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Attadanda Sutta Snp 4.15 | Translation guide

For those wishing a bit more of a challenge the Atthaka-vagga, of the Sutta Nipata, according to Thanissaro Bhikkhu, may well be the oldest portion of the entire canon. It is composed mostly in verse, and includes some lovely imagery. In this guide I've chosen the Attadaṇḍā Sutta (Snp 4.15) which, according to tradition, was taught by the Buddha when he went to settle a quarrel. The title of the sutta, translated here as "arming oneself," conveys the image of a person taking up a stick, (danda) - the stick being a common symbol in Indian literature for both violence and punishment. This then sets out the basic problem of confrontation  - people hurting each other. The sutta continues by outlining the cause  - the misplaced wish for security driven by desire - and finally, its solution - letting go of the ego.

Again please note, this attempt at translation is for illustration and as such it is very literal and endeavours to remain true to the underlying grammar.

The Attadaṇḍa Sutta

The Sutta is found in the Sutta Nipata which itself forms part of the Khuddaka Nikaya. Scholars have classified it under differing number schemes, as follows:
Snp 4.15,
PTS: Snp 182
Kn 5.53
Snp 939/935

For comparison see other translations.
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/snp/snp.4.15.than.html
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/snp/snp.4.15.irel.html
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/snp/snp.4.15.olen.html
http://suttas.net/english/suttas/khuddaka-nikaya/sutta-nipata/atthakavagga%20-%20php%20version%201.4/15-violence.php

You may also find the following dictionaries useful:
PED = Pali English Dictionary (I recommend using the PED lookup tool)
CPED = Critical Pali Dictionary (Incomplete -covering only words starting with vowels -but very useful)
Key to the abbreviations can be found at the end of this post.

Taking up weapons oneself

atta-daṇḍā1
bhayaṃ
jātaṃ,
From taking up weapons oneself,
dread (is) born.
N p m
Ab s m
N/A s n
ppp N/A s n
oneself arming
fear, dread
born

janaṃ
passatha
medhagaṃ;
See the people quarrel.
A s m
v: 2nd p pi
A s m
the people
(you all) see
quarrel

saṃvegaṃ
kittayissāmi,
I will explain [this/my] unrest;
A s m
v: 1st s fut
agitation
(I will) explain

yathā
saṃvijitaṃ2
mayā3 .
how I (was) caused to be stirred.
adv (of manner)
pp N/A s n
pers I 1st
how
made agitated
by me

phandamānaṃ
pajaṃ
disvā,
Having seen a generation writhing,
prp A s mfn
A s f
abs. of passati
writhing
a generation
having seen

macche
app-odake
yathā;
as fish in shallow water,
A p m
L s n
adv (of manner)
fish
in little water
like

aññam-aññehi
byāruddhe,
- mutually opposed.
I/Ab p mn
pp. A p m
with eachother / mutually
opposed

disvā
maṃ
bhayam-āvisi.
Having seen [this], dread-entered me.
abs. of passati
pers A 1st s
v: 2/3rd s aor
having seen
me
fear/dread entered

samantam-asāro4
loko5 ,
The world worthless/essenceless entirely.
adv + N s m
N s m
entirely worthless
the world

disā
sabbā
sameritā6 ;
All directions filled,
N/A s/p f
N/A s/p f
pp. N/A s/p f
direction
in all
shaken, filled

icchaṃ7
bhavanam8 -attano,
desiring a haven for myself,
A s f
D/G s m
desiring
a realm of/for myself

n-āddas-āsiṃ
anositaṃ9 .
I did not find one uninhabited.
3rd s aor + 1st s aor
pp A s mnf
not + saw it + I did
not inhabited

osāne
tv-eva10
byāruddhe,
But only confrontation in the end
L s n
ind
pp. A p m
in/at the end
but only
the opposed

