Tuesday, April 21, 2015

BUDDHACARITA 14.68: Six Senses Arise Depending on Psycho-Physicality (5→4)



[No Sanskrit text]

Tibetan:
| de nas skye mched drug gis ni | | skye ba mkhyen phyir blo gros mdzad |
| de nas de’i rgyu mid daṅ gzugs | | rgyu la mkhas pas mkhyen pa’o | 


skye mched drug: six senses (六入)
skye mched: sense bases ()
drug: six ()

skye ba: produce
mkhyen: knowing, seeing
blo gros: understand

rgyu: cause
mid dang gzugs: name and form (名色)
ming: name ()
gzugs: form ().

rgyu: cause
mkhas pa: skillful, wise
mkhyen: knowing, seeing

EHJ's translation from the Tibetan:
68. Further he made up his mind to understand the origin of the six organs of sense. Thereon the knower of causes knew the cause to be name-and-form.

Revised:
68. Further he made up his mind to understand the origin of six senses. Thereon the knower of causes knew the cause to be psycho-physicality.

Chinese:
六入名色起
The six entrances are caused by name and thing, (SB)
The six sense faculties originate from name-and-form, (CW)


COMMENT:
My understanding of what the bodhisattva observed in today's verse is that “six senses” is a divisive concept. And the origin of that division is in separation of body and mind.
The fact to be faced is that the human self was robbed of much of its inheritance when the separation implied by the conception of the organism as 'spirit,' 'mind' and 'body' was accepted as a working principle, for it left unbridged the gap between the 'subconscious' and the conscious. I venture to assert that if the gap is to be bridged, it will be by means of a knowledge, gained through practical experience, which will enable us to inhibit our instinctive, 'subconscious' reaction to a given stimulus, and to hold it inhibited while initiating a conscious direction, guidance, and control of the use of the self that was previously unfamiliar. 
I suggest that only those who become capable of translating into practice what is involved in the procedure just described can justly claim to have experienced detachment in the basic sense.

-- F. M. Alexander, The Universal Constant in Living, 1946

What Alexander is talking about here, when he talks about translating the principles of inhibition and direction into practice, is just an act of knowing. And insofar as it is an act of sitting in lotus, it might be just the act of knowing to which Nāgārjuna refers in MMK26.11:

