taaH niHsRtaaH prekShya van'-aantarebhyas
taDit-pataakaa iva toya-debhyaH
nandasya raageNa tanur vivepe
jale cale candramasaH prabh" eva
= = - = = - - = - = =
- = - = = - - = - = =
= = - = = - - = - = =
- = - = = - - = - = -
When he saw them emerging from their forest niches
Like ribbons of lightning from rainclouds,
Nanda's body trembled with passion
Like moonlight on rippling water.
What Ashvaghosha is describing in the previous verse, this verse, and the following verse, as I read them, is a process of bond formation.
All molecules, my son who is a chemist tells me, are always trembling. And in order for two molecules to form a bond between them, the trembling of each molecule has to be such that a bond can form, releasing heat in the process, allowing energy to spread out and settle down.
Thus when sunlight is concentrated by a magnifying glass onto dry paper, for example, the heat of the sun causes carbon molecules in the paper and oxygen molecules in the air to tremble more rapidly, such that CO2 bonds are able to form, releasing heat in the process and allowing energy to spread out.
Whether or not something similar happens when a person forms an emotional bond, or an attachment, I don't know. But it seems that way to me: falling in love, with another person, or with an idea, or with a way, seems initially to involve a state of heightened energy, or more rapid trembling, which is followed once a bond has been formed by a settling down.
In any event, Ashvaghosha's vision of heaven continues to unfold as one in which universal laws apply.
Christians are taught to pray that it will be on earth as they believe it to be in heaven: "Thy will be done," they pray to a Hebrew god, "on earth as it is in heaven."
In the thoughts of buddha-ancestors, on the contrary, visions of heaven are subordinate to realities observed down here on earth: laws that are observed to apply down here on earth are assumed also to apply in any heaven that might exist. And foremost among such universal laws is the law that energy spreads out, unless prevented from doing so, i.e., the 2nd law of thermodynamics, which might also be called the Buddha's law, the law of impermanence -- according to which the formation of molecules of carbon and oxygen into CO2 is not the end of the story. The C02, for example, might later on be photo-synthesized by a tree that is growing.
I'll tell you something for nothing. I am really glad my sons have chosen to take their chance as scientists, steering well clear of the religious route which is so full of arrogance, fixity, and hypocrisy, and in short trying to be right.
I got an email yesterday from somebody who agrees with me that Gudo Nishijima's teaching on posture in Zazen was wrong, but fortunately for her Master Deshimaru was correct in his teaching. And Alexander technique is helping her to refine further her sitting position. Oh really? Well good for her then. She was right already, and now Alexander technique is making her even more right.
In contrast to such a dismal piece of correspondence, when I googled "photosynthesis" I found this little image which cheered me right up:
Not for nothing did Ashvaghosha compare the Buddha so often to the sun, whose light and heat is so conducive to the making and breaking of bonds.
As Nanda saw them come out from the forest like lightning banners from a cloud, his body trembled with passion like moonlight trembling on rippling water.
Watching them emerge from the forest interiors like lightning unfurled from clouds, Nanda's body shivered with passion like moonlight reflected in rippling water.
taaH (acc. pl. f.): them
niHsRtaaH (acc. pl. f.): mfn. gone out or forth (with abl. ); prominent (eyes)
niH- √ sR: to go out , come forth
prekShya = abs. pra- √iikSh: to look at , view , behold , observe
van'-aantarebhyaH (abl. pl.): from openings in the undergrowth; from inside the woods
vana: n. a forest , wood , grove , thicket , quantity of lotuses or other plants growing in a thick cluster
antara: n. interior, inside; hole, opening
taDit-pataakaaH (acc. pl. f.): banners of lightning
taDit: f. lightning
pataakaa: f. (fr. √pat, to fly) a flag , pennon , banner , sign , emblem
toya-debhyaH = abl. pl. toya-da: m. " water-giver " , a rain-cloud
nandasya (gen. sg.): m. Nanda
raageNa (inst. sg.): m. red taint; any feeling or passion , (esp.) love
tanuH (nom. sg.): f. the body , person , self
vivepe = 3rd pers. sg. perfect vip: to tremble , shake , shiver , vibrate , quiver , be stirred
jale (loc. sg.): n. water
cale (loc. sg. n.): mfn. moving , trembling ; fluctuating
candra-masaH (gen. sg.): m. the moon
prabhaa: f. light