Monday, March 1, 2010

SAUNDARANANDA 17.48: Fault Finding In Progress

tad dhyaanam aagamya ca citta-maunaM
lebhe paraaM priitim a-labdha-puurvaam
priitau tu tatr' aapi sa doSHa-darshii
yathaa vitarkeSHv abhavat tath" aiva

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

And on reaching that stage,
in which the mind is silent,

He experienced an intense joy
that he had never experienced before.

But here too he found a fault, in joy,

Just as he had in ideas.

Sa doSHa-darshii in line 3 might more literally be translated as "he was the fault-finder" or "he was the finding of faults." So rather than suggesting a random occurence or an incidental act of noticing, the intention might be to suggest an attitude, or an openness, towards recognition of the faults in one's practice.

Read like that, this verse is a reminder of the overall context in which Nanda is practising sitting-dhyana.

He has not found attainment of the ultimate aim in mental silence, nor even in enjoyment of the process, nor will he find it even in the fourth dhyana. Nanda's true aim seems rather to be to keep progressing (or regressing) towards attainment of the nectar of immortality, or in other words realisation of the worthy state, in which there is freedom from faults.

Neither should the first dhyana be seen as the true starting point of the practice of sitting-dhyana now being described. Rather, a more fundamental starting point might have been Nanda's shameful recognition of faults, and the subsequent growth of his confidence in the Buddha's teaching, as described in Canto 12, Gaining Hold.

It may be true to say that the whole of Dogen's teaching is distilled into his instructions for sitting-zen, in say Fukan-zazengi, or Shobogenzo chap. 58, Zazengi. Dogen himself emphasized that the Buddha-Dharma is sitting, and sitting is the Buddha-Dharma. But in order to understand what Dogen really meant by that statement, and how he came to that conclusion, it might be necessary to study every chapter of Shobogenzo, covering everything from a method for properly wiping one's arse in chap. 7, Senjo, through to the dharma of serving offerings to buddhas in chap.87, Kuyo-shobutsu.

EH Johnston:
And reaching that trance in which the mind is stilled he experienced supreme unprecedented ecstasy, but, just as previously in the reflections, so now in that ecstasy he saw there were defects.

Linda Covill:
And in reaching that level of meditation in which the mind is silent, he experienced a profound joy which he had never felt before. But in that joy too he noticed a flaw, just as he had with regard to thoughts.

tad: that
dhyaanam (acc. sg.): n. meditation , thought , reflection
aagamya = abs. aa√ gam: to come , make one's appearance ; to fall into (any state of mind)
ca: and
citta: n. mind
mauna (acc. sg.): n. silence, tacurnity; the status of a muni, or sage

lebhe = 3rd pers. perfect labh: to take, gain possession of , obtain , receive, perceive, know
paraam (acc. sg. f.): on the other side, extreme, superior, highest, supreme, great, particularly deep
priitim (acc. sg.): f. joy
a-labdha-puurvaam (acc. sg. f.): not previously obtained, perceived, known

priitau (loc. sg.): in the joy
tu: but
tatra: ind. there, in that state
api: even, also, again
saH (nom. sg. m.): he
doSha-darshii (nom. sg. m.): fault-finding, a fault-finder
doSHa: fault
darshin: mfn. seeing, finding

yathaa: ind. just as
vitarkeSHu = loc. pl. vitarka: m. idea, thought etc.
abhavat (3rd pers. sg. imperfect bhuu): it happened
tathaa: (correlative of yathaa): in that manner, likewise, so
eva: (emphatic)

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