Tuesday, July 13, 2010

SAUNDARANANDA 2.34: Non-Buddhist Virtues (ctd.) -- Same Old, Same Old

svair ev' aadiidapac c' aapi
bhuuyo bhuuyo guNaiH kulaM
prajaa n' aadiidapac c' aiva

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

He also caused his house to be pure,

Again and again, using just his own virtues;

And neither did he cause his wider progeny to decay,

For all were established in all dharmas.

svair eva guNaiH, "using just his own virtues," is one of many of affirmations in Saundarananda of the principle of the individual -- of blowing one's own nose by oneself, to borrow a phrase from Shobogenzo.

kulam adiidapat, "he kept his house pure," might mean he kept his practice free of end-gaining. How? guNaiH, "by using virtues."

Is there a relation between guNaiH, "using virtues" in this verse and bhRtyaiH "using regulars" in the previous verse? The answer should always be expressed bhuuyo bhuuyaH, "again and again" (same old... same old....).

prajaa n' aadiidapat, "he did not cause his wider progeny to go bad," might include the meaning of "he did not cause any divisions to arise between any of his descendants" -- because all were established in sarva-dharma "all dharmas." At the same time prajaa n' aadiidapat, "he did not cause his offshoots to decay" might be another way of saying vRtten' aajihladat prajaaH, "he enlivened his offshoots" (2.30), i.e., he energized even the peripeheral parts of himself with the energy of thought-direction.

On the surface the 4th line suggests that nothing rotten arose in Kapalivastu, like water-borne epedimics, or like civil war, because all the king's subjects and all the king's descendants, whether plumbers or soldiers, knew his own duty and did his own duty.

A deeper intended meaning might be related with the central teaching of the Lotus Sutra, and indeed the central teaching of Dogen's Shobogenzo, known in Chinese/Japanese as SHOHO-JISSO, "all dharmas (sarva-dharma) are real form" (see Shobogenzo chap. 50, Shoho-jisso).

The two fundamental duties of a Buddhist monk, Gudo Nishijima used to say, are (1) to practise Zazen, and (2) to teach others. This verse, as I read it, though it is not immediately apparent, relates totally to that gist. At the same time, this verse as I read it relates to Dogen's teaching in Shobogenzo that the sole duty of a buddha-ancestor is to sit upright with right foot on left thigh and left foot on right thigh -- for this, in the final analysis, is the best way for all the sitter's offshoots -- including grass, trees, and birds -- to be established in the teaching of sarva-dharma "all dharmas." For a buddha-ancestor, Dogen emphasized quite shockingly in Shobogenzo chap. 72, Zanmai-o-zanmai, the only duty is to sit, and there is no other duty at all.

In the end, what can I say? What should I say?

Over the past few days I have been reviewing the translation of Canto 3 with which I began this translation effort 18 months ago, and I find much of the translation (not to mention many of the comments) thoroughly embarrassing. Only an utter fool would embark on a translation like I did while lacking even a rudimentary understanding of Sanskrit grammar. In 18 months time, all being well, I will feel the same about what I am writing today.

So in the end, remembering that being wrong is the best friend I have got in this work, I will venture to write this:

Every verse, when studied deeply enough, seems to be about inhibition of end-gaining and direction of energy. Every verse seems to be about sitting-dhyana. And every verse, on some level, is a manifestation of the teaching that all dharmas are real form -- or, as FM Alexander put it, "I believe in everything.... and I believe in nothing."

EH Johnston:
He caused his virtues ever more and more to purify his race and by his delimitation of the duties of all classes he did not let his subjects come to harm.

Linda Covill:
More and more did his family shine through his own good qualities; and he had no need to compel his subjects, since they were all established in dharma.

svaiH (inst. pl.): his own
eva: (emphatic)
adiidapat = 3rd pers. sg. causitive aorist √5. daa (= √dai): to cause to be pure ; or √2 dii to shine , be bright ; to shine forth , excel , please , be admired
ca: and
api: also

bhuuyo bhuuyaH: ind. more and more, again and again
guNaiH (inst. pl.): m. merits, virtues, good qualities
kulam (acc. sg.): n. a race , family , community , tribe , caste , set ; house ; noble or eminent family or race

prajaaH (acc. pl.): f. procreation; descendants; after-growth; subjects, people
na: not
adiidapat = 3rd pers. sg. causitive aorist √3 dii: to cause to decay, perish
√3 dii: to decay, perish
ca: and
eva (emphatic)

sarva-dharma-vyavasthayaa (inst. sg.): because of all being established in dharma; because of establishment in all dharmas
sarva: all
dharma: m. dharma; law; duty; virtue , morality , religion , religious merit , good works; nature , character , peculiar condition or essential quality; (in comp. for dharman)
dharman: n. support , prop , hold ; n. established order of things , steadfast decree (of a god ) , any arrangement or disposition ; n. law , rule , duty ; n. practice , custom , mode , manner ; n. (esp. ifc.) nature , quality , characteristic mark or attribute
vyavasthaa: f. respective difference ; abiding in one place , steadiness ; fixity , perseverance , constancy ; a fixed limit ; settlement , establishment , decision , statute , law , rule (vyavasthayaa, instr. according to a fixed rule)
vy-ava- √ sthaa: to halt , stop , stay ; to be settled ; to establish

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