Saturday, March 21, 2009

SAUNDARANANDA 16.37: The Ultimate Step in Dropping Off the Faults

tri-skandham etaM pravigaahya maargam
prapaShTam aShT'-aaNgam a-haaryam aaryam
duHkhasya hetuun prajahaati doShaan
praapnoti c'aatyanta-shivam padam tat

Giving oneself to this path with its three divisions

And eight branches
-- this straightforward, irremovable, noble path --

One abandons the faults,
which are the causes of suffering,

And comes to that step which is total well-being.

The three divisions are integrity (shiila), balance (samaadhi), and wisdom (prajnaa).

The eight branches are insight, thinking, initiative (prajnaa); use of voice, use of body, livelihood (shiila); mindfulness, balance (samaadhi).

The faults, which all begin with thirsting are, for example: (1) undue excitement in the nervous system, or hyper-tonus vs (2) the opposite state of mental sluggishness, or hypo-tonus; (3) greed, (4) hatred, and (5) ignorance/delusion.

That step which is total well-being, as I understand Ashvaghosha's words, is the same step that Master Dogen exhorted us to learn, which he called EKO-HENSHO NO TAIHO, or "the backward step of turning one's light and letting it shine."

tri-skandham (acc. sg. m.): consisting of three skandhas
tri: three
skandha: part, division
etam (acc. sg. m.): this
pravigaahya = absolutive of pra-vi-√gAh: to dive into , enter (acc.)
pra: (prefix indicating forward motion)
vi-√gaah: to plunge or dive into , bathe in , enter , penetrate , pervade , betake one's self into (acc. or loc.)
maargam (acc. sg.): m. path

pra: (suffix indicating forward motion)
spaShTam (acc. sg. m.): clearly perceived or discerned , distinctly visible , distinct , clear , evident , plain , intelligible; straight (opp. to " crooked "); real , true , correct
aShTaaNgam (acc. sg. m.): eight-limbed
aShTa: eight
aNga: a limb , member; any subdivision
ahaaryam (acc. sg. m.): not to be stolen , not to be removed; unalterable
aaryam (acc. sg. m.): noble

duHkhasya (genitive): of suffering
hetuun (acc. pl.): cause
prajahaati = 3rd person singular of pra-√ haa: to leave ; to desert , quit , abandon , give up , renounce
doShaan (acc. pl.): faults

praapnoti = 3rd person singular of pra- √Ap: to reach, arrive at, find; to obtain , receive;
ca: and
atyanta: beyond the proper end or limit; excessive , very great , very strong; endless , unbroken , perpetual; absolute , perfect; to the end
shivam (acc. sg. n.): mfn. auspicious , propitious , gracious , favourable , benign , kind , benevolent , friendly , dear ; happy , fortunate; m. happiness , welfare, liberation; n. welfare , prosperity , bliss
well-being, happiness
padam (acc. sg.): n. step, footing, foundation, stage, state
tat (acc. sg. n.): that

EH Johnston:
By entering on this straight, noble, incorruptible Path with its three divisions and eight members, one eliminates the faults which are the causes of suffering and reaches the supremely blessed stage.

Linda Covill:
On penetrating this clear and irremovable noble path, with its three divisions and eight branches, one abandons the faults, which are the causes of suffering, and reaches the state of utter happiness.

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