John Kelly's Pāli Class 2024 (G&K) Class 2

Thread for discussing John Kelly’s Pāli Class (G&K) Class 2 for the class on March 17th/18th 2024.

Meeting ID: 829 5896 1475
Passcode: anicca

Homework preparation for this class:

  1. Review Gair and Karunatillake
    Introduction, Pages xi through xvi
  2. Study G & K Lesson 1
    Glossary (pages 2-4)
    Grammar (pages 4-11)
  3. Work through Lesson 1 Readings and write down your answers (pages 1-2)

First question :slight_smile:

buddhaṃ saraṇaṃ gacchāmi

gacchāmi is the main verb for the omitted object ‘I’. It is to be followed by an accusative case.
buddhaṃ is the object of gacchāmi.

What is the function of saraṇaṃ? Is it an apposition of buddhaṃ? (apposition = the use of a noun phrase immediately after or before another noun phrase that refers to the same person or thing)

Thank you.

Question 2

cittaṃ adantaṃ mahato anatthāya saṃvattatī

= Subject (+adjective) + indirect object (+adjective) + verb

I understand that Pali doesn’t care much about word order, but just in case there is a reason here…

Why does adantaṃ come after the noun it qualifies whilst mahato comes before the noun?


Question 3

cittaṃ, bhikkhave, adantaṃ mahato anatthāya saṃvattatīti

I can’t find saṃvattatīti, only saṃvattatī.

Can it be cittaṃ, bhikkhave, adantaṃ mahato anatthāya saṃvattati’ti?


You are right:

AN1.31:1.2: Cittaṁ, bhikkhave, adantaṁ mahato anatthāya saṁvattatī”ti.
A wild mind is very harmful.”


Thank you so much :pray: :sunflower:

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Actually, Dheerayupa, that’s not quite right. ‘I’ is the subject (not object) of this sentence, and it’s not really omitted - it’s there within the -āmi ending of the verb gacchati. That’s why Pāli doesn’t need to use a personal pronoun. It has them (ahaṃ = I) but only uses them for emphasis.

It is to be followed by an accusative case.
buddhaṃ is the object of gacchāmi.


What is the function of saraṇaṃ? Is it an apposition of buddhaṃ

Yes. Thus saraṇaṃ ia also in the accusative being a second object of gacchāmi (that is, in apposition).

Thus the sentence can be read literally as either:
“I go to the Buddha (who is) a refuge” or “I go to a refuge (which is) the Buddha.”


Question 2
Why does adantaṃ come after the noun it qualifies whilst mahato comes before the noun?

No strong reason, except that putting cittaṃ first emphasizes it.

Question 3
I can’t find saṃvattatīti, only saṃvattatī.

This is sandhi (joining) of saṃvattati + iti. Will discuss this in our next class.


Hello! I have a question. On page 8, the relative pronoun “ya-“ is discussed. How do you know when to use the masculine form “yo” and when to use the neuter form “yaṃ”? Is it determined by the gender of the ideas that it is connecting?

Hi Monty,
Good question. We will discuss this during our next lesson.
Whether the relative pronoun takes masculine or neuter form (or even feminine , not shown in Lesson 1) depends simply on the noun that it is referring to.
The man who sees me … masc yo.
The woman who talks to him … fem .
The refuge that is over the hill … neut yaṃ.


The lengthened final vowel at the end of the verb (ī) helps us understand that the end quote marker (ti) is there.

“I go to the Buddha refuge”
Verbs of motion take the accusative. Here the two accusatives are one thing.


Thank you very much :slight_smile: :sunflower:

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And, thanks to this G&K Lesson 1 reading, I now know the source for this metaphor in the suttas. I share this lovely image from a “faux” thangka on my office wall – a true inspiration for my meditation practice. (Whitish-looking spot is glare from my window.)

I shall not forget the meaning of adanta & danta now.


I believe ‘danta’ / ‘dameti’ is directly to our English word ‘domesticate’ i.e. to tame, to be able to bring in the domicile. (domus)


Indeed it is, Stephen!

Here’s the entry from the PED

  1. dameti (p. 315)

Dameti Dameti [Sk. damayati, caus. to dāmyati of *dam to bring into the house, to domesticate; Gr. δαμάω, δμητός; Lat. domare; Oir. dam (ox); Goth. tamjan=Ohg. zemman=Ags. temian=E. tame; to *demā of dama house, see dampati] to make tame, chastise, punish, master, conquer, convert Vin ii.196 (daṇḍena); M ii.102; Dh 80, 305 (attānaŋ); It 123 (ppr. [danto] damayataŋ seṭṭho [santo] samayataŋ isi); Miln 14, 386; PvA 54 (core d.=converted).

Great thangka picture, Beth!


Talking of danta, there is a typo in G & K, Lesson 1.
See p.10, section 7

G&K state here that cittaṃ adantaṃ means ‘subdued mind’, whereas it is the opposite.
danta = subdued, tamed and adanta = unsubdued, untamed, wild.


Is there a typo here? I assume bhiyyobhāva is masculine based on the word bhāva and bhiyyobhāvāya is supposed to be right inflection for dative masculine noun with -a ending.

Is it correct to decipher the text this way?

kusalānam (adjective agreement) dhammānam (genitive masculine plural) ṭhitiyā (dative feminine singular) asammosāya (dative masculine singular) bhiyyobhāvāya (dative masculine singular) vepullāya (dative neuter singular)


Yes, in grammar explanation #9 the masculine dative case ending is missing the macron. (bar above the a)
The reading itself, #4 on page 2, has it correct.

Your explanation of the gender and cases is right, good work!


Thank you very much. I like your Pali class videos. I only discovered them after the first class.

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You’re welcome.
All 12 lessons, Initial and Further, of G&K are covered in that series. I’m glad it’s helpful.