|Gāthā||Sentence Translation||Sentence Structure|
Homage to Him, Blessed One, Arahant, truly and completely Awakened One.
tassa bhagavato arahato
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N.n. Pron.m. N.m. Adj.m. Adv. Pref. N.m.
Nom.Sg. Dat.Sg. Dat.Sg. Dat.Sg. | | Dat.Sg.
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namo: nama-, N.n., Nom.Sg. = namo: veneration, adoration, salute, homage.
tassa: tad-, Pron.: that, masculine form: so-. Dat.Sg. = tassa: to him.
bhagavato: bhagavant-, N.m.: Blessed One (epithet of the Buddha, possessive form of the word bhaga-, N.m.: good fortune, happiness, prosperity. Bhaga- is derived from the verb root bhaj-, to share. Thus bhagavant means literally "having good fortune"). Dat.Sg. = bhagavato: To the Blessed One.
List of Abbreviations
arahato: arahant-: Adj.: literally: deserving, worthy. Derived (pr.p.) from the verb root arah-, to deserve. Means one, who has attained Nirvana. Usually not translated or explained as Perfected One. Dat.Sg.: arahato: to the arahant.
sammāsaṃbuddha-, N.m.: truly and completely Awakened One.
Denotes the Buddha Shakyamuni. A compound of two words:
sammā: Adv.: properly, rightly, as it should be, truly.
saṃbuddha-, Adj.: completely awakened. It is a p.p. of the verb sam+budh-, to awaken completely. Prefix sam- denotes the completeness of the action, "together", "wholy". The verb budh- means to wake up.
Dat.Sg. of the compound = sammāsaṃbuddhassa.
List of Abbreviations
The first word (namo) is in the nominative case. Nominative is used for the subject of the sentence or its attributes. It is the answer that we get to the question "Who?" or "What?".
All the following words are in the dative case. It expresses the purpose for which the particular action is done or the person to whom something is given or for whom is something being done. It is the answer to the question "To (for) whom?" or "To (for) what?".
We can note the absence of the verb in this sentence. It is quite usual in Pali. No verb is actually needed - some form of the verb "to be" is implied in these cases. Here: Homage [be] to him, to the Blessed One, to the Arahant, to the truly and completely Awakened One. As we can see, the verb is not necessary even in English.
This gātha is a homage to the Buddha. It is called "namaskāra", which can be translated as "greeting" or "salutation". It is used every day by the followers of the Buddha, as an expression of faith, affirmation of one's goal (to attain nirvana) and remembering of Buddha's virtues, so that one's determination to practice will grow.
These epithets are the most usual ones of those used to describe the Buddha. Of these three (bhagavant, arahant, sammāsaṃbuddha) two are used only for the Buddha, namely bhagavant and sammāsaṃbuddha. Why is bhagavant used only for Buddha? It is an extremely polite title, used for gods and the most venerable people. And in Buddhism, the Buddha is of course the most venerable one - thus this epithet applies to him.
With sammāsaṃbuddha, the situation is clearer. Only the Buddha can be described as truly and completely awakened, as his disciples learned from him and differ in some details- namely they are not able to teach the Dharma as well as the Buddha can, to teach every person exactly the lesson he or she needs. The sammāsaṃbuddha realizes the awakenment by himself, without a teacher and teaches it to the whole world. Disciples (sāvaka) can also reach the nirvana (and there is no qualitative difference between their awakenment and sammāsaṃbuddha's one), but they can do it only after hearing the sammāsaṃbuddha to proclaim the Dharma.
Arahant is used for all beings, who have attained the Nirvana. It can denote a sammāsaṃbuddha as well as his disciple.