Saturday, September 17, 2011

SAUNDARANANDA 11.54: Pleasure & Pain, Happiness & Suffering

sukham utpadyate yac ca divi kaamaan upaashnataam /
yac ca duHkhaM nipatataaM duHkham eva vishiShyate //

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

Of the pleasure that arises

From enjoyment of loves in heaven

And the pain of falling,

The pain, assuredly, is greater.

The point might be that rather than pleasure (sukha) from enjoyment of loves, which invariably carries with it the pain (duHkha) of ultimate separation, a better way is a way that leads to the great happiness (mahaa-sukha) which is free of suffering (duHkha-hiina).

This also seems to be the point of the Four Immeasurables, which are attributed to Vasubandhu.

Not with complete confidence have I yet been able to transcribe Raji Ramanan's Sanskrit recitation of the Four Immeasurables, posted here on youtube (with an unreliable transcription and a translation into Spanish). The original Sanskrit seems to read something like this:

sarve sattvaaH sukhaish c' aiva yuktaaH su-sukha-karaNair

bhavantu satataM muktaaH duHkhaish ca duHkha-karaNaiH

kadaa 'pi vaNcitaa n' aasur duHkha-hiina-mahaa-sukhaat

duuraa-duura-dvesha-raagaa mukt'-opekShaa-sthitaa hi tu

"May all beings be subject to happiness and to the causes of true happiness,

Being constantly free of suffering and the causes of suffering,

Never straying from the great happiness in which suffering is absent,

But abiding in an indifference far removed from hatred and passion."

If anybody can help confirm the original Sanskrit, by pointing to an original source, or by means of some informed negative feedback, it would be appreciated.

The Four Immeasurables as I read them are more than the idealistic expression of a goody-goody religious wish: they point to a concrete means-whereby, which might be, in the main, self-regulation through sitting.

That being so, the Four Immeasurables -- like today's verse -- can be read as teaching around sukha and duHkha that is really quite close to the original teaching of the Buddha.

In any event, from Raji Ramanan's recitation, one gets a sense of the kind of rhythm to use in reading aloud Asvhagosha's verse, with heavy syllables being assigned due weight.

EH Johnston:
Of the pleasure they experience from sensuous enjoyment in heaven and the suffering from their fall, the suffering is far the greater.

Linda Covill:
They experience happiness when they savor pleasures in heaven, and suffering when they fall, but it is suffering which predominates.

sukham (nom. sg.): n. suffering
utpadyate = 3rd pers. sg. ut- √ pad: to arise , rise , originate , be born or produced ; to come forth , become visible , appear ; to take place
yat (nom. sg. n.): which
ca: and
yac ca-yac ca , " both - and "

divi (loc. sg.): heaven
kaamaan (acc. pl.): m. desires, objects of desire, sensual pleasures; love , especially sexual love or sensuality
upaashnataam = gen. pl. m. upa- √aś: to eat , taste , enjoy

to throw off , throw or cast down upon , throw under

yat (nom. sg. n.): that
ca: and
dukham (nom. sg.): n. suffering, sorrow
nipatataam = gen. pl. m. ni- √ pat: to fly down, fall down

duHkham (nom. sg.): n. suffering, sorrow
eva: (emphatic)
vishiShyate = 3rd pers. sg. vi- √ śiṣ: to be pre-eminent , excel , be better than (abl. or instr.) or best among ; to surpass , excel


Anonymous said...

Maitri, karuna, mudita and upekka.

Anonymous said...

Mike, the human nervous system is
far too complex for a balance between cholinergic and adrenergic
inputs to be a significant
representation of some process
like " enlightenment ". Not only is
this nonsense, but it makes one
question the mental status of the
originator. Perhaps it was meant as
a comical metaphor.