John Kelly's Pāli Class 2024 (G&K) Class 3

Thread for discussing John Kelly’s Pāli Class (G&K) Class 3 for the class on March 24th/25th 2024.

Meeting ID: 829 5896 1475

Passcode: anicca

Homework preparation for this class:

  1. Review Gair and Karunatillake Lesson I, Grammar and Vocabulary (pp. 2-11)
  2. Review your work through Lesson I Readings 3 and 4 (pp. 1-2), which we didn’t get to during class today and will go through together in our next lesson.
  3. Study G & K Lesson I vocabulary for Further Readings I (pp.12-13)
  4. Work through Lesson I Further Readings and write down your answers (pp. 11-12)

How does one know which is the right gender of relative pronoun for a particular sentence? Take the examples from Further Readings 1

Nāhaṁ, bhikkhave, aññaṁ ekadhammaṁ (accusative, singular, masc) pi (emphatic) samanupassāmi (singular, first person) yo (masculine, nominative) evaṁ (singular) saddhammassa (genitive singular) sammosāya (dative singular) antaradhānāya (dative singular) saṁvattati (singular, third person expects dative) yathayidaṁ, bhikkhave, pamādo (nom, singular, masc). Pamādo, bhikkhave, saddhammassa (genitive singular) sammosāya (dative singular) antaradhānāya (dative singular) saṁvattatīti (singular, third person expects dative)

Nāhaṁ, bhikkhave, aññaṁ ekarūpaṁ (accusative singular neuter) pi samanupassāmi yaṁ (neuter nominative) evaṁ purisassa (genitive masculine singular) cittaṁ (acc, neuter) pariyādāya (absolutive) tiṭṭhati (singular, 3rd person) yathayidaṁ, bhikkhave, itthirūpaṁ (nom, neuter).
Itthirūpaṁ, bhikkhave, purisassa cittaṁ pariyādāya tiṭṭhatīti

I assume that ekadhammaṁ (male) and ekarūpaṁ (female) determine the genders of the relative pronouns of their sentences. Is my assumption correct?

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The relative pronoun takes the gender of the noun for which it is substituting in the relative clause, and takes the case of it’s function in that clause. Thus, in your first example, it substitutes for pamada (masc.), and it is nominative since it is the subject of the clause verb saṃvattati. And, in your second example, it substitutes for ithirupa (neut., not fem.), and it is also nominative since it is the subject of the clause verb tiṭṭhati.


@WayChuang , @stephen @moderators Could one of our moderators move Way Chuang’s post over to Class 3 as it’s part of Class 3’s homework? That way any follow-on posts can be nested there. I don’t know which moderator to ask in this thread and don’t want to bother all of them.

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Hi @BethL,
I’ve done that now. Thanks for editing your post to add the @moderators tag. It wasn’t until after you did that that I actually noticed your request! :slight_smile:


@suaimhneas thank you! :pray:t3:

There’s one above it posted by Ven. @Sobhana beginning with * Nāhaṁ, bhikkhave, aññaṁ ekadhammampi samanupassāmi* which also needs to move over to Class 3.



Nāhaṁ, bhikkhave, aññaṁ ekadhammampi samanupassāmi yo evaṁ saddhammassa sammosāya antaradhānāya saṁvattati yathayidaṁ, bhikkhave, pamādo. ( “Monks, I do not see even a single quality which leads to the forgetting and disappearance of the True Teaching like heedlessness.”)
Main clause:
subject: āhaṃ (I,
verb: na samanupassāmi (do not see, present 1st person sg.)
object: ekadhammampi (even a single thing,

modified by relative clause:
Subject: yo (which, relative pronoun
yathayidaṃ (namely, indeclinable)
pamādo (heedlessness.
Verb: saṁvattati (leads, present 3rd person sg.)
evaṁ (thus, adv)
sammosāya (to forgetting,
antaradhānāya (to disappearance,
saddhammassa (of the True Teaching,


Thanks @BethL for letting us know. I moved that post here as well.


With regards to the noun adjective agreement where the adjective has to agree with the noun in gender, case and number. I’m a bit confused with the gender of adjective. How do we change the gender of an adjective? What is the gender of kusala? Is there an inflection that can be performed on the word kusala to change it to another gender?

