Pali translation help

I been translating a poem I wrote into pali and I’ve been having difficulty translating one verse
“As I let go of the boundaries of time and place”
Which means I would have to put the genitive of odhi, kāla, and of whatever word I’m going to use for place. But how do I have the word odhi as the patient of the verb muñcami (I free) and still keep them all in the genitive case

What do you mean by “place”?


Well, in verse you have quite a bit of freedom in terms of word order, synonyms, and the like. But the explicit construction for this would be something like:

muñcāmi kālassa ca ṭhānassa ca odhiṁ

The English “let go of” is a phrasal verb meaning “release”. It is not represented by the genitive, but by the accusative.


What about using the demonstrative pronoun tad as a definite article like the english “the”
yathāhaṃ tesānaṃ odhīnaṃ ca kālassa ca ṭhānassa muñcāmi

This may sometimes be necessary, but not in the present case. If the definite article in an English clause can be dropped with no alteration to the clause’s meaning, then it certainly doesn’t need translating into Pali. This seems to be the case with:

As I let go of the boundaries of time and place…

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So I don’t have to use the genitive and it make more sense that way anyways as well as simplifying the sentence

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You still need the genitive. If you want to leave it out then you’d need to join the three words into a compound. For example:

muñcāmi kālaṭṭhānodhiṃ
= muñcāmi kālassa ca ṭhānassa ca odhiṁ


muñcāmi kāladesodhiṃ
= muñcāmi kālassa ca desassa ca odhiṁ

(using desa instead of ṭhāna, because this often goes together with kāla in the texts)


= muñcāmi antarassa ca ṭhānassa ca odhiṁ

(using antara instead of kāla, because the genitive kālassa has the idiomatic meaning “in the morning”. If you opt for this, then you’ll have to forego making a compound because antaraṭṭhāna already has a fixed and unrelated meaning)

Finally, if you don’t mind the extra syllables, you might want to consider the lovely word mariyādā (or even pariyanta) as an alternative to the odd and odious odhi.


So the word for boundaries would take the accusative case and adding ahaṃ to the text would be unnecessary


It would be optional. In prose it’s most often left out. In verse it’s put in or left out according to what best fits the metre you’re using. When it’s put in, it might appear in various forms (e.g., ahaṃ muñcāmi; muncāmi’haṃ; muñcām’ahaṃ), again depending on what the metre requires.

yatha ahaṃ muñcāmi kālaṭṭhānassa ca odhiṃ
Will compounding kāla make it less idiomatic

No. But if you’re going to compound the words, you don’t need ca any more.

I’m not sure that yathā is the word you want for ‘as’ here.

Do you intend ‘as’ to indicate that something else was happening at the time when you were letting go of boundaries? Or do you wish to compare the manner of your letting go of boundaries to the manner in which something else occurs?

Yathā would only be used for the latter.

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What word would I use as “as”

There are a number of constructions one can use to show the simultaneity of two actions or occurrences, but the commonest of these would entail the use of participles (e.g., the present participle in the genitive case) rather than conjunctions or adverbs.

To be able to suggest a natural one, it would help if you would state what the next line of your poem is.

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Here’s the whole poem

The comforting solitude
in the darkness of the night

Eternity in a teardrop
A glimmer of light
As I breathe I enter
the mystery of the night
As the tree branches
gently touch the moonlight
As I let go of the boundaries
of time and place
As I hold you in my heart
in the solace of the darkness
of the night

Okay. For each of the “As…” sentences I would use a similar construction to that in the Ānāpānassatisutta:

dīghaṃ assasanto … pajānāti.
Breathing in long, he understands …

In other words, the first verb will be in the present participle nominative singular; the second will be a finite verb in the present indicative first person singular.

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How do you combine the genitive for darkness(tamaso/tamassa) and the genitive for night(rattiyā/rattyā) into a compound word?

The comforting solitude
of the darkness of night


In a genitive compound the owner comes first, then the owned. So if you’re going to use tama and ratti, the compound will be rattitama.

In Pali texts, however, the usual words for the ‘darkness of night’ are rattandha­kā­ra or rattandha­kā­ra­timisā. I don’t think rattitama is to be met with in any texts at all.

The genitive singular forms would be rattitamassa, rattandha­kā­rassa and rattandha­kā­ra­timisāya.

Assāsakaraṇo viveko / assāsako viveko / assāsakaraṇaviveko / assāsakaviveko

But if you want it in the locative case (as seems to the case in your earlier post), then replace all the -o endings with an -e.

Is andhakāratimisa masculine or neuter
I think I want to translate
The comforting solitude
in the darkness of the night

Timisa by itself appears in both a feminine and a neuter form, but in the compound andhakāratimisā the attested forms are all feminine.

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