Friday, February 20, 2009

SAUNDARANANDA 16.8: Suffering Begets Suffering

yaj janma ruupasya hi s' endriyasya
duHkhasya tan n' aika-vidhasya janma
yaH sambhavash c'asya samucchrayasya
mRtyosh ca rogasya ca sambhavaH saH

The birth of a sentient bodily form, again,

Is the birth of suffering in all its varieties;

And he who begets such an outgrowth

Is the begetter of death and of disease.

yat (relative pronoun, correlating with tat in the 2nd line): [that birth] which
janma: birth
ruupasya = genitive of ruupa: form, shape, figure; material form, body
hi: for, assuredly, certainly, again, etc.
sa: (prefix expressing possession) with, endowed with
indriyasya = genitive of indriya: bodily power, power of the senses

duHkhasya (gentive): of suffering, of hardship
tat (correlative of yat): the [birth], that [birth]
na eka: not one, many
vidha: measure, form, kind
n'aika-vidhasya (genitive): of many varieties, manifold
janma: birth

yaH (relative pronoun): [he] who [is the begetter]; [that] which [produces]
sambhava: coming together, intercourse; birth, production, origin , source; cause,
sambhavaH (nominative, singular of sambhava): the source, one who produces, one who begets
asya = genitive of ayam: of this
samucchrayasya = genitive of samucchraya: who or what rises or grows up; an eminence, hill; growth, excrescence

mRtyoH = genitive of mRtyu: death, dying
ca: and
rogasya = genitive of roga: " breaking up of strength " , disease , infirmity , sickness
ca: and
sambhavaH: the source, producer, begetter
saH (correlative of yaH): he [who is the begetter]; that [which produces]

EH Johnston:
For the birth of form conjoined with the faculties of sense is identical with the birth of suffering in its many varieties, and that which produces the bodily complex produces (by that fact) death and disease.

Linda Covill:
For the birth of a body endowed with sense faculties is the birth of suffering in all its varieties, and the arising of this excrescence is the arising of death and disease.


Jordan said...

I would like to know your thoughts about this verse.


Mike Cross said...

Hi Jordan,

Ashvaghosha is letting us know the Buddha's teaching on suffering, not just as a philosophical viewpoint, but as the first of the four noble truths, as the first of the four fundamental stepping stones.

My sense in this section of verses on suffering is that Ashvaghosha is really dwelling on the fact of suffering, allowing us time and space to recognize and accept the fact of suffering, not passing over it lightly.

For example, Jordan, you and I are fathers, and your children are younger than mine. But we are both being reminded in this verse that our offspring are going to become sick and die.

In becoming parents, you and I became begetters of death and disease.

Thanks as always for listening,