|Gatha||Sentence Translation||Sentence Structure|
Rather then a thousand speeches without meaningful words,
is better one meaningful word, after hearing which, one can attain calm.
sahassam api ce
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Num.n. part. part. N.f. neg. N.n. N.n. Adj.f.
Nom.Sg. |____| Nom.Pl. | |_____| Nom.Pl.
| | | | |_________|
| | | |__________|
| | |__________|
List of Abbreviations
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Num.n. N.n. N.n. Adj.n. Rel.Pron.n. V.ger. V.act.in.
Nom.Sg. | Nom.Sg. Nom.Sg. Acc.Sg. | 3.Sg.pres.
| |_____| | |________| |
|___________| | |___________|
sahassam: sahassa-, Num.n.: thousand. Nom.Sg. = sahassam.
api, part.: also, as well, even (often spelled pi).
ce, part.: if.
vaca: vaca-, N.f.: speech (derived from the verb root vac-, to speak). Nom.Pl. = vaca.
anatthapadasajhita-, Adj.: without
meaningful sayings. It is the word atthapadasajhita-,
Adj.: with meaningful sayings, negated by the negative prefix an-.
This word is a compound of:
atthapada-, N.n.: profitable saying, word of good sense. This can be further analyzed into:
attha-, N.n.: meaning, worth, sense.
pada-, N.n.: saying, word, verse.
sajhita-, Adj.: connected, equipped with, possessed of. It is a p.p. of the verb dha- (put)
with the prefix saj- (together).
Nom.Pl.f. = anatthapadasajhita.
List of Abbreviations
ekaj: eka-, Num.: one. Nom.Sg.n. = ekaj.
atthapadaj: atthapada-, N.n. see above. Nom.Sg. = atthapadaj.
seyyo: seyya-, Adj.: better. Nom.Sg.n. = seyyo.
yaj: yat-, Rel.Pron.: that, which. Acc.Sg.n.: yaj.
sutva, V.ger.: having heard. The verb root is su- (to hear).
upasammati, V.: calms down, is appeased. The verb root is sam- (to be appeased) with the prefix upa- (towards). 3.Sg.act.in.pres. = upasammati.
List of Abbreviations
This verse contains two connected sentences.
They form the first and the second line of the verse respectively.
In the first sentence, the subject is the noun vaca (speeches, nominative plural). It has two attributes, the numeral sahassam (thousand, nominative singular - note that the numeral sahassa- is always in neuter) and the compound anatthapadasajhita (without meaningful words, nominative plural). There are two particles, api (also, even) and ce (if) which form a phrase api ce (even if).
In the second sentence, the subject is the compound atthapadaj (meaningful word, nominative singular). It has the numeral ekaj (one, nominative singular) as an attribute. There is a clause, which forms an attribute to the subject: yaj sutva upasammati (after hearing which, one can attain calm). The subject here is the relative pronoun yaj (which, accusative singular). There are two verbs, one is the gerundive sutva (having heard) and one is upasammati (calms down, 3rd person, singular, active, indicative, present tense). These two form the verbal phrase sutva - upasammati (having heard, calms). The object of the sentence is the adjective seyyo (better, nominative singular).
Once there was a former public executioner named Tambadathika.
Once he went for a bath to the river and took some food with him. Just
as he was leaving the house, Venerable Sariputta
stopped by his door on his way for almsfood. Tambadathika
offered him his food.
After the meal, Sariputta taught him the Dharma. But Tambadathika's mind was not peaceful, because he was disturbed and feeling remorse recollecting his past work. This did not allow him to pay attention to the Dharma. Sariputta asked him if he killed those people because he wanted to, out of hate or anger – or was it just an order. Tambadathika replied that he was ordered to kill them by the king and personally did not feel hate towards them. So Sariputta reassured him that he did nothing wrong. Tambadathika then calmed down and listened to the Dharma attentively. He then accompanied Sariputta on the way back to the monastery. But on the way back home he died due to an accident.
The Buddha was told about this and he remarked that Tambadathika was reborn in Tusita heaven. The monks wondered how it was possible for somebody who killed so many people in his life to be reborn there. The Buddha told them by this verse that just one meaningful sentence that helped his mind to calm down and concentrate on the Dharma helped him to achieve this goal. For if one dies with a peaceful mind, one's rebirth is good. If at the time of death our mind is confused or angry - we face a bad rebirth.