The Pearl Buys Itself

^z 25th January 2023 at 6:42am

In Sharon Salzberg's book Lovingkindness - The Revolutionary Art of Happiness the epigraph at the beginning of Chapter 3 ("Facets of Lovingkindness") is attributed to the Sufi mystic poet Rumi:

A pearl goes up for auction.
No one has enough,
So the pearl buys itself.

So strange and resonant! But where is the source of that translation? A version in Mystical Poems of Rumi gives a 1968 rendering by A. J. Arberry, the less-resonant: "The pearl held auction, saying, 'Who will buy this?' None had the price, so the pearl bought itself from itself." Perhaps someone, uncredited, revised that?

^z - 2015-07-22