Thag 742, 'dhammagatā' - what is gatā? 'Direction'?

In Thag 742 we have:

and whatever happiness is principled,
yā ca dhammagatā rati;

Here’s the link

Norman gives:

and what pleasure is concerned with the doctrine

I’m wondering what the ‘gatā’ in dhammagatā is.
Is it gati, ‘direction’? That’s feminine, so is it nominative?

So if that’s all right, is it meaning something like this?

And whatever pleasure that is directed to dhamma

Under gatha I also find ‘being in or having come into a state or condition.’ With this sense could it be something like this?

And whatever pleasure that is of the dhamma

Anyone any thoughts?


dhammagatā - connected with (/ referring to) the higher meritful dhamma such as settling meditation (samatha) and insight meditation (vipassanā)
rati means being attached, loving or liking for

Liking for meditation practices (or eight fold path) is dhammagatā rati.
Rati here refers to a love like the love in “Sabbaṃ ratiṃ dhammarati jinātī” (dhammapada-354)
The love of the Dhamma surpasses all other loves,Taṇhā Vagga

dhammagatā satī is the mindfulness towards the dhamma delivered by the buddha which is well declared saṅghagatā satī likewise
The famous word kāyagatā satī is the practice of mindfulness relating to 32 body parts or dead bodies or four great elements etc.

Note: gatā - went, having attained (right) knowledge; connected with, referring to, concerning: kāya relating to the body (kāyagatā sati,) (PTSdict. 272.)

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Thanks for addressing this, it looks like I overlooked it at the time!

It’s an interesting construction, and an unusual phrase.

Here, dhammagatā acts as an adjective qualifying rati. Rati is feminine, so dhammagatā follows.

The suffix -gata has quite a broad range of senses and need not always be explicitly translated. Here it strengthens the sense that the “joy” (rati) is connected to or grounded on the dhamma (as opposed to worldly pleasures, for which rati is also used.)

While dhamma frequently means the “teaching” or “doctrine”, I feel this is an overly narrow sense in this case. Basically it means joy that is grounded in wholesome and good principles.