[Buddha-l] Return of blasphemy?

Jo jkirk at spro.net
Mon Nov 7 09:20:45 MST 2011

Hi Joy, 
I too have often wondered about that translation. It fits a part of 'his
story' well, but the name's prominent use otherwise does suggest more of an
astrological than a moralizing intention. 
Might translating the Buddha's son's name into English as 'Fetter' have a
fairly recent history?  Was it the translation used, for ex., by some
European translator-commentator--maybe F. Max  Mueller or one of the other
early Orientalists??  


-----Original Message-----
From: buddha-l-bounces at mailman.swcp.com
[mailto:buddha-l-bounces at mailman.swcp.com] On Behalf Of Joy Vriens
Sent: Monday, November 07, 2011 12:53 AM
To: Buddhist discussion forum
Subject: Re: [Buddha-l] Return of blasphemy?

Hi Jo,

"Today in India, Rahul(a) is not an unusual name. Those bearing it are
Hindus. I suspect naming a child this way is apotropaic, as Rahula (one of
the two Moon's nodes) is considered to be a demon and dangerous. In the
distinction between these two traditions in the naming of a male child, one
gets a good example of the complexity of myth and legend, where some motifs
seem to reappear as the same, and others as entirely different in their

There have been masters, including one of the sixteen arhats, called Rahula
or having Rahula in their name. And as you point out it is not an unusual
name. The Buddha's son's name has probably more to with Rahu being the name
of a node/"planet" than with the meaning fetter.  That's what I expect, but
I have no idea about the state of astrology at the Buddha's time.

As for the Buddha's life story. I am so used to Tibetan hagiographies, that
I can't take life stories too seriously. They were written by the
propagandists and spin doctors of those times. I must be totally messed up
because when I read them, I no longer am moved to tears, but wonder who
wrote this and why.

Looking forward to the implementation of the New Declaration of religious
rights to help me rid myself of critical thinking and find back the way to
my heart.

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