Saturday, September 25, 2010

SAUNDARANANDA 5.16: The Dual Great Matter

saMklesha-pakSho dvi-vidhash ca dRShTas
tathaa dvi-kalpo vyavadaana-pakShaH
aatm'-aashrayo hetu-bal'-aadhikasya
baahy'-aashrayaH pratyaya-gauravasya

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

The afflictions are understood to be dual;

Likewise, in clearing them away,
there are two modes of action:

When one's primary motivation is strong,
one is self-reliant;

Assigning importance to conditions,
one is outer-dependent.

The afflictions are understood to be dual because the subconsciously controlled person is observed to career from one side to the other of the metaphorical middle way, swinging between highs and lows, exuberance and fear, lust and anger, hyper-activity and fatigue, hyper-tonus and floppiness, red and white, enthusiasm and disillusionment, arrogance and low self-esteem, conceit and self-recrimination. Such is life on what the Buddha calls the swing of samsara (saMsaara-dolaa; 16.6).

Seeking to explain this duality in terms of human physiology, my old teacher Gudo Nishijima never tired of going on, and on and on, about the autonomic nervous system with its antagonistic sympathetic and parasympathetic components.

Back in the early part of the 20th century, FM Alexander wrote of "unduly excited fear reflexes and emotions" -- among which neuro-physiologists who came after Alexander later identified the mutually antagonistic fear paralysis response and Moro reflex.

In any event, to delight in intellectual knowledge about this duality might be the sorriest of delights; whereas really to know, to have confidence in, a means of countering this duality, might be the greatest of gifts (shreShThatamaM dhanebhyaH; 5.24).

Sitting-dhyana, evidently, is the primary means advocated by all the buddha-ancestors -- the one great matter.

But to know intellectually that sitting-meditation is the one great matter of the buddha-ancestors, equally evidently, is not enough. If that kind of knowledge was enough already, there might not be much point in continuing with this attempted excavation of the original real gold of Ashvaghosha.

EH Johnston:
The sins are classified in two categories, and so too the means of purification, namely, that in which a man, in whom the internal impulse is strong, is self-dependent, and that in which a man, to whom external conditions are of most weight, is dependent on outside agency.

Linda Covill:
There are two different possibilities regarding defilements, and likewise there are two alternative possibilities regarding purification: the superior man of strong motivation is self-dependent, while the man for whom faith is important is dependent on something external to himself.

saMklesha-pakShaH (nom. sg. m.): the matter of the afflictions
saMklesha: m. pain , suffering , affliction
pakSha: m. a wing; a side ; one of two cases or one side of an argument , an alternative ; a point or matter under discussion , a thesis , a particular theory , a position advanced or an argument to be maintained
dvi-vidhaH (nom. sg. m.): mfn. two-fold, of two kinds
dvi: two
vidha: m. measure , form , kind
ca: and
dRShTaH (nom. sg. m.): mfn. seen ; considered , regarded , treated ; understood

tathaa: ind. so, likewise
dvi-kalpaH (nom. sg. m.): being of two alternatives
kalpa: m. a sacred precept , law , rule , ordinance ; manner of acting , proceeding , practice (esp. that prescribed by the vedas) ; m. one of two cases , one side of an argument , an alternative (= pakSa)
vyavadaana-pakShaH (nom. sg. m.): the argument regarding purification
vyavadaana: n. purification
vy-ava- √ dai : to be clearly diffused

aatm'-aashrayaH (nom. sg. m.): self-reliant
aatma: self
ashraya: mfn. ifc. depending on , resting on , endowed or furnished with
hetu-bal'-aadhikasya (gen. sg.): the strength of impulse being superior
hetu: m. " impulse " , motive ; cause ; (with Buddhists) primary cause (as opp. to pratyaya)
bala: n. power, strength, force ; ifc. by force , by the power
adhika: mfn. surpassing (in number or quantity or quality) , superior ; excellent

baahy'-aashrayaH (nom. sg. m.): outer-dependent
baahya: mfn. being outside (a door , house , &c ) , situated without (abl. or comp.) , outer , exterior ; ibc. outside , without , out
pratyaya-gauravasya (gen. sg.): conditions being important
pratyaya: m. belief, firm conviction , trust , faith; ground , basis , motive or cause of anything; (with Buddhists) a co-operating cause
gaurava: n. importance, gravity

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