Part 20 - Lesson #14

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Lesson 14

Indefinite Pronoun

The indeclinable particle ci(d) is added to inflected interrogative pronouns to form indefinite pronouns:

indefinite pronoun
ko cianyone, someone
kassa ci of anyone
kiñ cianything, some ( of kiṃ assimilated to c, becoming the palatal nasal)
with relative:
yaṃ kiñ ciwhatever
with the negative:
na kiñ cinothing, none at all


 "The junction form cid often appears when another word follows closely.


Optative Tense

 The optative (or "potential") (sattamī) tense is used for any hypothetical action. It may be translated by "should", "would", "may", etc.. It is formed from the present stem of all conjugations with special inflections:

3rd person bhaveyya
"he should be", "could be", "may be".
2nd personbhaveyyāsibhaveyyātha
1st personbhaveyyaṃ (also bhaveyyāmi)bhaveyyāma

 From other conjugations (all have the e stem):

man (III)maññeyyahe should think
kar (VI) kareyyahe should do
dis (VII)deseyyahe may teach

 The verb as, "to be", has two forms of optative tense, though there is little distinction of meaning. The first type is much more frequent, the second more elevated or "poetic", only the 3rd person singular being used regularly:

3rd person assa
"there would be"
2nd personassaassatha
1st personassaṃassāma

3rd person siyā
"there may be", "there would be", "it might be"
siyaṃsu (rarely used)
2nd person(sipā)-
1st person(siyaṃ)-

The bracketed forms are sometimes found in poetry.

Sometimes assa and siyā are used together in one sentence, and it is this which makes it convenient to have two different forms. Thus:

siyā kho pana bhoto rañño evam assa
"but it might be (that) of his majesty (bhoto) the king there would be thus (thought, idea)".

On the whole siyā is used as optative of atthi, whilst assa is used as optative of hoti.

Thus siyā is used quite frequently in philosophical discourse to assert a possibility, in contrast to the categorical atthi and n'atthi. Like atthi, siyā may be used for the plural as well as the singular.

The range of meaning of the optative includes a mild form of command or a strong injunction, as well as requests, invitations, wishes, possibilities, suppositions, and hypotheses.

 The hypothetical meaning is by far the most usual one.

 When a relative or other subordinate clause expresses a condition on which a main clause depends, its verb may be in the optative, depending on the degree of uncertainty. There is, however, a tendency for both verbs, of the main and subordinate clauses, to be in the same tense (by "attraction" or assimilation). Thus if the effect of the condition is quite hypothetical (as: "if you ask, he may accept", sace … yāceyyāsi … atha … adhivaseyya) both verbs are usually in the optative.

On the other hand if the result is considered certain and factual (by the speaker or writer, in narrative by the narrator but not necessarily by the speaker he quotes) both verbs may be in the present tense (as "if a virtuous man approaches an assembly, he approaches without shame");

 or both may be in the future if instead of an "eternal truth", as above, a particular future action is considered (as: "if I have them salute (future of causative) one by one, the fortunate one will be (future) unsaluted by them (all) before daybreak";

Different tenses may also be used: "as … he explains (present), so … you should (must) report (optative)" (command of a king to an emissary) = yathā ... vyākaroti taṃ ... āroceyyāsi;

 The optative is often used after the idiom ṭhānaṃ … vijjati yaṃ … "there exists (present) the case that … (optative of the possible action or event)"

There is also a conditional tense in Pali, but it is not often used, being restricted to the statement of impossible hypotheses - see Lesson 29.

With reference to the distinction between the optative and the future, used of future events which are respectively hypothetical and certain, the following example is instructive: "if he should get the kingdom he would share it" (both verbs optative), " ... if I do ('shall') get the kingdom I will share it" (both verbs future).


Ablative Case

The fifth or ablative (pañcamī, nissakka, apādāna) case is used to express the point from which an action begins. The action may be physical or mental.

 The ablative also expresses the cause or origin from which something arises.

Formally the ablative may coincide with the instrumental except in the singular of the a stems and the masculine and neuter demonstrative and relative pronouns ...

There is also a special ablative singular suffix, to, which may be added to any stem. Moreover the pronominal inflection of the ablative singular, smā or mhā, is sometimes added to various noun stems.

so and tadtasmā or tamhā
ayaṃimasmā or imamhā
paccatthikopaccatthikato "from an enemy" (suffix to)

Examples of the use of the ablative:

(the "greyed out" examples below are not included in the recording)

uṭṭhāy' āsanā
"having got up from (his) seat" (in this phrase the usual order of words is always inverted)

gāmā gāmaṃ
"from village to village"

agārasmā pabbajito (noun with pronominal inflection)
"gone forth from home"

dasahi ca lokadhātūhi devatā … sannipatitā
"and the gods … assembled from the ten universes"

kiṃ kāraṇā
"from what cause?", "for what reason?", "why?"

