The Elephant (象)

I will bear criticism like an elephant in battle bears an arrow from a bow. Most people are bad behaviour. (<span lang="ja">戦場の象が、射られた矢にあたっても堪え忍ぶように、われらはひとのそしりを忍ぼう。多くの人は実に性質(たち)が悪いからである。</span>)

One can take a trained elephant even into a crowd. The king himself will ride a trained elephant. He who is disciplined is the best of men, since he can bear criticism. (<span lang="ja">馴らされた象は、戦場にも連れて行かれ、王の乗りものとなる。世のそしりを忍び、自らをおさめた者は、人々の中にあっても最上の者である。</span>)

Trained mules are excellent, and so are thoroughbred horses from the Sindh, and so are great battle elephants, but more excellent than them all is a disciplined man. (<span lang="ja">馴らされた騾馬は良い。インダス河のほとりの血統よき馬も良い。クンジャラという名の大きな象も良い。しかし自己をととのえた人はそれらよりもすぐれている。</span>)

There is no reaching the unattainable with mounts like these, but with himself well under control a disciplined man can get there. (<span lang="ja">何となれば、これらの乗物によっては未到の地(ニルヴァーナ)に行くことはできない。そこへは、慎しみある人が、おのれ自らをよくととのえておもむく。</span>)

Dhammapalo, the elephant, is hard to control in rut. Even when tied up, he refuses his food. The great tusker is thinking of the elephant forest. (<span lang="ja">「財を守る者」という名の象は、発情期にこめかみから液汁をしたたらせて強暴になっているときは、いかんとも制し難い。捕らえられると、一口の食物も食べない。象は象の林を慕っている。</span>)

Then a man is a lie-abed and over-eats, a lazy person who wallows in sleep like a great over-fed hog, a fool like that will be reborn time after time. (<span lang="ja">大食いをして、眠りをこのみ、ころげまわって寝て、まどろんでいる愚鈍な人は、大きな豚のように糧を食べて肥り、くりかえし母胎に入って(迷いの生存をつづける)。</span>)

My mind used formerly to go off wandering wherever it felt like, following its own inclination, but today I shall control it carefully, like a mahout does a rutting elephant. (<span lang="ja">この心は、以前には、望むがままに、欲するがままに、快きがままに、さすらっていた。今やわたくしはその心をすっかり抑制しよう、___象使いが鉤をもって、発情期に狂う象を全くおさえつけるように。</span>)

Take pleasure in being careful. Guard your mind well. Extricate yourself from the mire, like a great tusker sunk in the mud. (<span lang="ja">つとめはげむのを楽しめ。おのれの心を護れ。自己を難処から救い出せ。___泥沼に落ち込んだ象のように。</span>)

If you find an intelligent companion, a wise and well-behaved person going the same way as yourself, then go along with him, overcoming all dangers, pleased at heart and mindful. (<span lang="ja">もしも思慮深く聡明でまじめな生活をしている人を伴侶として共に歩むことができるならば、あらゆる危険困難に打ち克って、こころ喜び、念いをおちつけて、ともに歩め。</span>)

But if you do not find an intelligent companion, a wise and well-behaved person going the same way as yourself, then go on your way alone, like a king abandoning a conquered kingdom, or like a great elephant in the deep forest. (<span lang="ja">しかし、もしも思慮深く聡明でまじめな生活をしている人を伴侶として共に歩むことができないならば、国を捨てた国王のように、また林の中の象のように、ひとり歩め。</span>)

It is better to travel alone. There is no companionship with a fool. Go on your way alone and commit no evil, without cares like a great elephant in the deep forest. (<span lang="ja">愚かな者を道伴れとするな。独りで行くほうがよい。孤独(ひとり)で歩め。悪いことをするな。求めるところは少なくあれ。___林の中にいる象のように。</span>)

It is good to have companions when occasion arises, and it is good to be contented with whatever comes. Merit is good at the close of life, and the elimination of all suffering is good. (<span lang="ja">事がおこったときに、友だちのあるのは楽しい。(大きかろうとも、小さかろうとも)、どんなことにでも満足するのは楽しい。善いことをしておけば、命の終るときに楽しい。(悪いことをしなかったので)、あらゆる苦しみ(の報い)を除くことは楽しい。</span>)

Good is filial devotion to one's mother in the world, and devotion to one's father is good. It is good to be a sanyasi in the world and to be a brahmin too. (<span lang="ja">世に母を敬うことは楽しい。また父を敬うことは楽しい。世に修行者を敬うことは楽しい。世にバラモンを敬うことは楽しい。</span>)

Good is good behaviour up to old age, good is firmly established faith, good is the acquisition of understanding, and abstention from evil is good. (<span lang="ja">老いた日に至るまで戒しめをたもつことは楽しい。信仰が確立していることは楽しい。明らかな知慧を体得することは楽しい。もろもろの悪事をなさないことは楽しい。</span>)

English translation by John Richards. Japanese translation by <span lang="ja">中村元</span> (NAKAMURA Hajime)

Laughter amidst the Stillness

One of the reasons why I enjoy buddhism so much is the occasional (and sometimes even frequent) making fun of being too serious:


A typical 俳諧の連歌 consisting of a 5, 7, 5 metre by Matsuo Bashō (松尾 芭蕉).

This could be translated as such:

Now then, lets go out
to enjoy the snow... until
I slip and fall!

On god and gods

Therefore, God and the gods are only convenient means—themselves of the
nature of the world of names and form, though eloquent of, and
ultimately conducive to, the ineffable. They are mere symbols to move
and awaken the mind, and to call it past themselves. This recognition of
the secondary nature of the personality of whatever deity is worshiped
is characteristic of most of the traditions of the world. In
Christianity, Mohammedanism, and Judaism, however, the personality of
the divinity is taught to be final—which makes it comparatively
difficult for the members of these communions to understand how one may
go beyond the limitations of their own anthropomorphic divinity. The
result has been, on the one hand, a general obfuscation of the symbols,
and on the other, a god-ridden bigotry such as is unmatched elsewhere in
the history of religion. For a discussion of the possible origin of this
aberration, see Sigmund Freud, Moses and Monotheism (translated by James
Strachey; Standard Edn. XXIII, 1964).

Joseph Campbell, The Hero With a Thousand Faces, Fontana Press, 1993; pg. 258

On the topic of 'mondou'

In Zen buddhism we are often in contact with the mondous (read as mondo, with a long ending o). A mondou is a Japanese word standing for a dialogue, or rather a rapid-fire question and answer session, that tries to push the student closer to enlightenment (nirvana, <span lang="ja">涅槃</span> - nehan). Mondou in kanji is <span lang="ja">問答</span> (<span lang="ja">もんどう</span>). One can easily see mon (<span lang="ja">問</span>) from problem/question and kotae (<span lang="ja">答</span>), read in this case as dou, which is solution/answer.

Coriolis winds blowing over Dune....

I reread Frank Herbert's Dune recently. Things are so much clearer once you know more about Islam and the Qu'ran and some of the rituals there as well as Zen Buddhism and other topics such as Christianity and the Kaballah.

Magnificent book to be honest, he manages to drag you into the story and totally washes over you with a imaginary, yet possible future of mankind.

Dune Messiah is a most bizarre follow-up tale. Hard to describe what you read in those meager 200 pages, but they nonetheless make a tremendous impact. Amazing, just amazing.

The Butlerian Jihad was quite an interesting read by Brian Herbert, Frank's son, to learn about the events that lead to the extermination of the thinking machines, the rise of the sorceresses, the Tleilaxu, Zensunnis and Zenshi'ites.