Gāthā Sentence Translation Sentence Structure
Vocabulary&Grammar Commentary Pronunciation
List of Abbreviations

yathā pi ruciraṃ pupphaṃ vaṇṇavantaṃ agandhakaṃ

evaṃ subhāsitā vācā aphalā hoti akubbato

(DhP 51)

Sentence Translation:

Just like a beautiful flower, colorful but without smell,
is a well said speech of somebody, who does not act accordingly.

Sentence Structure:

List of Abbreviations

yathā       pi    ruciraṃ   pupphaṃ vaṇṇavantaṃ a+gandhakaṃ
|                |          |               |              |             |           |

Rel.Adv. conj.   Adj.n.       N.n.        N.n.        neg.    Adj.n.

|_________|     Nom.Sg.  Nom.Sg.  Nom.Sg.      |      Nom.Sg.

        |                   |               |              |            |_______|

        |                   |________|________|__________|

        |                          |____|



List of Abbreviations

evaṃ subhāsitā   vācā      a+phalā          hoti         a+kubbato
|             |               |         |        |               |           |         |

Adv.   Adj.f.        N.f.    neg.  Adj.f.     V.act.in.   neg. Adj.m.

|        Nom.Sg.  Nom.Sg.  |    Nom.Sg.  3.Sg.pres.   |    Gen.Sg.

|             |________|         |_____|               |           |_____|

|                     |                     |___________|                |

|                     |_________________|_______________|

|                                       |_______|



Vocabulary and Grammar:

List of Abbreviations

yathā, Rel.Adv.: just as.

pi, conj.: also, too.

ruciraṃ: rucira-, Adj.: beautiful, pleasant. Nom.Sg.n. = ruciraṃ.

pupphaṃ: puppha-, N.n.: flower. Nom.Sg. = pupphaṃ.

List of Abbreviations

vaṇṇavantaṃ: vaṇṇavant-, Adj.: having color, colorful. It is the word vaṇṇa-, N.m.: color, with the possessive suffix -vant-. Nom.Sg.n. = vaṇṇavantaṃ (the more usual is vaṇṇavaṃ, but for the sake of the meter, this form was used here).

agandhakaṃ: agandhaka-, Adj.: not smelling. Negated (by the negative prefix a-) word gandhaka-, Adj.: smelling. This word is derived from the word gandha-, N.m.: smell by adding the adjective suffix -ka-.
Nom.Sg.n. = agandhakaṃ.

evaṃ, Adv.: thus, so.

List of Abbreviations

subhāsitā: subhāsita-, Adj.: well said. It is the word bhāsita (well said, the p.p. of the verb bhās-, to speak) with the prefix su- (good, well). Nom.Sg.f. = subhāsitā.

vācā: vācā-, N.f.: speech (derived from the verb root vac-, to speak). Nom.Sg. = vācā.

aphalā: aphala-, Adj.: fruitless. It is the word phala-, N.n.: fruit, with the negative prefix a-. Nom.Sg.f. = aphalā.

hoti, V. is. The verb root is bhū- (to be). 3.Sg.act.in.pres. = bhavati or hoti.

akubbato: akubbant-, Adj.: not doing. It is the word kubbant-, Adj.: doing, which is an a.pr.p. of the verb root kar- (to do), negated by the negative prefix a-. Gen.Sg.m.= akubbato.

List of Abbreviations

    The two lines of this verse form two sentences. In the first one, the subject is pupphaṃ (flower, nominative singular) with three attributes: 1) ruciraṃ (beautiful, nominative singular), 2) vaṇṇavantaṃ (colorful, nominative singular) and 3) agandhakaṃ (without smell, nominative singular). The verb is omitted, implying the verb "to be" (hoti from the second line). The relative adverb yathā (just as), which forms a quite common phrase yathā pi (same meaning) with the conjunction pi (also), connects this sentence to the next one.
    In the second sentence, the subject is the word vācā (speech, nominative singular), with two attributes, the adjective subhāsitā (well said, nominative singular) and the active present participle akubbato (of the not doing one, genitive singular). The verb is hoti (is, 3rd person, singular, active, indicative, present tense). The object is the adjective aphalā (fruitless, nominative singular). The adverb evaṃ (thus, so) connects this sentence to the previous one.


    A certain Buddha's disciple named Chattapāni has attained the second stage of Awakenment. Once, while he was listening to the Buddha's discourse, the king Pasenadi came to the monastery. Chattapāni did not get up, because by paying homage to the king he would disrespect the Buddha. The king was very unhappy about that, thinking that Chattapāni offended him. But the Buddha explained to the king what Chattapāni meant. The king was impressed and asked Chattapāni to teach Dharma to his queens. But he refused, saying that monks should teach Dharma, not mere lay disciples.
    The Buddha then assigned Ānanda to teach them. After some time the Buddha asked, how much progress did the queens make. Ānanda replied, that the queen Mallikā was learning very quickly and seriously, the queen Vāsabha Khattiyā was not paying attention and therefore made no progress.

    The Buddha replied by this verse, saying that only those, who learn diligently and then practice what they learned, can benefit from the Dharma.

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