Monday, August 8, 2011

SAUNDARANANDA 11.14: Steadfastness in Restraint

ekas tu mama saMdehas
tav' aasyaaM niyame dhRtau
atr' aanunayam icchaami
vaktavyaM yadi manyase

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

But I have one doubt

Concerning this steadfastness of yours in restraint.

I would like assurance on this matter,

If you think fit to tell me.

Ananda's tongue is steadfastly remaining in his cheek.

In regard to Nanda's state of mind, Ananda having come that way himself does not have any doubt.

If Ananda had a doubt about steadfastness in restraint, it might be a doubt about what true steadfastness in restraint is -- because who knows what true steadfastness in restraint is?

The Buddha in 10.63 described it as having to do with attentiveness and readiness.

FM Alexander described it as "the most mental thing there is," and echoed the Buddha by quoting from Shakespeare's Hamlet "the readiness is all."

But FM Alexander never claimed to know what it was; he thought he had barely scratched the surface of the egg. As a virtue that accompanies everyday practice of sitting in lotus, not even the Buddha, so they say, could fathom it.

In his book "Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual" Alexander wrote of avoiding narrow and treacherous sidetracks by taking the great broad midway path. Not bad for a non-Buddha.

To aspire to know what steadfastness in restraint is might be like trying to nail jelly to the wall. How can true steadfastness in restraint be known for sure, as if it were something narrow and unduly restrictive?

What can be known with certainty is what true steadfastness in restraint is NOT, in other words, what being fixed is. And Ananda knows that treacherous sidetrack full well, having come that way himself.

Having come that way himself, Ananda does not doubt what kind of steadfastness in restraint Nanda is exhibiting. Nanda is blatantly exhibiting the steadfastness of a donkey who has tied himself to a tethering post in the expectation of getting a carrot.

Nanda is not yet on the great broad midway path of steadfastness in restraint. And there is no doubt in Ananda's mind about it. Andanda knows that Nanda has veered onto the narrow and treacherous sidetrack of ascetic self-restriction.

EH Johnston:
But I have one doubt with regard to the constancy of your self-control and, if you think fit to tell me, I should like to be reassured about it.

Linda Covill:
But I have one doubt concerning your steadfastness in the rules. If you think you can tell me about it, I would welcome reassurance on this matter.

ekaH (nom. sg. m.): one
tu: but
mama (gen. sg.): of me
saMdehaH (nom. sg.): m. doubt , uncertainty about (gen. loc.)

tava (gen. sg.): your
asyaam (loc. sg. f.): this
niyame (loc. sg.): m. restraining , checking , holding back , preventing , controlling ; limitation , restriction ; any fixed rule or law , necessity , obligation ; vow ;
dhRtau (loc. sg.): f. holding; firmness, constancy, resolution; satisfaction, content, joy

atra: ind. in this matter
anunayam (acc. sg.): m. conciliation , salutation , courtesy , civility; regulation of conduct , discipline , tuition
anu- √nii: to bring near , lead to ; to induce , win over , conciliate , pacify , supplicate.
icchaami = 1st pers. sg. iSh: to desire , wish , long for , request

vaktavyam (acc. sg. m.): mfn. to be spoken or said or uttered or declared , fit to be said or spoken &c
yadi: if
manyase = 2nd pers. sg. man: to think, believe

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