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  • sumbodhi

    Hi cubibobi,

    Citta is the “root” form of the word. Root forms do not have plurals. Technically it’s incorrect saying that cittā is the plural of ‘citta’, rather cittā is the plural cittaṃ. ‘Cittaṃ’ is the nominative singular of the root word ‘citta’. So cittā is A plural of ‘citta’ but not THE plural of ‘citta’. Cittā thus is the plural of the singular ‘cittaṃ’ (also the plural vocative, but that’s another story).

    The root forms of the words in Pāḷi are rarely used on their own in the Tipitaka (if at all), but are very widely used in Western translations when talking about the concept or base meaning of the word.

    By the way, the same applies to ‘sutta’ which is the dictionary form (root form) of the word, where the nominative singular would be suttaṃ and plural suttā.

    But both of those root words (citta/sutta) have other plurals, that is – plural forms in other grammatical cases, for example cittāni, suttāni which are both plural forms of “citta” and “sutta”.

    Another neuter word which “behaves” like citta and sutta is “mūla” which becomes mūlaṃ in nominative singular but the preferred nominative plural is mūlāni, for example “tīṇi akusalamūlāni” means “(the) three unwholesome roots” (of course those are lobha, moha, dosa, where all 3 of these words too are ‘root forms’, in nominative singular they become lobho, moho, doso).

    Also there are really many word forms which can end in long a (ā) in BOTH singular and plural nominative and which are feminine gender, for example “paññā”, “mettā”.

    My point is, if you really want to dig deeper into Pāḷi then you must learn its grammar. But it might be not easy for people who don’t speak languages with a case system.

    And finally, Sinhala is a great language, but keep in mind that even tho it shares similarities with Pali it’s not the same language in many regards (starting with pronunciation).

    If you told me what your native language is I could try to explain things better for you based on it. Lal’s called you Lang, so I’m guessing it must be a sinitic language.

    in reply to: Fast track? #27024

    Hi everyone, thank you for your replies!

    Sybe07, I will check all these suttā.

    y not I think it’s of much value going this to some length, maybe not great, but to some. So that anyone into Buddhism can find this information. As a way to put down any doubts. That’s probably why those views were discussed and refuted in the suttā.

    Indeed I think comparing it to MLM and “get rich quick schemes” can be very helpful.

    in reply to: Language and communication #26757

    Consider someone who knows two (or more) languages well. When that person dreams, he does not hear with one of those languages. He just understands what someone in the dream says.

    Hi Lal, I know 2+ languages and have had many dreams where I speak in different languages. By that I mean that I could almost literally hear myself speak and notice that I’m making a “conscious effort” to use one foreign language or other (i.e. in the dream I know that I’m speaking a foreign language).

    What did you base your opinion on? Own experience or some research?

    in reply to: Quick-Reference Tool Project #26756

    Hi JordanC and Lal,

    I would like to join this effort. I’ve checked the PDF and I can contribute by at least fixing some spellings/typos. Personally, spelling Pāḷi correctly is very important to me (also pronouncing it correctly, but that’s another matter).

    Let me know how I can get to helping.

    in reply to: Use of -ti in chants #25791

    Thanks for the insights SengKiat!

    I am more interested in the particle ‘ti exactly as described by you and in particular why people include it in chants. Why do you think is that?

    in reply to: Use of -ti in chants #25789

    Hi Lal,

    I actually know what ‘-ti’ is. It’s a sort of quotation marker. After all all the knowledge was initially transmitted orally. In English we could start a quote with saying “quote” and end with “end quote”. In Pali only one of these exists – “end quote”. It’s a way to differentiate quoted words from pure story. So after some words you would know it was quoting someone. Of course in the Tipitaka this most often is used to quote the words of the Buddha.

    So, I don’t, for now, understand why it’s used when chanting which is a special case of using Dhamma. It’s not like we’re transmitting it to someone else.