punar-bhavāya saṁskārān avidyā-nivṛtas tridhā |
abhisaṁskurute yāṁs tair gatiṁ gacchati karmabhiḥ ||MMK26.1||
vijñānaṁ saṁniviśate saṁskāra-pratyayaṁ gatau |
saṁniviṣṭe 'tha vijñāne nāma-rūpaṁ niṣicyate ||2||
niṣikte nāma-rūpe tu ṣaḍāyatana-saṁbhavaḥ |
ṣaḍāyatanam āgamya saṁsparśaḥ saṁpravartate ||3||
cakṣuḥ pratītya rūpaṁ ca samanvāhāram eva ca |
nāma-rūpaṁ pratītyaivaṁ vijñānaṁ saṁpravartate ||4||
saṁnipātas trayāṇāṁ yo rūpa-vijñāna-cakṣuṣām |
sparśaḥ saḥ tasmāt sparśāc ca vedanā saṁpravartate ||5||
vedanā-pratyayā tṛṣṇā vedanārthaṁ hi tṛṣyate |
tṛṣyamāṇa upādānam upādatte catur-vidham ||6||
upādāne sati bhava upādātuḥ pravartate |
syād dhi yady anupādāno mucyeta na bhaved bhavaḥ ||7||
pañca skandhāḥ sa ca bhavaḥ bhavāj jātiḥ pravartate |
jarā-maraṇa-duḥkhādi śokāḥ sa-paridevanāḥ ||8||
daurmanasyam upāyāsā jāter etat pravartate |
kevalasyaivam etasya duḥkha-skandhasya saṁbhavaḥ ||9||
saṁsāra-mūlaṁ saṁskārān avidvān saṁskaroty ataḥ |
avidvān kārakas tasmān na vidvāṁs tattva-darśanāt ||10||
avidyāyāṁ niruddhāyāṁ saṁskārāṇām asaṁbhavaḥ |
avidyāyā nirodhas tu jñānasyāsyaiva bhāvanāt ||11||
tasya tasya nirodhena tat tan nābhipravartate |
duḥkha-skandhaḥ kevalo 'yam evaṁ samyaṅ nirudhyate ||12||
The doings that lead to yet further becoming, the one enclosed in ignorance, in three ways, does do; and by these actions he goes to a sphere of existence. Divided consciousness, with doings as its causal grounds, seeps into the sphere of existence. And so, divided consciousness having seeped in, psycho-physicality is instilled. 
Conversely, once psycho-physicality is instilled, there is the coming about of six senses; six senses having arrived, there occurs contact; and – depending upon an eye, upon physical form, and upon the two being brought together – depending thus upon psycho-physicality, there occurs divided consciousness. 
Combination of the threesome of physical form, consciousness and eye, is contact; and from that contact there occurs feeling. With feeling as its causal grounds, there is thirsting – because the object of feeling is thirsted after. While thirsting is going on, taking hold takes hold in the four ways. While there is taking hold, the becoming arises of the taker – because becoming, if it were free of taking, would be liberated and would not become becoming. The five aggregates, again, are becoming itself. Out of the becoming arises birth. The suffering and suchlike of aging and death; sorrows accompanied by lamentations; dejectedness, troubles: all this arises out of birth. In this way this whole aggregate of suffering comes into being. 
The doings which are the root of saṁsāra thus does the ignorant one do. The ignorant one therefore is the doer; the wise one is not, because of reality realizing. In the destruction of ignorance, there is the non-coming-into-being of doings. The destruction of ignorance, however, is because of the bringing-into-being of just this act of knowing. By the destruction of this one and that one, this one and that one no longer advance. This whole aggregate of suffering in this way is well and truly destroyed.

The act of knowing through which ignorance is destroyed, then, causes to be bridged the gap out of which six senses emerge.

Alexander and Nāgārjuna are saying the same thing, but it is not an easy thing to understand. It is not something that can be understood without translation into practice.

“Psycho-physical integration," my Alexander head of training, the late Ray Evans, used to say,  "is a principle, and a state of being.”




Monday, April 20, 2015

BUDDHACARITA 14.67: Blind Man's Bluff?



[No Sanskrit text]

Tibetan:
| loṅ bas gzugs ni mi rig ciṅ | | mig ni blo yis mi sbyor phyir |
| mig yod gyur na des sbyor te | | de phyir dbaṅ po yod na reg | 

long ba: blind
gzugs: form; body; matter; the atomic; visible form (rūpa)
mi rig: not perceive

mig: eye (cakṣus)
blo yi: of the mind
mi: not
sbyor: connect
phyir: because

mig: eye (cakṣus)
yod: exist
gyur na: if it so happened
des: therefore
sbyor: connect

de phyir: because of that; therefore
dbang po: sense
yod na: if something exists
reg: contact

EHJ's translation from the Tibetan:
67. The blind man does not perceive objects, since his eye does not bring them into junction with his mind; if sight exists, the junction takes place. Therefore there is contact, when the sense-organ exists.

Revised:
67. The blind man does not see physical forms, since his eye does not bring them into junction with consciousness; if sight exists, the junction takes place. Therefore there is contact, when a sense exists.

Chinese:
盲無明覺故
(a man is blind because he cannot see the light) ; (SB) 
because a blind person does not have clear perception. (CW) 


COMMENT:
There is no such thing as a right position, but there is such a thing as a right direction. And it is in that direction that we are groping on this blog.

The four lines of Tibetan verse, and still less the single line of Chinese translation, do not seem today to offer much help in that direction.

What kind of blindness Aśvaghoṣa might have had in mind in today's verse  either on or below the surface  and what kind of seeing, I cannot, by my own blind groping,  be certain.

