Sunday, September 19, 2010

SAUNDARANANDA 5.4: Half A Sixpence

atho mahadbhiH pathi saMpatadbhiH
sampuujyamaanaaya tathaagataaya
kartum praNaamaM na shashaaka nandas
ten' aabhireme tu guror mahimnaa

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And so,
with the great and the good
rapidly converging on the road

To honour the Tathagata,

Nanda was unable to make a bow;

But still he could delight in the Guru's greatness.

This verse, as I read it, is written in the same spirit as the Buddha's Treasury Sutra (Chapter 8, Cleansing Oneself of Views) which is quoted in Shobogenzo chap. 87 KUYO-SHOBUTSU, Serving Buddhas.

The sutra tells of a practitioner who, through many ages in which no buddha appeared, contented himself with giving up everything in order to serve pratyeka-buddhas i.e. work-shy loners who just pursue their own awakening in nature.

When it came to Sundari, Nanda could no more be satisfied by merely ogling here than he could by drinking water from one hand. But when it came to the Buddha, Nanda was not so greedy. He demonstrated the virtue of being satisfied with not much, somewhat in the spirit of Tommy Steele who back in the 1960s used to sing:

Half a sixpence,
Is better than half a penny,
And half a penny,
Is better than none....

EH Johnston:
Thus Nanda was unable to make obeisance to the Tathagata because of the noblemen flocking to salute Him in the road, but he rejoiced in the exaltation of the Guru.

Linda Covill:
Because of the large numbers on the road flocking to offer homage to the realized one, Nanda was not able to pay his respects, but he was pleased by the guru's eminence.

atho: then, and so.... etc.
mahadbhiH = inst. pl. mahat: mfn. great (in space , time , quantity or degree) ; many (people , with jana sg.); m. a great or noble man
pathi (loc. sg.): road
saMpatadbhiH = inst. pl. m. pres. part sam- √ pat: to fly or rush together (in a friendly or hostile manner) ; to fly along , fly to , hasten towards , arrive at , reach (acc. or loc.)

sampuujyamaanaaya = dat. sg. m. pres. part. passive sam- √ puuj: to salute deferentially , honour greatly , revere ; to praise
tathaagataaya (dat. sg.): m. the Tathagata, the One Come Thus, the One Arrived at that which is Thus, the One Gone Thus, the One from whom [Pride etc.] has Thus Gone... etc... etc...

kartum = inf. kR: to do, make
praNaamam (acc. sg.): m. bending , bowing , a bow , respectful salutation , prostration , obeisance
na: not
shashaaka = 3rd pers. sg. perfect shak: to be able
nandaH (nom. sg. m.): Nanda

tena (inst. sg. m.): by that [greatness]
aabhireme = 3rd pers. sg. perfect abhi- √ ram: to delight in , be delighted
tu: but
guroH (gen. sg.): of the Guru
mahimnaa = inst. sg. mahiman: m. greatness , might , power , majesty , glory

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