The ablative of cause is very important, and is always used in philosophical statements:

vedanāpaccayā taṇhā
"desire (is) from the sensation-cause", "desire is caused by sensation"

kimpaccayā bhavo
"from what cause (is) existence?"

kissa nirodhā bhavanirodho
"from the cessation of what (is there) cessation of existence?"

 The ablatives of some pronouns in -asmā are used as indeclinables with causal meaning: kasmā = "why?", tasmā = "therefore".


Subsidiary uses of the ablative:

 - isolated, separated, secluded from:

vivicca akusalehi dhammehi
"having become separated from bad phenomena" (with vivicca as with uṭṭhāya inversion is usual)

- fear, danger from:

na kuto ci bhayaṃ … yad idaṃ paccatthikato
"… fear (danger) from nowhere, such as from an enemy" (ablative in to and similarly formed indeclinable kuto = "whence?")

 - cleaned or purified from (literal: "from dirt" and figurative):

padosā cittaṃ parisodheti
"he makes his mind pure from anger", "he purifies his mind from anger"

 - freed from (from slavery, etc.):

cittaṃ āsavehi vimuccati
"the mind is freed from the influxes"

 - direction from (with genitive of the origin):

dakkhiṇato nagarassa
"south of the city"

 - distance from (space and time); this meaning appears always with the suffix to and mostly in the indeclinables with suffix to (especially ito = from here/now), otherwise the instrumental is usually used (cf. Lesson 8):

ito … ekatiṃso kappo
"the thirty-first aeon from (before) now"

ito tiṇṇaṃ māsānaṃ accayena
"after three months from now" (notice the combination of the three cases: ablative-genitive-instrumental)

dūrato āgacchantaṃ (seen)
"coming from the distance"

- abstinence from, revulsion from:

virato methunā gāmadhammā
"has abstained (past participle of vi-ram) from sexual vulgar ("village") custom"

pisuṇāya vācāya paṭivirato
"has abstained from malicious speech"

- recover from (illness):

tamhā ābādhā mutto
"freed (recovered) from that illness"

- limit up to (within) which (with yāva):

yāva brahmalokā
"as far as the world of God (heaven)"

yāva sattamā
"up to the seventh"

- with the verb u(d)-()ṭhā, "to rise up (from)", "come out from" (literally and figuratively):

patisallānā vuṭṭhito
"come out from seclusion (privacy, withdrawing sometimes spelt paṭi-)"

jhanā vuṭṭhahitvā
"having risen up (come out) from a meditation (trance)" (and passing into a higher or lower trance)

- "with reference to", "from the standpoint of " = -to:

tathāgato atīte buddhe … gottato pi anussarati
"the thus-gone recollects past enlightened ones (Buddhas) with reference to (their) clan(s) also"


With indeclinables:

- aññatra, "apart":

aññatra phassā
"except for contact", "without touch" (aññatra often takes the instrumental, cf. Lesson 8, and this ā inflection with it is sometimes regarded as a form of instrumental, cf. the instrumentals in ā: bhagavatā, raññā)

 - adho, "below":

adho kesamatthakā
"below the top (matthako) of the hair"

- ārakā, "far from":

ārakā sāmaññā
"far from asceticism (sāmaññaṃ)

ārakā … vijjācaraṇasampadāya
"far from success (sampada: feminine) in knowledge and practice (caraṇaṃ)"

- uddhaṃ, "above", "after", "beyond":

uddhaṃ pādatalā
"above the soles (talaṃ, 'surface') of the feet"

kāyassa bhedā uddhaṃ
"after the splitting up (death) of the body "

- paraṃ, "after":

param maraṇā
"after death"

- yāva, "up to", "as far as" (see above, under "limit")


The ablative is sometimes used in comparison or distinction:

na … vijjati añño samaṇo va brāhmaṇo vā bhagavatā (ablative) bhiyyo 'bhiññataro
"there is … not any other philosopher or priest more learned than the fortunate one"

(abhiññataro comparative of abhiñña, "learned"; see Lesson 18 on comparison; bhiyyo, "more", is used also with kuto: kuto bhiyyo (lit. = "whence more"), meaning idiomatically "let alone more", "how could it be more?")

ito bhiyyo
"more than this"


Dependent Words in Tappurisa Compounds

A dependent word (samāsanta) is a word which can appear only at the end of a compound (it is a "bound form"). It cannot be used independently. In certain tappurisas  such words are found, generally indicating the action of a root from which they are immediately derived:

-karo, "doing", "working" (kar): kammakaro "worker"

-kāro, "making" (kar, causative): kumbhakāro, "potter" (kumbho = "pot")

-ggāho " seizing" ((g)gah): candaggāho, "eclipse of the moon (cando)"

-dharo, "holding", "remembering" (dhar): dhammadharo, "memorizer of the doctrine"

-pāto, "dropping", "offering", "collecting" (pat, "to fall", causative): piṇḍapāto, "alms offering", "alms collecting" (this has the sense of the food collected by a begging monk).

