Wednesday, October 26, 2011

SAUNDARANANDA 18.30: Not Thirsting

abhyucchrito dravya-madena pūrvam
adyāsi tṛṣṇoparamāt samṛddhaḥ /
yāvat satarṣaḥ puruṣo hi loke
tāvat samṛddho 'pi sadā daridraḥ // 18.30 //

= = - = / = - - / = - = = // = = - = / = - - / = - = =
= = - = / = - - / = - = = // = = - = / = - - / = - = =
Upajāti (Indravajrā)

You used to be noticeably crazy for possessions;

Today, because you have stopped thirsting, you are rich.

For as long as a man in the world thirsts,

However rich he may be, he is always deprived.

Being a work in progress (or regress), I can't claim that thirsting has finally stopped in me, but on a good day I do in practice at least stop thirsting.

To translate only one verse of Sanskrit per day is a practice undertaken with the express intention to stop thirsting.

In sitting-dhyāna, as Aśvaghoṣa describes it in Canto 17, to stop thirsting does not belong to any of the four stages of sitting-meditation. Nanda does not stop thirsting during his practice and experience of the first, second, third or fourth dhyānas. Rather, he stops thirsting BEFORE he enters the first dhyāna, hence:

In order to go entirely beyond the sphere of desire, he overpowered those enemies that grab the heel, / So that he attained, because of practice, the fruit of not returning, and stood as if at the gateway to the citadel of nirvāṇa.//17.41// Distanced from desires and tainted things, containing ideas and containing thoughts, / Born of solitude and possessed of joy and ease, is the first stage of meditation, which he then entered. //17.42//

The kind of practice Aśvaghoṣa describes earlier in Canto 17 for readying of consciousness (17.5) -- for example, sitting with legs fully crossed (17.3) contemplating impermanence, suffering, and absence of any separate self, in order to shake the tree of the afflictions (17.17) -- tends to be eschewed in Zen, where the approach to giving up thirsting tends to be more direct, i.e.: Just sit!

Directness, it seems to me, is sometimes the truth itself. And directness, equally, is sometimes end-gaining itself, thirsting itself.

There are many levels of thirsting, and many kinds of deprivation, none of which rightly belong in the life of a devotee of sitting-dhyāna. The secret to stopping them all might be contained in the ultimate teaching of the Buddha on the night before he died, namely alpecchu-saṁtuṣṭaḥ, 少欲-知足, SHOYOKU-CHISOKU, having small desire and being quite content.

EH Johnston:
Formerly exalted by the pride of wealth, you are rich to-day by the cessation of desire ; for as long as a man in the world cherishes desire, so long is he always poor, however wealthy he be.

Linda Covill:
Previously you stood out for your pride in your possessions, but today, because your thirst has stopped, you have fabulous wealth; for even a moneyed man is poor in the world as long as he thirsts.

abhyucchritaH (nom. sg. m.): mfn. raised aloft , elevated ; prominent ; excellent through (instr.)
dravya-madena (instr. sg.): ardent passion for objects of possession
dravya: n. substance, thing ; fit object or person; object of possession , wealth , goods , money
mada: m. hilarity , rapture , excitement , inspiration , intoxication ; ardent passion for (comp.)
puurvam: ind. previously

adya: today
asi: you are
tRShNaa: f. thirst
uparama: m. cessation , stopping , expiration ; leaving off , desisting , giving up ; death
upa- √ ram: to cease from motion , stop ; to cease from action , be inactive or quiet (as a quietist); to pause , stop (speaking or doing anything) ; to leave off , desist , give up , renounce (with abl.) ; to cause to cease or stop
samRddhaH (nom. sg. m.): mfn. accomplished , succeeded , fulfilled , perfect , very successful or prosperous or flourishing ; fully furnished or abundantly endowed with (instr. abl. , or comp.) ; rich , wealthy
Rddha: mfn. increased , thriving , prosperous , abundant , wealthy

yaavat: ind. (correlative of taavat): as long
sa-tarShaH (nom. sg. m.): mfn. having thirst , thirsty
puruShaH (nom. sg.): m. a man
hi: for
loke (loc. sg.): in the world

taavat: ind. so long
samRddhaH (nom. sg. m.): rich, wealthy
api: even
sadaa: ind. always , ever , every time , continually
daridraH (nom. sg. m.): poor, needy, deprived

No comments: