Re: stock phrase about women? 

Sun Mar 14 04:26:25 UTC 2004

Hartmut Buescher wrote:

> In spite of Stephen Hodge's noble ranking of possible interpretations --
> while this would, no doubt, be the preferable one should the correct
> interpretation of vraNabhaGga depend on what appeals to us as the
> most decent mode of behaviour
No, you completely misunderstand me !  My suggested sequence of possible
interpretations has nothing to do with my subjective views on decency (inter
alia I have worked for years on tantric material) but is based on various
possible lexical interpretations derived from Pali, Sanskrit, Tibetan and
Chinese.  As has been suggested, there was a early Prakrit form X which
seems to have given rise to two divergent meanings -- Pali and Chinese (in
some cases) seem to approximate while Skt and Tib seem to concur at a
literal level although the native Tibetan exegetical tradition has its own
ideas about the precise connotation of the term.

> the archaeological evidence, as suggested, may better not be lighthandedly
> ignored, as it furnishes us with directly visible data of cultural codes
of deportment
> provided by the culture concerned itself.
Yes, I said previously that this input of yours is extremely useful in
conjunction with lexical considerations -- though not definitive in terms of
what the original Prakrit form X might have meant.  I assume that the
artistic tradition which has these interesting erotic depictions arose
centuries after the original meaning of the term X had become confused and
thus it may only suggest one possible, albeit reasonable, interpretation of
the word as it went through various linguistic permutations.

> Therefore, we are not BACK "in the realm of the overtly sexual" and there
> not "a rather sudden 'gear-change' " from which, Stephen, we have to
> back -- all the eight sthAnas are directly related to sex (kAma).
Again, I have no intrinsic objection to a overtly sexual or highly erotic
interpretation, so this comment is rather unfair, and I agree that the
series of eight items are indeed related to sexual seduction, though I still
feel that they are not overtly sexual as a group but more general -- the
quote I have supplied from the Dhammapada-atthakatha seems similar, as it
undoubtedly revolves around sexual seduction but is not very overt to my
mind [but then again, I'm Libra not Scorpio :) ]

Having said this, once again, Hartmut, we should be grateful for bringing
attention to the artistic tradition.  I am sure Jonathan will now be writing
an enormous footnote and thank us all for the wealth of suggestions this
thread has generated.

Best wishes,
Stephen Hodge

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