Saturday, January 22, 2011

SAUNDARANANDA 7.49: Indulging in Self-Doubt

yo niHsRtash ca na ca niHsRta-kaama-raagaH
kaaShaayam udvahati yo na ca niShkaShaayaH
paatram bibharti ca guNair na ca paatra-bhuuto
liNgaM vahann api sa n'aiva gRhii na bhikShuH

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

When a man has gone forth,
but the red taint of desire has not gone forth from him;

When he wears the earth-hued robe
but has not transcended dirt;

When he carries the bowl
but is not a vessel for the virtues;

Though he bears the insignia,
he is neither a householder nor a beggar.

In line 1 going forth is synonymous with shaving the head and so the three elements of this verse, again, are the three "insignia" (liNgam); namely, shaved head, robe, and bowl.

What Nanda is doing here, in referring to the three insignia, is indulging himself in doubt.

Doing work such as translation work like this, is a way of transcending such doubt -- because the direction of it is inherently right, and so just in the doing of it, it doesn't matter who I am.

But if we reflect on what the original teaching of the Buddha was, there might be a still more fundamental way to transcend doubt, and that is by the not doing of wrong.

So if we are able, even if only for a moment of sitting in lotus, not to stiffen the neck unduly, not to pull the head back or down, not to restrict our breathing by shortening the spine and narrowing the back, while not pulling the pelvis and legs into each other -- then that might truly be a moment of realizing the Buddha's original teaching, irrespective of who we are.

So looking into the mirror of Nanda, I would like to tell him to man up, you big girl's blouse, and stop worrying about who you are. It's not about being something. If the idea of being something or not being something is causing you to fret, then give up the idea of being something, and get on with doing something, or not doing something.

EH Johnston:
He who has gone out (as a mendicant) but from whom the passions have not gone out, who wears the earth-coloured robe but has not taken off the robe of sin, who carries the beggar's vessel and yet has not become a vessel of virtue, is, despite the insignia he wears, neither a householder nor a mendicant.

Linda Covill:
And a man who has departed from the household life, but from whom desire and passion have not departed, who wears the earth-hued robe but is not dirt-free, who carries a bowl but has not become a vessel of goodness -- though he bears the marks of a monk, such a one is neither monk nor householder.

yaH (nom. sg. m.): [he] who
niHsRtaH (nom. sg. m.): mfn. gone out or forth , departed
niH- √ sR: to go out , come forth , depart , withdraw
ca-na ca: though - yet not
niHsRta-kaama-raagaH (nom. sg. m.): the redness of desire being not gone out
niHsRta: gone out
kaama: m. desire; love , especially sexual love or sensuality,
raaga: m. dye , (esp.) red colour , redness ; any feeling or passion , (esp.) love

kaaShaayam (acc. sg. m.): mfn. (fr. kaShaaya) , brown-red , dyed of a reddish colour ; n. a brown-red cloth or garment
kaShaaya: mfn. astringent ; red , dull red , yellowish red (as the garment of a Buddhist bhikShu) ; mn. a yellowish red colour ; mn. dirt , filth ; mn. dulness , stupidity ; n. a dull or yellowish red garment or robe
udvahati = 3rd pers. sg. present ud- √ vah: to bear (a weight or burden) , wear (clothes &c )
yaH (nom. sg. m.): [he] who
na: not
ca: and
niSh-kaShaayaH (nom. sg. m.): mfn. free from dirt or impure passions
niSh: ind. out , forth , away & (as a prefix it has the sense , " out of " , " away from " or that of a privative or negative adverb " without " , " destitute of " , " free from ")

paatram (acc. sg.): n. the bowl ; any vessel or receptacle; (met.) a capable or competent person , an adept in , master of (gen.) , any one worthy of or fit for or abounding in (gen. loc. , inf. or comp.)
bibharti = 3rd pers. sg. bhR: to bear , carry , hold
ca: and
guNaiH (inst. st.): m. good qualities, merits, virtues
na: not
ca: and
paatra-bhuutaH (nom. sg. m.): constituting a vessel
paatra: n. bowl, vessel
bhuuta: mfn. become ; (ifc.) being or being like anything , consisting of

liNgam (acc. sg.): n. a mark , spot , sign , token , badge , emblem; any assumed or false badge or mark , guise , disguise
vahan = nom. sg. m. pres. part vah: to carry, to wear
api: though
saH (nom. sg. m.): he
na: not
eva (emphatic)
gRhii (nom. sg. m.): mfn. possessing a house ; m. the master of a house , householder
na: not
bhikShuH (nom. sg. m.): m. a beggar , mendicant , religious mendicant (esp. a Brahman in the fourth aashrama or period of his life , when he subsists entirely on alms) ; a Buddhist mendicant or monk

No comments: