Wednesday, December 10, 2008


bodhaaya karmaaNi hi yaany anena
KRtaani teSHaaM niyato 'dya kaalaH
sthaane tath'aasmin upaviSHTa eSHa
yath" aiva puurve munayas tath" aiva.

For those deeds that,
for the regaining of consciousness, he

Has done -- their time, assuredly, today has come.

So he is sitting like this, at this place,

Exactly as did the sages of the past.

The first line, again, relates to consciousness, and the aim of regaining it. The second line suggests the inviolability of the law of cause and effect. The third and fourth lines express just sitting in the present, as has been practised by the sages of the past.

bodhaaya = dative case of bodha: regain consciousness; be awake or wakeful; become aware.
karmaaNi: deeds, actions, acts
hi: for
yaani: those which
anena = instrumental case of ayam: this, he

KRta: done
teSHaaM = genitive, plural of tat: that
niyato: assuredly, certainly
adya: today
kaalaH: time

sthaane: in place
tatha: thus, in this manner
asmin = locative of ayam: this, here, this place
upaviSHTa: seated, sitting
eSHa: this one, [is] he
[lit. "in place, in this manner, at this place seated is he"]

yatha... tatha...: as.... so
eva: [emphatic particle]
puurve: previous, of the past
munayaH: sages

For today is the appointed time for the ripening of those deeds which he has done in the past for the sake of illumination. Thus he is seated in this place exactly like the previous sages.

For today is the time when the deeds he has done
to obtain Awakening will bear fruit;
At this spot he remains in this manner seated,
in the same way as sages of the past.


Jordan said...


When we take actions to become aware,
We can certainty do it immediately,
Right here in this place; just sitting,
As it has been accomplished by all the sages of the past.

The word “adya” in some of the Hindu texts can mean “immediately”, vice “today.”
I feel like this might have been the intention here too.

Thank you for your efforts!

Mike Cross said...

Hi Jordan,

I have a running joke with a fellow sitting-Zen practitioner and friend in Alexander work, whereby whenever he starts a sentence with "I feel..." I chirp in by asking "faulty sensory appreciation?"

To do translations based on what I feel I would like the original words to mean is an easy path to go down. But it is a false path. It is a path that is unhinged from the noble means-whereby principle, which is the principle of inhibiting what feels right, and instead bringing intelligence to bear.

The difference between the end-gaining approach to Zen translation, and the means-whereby approach, took me several years of struggle to find. Nobody taught it to me -- except that I was helped a lot, indirectly, by William Soothill, when I set about revising his Lotus Sutra translations for inclusion in Shobogenzo.

According to the dictionary, adya means today, and in context today fits. The Sanskrit scholars Johnston and Olivelle both go with today. Sorry, Jordan, but I think your feeling is not reliable.

The process I have described here in relation to translation work was a kind of forerunner for me of realizing that the same might apply to how I was sitting -- I was following the end-gaining principle in my sitting, sitting in the posture I felt to be right. It took me more years in sitting than it did in translation work, to begin to bring a bit of intelligence to bear on the process, to begin to suspect how badly my unreliable feeling had been misleading me.

As Ashvaghosha wrote: When samadhi is linked to intelligence, it is only then that Zen practice really gets going.

I think that what I am saying here is very different from what passes for the truth in the Soto Sect, in Dogen Sangha, et cetera.

People don't like to have it pointed out to them that what they feel to be right is wrong. They feel threatened. That is the background to the truth you expressed so exactly in your comment yesterday, about what happens when a person tries to free some creature caught in a snare.

Keep on keeping on, noble Jordan --according to the noble principle!

Jordan said...


I had some doubts right after that post, not about the "Today" part but the intention of the author. I was totally off. Yes, faulty sensory perception indeed! But I think my doodle works as practical instruction/ encouragement still.

On sects: Soto, Rinzai, Hoto, Theravada, Mahayana, etc. I think is is not so important what we might identify with. They are all constantly changing in form anyway. It is the effort and intention right now that is important to me (right now.) That could even change too!

As to means whereby, I totally encourage you in that! In marksmanship it is impossible to consistently hit the target without a grounding in the fundamentals, or the means whereby. Breathe, relax, aim, (sight alignment, site picture) squeeze, (wait for the natural respiratory pause) shoot. But there is still a target.

So I keep on keeping on!
Thank you for the encouragement!

(Sorry for the tangent)

Mike Cross said...

Thanks Jordan.

Points taken.

I had already writen out the next verse, 13.68, for posting tomorrow (together with a comment that needs trimming down) and it also contains the words "right here" -- so you pre-empted that.

With regard to means-whereby and hitting the target, once again you are spot on. Negation of end-gaining is not negation of gaining the end; it is negation of being so attached to gaining the end that the very idea of gaining the end makes one immediately fall back on the old wrong means. Only when we stop off the old wrong means at source, by giving up the idea of gaining the end, are we then free to apply the new correct means, in order assuredly to gain the end.

On sects, I think your attitude is too weak. Sectarianism is not just an option to be taken or left. Sectarianism is an -ism, just like any other -ism, to be dropped off.

A person who thinks he is something because he is identified with something, can never hit the target of being without, the Buddha-nature.

So it is not that there is no target, but the target is no thing....

the tireder I get, the more I seem to write!