Saturday, January 30, 2010

SAUNDARANANDA 17.18: Impermanence of the Disappearance-Caused World

yasmaad a-bhuutvaa bhavat'iiha sarvaM
bhuutvaa ca bhuuyo na bhavaty avashyaM
sa-hetukaM ca kShayi-hetumac ca
tasmaad a-nityam jagad ity avindat

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

Since everything, after not existing, now exists,

And after existing it never exists again;

And since the world is causal,
and has disappearance as a cause,

Therefore he understood that the world is impermanent.

There is thinking and thinking. There is thinking that shakes the tree of afflictions, and there is thinking that fills the pages of books of Buddhist philosophy -- philosophical thinking, for example, about "emptiness" (shuunyataa).

The understanding that Ashvaghosha describes here might be not the latter but just the former kind of thinking -- thinking that causes the tree of afflictions to shake.

Because the world is causal, appreciating impermanence causes the tree of afflictions to shake.

And because the world has disappearance as a cause, when Nanda destroys the tree of afflictions through integrity, balance, and wisdom, then the tree of afflictions, having existed, will exist again for Nanda no more than a blossom returns to the branch whence it fell.

EH Johnston:
Since inevitably in this world all phenomena come into being from not-being and pass away again from being into not-being, and since they all have a cause and that a transitory cause, therefore he concluded that the world is impermanent.

Linda Covill:
Since everything that exists here and now did not exist before, and that having come into existence it will necessarily not exist in the future, and since it is dependent on a cause and yet that cause wanes, Nanda concluded that the world is impermanent.

yasmaat: ind. (correlative of tasmaat) since
a-bhuutvaa (a + absolutive bhuu): not being, not becoming
bhavati (3rd pers. sg. bhuu): it exists
iha: ind. here, now, here and now
sarvam (nom. sg.): n. everything

bhuutvaa (absolutive bhuu): being, existing
ca: and
bhuuyas: ind. again, further on
na: not
bhavati (3rd pers. sg. bhuu): it exists,
avashyam: ind. necessarily , inevitably , certainly , at all events , by all means

sa-hetukam (acc./nom. sg. n.): mfn. having a cause or reason , well-founded , reasonable ; together with a reason
ca: and
kShayi-hetumat (acc./nom. sg. n.): decay-caused
kShayin: mfn. wasting , decaying , waning ; perishable
hetumat: mfn. having a reason or cause , proceeding from a cause
ca: and

tasmaat: ind. therefore
a-nityam (acc. sg. n.): mfn. impermanent
jagat (acc. sg.): n. that which moves or is alive , men and animals; n. the world , esp. this world , earth
iti: thus
avindat = 3rd pers. sg. imperfect vid: to know , understand , perceive

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