View Full Version : Chapter III. Thought

June 24th, 2008, 01:46 AM


33. As a fletcher makes straight his arrow, a wise man makes straight his trembling and unsteady thought, which is difficult to guard, difficult to hold back.

34. As a fish taken from his watery home and thrown on dry ground, our thought trembles all over in order to escape the dominion of Māra (the tempter).

35. It is good to tame the mind, which is difficult to hold in and flighty, rushing wherever it listeth; a tamed mind brings happiness.

36. Let the wise man guard his thoughts, for they are difficult to perceive, very artful, and they rush wherever they list: thoughts well guarded bring happiness.

37. Those who bridle their mind which travels far, moves about alone, is without a body, and hides in the chamber (of the heart), will be free from the bonds of Māra (the tempter).

38. If a man's thoughts are unsteady, if he does not know the true law, if his peace of mind is troubled, his knowledge will never be perfect.

39. If a man's thoughts are not dissipated, if

[33. Cf. Gātaka, vol. i. p. 400.

34. On Māra, see verses 7 and 8 (http://sacred-texts.com/bud/sbe10/sbe1003.htm#pp_7).

35-39. Cf. Gātaka, vol. i. pp. 312, 400.

39. Fausböll traces anavassuta, 'dissipated,' back to the Sanskrit root syai, 'to become rigid;' but the participle of that root would be sīta, not syuta. Professor Weber suggests that anavassuta stands for the Sanskrit anavasruta, which he translates unbefleckt, 'unspotted.' If avasruta were the right word; it might be taken in the sense of 'not fallen off, not fallen away,' but it could not mean 'unspotted;' cf. dhairyam no 'susruvat, 'our firmness ran away.' I have little doubt, however, that avassuta represents the Sanskrit avasruta, and is derived from the root sru, here used in its technical sense, peculiar to the Buddhist literature, and so well explained by Burnouf in his Appendix XIV (Lotus, p. 820). He shows that, according to Hemakandra and the Gina-alankāra, āsravakshaya, Pāli āsavasamkhaya is counted as the sixth abhigńā, wherever six of these intellectual powers are mentioned, instead of five. The Chinese translate the term in their Own Chinese fashion by 'stillationis finis,' but Burnouf claims for it the definite sense of destruction of faults or vices. He quotes from the Lalita-vistara (Adhyāya XXII, ed. Rājendra Lal Mittra, p. 448) the words uttered by Buddha when he arrived at his complete Buddhahood:--

Sushkā āsravā na punah sravanti,
'The vices are dried up, they will not flow again;'

and he shows that the Pāli Dictionary, the Abhidhānappadīpikā, explains āsava simply by kāma, 'love, pleasure of the senses.' In the Mahāparinibbāna-sutta, three classes of āsava are distinguished, the kāmāsavā, the bhavāsavā, and the aviggāsavā. See also Burnouf, Lotus, p. 665; Childers, s.v. āsavo.

That sru means 'to run,' and is in fact a merely dialectic variety of sru, has been proved by Burnouf, while Boehtlingk thinks the substitution of s for s is a mistake. Āsrava therefore, or āsrava, meant originally 'the running out towards objects of the senses' (cf. sanga, ālara, &c.), and had nothing to do with āsrāva, 'a running, a sore,' Atharva-veda I, 2, 4. This conception of the original purport of ā + sru or ava-sru is confirmed by a statement of Colebrooke's, who, when treating of the Gainas, writes (Miscellaneous Essays, I, 382); 'Āsrava is that which directs the embodied spirit (āsravayati purusham) towards external objects. It is the occupation and employment (vritti or pravritti) of the senses or organs on sensible objects. Through the means of the senses it, affects the embodied spirit with the sentiment of taction, colour, smell, and taste. Or it is the association or connection of body with right and wrong deeds. It comprises all the karmas, for they (āsravayanti) pervade, influence, and attend the doer, following him or attaching to him. It is a misdirection (mithyā-pravritti) of the organs, for it is vain, a cause of disappointment, rendering the organs of sense and sensible objects subservient to fruition. Samvara is that which stops (samvrinoti) the course of the foregoing, or closes up the door or passage to it, and consists in self-command or restraint of organs internal and external, embracing all means of self-control and subjection of the senses, calming and subduing them.'

For a full account of the āsravas, see Lalita-vistara, ed. Calc. pp. 445 and 552, where Kshīnāsrava is given as a name of Buddha. Āsrāva occurs in Āpastamba's Dharma-sūtras II, 5, 9, where the commentator explains it by objects of the senses, by which the soul is made to run out. It is better, however, to take āsrāva here, too, as the act of running out, the affections, appetites, passions.] his mind is not perplexed, if he has ceased to think of good or evil, then there is no fear for him while he is watchful.

40. Knowing that this body is (fragile) like a jar, and making this thought firm like a fortress, one should attack Māra (the tempter) with the weapon of knowledge, one should watch him when conquered, and should never rest.

41. Before long, alas! this body will lie on the earth, despised, without understanding, like a useless log.

42. Whatever a hater may do to a hater, or

[40. Anivesana has no doubt a technical meaning, and may signify, one who has left his house, his family and friends, to become a monk. A monk shall not return to his home, but travel about; he shall be anivesana, 'homeless,' anāgāra, 'houseless.' But I doubt whether this can be the meaning of anivesana here, as the sentence, let him be an anchorite, would come in too abruptly. I translate it therefore in a more general sense, let him not return or turn away from the battle, let him watch Māra, even after he is vanquished, let him keep up a constant fight against the adversary, without being attached to anything or anybody.] an enemy to an enemy, a wrongly-directed mind will do us greater mischief.

43. Not a mother, not a father will do so much, nor any other relative; a well-directed mind will do us greater service.

[43. See Beal, Dhammapada, p. 73.]