    My initial thought is that if this was done for centuries it must have had a reason. And I thought the reason is the following:
    – Whatever I chant/say contains immense wisdom
    – When I finish saying it I would say “-ti” to remind myself these are not just wise words but words said by the Buddha… or instructions by none other but the Buddha himself. For me personally reminding myself this would tremendously enhance the effect. It would make me even if for a second remember what a great being the Buddha was.

    Does this make sense? I’ve only encountered Buddhism 3 months ago, being a newbie I could be asking “strange” questions, but I think the question is still perfectly valid.

    I’m not sure why I was being attacked and accused of “bland” conversation in Cristian’s discourse chat yesterday asking the very same question with the very same point.

    It really discouraged me asking more questions, more so because it was the first time I would write something there. But mostly because such behavior didn’t match with my understanding of what people with “teaching” status should be like. It almost looked like a situation where a kid would ask a silly question and the parent would slap them on the head and call them ‘stupid’.

    Anyway, let me know if this kind of questions aren’t fine here. I got to the conclusion I better don’t ask, because it seems to agitate such people and hinder their progress.

    in reply to: "The Thus Gone One ?" #25772

    Here’s another thing I found, should be very interesting to anyone familiar with linguistics.

    Bryan Levman in his book “Linguistic Ambiguities in the Transmission Process, and the Earliest Recoverable Language of Buddhism” says this about tathāgata:

    …Aspiration and de-aspiration could also have the same effect, and although
    Buddhaghosa did not explore this phenomenon, this kind of change is fairly common … and
    would lead to such interpretations as tata-gata, “gone to the father” or “gone to the wind” (from
    tata as noun < p.p. of √tan) or “he who has manifested/diffused and departed” (taking both
    tata and gata as past participles)…

    …Thomas suggests that tathāgata was derived from tatthagata or tatthāgata < S tatraāgata (“he who has arrived there, i.e. at emancipation”) and Buddhaghosa seems to have
    recognized this possibility in his fifth interpretation above (tattha tatha-dassi-atthe) with his
    juxtaposition of the two phonetically similar forms…

    …Moreover, no one has examined the possibility that gata (which was probably transmitted as gaya with the intervocalic -y-, often written as -ẏ- standing for the weakly articulated intervocalic stop) may have stood for gaja (“elephant”; tatha-gaja, “true elephant”) or gaya itself (“household, abode, family”; tatha-gaya, “one’s true family”)…

    …I am only indulging in these last two fanciful derivations to make a point: we are not sure what the word tathāgata means, anymore than Buddhaghosa was 1500 years ago; and it is quite possible, since its etymology was never handed down, that neither were the original users of the term, except for the Buddha himself. Indeed, the word was probably transmitted in a
    Prakritized form as tahāgaya and later Sanskritized to tathāgata…

    …Tathāgata described in the Introduction – we are not sure of the meaning of this common Buddhist word; although we know it refers to some kind of minor misdemeanour, we do not know how it gets its meaning…

    in reply to: Testing Forum Submissions #25687

    taṃ passituṃ sakkomi..

    in reply to: How Many Citta Can Arise in a Second? #25568

    To add some more science, as of now, the “shortest time” is the Plank time which is the time it takes light to travel one Plank distance. It’s unimaginably shorter than a femtosecond. Of course Plank time would be the upper limit as far as science is concerned. If dhammā are all ruled by physical law (the broader definition of “physical laws”) then that would be the speed of cittā arising.

    However, as far as “matter” is concerned, the shortest lifetime of an elementary particle would be the lifetime of certain bosons which is in the yoctosecond scale, which is a septillionth of a second (a quadrillion billionth of a second).

    in reply to: Objectivity #25557

    Thanks for the reply. I know you’ve written a paper but for now am trying to avoid reading it and your essays on advanced science topics before I get much more familiar with Buddha Dhamma.

    It’s really incredible, the irony of growing up in the “material world” and thinking it’s all there is.. yet even science seems to go in the direction of one day discovering manō pubbangamā dhammā. There are western idealist philosophers but they have nowhere near as deep of an insight as someone who’s lived some 2500 years ago.

