yathaa kShudh-aarto 'pi viSheNa pRktaM
jijiiviSur n'ecchati bhoktum annam
tath" aiva doSh-aavaham ity avetya
jahaati vidvaan a-shubham nimittam
Even a starving man when given poisoned food
Refuses to eat it, wishing to live.
Likewise, observing that it triggers a fault,
A wise person leaves alone a noxious stimulus.
In this verse, as I read it, a fault (doSha) is synonymous with an imbalanced unconscious reaction, and a noxious stimulus (a-shubham nimittam) is any thought that is liable to trigger such a reaction.
The essence of the practice being described is inhibition of faulty unconscious reaction to a stimulus.
For several years now -- as a result of being introduced to Dogen's teaching by Gudo Nishijima, and as a result of the essence of the teaching being demonstrated to me in the very activity of sitting and standing by Ray Evans, Ron Colyer, Nelly Ben-Or, Marjory Barlow and others -- I have been fairly clear in seeing this as the mainspring of practice of the Buddha-Dharma.
Undeniably, however, I am not at all good at practicing it.
As the man who wishes to live, would not eat food infected with poison, however famished he were, so the wise man abandons an impure meditation, recognising that it brings about sin.
Just as a man who wants his life to continue avoids eating poisoned food even when he is starving, so too does a wise man leave aside an impure meditation, knowing that it brings corruption.
yathaa: just as
aartaH (nom. sg.): m. one who is afflicted
viSheNa (inst. sg.): with poison
pRktam (acc. sg. n.): mixed with, full of
jijiiviSuH (nom. sg. m.): desirous of life
icchati = 3rd person singular of iSh: wish, want, intend
bhoktum = infinitive of bhuj: to enjoy , use , possess , (esp.) enjoy a meal , eat
annam (acc. sg.): n. food or victuals , especially boiled rice
tathaa: likewise, in the same way
doSha: fault; damage , harm , bad consequence , detrimental effect
aavaham (acc. sg. n.): bringing , bringing to pass , producing
avetya: seeing, knowing
jahaati = 3rd person singular of haa: to leave , abandon , give up , renounce , avoid , shun , abstain or refrain from ; disregard, neglect
vidvaan (nom. sg.) vidvas: m. one who knows, a wise man
ashubham (acc. sg. n.): impure, disagreeable, unlovely
nimittam (acc. sg.): n. a cause, stimulus