disvā
me
aratī
ahu11 ;
having found, mine was discontent.
abs.
pers I/G/D 1st s
N s f
v: 2/3rd s aor
having seen, found
of/by me, my, mine
dislike
there was

atha-ettha
sallam-addakkhiṃ12 ,
And also here I saw a quill,
ind
n + 1st s aor
and also here
a quill/spine + I saw

duddasaṃ
hadaya-nissitaṃ
hard to discern, aggravating the heart.
N/A s n
N/A s n
difficult to see
leaning on the heart

yena
sallena
otiṇṇo13 ,
Because by a quill beset,
adv
I s m
pp N s m
because
by a quill
beset by

disā
sabbā
vidhāvati;
one casts about (in) all directions.
N/A s/p f
N/A s/p f
v: 3rd s pi
direction
in all14
(he) runs about

tameva
sallam-abbuyha15 ,
But having extracted the quill,
ind
n + abs
however
the quill having pulled out

na
dhāvati
na
sīdati.
one runs not, one yields not.
ind
v: 3rd s
ind
v: 3rd s
not
he runs
not
he yields

tattha
sikkh-ānugīyanti16
There, the training adhered to,
dems adv
v: 3rd p pass
there
training-followed (by him)

yāni17
loke
gadhitāni18 ;
the adherent, [with] the bound in the world,
N s nf
L m s
pp.N/A p n
one who follows a method
in the world
tied, bound

na
tesu
pasuto
siyā,
among them, let him not be engaged:
ind
dems L p mn
pp N s m
v: 1/2/3rd s opt
not
in/amongst them
engaged
should be

nibbijjha19
sabbaso
kāme;
Having penetrated in every respect wants,
abs
adv
A p m
having pierced
in every respect
wants

sikkhe20
nibbānam-attano.
one should train for one's own nibbana.
v: 3rd opt
D/G s m
should train for
nibbana + oneself

There follows a list of adjectives all cast in nominative masc.
sacco
siyā
appagabbho,
True (&) modest, (one) should be,
N s m
v: 1/2/3rd s opt
N s m
truth
should be
modest

amāyo
ritta-pesuṇo;
not deceptive, devoid of slander
N s m
N s m
not deceptive
devoid of slander

akkodhano
lobha21 -pāpaṃ22 ,
(&) un-irratable; desire driven bad actions,
N s m
N/A s n
un-irratable;
covetousness -bad action

vevicchaṃ23
vitare
muni.
having many wants, beyond these (is) the muni.
abs
A p m
N s m
having many wants
beyond
the muni

niddaṃ
tandiṃ
sahe24
thīnaṃ,
Enduring sleepiness, weariness, (&) stiffness,
A s f
A s f
A p m
N/A s n
sleepiness
weariness
enduring
stiffness

pamādena
na
saṃvase;
without negligence in control.
I s m
ind
L s m
with/by negligence
not
in control, influence

There follows a series of negative optative statements used in a prohibitory sense. let him not...
atimāne
na
tiṭṭheyya,
Vanity/pride should not stand.
L s m
ind
v: 3rd s opt
high opinion (of oneself)
not
should stand

nibbāna-manaso
naro.
A man, having a mind of nibbāna
N s m
N s m
having a mind of nibbāna
a man

mosavajje
na
nīyetha25
should not be led to untruth,
L s n

2nd pass opt
in untruth
not
to led, or carried

rūpe
snehaṃ
na
kubbaye;
should not in forms make affection.
L s n
A s m

3rd s opt
in form
affection
not
should make

māna-ñ-ca
parijāneyya,
And (he) conceit, should know thoroughly.

opt 3rd s
and conceit
should know thoroughly

sāhasā
virato26
care.
In faring, from hasty/violent acts refrained,
Ab s n
pp N s m
L s m
from hasty (violent) acts
abstain from
frequents, walks

purāṇaṃ
n-ābhinandeyya,
rejoice not in the old,
A s mnf
3rd s opt
old, past
not rejoice at


nave
khantiṃ
na
kubbaye;
nor act with tolerance to the new.
A p m
A s f
ind
3rd s opt
new
tolerance
not
should act

hiyyamāne27
na
soceyya28 ,
Grieve not for the abandoned,
prp L s m pass
ind
3rd s opt
abandoned, lost
not
grieve

