An Elementary Pali Course

Lesson XX

Compounds (SamŒsa)

A SamŒsa is a compound which is composed of two or more simple words.

As a rule only the final member of the compound takes the case terminations. The preceding members, with a few exceptions, drop their case endings and assume their bases.

The component parts of the compound are combined, wherever necessary, according to the rules of Sandhi.

In Pali there are five classes of compounds, viz:-
1. Adjectival Compounds (KammadhŒraya),
2. Case Compounds (Tappurissa),
3. Copulative Compounds (Dvanda),
4. Attributive Compounds(Bahubb“hi) and
5. Adverbial Compounds (Avyay“bhŒva).

1. An Adjectival Compound (KammadhŒraya) is that which is formed by combining a substantive with an adjective, or a noun in apposition, or an indeclinable used in an adjectival sense, as its prior member.

In some instances the qualifying adjective follows the noun.
Taruöo-puriso taruöapuriso   (m) young man
Taruö“-ka––Œ taruöaka––Œ   (f) young maiden
Taruöaµ-phalaµ taruöaphalaµ   (n) young fruit
Sumedho-paöito sumedhapaöito   Sumedha the wise or wise Sumedha
Mukham'eva cando mukhacando   moon-face
S“lam'eva dhanaµ s“ladhanaµ   wealth of virtue
Su-jano sujano   good man
Na-kusalaµ akusalaµ   immoral or non-moral
Na-asso anasso   non-horse (mule)
Na-manusso amančsso   non-man (a spirit)

"Na" followed by a consonant is changed into "a", and into "an" when followed by a vowel.

Those Adjectival Compounds that have a numeral as their first member are in PŒĀi known as Digu SamŒsa (Numerical Compounds).

They generally take the neuter singular when they imply an aggregate.
Dve-aŗguliyo dvaŗgulaµ   two-finger
Tayo-lokŒ tilokaµ   three-fold world
Catasso-disŒ catuddisaµ   four-fold direction
CattŒri-saccŒni catusaccaµ   four-fold truth
Satta-ahŒni sattŒhaµ   week
They do not take the neuter singular when they do not imply an aggregate.
Eko-putto ekaputto   one son
Tayo-bhavŒ tibhavŒ   three existences
Cattasso-disŒ catuddisŒ   four directions

2. A Case Compound* (Tappurisa) is that which is formed by combining a substantive with another substantive belonging to anyone of the oblique cases, by dropping its case endings.

In some exceptional cases the preceding members retain their case endings.

These compounds take the gender of the final member and are declined accordingly.

With the exception of the Nominative and Vocative cases all the other oblique cases go to form these compounds.

*According to Saµskrit grammarians this class of compounds is known as Determinative Compound.

1. DutiyŒ - Acc. gŒmaµ-gato = gŒmagato
    he who has gone to the village
    sivaµ-karo = sivaµkaro*
2. TatiyΠ- Abl. of Agent Buddhena-desito = Buddhadesito
    preached by the Buddha
3. Karaöa - Instr. AsinŒ-kalaho = asikalaho
4. Catutth“ - Dat. Lokassa-hito = lokahito
    beneficial to the world
5. Pacam“ - Abl. CorasmŒ-bhayaµ = corabhayaµ
    fear from thief
6. ChaŹŹh“ - Gen. Buddhassa-dhammo = Buddhadhammo
    Buddha's Doctrine
7. Sattam“ - Loc. Vane-vŒso = vanavŒso
    residence in the forest
    Ante-vŒsiko = antevŒsiko*
    pupil (lit. he who lives near)

*The case endings are retained in these instances.

3. A Copulative Compound (Dvanda) is that which is formed by combining two or more substantives which, if not compounded, would be connected by the particle "ca".

(a) These compounds generally take the plural and the gender of the final member when the component members are viewed separately.

(b) If they collectively imply an aggregate, they take the neuter singular.

a. Cando ca suriyo ca = candasuriyŒ*
  moon and sun
  narŒ ca nŒriyo ca = naranŒriyo
  men and women
b. NŒma ca rčpaca = nŒmarčpaµ
  mind and matter
  Sukha ca dukkha ca = sukhadukkhaµ
  happiness and pain
  Hatthi ca gavo ca assŒ ca = hatthigavŒssaµ
  elephants, cattle, and horses

*Words with fewer syllables are often placed first.

4. An Attributive Compound* (Bahubb“hi) is that in which the component members collectively denote something else than what is originally expressed by them.

These compounds assume the gender of the implied object and are declined accordingly.

*Words with fewer syllables are often placed first.

P“ta means yellow. ambara, garment; but p“tambaro means he who has a yellow garment,
Œgata, come; samaöa, ascetics; Œgatasamaöo, the place to which ascetics have come, i.e., a monastery.
ŹŹho, seen; dhammo, Truth; diŹŹhadhammo, by whom the Truth has been seen, i.e., a Saint.
Ni, free from; taöhŒ craving; nittaöho, he who is free from craving, i.e., an Arahant.

