Dhammapada 12 – Grammatical Analysis

Monday April 24, 2023

Dhammapada 12

Source: buddhism.lib.ntu.edu.tw/


Gāthā Sentence Translation Sentence Structure
Vocabulary&Grammar Commentary Pronunciation

List of Abbreviations


sārañ ca sārato ñatvā asārañ ca asārato

te sāram adhigacchanti sammāsaṅkappagocarā

(DhP 12)


Having known the essence as the essence, non-essential as non-essential,
they, feeding on right thoughts, discover the essence.

Sentence Structure

List of Abbreviations

sārañ      ca     sārato   ñatvā a+sārañ     ca      a+sārato
|              |          |          |       |      |          |        |      |
N.n.     conj.    Adv.     V.   neg. N.n.   conj.  neg.  Adv.
Acc.Sg.   |          |       Abs.    |  Acc.Sg.    |       |____|
|_______|______|          |       |____|          |          |
             |      |________|            |_______|______|
             |_______|                          |____|

List of Abbreviations

te               sāram adhigacchanti sammā+saṅkappa+gocarā
|                    |               |                |             |             |
Pron.          N.n.      V.act.in.       Adv.       N.m.      N.m.
Nom.Pl.   Acc.Sg.    3.Pl.pres.        |_______|         Nom.Pl.
|                    |________|                       |___________|
_______|              |

Vocabulary and Grammar

List of Abbreviations

sārañsāra-, N.n.: essence, substance. Acc.Sg.: sāraṃ.
(the euphonic combination -ṃ+c- = ñc).

ca, conj.: and

sārato, Adv.: as the essence. The noun sāra- (see above) changed into an adverb by the suffix to-.

ñatvā, V.: having known. An absolutive of the verb ñā- (to know).

asārañasāra-, N.n.: non-essence. Negated (by the negative prefix a-) word sāra-, N.n.: essence, substance. Acc.Sg. = asāraṃ (the euphonic combination -ṃ+c- = ñc).

List of Abbreviations

asārato, Adv.: as the non-essence. The word sārato (see above) negated by the negative prefix a-.

te, pron.: tad-, Pron.n.: it. Masculine form sa-. Nom.Pl. = te (they).

sāramsāra-, N.n.: see above. Acc.Sg. = sāraṃ.

adhigacchanti, V.: discover, obtain. The verb gam- (to go) with the prefix adhi- (above, towards). 3.Pl.act.pres.in. = adhigacchanti.

List of Abbreviations

sammāsaṅkappagocarāsammāsaṅkappagocara-, N.m.: having pasture for right thoughts. A compound of:
    sammāsaṅkappa-, N.m.: right thought, right intention. This can be further analyzed as:
        sammā, Adv,: rightly, properly.
        saṅkappa-, N.m.: thought, intention.
    gocara-, N.m.: pasture, sphere. This can be further analyzed as:
        go-, N.m.: cow
        cara-, N.m.: going, walking. Derived from the verb car- (to walk, to roam).
Nom.Pl. of the whole compound = sammāsaṅkappagocarā.

List of Abbreviations

    The subject of this sentence is te (they). It is in nominative plural. Its corresponding verb is adhigacchanti (realize, discover), in 3rd person, plural, active, indicative and present tense. The object is sāraṃ (the essence), which is in accusative singular. The subject has three attributes: sārañ ca sārato ñatvā (having known the essence as the essence), asārañ ca asārato (non-essential as non-essential) and sammāsaṅkappagocarā (feeding on right thoughts).

    First of them is sārañ ca sārato ñatvā (having known the essence as the essence). Here the verb is ñatvā (having known). It is in gerund, which is the way how to express the English "having done", "having gone" etc. The subject is omitted -it is the word te (they) from the second line (the main subject). Object is sāraṃ sārato (the essence as the essence), where sāraṃ is in accusative singular and sārato is and adverb. The conjunction ca (and) connects this attribute to the following one in a common style of Pali language (ca-ca).

    Next attribute is asārañ ca asārato (non-essential as non-essential). Here both the subject and verb are omitted. Of course, the subject is again te (they) and verb is ñatvā from the previous attribute. The word asārato is again an adverb. Asārañ (or asāraṃ without the euphonic combination) is in accusative singular. The word The conunction ca (and) forms the second part of the "ca-ca" pair mentioned in previous paragraph.

    Last of the attributes is sammāsaṅkappagocarā (feeding on right thoughts). It is a compound and it is in nominative plural, because it has to agree with the subject.


    In contrast to DhP 11, if we really know, what is important and what is empty, if we know, where the essence lies, it is possible for us to discover it. We can take as an example the case if we want to clean the dirty floor. It will not help us to start scrubbing the table. Sure, a clean table is a nice thing, but we wanted the floor to be clean, not the table. In the same way, if we want to purify our mind, we must carefully decide and understand, how to do it, what is the correct procedure. If we know, what is essential in order to reach our goal, then we have a chance of accomplishing it. This is a "pasture for right thoughts". The right thoughts will grow and multiply -- this time only for our benefit.

Sentence pronunciation

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List of Abbreviations

Dhammapada 1 – Grammatical Analysis

Dhammapada 2 – Grammatical Analysis

Dhammapada 3 – Grammatical Analysis

Dhammapada 4 – Grammatical Analysis

Dhammapada 5 – Grammatical Analysis

Dhammapada 6 – Grammatical Analysis

Dhammapada 7 – Grammatical Analysis

Dhammapada 8 – Grammatical Analysis

Dhammapada 9 – Grammatical Analysis

Dhammapada 10 – Grammatical Analysis

Dhammapada 11 – Grammatical Analysis

Dhammapada 12 – Grammatical Analysis

Dhammapada 13 – Grammatical Analysis

Dhammapada 14 – Grammatical Analysis

Dhammapada 15 – Grammatical Analysis

Dhammapada 16 – Grammatical Analysis

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