Sunday, August 22, 2010

SAUNDARANANDA 3.38 - 3.42: Towards the End of Becoming

In the final five verses of the Canto, Ashvaghosha seems to indicate that the Buddha's path to ultimate peace is primarily a negative one, viz. not expecting / craving a result or trying to become something (3.38); not having views or strong desire (3.39); not making an end out of what is not a true end (3.40); and not being prone to fear (3.41) or passion (3.42).

At the same time, perhaps to prevent us attaching to a view of nirvana as a bit of nothing, Ashvaghosha also writes in 3.41 about a lot of something -- subhiksha, material abundance. This pattern is latter mirrored in Nanda's description in Canto 17 of his experience of nirvana. (Like gaining health out of incurable illness, / Relief from immeasurable debt, / Or escape from an enemy presence; / Or like gaining, after famine, plentiful food [17.69])

Still, the overall impression left by this closing section is that peace is primarily a matter of finding out what not to do.... and then not doing it.

In practice a stimulus comes and before one knows it one has reacted, so that where there might have been space there is already clutter.

Philosophically thinking, space and clutter are one ... space is clutter, and clutter is space. But a philosophical thought is a very poor substitute for space itself.

When a friend recently asked me to clarify the Buddhist view on space, it seemed to me that a Buddhist view on space is the very opposite of space. No. Space is just the arena in which, as the practice of non-doing, we sit.

One thinks one has more or less grasped this point and... boooph ... the handle of a falling concrete mixer lands on one's forehead and it is off to A&E for a 3 hour and 59 minute wait, and then 11 stitches. That was a truly concrete realization of space, and I bear the scar to prove it.

na ca tatra kash cid upapatti-
sukham abhilalaaSha tair guNaiH
sarvam a-shivam avagamya bhavaM
bhava-saMkShayaaya vavRte na janmane

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But nobody there, because of his virtues,

Expected happiness in a resulting birth;

Having learned that all becoming is pernicious,

They worked not for a re-birth
but to eradicate becoming.

na: not
ca: and
tatra: ind. there
kash cit (nom. sg. m.): anybody
upapatti-sukham: (acc. sg.): happiness as a coming forth
upapatti: happening, occurring, becoming visible, appearing, production, accomplishing; proving right, resulting; ascertained or demonstrated conclusion, proof, evidence ; (also) origin, birth
upa- √ pad: to go towards ; to approach , come to , arrive at , enter ; to reach , obtain , partake of ; to enter into any state ; to take place , come forth , be produced , appear , occur , happen ; to be present , exist ; to be possible , be fit for or adequate to (with loc.) ; to be regular or according to rules ; to become , be suitable
sukham (accusative): happiness, pleasure, comfort, ease, prosperity
abhilalaaSha = 3rd pers. sg. perfect of abhi- √ laSh: to desire or wish for (acc.) , covet , crave
taiH (inst. pl.): those
guNaiH: (inst. pl.): virtues

sarvam (acc. sg. m.): all
a-shivam (acc. sg. m.): unkind, pernicious, dangerous; n. ill-luck
avagamya = abs. ava- √ gam: to hit upon , think of , conceive , learn , know , understand , anticipate , assure one's self , be convinced
bhavam (acc. sg.): m. coming into existence, birth, becoming

bhava-saMkShayaaya (dat. sg.): the total disappearance of becoming
bhava: becoming
saMkShaya: m. complete destruction, disappearance, dissolution
vavRte = 3rd pers. sg. perfect vRt: turn, advance, proceed, act, follow a course, tend or turn to (dative), be intent on, attend to (dative)
na: not
janmane = dat. sg. janman: n. birth, production; re-birth

a-kathaMkathaa gRhiNa eva
srotasi hi vavRtire bahavo
rajasas tanutvam api cakrire pare
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Even householders were free from endless doubting,

Their views washed spotlessly away:

For many had entered the stream

And then reduced passion to a trickle.

