I have always seen
Na so, bhikkhave, satto sulabharūpo yo na dhītābhūtapubbo iminā dīghena addhunā.
Translated as Bhante @sujato has here.
It’s not easy to find a sentient being who in all this long time has not previously been your daughter.
But I have recently encountered a translation where it just says “a daughter”. My Pali is so rusty (not that it was ever shiny) that I can’t figure out what makes daughter “yours”.
It changes the meaning quite a bit to loose the “your” and I’m just wondering why someone could translate it that way.
Probably unfamiliarity with the Pali conventions governing the use of possessive pronouns in connection with relatives, which is less frequent than it is in English. In the case of mothers, for example…
When A and B are conversing, any time A says mātā (or some other familial term) it always means “your (i.e. B’s) mother”:
Taṃ kho pana te etaṃ pāpakammaṃ. Neva mātarā kataṃ na pitarā kataṃ…
“That evil action was done by you. It was not done by [your] mother, it was not done by [your] father…”
- A uses some possessive pronoun to indicate that it’s his own mother or some third party’s mother;
- A uses some indefinite pronoun (e.g. aññatara) to indicate that it’s some unspecified mother, or
- A and B are siblings, in which case it means “our mother”.
But that said, I love the reminder that we’ve all been daughters! A point often forgotten…