But intellectual certainty, in any case, was not the kind of knowing to which Nāgārjuna referred when he asserted that ignorance is destroyed jñānasyāsyaiva bhāvanātthrough the bringing-into-being of just this act of knowing.

punar-bhavāya saṁskārān avidyā-nivṛtas tridhā |
abhisaṁskurute yāṁs tair gatiṁ gacchati karmabhiḥ ||MMK26.1||
vijñānaṁ saṁniviśate saṁskāra-pratyayaṁ gatau |
saṁniviṣṭe 'tha vijñāne nāma-rūpaṁ niṣicyate ||2||
niṣikte nāma-rūpe tu ṣaḍāyatana-saṁbhavaḥ |
ṣaḍāyatanam āgamya saṁsparśaḥ saṁpravartate ||3||
cakṣuḥ pratītya rūpaṁ ca samanvāhāram eva ca |
nāma-rūpaṁ pratītyaivaṁ vijñānaṁ saṁpravartate ||4||
saṁnipātas trayāṇāṁ yo rūpa-vijñāna-cakṣuṣām |
sparśaḥ saḥ tasmāt sparśāc ca vedanā saṁpravartate ||5||
vedanā-pratyayā tṛṣṇā vedanārthaṁ hi tṛṣyate |
tṛṣyamāṇa upādānam upādatte catur-vidham ||6||
upādāne sati bhava upādātuḥ pravartate |
syād dhi yady anupādāno mucyeta na bhaved bhavaḥ ||7||
pañca skandhāḥ sa ca bhavaḥ bhavāj jātiḥ pravartate |
jarā-maraṇa-duḥkhādi śokāḥ sa-paridevanāḥ ||8||
daurmanasyam upāyāsā jāter etat pravartate |
kevalasyaivam etasya duḥkha-skandhasya saṁbhavaḥ ||9||
saṁsāra-mūlaṁ saṁskārān avidvān saṁskaroty ataḥ |
avidvān kārakas tasmān na vidvāṁs tattva-darśanāt ||10||
avidyāyāṁ niruddhāyāṁ saṁskārāṇām asaṁbhavaḥ |
avidyāyā nirodhas tu jñānasyāsyaiva bhāvanāt ||11||
tasya tasya nirodhena tat tan nābhipravartate |
duḥkha-skandhaḥ kevalo 'yam evaṁ samyaṅ nirudhyate ||12||
The doings that lead to yet further becoming, the one enclosed in ignorance, in three ways, does do; and by these actions he goes to a sphere of existence. Divided consciousness, with doings as its causal grounds, seeps into the sphere of existence. And so, divided consciousness having seeped in, psycho-physicality is instilled. 
Conversely, once psycho-physicality is instilled, there is the coming about of six senses; six senses having arrived, there occurs contact; and – depending upon an eye, upon physical form, and upon the two being brought together – depending thus upon psycho-physicality, there occurs divided consciousness. 
Combination of the threesome of physical form, consciousness and eye, is contact; and from that contact there occurs feeling. With feeling as its causal grounds, there is thirsting – because the object of feeling is thirsted after. While thirsting is going on, taking hold takes hold in the four ways. While there is taking hold, the becoming arises of the taker – because becoming, if it were free of taking, would be liberated and would not become becoming. The five aggregates, again, are becoming itself. Out of the becoming arises birth. The suffering and suchlike of aging and death; sorrows accompanied by lamentations; dejectedness, troubles: all this arises out of birth. In this way this whole aggregate of suffering comes into being. 
The doings which are the root of saṁsāra thus does the ignorant one do. The ignorant one therefore is the doer; the wise one is not, because of reality realizing. In the destruction of ignorance, there is the non-coming-into-being of doings. The destruction of ignorance, however, is because of the bringing-into-being of just this act of knowing. By the destruction of this one and that one, this one and that one no longer advance. This whole aggregate of suffering in this way is well and truly destroyed.

The right direction, I venture to submit, is towards greater unity and in that sense 
 complexity of reality notwithstanding  greater simplicity. 

