Saturday, May 28, 2011

SAUNDARANANDA 10.7: Being There & Roving Around

shaant'-endriye tatra munau sthite tu
sa-vismayaM dikShu dadarsha nandaH
dariish ca kuNjaaMsh ca vanaukasash ca
vibhuuShaNaM rakShaNam eva c' aadreH

= = - = = - - = - = -
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While the Sage, sense-power stilled,
remained there standing,

Nanda looked all around in amazement

At the caverns and bowers and forest-dwellers

That were the mountain's jewels and its guardians.

For the next six verses, while the Buddha remains in the state of being there (tatra), Nanda's eye is caught by a miscellancy of forest-dwelling beings -- peacock, lion, tiger, yak, bronzed mountain-men, and surpassingly lovely kimnaris -- before finally his eye alights on a troop of monkeys. This troop happens to contain the one-eyed female monkey who is so essential to the plot of Handsome Nanda.

So is this part akin to a shaggy dog story, or do this verse and the next six verses have anything to do in their own right with the one great matter, which is sitting?

In comparing the state in sitting-meditation to the sea, buddha-ancestors have pointed to the sea as a unity of two worlds. On the surface there is invariably disturbance in the form of small ripples or big waves. But, so they say, the deeper you go the stiller it gets.

In that light, line 1 of today's verse might be the key to understanding the deeper meaning of not only this verse but also the next six verses. tatra, as discussed in relation to the final verse of Canto 3, suggests being there, in the moment. And sthite means abiding in any state or condition -- remaining standing, for example, on the base formed by the heels and balls of one's feet; or, for another example, on the base formed by one's sitting bones and knees.

In the joyful first stage of sitting-meditation, as described by Ashvaghosha in Canto 17, something is thus remaining there standing and something is roving. And the joyful first stage of sitting-meditation has to be like this. If it is not allowed to be like this, if the two are not allowed to be, then there is no joyful first stage of sitting-meditation, but only grim striving to be Buddha.

Maybe because it is an individual matter, Ashvaghosha doesn't mention how many minutes, weeks, or years Nanda spends enjoying the first stage of sitting-meditation, before he finds fault with it and decides not to sit like that any more.

Incidentally, the European Cup Final is on TV tonight -- Manchester United vs Barcelona. Looking forward to that. I wonder if Ryan Giggs will be starting...

EH Johnston:
While the Sage stood there with unstirred senses, Nanda looked round him in amaze at the rifts and glades and forest-dwellers, the ornaments and protectors respectively of the mountain.

Linda Covill:
But, while the sage stood there with his senses quiet, Nanda's gaze flitted every which way in astonishment at the caves and bowers that embellished the mountain, and at the hermits who guarded it.

shaant'-endriye (loc. sg. [abs.]): with the power of his senses rendered ineffective
shaanta: mfn. (fr. √sham) appeased , pacified , tranquil , calm , free from passions , undisturbed ; abated , subsided , ceased , stopped , extinguished; rendered ineffective , innoxious , harmless (said of weapons)
√sham: to toil ; to become tired , finish , stop , come to an end , rest , be quiet or calm or satisfied or contented
indriya: power of the senses
tatra: ind. there
munau (loc. sg. [abs.]): m. the sage
sthite (loc. sg. [abs.]): mfn. standing ; being or remaining or keeping in any state or condition

sa-vismayam: ind. having astonishment , surprised , perplexed , doubtful
dikShu (loc. pl.): f. quarter , region , direction , place , part
dadarsha = 3rd pers. sg. perfect dRsh: to see, behold
nandaH (nom. sg.): m. Nanda

dariiH (acc. pl.): f. a hole in the ground , cave
dRR: to burst , break asunder , split open
ca: and
kuNjaan (acc. pl.): m. a place overrun with plants or overgrown with creepers , bower , arbour
kuNc: to make crooked ; to bend or curve , move crookedly; Caus. to curl , crisp , frounce
ca: and
vanaukasaH (acc. pl.): m. a forest-dweller ; m. a forest-animal , (esp.) a wild boar ; m. an ape
ca: and

vibhuuShaNam (acc. sg.): n. the act of adorning, decorating ; decoration , ornament; n. splendour , beauty
vi- √ bhuuSh: to adorn, decorate
rakShaNam (acc. sg.): n. the act of guarding , watching , protecting
eva: (emphatic)
ca: and
aadreH (gen. sg.): m. a stone , a rock , a mountain

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