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Re: Thai: samnak song

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  • 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 1 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
    • 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 2 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 3 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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