Monday, September 6, 2010

SAUNDARANANDA 4.28: Here Comes the Sun

kaa cit sthitaa tatra tu harmya-pRShThe
gavaakSha-pakShe praNidhaaya cakShuH
viniShpatantaM sugataM dadarsha
payoda-garbhaad iva diiptam arkaM

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

One woman there, however,
on glancing through a round side-window

On the upper storey of the palace,

Had seen the One Gone Well going away

Like the blazing sun emerging from a cloud.

In this verse, as in several verses in Canto 3, Ashvaghosha compares the Buddha to the sun, bringer to all of both light and warmth -- not only light, like a cold library, and not only warmth, like an old grandma who repeatedly recommends her grandson to stop shaving his head because he used to have such lovely hair!

Ashvaghosha compares the Buddha to the sun, which brings light and warmth to all -- not just to a particular group of human beings, but to all human beings universally.

On the Dalai Lama's facebook page I recently saw a clip of a talk in Japan in which DL spoke of three ways -- theistic religion like Judaism, Christianity, and Islaam; non-theistic religion like Buddhism and Jainism; and a third way which has nothing to do with religion.

I like that phrase: nothing to do with religion.

These past few weeks I have been on my own living simply enough -- doing not much else besides sit, work (mainly with sand and cement, building a stone wall, but also doing this translation work), and sleep. I feel pretty confident that I have been doing my best. And in this simple life I don't feel anything religious. Sometimes there might be a sense of "Thy will be done," but, in DL's words, it has nothing to do with religion.

So I totally subscribe to the DL's teaching on this matter of what he calls "universal ethics" rooted in science. But that doesn't mean that I wish to be part of any kind of religious organisation allied to the Dalai Lama. Rather, I would just like to say to him: thank you, human brother, for stating so clearly this teaching with which I am in total agreement.

That is why I see, among Dogen's many writings, the most important to be Fukan-zazengi, the rules of sitting-dhyana recommended for everybody. The Fukan of Fukan-zazengi means "universally recommended," or "recommended for everybody."

Though I have been shaving my head for 25 years, I never had a ceremony to become a Buddhist monk. Sometimes I have wondered whether I ought to have had one, but it would have meant becoming a member of the Soto Sect, and I never fancied that at all. No, put me down as a non-monk, one who has nothing to do with religion.

To a non-monk's ears, Ashvagosha's comparing of the Buddha to the sun is very apt -- because the existence of the sun has got nothing at all to do with religious belief. On the contrary, we have seen its light, and felt its warmth, again and again. Even in the middle of the darkest night, we can have real confidence in its continued existence -- at least beyond the span of our lifetimes. Not belief. Confidence.

EH Johnston:
But a woman, who was at the top of the house, turned her eyes towards the window and saw the Blessed One going away like the blazing sun emerging from the heart of a cloud.

Linda Covill:
However, one woman at the top of the palace had glanced at a side-window, and she had seen the Sugata emerging like the radiant sun from a cloud.

kaa cit (nom. sg. f.): someone ; a woman
sthitaa (nom. sg. f.): mfn. standing , staying , situated , resting or abiding or remaining in
tatra: ind. there, at that place
tu: but
harmya-pRShThe (loc. sg.): n. the flat roof or upper room of any mansion or palace
harmya: a large house , palace , mansion , any house or large building or residence of a wealthy person
pRShTha: n. the back ; the upper side , surface , top , height ; the flat roof of a house

gavaakSha-pakShe (loc. sg.): towards the window
gavaakSha: " a bull's eye " , an air-hole , loop-hole , round window ;
pakSha: m. a wing; the flank or side or the half of anything; the side or wing of a building
praNidhaaya = abs. pra-Ni- √ dhaa: to turn or direct (the eyes or thoughts) upon (loc.)
cakShuH (acc. sg.): n. a look, the eye

viniShpatantam = acc. sg. m. pres. part vi-niSh- √ pat: to fall out of , fly forth from , rush forth , issue ; to fly or run away
sugatam (acc. sg. m.): the Sugata, the One Gone Well
dadarsha = 3rd pers. sg. perfect dRsh: to see

payoda-garbhaat (abl. sg.): from the interior of a cloud
payo-da: mfn. milk-giving (as a cow); yielding water (as a cloud) ; m. a cloud
payas: n. any fluid or juice , (esp.) milk , water , rain
garbha: womb, interior
iva: like
diiptam (acc. sg. m.): mfn. blazing , flaming , hot , shining , bright , brilliant , splendid
arkam (acc. sg.): m. a ray , flash of lightning ; the sun

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