Sunday, April 10, 2011


shariiram aamaad api mRn-mayaad ghaTaad
idaM tu niHsaaratamaM mataM mama
ciraM hi tiShThed vidhi-vad dhRto ghaTaH
samucchrayo' yaM su-dhRto' pi bhidyate

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

But even more fragile than an unbaked earthen pot,

In my opinion, is this body;

For a pot that is kept properly might last a long time

Whereas this accretion crumbles
even if maintained well.

What is more useful: a glass of water, or a bowl of rice?

It is the kind of question designed to stimulate the sort of verbose discussion that the Buddha cautioned against with almost his dying breath.

What is more powerful: a diamond or a butterfly?

What is stronger: an earthen pot or a human body?

It is the kind of question that stimulates one bright spark to posit one opinion, and another bright spark to posit the opposing opinion.

In a recent edition of BBC Radio Four's In Our Time, on the subject of the Bhagavad Gita, a contributor explained that just as it is the dharma of fire to burn and the dharma of water to make things wet, the dharma of a kShatriya is to fight.

In those terms, it occured to me that the dharma of a scholar is to have an opinion, and the dharma of a buddha is to sit -- just to sit, abandoning all opinions. This is the main point of Dogen's Shobogenzo and I think it is also the main point of Saundara-nanda, but the striver fails to get it.

Stop doing the wrong thing and the right thing does itself.

This is not an opinion; it is a realization.

The universal Law is realized, and nothing has ever touched it.

EH Johnston:
But I consider this body to be even more fragile than an unfired clay pot ; for a pot if kept carefully will last a long time whereas this aggregate must break up, however well tended.

Linda Covill:
In my opinion the body is even more fragile than an unbaked earthen pot, since a pot, when carefully maintained, would last for a long time, but this excrescence will break down even when well-maintained.

shariiram (nom. sg.): n. the body
aamaat (abl. sg. m.): unbaked
api: even
mRn-mayaad (abl. sg. m.): made of clay ; earthen
ghaTaat (abl. sg.): m. jar , pitcher , jug , large earthen water-jar

idam (nom. sg. n.): this
tu: but
niHsaaratamam (nom. sg. n.): less substantial, more fragile
niH-: (negative prefix)
saara: mn. the core or pith or solid interior of anything ; firmness, strength; mfn. hard , firm solid strong ; precious , valuable ; good , sound , best , excellent
-tama: (superlative affix)
matam (nom. sg. n.): mfn. thought , believed , imagined , supposed , understood; regarded or considered as , taken or passing for (nom. or adv.); n. a thought , idea , opinion , sentiment , view
mama (gen. sg.): of me

ciram: ind. ind. after a long time , slowly
hi: for
tiShThet = 3rd pers. sg. optative sthaa: to stand; to stay , remain , continue in any condition
vidhi-vat: ind. according to rule ; with method ; in a principled manner
vidhi: m. rule ; method , manner or way of acting
dhRtaH (nom. sg. m.): mfn. held , borne , maintained , supported kept , possessed
ghaTaH (nom. sg.): m. a jar , pitcher , jug , large earthen water-jar ,

samucchrayaH (nom. sg. m.): mfn. who or what rises or grows up ; m. an eminence , hill ; increase, growth
ayam (nom. sg. m.): this
su-dhRtaH (nom. sg. m.): well-maintained
api: even
bhidyate = 3rd pers. sg. passive bhid: to be split or broken , burst

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