Opinions on the translation of short excerpts of MN 115/AN 1.279, Cullavagga X, AN 4.80

I’d be very grateful to hear your opinions of the translation of the following 4 negative passages about women. I also have a few questions about the first passage (see below that passage).

(This is for a Tibetan translation project… I want to be sure the translators understand each passage-- and that they are clear about all the possible translations/connotations of each Pali word, so that they can translate the passages into Tibetan as accurately as possible.)


“It is impossible that a woman should be a perfect rightfully
Enlightened One” (MN 115 and AN 1.279).

First, I’d like to know if the two passages are identical in the Pali (MN 115 and AN 1.279)…or if they are so similar that it is best to translate them in the same way. (I found identical translations for them.)

I’d also like to know if there is any possibility that this passage may be somewhat ambiguous…That is, the translation above is somewhat ambiguous… as it rather makes it sound as the passage it is referring to a fully enlightened arhant. It is my understanding that the Pali and Sanskrit versions refer to sammā sambuddhas/samyaksambuddhas…and I have questions on that…

Is it certain that sammā sambuddhas/samyaksambuddhas does not refer to a fully enlightened arhant, but rather to something “superior” (a buddha)…?

Or is the term sambuddha/samyaksambuddha somewhat ambiguous?

And is there more than one way that you could translate “sammā sambuddhas/samyaksambuddhas?”

(I believe sammā sambuddhas = Pali?
and samyaksambuddhas = Sanskrit?)

Finally, does anyone know if understandings of these terms changed over time? Or if there are differences in their interpretation today (or in the past)?

I guess I’m asking about how we should understand the terms “arhant” and sambuddha/samyaksambuddha… Is it certain that these are two different states? And are there different opinions on that?

If they are different, what are the differences?

And does it seem that understandings of the terms evolved over time–even in early Buddhism?

Any other insights that you may have about the passages/the terms arhant and sambuddha/samyaksambuddha would be appreciated.


“It is impossible . . . it cannot come to pass, that the Truth-finder should allow greeting, rising up for, salutation, and proper duties towards women. . . . [W]hoever should do so incurs an offence of wrongdoing” (Vinayapi􀎭aka (PTS), Vol. V,
Cullavagga X, 3, p. 358).

Among other things, I’m curious about the translation “Truth-finder”, and whether that is a common term for the Buddha in the Pali suttas.

“Women are . . . easily angered . . . envious . . .greedy . . . weak in wisdom” (Kamboja [Kosambiya] Sutta (PTS), AN II 82- 83/AN 4.80).

(I shortened the translation of this last passage a bit… omitting the repetition…Obviously feel free to comment on the full text.)

Thank you so much!!

This topic has been discussed in Ven. Analayo’s The Bahudhātuka-sutta and its Parallels on Women’s Inabilities. May be this can help answering your questions. :slight_smile:


Yes, they are.

Yes, this is correct:

itthī arahaṃ assa sammāsambuddho

Yes, this is correct. The term arahant is used widely for both the Buddha and other arahants. occasionally arahants will be referred to as buddha, i.e. ‘awakened”, though as a description, not a title. But Sammā Sambuddha is solely used for the Buddha, Gotama, as well as Buddhas of the past and future.

The Pali and sanskrit are the same. there are many possible translations. I use “fully awakened Buddha”.

They’re not different states, it’s just that sammasambuddha is used as a title for the Teacher and Founder. But the awakening is the same.

The evolution of this idea is a complex one, but it is true that the traditions, fairly rapidly, shifted to exalting the Sammasambuddha way above the mere arahant. This was probably the definitive issue underlying the first schism, a century or so after the time of Ashoka.

The Pali is tathāgata, and yes, it is a common term, in all traditions. I translate “Realized One”.

Incidentally, this passage appears to be a late interpolation, as I showed in Bhikkhuni Vinaya Studies (if my memory serves me well).

Not sure if there is a question here. But as noted by Seniya, Analayo has written on such misogynistic passages in the Anguttara.

Incidentally, the reference to Kamboja here is unusual. I think it refers to Persia, and have translated it as such.

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Thank you!!