Miscellaneous Pāli Class Topics

Thanks for letting us know. Just one thing, remember to keep reinforcing! All you’ve learned is already slipping from your minds, manifesting impermanence with every moment.

Try to do at least a little bit every day, even just reciting Pali for a few minutes. Keep it alight, let those neural pathways burn deep.



Dear Ayya @Vimutti. Thanks for your message. I’m sorry to see you go.
As Bhante wisely says in his response, keep working on your Pāli - even if just a little bit every day!


That’s a beautiful verse. Thanks Bhante, I’ll do my best to follow this advice. Thanks @johnk!

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Dear Bhante @sujato, @Johnk, @stephen,

I’m looking for a quote in a Pali grammar book (preferably online) that explains that when the sutta says ‘Bhikkhus’ (plural), it could mean both male and female Buddhist mendicants. I would like to use this ‘scholarly info’ for the ‘Note’ section of my ‘future’ Thai translation clarifying why I choose certain words that are different from the Thai convention.

Thank you in advance.


I’m afraid I’m not aware of such an explanation or quote.
There is mention, sometimes, of the ‘4-fold assembly.’

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Thank you. I was hoping that a Pali grammar scholar may have mentioned it somewhere so that I can cite them. If I can’t find such info, it would be a bit difficult for me to render a new version of the Thai translation, without academic hard evidence presented alongside.

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This JBE article is my go-to reference for this point.

They don’t cite any of the traditional Pāli grammarians, however they do cite some of the traditional commentaries as agreeing with their inclusive gloss.


Thank you, Venerable.

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Thank you for the reference to this article, Ven. Khemarato.

I’ve always taken the terms bhikkhave and bhikkhu to be gender-inclusive in most of the Pāli suttas, @Dheerayupa . In fact, I think a number of them would even be considered person-inclusive, that is including lay people as well. Particularly, many of the fundamental suttas on meditation practice and right behaviour, etc.


I agree that these vocatives should generally not be taken as exclusionary.

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The commentary to MN10 even goes as far as taking bhikkhave to include devas.

“Bhikkhave” ti dhammapaṭiggāhakapuggalālapanametaṃ. Bhikkhūti paṭipattisampādakapuggalanidassanametaṃ. Aññepi ca devamanussā paṭipattiṃ sampādentiyeva, seṭṭhattā pana paṭipattiyā bhikkhubhāvadassanato ca, ‘‘bhikkhū’’ti āha. Bhagavato hi anusāsaniṃ sampaṭicchantesu bhikkhu seṭṭho, sabbappakārāya anusāsaniyā bhājanabhāvato, tasmā seṭṭhattā ‘‘bhikkhū’’ti āha. Tasmiṃ gahite pana sesā gahitāva honti rājagamanādīsu rājaggahaṇena sesaparisā viya. Yo ca imaṃ paṭipattiṃ paṭipajjati, so bhikkhu nāma hotīti paṭipattiyā bhikkhubhāvadassanatopi ‘‘bhikkhū’’ti āha. Paṭipannako hi devo vā hotu manusso vā, ‘‘bhikkhū’’ti saṅkhaṃ gacchatiyeva. Yathāha:

‘‘Alaṅkato cepi samaṃ careyya,
Santo danto niyato brahmacārī;
Sabbesu bhūtesu nidhāya daṇḍaṃ,
So brāhmaṇo so samaṇo sa bhikkhū’’ti.

“Bhikkhus”. This is a term for addressing persons who accept the teaching.

Bhikkhu is a term to indicate a person who earnestly endeavors to accomplish the practice of the teaching. Others, devas and humans, too, certainly strive earnestly to accomplish the practice of the teaching, but because of the excellence of the bhikkhu-state by way of practice, the Master said: “Bhikkhu.” For amongst those who accept the teaching of the Buddha, the bhikkhu is the highest owing to fitness for receiving manifold instruction. Further, when that highest kind of person, the bhikkhu, is reckoned, the rest too are reckoned, as in regard to a royal procession and the like, when the king is reckoned, by the reckoning of the king, the retinue is reckoned.