ākāsaṃ29
na
sito30
siyā.
nor be attached to the shining forth.
A s m
ind
pp N s m
v: 1/2/3rd s opt
the shining forth
not
stuck on
should be

gedhaṃ
brūmi
mahogho'ti,
Greed, I say (is) “a great flood”,
A s m
v: 1st s pi
N s m
greed
I say
a great flood

ājavaṃ31
brūmi
jappanaṃ32 ;
the longed for I say the current.
A s n
v: 1st s pi
ppp A s m
current
I say
hungered for

ārammaṇaṃ
pakappanaṃ
Attempting a foothold,
N/A s n
A s f
a support/foothold
calculating/planning

kāma-paṅko
duraccayo.
the mire of wants (is) difficult to cross.
N s m
N s m
mire of wants
difficult to cross

saccā
a-vokkamma33
muni,
The muni, having not diverted from truth,
Ab s n
abs
N s m
from truth
having not diverted
the muni

thale
tiṭṭhati
brāhmaṇo;
stands on firm ground, a Brahmin.
L s n
3rd s pi

on dry/firm ground
(he) stands
a Brahmin

sabbaṃ
so
paṭinissajja34 ,
He, the all, forsaken
N s n
pers 3rd / Dem N s
3rd s aor
the all
he/this
forsaken

sa
ve
santo35 'ti
vuccati.
this truly is called “being”
[or
he truly is called “tranquil”].
3rd/dem
N s m
ind
prp/pp
N s m
v: 3rd s pi
he/this
truly
being / calmed
is called

sa
ve
vidvā36
sa
vedagū,
This truly (is) wise - this is knowing the Vedas [or high knowledge].
3rd/dem
N s m
ind
perf p
3rd/dem
N s m
N s m
he/this
truly
wise
he/this
one knowing the Vedas

ñatvā37
dhammaṃ
a-nissito38 ;
Having known the dhamma, not dependent,
abs
A s m
pp N s m
having known
dhamma
not dependent on

sammā
so
loke
iriyāno39 ,
he (is) faring in the world rightly.
ind
3rd / dem N s m
L s m
prp N s m
properly
he/this
in the world
wandering

na
piheti-īdha
kassa-ci.
[And] desires here for nothing/no-one.
ind
3rd s + ind
indef G/D mn
not
to desire/envy here
anyone, anything

yo'dha40
kāme
accatari,
he who here (has) passed over pleasures,
rel N s m+ind
A p m
L s m
3rd s aor
he who, here
pleasures
passed over

saṅgaṃ
loke
duraccayaṃ;
an attachment in the world difficult to cross.
A s m
L s m
A s mnf
clinging
in the world
difficult to cross

na
so
socati
n-ājjheti
He grieves not, nor worries,
ind
pers 3rd / dem
N s m
v: 3rd s pi
v: 3rd s pi
not
he/this
to grieve
to not worry

chinna41 -soto
abandhano.
unbound, the stream cut.
N s m
N s m
stream cut/destroyed
unbound

yaṃ
pubbe
taṃ
visosehi
Let what's before, that dry up!
rel A s mnf
L s m
dem
2nd imp
what
in the past
that
be caused to dry up

pacchā
te
māhu42
kiñcanaṃ;
[&] for you let after be nothing.
adv
pers 2/3rd p
dem N/A p
2/3rd s aor
N/A s n
after
for you
they, these
let it not be
anything43

majjhe
ce
no
gahessasi44 ,
If, in the middle, you do not seize,
A p m
L s m
ind
ind
2nd s fut caus
in the middle
if
not
(you will) seize

