etaany aadau nimittaani cyutau svargaad divaukasaaM /
an-iShTaan' iiva martyaanaam ariShTaani mumuurShataaM //11.53//
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These are the first signs
Of the imminent fall from heaven of the sky-dwellers,
Like the unwelcome but sure signs
Of the approaching death of those subject to dying.
At first glance, the adjective ariShTaani in line 4 seems to describe the signs in question (nimittani) as "boding misfortune" or "ominous." Understood like that, lines 3 and 4 are expressing a less than cheery prognosis for mortal human beings.
But another meaning of ariShTaani is "being proof against injury or damage," "secure," or "safe." Understood like that, the hidden intention of lines 3 and 4 might not be so pessimistic. On the contrary, the intention might be to affirm the possibility of all of us realizing the deathless, through the preventive merit of negative feedback.
The practical point, as I see it, is that when our sitting fails to be graced by enjoyment, that can be a very useful sign that we are somehow going in the wrong direction, straying from the path to the deathless.
So today's verse as I read it relates to the possibility of making the deathless nectar one's own -- a possibility that Nanda himself realizes, as described in Canto 17.
Negative feedback is the principle upon which a thermostat functions to prevent a central heating system from creating too much heat. It is a truly excellent principle, a preventive principle.
Is Theravada Buddhism the original teaching of the Buddha?
No, it is not that.
Is Zen Buddhism the original teaching of the Buddha?
No, it is not that.
Is Ashvaghosha's teaching the original teaching of the Buddha?
Maybe we can all agree that it is really quite close!
These are the signs at first of the approaching fall from Paradise of the dwellers therein, like those ominous symptoms which herald the death of mortals.
These are signs of the imminent fall of the sky-dwellers from heaven, like the unwanted and ominous signs of mortals approaching death.
etaani (nom. pl. n.): these
aadau: ind. in the beginning , at first
nimittaani (nom. pl.): n. a butt , mark , target; sign , omen
cyutau = loc. sg. cyuti: f. " banishment "; falling down; fall from any divine existence (so as to be re-born as a man)
svargaat (abl. sg.): m. heaven
divaukasaam = gen. pl. divaukas: m. " sky-dweller " , a deity
an-iShTaani (nom. pl. n.): mfn. unwished , undesirable ,
martyaanaam = gen. pl. martya: mfn. who or what must die , mortal ; m. a mortal , man , person
ariShTaani (nom. pl. n.): mfn. unhurt ; proof against injury or damage ; secure , safe; mfn. boding misfortune (as birds of ill omen , &c ) ; fatal , disastrous (as a house)
riShTa: mfn. torn off , broken , injured ; mfn. hurt , injured wounded ; failed, miscarried ; n. misfortune , calamity ; n. a bad omen ; n. good luck , fortune
mumuuRshataam = gen. pl. m. pres. part. desid. mR: to wish or be about to die , face death