I'm pondering about the meaning/translation of "Anusayā" by reading both the Pali (English translation) and Chinese Agama suttas, and some interesting study of this word by e.g. "Theravadin" http://theravadin.wordpress.com/2008/04 ... t-studies/
This word is typically used after these seven "drives": sensual desire (kāma-rāgānusaya), aversion (paṭighānusaya), notions (diṭṭhānusaya), doubt (vicikicchānusaya), conceit (mānānusaya), desire to exist (bhava-rāgānusaya), and ignorance (avijjānusaya), which drive beings to wander and suffer in samsara.
I think Ven. Bodhi's translation of "underlying tendency to" is a good one, better than "latent tendency of", since the anusayās are not really latent/dormant, but drive the unawakened beings all the time. The translation of "obsession" missed the connotation of "underlying" (the "roots" of the "tree"). Considering that in Chinese Agama "anusaya" is translated as the noun "drive" ["使"], I'm wondering if it's better to translate it into "underlying drive by" (sensual desire, ...)?
I've realized more and more the importance of studying Pali (and Chinese Agama). If I only listen to some English translation, I wouldn't have grasped the meaning of anusayā at all.
Metta to all!