Great question, Way Chuang. This is very poorly explained in G&K. Again, this is something I will talk about in the next lesson.

In brief: Adjectives do not have any intrinsic gender of their own. The -a stem ones, like kusala, do the following:

  1. When agreeing with a masc noun, then the adjective follows the masc -a stem noun paradigm, as on p.5.
  2. When agreeing with a neut noun, then the adjective follows the neut -a stem noun paradigm, also on p.5.
  3. When agreeing with a fem noun, then the adjective follows the fem -ā stem noun paradigm, as on p.18 (Lesson II).

That caught me by surprise, but it is logical as there is no -a ending for female nouns. Thank you very much for your patience.


So, to express small boy and girl, I assume that you have to do it this way in Pali:
small (inflected to masculine case) boy and small (inflected to feminine case) girl

In Pali adjectives don’t have fixed gender, they take the case , number, and gender of the nouns they modify.

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Another good question, Way Chuang.

Quoting from Warder, Lesson 11, p.61 - “Where the genders conflict, the masculine takes precedence over the feminine, the neuter over both.”

In other instances, the nouns might be combined in a compound, and the adjective will agree with the gender of the final word in the compound.

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Thank you, @johnk and @stephen

Question related to Lesson 1 Reading 4 first sentence – Cannot tell if the nouns are genitive and dative cases? :expressionless:

Bhikkhu… anuppannānaṃ pāpakānaṃ akusalānaṃ dhammānaṃ anuppādāya chadaṃ janeti; vāyamati; viriyaṃ ārabhati, cittaṃ paggaṇhāti; padahati.

In this sentence, I can tell which words are verbs. But for the nouns, I can only work out chadaṃ is ‘masculine, accusative, singular’ and is a direct object of janeti, I cannot distinguish if the other nouns are dative or genitive case just by looking at their endings.

anuppādāya – seems to be dative if we translate it into ‘for non-arising’

But for the word dhammānaṃ - if we translate ‘dhammānaṃ anuppādāya’ as ‘for non-arising of dhamma’ then it should be genitive? But the case ending suggests it can be dative too. However, it does not sound right if we translate it into ‘for non-arising for dhamma’. So dhammānaṃ CANNOT be dative. It must be genitive?

If dhammānaṃ is genitive, then anuppannānaṃ pāpakānaṃ akusalānaṃ should all be genitive as they are adjectives qualifying dhammānaṃ?

But my line of thinking is weird, because I am using a translation mind to determine the case of the nouns but not to work out the case through the context… :dizzy_face:

Confused and need help. Grateful for any advice. Thanks a lot.


Often starting from the end of a phrase, usually where the verb is, and working backwards is helpful. So we have the verb janeti ‘one generates’, then chandaṃ which you correctly state is the direct object of this verb (masc, acc, sg), ‘desire’. Then, you’re right again - anuppādāya is dative, ‘for the non-arising’.

Then the four previous words , anuppannānaṃ pāpakānaṃ akusalānaṃ dhammānaṃ, three adjectives and a noun, all genitive plural, describe what one is generating the desire for the non-arising of - i.e., of unarisen, evil, unwholesome mental states.

Hope that helps.


Been struggling with No. 3 for a long time. I somehow got the Pali sentence wrong as well as the punctuation.

Finally found it on SuttaCentral…

Micchādiṭṭhikassa, bhikkhave, anuppannā c’eva akusalā dhammā uppajjanti uppannā ca akusalā dhammā bhiyyobhāvāya vepullāya saṃvattanti.

I don’t know how to translate c’eva nicely, so I’ll omit it for the time being. My version is very wordy, but it reflects how I understand this sentence:

For one with wrong view, unskilful quality that is not yet born arises, and unskillful quality that has already arisen leads to growth and full development.

Did I get it wrong somewhere and how, please?

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Thanks John. I understand for now. Will keep watching out for sentences with similar structure. Best regards.

I’m not sure I would translate ‘uppanna’ as ‘born’. (and differently than the verb form. )

Keep in mind ‘dhammā’ is plural.

‘C’eva’ is just a ca reflected back and the emphatic.

You have omitted the vocative.