Sunday, January 17, 2010

SAUNDARANANDA 17.5: The Secret Is in the Preparation

tataH sa tattvaM nikhilaM cikiiShur
mokSh'-aanukuulaaMsh ca vidhiiMsh cikiirShan
jNaanena lokyena shamena c'aiva
cacaara cetaH-parikarma-bhuumau

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

Wishing to practise, on that basis,
the truth that has no gaps,

And wanting to do practices favourable to release,

He moved, using common sense, and stillness,

Into the stage of readying of consciousness.

A gap arises when I try to be right, which I generally do.

Practices favourable to release, in contrast, invariably have an element in them of humour, enjoyment, playfulness.

At the Alexander training school where I work on Fridays, a teacher who has known me for a number of years said to me on Friday, "You don't take yourself as seriously as you used to." This was an encouraging remark. At the same time, as an indication of how far I still have to go, in making his remark the teacher in question expressed his fear that I might hit him for making it....

As an example of common sense applied to the readying of consciousness, there is Marjory Barlow's maxim that "you cannot do an undoing." Undoing means muscular release, whereas doing means muscular contraction. And release of a muscle is not achieved by contracting it. Release of a muscle is brought about, more like, by giving up the idea that is causing the muscle to stay contracted.

Throughout the preceding five cantos of the Buddha's great monologue, the Buddha has repeatedly pointed to the importance of a gradual, methodical approach. I have a feeling that I have used "The Secret Is in the Preparation" as the title for more than one previous post. The gradual process that the Buddha has described using the metaphor of a goldsmith bringing gold to readiness, Ashvaghosha now seems to be illustrating using Nanda's actual example.

EH Johnston:
Then in his desire to grasp the entire truth and to perform the practices favourable to Salvation, he passed along the stage of preparation of the mind through mundane knowledge and tranquillity.

Linda Covill:
Wanting to experience reality in its entirety, and with the intention of carrying out the prescribed practices conducive to liberation, he used ordinary worldly knowledge and peacefulness to move into the stage in which the mind is prepared.

tataH: ind. thence, from that, in consequence of that
sa (nom. sg. m.): he
tattvam (acc. sg.): n. true or real state , truth , reality
nikhilam (ac. sg. n.): complete , all , whole , entire
ni: no
khila: gap
cikiirShuH = nom. sg. m. cikiirShu: mfn. (from desid. kR) intending to make or do or perform (with acc. or ifc.) ; wishing to exercise one's self in the use of (acc.)

mokSha: m. release, liberation
anukuulaan (acc. pl.): mfn. following the bank (kuula) or slope or declivity ; according to the current ; favourable , agreeable
ca: and
vidhiin = acc. pl. vidhi: m. rule, formula; any prescribed act or rite or ceremony ; use , employment , application ; method , manner or way of acting , mode of life , conduct , behaviour
cikiirShan (nom. sg. desid. pres. part kR, to do): wanting to do

jNaanena = inst. jnaana: n. knowing , becoming acquainted with , knowledge
lokyena = inst. lokya: mfn. granting a free sphere of action , bestowing freedom ; diffused over the world , world-wide ; conducive to the attainment of a better world , heavenly ; customary , ordinary, correct , right , real , actual ; usual , every-day
shamena = inst. shama: m. tranquillity , calmness , peace
ca: and
eva: (emphatic)

cacaara = 3rd pers. perfect car: to move one's self, go
cetas: n. consciousness , intelligence , thinking soul , heart , mind
parikarman: n. attendance , worship , adoration ; n. dressing , painting or perfuming the body (esp. after bathing) ; n. cleansing , purification ; n. preparation
bhuumau = loc. sg. bhuumi: f. the earth, ground ; territory ; (metaph.) a step , degree , stage ; (ifc.) a matter , subject , object , receptacle i.e. fit object or person for

1 comment:

Mike Cross said...

The intention of jñānena lokyena (mundane/ordinary knowing) may be to discriminate between this kind of knowing and the six abhijñā (the super-powers or "supra-mundane" powers of knowing); that is, the five powers described in 16.1-2 as emerging from the four stages of sitting-meditation, and the sixth power, the power to eradicate the polluting influences, referred to in 16.3.