sa tasmin kānane ramye jajvāla strī-puraḥsaraḥ |
ākrīḍa iva vibhrāje vivasvān-apsaro-vtaḥ || 4.28
In that delightful forest,
Attended by the women, he shone
Like Vivasvat, the Shining Sun,
in the Vibhrāja pleasure grove,
Surrounded by apsarases.
This verse can be read as falsifying a general notion that we are all prone to have about Buddhist enlightenment, and the kind of effort that might be necessary in order to realize it.
What today's verse is reminding us, as I read it, is that the prince shone like the sun even before he embarked on the solitary life of a homeless mendicant.
Today's verse, then, is another one that relates to the distinction the Buddha draws in Saundara-nanda Canto 16 between pra-vṛtti, goal-oriented striving, doing, and ni-vṛtti, turning back, non-doing.
In Dogen's words:
EKO HENSHO NO TAIHO O GAKU SUBESHI.
One should learn the backward step of turning light and letting it shine.
SHINJIN JINNEN NI DATSURAKU SHI TE,
Body and mind spontaneously/naturally drop off,
HONRAI NO MENMOKU GENZEN SEN.
and one's original features emerge.
The point to be clear about is that the Buddha did not become enlightened via ascetic practice. Rather, he shone like the sun before he embarked on ascetic practice. Then he blotted out his own light through ascetic practice. Then, when he abandoned the view of asceticism (and contented himself just to sit ), he re-discovered the light that he had been blotting out.
"When an investigation comes to be made it will be found that every single thing we do in the work is exactly what is done in Nature, where the conditions are right, the difference being that we are learning to do it consciously."
sa (nom. sg. m.): he
tasmin (loc. sg. n.): that
kānane (loc. sg.): n. (said to be fr. √kan, to be pleased) a forest , grove
ramye (loc. sg. n.): mfn. to be enjoyed , enjoyable , pleasing , delightful , beautiful
jajvāla = 3rd pers. sg. perf. jval: to burn brightly , blaze , glow , shine
strī-puraḥsaraḥ (nom. sg. m.): attended by the women
strī: f. woman
puraḥ-sara: ifc. attended or preceded by , connected with
ākrīḍe (loc. sg.): mn. a playing-place , pleasure-grove , garden
vibhrāje = vaibhrāje (loc. sg.): m. N. of a celestial grove; of a lake in that grove
vi- √ bhrāj: to shine forth , be bright or radiant
vivasvān (nom. sg.): m. " the Brilliant one " , N. of the Sun
vi-vasvat: mfn. shining forth , diffusing light
apsaro-vṛtaḥ (nom. sg. m.): surrounded by celestial nymphs