We saw that the Past Participles can be formed by adding termination ‘ta’ (or ‘na’) to the verbal base or root. However, many past participles do not conform to this formula and take up varied forms. Let us have a look at a few such examples.

Verb → Past Participle

kasatikasita, kaṭṭha
pāpuṇāti / pappotipatta
passati (√dis) → diṭṭha

• The above are a few examples of Past Participles. Though they take such varied forms, it is not necessary to memorise them as most of these words can be found in a Pali dictionary.
• We can see that some of the most frequently used words (like ‘Buddha’) in Pali are in fact past participles derived from verbs. Such words are often used as nouns rather than adjectives to other nouns.


Declension of Past Participles

The past participles while acting as adjectives of the nouns, decline according to the gender of the nouns they modify.

The masculine and neuter past participles are always ‘a’-ending, irrespective of the nouns they modify, and they decline like the nouns – buddha (m) & phala (n)

The feminine past participles are always ‘ā’-ending, irrespective of the nouns they modify, and they decline like the noun latā / vanitā

Like all the other adjectives, the past participles also match the nouns they modify in gender, number and case.


Let us translate a few simple Pali sentences into English to understand the usage of various declined forms of Past Participles.

1. Kassako kaṭṭhasmiṃ khettasmiṃ bījani vapati.
kaṭṭha (PP from kasati) = ploughed

Translation : The farmer sows seeds in the ploughed field.


2. Kassako vuttehi bījehi dhaññaṃ labhissati.
vutta (PP from vapati) = sown

Translation : The farmer will get a crop / harvest from the seeds sown (in the field)


3. Pāsādaṃ gatā manussā bhūpatiṃ passituṃ icchanti.
gata (PP from gacchati) = gone

Translation : The men (people) gone to the palace wish to see the king.


4. Upāsikā gehadvāre ṭhitassa bhikkhuno dānaṃ adāsi.
ṭhita (PP from tiṭṭhati) = stood

Translation : The female lay devotee gave dāna (alms) to the monk standing (who stood) in front of her house.

Please Note : In the above sentence, the bhikkhu was standing when the upāsikā gave him alms. But the adjective used is a past participle – ṭhita, instead of present participle. In case of verb tiṭṭhati, we rarely come across its present participle – tiṭṭhanta (standing), but the past participle ṭhita is commonly used to express the same meaning – someone who is / was standing.


5. Vihāre sannipatitā upāsakā bhikkhunā dhammaṃ yāciṃsu.
sannipatita (PP from sannipatati) = assembled

Translation : The lay devotees assembled in the monastery requested Dhamma (teaching) from the monk.

Please Note :
• In sentences 1 & 2, the past participles are formed from transitive verbskasati (kaṭṭha) and vapati (vutta); and they act as adjectives to the objects of the sentences (khetta, bīja)
• Whereas in sentences 3 and 5, the past participles are formed from intransitive verbsgacchati (gata), and sannipatati (sannipatita); and they act as adjectives to the subjects of the sentences (manussa, upāsaka)


6. Kumāriyo uyyāne bhūmiyaṃ patitāni pupphāni saṃharanti.
patita (PP from patati) = fallen

Translation : In the park, the girls collect flowers fallen on the ground.


7. Yācako vānijena dinnaṃ bhattaṃ bhuñjati.
dinna (PP from dadāti) = given

Translation : The beggar eats food given by the merchant.


8. Buddhena desitaṃ dhammaṃ sutvā sāvakā modanti.
desita (PP from deseti) = taught

Translation : The disciples are gladdened having listened to the Dhamma taught by the Buddha.


9. Pañjarasmā mutto sakuṇo ākāse uḍḍeti.
mutta (PP from muñcati) = released, free(ed)

Translation : The bird released from the cage flies in the sky.


10. Nagarasmā āgatā atithayo sabhāyaṃ nisinnā (honti / ahesuṃ)
āgata (PP from āgacchati) = come (those who have come),
nissina (PP from nisīdati) = seated

Translation : The guests who have come from the town, are / were seated (sitting) in the assembly.

Last modified: Saturday, 23 March 2024, 9:31 AM