Tuesday, March 17, 2009

SAUNDARANANDA 16.33: Mastery of the Thinking Mind

nyaayena saty'-aabhigamaaya yuktaa
samyak smRtiH samyag atho samaadhiH
idaM dvayaM yoga-vidhau pravRttaM
sham'aashrayaM citta-parigrahaaya

Harnessed methodically so as to lead one to the truth

Is true mindfulness, which goes with true balance:

These two, forming the protocol on formal practice,

Are for mastery, based on peace, of the thinking mind.

A methodical approach to the harnessing of mindfulness is presented by Ashvaghosha in his description of the four dhyaana in Canto 17. How to harness the energy of true MINDFULNESS in order to approach the truth of extinction, as described in Line 1, is what we have been studying and are continuing to study.

In Line 2, in contrast, there are times when true BALANCE takes care of itself.

In Line 3, as I read it, formal practice means SITTING practice.

In Line 4, then, mastery of the thinking mind expresses a kind of REALISATION.

It might mean a realisation like this:

Sitting on a round cushion, each foot on the opposite thigh, and thinking the head and limbs out of the lengthening and widening back, so that the head and limbs do actually release out of the lengthening and widening back.

If anybody doesn't like this use of the word "thinking," please could they complain to Ashvaghosha about it. He is the one who put the word citta in the fourth line. And as the Sanskrit-English dictionary tells us, and as Dogen also tells us in Shobogenzo, citta means the thinking mind.

nyaayena = instrumental of nyaaya: that into which a thing goes back i.e. an original type , standard , method , rule , (esp.) a general or universal rule , model , axiom , system , plan , manner , right or fit manner or way , fitness , propriety (nyaayena "in the right manner, regularly, duly")
satya: the truth, reality
abhigamaaya [or adhigamaaya, depending on which text is followed] = dative of abhigama: approaching, visiting
[or dative of adhigama]: m. the act of attaining , acquisition; acquirement, mastery
yuktaa (feminine, agreeing with smRti): yoked or joined or fastened or attached or harnessed to (loc. or instr.); set to work; furnished or endowed with, accompanied by, possessed of (instr. or comp.)

samyaJc: going along with or together, turned together or in one direction , combined , united; entire , whole , complete , all ; lying in one direction , forming one line (as foot steps); correct , accurate , proper , true , right
smRtiH = nominative, singular of smRti (f): remembering, mindfulness, awareness
samyaJc: true, right
atha: (connective particle) then, along with
samaadhiH (nom. sg.): m. putting together; coming together, balance, setting to rights, union, harmony, concentration [of energy]

idam (nom. sg. n.): this
dvayam (nom. sg. n.): couple, pair
yoga: use, performance; exertion, endeavor, attention; work; any junction, union; a means , expedient , device , way , manner , method; any simple act or rite conducive to yoga
vidhau = locative of vidhi: protocol
pravRttam (nom. sg. n.): circulated; arisen, produced; set out

shama: tranquillity , calmness , rest , equanimity ; peace
aashrayam (nom. sg. n.): that to which anything is annexed or with which anything is closely connected or on which anything depends or rests
citta: thinking, mind, the thinking mind
parigrahaaya = dative of parigraha: laying hold of on all sides; comprehending; getting , attaining , acquisition , possession , property (ifc. " being possessed of or furnished with ")

EH Johnston:
Right attention used in accordance with the plan in order to approach the Truths and right concentration of thought, these two, based on tranquillity, should be practised in the department of Yoga for the mastery of the mind.

Linda Covill:
Right mindfulness conjoined to the plan for the discovery of the truth, and right concentration -- these two occur in the ordinance on yogic practice, and are a basis for peace in order that one's thoughts may be circumscribed.

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