As with the other cases, ablative tappurisas may be formed:

"(monk) returned from an alms collecting"




adhi-gam (I)adhigacchatiacquires
anu-(s)sar (I) anussaratirecollects
u(d)-()ṭhā (I)uṭṭhāti or uṭṭhahati or vuṭṭhāti rises up, gets up, arises, comes out from, emigrates
ni-mant (VII) nimantetiinvites (āsanena = to sit down, offers a seat)
pari-pucch (I) paripucchatiasks about, asks advice
ā-yā (I)āyāticomes, approaches


āsavoinflux, influence
desopoint (topic)
phassocontact, touch
gāmapadaṃsite of a village
bandhanaṃbond, fetter
vedayitaṃsensation, experience


api or app (stands at beginning of sentence or clause; app is a junction form before a vowel)(with optative) perhaps, (with indicative) does?, do?, did? (i.e. makes sentence interrogative: polite form of question)
etarahinow, at present
etthahere, (also means) in this case
tatthathere, in that /this connection
tena hinow! (admonitory)
pubbebefore, formerly
yan nūnawhat now if?, what if?, now if,




ubho (nominative and accusative, all genders)both

 Past participle

past participle
khīṇa ((k)khī (III))exhausted, wasted, perished (irregular for n)


The answers are given in Part 21

Passage for reading

bhūtapubbaṃ añataro janapado vuṭṭhāsi. atha kho sahāyako sahāyakaṃ āmantesi: āyāma samma. yena so janapado ten' upasaṃkamissāma. app eva nām' ettha kiñ ci dhanaṃ adhigaccheyyāmā ti. evaṃ sammā ti kho sahāyako sahāyakassa paccassosi. te yena so janapado yen' aññataraṃ gāmapadaṃ ten' upasaṃkamiṃsu. tatth' addasaṃsu pahūtaṃ sāṇaṃ chaḍḍitaṃ. disvā sahāyako sahāyakaṃ āmantesi: idaṃ kho samma pahūtaṃ sāṇaṃ chaḍḍitaṃ. tena hi samma tvañ1 ca sāṇabhāraṃ bandha, ahañ ca sāṇabhāraṃ bandhissāmi. ubho sāṇabhāraṃ ādāya gamissāmā ti. evaṃ sammā ti kho sahāyako sahāyakassa paṭissutvā sāṇabhāraṃ bandhi.

1 palatalized to ñ before c.


Translate into English

puccheyyām' ahaṃ bhante kañ cid eva desaṃ

devā tamhā kāyā cavanti

upādānapaccayā bhavo

yan nūma mayaṃ kusalaṃ kareyyāma

na hi bhagavā evaṃ vadeyya

na dān' ime imamhā ābādhā vuṭṭhahissanti

te kālena kālaṃ upasaṃkamitvā paripuccheyyāsi ( = "should": exhortation)


tassa evam assa: ahaṃ kho pubbe dāso ahosiṃ. so1 'mhi etarahi tamhā dāsavyā mutto

yattha pan' āvuso sabbaso vedayitaṃ n' atthi, api nu kho tattha "asmī" ti siyā

khīṇā me āsavā

na maṃ ko ci āsanena pi nimantesi

āyantu bhonto

idha samaṇo vā brāhmaṇo vā kusalaṃ dhammaṃ adhigaccheyya. kusalaṃ dhammaṃ adhigantvā na parassa āroceyya. kiṃ hi paro parassa karissati.2 seyyathā pi nāma purāṇaṇ bandhanaṃ chinditvā aññaṃ navaṃ bandhanaṃ kareyya.

1 so used with 1st person verb as emphatic pronoun (1st person), cf. Lesson 5.
2 kiṃ … karissati = "what will/can he/it do?" means much the same as "what's the use of?"

Translate into Pali

I got up from my seat and left

If the philosopher Gotama should come to this assembly we will ask (optative) him this question

What should we do?

I should do meritorious actions

Sensation is caused by ("from the condition of") contact


You should explain it as it pleases you (te; both verbs optative)

We would invite him to sit down

There will be an eclipse of the moon

There is nothing here

The priests would banish the priest from the city