This may be why the Heart Sutra of the Accomplishment which is Real Knowing sings of their being no eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, mind (MU-GEN-NI-BI-ZESSHIN-I). 

FM Alexander, who knew a thing or two about what he called "the unity underlying all things," taught a certain use of the head relative to the neck-and-back, and of the head-neck-back to the rest of the body, which he called a "primary control of the use of the self." 

The reason I came back to England twenty years ago was to cultivate just this knowing, having been given a taste of it in Japan. 

In the end, what can I say about it that I haven't already said? 

The best contribution I can make, all things considered, may be to let Aśvaghoṣa and Nāgārjuna do the talking. 








Sunday, April 19, 2015

BUDDHACARITA 14.66: Contact Arises Depending on Six Senses (7→6)



[No Sanskrit text]

Tibetan:
| de nas reg pa rgyu yin źes | | de yis bsams par gyur pa’o |
| de nas skye mched drug gi ni | | rgyu can ñid du des mkhyen te | 


de nas: then
reg pa: contact
rgyu: cause
zhes: [quotation particle]

bsams pa: think

de nas: then
skye mched drug: six sense-spheres

rgyu can: caused by
nyid du: self, same (eva)
mkhyen: knowing, seeing

EHJ's translation from the Tibetan:
66. Next he considered that contact has a cause. Thereon he recognised the cause to lie in the six organs of sense.

Revised:
66. Next he considered that contact has a cause. Thereon he recognised the cause to lie in six senses.

Chinese:
觸從六入生 
sparśa (contact) is born from the six entrances (ayatanas) ; (SB)
Contact is produced by the six sense faculties,


COMMENT:
In the Sanskrit ṣaḍāyatanam, there is nothing to indicate whether the definite article “the” should precede "six senses."

But since the Buddha's teaching seems to be that ṣaḍāyatanam arise from consciousness split six ways, and from divided body and mind, which in turn arise from doings born of ignorance, I am going against convention and refusing to dignify ṣaḍāyatanam with the definite article. In other words, I am translating ṣaḍāyatanam not as the six senses but, more skeptically, as six senses.

punar-bhavāya saṁskārān avidyā-nivṛtas tridhā |
abhisaṁskurute yāṁs tair gatiṁ gacchati karmabhiḥ ||MMK26.1||
vijñānaṁ saṁniviśate saṁskāra-pratyayaṁ gatau |
saṁniviṣṭe 'tha vijñāne nāma-rūpaṁ niṣicyate ||2||
niṣikte nāma-rūpe tu ṣaḍāyatana-saṁbhavaḥ |
ṣaḍāyatanam āgamya saṁsparśaḥ saṁpravartate ||3||
cakṣuḥ pratītya rūpaṁ ca samanvāhāram eva ca |
nāma-rūpaṁ pratītyaivaṁ vijñānaṁ saṁpravartate ||4||
saṁnipātas trayāṇāṁ yo rūpa-vijñāna-cakṣuṣām |
sparśaḥ saḥ tasmāt sparśāc ca vedanā saṁpravartate ||5||
vedanā-pratyayā tṛṣṇā vedanārthaṁ hi tṛṣyate |
tṛṣyamāṇa upādānam upādatte catur-vidham ||6||
upādāne sati bhava upādātuḥ pravartate |
syād dhi yady anupādāno mucyeta na bhaved bhavaḥ ||7||
pañca skandhāḥ sa ca bhavaḥ bhavāj jātiḥ pravartate |
jarā-maraṇa-duḥkhādi śokāḥ sa-paridevanāḥ ||8||
daurmanasyam upāyāsā jāter etat pravartate |
kevalasyaivam etasya duḥkha-skandhasya saṁbhavaḥ ||9||
saṁsāra-mūlaṁ saṁskārān avidvān saṁskaroty ataḥ |
avidvān kārakas tasmān na vidvāṁs tattva-darśanāt ||10||
avidyāyāṁ niruddhāyāṁ saṁskārāṇām asaṁbhavaḥ |
avidyāyā nirodhas tu jñānasyāsyaiva bhāvanāt ||11||
tasya tasya nirodhena tat tan nābhipravartate |
duḥkha-skandhaḥ kevalo 'yam evaṁ samyaṅ nirudhyate ||12||
The doings that lead to yet further becoming, the one enclosed in ignorance, in three ways, does do; and by these actions he goes to a sphere of existence. Divided consciousness, with doings as its causal grounds, seeps into the sphere of existence. And so, divided consciousness having seeped in, psycho-physicality is instilled. 
Conversely, once psycho-physicality is instilled, there is the coming about of six senses; six senses having arrived, there occurs contact; and – depending upon an eye, upon physical form, and upon the two being brought together – depending thus upon psycho-physicality, there occurs divided consciousness.
Combination of the threesome of physical form, consciousness and eye, is contact; and from that contact there occurs feeling. With feeling as its causal grounds, there is thirsting – because the object of feeling is thirsted after. While thirsting is going on, taking hold takes hold in the four ways. While there is taking hold, the becoming arises of the taker – because becoming, if it were free of taking, would be liberated and would not become becoming. The five aggregates, again, are becoming itself. Out of the becoming arises birth. The suffering and suchlike of aging and death; sorrows accompanied by lamentations; dejectedness, troubles: all this arises out of birth. In this way this whole aggregate of suffering comes into being.
The doings which are the root of saṁsāra thus does the ignorant one do. The ignorant one therefore is the doer; the wise one is not, because of realizing reality. In the destruction of ignorance, there is the non-coming-into-being of doings. The destruction of ignorance, however, is because of the bringing-into-being of just this knowing. By the destruction of this one and that one, this one and that one no longer advance. This whole aggregate of suffering in this way is well and truly destroyed.

