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Thai: samnak song

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  • sritantra
    Greetings to all group members, I am a first time poster here. Though seriously engaged in broad ascetic research, I must confess that my knowledge of both
    Message 1 of 5 , Mar 31, 2006
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      Greetings to all group members,

      I am a first time poster here.

      Though seriously engaged in broad ascetic research, I must confess
      that my knowledge of both Pali and Thai languages is rudimentary at
      best. Thus I seek assistance.

      A specific question confronts me here. This regards what seems to me
      a very curious Thai word that I believe is derived from Pali.

      The Thai expression is "samnak song", or 'religious hermitage'. This
      normally indicates a monastic organization that falls outside the
      greater centrally regulated Sangha - that is, a 'retreat centre' that
      does not have [often in the sense of 'lacking'] a consecrated area
      or "main hall" (Thai: bot) or sIma 'boundary' for conducting formal
      ecclesiastical/legal acts, etc.

      Now as for "song", according to at least one monastic Thai-speaker it
      is a colloquialization (or linguistic alteration) of Sk/P sangha. I
      would appreciate any verification or refutation of this.

      In brief, does anybody have any clear idea as to the derivation
      of "samnak"? Being of two syllables, my instincts tell me that it
      must be Sanskrit/Pali in origin. Finally, as for "song" - well, this
      is simply the natural follow-on question.

      With much metta,
      sritantra

      Jasmine Hermitage, Singapore
    • Dhammanando Bhikkhu
      Dear Sritantra, ... Welcome! ... Well, not quite. What distinguishes a samnak song from a wat is that the latter has established a visu`ngaamasiimaa with
      Message 2 of 5 , Apr 1, 2006
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        Dear Sritantra,

        > I am a first time poster here.

        Welcome!

        > The Thai expression is "samnak song", or 'religious hermitage'. This
        > normally indicates a monastic organization that falls outside the
        > greater centrally regulated Sangha - that is, a 'retreat centre' that
        > does not have [often in the sense of 'lacking'] a consecrated area
        > or "main hall" (Thai: bot) or sIma 'boundary' for conducting formal
        > ecclesiastical/legal acts, etc.

        Well, not quite. What distinguishes a samnak song from a wat is that
        the latter has established a visu`ngaamasiimaa with official approval,
        while the former hasn't. But it really has nothing to do with the
        presence or absence of a bot. For example, my teacher's monastery in
        Lamphun had had a bot built for many decades and yet was only classed
        as a samnak song because none of the preceding abbots had bothered to
        do the paperwork to get the siimaa registered. On the other hand, there
        are some forest monasteries that are recognized as wats even though
        they haven't got around to building a bot.

        > Now as for "song", according to at least one monastic Thai-speaker it
        > is a colloquialization (or linguistic alteration) of Sk/P sangha. I
        > would appreciate any verification or refutation of this.

        Yes, that is certainly correct and can be seen from the Thai spelling
        of the word.

        > In brief, does anybody have any clear idea as to the derivation
        > of "samnak"? Being of two syllables, my instincts tell me that it
        > must be Sanskrit/Pali in origin.

        From the spelling I should think it is most likely a loanword from
        classical Khmer. If it were from Pali or Sanskrit we should expect to
        see the syllable "am" spelled "sara aa (or sara a), mor maa" as in such
        words as saamakkhii (Pali, saamaggii) and saamanen (saama.nera);
        instead, it is spelled with the am ligature, in common with such words
        as samdaeng, samnao, samneuk, samret, samruad etc. etc. -- all from
        Cambodian. Further evidence in support of a Khmer origin is the
        prominence of "samnak" in royal Thai and civil service jargon.

        Best wishes,
        Dhammanando Bhikkhu
      • nina van gorkom
        Venerable Sritantra, ... N: yes, song is sangha, community. samnak I recall: a center. Samnak patibat, a meditation center. With respect, Nina.
        Message 3 of 5 , Apr 1, 2006
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          Venerable Sritantra,

          op 01-04-2006 05:57 schreef sritantra op sritantra@...:

          > Now as for "song", according to at least one monastic Thai-speaker it
          > is a colloquialization (or linguistic alteration) of Sk/P sangha. I
          > would appreciate any verification or refutation of this.
          >
          > In brief, does anybody have any clear idea as to the derivation
          > of "samnak"? Being of two syllables, my instincts tell me that it
          > must be Sanskrit/Pali in origin.
          -------
          N: yes, song is sangha, community.
          samnak I recall: a center. Samnak patibat, a meditation center.
          With respect,
          Nina.
        • sritantra
          I am very thankful to Nina Van Gorkom and Venerable Dhammanando for their kind assistance. Dhammanando particularly reflects in his post an exquisitely
          Message 4 of 5 , Apr 2, 2006
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            I am very thankful to Nina Van Gorkom and Venerable Dhammanando for
            their kind assistance. Dhammanando particularly reflects in his post an
            exquisitely heuristic range of research interests. Might the two of you
            only indulge me further

            1. Assuming samnak is indeed a loan word from Classical Khmer, how might
            we ascertain the term's true sense? In other words, what might be the
            Sk/P word from which samnak is derived? Goggle brings up Khmer samnag.
            Parsing this word as sam + nag provides some pretty clear Sanskritic
            intimation. However Monier-Williams has nil.

            2. How about this? Could a reconstructed meaning be drawn from sam +
            nak/nag? Thus nak becomes a Thai modification of the Classical Khmer
            nag, as derived from the Sanskrit naga (no long vowels). Naga would
            signify/imply and transfer the meaning(s) of 'mountain & tree' - hence
            'fixity and firmness'. In a similar way (if I'm not mistaken), Pali na +
            gacchati also means 'immovable' ('like a mountain').

            3. To shepherd my question in another direction, may I assume the Thai
            samnak to be a 'purely secular' term? That is, minus any qualifier -
            e.g. song, patibat, yokha, et al - does samnak ('centre, union') aver to
            anything more than a social organization, association, society, club,
            institute, etc? Is samnak ever a stand-alone word?

            Best regards,

            sritantra

            --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, nina van gorkom <vangorko@...> wrote:
            >
            > Venerable Sritantra,
            >
            > op 01-04-2006 05:57 schreef sritantra op sritantra@...:
            >
            > > Now as for "song", according to at least one monastic Thai-speaker
            it
            > > is a colloquialization (or linguistic alteration) of Sk/P sangha. I
            > > would appreciate any verification or refutation of this.
            > >
            > > In brief, does anybody have any clear idea as to the derivation
            > > of "samnak"? Being of two syllables, my instincts tell me that it
            > > must be Sanskrit/Pali in origin.
            > -------
            > N: yes, song is sangha, community.
            > samnak I recall: a center. Samnak patibat, a meditation center.
            > With respect,
            > Nina.
            >



            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • nina van gorkom
            Venerable Sritantra, I heard in Thai: the Buddha s Samnak. Perhaps where the Buddha dwelt. It may not be just secular. With respect, Nina.
            Message 5 of 5 , Apr 3, 2006
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              Venerable Sritantra,
              I heard in Thai: the Buddha's Samnak.
              Perhaps where the Buddha dwelt.
              It may not be just secular.
              With respect,
              Nina.
              op 02-04-2006 11:31 schreef sritantra op sritantra@...:

              > To shepherd my question in another direction, may I assume the Thai
              > samnak to be a 'purely secular' term? That is, minus any qualifier -
              > e.g. song, patibat, yokha, et al - does samnak ('centre, union') aver to
              > anything more than a social organization, association, society, club,
              > institute, etc? Is samnak ever a stand-alone word?
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