    At one point I thought it would be impossible for a “simple human” to discover such deep reality, but then I reminded to myself he’s worked on it for tens of millions of jātī. So it is possible, it just takes a lot of dedication.


    I agree other truths are more fundamental (i.e. more on Paticca Samuppada, Ariya magga on the practical level etc). It’s just some natural curiosity I have. I realize that ultimately it’s in vain because it’s exploring the realm we have to “escape” from.

    I remember reading somewhere on the website the simile about the leaves-in-hand vs. leaves-in-forest. I think it’s still worthwhile to explore connections between the ‘newest’ science and Dhamma as it might be easier to explain to wider public using “modern” terminology.

    For example it might be easier for many to understand part of the meaning of anatta by comparing a being to a video game character. Why? Because in a video game we identify with the character, but it could take another form, get upgraded, die, be reborn etc. Also since the rules of the game (“dhamma”) govern the game the outside player (actual human) has not much control over the character than given by the rules of the game.

    Of course such comparisons are only helpful as an introduction but still helpful to some. I have only been reading about Buddha Dhamma for 3 months now and at first your web-page seemed very technical, especially with so many Pāḷi words. My gati (of which natural curiosity and being linguistically inclined are part) helped me stick thru. So such lightweight introductory comparisons helped a lot, even if I had to abandon them when understanding things on a deeper level.

    in reply to: Panpsychism – science getting closer to Buddha Dhamma #25497

    Ok, I understand.

    We won’t be able to create a conscious robot because even if we created the body (or whatever bearer) consciousness must always come from gandhabba which we can never create (probably not?).

    Thanks Lal


    I read your article “Mystical Phenomena in Buddhism?”, really enlightening.

    Looking at the scale it seems quarks qualify as having a size comparable to suddhātthakā as the most recent data would put them around 1b times or smaller (depending on the flavor) than the atom.

    However you mention suddhātthaka aren’t electrically charged, which means suddhātthaka is another sort of particle possibly outside of the standard model.

    By the way, where does the suddhātthaka scale come from? Is it explicitly mentioned in Tipitaka?


    Thank you Lal for your answers. The work you’re doing is incredible, the depth you reach to find answers..

    Since we’re discussing in the ‘science’ forum, I’m wondering if influencing reality like this isn’t a game of strengthening probabilities. Which would be somewhat consistent with QM, altho sub-suddhātthakā levels seem more like ‘fields’ to me. What people with abhiññā make seems impossible, but impossibilities are also within QM as something that’s very highly unlikely. So my thinking is that with our mind we make certain very improbable events much more probable to the extent where they’re the most probable event.

    A simplified example of this is that it’s highly improbable that I teleport from here to the Moon, but “science” doesn’t prohibit it, it just says it’s highly unlikely. Science still doesn’t quite answer how (other than describe) these probabilities work.

    It is strange that probabilities exist at all… and I’m thinking that for now I can’t see a better explanation other than the “mind” being before matter (or all dhammā). Can’t wait to read your thoughts on all this in your future posts!

    in reply to: Panpsychism – science getting closer to Buddha Dhamma #25492

    So are the 5 aggregates what science might call ‘consciousness’? Is it viññāṇa (I guess not?) Or is it the “mind” which is not within the 5 aggregates, is it the communication with the gandhabba? So what would be the closest thing in Buddha Dhamma that resembles “consciousness” in science?

    This also made me thinking… I read that the gandhabba takes hold of a zygote or merges with it and for this to happen the gati of the gandhabba must be “similar” to that of the father and mother of the future child.

    Does Tipitaka mention how this ‘similarity’ is determined? I.e. is the similarity ‘read’ from the genes of the zygote or is it information somehow taken from nāmagotta?

    Since the leading principle in Buddha Dhamma is Paticca Sumppada the abstract view would be that the zygote provided the correct conditions for the gandhabba to start a jāti as a human being. So you’re saying that we would be never able to create a “conscious” robot. What if we created a very similar (if not the same) kind of conditions which the zygote provides and ‘trick’ gandhabbas? I know this sounds evil, but it might be what science would be doing sometime in the far future.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 17 total)