Thursday, September 24, 2009

SAUNDARANANDA 14.23: Clarifying Truths for Others and Self

aamnaatavyaash ca vishadaM
te dharmaa ye parishrutaaH
parebhyash c'opadeShTavyaaH
saMcintyaaH svayam eva ca

= = = = - - - =
= = = = - = - =
- = = = - = = =
= = = - - = - -

Recite clearly

Those teachings of Dharma that you have learnt;

Point others in their direction,

And think them out for yourself.

This verse, to my admittedly undeveloped Sanskrit ear, seems to have a simplicity and good sound to it.

As regards its content, among those teachings of Dharma that each is to think out for himself, the teachings I would most like to be able to cite clearly might be the ones delivered at the end and the beginning of the Buddha's teaching career, namely:

(a) Alpecchu, small desire, saMtuShta, contentment, and the other of the eight truths of a great human being recorded by Master Dogen in Shobogenzo chap. 95, Hachi-dainin-gaku, and by Ashvaghosha in Buddhacarita Canto 26. Sadly, the original Sanskrit of Buddhacarita Canto 26 appears to have been lost to the ravages of time.

(b) The four noble truths which the Buddha is going to expound shortly of duHkha, suffering; samudaya, the material cause thereof; nirodha, the stopping thereof; and maarga, a path. It seems to me to very fortunate indeed that we have got these teachings in Ashvaghosha's original Sanskrit, and incredible that more attention has not been paid hitherto to Ashvaghosha's words.

This and the previous verse, then, may be seen as presaging, for example, the following verses from Saundarananda Canto 16:

From then on, through investigation of what is,

He applies his mind to stopping off energy leaks,

For on this basis, fully, suffering and the rest --

The four truths -- are understood as fundamental steps:

This is suffering, which is constant and akin to trouble;

This is the cause of suffering, akin to starting it;

This is cessation of suffering, akin to walking away.

And this, akin to a refuge, is a peaceable path.

Understanding these noble truths, by a process of reasoning

While getting to know the four as one,

He contains all leaks, through the means of directed thought,

And, on finding peace, is no longer subject to becoming.

For by failing to wake up and come round

To this four, whose substance is what is,

Mankind goes from existence to existence without finding peace --

The world is hoisted in the swing of mass unconscious reaction.

Though your head and clothes be on fire

Direct your mind so as to be awake to the truths.

For in failing to see the purport of the truths,
the world has burned,

It is burning now, and it will burn.

EH Johnston:
You should repeat aloud those Scriptures you have studied, and you should teach them to others and reflect on them yourself.

Linda Covill:
Clearly recite those teachings that you have learned. Teach them to others, and contemplate them yourself.

aamnaatavyaaH = nom. pl. gerundive of aa-√mnaa: to utter , mention , allege ; to cite , quote ; to commit to memory , hand down in sacred texts
ca: and
vishada: conspicuous, pure; calm, easy, cheerful; clear , evident , manifest , intelligible

te (nom. pl; correlative of ye): those [which]
dharmaaH (nom. pl.): dharmas, teachings
ye (nom. pl; correlative of te): [those] which
parishrutaaH (nom. pl.): heard , learnt

parebhyaH (dative, plural): to others
ca: and
upadeShTavyaaH = nom. pl. gerundive of upa-√dish: to point out to; to indicate , specify , explain , inform , instruct , teach

saMcintyaaH = nom. pl. gerundive of saM-√cint: to think about , think over , consider carefully , reflect about (acc.)
svayam: ind. oneself
eva: [emphatic]
ca: and

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