SuttaCentral

Pali-monk-names

Hi,
Is there in the internet a list with many pali-monk-names?
All the best to you.

Hi @AndrejDelany, not sure what you’re looking for, but the classic go to for nes (edit: names) in general would be the Buddhist Dictionary of Pali Proper Names

(This seems to be an updated version of it)

Fun fact: Hundreds of years ago, the large numbers of monks in Sri Lanka had so many Pali names in common, that they developed a tradition of adding their hometown to their name, to tell them apart.

Hence the real full name of Bhante G (Gunaratana) is Henepola Gunaratana, as he’s from the little town of Henepola. Some town names are funny, giving life-long awkwardness to the poor monk. (Think of Frog Pond, NC.)

This tradition was continued in my home monastery in the USA, leading - to our amusement - to Riverside Rahula, Detroit Dhamma, and me - Charlotte Sudhamma.

11 Likes

Thank you, Venerable.
I am looking for a list of names for bhikkhus or bhikkhunis in pali that are commonly used.

No such list exists. In English at least. I’m sure you already searched before you asked.

In western countries many people choose their own names or select words that might not usually be used as a name. Some teachers might select a name that is appropriate to a postulant’s character, or is something that they need to aspire to develop. Or it might reference a lineage name.

I know in some Asian countries a name might be allocated to a monk or nun based on the day of the week they were born, and they may have some names to choose from that corresponds to that day. Or they might give a name that sounds similar to the given name. In Thailand monks don’t usually use their ordination name in daily life, using their given name or nick name instead.

Venerable Charlotte’s recommendation was a good one. And the Therigatha and Theragatha is also a fine source of names of nuns and monks at the time of the Buddha.

7 Likes

This one has been around for ages, but then monk’s names don’t change that much …

http://www.myanmarnet.net/nibbana/namedata.htm

3 Likes

thanks, both of you.

1 Like

Ah, good find! Well done.

2 Likes

I’d be a little careful with using this list. First off, there are no diacritics, so that makes it difficult unless you know the Pali. Second, Some are either not Pali, or are written in very non-standard ways. Probably because of the unique Burmese pronunciation.

  • Eindacara
  • Tezinda
  • Kawthanla
  • Zeya
  • Wannadhaza
  • Waiponla

But there are some good names there, of course. I believe most of the listed monk names could be nun’s names if you lengthened the final vowel. If you care about those things.

In Sri Lanka it is very common to pair up two pali words to create a name. Most of the time you could pull them apart and mix and match them with other bisected names.

3 Likes

“And thus Ven. Elephant-trainer’s Son [11] became another one of the arahants.”—-DN 9

Note 11: Mv.I.74 indicates that it was considered a sign of respect to refer to a monk by his clan name.

2 Likes