The ignorant one is the doer. The wise one is not because of reality/realizing. Here is the fundamental teaching of Fukan-zazengi, and here is the fundamental point of Zazen itself -- the practice and experience of not being the doer. 



Saturday, April 18, 2015

BUDDHACARITA 14.65: Feeling Produced by Three Factors Combined – Like Fire by Two Fire-sticks and Fuel


[No Sanskrit text]

Tibetan: 
| yul daṅ dbaṅ po blo rnams kyis | | ’dus pa reg par brjod bya ste |
| gtsub śiṅ las ni me bźin du | | gaṅ las tshor ba skye ba’o | 


yul: object (viṣaya)
dbang po: sense (indriya)
blo rnams: all concerns
kyis: [instrumental particle]

’reg pa: contact
brjod bya: object in question

gtsub shing: fire stick
las: action
me: fire
bzhin du: like

gang las: whence
tshor ba: feeling
skye: be produced


EHJ's translation from the Tibetan:
65. Contact is to be explained as the uniting of the object, the sense and the mind, whence sensation is produced, just as fire is produced from the uniting of the two rubbing sticks and fuel.

Revised:
65. Contact is to be explained as the uniting of the object, the sense and consciousness, whence feeling is produced – just as fire is produced from the uniting of the two rubbing sticks and fuel.


Chinese:
三等苦樂生
 鑚燧加人功 則得火爲用
[then contact is the cause of all sensation] producing the three kinds of pain or pleasure, Even as by art of man the rubbing wood produces fire for any use or purpose; (SB)
Its three classes mean the production of suffering or of happiness. If one works at rubbing sticks, one may obtain fire and use it. (CW)


COMMENT:
The translation from Aśvaghoṣa's Sanskrit into Chinese, and thence the translation into English (especially SB's translation, done without reference to the Sanskrit), offers another striking example of how easily “Send reinforcements, we are going to advance” can become “Send three and fourpence, we are going to a dance.”

Nevertheless, even the translations from the Chinese, like EHJ's translation from the Tibetan, do retain the metaphor of fire being produced by the rubbing together of fire-sticks.

As a general rule, it may be true that metaphors offer an inherent safeguard against meaning getting lost in translation. 

In the Tibetan as translated by EHJ, contact is the combination of three factors, namely: an object, a sense or sense organ, and consciousness. This is exactly as per Nāgārjuna:
Combination of the threesome of physical form, consciousness and eye, is contact; and from that contact there occurs feeling.