a: without
kathaMkathaaH (nom. pl. m.): mfn. being full of doubts and questions
gRhinaH = nom. pl. gRhin: m. householder
eva: (emphatic)

parama-parishuddha-dRShTayaH (nom. pl. m.): being eminently washed clean of views
parama: eminently, in the highest degree
parishuddha: washed off, become clean, purified
dRShTayaH = nominative, plural of dRShTi: view, notion, theory

srotasi = loc. sg. srotas: n. the current or bed of a river , a river , stream , torrent
hi: for
vavRte = 3rd pers. pl. perfect vRt: turn, advance, proceed, act, follow a course, to depend on (loc.) ; to be in a partic. condition , be engaged in or occupied with (loc.)
bahavaH (nom. pl. m.): many

rajasaH = gen./abl. sg. rajas: n. 'colored or dim space'; darkening quality, passion, emotion, affection, gloom, dimness, darkness
tanutvam (acc. sg.): n. thinness , tenuity , littleness
tanu: thin, emaciated
-tva: suffix for abstract nouns
api: indeed, also, even, moreover
cakrire = 3rd pers. pl. perfect kR: to do, make
pare (nom. pl. m.): others
pare: ind. (= loc. sg. para) later , farther , in future , afterwards

vavRte 'tra yo 'pi viShameShu
vibhava-sadRsheShu kash cana
vijahaara so 'pi na cacaala sat-pathaat

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Any man who had been engaged

In absurd pursuits like wealth

Was now content
with free giving, discipline, and restraint:

He also fared well, not straying from the true path.

vavRte = 3rd pers. sg. perfect vRt: to turn; to be in a partic. condition , be engaged in or occupied with (loc.)
atra: ind. here, to here, in this regard, in/to this time
yaH (nom. sg. m.): [he] who
api: even
viShameShu = loc. pl. viShama: mfn. uneven , rugged , rough ; unequal , irregular , dissimilar , different , inconstant ; odd , not even (in numbers &c ); hard to traverse , difficult , inconvenient , painful , dangerous , adverse , vexatious , disagreeable , terrible , bad , wicked ; hard to be understood ; unsuitable , wrong ; unfair , dishonest , partial ; rough , coarse , rude , cross ; odd , unusual , unequalled ; n. unevenness, oddness, pit, difficulty, distress, misfortune, incongruity

vibhava-sadRsheShu (loc. pl.): power, money, and the like
vibhava: power, might, exalted position; wealth, money; luxury; destruction (of the world)
sadRsha: mfn. like, resembling, similar to
kash cana (nom. sg. m.): anyone

tyaaga-vinaya-niyam'-abhirataH (nom. sg. m.): contented with free giving and the rules of discipline
tyaaga: letting go, giving up, free giving
vinaya: leading, guidance, training, discipline; the rules of discipline for monks
niyama: restraining, restriction, rule, precept
abhirata: mfn. pleased or contented with; engaged in

vijahaara = 3rd. pers. sg. perfect vi- √ hR: spend time, roam, disport oneself
saH (nom. sg. m.): he
api: also
na: not
cacaala = 3rd. pers. sg. perfect cal: to be moved , stir , tremble , shake , quiver , be agitated , palpitate ; to be moved from one's usual course , be disturbed , become confused or disordered , go astray ; to turn away from, swerve, deviate from
sat-pathaat (abl. sg.): from the truth path
sat: true, good, right
patha: m. a way , path , road , course , reach (generally ifc. for pathin)

api ca svato 'pi parato 'pi
na bhayam abhavan na daivataH
tatra ca susukha-subhikSha-guNair
jahRShuH prajaaH kRta-yuge manor iva

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Neither from within the self, nor from without,

Did any terror arise; nor from fate.

