John Kelly's Pāli Class 2024 (G&K) Class 4

Thank you for pointing these out to everybody, Beth.

(Unless these are somehow alternative spellings.)

No they are not!

You are an excellent proofreader! I like it.


sammanti + idha > sammantīdha. It’s a sandhi not a compound, similar to lesson 1, §5.2. This is one of the greatest statements in the entire Canon.


Gil Fronsdal’s translation with a footnote to helpfully explains his thought about averena.

Hatred never ends through hatred.
By non-hate alone does it end.
This is an ancient truth.

Vera, here translated as “hatred,” can also be rendered as “enmity” or “hostility.” It is less clear how to translate avera, because in Pali the negative prefix a- can refer either to the absence of what is being negated or to its opposite. In the few occurrences of avera else- where in the Pali discourses of the Buddha, the term refers simply to the absence of hate. DhpA explains that avera refers to the absence of hate, as well as the presence of patience and loving-kindness. To translate avera as “love” probably does not do justice to the original. (See Ivo Fiser, “Pāli averam, Dhammapada 5,” in A.K. Narain, ed., Studies in Pali and Buddhism: A Memorial Volume in Honor of Bhikkhu Jagdish Kasyap (New Delhi: B.R. Publishing, 1979), pp. 93-97.) “Truth” in the final line is a translation of dhammo.


Yes, translating this word literally seems a better choice than substituting a positive, which of course exists in Pali.

‘Love’ is a word that has such a broad range of meaning (the Pali word that’s often given as a translation, ‘pema’, seems to have negative connotations), it seems a risky translation choice.

‘Mettā’ seems to generate a lot of discussion about translation choices, I learned recently that the most common rendering, ‘loving-kindness’ comes from the King James Bible.
It seems the best to me, perhaps because I’m so used to it.

Similar questions can be raised about the common terms, alobha amoha adosa- should they be retained in translation as negatives or given a positive word? Again, Pali words exist for the positives yet the negated forms are used.


Exactly right!
There is no semantic relationship between these two words as there would be in a compound.
Thanks, Ayya.


Hi @johnk . I apologize for missing this weeks class, as I have been travelling most of the week on spring vacation. I will watch the video and see you in Class 5!

Thanks for letting me know, James.
See you next week!


I just checked the Google Drive for the recording and didn’t find it in there. Please upload when you can. Thank you again!

Please check with @Sumana. She kindly handles these.

Is this peculiar to the broader Indo-language family, Stephen (or do you know)? It seems like a lot of people in the US lay community have issues with the negative forms as though they somehow convey a nihilistic tone to early Buddhist teachings. So I see people trying to explain it away with the positive forms.

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@johnk I’m not finding the Class 5 thread. Am I somehow missing it?

With gratitude :pray:t3:

Well, it seems English, as well as Pali, has negated forms.
Amoral/wicked, apathetic/ cold, indifferent.
I’m not sure why a term like ‘non-hatred’ would seem nihilistic?
(I suppose one could argue it’s not “really” an English word. )

The ‘alpha privative’ seems common in many Indo-European languages.


The main one that comes to mind:

The “alpha privative” info is really helpful!

The literal sense of an-ālaya would be without a resting place, collecting place. ‘Hima + ālaya’ is a place where snow collects…
The extended meaning is without clinging or attachment, ‘non-adherence’.

It’s used in the famous Dhammacakkappavattana sutta to describe the truth of cessation of dukkha, next to cāgo, patinissaggo, and mutti.


Bhante Suddhāso recently gave a really good brief discussion on this. Good points of consideration to both to a translator and practitioner.
I could only clip 60 seconds of it, here’s a snippet where he zeroes in on the integrity of translating beyond the Buddha’s instructions of a “non” word.

But he actually start around 5:33 & goes further to 8:00, so it’s nice to hear the whole passage, if you can. The point that struck with me the most was - it’s a lot more feasible to start with eradication of a negative, than to cultivate the positive. And, even managing to do “only” that, is already a purified state.


I’m not finding the Class 5 thread. Am I somehow missing it?

Have you found the Class 5 thread yet, Beth? If not, go to this web page:

and you should see all the Pāli class related threads.

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I suppose the issue is literal vs less literal translations, which is a big issue for translators of all languages. To say that using something other than the ‘not-x’ translation is ‘not correct’ seems a bit of a stretch.
Surely, for instance, one can cultivate mettā to counteract unfriendliness or hatred.

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I suppose my original question is best suited for the “miscellaneous” pāli thread but oh well!

Karuna, this is really helpful. I will listen to it in its entirety soon… the snippet with Bhante Suddhāso captures what we’re talking about. Stephen, I hear what you’re saying from a translator’s perspective – with the caveat that I’m a neophite translator and totally ignorant of the craft :rofl: (except for French to English).

After I listen to the whole talk I’ll get a better sense of the context. Stephen, where you’re noting that his statement in the snippet seems a bit of an overreaction (my words), I wonder if he’s talking to the glossing habit I’ve noticed within the lay communities I’ve been immersed in over the years. This is not to criticize the “glossers” but to inquire into a tendency that, potentially, has downstream effects of how dhamma is taught by lay people.

Which brings me back to the original goal of learning pāli for myself :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:.

Thanks for the discussion!

:pray:t3: :elephant:

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Hi Beth, I am wondering about your intended use of the word “glossing”. I understand that as the practice of annotating passages of text, part of active reading, like in this article

Ven. Sobhana, thank you. I think I may be mis-using the term, based on the article you shared:

Glossing and Annotating are synonyms of one another, meaning they are defined in similar ways. They refer to writing a brief summary of a passage as a kind of shorthand or guide to the content or purpose of that passage. You may also gloss or annotate by highlighting, underlining, or circling important passages and writing quick notes or questions. It’s useful as you edit, examine a challenging text, or return to relevant passages as we marshal our research for papers. Glossing and annotating helps writers understand what they have written, the relationships between their ideas, how to reorganize those ideas, which ideas need substantiation, and even how to rephrase some ideas.

Maybe what I mean is “kind of do a global translation of a term to make it sound less direct”? As in, if it’s too direct it’s as if we lay students won’t like what it’s really saying? I don’t mean to offend anyone and I respect all my dear lay teachers who have taught me with such warmth, clarity, and effort over the years.


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