John Kelly’s Pāli Class 2024 (G&K) Class 7

Thread for discussing John Kelly’s Pāli Class (G&K) Class 7 for the class on April 28th / 29th 2024.

Meeting ID: 829 5896 1475
Passcode: anicca

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

Homework preparation for this class:

  1. Review G&K Lesson III Grammar, sections 1-5, pp. 33-36
  2. Study G&K Glossary III Glossary-1, pp. 30-32
  3. Study G&K Lesson III Grammar, sections 6-17, pp. 36-40
  4. Complete Lesson III, Initial Readings, pp.29-30

Hi John,

I just want to give you heads-up that I probably won’t be able to make class 7, as I have an extraordinarily busy weekend this week. I’ll be sure to catch the video and stay up on the homework.

Having not attempted the Warder class like some, and having never learned another language before, I may be a bit more green than some of my classmates, but I wanted to let you know that I haven’t given up yet and I’m enjoying the class so far.

See you the following week!


Does everyone else know when their local Vesak celebrations will be yet? I think ours might be 5/26. If enough students are MIA, might we have a byeweek?

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Sorry, Karuna, but I’d rather not for the following reasons.
a) different places celebrate Vesak on different days;
b) I assume most celebrations take place on Sunday morning, not evening;
c) quite a number in the class live in Australia, NZ, or SE Asia, where class is on a Monday, not Sunday;
d) but more importantly, due to my travel schedule in the middle of the year, we will have to miss quite a lot of class dates in June and July, and I don’t want to add to the number of missed dates.
More on my travel schedule later.


Hi James,

Four of the current students in the class did the Warder course with Bhante and myself, and another two of them did part of it. So they definitely have a head start. However, out of the others, only one or two have studied a little Pāli on the own in years past, and the majority of the class are as “green” as you in this.

I admit Pāli is challenging to learn and I’m really glad to hear that you won’t give up despite that, and am pleased that you are enjoying the class.

Keep at it!


Why was the first reading in Lesson 3 so difficult for me to translate? I couldn’t make heads or tales over the debate. Even with John’s 2023 translation on SuttaCentral:

One does not transmigrate and yet one reconnects.

Looking forward to John’s explanation tonight.

I also found this in a research paper:

The Milindapañha is a Buddhist philosophical dialogue between King Menander and the otherwise unknown Buddhist monk Nāgasena, who may have been an Indo-Greek monk of Gandhāra. It appears that it was not unusual for Indo-Greeks and Buddhists to engage in philosophical debates, while it has been put forward that several key portions of this Socratic-type dialogue are connected thematically and, to some extent, in their specific language to the twelfth and thirteenth edicts of Aśoka.

Source: When the Greeks Converted the Buddha: Asymmetrical Transfers of Knowledge in Indo-Greek Cultures by Georgios T. Halkias

So at the end of the day, it reads like a quasi-Greek dialogue. No wonder! :joy:

By the way, according to Wikipedia, John is only the second or third person besides Rhys Davids to have translated this into English. :hushed: :face_with_monocle: :hugs:


Ours is on 5/19. Planning to finish in time for the Pali Class!

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I seem to remember that it was Rhys-Davids’ favorite Pali text. And quite popular with Western minds!

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It feels like Greek philosophy (which I’m really bad at).

Meander comes from Greek Maiandros , an old name for a winding river in Asia Minorthat is now known as the Menderes . Despite this origin, the word is more commonly used to refer to a person’s wandering course than a river’s.

There must be a difference between Meander and Menander the king, no?

It’s not very clear if there really ever was a Bhante Nagasena, or if these conversations really took place, etc….

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I (in Thailand) read some of the dialogues when we were in primary school. :smile:


I don’t think there’s any connection with the word meander and the king Menander. (Unless the king came from the area of Greece where the Maiandros river was and his name is related to that - sounds like a stretch to me.)

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Here is the PDF of the Power-Point slides from today’s class 7:
SC Pali 2024 Class 7 Slides.pdf (1.1 MB)


This might be useless info for you, but I’m struggling with the exercises…

Too many grammar points in one lessons and the sentences in the exercises are too long or too complicated for my basic knowledge and brain cells.


Any specific questions about translating can be asked here.

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Indeed, it started as a thought experiment while we were discussing the sutta and became a spontaneous attempt at humour :smile:… if I had to subject myself to the King’s questions I may have felt like we were meandering down a creek!

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When does “koci” indicate a question? This was a very good point brought up in the class 7 discussion.
Looking at A Dictionary of Pali, there is koci1: " kāci , kiñci , see sv ka3" and koci2: " see sv ko7." The first option does not indicate a question, but, the second option leads to “7ko ind. [S. kva], where? in what?
Elsewhere there is the definition " ci ind. [S. cid], a particle used after interrogative pronouns and adverbs, making them indefinite".
So apparently Koci can sometimes indicate a question???

“anywhat” is an obsolete word, but based on this dictionary, could we translate atthi koci satto yo imamhā kāyā aññaṃ kāyaṃ saṃkamatîti, as “Is there a being anywhere which transmigrates from this body to another body?”


Not sure about ‘anywhere’?
Perhaps ‘any being’ or ‘some being’?

Literally, I would translate the sentence something like,
‘There is [is there]/ any / being/ that which / from this/ body/ another / body / transmigrates


kinnu kho so, padīpo padīpamhā saṃkamanto? “Is it indeed so, that the lamp would transmigrate from the other lamp?”
Is this an idiomatic use of the pali so , or is so the regular personal pronoun here?

so padīpo =
‘This lamp’ or ‘the lamp’.
(Referring to the lamp being lit in the previous clause)

Perhaps confusing because there are 2 lamps!

Just like some person might light a lamp from another lamp, is it that this (second) lamp is transmigrating from the (first) lamp?

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