stock phrase about women?

Jonathan Silk silk at HUMNET.UCLA.EDU
Thu Mar 11 00:13:34 UTC 2004

Matthew suggested that the meaning of rma 'byed pa = vraNabhaNga may be

>  teasing and poking fun in a way that
>was somewhat hurtful or embarrassing

Paul Hackett similarly suggested (as I understand, on the basis of
the Tibetan etymology only):

it would seem to connote "to repeatedly injure [in the same
manner]" or more colloquially, "to re-open [old] wounds," "to
humiliate," etc.

(After I wrote this, Allen Thrasher had some similar suggestions,
also echoed earlier on H-Buddhism by Tony Duff and others)

This idea has much to suggest it. BUT: the 8 cited items are supposed
to be means by which women tempt men. Is it reasonable to think that
they do so through humiliation? I can understand the suggestion that
men--let us follow Matthew and say insecure men--would feel
embarrassed by the teasing of women, but I at least do not follow how
this would then bind the women to them. (I think we may leave aside
the complex psychology by which some men are attracted to women who
humiliate them--while this is true, it seems to me too arcane to
stand as an explanation of which should no doubt be seen as a rather
obvious list, offered without too much psychological subtlety.)

Is it possible that, perhaps through some transference of meaning, we
should take the word in a much 'lighter' sense of 'joshing', even
'coyly joshing'?

In my off-list discussion with Martin Delhey, he and I seem agreed
that there is something a bit strange in the Pali reading (at least
as edited) vana-bhanga, that is with dental -n-, since we would
certainly expect vaNa from vrana. It may be then that some Prakrit
vaNa was understood in Skt as vrana, but in Pali as vana, which in
any even strongly suggests that at some stage of the tradition(s)
there was already either disagreement over the meaning of the term,
or more likely no understanding of it at all.

more grist for the mill.  JAS
Jonathan Silk
Department of Asian Languages & Cultures
Center for Buddhist Studies
290 Royce Hall
Box 951540
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1540
phone: (310)206-8235
fax:  (310)825-8808
silk at

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