Friday, November 13, 2009

SAUNDARANANDA 15.20: Unhelpful Ideas

saMvardhante hy a-kushalaa
vitarkaaH saMbhRtaa hRdi
an-artha-janakaas tulyam
aatmanash ca parasya ca

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

For unhelpful ideas carried in the heart

Densely grow,

Producing in equal measure nothing of value

For the self and for the other.

This verse sheds further light on what a-kushala, unhelpful or unconstructive, means. The verse can be read as a kind of definition of a-kushala: unhelpful or inauspicious thoughts/ideas (a-kushalaa vitarkaaH) are those thoughts/ideas that produce nothing of value for self or others, i.e. thoughts or ideas that are in no way constructive.

The true meaning of SHIKAN TAZA, "just sitting," as I understand it, is very much connected with this teaching of the Buddha on unconstructive thoughts/ideas (a-kushalaa vitarkaaH).

For example, if teacher is not skillful and student is not ready, "just sitting" itself becomes a very unhelpful idea.

But if a student who is ready meets teachers who are skillful, then just sitting becomes the dropping off of all unhelpful ideas.

EH Johnston:
For evil thoughts gain in strength by being cherished in the heart and breed disaster alike for oneself and for others.

Linda Covill:
When unwholesome thoughts are carried in the heart they grow stronger and breed ill for both oneself and others.

saMvardhante = 3rd pers. pl. saM-√vRdh: to grow to perfection or completion , grow up , increase
hi: for
a-kushalaaH (nom. pl. m.): inauspicious, evil

vitarkaaH = nom. pl. vitarka: m. conjecture , supposition , guess , fancy , imagination , opinion; reasoning , deliberation , consideration ; purpose , intention
sambhRta : mfn. brought together , collected , assembled , accumulated , concentrated ; provided , stored , laden , filled , covered , furnished or endowed with , possessed of (instr. or comp.) ; carried , borne (in the womb) ; well maintained or nourished
hRdi = loc. sg. hRdaya: n. the heart (or region of the heart as the seat of feelings and sensations; soul , mind

an-artha: m. non-value , a worthless or useless object ; disappointing occurrence , reverse
janakaaH= nom. pl. m. janaka: generative , generating , begetting , producing , causing (chiefly ifc.)
tulyam: ind. equally , in like manner

aatmanaH = gen. sg. aatman: self
ca: and
parasya = gen. sg. para: the other
ca: and

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