Friday, March 5, 2010

SAUNDARANANDA 17.52: More Fault Finding

dhyaane 'pi tatr' aatha dadarsha doShaM
mene paraM shaantam an-iNjam eva
aabhogato 'p' iiNjayati sma tasya
cittaM pravRttaM sukham ity ajasraM

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

Then, even in that stage of meditation, he found a fault:

He saw it as better to be quiet, without movement,

Whereas his mind was fluctuating tirelessly

Because of ease circulating.

The fault Ashvaghosha is describing now, at the highest level of ease, might be too subtle and fine for the likes of me to discuss.

Sukha, ease, is thought to be derived from su+kha, 'having a good axle hole,' running smoothly, as opposed to duH-kha, 'not having a good axle hole,' suffering, having to endure hard going.

Whether or not I can pin the blame on congenitally dodgy wheel bearings, I do not know, but if I have ever experienced the higher ease described here as belonging untiringly to the third dhyana, at time of writing the memory of it completely escapes me.

In common with my father and brother, I am prone to a frustration that sometimes boils over with tragi-comic effect. It is a frustration that, for me at least, Alexander work has not yet been applied sufficiently deeply to solve. As I joked to my mother when I spoke to her on the phone on Sunday night, there may be a certain wisdom in the stoic attitude of my father, who staunchly refuses to be drawn into any discussion of "hang-ups," and is thus at least immune from the Buddhist or Alexandrian frustration of not being able to solve the problem of frustration. My long-suffering mother said it was the first laugh she had had all day. Yesterday again I caused my son to laugh when I phoned him for advice on getting a new computer, and told him of the "firm decision" I took yesterday morning not ever to be frustated again by the reluctance to start up of my under-powered Dell laptop.

On further reflection, I do remember that sometimes Marjory Barlow would say to me, by way of encouragement, as I took my leave of her after a lesson, "You are going well." For Marjory it was never a question of having arrived at rightness, never a question of good, but of better, or, as she sometimes used to say, "not quite so awful!" The form of Marjory's encouragement befitted her uncle's teaching that there is no such thing as a right position, but there is a right direction... and maybe the best we can hope for is to keep going in it -- whether the going be easy or hard.

And so, for how much longer I do not know, I carry on, a work in progress and in regress. But for the not-so-trusty old laptop, it is game over.

EH Johnston:
Then he saw a defect in that trance and deemed that the highest stage is tranquil and not subject to alteration, but his mind kept altering continuously through inflections because of the activity of bliss.

Linda Covill:
But since he considered the highest to be peaceful and without fluctuation, he detected a flaw even in meditation at this level -- that his mind fluctuated continuously due to modulations in the working of bliss.

dhyaane (loc.): in that realisation, in the stage of meditation
api: also, again
tatra: ind. there, in that one
atha: then (connecting particle)
dadarsha = 3rd pers. perfect dRsh: to see
doSHam (acc. sg.): m. flaw, fault

mene = 3rd pers. perfect man: to think, believe, imagine, suppose, consider
param (acc. sg. n.): mfn. better, best, highest; n. remotest distance
shaantam (acc. sg. m./n): mfn. appeased, pacified, tranquil, inhibited, abated; m./n. tranquility
an-iNjam = an-iNgam (acc. sg. m.n.): mfn. not divisible (said of words)
iNg: to go , go to or towards ; to move or agitate
iNga: mfn. movable , locomotive
eva (emphatic): at all

aabhogataH: cyclically
aabhoga: m. winding , curving , curve , crease ; circuit , circumference ,
taH = ablative/adverbial suffix
api: and, also, moreover, verily
iNjayati = iNgayati, 3rd person causative iNg: to move , agitate , shake
sma: (emphatic particle) certainly, indeed, actually
tasya (gen. sg. m.): of him, of it

cittam ( n. mind, thinking mind
pravRttam (nom. sg. n.): rotund; circulated (as a book); acting, proceeding, going round; causing a continuation [(with karman) of mundane existence]; set in motion, under way, in operation, current; flowing; activity, working
sukham (nom./acc. sg.): n. happiness, ease; running swiftly or easily (only applied to cars or chariots)
iti: thus, because of [the preceding]
ajasram (from jas = exhaust): ind. perpetually, inexhaustibly, for ever; continuously, continually, untiringly

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