By dint of their true happiness
and material plenty and practical merits,

The citizens there rejoiced as in the golden age of Manu.

api ca: as well, moreover, also
svataH: ind. from the self, from within ; of one's own self , of one's own accord
sva: self
-taH (ablative suffix): from, in accordance with, in respect of
api: also
parataH: (ind. = abl. of para) farther , far off , afterwards , behind ; otherwise , differently
api: also

na: not
bhayam (nom. sg.): n. fear, terror , dismay , danger , peril , distress
abhavat = 3rd pers. sg. imperfect bhuu: to be
na: not
daiva-taH: ind. by fate or chance
daiva: n. divine power or will , destiny , fate , chance

tatra: there, at that time and place
ca: and
susukha-subhikSha-guNaiH (inst. pl.): because of great ease, abundant provisions, and merits
su- (prefix): good, true, harmonious, great
susukha: mfn. feeling very comfortable or happy; great ease, true happiness
subhikSha: n. abundance of food (esp. that given as alms) , abundant supply of provisions , plenty (opp. to dur-bhikSha)
guNa: m. good quality , virtue , merit , excellence

jahRShuH = 3rd pers. pl. perfect hRSh: to thrill with rapture , rejoice , exult , be glad or pleased
prajaaH (nom. pl): f. progeny, offspring, people, subjects
kRta-yuge (loc. sg.): in the golden age, the first of the four ages of the world
kRta: done, perfected
yuga: an age of the world, epoch
manor (gen. sg.): Manu; m. the Man par excellence or the representative man and father of the human race (regarded in the Rg Veda as the first to have instituted sacrifices and religious ceremonies)
iva: like

iti muditam an-aamayaM nir-aapat
kuru-raghu-puuru-pur'-opamaM puraM tat
abhavad a-bhaya-daishike mahaa"-rShau
viharati tatra shivaaya viita-raage

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iti saundaranande mahaa-kaavye
tathaagata-varNano naama tRtiiyaH sargaH

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Thus exulting in freedom from disease and calamity,

That city was the equal of Kuru, Raghu and Puru,

With the great seer serving there as a guide to peace --

Roaming free,
in the moment,
for the good of all,
without passion.

The 3rd Canto in the epic poem Handsome Nanda, titled 'A Portrayal of the One Thus Come.'

iti: thus
muditam (nom. sg. n.): delighted, joyful, glad
an-aamayam (nom. sg. n.): free from disease, healthy
aamaya: m. sickness, disease
nir-aapat (nom. sg. n.): mfn. prosperous , fortunate , secure
aapad: f. misfortune , calamity , distress

kuru-raghu-puuru-pur'-opamam (nom. sg. n.): equal to Kuru, Raghu and Puru
Kuru: name of city
Raghu: name of city
Puuru: name of city
puram: n. fortress, castle, city, town
upama: uppermost; (in compounds) resembling, like, equal
puram (nom. sg.). n. city, town
tat (nom. sg. n.): that

abhavat = 3rd per. sg. imperfect bhuu: to be
a-bhaya-daishike (loc. sg.): pointing the way to peace
a-bhaya: n. absence or removal of fear, peace, safety, security
daishika: knowing a place, a guide; showing, directing, spiritual guide or teacher
maha"-rSau (loc. sg.): the great seer
mahat: great
RShi: m. a singer of sacred hymns , an inspired poet or sage ; they are the authors or rather seers of the Vedic hymns i.e. according to orthodox Hindu ideas they are the inspired personages to whom these hymns were revealed

viharati = =3rd pers. sg. present vi- √ hR: to abide, roam freely, fare well
tatra: ind. there
shivaaya = dat. sg. shiva: m. happiness , welfare ; m. liberation , final emancipation
viita-raage (loc. sg. m.): without passion
viita: gone away, departed, disappeared, vanished, lost (in the beginning of compounds = free or exempt from , without , -less)
raaga: colour, dye, taint, (esp.) red colour, redness; any feeling or passion

iti: thus
Saundaranande (loc. sg.): Handsome Nanda
mahaa-kaavye (loc. sg.): in the epic poem
tathaagata-varNanaH (nom. sg. m.): "Portrayal of the Realised One"
tathaagata: "thus come"; "the realised one" etc ; epithet of the Buddha
varNana: n. the act of painting , colouring &c; delineation , description , explanation
naama: by name, named
tRtiiyaH (nom. sg. m.): the third
sargaH (nom. sg.): m. draught of air, gust of wind, stream, dart, shot, effort, section, chapter, canto (especially in an epic poem)

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