Tissa vacanīyaṁ

SN22.22 provides several question^answer pairs of the type

Katamo ca, bhikkhave, bhāro?
Pañcupādānakkhandhā tissa vacanīyaṁ.

And what is the burden? The five grasping aggregates, it should be said. (Sujato)

And what, bhikkhus, is the burden? It should be said: the five aggregates subject to clinging. (Bodhi)

Bhikkhu Bodhi and Ven @Sujato agree on it should be said. Could someone help me parse this phrase please?

Tissa looks like a personal pronoun in the GEN/DAT but the nearest forms in Bhikkhu Ñāṇatusita’s table are tisso and tissā, and NOM taṃ/tad-/se/tadam would be the more probable case. Can tissa be nominative?

The PTSD says that vacanīya is an ADJ, being a gerundive formation from vacana meaning to be spoken to, to be answered. If so why is it inflected as (apparently) ACC Sg? Also why doesn’t it agree with -khandhā which appears to be straightforwardly NOM Pl?

I don’t find support for tissa as a demonstrative pronoun, but it would be nice if it had adeictic function referring back to the head noun in the question, bhāro. Then the quotation might be rendered, And what, Venerables, is the burden? It should/could be called the five grasping aggregates?

(I am wondering if the Pāḷi verbs that get translated with English infinitival forms in the passive are a special class that I’ve not yet studied.)

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From the meaning view, I think “it should be said” is an emphasis on “subject to clinging,” as it’s possible for the aggregates to be neutral.

Hi @Gillian,

I’m far from an expert. I can, however, say this. First, a gerundive is not the same as a gerund. Only the latter is indeclinable. Second, I think tissa = ti (thus)+ assa (should be). Look up assa and scroll down to the bottom. The potential (aka optative) expresses possibility, obligation, etc.

David

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Thanks @JDavid. I’m a beginner so I’d be surprised if my questions require an expert. Thank you for your help. :pray:

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Hi @Gillian.

Look for “ti 'ssa” in “Reading the Buddha’s Discourses in Pāli”. Here’s a link to a teaser. I find decoding Sandhi the hardest thing about Pali.

David.

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You’re not the only one!!! Yet, each instance one cracks, there’s this beautiful phonologic logic (interesting pun) to it. Thanks for the direct link. :smiley:

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I find it much easier to keep track of these forms by using the terms, ‘future passive participle’ and ‘absolutive’ rather than PED’s gerundive and gerund.
PED’s abbreviations grd. and ger. seem to cause endless confusion!

Stephen

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Indeed, but one still needs to consult the PED and remember which is which … I’ll get a postit note and inscribe
gerund = absolutive
gerundive = future passive participle

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I’m going straight for the tattoo.

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Years later I’m like-
ger?, grd? = omg! back to the list of abbreviations again??

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We all need front of body tatooing.

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Perhaps Bhante @sujato and the team could eventually modify the source of the PED or the presenting code for consistency with the NCPED.

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what is NPED?
I don’t know that one, only PED, DOP & CPD…

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Sorry @stephen ,

That was my type for the NCPED (New Concise Pali English Dictionary), a supplement of SuttaCentral’s dictionary functionality maintained by Bhante @sujato . see this link.

David.

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