Reply To: post on Niddesa (Brief Description) of Paṭicca Samuppāda

Tobias G

Thank you, Lal, for the explanations!

The most important question for me is what is the meaning of the Pali terms or suttas? So far, I have not been able to find any really valid arguments among the critics as to why the Dhamma as taught by Waharaka Thero should be wrong. Above all, his explanations make sense and one understands the message of the Buddha.

The main criticism is that the Pali terms are wrongly interpreted/translated. It seems that they refer to the pronunciation as applied by Indology since time immemorial. Not really knowing Pali, I wonder where the correct translation of these terms comes from? It seems this Bikkhu Dhammanando is a connoisseur of Pali and gets the translations from the Indian context. Here are some examples from the Post “Explaining sankhāra=“choices”


Pure Dhamma:


  1. A key word, the meaning of which has been hidden for thousands of years, is “san” (pronounced like son).

Sad to say, saṃ is actually one of the most common prefixes in Pali and Sanskrit, as well as in many modern Indian languages. There is no mystery to the word at all. Functionally it’s simply the Indic equivalent of the Latin “com-”. Its range of meanings in both Pali and Sanskrit is well-known and well-documented and at no time has its meaning been “hidden”.

However, by asserting that the meaning of some key Pali term has been hidden or lost or misunderstood by lesser mortals, messianic revisionist Theravadins grant themselves the luxury of assigning whatever new meaning they like to it…


Pure Dhamma:

“San’ is basically the term for “good and bad things we acquire” while we exist anywhere in the 31 realms; see, “The Grand Unified Theory of Dhamma“.

Not according to the texts, which consistently explain saṃ in the noun saṃsāra and in the verb saṃsarati as being a term used in the sense of abbocchinnaṃ an adverb meaning ‘continuously’ or ‘without interruption’. For example:


Khandhānañ’ ca paṭipāṭi, dhātu-āyatanāna ca,
Abbocchinnaṃ vattamānā, saṃsāro’ ti pavuccatī ti.

The process of the aggregates, elements and bases,
Proceeding without interruption is called ‘saṃsāra’.
(DA. ii. 496)



Pure Dhamma:

  1. There is also a reason for calling what we “pile up” as “san“. In Pali and Sinhala, the word for numbers is “sankhyä“, and sankhyä = “san” + “khyä“, meaning (add &multiply) + (subtract & divide), i.e., sankhya is what is used for addition, multiplication, subtraction, and division. From this, “san” gives the idea of “piling up” (addition and multiplication); “khyä” gives the idea of “removal” (subtraction and division).

Therefore “san” is used to indicate things we do in the sansaric journey; see below for examples.

It’s correct that the saṃ- in saṃsāra and the saṅ- in saṅkhyā are one and the same verbal prefix. But from their sharing of the same prefix it doesn’t follow that the meaning of saṃsāra can be derived from the meaning of saṅkhyā.

We wouldn’t say, for example, that the meaning of ‘transport’ can be inferred from the meaning of ‘transgender’, or that the meaning of ‘confetti’ can shed light on the meaning of ‘community’ just because the two items in each pair happen to share the same Latin prefixes.