Tuesday, March 1, 2011

SAUNDARANANDA 8.34: Women as the Root of Evil

kula-jaaH kRpaNii-bhavanti yad
yad ayuktaM pracaranti saahasaM
pravishanti ca yac camuu-mukhaM
rabhasaas tatra nimittam aNganaaH

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When men of good families fall on hard times,

When they rashly do unfitting deeds,

When they recklessly enter the vanguard of an army,

Women in those instances are the cause.

The striver seems to see women as the root of evil whereas in the Buddha's original teaching, as I understand it, the root of all evil is in just our own doing of evil.

True confidence in the Buddha's teaching on cause and effect informs a person's heart: it is not realised by a striver who only listens to the teaching with his ear while continuing to play the blame game.

And so, as the standard for and embodiment of the not doing of any evil, the Buddha practised and the Buddha taught just sitting in full lotus with sitting bones on a round cushion and knees on a mat on the ground.

The "just" of "just sitting" might express the cessation of wrong inner patterns that are tied up with unreliable feeling and inauspicious ideas; in other words, it might express the stopping of energy leaks or outflows (aasrava ; see 16.3). If this cessation, or this stopping, is the primary task for a man who follows the Buddha's teaching, then chasing women might be an unnecessary distraction from it -- a kind of outflow or leakage of energy -- but so might blaming women be.

EH Johnston:
Women are the cause that men of good family become impoverished, that they rashly do ill deeds and that they furiously charge into hostile armies.

Linda Covill:
When nobly-born men become destitute, when they behave improperly and rashly, when they recklessly place themselves in the forefront of an army -- it is because of women.

kula-jaaH (nom. pl. m.): mfn. born in a noble family , well-born , of good breed
kula: n. a family; a noble or eminent family or race
kRpaNii-bhavanti = 3rd pers. pl. present kRpaNii-bhuu: to become poor
kRpaNa: mfn. poor , wretched , feeble ; low; miserly, stingy ; m. a poor man , a scraper, a niggard
bhuu: (compounded to nouns, which change from -a to -ii endings) to become
yad: that

yad: that
ayuktam (acc. sg. n.): mfn. ( √ yuj) not yoked ; not attentive , not devout ; not suited , unfit , unsuitable ; not dexterous , silly
pracaranti = 3rd pers. pl. pra- √ car: to proceed , behave , act in peculiar manner
saahasam (acc. sg. n.): mfn. (fr. sahas, powerful) over-hasty , precipitate , rash , inconsiderate , foolhardy

pravishanti = 3rd pers. pl. pra- √ vish: to enter , go into ; undertake
ca: and
yad: that
camuu-mukham (acc. sg.): the vanguard of an army , the front line
camuu: f. an army or division of an army (129 elephants , as many cars , 2187 horse , and 3645 foot)
mukha: n. the mouth , face ; a direction , quarter (esp. ifc); the mouth or spout of a vessel ; the fore part , front , van (of an army)

rabhasaaH (nom. pl. m.): mfn. impetuous , violent , rapid , fierce , wild
tatra: ind. therein
nimittam (nom. sg.): n. cause
aNganaaH (nom. pl.): f. " a woman with well-rounded limbs " , any woman or female

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