Upasanto45
carissasi.
tranquil you will fare.
N s m
2nd s fut
calmed
will live & move

sabbaso
nāma-rūpasmiṃ,
In every respect (of) name & form,
[or mind & body]
adv
L s n
in every respect,
in name & form

yassa
n-atthi
mamāyitaṃ46 ;
for whom there is not the cherished,
rel D/G s mn
3rd s
ppp A s mnf
for whom
there is not
cherished

asatā47
ca
na
socati,
and grieves not (at) being not,
I s mn
ind
ind
v: 3rd s
not being
and
not
grieves

sa
ve
loke
na
jīyati48 .
he truly in the world (is) not deprived.
pers 3rd / dem N s
ind
L m s
ind
3rd s pass
he/this
truly
in the world
not
defeated, diminished,

yassa
n-atthi
idaṃ
me'ti,
For whom there is no “This (is) mine”,
rel D/G s mn
3rd s
dem N/A s n
1st I/D/G s
for whom
there is not
this
to me; my; mine

paresaṃ49
vā'pi
kiñcanaṃ;
nor also something of another,
G/D p
ind
N/A s n
another's
or also
something50

mamattaṃ51
so
a-saṃvindaṃ52 ,
he, not finding oneself mine,
N/A s n
pers 3rd / dem N s
prp N s mn
conceit
he/this
not finding

N-atthi
me'ti
na
socati.
“no mine”, grieves not.
3rd s
1st I/D/G s
ind
3rd s
there is not
to me; my; mine
not
grieve

a-niṭṭhurī53
an-anugiddho54 ,
Without cruelty (or) greed,
adj N s m
pp N s m
not cruel/merciful
not longing for

anejo55
sabbadhī
samo;
free from turbulence, everywhere tranquil,
N s m
adv
N sm
free from turbulence
everywhere
tranquil

tam-ānisaṃsaṃ
pa-brūmi56 ,
this (is) the blessing I respond
A s m
1st s
this+reward, blessing
I reply

pucchito
avikampinaṃ57 .
[if/when] asked (of) those unmoved.
N s m
A s, D/G p
asked
the unmoved


anejassa58
vijānato59 ,
(The one), free from turbulence, understands
D/G s mn
prp D/G s mn
free from turbulence
dicriminate

n-atthi
kāci
nisaṅkhati60
there is nothing accumulated.
3rd s
indef s f
N s f
there is not
anyone/thing
accumulation

virato61
so
viy-ārabbhā62 ,
He. from striving ceased,
pp N s m
pers 3rd / dem N s
Ab *
ceased
he/this
from striving

khemaṃ
passati
sabbadhi.
finds peace everywhere.
A s mnf
3rd s
adv
safe/peace
sees, finds
everywhere

na
samesu63
na
omesu,
Not (amongst) the equal, nor inferior,
ind
L p mn
ind
L p mn
not
in equality
not
in inferiority

na
ussesu
vada-te
muni;
nor superior, (does) the muni of them speak.
ind
L p mn

N s m
not
in superiority
speak of these
the muni

santo64
so
vīta-maccharo,
Tranquil, he (is) without envy,
pp
pers 3rd / dem N s
N s
calmed
he/this
without envy

n-ādeti65
na
nirassatī”ti.
not appropriating, nor casting off.
3rd s
ind
3rd s
not appropriating
not
to throw off

