Friday, October 1, 2010

SAUNDARANANDA 5.28: Three Desirious Barriers to Happiness

snehena kash cin na samo 'sti paashaH
sroto na tRShNaa-samam asti haari
raag'-aagninaa n' aasti samas tath" aagnis
tac cet trayam n' aasti sukhaM ca te' sti

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

There is no fetter like love,

No torrent that carries one away like thirst,

And likewise no fire like the fire of passion.

If not for these three, happiness would be yours.

Love, thirst, passion... the three great barriers to the possession of happiness, the Buddha is telling Nanda, are not out there.

But this teaching is not a blanket negation of desire. Implicit in this teaching is the constructive desire to be rid of unconstructive desires.

One's own possession of happiness might sound like a selfish desire ... but without first wanting it and possessing it in himself, how is Nanda going to be able to give to anyone else the greatest gift, which is confidence in a means-whereby that truly and universally works?

In pursuit of this desire, the idea of having no idea seems to me, at time of writing, the obvious place to start. In general it is just the germ of an idea that lets loose all the fetters, torrents, and fires from whose influence we desire to be free.

This is the essence of what Marjory Barlow taught me: if you truly desire freedom, desire it, and give up the idea that is putting you wrong. It is also what Ashvaghosha records the Buddha teaching Nanda in Canto 15, whose title is "Giving Up an Idea."

So one of the things each of us is called upon to investigate, at deeper and deeper levels of his or her being, is what actually happens when an idea is given up.

EH Johnston:
There is no bond equal to affection, no destructive stream equal to desire, no fire equal to the fire of love ; if these three did not exist, happiness would be yours.

Linda Covill:
There is no fetter like affection, no torrent like desire for sweeping one away, and no fire like the fire of passion. If these three did not exist, bliss would be yours.

snehena (inst. sg.): oiliness; blandness , tenderness , love , attachment to , fondness or affection
kash cit (nom. sg. m.): any
na ... asti : there is not
samaH (nom. sg. m.): same , equal , similar , like , equivalent , like to or identical or homogeneous with (instr.)
paashaH (nom. sg. m.): m. a snare , trap , noose , tie , bond , cord , chain , fetter (lit. and fig.)

srotaH (nom. sg.): n. the current or bed of a river , a river , stream , torrent
na ... asti : there is not
tRShNaa-samam (nom. sg. n.): equal to thirsting
tRShNaa: f. thirst, desire, avidity
haari = nom. sg. n. haarin: mfn. taking , carrying , carrying away , stealing

raag'-aagninaa (inst. sg.): the fire of passion
raaga: colour , hue , tint , dye , (esp.) red colour , redness; any feeling of passion
agni: m. fire
n' aasti: there is not
samaH (nom. sg. m.): equal to (with inst.)
tathaa: ind. likewise
agniH (nom. sg.): m . fire

tat (nom. sg. n.): this
ced: if, when
trayam (nom. sg.): n. triad, threesome
n' aasti: there is not
sukham (nom. sg.): n. ease, comfort, happiness
ca: and
te (gen. sg.): yours
asti: there is

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