aj Thanissaro’s article about attha-dhamma, Dhamma Is What Dhamma Does : The Buddha as Strategist



Here’s Stephen’s notes to Lesson 6 Further Readings as a pdf.

Lesson 5 Initial/Further and Lesson 6 Initial Readings were posted in a previous class thread.

:elephant: :pray:t3:
G&K-6 Further.pdf (166.6 KB)


Wow, this makes so much sense compared to what it seems to say literally per the grammar. Mistaken for locatives :open_mouth: !! Otherwise I couldn’t make heads or tails of it. (Especially where āhu fits in – I suppose the #11 note in G&K should have clued me in.)

:pray:t3: :elephant:

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In Further Reading #5 (Dhp334-359), how do we deduce a passive construction for sahatī in the first stanza versus an active construction in the second stanza? It is difficult to make sense of the jammi declensions in DPD (if this is the clue to understanding sahatī).

Yaṃ esā sahatī jammī - taṇhā loke visattikā;
sokā tassa pavaḍḍhanti - abhivaḍḍhaṃ’va bīraṇaṃ.

Whoever in the world is overcome by this wretched craving and attachment;
His sorrows increase – as birana grass grows.

Yo c’etaṃ sahatī jammiṃ - taṇhaṃ loke duraccayaṃ;
sokā tamhā papatanti - udabindu’va pokkharā.

Whoever in the world overcomes this wretched craving that is hard to remove;
Sorrow falls from him – like a drop of water from a lotus leaf.*

For interest, I’ve attached a photo of a Camel’s Foot Climber – the leaves (the reference to the māluvā viya). And here’s a nice little blog about how this vine looks and acts. Jeepers creepers!

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Not sure we’ll get up to this, but quickly, ‘jammī’ should be a fem. adj. modifying tanhā, no?

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And here I thought the locatives made sense …I enjoy reading these threads as they provide more grist for the mill…that will be ground in the future when competence to follow them fully is achieved :). Though I usually struggle to complete the assignments, each line translated brings some joy that even being incorrect doesn’t diminish all that much, it’s all steps closer to understanding the suttas. Thank you @BethL @Sobhana @stephen


Hello @stephen, is it possible for you to enable image sharing in the Zoom settings? Asking for when we have screenshots to share in the group chat.

Thank you!

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Dear Pali friends,
Here is Ven. Bodhi’s translation of Ven. Sona’s passage we discussed. The verb seems to make much more sense as an imperative.

"Therefore, Soṇa, resolve on a balance of energy, achieve evenness of the spiritual faculties, and take up the object there.”


Dear all,

I miss our regular weekly zoom get-togethers and I hope all your Pāli studies are going well. I am absolutely confident that Stephen has been looking after you very well indeed. Sādhu, sādhu :pray:

My apologies for not having even poked my head into any of the Pāli chatter on D&D over the last weeks, which I had intended to do. My wife and I are very much enjoying ourselves on our holidays so far and currently in the middle of a cruise along Norway’s fjords. This morning we are just pulling into Trondheim (Lat 63 N), just short of the Arctic Circle, which this evening we will cross. As you can imagine the scenery has been exhilarating! So I’ve had neither the time or headspace to answer any Pāli questions (or even read them!)

With mettā,


Yes but I am not able to sort out the cases. So have to think jammiṃ - taṇhaṃ is the accusative. What is jammī - taṇhā? Instumental?

And with regard to the latter, does that help us know that we translate sahatī as passive?

:elephant: :pray:t2:

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I would take esā, jammī, tanhā , and visattikā all as nominative, the subject. The object of the verb is yam (whomever).

So, literally, ‘this miserable craving, attachment, in the world, overcomes whomever’

I see Glenn Wallis has:
“Whomever this miserable craving,
this entanglement in the world, overcomes,”

which is nice.


Having missed the beginning of these series, I didn’t really bother to look more into it. With a rudimentary skill in Pāli, is it possible (or even desirable) to attend these classes partway through? Or should I hope for a fresh class whenever it pops up next. :slight_smile:

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I’m sure anyone with a sincere interest in learning the Pali language is welcome to attend these classes
If you have access to the textbook being used, have a look at the place the class is currently and see if it would work for you.


Echo to Beth’s message…

I was also stuck because ‘visattikā’ seems so ‘instrumental’ in the sentence, intead of nominative. So I was also looking for a way to work out sahatī as passive like Beth mentioned. Also, since the dictionary tells me ‘yaṃ’ is ‘whoever’ so I think sahatī must be passive. I must work hard on all the pronouns.

A deep bow of gratitude, Stephen. I will savor this recording.

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It’s all about working out what is nominative (who/what is doing the overcoming) and what is accusative (who/what is overcome).

In the first stanza Yaṃ esā sahatī jammī - taṇhā loke visattikā, yaṃ is accusative and esā jammī taṇhā visattikā are nominative. So ‘this wretched craving and attachment’ is doing the overcoming.

Whereas, in the second stanza Yo c’etaṃ sahatī jammiṃ - taṇhaṃ loke duraccayaṃ, yo is nominative and etaṃ jammiṃ taṇhaṃ is accusative, and that is what is overcome.

And thus in English these can be rendered with passive or active constructions, though in Pāḷi, in both examples sahati is an active verb.

Essentially, in the first stanza whom craving overcomes can be rendered in passive form who is overcome by craving.


Thank u … this makes sense now and augments Stephen’s explanation with the Glenn Wallis translation. It is, therefore, active in both instances. Per Mirror’s comment, knowing the precise meaning of the yaṃ pronoun makes a difference and I’m still in the pesky habit of ignoring those declensions :woozy_face:

:pray:t2: :elephant: