Monday, April 4, 2011

SAUNDARANANDA 9.5: The Conceit of a Denouncer of Conceit

balaM ca ruupaM ca navaM ca yauvanaM
tath" aavagacchaami yath" aavagacchasi
ahaM tv idam te trayam avyavasthitaM
yath" aavabuddho na tath" aavabudhyase

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

"Your strength and looks and fresh youth

I recognize as you do;

But that these three are impermanent

You do not realise as I do.

The essence of what the striver is saying here is either the ultimate truth or the ultimate delusion, depending on who it is that is saying "I am enlightened; I am the one who knows" (aham avabuddhaH).

The proof of the pudding is in the eating. And in terms of having the desired effect on Nanda, the striver's pudding continues to be found wanting. So what the striver is expressing here, as I hear him, is not the truth but rather his own delusion, born of wishful thinking.

Yesterday I wrote that the striver's desire and the Buddha's desire were the same desire: the desire for peace, quietness, tranquillity: shaanti. But the view I expressed yesterday might not be true except on the most superficial level.

What the striver really wants, deep down, is what every Buddhist striver wants: he wants to be Buddha, desires to be Buddha, tries to be Buddha, strives to be Buddha.

The true practice of true yoga begins with the decision not to go directly for the gaining of a desired end. Without that decision, the desire to gain the desired end energizes a striver's habitual way of going about things -- the many tentacled monster of misuse -- in which case the only way that can be followed is the striver's old way, not a better way.

This decision not to go directly for the end in view -- whether the end in view be the moving of a leg, or the side of a swimming pool, or the attainment of buddhahood, or the act of rising from a chair -- is the essence of the third noble truth, nirodha-satya, the truth of cessation. There is nothing else, no sword or scalpel, that can cut out the root of trying, of striving, of wrong doing.

This principle I have understood from 30 years of the yoga of sitting in lotus and from 17 years in Alexander work.

Is there anybody else who realizes it as I do?


Ashvagosha's striver is still, after all these years, a clear mirror in which a striver can see himself.

EH Johnston:
' I am aware, as you are aware, of your strength, beauty and young manhood, but you do not understand, as I understand, these three to be transitory.

Linda Covill:
"I am aware, just as you are aware, of your bodily strength, beauty and fresh youth; but I understand, as you do not, that these three are impermanent.

balam (acc. sg.): n. strength
ca: and
ruupam (acc. sg.): n. good looks
ca: and
navam (acc. sg. n.): mfn. new , fresh , recent , young
ca: and
yauvanam (acc. sg.): n. (fr. yuvan) youth , youthfulness , adolescence , puberty , manhood

tathaa: ind. so
avagacchaami = 1st pers. sg. ava- √ gam: to understand, to recognize
yathaa: ind. as
avagacchasi = 2nd pers. sg. ava- √ gam: to understand

aham (nom. sg. m.): I
tu: but
idam (acc. sg. n.): this
te (gen. sg. m.): your
trayam (acc. sg.): n. threesome, triad, set of three
avyavasthitam (acc. sg. n.): mfn. unsettled, uncertain
vy-avasthita: mfn. mfn. placed in order ; settled , established , fixed ; constant , unchanging
avasthita: mfn. standing near ; placed ; having its place or abode

yathaa: ind. as
avabudhye = 1st pers. sg. ava- √ budh: to become sensible or aware of , perceive , know
na: not
tathaa: ind. so
avabuddhaH = nom. sg. m. past passive part. ava- √ budh: to become sensible or aware of , perceive , know

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