Pāli Meaning: Should "sambahula" here denote just "some" and not "many"?

In the Brahmajālasutta we find the sentence: “Atha kho sambahulānaṃ bhikkhūnaṃ rattiyā paccūsasamayaṃ paccuṭṭhitānaṃ maṇḍalamāḷe sannisinnānaṃ sannipatitānaṃ ayaṃ saṅkhiyadhammo udapādi --”

Often sambahula is translated as “many” and also the dictionary (PED, Childers) gives this meaning. The commentary however seems to speak of only three, consisting sambahula. In such a case would it not be more proper to add also the meaning “some” and to to translate accordingly in the above passge? Or is there any specific usage in this sense documented?

In mettā
A. Bhikkhu


Yes, generally speaking sambahula is better translated by “several” than “many”.

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