Wednesday, May 6, 2009

SAUNDARANANDA 16.84: Not Wavering

kim atra citram yadi viita-moho
vanaM gataH svastha-manaa na muhyet
aakShipyamaaNo hRdi tan-nimittair
na kShobhyate yaH sa kRtii sa dhiiraH

Would it be any wonder if one without illusions,

Who had retired full of devotion to the forest,
did not waver?

But a man who,
when challenged to the core by those stimuli,

Is not shaken:
he is a true man of action; he is a steadfast man.

This verse, I think, is the heart of the whole epic tale of Saundarananda. These are the Buddha's words of encouragement to the handsome Nanda, who was nothing like the saintly figure described in the first two lines of the verse but who was rather coerced to leave home, and who entered the forest full of doubt and lacking any zeal for the celibate life.

These are the Buddha's words of encouragement to handsome Nanda, and to you and me. We don't feel that we could ever be that true man of action, that steadfast man. But if we practise sitting every day, in accordance with the inhibitory principle of not being disturbed by one's own emotional reaction to a stimulus, then we may come to suspect that our former feeling about ourselves might not have been reliable.

In his original instructions for sitting, Master Dogen wrote:
"When a thought arises, just wake up.
In the very act of waking up to it, it vanishes."

By the act of waking up I mean sitting like a mountain and sending the head and the limbs out of an expanding torso.

FM Alexander said to his trainee teachers:
"You are not here to learn how to be right. You are here to meet the stimulus that puts you wrong and to learn how to deal with that."

By meeting the stimulus that puts me wrong I mean sitting like a mountain and sending the head and the limbs out of an expanding torso.

I have been accused of seeking to identify the Buddha-Dharma and Alexander theory. Even though that was false accusation, it hurt me to the core. What I have sought to identify is, on the one hand, sitting like a mountain and sending the head and the limbs out of an expanding torso, and on the other hand, sitting like a mountain and sending the head and the limbs out of an expanding torso.

Ultimately, there is only one way to realise that identity, and it is to sit like a mountain, sending the head and the limbs out of an expanding torso.

In this effort I have not wavered nor, until the day I die, will I ever waver.

Q. E. D.

EH Johnston:
What need for wonder that a man, who has adopted the forest life and is healthy in mind and free from delusion, should not be deluded? He indeed is a true saint and truly steadfast who is not shaken before the onslaught of such ideas in the soul.

Linda Covill:
It's hardly surprising that a man free of ignorance who has retired to the forest in full mental health should be undeluded. A man unshaken when challenged in his heart by such thoughts is a complete man, a steadfast man.

kim: what? how? whence? wherefore? why?
atra: in this matter, then
citram (acc. sg. n.): conspicuous, strange, wonderful
yadi: if, in the case that
viita-mohaH (nom. sg.): m. a man freed from illusion
viita: gone away , departed , disappeared , vanished , lost (often ibc. = free or exempt from , without , -less)
moha: loss of consciousness , bewilderment , perplexity , distraction , infatuation , delusion , error , folly; delusion; ignorance
viita-mohaH (nominative, singular): m. a man freed from illusion

vanam (acc. sg.): to the forest
gataH (nom. sg. m.): gone, come to, being situated in
svastha-manaaH = nom. sg. m. svastha-manas: in sound mind
svastha: self-abiding, sound, well , healthy
manas: mind
na: not
muhyet = 3rd person singular, optative of muh: to become stupefied or unconscious , be bewildered or perplexed , err , be mistaken , go astray; to become confused

aakShipyamaaNaH = nom. sg. m. present participle passive aakShip: to throw down upon (loc.); to strike with a bolt ; to convulse , cause to tremble ; to put into (loc.); to challenge
hRdi = locative of hRd: the heart (as seat of feelings and emotions), soul, mind, interior
tat: that, those
nimittaiH = instrumental, plural of nimitta: cause, stimulus
NB: EH Johnson has tan-nimittaiH, whereas Linda Covill has tad-vitarkaiH ("by such thoughts").

na: not
kShobhyate = 3rd person singular of kShubh: to shake , tremble , be agitated or disturbed
yaH (nominative singular, correlative of saH): [he] who
saH (nom. sg. m.): he
kRtii (nom. sg. m. kRtin): one who acts, one who has attained an object or accomplished a purpose
saH: he
dhiiraH (nom. sg. m.) one who is steady , constant , firm , resolute , brave , energetic , courageous , self-possessed , composed , calm

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