Friday, November 25, 2011

SAUNDARANANDA 18.60: What the Buddha Foresaw -- a Woman Walking the Walking of Dispassion

tvayi parama-dhṛtau niviṣṭa-tattve
bhavana-gatā na hi raṃsyate dhruvaṃ sā /
manasi śama-damātmake vivikte
matir-iva kāma-sukhaiḥ parīkṣakasya // 18.60 //

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For, with you showing constancy of the highest order,
as you get to the bottom of what is,

She surely will not enjoy life in the palace,

Just as the mind of an enlightened man
does not enjoy sensual pleasures

When his mental state is tranquil and controlled,
and his thinking is detached, distinct, separate."

In my inelegant endeavour to capture the meaning of today's verse, I have translated manasi twice (mental state, thinking) and vivikte three times (detached, distinct, separate).

Today's verse as I read it contains a kind of meditation by the Buddha, in his final words in Saundara-nanda, on the meaning of separation (vivikte), which can be the essence of suffering, and the essence of a solitary sitter's enlightenment.

So the love story between Nanda and Sundarī is not a fairy story that ends, once Nanda has slain dragons and crossed moats, with the two of them re-united and living together happily ever after. On the contrary, the story ends with the Buddha foreseeing that Sundarī, following Nanda's example, may opt herself for the higher-order happiness of solitude and detachment -- separation without stress.

Getting to the bottom of what is (niviṣṭa-tattve) might be akin to water that is totally transparent, in which fishes are swimming like fishes.

Understood like that, both constancy of the highest order (parama-dhṛtau) and getting to the bottom of what is (niviṣṭa-tattve), are expressions of nothing but the lifeblood, which is sitting-dhyāna.

Being an enlightened man (or woman -- though parīkṣakasya is masculine), that is to say, a person who is truly looking all around, having abandoned all views, might be an expression of nothing but the lifeblood, which is sitting-dhyāna.

And being in a mental state of tranquillity, composure, and separated thinking (manasi śama-damātmake vivikte) might also be an expression of nothing but the lifeblood, which is sitting-dhyāna.

EH Johnston:
For certainly since you are filled with supreme steadfastness and have entered into reality, she will find no pleasure in the palace, just as the intelligence of the enlightened man, whose mind is discriminating and characterised by tranquillity and self-restraint, finds none in the pleasure of love.'

Linda Covill:
Since your firmness is paramount and you have penetrated the real nature of things, she will certainly not enjoy being in the palace -- just as when the mind of a careful examiner is discerning, tranquil and subdued in its nature, his thoughts find no enjoyment in sensuality."

tvayi (loc. sg.): you
parama-dhRtau (loc. sg.): firmness of the highest order
parama: chief , highest , primary, best
dhRti: f. firmness , constancy , resolution ,
niviShTa-tattve (loc. sg.): penetrating reality
niviShTa: mfn. settled down , come to rest; entered , penetrated into
ni- √ viś: to enter or penetrate into (acc. or loc.) ; to alight , descend ; to come to rest , settle down or in a home ; to encamp ; to sit down upon. ; to resort to (acc.) ; to settle , take a wife ; to be founded (said of a town) ; to be fixed or intent on (loc. , said of the mind) ; to sink down , cease , disappear , vanish
tattva: n. true or real state , truth , reality

bhavana-gataa (nom. sg. f.): being in the palace
bhavana: n. a place of abode , mansion , home , house , palace
gata: mfn. being in, contained in
na: not
hi: for
raMsyate = 3rd pers. sg. future ram: to stop , stay ; to delight ; to enjoy one's self
dhruvam: ind. surely, certainly
saa (nom. sg. f.): she

manasi (loc. sg.): n. mind (in its widest sense as applied to all the mental powers) , intellect , intelligence , understanding , perception , sense , conscience , will
shama-dam'-aatmake (loc. sg.): being tranquil and tamed in nature
shama: m. tranquillity , calmness , rest , equanimity
dama: mfn. ifc. " taming , subduing "; m. taming; self-command , self-restraint , self-control
aatmaka: mfn. having or consisting of the nature or character of (in comp.)
vivikte (loc. sg.): mfn. separated , kept apart , distinguished , discriminated ; isolated , alone , solitary; discriminative , judicious ;

matiH (nom. sg.): f. the mind , perception , understanding , intelligence , sense , judgement
iva: like
kaama-sukhaiH (inst. pl.):
kaama: m. desire; love , affection , object of desire or of love or of pleasure ; pleasure , enjoyment ; love , especially sexual love or sensuality
sukha: n. ease , easiness , comfort , prosperity , pleasure , happiness
pariikShakasya = gen. sg. pariikShaka: m. a prover , examiner , judge
pariikSh: to look round , inspect carefully , try , examine , find out , observe , perceive

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