stock phrase about men?

Martin Delhey mdelhey at YAHOO.COM
Thu Mar 11 22:36:05 UTC 2004

--- "L.S. Cousins" <selwyn at NTLWORLD.COM> wrote:

> What would be the motive for such a later addition ?
> Are you
> postulating a growing tendency towards gender
> equality in the
> developing Theravaada ?

No, I am not. The reason for an addition may be quite
simple. There are other places in the Pali canon in
which a mutual attraction of men and women is
It seems to me quite natural that at a certain point
in the transmission of the canonical texts the second
sutta was added because it was believed that in this
case, too, the same is true for both women and men.
In my opinion, this is far more probable than the
opposite case, namely, that a part of the tradition
came to the conclusion that one of Buddha's sermons
can be disregarded because it is a forgery or even
simply not worth to be transmitted.

> I don't think anybody has suggested that. But to
> ignore the
> commentaries is not very sensible, especially in a
> case like this. It
> is clear that we are not dealing with a single
> isolated comment but
> rather with a established tradition of exegesis in
> the Vinaya
> commentaries. Most probably what we have here is the
> reason given by
> the Theravaada tradition or its sources for the
> interpretation of
> Middle Indian *va.nabha'nga as equivalent to
> Sanskrit vana-.
> But the fact that this is clearly the traditional
> interpretation in
> the Pali sources does not prove that it is the
> original meaning of
> the 'canonical' passage (which may well have had
> variations both in
> form and in interpretation from an early date).

Quite obviously, concerning the commentarial
interpretation of vanabhanga, we simply misunderstood
each other.
I do not suggest to simply ignore the commentarial
traditions (they must, of course, always be taken in
consideration when dealing with the root texts; even
when one is inclined not to follow their
interpretation they are still worthwhile in
understanding the commentators' thought itself), and
you obviously do not think that
their interpretation, well-established as it is,  has
to be in accordance with the original meaning.
Your suggestion that the reading vanabhanga in itself
is a result of this interpretation of an earlier
*va.nabhanga is very inspiring. I shall definitely
think about it. It is a possiblity which I have
neglected so far.

Martin Delhey

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