While editing my translation of SA 15-16 today, I perused my copy of Bodhi’s translation as I often do. The closest Pali parallels are SN 22.35-36, but the SA version and the translations these Pali suttas are strangely incongruent.
The important parts of the two sutras:
|SA 15-16||SN 22.36|
|「比丘！若隨使使者，即隨使死；若隨使死者，為取所縛。比丘！若不隨使使，則不隨使死；不隨使死者，則於取解脫。||“Yaṁ kho, bhikkhu, anuseti taṁ anumīyati; yaṁ anumīyati tena saṅkhaṁ gacchati. Yaṁ nānuseti na taṁ anumīyati; yaṁ nānumīyati na tena saṅkhaṁ gacchatī”ti.|
|Monk, if someone follows the tendencies, then they will follow death. If someone follows death, then they’re bound by grasping. Monk, if someone doesn’t follow the tendencies, then they won’t follow death. Not following death, they are freed from grasping.||“Mendicant, you’re measured against what you have an underlying tendency for, and you’re defined by what you’re measured against. You’re not measured against what you have no underlying tendency for, and you’re not defined by what you’re not measured against.”|
This uses the version in SA 15, which has a different conclusion than SA 16: bound/freed from grasping vs. increasing/not increasing in number. The two Pali suttas lack these conclusions. Instead, SN 22.35 is simpler, omitting the term anumīyati from the Buddha’s statement.
|SN 22.35||SN 22.36|
|“Yaṁ kho, bhikkhu, anuseti, tena saṅkhaṁ gacchati; yaṁ nānuseti, na tena saṅkhaṁ gacchatī”ti.||“Yaṁ kho, bhikkhu, anuseti taṁ anumīyati; yaṁ anumīyati tena saṅkhaṁ gacchati. Yaṁ nānuseti na taṁ anumīyati; yaṁ nānumīyati na tena saṅkhaṁ gacchatī”ti.|
Now, this is where it gets interesting for me. When I checked the footnote on Bodhi’s reading of anumīyati in the later passage that applies this formula to the aggregates, he says:
Spk explains anumīyati as if it were equivalent to Skt anumṛyate, “to die along with”: “When the underlying tendency is dying, the form to which it tends dies along with it (anumarati!); for when the object is breaking up, the mental factors that it as object cannot persist.” This of course is ludicrous, for anumīyati is doubtlessly from anu + mā; CPD defines the verb as meaning “to be measured after,” which I follow here.
And, yet, here I sit, looking at SA 15-16 which do seem to have that Skt. word anumṛyate in them.
Huh! I wonder what has happened here? Has the Pali suffered some textual loss along the way, but the commentary remembers how it was read before? Or is this just a case of Western philologists getting Pali derivations wrong?