Notes

1 Lit. to take up a stick; fig. take up weapons, fight. Ablative indicating origin is used here in sense of 'danger from'
2 pp. of saṃvejeti, causative; make agitated, fill with fear, made to tremble
3 Instrumental here used to indicate cause or to be filled/endowed with
4 lit. sapless; fig worthless, without substance
5 Often implies the world of the senses
6 saṃ+pp. of ereti; moved, filled
7 A form of icchā
8 fr. bhū; dwelling, sphere, world, realm
9 pp. of ava + sā
10 fr. tu-eva; but, however
11 CPED ahu aor. 2/3rd s of hū: 'there was'. See also Warder pg353
12 aor addakkhi fr. dassati 'to see'
13 pp. of otarati,
14 Accusative indicating goal of motion
15 abs of Abbahati
16 fr. anugati
17 fr. yanin lit. one who rides in a vehicle, fig. follows a method
18 pp of gantheti
19 fr. Nibbijjhati
20 fr. sikkhati
21 The desire to appropriate
22 ~ actions resulting in suffer
23 fr. vivicchā
24 adj fr. sah enduring
25 passive of neti -ya-etha
26 pp. of viramati
27 loc of Pres. Part. Pass of Jahati, √ha -ya-māna-e. The passive form is hīyati and present participle hīyamāna. hīy- changed to hiyy- to fit metre. Although it is usually translated as abandoned I think the root ha can mean either lost or attained.
28 Opt of Socati to grieve.
29 lit. shining forth, fig. space might here mean attractive?
30 pp. of sayati; lit. stuck to; or pp. of sinoti; bound
31 CPED lists ājava as the on-rush of a stream
32 Probably fr. jappati desire, hunger, accusative of pass past part -ta jappa-naṃ
33 abs. of vokkamati
34 possibly an aor of paṭinissajjati or 2nd imperative
35 prp of atthi being or pp. of sammati calmed
36 Old perfect participle meaning wise
37 abs. of jānāti
38 pp. of nissayati
39 probably pres part of iriyati -(m)āno wandering
40 note yodha = warrior, but probably a compound of yo-idha
41 pp. of chindati
42 mā-ahu, mā prohibitive particle and ahu aor. 2, 3 sg. of hoti which loses its time reference
43 something that adheres to a man's character, and which he must get be rid
44 2nd fut/cond of a causative of gaṇhāti -e-ssasi without the guna strengthening.
45 pp. of upasammati
46 pp. of mamāyati which is itself a Denom. fr. pron mama lit. meaning “to make mine”
47 I of santa = existing or Ab of ppp of sata remembered. Instrumental here used to indicate cause or motive
48 I notice from other trans “defeated, & suffers loss" are two meanings of jiyati
49 G/D. pl of Pare/Para
50 something that adheres to a man's character, and which he must get be rid
51 mam-atta lit self-mine
52 prp. saŋvindati to find
53 fr. anuṭṭhurin one who is merciful. For declension
54 pp. of anugijjhati
55 an + ejā
56 brūmi to tell, pa- directional prefix ~ reply
57 Avikampin one unmoved
58 Dative here to indicate for whom there's advantage.
59 pr.p. of vijānāti
60 would appear to be a variation of nisaṅkhiti
61 pp. of viramati
62 viyā-arabbhā
CPED lists ārabbha abs. 'having made a start'
or ārabbha ~ ārambha, m. 'beginning, inception'
PED viyārambha Ab. 'striving'
63 Although Sama often relates to tranquillity here it implies equality and the locative 'amongst'
64 prp of atthi being or pp. of sammati calmed
65 CPED ādeti possible variation of ādiyati 'to take to oneself'

Abbreviations

() = inflectional addition
[] = My own insertion for easy of reading

(class)
Case / person.
Number
gender / tense
intg = interrogative pronoun
dem = demonstrative pronoun
rel = relative pronoun
poss = possessive pronoun
pers = personal pronoun
indef – indefinite pronoun
pn = proper name
ind = indeclinable
adv = adverb
pp = past participle
ppp = passive past participle
prp = present participle
N = nominative
V = vocative
A = Accusative
D = Dative
G = genitive
I = Instrumental
Ab = Ablative
L = locative
s = single
p = plural
m = masculine
n = neuter
f = feminine

v: = verb
3rd = 3rd person etc.
pi = present indicative
pass = passive
aor = aorist, [past]
fut = future
abs = gerund/absolutive
caus = causative
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