DN 26 presents a Buddhist apocalypse, the utter demise of society. Beings end up with swords in their hands, with no thought in mind but killing. After hiding for a period, they emerge and see each other for the first time. They embrace and shout words of celebration.
‘diṭṭhā, bho, sattā jīvasi, diṭṭhā, bho, sattā jīvasī’ti.
The words seem fairly standard. Diṭṭha is a common word for “seen”, and satta is “being”. A literal translation would then be:
“(You are) seen, good being, you live! (You are) seen, good being, you live!
It’s a bit unusual to refer to another person as “being”, but well, unusual things happen.
Rhys Davids translated it:
“Hail, O mortal, that thou livest still! O happy sight to find thee still alive!”
Maurice Walshe has:
“Good beings, I see that you are alive!”
But none of this is grammatical. The vocative address is bho (singular, “sir”, “my good man!”), agreeing with the singular verb (jīvasi). However, diṭṭhā and sattā under this reading must be plural. This puzzled me for a long time and I just chalked it up to a faulty transmission.
In fact, neither of these words are what they seem.
In my previous translation, I realized that diṭṭhā is Sanskrit diṣṭyā, an expression of glee and rejoicing: “fantastic, how fortunate”, per dn16:2.24.5 and ja81:1.4.
I only just now realized that sattā must be nominative singular for sattar (“enemy”), not plural of satta (“being”) which disagrees with both verb and vocative in number.
Thus for what I believe is the very first time, let me unveil an accurate translation of this sentence:
‘Fantastic, dear foe, you live! Fantastic, dear foe, you live!’
Much more dramatic!
The punctuation in the Mahasangiti edition is also incorrect. Since jīvasi is second person, sattā must be a vocative.
‘diṭṭhā, bho sattā, jīvasi, diṭṭhā, bho sattā, jīvasī’ti.