Wednesday, June 30, 2010

SAUNDARANANDA 2.21: Non-Buddhist Virtues (ctd.) -- Soft Power & True Defiance

klesh'-aarhaan api kaaMsh cit tu
n'aakliShTa kliShTa-karmaNaH
aarya-bhaavaac ca n'aaghukShad
dviShato 'pi sato guNaan

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

2.21
Those few doers of harsh deeds,
though they deserved harsh treatment,

He did not treat harshly;

And due to his noble nature he never cast a veil

Over the virtues of a true, albeit defiant man.


COMMENT:
Implicit in this verse might be the observation that really seeing the truth does not always fill a man with skittish enthusiasm and gullible affirmation of conventional wisdom; sometimes seeking the truth and seeing the truth goes with a tendency to be gruff, cynical, skeptical, contrary, defiant, adversarial.

A wise king knows that a yes man is not necessarily a friend; and a contrary, defiant or adversarial subject is not necessarily an enemy.

When contrariness and defiance are investigated in detail, a person who customarily says "No, not that," might be closely allied with the best friend an investigator of truth ever has.

So one way of reading this verse is that line 4 describes a true, albeit defiant subject of a king; or a teacher who says "Not that" -- a true, albeit adversarial other. But there might also be another way of reading line 4.

If we dig deeper, within the self -- if we take the backward step of turning our light and shining it within -- true defiance manifests itself as a kind of balancing act.

As a true Buddhist one is required to defy unconscious tendencies within the self that cause one to veer off the middle way.

But there is no such thing as the middle way. And true Buddhism is just another -ism to drop off.

So true defiance might be a balancing act that is impossible, in conclusion, to pull off...

Maybe the ultimate conclusion is that there is no ultimate conclusion, other than continuing defiance...

sarva-dRShTi-prahaaNaaya
yaH saddharmam adeshayat
anukampaam upaadaaya
taM namasyaami dviShantam


For the dropping of all views

He taught the true Dharma,

Utilizing compassion.

I bow to him, the truly defiant one.



EH Johnston:
He did not maltreat the few evildoers, even when they deserved cruel punishment, and the nobility of his nature was such that he did not disparage the virtue of a good man, even though he was his enemy.

Linda Covill:
He did not pass harsh sentence on those few who had done wrong, even when they deserved it; and his noble nature did not permit him to conceal the qualities of a good man, even if he were an enemy.


VOCABULARY:
klesha: m. (from √klish) pain , affliction , distress , pain from disease , anguish ; wrath , anger
arhaan (acc. pl. m.) mfn. meriting , deserving (praise or blame) , worthy of
api: even
kaaMsh cit (acc. pl. m.): anyone, a few
tu: but

na: not
akliShTa = 3rd pers. sg. aorist: klish: to torment , trouble , molest , cause pain , afflict ; to suffer , feel pain
kliShTa-karmaNaH (acc. pl. m.): those who did hurtful deeds
kliShTa: mfn. molested , tormented , afflicted , distressed ; wearied , hurt , injured , being in bad condition , worn ; connected with pain or suffering
karman: n. act , action ; office , special duty , occupation , obligation (frequently ifc. , the first member of the compound being either the person who performs the action or the person or thing for or towards whom the action is performed or a specification of the action [e.g. priiti-karman, an act of friendship])

aarya-bhaavaat (abl. sg.): because of being noble
aarya: m. a man highly esteemed , a respectable , honourable man ; mfn. behaving like an Aryan , worthy of one , honourable , respectable , noble
bhaava: being, state, condition ; manner of acting , conduct , behaviour ; any state of mind or body , way of thinking or feeling , sentiment , opinion , disposition
ca: and
na: not
aghukShadm = 3rd pers. sg. aorist: guh: to cover , conceal , hide , keep secret

dviShataH = gen. sg. dviShat: mfn. (p. Pres. of √dviSh) hating or detesting , hostile , unfriendly , foe , enemy
api: even
sataH = gen. sg. sat: m. a good or wise man , a sage
guNaan (acc. pl.): m. merits, qualities, virtues

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