Friday, July 2, 2010

SAUNDARANANDA 2.23 Non-Buddhist Virtues (ctd.) -- Not Sanctioning Neurotic Behaviour

n' aakrukShad viShaye tasya
kash cit kaish cit kva cit kShataH
adikShat tasya hasta-stham
aartebhyo hy a-bhayaM dhanuH

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

Nowhere whined in his dominion

Anyone hurt by anyone;

For in his hand a bow bestowed

Peace upon the afflicted.

Oh woe is me! Oh it is not fair! She hurt me. He wounded me. And I didn't deserve it.

Why do self and others cry out in whining voices like this? Where does the whinging tendency originate, and how is it possible for the tendency to be eradicated?

I know a certain Zen homeopath who, observing the symptoms of wimpish whining and whinging, might recommend a dose of Pulsatilla. But if we look beneath the symptoms to the root cause of the whining tendency, the root cause might reside in denial of cause and effect. That being so, if we wish to defy this wimpish whining tendency in us, then the chief weapon at our disposal might be the bow of resolve (dhairya-kaarmuka; 13.37), also called the bow of true knowledge (saj-jNaana-caapa 17.23), which is held in the hand (hasta) of confidence (shraddhaa; 12.36).

So again in this verse the virtues of the ancient non-Buddhist king are described in such a way as to hold a mirror to, or to presage, the description of the Buddha-virtues that is to follow in later cantos, viz:

And so I call it the Hand,

Because it is this confidence, specifically,

That grasps the true Dharma

As a hand takes a gift, naturally.

For smeared with the poison of ideas,

Are those arrows, produced from five senses,

Whose tails are anxiety, whose tips are thrills,

And whose range is the vast emptiness of objects.

They strike human fawns in the heart

Fired off by Desire, the hunter;

Unless they are warded away,

Men wounded by them duly fall.

Standing firm in the arena of inhibition,

And bearing the bow of resolve,

The mighty man, as they rain down, must fend them away,

Wearing the armour of mindfulness.

As a bow of true knowledge, clad in the armour of mindfulness,

Standing up in a chariot of pure practice of integrity,

While his enemies, the afflictions, stood up in the battlefield of the mind,

He took his stance for victory, ready to engage them in battle.

Today's verse, then, is not pointing to the possibility of an ideal world in which nobody hurts anybody. It is rather describing a situation in which, due to unshakeable confidence in the absolute fairness of cause and effect, a suffering person in the sphere of influence of an enlightened agency does not whinge or whine.

The enlightened agency in question could be understood as an external agency, i.e., as the non-Buddhist king called Shuddhodhana or the King of Dharma called Gautama. But the best way to understand this enlightened agency, sitting on a round black cushion, might be as an internal agency, i.e., as the King of Dharma within -- through conscious exercise of what FM Alexander called "the primary control of the use of the self."

EH Johnston:
Nowhere in his realm had anyone occasion to lament injury at the hands of others; for the bow in his hand promised security to the oppressed.

Linda Covill:
No one anywhere in his kingdom cried injury from others, for his bow signified to the downtrodden that safety was at hand.

na: not
akrukShad = 3rd pers. sg. aorist krush: to cry out , shriek , yell , bawl , call out , halloo ; to exclaim ; to lament , weep
viShaye (loc. sg.): realm, sphere of influence, dominion
tasya (gen. sg.): of him

kash cit (nom. sg. m.): anyone
kaish cit (inst. pl.): by anyone
kva cit: anywhere
kShataH (nom. sg. m.): mfn. wounded , hurt , injured ; broken , torn , rent , destroyed , impaired ; diminished , trodden or broken down
kShan: to hurt , injure , wound

adikShat = 3rd pers. sg. aorist dish: to point out , show , exhibit ; to assign , grant , bestow upon (dat.)
tasya (gen. sg.): of him
hasta-stham (nom. sg. n.): being in his hand

aartebhyaH (dat. pl.): fallen into (misfortune) , struck by calamity , afflicted , pained , disturbed ; injured ; oppressed , suffering , sick , unhappy
hi: for
a-bhayam (acc. sg.): n. absence or removal of fear , peace , safety , security
dhanuH = nom. sg. dhanus: n. a bow
√2. dhan: to cause to run or move quickly

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