Gatha Sentence Translation Sentence Structure
Vocabulary&Grammar Commentary Pronunciation
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abhivadanasilissa niccaj vuddhapacayino

cattaro dhamma vaddhanti ayu vanno sukhaj balaj

(DhP 109)

Sentence Translation:

For somebody, who is showing respect to those of virtuous character, who is always paying homage to the venerable ones,
four things grow for him: life-span, beauty of complexion, happiness, strength.

Sentence Structure:
List of Abbreviations

abhivadana+silissa niccaj vuddha+apacayino
|                     |          |           |            |
N.n.           Adj.m.  Adv.    Adj.     Adj.m.
|                Gen.Sg.    |           |      Gen.Sg.
|____________|         |           |_______|
          |                     |__________|

List of Abbreviations

cattaro dhamma  vaddhanti    ayu      vanno    sukhaj    balaj
|                 |              |             |             |              |             |
Num.m.   N.m.     N.n.       N.m.       N.n.       N.n.
Nom.Pl. Nom.Pl. 3.Pl.pres. Nom.Sg. Nom.Sg. Nom.Sg. Nom.Sg.
|_________|              |              |_______|________|_______|
____|_____________|                                    |

Vocabulary and Grammar:
List of Abbreviations

abhivadanasilissa: abhivadanasilin-, Adj.: showing respect to those of virtuous character. It is a compound of:
    abhivadana-, N.n.: salutation, showing respect. It is derived from the verb
    root vad- (to speak) with the prefix abhi- (all around).
    silin-, Adj.: of virtuous character. It is derived from the word sila-, N.n.: virtue,
    by adding the possessive suffix -in.
Gen.Sg.m. = abhivadanasilissa.

niccaj, Adv.: perpetually, constantly.

vuddhapacayino: vuddhapacayin-, Adj.: paying homage to the venerable ones. It is a compound of:
    vuddha-, Adj.: old, fig.: venerable. It is a p.p. of the verb root vaddh- (to grow).
    apacayin-, Adj.: honoring, paying homage. It is the word apacaya-, N.m.: honor, respect,
    with the possessive suffix -in.
Euphonic combination: vuddha- + apacayin- = vuddhapacayin-.
Gen.Sg.m. = vuddhapacayino.

List of Abbreviations

cattaro: catur-, Num.: four. Nom.Pl.m. = cattaro.

dhamma: dhamma-, N.m.: here does not mean Buddha's teaching, but should be interpreted rather as "state" or even more generally "thing". Nom.Pl. = dhamma.

vaddhanti, V.: grow. The verb root is vaddh-. = vaddhanti.

ayu: ayu-, N.n.: longevity, life-span. Nom.Sg. = ayu.

vanno: vanna-, N.m.: color, complexion. Nom.Sg. = vanno.

sukhaj: sukha-, N.n.: happiness. Nom.Sg. = sukhaj.

balaj: bala-, N.n.: strength, power. Nom.Sg. = balaj.

List of Abbreviations

    The subject of this sentence is the noun dhamma (things, nominative plural). It has the numeral cattaro (four, nominative plural) as the main attribute and four words as additional attributes: ayu (life-span, nominative singular), vanno (complexion, nominative singular), sukhaj (happiness, nominative singular) and balaj (strength, nominative singular). The verb is vaddhanti (grow, 3rd person, plural, active, indicative, present tense). There are two attributes to this verb: the compound abhivadanasilissa (for somebody, who is showing respect to those of virtuous character, genitive singular) and the compound vuddhapacayino (for somebody who is paying homage to the venerable ones, genitive singular). This last word has the adverb niccaj (always) as an attribute.


    Once there were two ascetics living together and practicing austerities. Later one of them returned to the lay life and got married. When a son was born to him and his wife, they took the boy to see the other ascetic. He said, "May you live long!" to the parents, but he said nothing to the child. The parents were surprised and asked him why did he do that. The ascetic said that he could see with his powers that the boy would die after seven more days. He sent them to see the Buddha, who could know how to prevent his death.
    When they got to the presence of the Buddha, he again said, "May you live long!" only to the parents and nothing to their son. In order to prevent his death, he told his parents to build a pavilion at their house and put the child on a couch inside it. He then sent some monks over to chant texts for protection. Many gods and other celestial beings came to the pavilion and were in attendance. On the seventh day, the Buddha himself arrived. Then an evil demon came to the pavilion and stood by the entrance. He waited for an opportunity to attack the boy. But as there were so many powerful beings around, he could not get near him. The chanting continued through the whole night, and in the morning the demon had to leave. The young child was saved. He then paid his respects to the Buddha who then told him, "May you live long!" The Buddha then told the parents that their child would live a very long life.
    Many years passed and the boy grew up. Once he came to see the Buddha and asked him how to gain longevity. The Buddha replied with this verse, saying that those who respect people of virtuous character and who pay homage to those worth paying homage, not only will gain longevity, but also beauty, happiness and strength.

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