Wednesday, May 4, 2011

SAUNDARANANDA 9.35: Negation of Ego

ahaM mam ety eva ca rakta-cetasaH
shariira-saMjNe tava yaH kalau grahaH
tam utsRj' aivaM yadi shaamyataa bhaved
bhayaM hy ahaM c' eti mam eti c' aarchati

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With your mind tainted by "I" and "mine,"

You are latching onto the strife called a body.

Let go of that, if peace is to come about,

For "I" and "mine" usher in danger.

EHJ's original Sanskrit text has rakta-cetasaaM shariira-saMjNaa, whereas EHJ suspects that the correct reading might be rakta-cetasaH shariira-saMjnaH. EHJ notes further that the paper manuscript also allows for shariira-saMjne.

LC opted for rakta-cetasaH shariira-saMjNe, and I have followed this reading.

Noting that the readings of this verse are doubtful, EHJ opines that the general sense is nonetheless clear. EHJ probably thought the general sense was clear on the basis that negation of "I" and "mine" is generally typical among followers of religions and other group activities. As per the gospel of David Brent, "there is no I in team."

A counter-reflection is that no individual human being has ever started a tribal or sectarian war; whereas one solitary human being, by the name of Gautama, abandonned his ascetic companions and, Sitting there, mind made up, as unmovingly stable as the king of mountains,/ Overcame the grim army of Mara, and awoke to the step which is happy, irremovable, and irreducible.// [3.7]

That step, as I understand it, has to do with a certain integrity.

For a start it is the integrity of practising what one preaches. In the news today we hear that the means whereby America gained its end of bringing Osama Bin Laden to justice was not perfect. But the basic fact remains that America's leaders vowed they would get Bin Laden sooner or later, and they got him. In marked contrast, British security services in the 1990s, it seems, were very soft-headed in letting the enemies of freedom come and go as they pleased in the name of freedom.

The individual human integrity that the Buddha preached and practised might be related to what a teacher of mine described as "an overall sense of the self within the gravitational field." It is within this gravitational field that there exists up and down, inside and outside, my neck, my head, my back, my limbs, and I who wishes the whole lot to expand as breath comes in and to continue expanding as the breath goes out.

Sometimes a certain soft-headed tendency causes some of us to be slow in asserting that what belongs to me is mine, because we are so busy striving to be right, noble, unselfish, et cetera. Mindful of the precept not to kill living beings, we hesitate to kill the snake.

Behind the Buddhist striver's every mistake there might be one fundamental error -- trying to be buddha and shying soft-headedly away from being me.

In 5.48, in contrast, the Buddha who did not need to try to be buddha uses the expression may" oktam (mayaa + uktam) "spoken by me."

EH Johnston:
Sinful delusion about the body that 'it is I, it is mine', obsesses your passion-ridden thoughts ; cast off its stranglehold. If you were to act thus, tranquillity would be yours ; for one incurs danger by thinking 'this is I' or 'this is mine.'

Linda Covill:
With 'I' and 'mine' you, passionate-minded, are holding on to a faulty conception of the body. Let go of it, if peace is to come about, for 'I' is dangerous, and 'mine' is calamitous.

aham (nom. sg. m.): I
mama (gen. sg.): my
iti: "...," thus
eva: (emphatic)
ca: and
rakta-cetasaH (gen. sg. m.): tainted mind
rakta: mfn. coloured ; reddened , red ; excited , affected with passion or love , impassioned , enamoured
cetas: n. mind

shariira-saMjNe (loc. sg. m.): called "body"
shariira: n. body
saMjNa = ifc. for saMjNaa: f. consciousness , clear knowledge or understanding or notion or conception ; a name , appellation , title , technical term (ifc. = " called , named ")
tava (gen. sg.): your, of you
yaH (nom. sg. m.): that
kalau = loc. sg. kali: m. N. of the die or side of a die marked with one dot , the losing die ; symbolical expression for the number 1; strife , discord , quarrel , contention
grahaH (nom. sg. m.): mfn. seizing , laying hold of , holding ; m. insisting upon , tenacity , perseverance in (loc.)

tam (acc. sg. m.): that
utsRja = 2nd pers. sg. imperative ud- √sRj: to let loose , let off or go
evam: ind. thus , in this way , in such a manner ; (sometimes evam is merely an expletive)
yadi: if
shaamya-taa (nom. sg.): f. peace, reconciliation
bhavet = 3rd pers. sg. opt. bhuu: to be, occur, happen

bhayam (acc. sg.): n. terror , dismay , danger , peril
hi: for
aham (nom. sg.): I
ca: and
iti: "...,"
mama (gen. sg.): mind
iti: "...,"
ca: and
aarchati = 3rd pers. sg. aa- √R: to bring near

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