I was looking at Ajahn Brahmali’s translation of some of the Vinaya, and came across this passage talking about Dabba the Malian assigning different dwelling places to different groups of monks. The Pali is:
Ye te bhikkhū tiracchānakathikā kāyadaḷhibahulā viharanti tesampi ekajjhaṃ senāsanaṃ paññapeti—
and the English:
and for the gossips and the body-builders, thinking,
and kāyadaḷhibahulā is translated into English as ‘body-builders’. Initially, I thought maybe that this was a reference to some sort of yoga or martial arts practitioners, but looking at the dictionary, I noticed that kāya can also mean ‘group or assembly’. From the context, placing them together with the gossips/those given to frivolous talk, it seems more likely that kāyadaḷhibahulā is meant to mean something like ‘formers of cliques’ or ‘social butterflies’ or ‘those who gather in groups’, rather than ‘body-builders’ in the sense of those cultivating physical development.
Rhys-Davids’ PED has kāyadaḷhibahulā as ‘strong in body, athletic’ (entry for ‘dalhī’, pg 315 in my edition) and Horner seems to have followed that translation in the Culavagga. The only other reference I see to the compound in the PED is in a Jataka that doesn’t show up on the site- PTS Jataka Vol. III num. 310. Other than kāya, the other elements of the compound seem to come from dalhi/daddha - ‘making firm’, bahulā - ‘many, large, abundant’.
Rhys-Davids seems to be basing his reading on the commentary (?) from what I can tell, but unless the Jataka that I’m not seeing has something definitive, it seems odd that ‘body builders’- who aren’t mentioned anywhere else I can find in the text as a category of monks- would be grouped together with ‘gossips’, whereas putting them together with people who like to gather in groups makes much more sense.
I was actually kind of hoping for some sort of reference to yogis or kung fu practitioners in the early texts, but a mistranslation seems more likely!