stock phrase about men?

Martin Delhey mdelhey at YAHOO.COM
Thu Mar 11 17:52:01 UTC 2004

--- "L.S. Cousins" <selwyn at NTLWORLD.COM> wrote:
> As regards the eight ways in which men bind women
> (and vice versa)
> given at A IV 196f.:

I suspect that the sutta according to which men, too,
bind women in eight ways is a later addition by the
Pali recension of the old canon. There is no
corresponding sUtra in the Chinese ekottarAgama (T
125) p. 765c, where another recension of the sUtra on
women binding men is found. Moreover, the second
yogAcArabhUmi passage mentioned by me in an earlier
message (zi 101a4ff. in the Peking [or "Qianlong"]
edition seems only to presuppose that women bind men
in eight ways and not vice versa.

> ...
> The Pali expression vanabha'nga does not seem
> problematic in
> isolation. It is explained consistently both by
> Buddhaghosa in the
> A'nguttara commentary and in more detail in a series
> of Vinaya
> commentaries beginning with Sp III 527 & 529.
> Vanabha'nga is simply
> any growing thing gathered in the countryside (lit.
> forest) i.e.
> flowers, foliage and the like and (in this case)
> used in
> inter-personal relations or sexual play. (I notice
> one Sanskrit
> occurrence by the way - in the
> 50480033 vanabha'nge ca ko 'syaartho raak.sasiinaa.m
> ca tarjane)

I see no cogent reason why we have to adopt an
interpretation of a canonical term simply because it
is put forward in the commentaries of the Theravaada
tradition. Moreover, I am, in view of the incidents
narrated earlier in the, quite convinced
that vanabhanga has an entirely
different meaning (something like "destruction of the
forest") there, but maybe I am too hasty in this
regard (I have not studied the passage in any detail).

> As has been suggested, an earlier Prakrit form
> could either
> correspond to Sanskrit vana- or to Sanskrit
> So the Sanskrit
> sources cited could be following an older tradition
> of interpretation
> too. Or, we might be dealing with later more learned
> 'etymology'.
> Lance Cousins

I agree that the Sanskritization can be based on an old tradition of
interpretation. And suddenly I am not
too sure anymore that Pali vana- reflects the original
wording. Yet another problem to think about ..

 Martin Delhey

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