5. An Adverbial Compound (Avyay“bhŒva) is that which has as its first member a prefix (upasagga) or an indeclinable (nipŒta), not used in an adjectival sense*, but used in determining the sense of the final member.

The Adverbial Compounds generally take the neuter gender and are indeclinable. They are treated like the nominative singular of neuter substantives.

If the final member of these compounds ends in "a" of "Œ", the neuter termination "µ" is affixed; otherwise the final vowel is retained except in cases of long vowels which are shortened.

*See Adjectival Compounds.

Anu-pubba = anupubbaµ in due course, in regular succession
Adhi-itth“ = adhitthi in a woman or relating to a woman
Upa-gaŗ = upagaŗgaµ near a river (riverside place)
Upa-naggra = upanagaraµ near a city, i.e., a suburb
YathŒ-bala = yathŒbalaµ according to strength
YathŒ-kama = yathŒkkamaµ according to order
YathŒ-vuddha = yathŒvuddhaµ according to seniority
YathŒ-satti = yathŒsatti according to one's ability
YŒva-attha = yŒvadatthaµ as one wishes, as much as required
YŒva-j“va = yŒvaj“vaµ till life lasts
PacchŒ-bhatta = pacchŒbhattaµ after meal, i.e., after-noon

Mixed Compounds
When a compound is further compounded with another single word or compound it is treated as a mixed compound.

Setaµ-vatthaµ = setavatthaµ
white cloth - adj. comp.
Pituno-setavatthaµ = pitusetavatthaµ
father's white cloth - case comp.
PuttŒ ca dh“taro ca = puttadh“taro
sons and daughters - copulative comp.
Mahantani gharŒni = mahŒgharŒni
big houses - adj. comp.
Puttadh“tarŒnaµ mahŒgharŒni = puttadh“tumahŒgharŒni
the big houses of sons and daughters - case comp.

Exercise 20-A

1. "SabbadŒnaµ dhammadŒnaµ jinŒti."
2. "Ahaµ te saddhiµ puttadh“tŒhi dŒs“ bhavissŒmi."
3. "Tisaraöena saddhiµ pacas“laµ detha me bhante."
4. "Iti'pi so BhagavŒ arahaµ, sammŒ-sambuddho, ..... satthŒ devamanussŒnaµ....."
5. "MŒtŒpitŒ disŒ pubbŒ, ŒcariyŒ dakkhiöŒ disŒ."
6. Paralokaµ gacchantaµ puttadh“taro vŒ bhŒtaro vŒ hatthigavŒssaµ vŒ na anugacchanti (follow).
7. Eho taruöavejjo vejjakammaµ karonto gŒmanagaresu vicarati.
8. DŒrakadŒrikŒyo tesaµ mŒtŒpitunnaµ ovŒde ŹhatvŒ kici'pi pŒpakammaµ na karonti.
9. S“todakaµ vŒ uöhodakaµ vŒ Œhara.
10. AmhŒkaµ Buddho pana pubbe Sumedhapaöito nŒma ahosi.
11. Sattasu dhanesu saddhŒdhanaµ pana pa hamaµ; s“ladhanaµ dutiyaµ, pa––Œdhanaµ sattamaµ.
12. Dvipadesu vŒ catuppadesu vŒ sadŒ mettacittena vasitabbaµ.
13. Ahaµ khöŒsave vŒ na diŹŹhapubbo, satthudhammaµ vŒ na sutapubbo.
14. ItthipurisŒ sukhadukkhaµ bhujamŒnŒ tibhave vicaranti.
15. AmaccaputtŒ rŒjabhayena mahŒpŒsŒdato nikkhamiµsu.
16. Mayhaµ antevŒsikesu dve brahmacŒrino saddhŒcetasŒ Buddhadesitaµ dhammaµ sutvŒ samaöadhammaµ katvŒ diŹŹhadhammŒ ahesuµ.

Exercise 20-B

1. The boys and girls are studying diligently.
2. The monks and nuns heard the Teacher's Doctrine and gained their Deliverance.
3. Sons and daughters should respect their parents.
4. Little children wash their hands and feet with hot water.
5. O young men! You should not associate with evil friends.
6. Sun and Moon shine in the sky.
7. My brother's son is a pupil teacher in a village-school.
8. Great beings are born amongst men for the good of the world.
9. In this vessel is well-water and in that is sea-water.
10. The lion is the king of quadrupeds.
11. His pupils gave the three Refuges and the eight precepts to the male and female devotees.
12. These chairs and beds were washed by the servants and maid-servants to-day.
13. May I understand the four-fold Truth Preached by the Buddha and be a Desireless One!
14. There is no fear of death to the Saints.
15. Never before have I seen white elephants or blue horses.
16. By this gift of Truth may I be an all-knowing Buddha!