Sunday, February 13, 2011

SAUNDARANANDA 8.18: Who's Been Woken by Who?

sharaNe sa-bhujaMgame svapan
pratibuddhena pareNa bodhitaH
taruNaH khalu jaata-vibhramaH
svayam ugraM bhuja-gam jighRkShati

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

Truly, in a shelter where slithers a snake,

A sleeping boy, woken by an elder who is awake,

Has become agitated

And is about to grab the horrible reptile himself.

What person described in Saundara-nanda thus far can be described, truly, as awake?

I would venture that there is only one person, as described in Canto 3:

With his golden arms fully expanded and as if in a yoke, / With lengthened eyes, and bull-like gait, // He came to a fig tree, growing up from the earth, / With the will to awakening that belongs to the supreme method of investigation.// Sitting there, mind made up, / As unmovingly stable as the king of mountains, // He overcame the grim army of Mara / And awoke to the step which is happy, irremovable, and irreducible.// [3.6 - 3.7]

Nanda's own process of awakening is described in Canto 17.

Then, unsheathing a sword that the limbs of awakening had honed, / Standing in the supreme chariot of true motivation, // With an army containing the elephants of the branches of the path, / He gradually penetrated the ranks of the afflictions. //

Again, with the seven elephants of the limbs of awakening / He crushed the seven dormant tendencies of the mind, // Like Time, when their destruction is due, / Crushing the seven continents by means of the seven planets. //

And it is on the basis of Nanda's own awakening, as described in Canto 17, that Nanda salutes the fully awakened one:

I salute the great supremely compassionate seer, / Bowing my head to him, the knower of types, the knower of hearts, // The fully awakened one, the holder of ten powers, the best of healers, /The deliverer: again, I bow to him.//

Nanda at this stage of the story, then, here in Canto 8, is not yet awake. And at no point in the story does Nanda look back and say "I salute the striver, knower of types, knower of hearts, the fully awakened one..."

In the Buddha's teaching awakening also is a metaphor. Like the metaphor of the way, the metaphor of awakening is so fundamental that it is liable, as a metaphor, to be overlooked.

Awakening is a metaphor for what?

As one who strives unconsciously, I do not know. To the extent that I have been freed by wise elders from the tendency to strive unconsciously, I think that the metaphor of awakening might have to do with consciously not striving.

For the above reasons, then, I again do not buy the striver's metaphor.

EH Johnston:
Verily a boy, sleeping in a house with a snake in it and roused by a wakeful elder, in his excitement wishes to lay hold of the fierce snake himself!

Linda Covill:
Here is a lad sleeping in a shelter with a snake, who, when woken by a mindful elder, is filled with confusion and tries to grab the fierce snake himself!

sharaNe (loc. sg.): n. shelter , place of shelter or refuge or rest , hut , house , habitation
sa-bhujaMgame (loc. sg. n.): containing a snake
sa: (possessive prefix) with
bhujaMgama: m. (fr. bhujam ind. p. of √bhuj, to bend + gama) a serpent , snake
svapan = nom. sg. m. 3rd pers. sg. pres. part svap: to sleep

pratibuddhena (inst. sg.): mfn. awakened , awake ; one who has attained to perfect knowledge ; illuminated , enlightened
pareNa (inst. sg.): m. another (different from one's self); mfn. better or worse than , superior or inferior to
bodhitaH = nom. sg. m. past. part. causative budh: to wake up , arouse ; to cause to observe or attend , admonish , advise

taruNaH (nom. sg.): m. a youth
khalu: ind. (as a particle of asseveration) indeed , verily , certainly , truly
jaata-vibhramaH (nom. sg. m.): unsteady, agitated, confused
jaata: mfn. born ; happened , become
vibhrama: m. moving to and fro , rolling or whirling about , restlessness , unsteadiness ; hurry , rapture , agitation , disturbance , perturbation , confusion , flurry
svayam: ind. of or by one's self spontaneously , voluntarily , of one's own accord (also used emphatically)
ugram (acc. sg. m.): powerful , violent , mighty , impetuous , strong , huge , formidable , terrible ; cruel , fierce , ferocious , savage ; angry , passionate , wrathful
bhuja-gam (acc. sg.): m. (fr. bhuja + ga) " going in curves " , a snake , serpent
jighRkShati = 3rd pers. sg. desid. grah: to be about to seize or take

No comments: