Nirodha - Imprisonment, confinement, suppression, destruction




yogas_citta_vrtti_nirodhah
This is the second sutra of the Yoga Sutras, and is usually translated as something along the lines of,
“Yoga is the suppression of the activities of the mind.”

This is the definition of nirodha in Sanskrit:
nirodha
ni-° rodha [p= 554,1] [L=109427]
confinement , locking up , imprisonment (-tas Mn. viii , 375)

Cat.

Var. Ka1v. &c

Mn. MBh. &c

dram.) disappointment , frustration of hope Das3ar.

Buddh. ) suppression or annihilation of pain (one of the 4 principles) Lalit. MWB. 43 , 56 , 137 &c

partic. process to which minerals (esp. quicksilver) are subjected Cat.

= ni-graha) L.

W.

of a man Lalit.
(H3) m.
[L=109428]investment , siege
[L=109429]enclosing , covering up
[L=109430]restraint , check , control , suppression , destruction
[L=109431](in
[L=109432](with
[L=109433]a
[L=109434]hurting , injuring (
[L=109435]aversion , disfavour , dislike
[L=109436]N.





nirudh, hold back, stop

nirodha 2 keep away, ward off






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David Brazier sets forth a remarkably different translation of nirodha:


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Ron Kurtz, who developed Hakomi,
writes:
(link to ronkurtz.com)

August 03, 2003

Nirodha
Yoga is the containment [nirodha] of the modifications of the mind.
—Patanjali (Yoga Sutras)

The third noble truth is Nirodha. This word means to confine. ‘Rodha’ originally meant an earth bank. ‘Ni’ means down. The image is of being down behind a sheltering bank of earth or of putting a bank around something so as to both confine and protect it. Here again we are talking about the art of containing a fire.
—David Brazier (The Feeling Buddha)

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
—Robert Frost

In Patanjali's second sutra, the one I've quoted above, nirohda is often translated as inhibition rather than containment. Some of the words the Thesaurus coughs up when the prompt is inhibition are: coercion, force, compulsion, pressure, restraint, repression. The sense of all of that is too severe. The word contain, on the other hand, gets us: hold, accommodate, receive, embody, carry. That’s much more the sense of Patanjali’s nirodha. The basic idea is protection. Inhibition sounds much more like oppression. How many times has oppression been proffered as protection. Nevertheless, containment involves at least some inhibition. A gentler kind perhaps.

Back in the 60’s, my friend Philo Farnsworth, III once took me to visit his famous father. (He was famous for the invention which made television possible and was included in a set of stamps of famous inventors, along with Marconi and Edison and a few others.) Philo's father and I talked (he talked, I listened) about a lot of things. One of them was cancer. Although his field was physics, he thought a lot about cancer and he had a theory about it. His idea was that cells became cancer cells at some given rate due to random fluctuations and mutations. This was normal and unavoidable. The body, just as naturally, had mechanisms for finding these cells and destroying them. This goes on continuously, like an lawnmowers continuously keeping the grass cut. Problems come, he thought, when the lawnmower slows down or the grass grows too fast. It was just a rough idea at the time. For him, it was fun to think about.

Of the four noble truths spoken by Buddha, the first says that some affliction is unavoidable and the second, that we will have reactions to affliction when it happens. The third, nirodha, is that, for freedom’s sake and peace, when these reactions occur, practice containment. (The fourth truth is about how you do that.) For me, the message is this: affliction is a part of life, you cannot escape it without escaping life. Cancer, Farnsworth was saying, is a part of life. You can’t kill something like that without killing life itself. He was saying that the natural thing is to contain it. Life is full of things we need to contain. Balance is another good word. Like keeping our body temperature from going too far this way or that, by doing something to balance the inevitable changes in the weather.

I bring this example up because there's something real and basic about it. It’s a reflection of our models of life and living in this world. Our fundamental stance , our way of being in the world, is tied to these simple ideas. The usual approach to cancer, drugs, surgery and radiation, in it’s imagery of destruction and war, in its goal of the total destruction of all cancer is just one expression of the denial of affliction, and therefore misses the truth of containment.

Buddhism and Yoga are spiritual disciplines, practices with the aim of having life altering experiences such as seeing God in everyone and everything, experiences of peace, love and understanding. Buddha said that upon awakening, he understood everything. These experiences, he told us, come about through containing the passions that arise in reaction to the inevitable pain and loss that afflict all sentient beings. Its okay to love, to feel joy, just train yourself to be ready, to hold yourself together, to contain yourself when the inevitable changes come. Train yourself!

For Buddha, the middle way was the right path. The drawing back from extremes. Balanced between fire and ice. A moderate temperature and a moderate life. The passions, it would seem, require containment. Well, look at all the horrors that flow from the uncontained. Hate ,for instance, or greed. Are these reactions to affliction? I think so. How else do such things quicken, but through pain? After years of practice, after long hours of watching and containing the passions and the images, memories and thoughts that feed the fire, after that comes understanding, freedom and peace.

As a psychotherapist, one of my tasks is to help people learn how to contain without repression, how to express without extremes. I help people bring painful thoughts and memories into awareness and these often evoke very strong emotions. I help people hold onto these emotions long enough to understand them, without letting the emotions completely hijack their minds and bodies. Healing starts with honesty and acceptance and the process needs patience and strength. The wound itself tells us what is needed. So, we give it time to speak and more importantly, we listen.

For me, containment is the heart of the healing relationship. Clients learn to handle their suffering without running from it or being overwhelmed by it. Through that they gain understanding and the freedom to change. For the client who is repressed, some way to express that offers relief. For the client who is out of control, a way to calm down. The method, like the eight-fold way, is a path to peace. It starts with whatever is real right now and passes safely through whatever comes to release and understanding. Helping with that is more than just skill, more than expertise and objectivity. It is that yes, but something more... I would call it friendship.... as a friend might hold us, when a great hurt sweeps through our hearts and minds.... and hold us as we gather the strength to go on, arms around us. Banked earth, fire kept safe from wind.

A PDF version of this can be found at
http://www.ronkurtz.com/writing/nirodha.pdf


Controversy Over Nirodha


" . . .
each of the 185 aphorisms of Patanjali is exactly that – an aphorism which has a depth of meaning far beyond its shortness of length. An interpretation then has two stages. The first is a translation from Sanksrit to a contemporary language. That this is not simple is proved by the fact that translators through the ages differ substantially on the nuances of each aphorism. For example, one of the first aphorisms is “chitta vritti nirodhah”. The following examples of translation by different authors show well how difficult it has been to arrive at a definitive version:

• Yoga is the ability to direct and focus mental activity
- B Bouanchaud, The Essence of Yoga
• Yoga is the ability to direct the mind exclusively toward an object and sustain that direction without any distractions
- Patanjali's Yogasutras, translated by TKV Desikachar
• Yoga is the restriction of the fluctuations of consciousness
- Yoga-Sutra of Patanjali, in pages 288-310 of Georg Feuerstein, The Yoga Tradition
• Yoga is the suppression of the modifications of the mind
- Swami Hariharananda Aranya, Yoga Philosophy of Patanjali (translated by P.N. Mukerji)
• Yoga is the restraint of mental modifications
- Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan and Charles A. Moore (eds.), A Sourcebook in Indian Philosophy, pages 453-485
• The restraint of the modifications of the mind-stuff is yoga
-
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, translation and commentary by Sri Swami Satchidananda
• Yoga is the inhibition of the modifications of the mind
- IK Taimni, The Science of Yoga
It is thus clear that there is no real consensus. But what is perhaps more important than arguing over the exactness of the translation is to clarify what the aphorisms mean. The
yoga-sutra is first and foremost a practical handbook. So it stands to reason that the only way to be able to understand an aphorism is, firstly, to practice yoga oneself. Till then, no amount of scholarly commentaries, including this one, will make full and complete sense. 
Ashish Nangia
April 18, 2004




Found at

http://www.angelfire.com/electronic/awakening101/absorption.html

BUDDHIST MEDITATION:
Stages of Mindfulness and Aborsption

One way traces the etymology to "ni" (without) + "rodha" (prison, confine, obstacle, wall, impediment), thus rendering the meaning as "without impediment," "free of confinement." This is explained as "free of impediments, that is, the confinement of Samsara." Another definition traces the origin to anuppada, meaning "not arising", and goes on to say "Nirodha here does not mean bhanga, breaking up and dissolution."

Therefore, translating Nirodha as "cessation", although not entirely wrong, is nevertheless not entirely accurate. On the other hand, there is no other word which comes so close to the essential meaning as "cessation." However, we should understand what is meant by the term. In this context, the Dependent Origination cycle in its cessation mode might be better rendered as "being free of ignorance, there is freedom from volitional impulses ..." or "when ignorance is gone, volitional impulses are gone ..." or "when ignorance ceases to give fruit, volitional impulses cease to give fruit ..." or "when ignorance is no longer a problem, volitional impulses are no longer a problem."




NIRODHA

Ni (without) + rodha (prison, confine, obstacle, wall, impediment): without impediment, free of confinement

The word Nirodha has been translated as "cessation" for so long that it has become standard practice, and any deviation from it leads to queries. For the most part this standard translation is for the sake of convenience as well as to avoid confusing it for other Pali terms (apart from lack of a better word). In fact, however, this rendering of the word "Nirodha" as "ceased" can in many instances be a mis-rendering of the text.

Generally speaking, the word "cease" means to do away with something which has already arisen, or the stopping of something which has already begun. However, Nirodha in the teaching of Dependent Origination (as also in dukkhanirodha, the third of the Four Noble Truths) means the non-arising, or non-existence, of something because the cause of its arising is done away with. For example, the phrase "when avijja is Nirodha, sankhara are also Nirodha," which is usually taken to mean "with the cessation of ignorance, volitional impulses cease," in fact means "when there is no ignorance, or no arising of ignorance, or when there is no longer any problem with ignorance, there are no volitional impulses, volitional impulses do not arise, or there is no longer any problem with volitional impulses." It does not mean that ignorance already arisen must be done away with before the volitional impulses which have already arisen will also be done away with.

Where Nirodha should be rendered as cessation is when it is used in reference to the natural way of things, or the nature of compounded things. In this sense it is a synonym for the words bhanga, breaking up, anicca, transient, khaya, cessation or vaya, decay. For example, in the Pali it is given: imam kho bhikkhave tisso vedana anicca sankhata paticcasamuppanna khayadhamma vayadhamma viragadhamma nirodhadhamma: "Monks, these three kinds of feeling are naturally impermanent, compounded, dependently arisen, transient, subject to decay, dissolution, fading and cessation."[S.IV.214] (All of the factors occurring in the Dependent Origination cycle have the same nature.) In this instance, the meaning is "all conditioned things (sankhara), having arisen, must inevitably decay and fade according to supporting factors." There is no need to try to stop them, they cease of themselves. Here the intention is to describe a natural condition which, in terms of practice, simply means "that which arises can be done away with."

As for Nirodha in the third Noble Truth (or the Dependent Origination cycle in cessation mode), although it also describes a natural process, its emphasis is on practical considerations. It is translated in two ways in the Visuddi Magga. One way traces the etymology to "ni" (without) + "rodha" (prison, confine, obstacle, wall, impediment), thus rendering the meaning as "without impediment," "free of confinement." This is explained as "free of impediments, that is, the confinement of Samsara." Another definition traces the origin to anuppada, meaning "not arising", and goes on to say "Nirodha here does not mean bhanga, breaking up and dissolution."

Therefore, translating Nirodha as "cessation", although not entirely wrong, is nevertheless not entirely accurate. On the other hand, there is no other word which comes so close to the essential meaning as "cessation." However, we should understand what is meant by the term. In this context, the Dependent Origination cycle in its cessation mode might be better rendered as "being free of ignorance, there is freedom from volitional impulses ..." or "when ignorance is gone, volitional impulses are gone ..." or "when ignorance ceases to give fruit, volitional impulses cease to give fruit ..." or "when ignorance is no longer a problem, volitional impulses are no longer a problem."

Additionally, on NIRODHA, the following is presented:

There is a sanskrit word NIRODHA discribed usually as cessation that carries with it a more indepth meaning. In the index of the Visuddi Magga, for example, there are over twenty-five references that need to be read in context in order to cull out a fuller more concise meaning. Briefly, like Deep Samadhi, it is a very, very high degree non-meditative meditative state. During Nirodha there is no time squence whether a couple hours pass or seven days, as the immediate moment preceding and immediately following seem as though in rapid succession, start and finish compressed wafer thin. During, heartbeat and metabolism continue to slow and practically cease, sometimes continuing below the threshold of preception at a risidual level. Previosly stored body energy that would typically be consumed in a couple of hours if not replenished can last days with very little need for renewal. The Visuddhi Magga cites several instances where villagers came across a bhikkhu in such a state and built a funeral pyre for him, even to the point of lighting it. During low-level residual states the body temperature drops well below the 98.6 degree point. If suddenly jarred to consciousness body metabolism is slower to regain it's normal temperature, and inturn, that is recorded by the quicker to return cognative senses as "being cold."




and at Dhamma Study

http://www.dhammastudy.com/q&a16.html


nirodha: "ni" (without) + "rodha" (prison, confine, obstacle, wall, impediment)





hdayavirodha
hṛ́daya--virodha [L=263806]
oppression of the heart Car.
(H3) m.