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

yathā pi puppharāsimhā kāyirā mālāguṇe bahū

evaṃ jātena maccena kattabbaṃ kusalaṃ bahuṃ

(DhP 53)

Sentence Translation:

Just as from the heap of flowers one can do a lot of garlands,
so a born mortal should do a lot of meritorious deeds.

Sentence Structure:

List of Abbreviations

yathā       pi   puppha+rāsimhā  kāyirā  mālā+guṇe      bahū
|                |        |            |            |           |        |            |

Rel.Adv. conj.  N.n.     N.m.     V.act.    N.f.   N.n.     Adj.n.

|_________|       |        Abl.Sg.  3.Sg.opt.   |    Acc.Pl.  Acc.Pl.

        |                |_______|            |           |_____|           |

        |                       |                  |                |_________|

        |                       |                  |______________|

        |                       |_________________|


List of Abbreviations

evaṃ   jātena maccena kattabbaṃ kusalaṃ     bahuṃ
|              |           |             |               |                |

Adv.   Adj.m.   N.m.     Adj.n.         N.n.        Adj.n.

|         Ins.Sg.  Ins.Sg.  Nom.Sg.     Nom.Sg.  Nom.Sg.

|              |______|             |               |_________|

|                    |                  |_____________|

|                    |_________________|


Vocabulary and Grammar:

List of Abbreviations

yathā, Rel.Adv.: just as.

pi, conj.: also, too.

puppharāsimhā: puppharāsi-, N.m.: heap of flowers. A compound of:
    puppha-, N.n.: flower.

    rāsi-, N.m.: heap, quantity, mass.

Abl.Sg. = puppharāsimhā.

kāyirā, V.: can do. The verb root is kar- (to do). 3.Sg.act.opt. = kayirā. The form kāyirā is sometimes used in poetry.

List of Abbreviations

mālāguṇe: mālaguṇa-, N.n.: "garland-string", a cluster of garlands. A compound of:
    mālā-, N.f.: garland.

    guṇa-, N.n.: string, cord.

Acc.Pl. = mālaguṇe.

bahū: bahu-, Adj.: many, much, a lot. Acc.Pl.n. = bahū.

evaṃ, Adv.: thus, so.

jātena: jāta-, Adj.: born. It is a p.p. of the verb jan- (to be born). Ins.Sg.m. = jātena.

List of Abbreviations

maccena: macca-, N.m.: mortal man. Originally it is a grd. from the verb root mar- (to die). Nom.Sg. = maccena.

kattabbaṃ: kattabba-, Adj.: should be done. It is a grd. of the verb kar- (to do).
Nom.Sg.n. = kattabbaṃ.

kusalaṃ: kusala-, Adj.: good, right, meritorious. As an N.n.: meritorious deed, merit. Nom.Sg. = kusalaṃ.

bahuṃ: bahu-, Adj.: see above. Nom.Sg.n. = bahuṃ.

List of Abbreviations

    In the first sentence (the first line) the subject is omitted. A third person singular pronoun is meant. The verb is the optative kāyirā (can do, 3rd person, singular, active, optative). The verb has an attribute, the compound puppharāsimhā (from the heap of flowers, ablative singular). The object is the noun mālāguṇe (garlands, accusative plural). It has an attribute, the adjective bahū (many, accusative plural). The relative adverb yathā (just as), which forms quite a common phrase yathā pi (same meaning) with the conjunction pi (also), connects this sentence to the next one.
    The second sentence (second line) is passive. The subject is the word maccena (by a mortal, instrumental singular) with an attribute, the past participle jātena (by a born, instrumental singular). The verb is in the gerund, kattabbaṃ (should be done, nominative singular). The object is the noun kusalaṃ (merit, nominative singular) with the adjective bahuṃ (nominative singular) as an attribute.


    The traditional commentary for this verse contains the famous story of the chief Buddha's benefactress Visākhā.
    She married Punnavaddhana, the son of Migāra, a rich man who lived in the city of Sāvatthi. Once, when her father-in-law was eating his lunch, a monk came to their house on his alms-round. Migāra ignored him completely. Visākhā told the monk: "Sorry, venerable sir, my father-in-law only eats stale food". Migāra became very angry with her. She explained, that he was only reaping rewards of his good deeds from previous lives, not creating any merit in this life. Therefore she spoke about "stale food".

    Migāra understood and allowed her to invite the Buddha with the monks for the alms-food. Migāra listened to Buddha's discourse from behind a curtain (because he was a lay disciple of some ascetic teacher and he did not want Migāra to show himself in front of the Buddha). After hearing Buddha's speech, Migāra attained the first stage of Awakenment. He was very grateful to Visākhā and declared that she would be like a mother to him.

    Once she went to the monastery and carried her gem-entrusted cloak with her. She gave it to her maid to carry and she forgot it in the monastery. Visākhā then wanted to donate the cloak to the monks but they would not accept. So Visākhā tried to sell the cloak and donate the money for the use of the Sangha. But the cloak was so expensive that nobody could afford to buy it. Visākhā then bought it back herself. With the money she built a monastery for the Sangha.

    Visākhā was very happy - all her desires were fulfilled. The Buddha explained that she was strongly inclined to do good deeds, had done much good in the past and will do a lot of good deeds in the future - just as one can do many garlands from the heap of flowers.

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Sentence pronunciation

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