Friday, March 6, 2009

SAUNDARANANDA 16.22: How the Three Poisons Develop

roSh'aadhike janmani tiivra-roSha
utpadyate raagiNi tiivra-raagaH
moh'-aadhike moha-bal'-aadhikash ca
tad-alpa-doShe ca tad-alpa-doShaH

In a life dominated by anger arises violent anger,

In the lover of passion arises burning passion,

And in the predominantly ignorant,
overwhelming ignorance.

In one who has a lesser fault, again,
the lesser fault develops.

Anger/hatred, greed/lust and ignorance/delusion are the three root faults, sometimes called the three poisons. Lesser faults include being proud, jealous and opinionated.

The Buddha here is reminding Nanda that these basic afflictions, or fundamental faults, are the cause of suffering.

My efforts to get to the bottom of faults, and to understand what is truly basic and fundamental, always seem to lead me back to the vestibular reflexes, and in particular to the antagonism between fear paralysis and the infantile panic/grasp reflex.

For the how and the where of direction of human energy, whether unconsciously or consciously, the vestibular system is fundamental.

roSha: anger , rage , wrath , passion , fury
adhike = locative of adhika: additional, extra-, super- ; surpassing (in number or quantity or quality); n. surplus , abundance , redundancy , hyperbole ; n. more.
janmani = locative janman: birth, existence, life; rebirth
tiivra: strong , severe , violent , intense , hot , pervading , excessive , ardent , sharp , acute , pungent , horrible
roShaH (nom. sg.): m. anger

utpadyate = 3rd person passive singular of utpad: to arise , rise , originate , be born or produced ; to come forth , become visible , appear; to cause to issue or come forth
raagiNi = locative of raagin: having a colour; of a red colour; red; impassioned , affectionate , enamoured; a lover, libertine; a wanton and intriguing woman
tiivra: strong, violent, intense, hot
raagaH = nominative, singular of raaga: colour, red colour; any feeling or passion , (esp.) love

moha: loss of consciousness , bewilderment , perplexity , distraction , infatuation , delusion , error , folly; (in phil.) darkness or delusion of mind (preventing the discernment of truth and leading men to believe in the reality of worldly objects) ; (with Buddhists) ignorance (one of the three roots of vice)
adhike = locative of adhika: surpassing, super, predominant
moha: ignorance, delusion, folly
bala: power, strength
adhikaH = nominative singular of adhika: surpassing, predominating
ca: and

tat: that, those [faults]
alpa: small, less than
doShe = locative of doSha: fault
ca: and
tat: that, those [faults]
alpa: small, less than
doShaH = nominative, singular of doSha: fault

EH Johnston:
In the (new) birth of one addicted to malevolence extreme malevolence is developed, of one possessed by passion excessive passion, of one in whom delusion predominates excessive store of delusion, and of one whose vices are less than this a lesser vice only.

Linda Covill:
Violent hatred arises in the future birth of someone given to hate, violent lust in someone who was lustful, a very powerful delusion in someone given to delusion, and a lesser fault in someone whose fault was less than these.

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