Also the word “bhikkhu” was used by the Buddha to point out the bhikkhu-state through practice of the teaching in this way: “He who practices this practice of the arousing of mindfulness is called a bhikkhu.” He who follows the teaching, be he a deva or a human, is indeed called a bhikkhu. Accordingly it is said:

“Well-dressed one may be, but if one is calm,
Tamed, humble, pure, a man who does no harm
To aught that lives, that one’s a brahman true.
An ascetic and mendicant too.”
(tr. Soma Thera)

So this is the term at its most inclusive.

At the other end of the spectrum we find bhikkhave very narrowly defined as referring only to the bhikkhus who were present on that occasion. Between these two poles the commentaries offer half a dozen or so gradations in different contexts. For example, in the commentary to the fourth bhikkhu pārājika rule the phrase “bad bhikkhus” is said to also include bad bhikkhunīs, sikkhamānās, sāmaṇeras and sāmaṇerīs.


Dear Venerable,

Where is the source of the quote, please? :pray:

I need to write an introduction to my Thai version to explain why I choose certain words as well as what some words really mean as the Thai language has borrowed lots of Pali words, but their meanings have changed over time.

To ensure readers that I’m not choosing to do things because I ‘like’ it, I need academic or scholarly references. :slight_smile:

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I’m not Venerable, but as quoted above it’s the commentary to Majjhima Nikaya 10, right?

Bhikkhave” ti dhammapaṭiggāhakapuggalālapanametaṃ. Bhikkhūti

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This seems very relevant also.


I followed the link, but couldn’t find the quoted paragraph. :grin: Apologies for being clumsy around the high technology.

อรรถกถา มัชฌิมนิกาย, มูลปัณณาสก์, มูลปริยายวรรค, สติปัฏฐานสูตร

Here’s the Pali in Thai script (Scroll down to: ภิกฺขเวติ ธมฺมปฏิคฺคาหกปุคฺคลาลปนเมตํ).

And the Mahamakut Thai translation


Thank you so much. And the English version is from this?



Yes. Sí. Oui. Ja. Jú. ใช่. יאָ טאַקע.

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Is the aorist agamāsi the same for both gacchati and āgacchati? If so, I don’t understand the difference between came and went.

The impetus for this question is Chapter 19 where Warder gives āgameti as the causative form of āgacchati meaning to wait in English. Here’s an example he uses, referencing use of the infinitive (he also lists the root ā-gam in the vocab list):

nāhaṃ sakkomi…pañca vassāni āgametuṃ =
I cannot…wait for five years

This led me down the path of realizing I don’t know what the aorist is for gacchati vs āgacchati. I used all available resources and can’t find an answer. Alas, I can wait for five years if that’s how long it takes…


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Hi, here are pieces of the PED entries for the two verbs, various aorist forms given for each.
One major difference is the long vs short a that begins each verb.

Āgacchati Āgacchati [ā + gacchati, gam ] to come to or towards, approach, go back, arive etc.
I. Forms (same arrangement as under gacchati): (1) √gacch : pres. āgacchati D i.161; J ii.153; Pv iv.151; fut. āgacchissati J iii.53; aor. āgacchi Pv ii.133; PvA 64. — (2) √gam : aor. āgamāsi PvA 81, āgamā D i.108; J iii.128, and pl. āgamiŋsu J i.118; fut. āgamissati VvA 3; PvA 122; ger. āgamma (q. v.) & āgantvā J i.151; Miln 14; Caus. āgameti (q. v.). — (3) √ : aor. āgā Sn 841; Pv i.123 (= āgacchi

Gacchati Gacchati [Vedic gacchati

aor. agacchi (VvA 307; v. l. agañchi). — (2) gam˚ in three variations; viz. (a) gam˚, in pres. caus. gameti; fut. gamissati; aor. 3 sg. agamā (Sn 408, 976; Vv 797; Mhvs vii.9), agamāsi & gami