I found a titleless document floating the around the Internet that has this in it:
Misconceptions arise following the grammatical connotations; and hence, the wrong views. This is shown in Kathā Vatthu and in the Anurādha Sutta in Khandhāvagga Saṃyutta Pāḷi Text.
“Anurādha! What do you think: is rūpa a being?”
“Rūpa is not a being, Sir.”
“Is vedanā a being? Is saññā a being? Is viññāṇa a being?”
“No, Sir. They are not beings.”
This catechism shows that there is none whom we can call an individual or a being whether in relation to his five kahndhās or not. In the Sutta, Buddha declared that his teaching were concerned with dukkha, suffering, and liberation from dukkha, caused by the five khandhās, and that he did not preach the eternal existence of puggala, satta or atta.
The confusion arises because the commentaries say that in certain cases the word tathāgata means a “being”, satta. It’s not really persuasive, but there is a distant semantic echo in the words tathā and satta.
The author of the tract appears to believe that this is the case here, hence translates tathāgata as “being”.
The commentary here says:
Taṃ tathāgatoti tumhākaṃ satthā tathāgato taṃ sattaṃ tathāgataṃ
“That Realized One" means: Your teacher, the Realized One; that being is the Realized One.
It seems to be just saying that when we specify “that” Realized One, what we mean is the individual who is your teacher, i.e. the historical Buddha Gotama (and not the idea of the Realized One in abstract, or the arahant as Realized One.)
Trouble is the word Tathagata doesn’t seem to be popping up where the translator has put it at all? But that “the commentaries say that in certain cases the word tathāgata means a “being”, satta,” is very interesting. Is what you’ve quoted, bhante, the only passage with respect to this?
That’s right. This is a common feature of Burmese translations in particular, they often translate the commentary and present it as if it is the text. I mean, it’s a grey area, sometimes of course you have to use the commentarial interpretation. But in the “official” English translations from Myanmar you see this done a lot more than international scholars would be comfortable with.
The references are found in Cone’s DoP under tathāgata. For example in the commentary to DN 1, in the explanation of the passage about whether the “Realized One exists after death”, we find:
Hotitathāgatotiādīsu satto ‘‘tathāgato’’ti adhippeto
“The Realized One (tathāgata) exists, etc.”: the word tathāgata refers to a sentient being.