Ja 529 Soṇaka Jātaka - help appreciated!

There are a couple of lines in Ja 529 which I would love to understand but can’t. Help greatly appreciated if anyone could translate them! It would help my research which I hope will help others :slight_smile: The only one I can find is so old and doesn’t seem to help at all to be honest. They are the middle two lines here - I provide two extra before and after for context:

“kapaṇo vatayaṃ bhikkhu, muṇḍo saṅghāṭipāruto.
amātiko apitiko, rukkhamūlasmi jhāyati”.

“imaṃ vākyaṃ nisāmetvā, soṇako etadabravi.
‘na rāja kapaṇo hoti, dhammaṃ kāyena phassayaṃ [ VAR: phusayaṃ (ka.). ].

‘yo ca VAR dhammaṃ niraṃkatvā VAR, adhammamanuvattati.
sa rāja kapaṇo hoti, pāpo pāpaparāyano’”.

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Looks like a lot of people have viewed this post. But so far no opinions! I’d really appreciate even a very rough attempt at translating it :anjal:

So this is the really old translation I found of this:

His parents dead, with shaven head, clad in monk’s robe I see
A wretched Brother in a trance, stretched here beneath this tree. [more like: monk, shaven headed, wrapped in the upper robe, motherless, fatherless, doing jhāna at the foot of a tree.]

On hearing this said Sonaka, “He is no wretched wight
Who in his every action, Sire, has aye attained to right.

252Nay rather wretched those who right neglect and practise ill,
For evil doer evil doom is destined to fulfil.”

I am really interested in the middle part. Anyone fancy a go at those two middle lines? :sunny::anjal::sunny:

So I have made a version I think seems ok. What do you guys think?

“Wretched indeed is this monk, bald and dressed in a stitched-together robe, motherless, fatherless, practicing jhāna under a tree.”

Having listened to these words, Soṇaka said:
“No King, not wretched, is he who touches the dhamma with the (/his) body.
Whoever neglects the dhamma, follows the adhamma (the ‘false’, ‘evil practice’) -
He, King, is wretched, is wicked, is aiming towards wickedness.”

Yes, that seems fine, congratulations!

I’d render the middle verses a little less literally. It’s an idiom meaning “has direct meditative experience of the teaching”.

For dhamma/adhamma in the last verse, perhaps “good principles/bad principles”.

Thank you @sujato! :slight_smile:

Yes, I realise that. However in this case, I am trying my best to refrain from translating it based on assumptions around that. Rather, I am translating it more literally, and thus preserving the possibility in the Pāli of it being linguistically literal or idiomatic. Translating it in this way, in my opinion leaves both possibilities open.

I am doing this because I am researching that very assumption. And I decided to do that so that I could explore how well that theory about the idiom holds up to analysis.

So far, it seems to me that these references to the body are deliberate, and are related to specifically affective experience.

In that regard, I am curious about vedana. I have not taken the vedana angle of this enquiry very far yet. If you have any pointers about vedana in jhāna or in the moment of stream entry or other direct experiences to truth, I would be very grateful to hear them!

And, I am assuming that vedana are experienced in connection to the body (as sensation), even regarding affect which is not generated by input from the 5 senses, such as for example the mental creation of mettā, or pīti. Is that the case? At least in modern psychology (I’m a psychotherapist - we have a cool form of Buddhist Psychotherapy here in England!), we talk about affect experienced bodily (in that the body, or experience of being embodied, feels different with different affects) in terms of sensory affect, but also emotional affect (which I believe would also include mettā and pīti, though different people do classify emotions differently and have different ideas about what states are emotions and what states are not, but from the perspective of affective neuroscience (which I have more faith in than speculation-based psychology) I assume this to be the case). There is a bodily-sensation aspect of the emotion. And I am assuming that at least that aspect of the emotion is vedana, is that right? Not sure whether mettā and pīti are technically defined as (or being associated with) vedana though… ?