The Chinese summarizes these three as three factors (三等) producing () feeling (苦樂, “lit. pain and pleasure”).

In the metaphor, judging from the Tibetan, the three factors are two fire-sticks (representing sense and physical form) and fuel (representing the consciousness that arises dependent on doings).

Nāgārjuna uses the eye as a representative example of a sense organ, in which case the threefold combination of eye, visible form, and eye-consciousness is contact; and from that contact there occurs feeing in the visual channel, or visual perception. Such visual perception, however, is clinging-skandha-based seeing, which is not the same as the seeing/realizing reality of MMK26.10: 

punar-bhavāya saṁskārān avidyā-nivṛtas tridhā |
abhisaṁskurute yāṁs tair gatiṁ gacchati karmabhiḥ ||MMK26.1||
vijñānaṁ saṁniviśate saṁskāra-pratyayaṁ gatau |
saṁniviṣṭe 'tha vijñāne nāma-rūpaṁ niṣicyate ||2||
niṣikte nāma-rūpe tu ṣaḍāyatana-saṁbhavaḥ |
ṣaḍāyatanam āgamya saṁsparśaḥ saṁpravartate ||3||
cakṣuḥ pratītya rūpaṁ ca samanvāhāram eva ca |
nāma-rūpaṁ pratītyaivaṁ vijñānaṁ saṁpravartate ||4||
saṁnipātas trayāṇāṁ yo rūpa-vijñāna-cakṣuṣām |
sparśaḥ saḥ tasmāt sparśāc ca vedanā saṁpravartate ||5||
vedanā-pratyayā tṛṣṇā vedanārthaṁ hi tṛṣyate |
tṛṣyamāṇa upādānam upādatte catur-vidham ||6||
upādāne sati bhava upādātuḥ pravartate |
syād dhi yady anupādāno mucyeta na bhaved bhavaḥ ||7||
pañca skandhāḥ sa ca bhavaḥ bhavāj jātiḥ pravartate |
jarā-maraṇa-duḥkhādi śokāḥ sa-paridevanāḥ ||8||
daurmanasyam upāyāsā jāter etat pravartate |
kevalasyaivam etasya duḥkha-skandhasya saṁbhavaḥ ||9||
saṁsāra-mūlaṁ saṁskārān avidvān saṁskaroty ataḥ |
avidvān kārakas tasmān na vidvāṁs tattva-darśanāt ||10||
avidyāyāṁ niruddhāyāṁ saṁskārāṇām asaṁbhavaḥ |
avidyāyā nirodhas tu jñānasyāsyaiva bhāvanāt ||11||
tasya tasya nirodhena tat tan nābhipravartate |
duḥkha-skandhaḥ kevalo 'yam evaṁ samyaṅ nirudhyate ||12||
The doings that lead to yet further becoming, the one enclosed in ignorance, in three ways, does do; and by these actions he goes to a sphere of existence. Divided consciousness, with doings as its causal grounds, seeps into the sphere of existence. And so, divided consciousness having seeped in, psycho-physicality is instilled. 
Conversely, once psycho-physicality is instilled, there is the coming about of six senses; six senses having arrived, there occurs contact; and – depending upon an eye, upon physical form, and upon the two being brought together – depending thus upon psycho-physicality, there occurs divided consciousness. 
Combination of the threesome of physical form, consciousness and eye, is contact; and from that contact there occurs feeling. With feeling as its causal grounds, there is thirsting – because the object of feeling is thirsted after. While thirsting is going on, taking hold takes hold in the four ways. While there is taking hold, the becoming arises of the taker – because becoming, if it were free of taking, would be liberated and would not become becoming. The five aggregates, again, are becoming itself. Out of the becoming arises birth. The suffering and suchlike of aging and death; sorrows accompanied by lamentations; dejectedness, troubles: all this arises out of birth. In this way this whole aggregate of suffering comes into being. 
The doings which are the root of saṁsāra thus does the ignorant one do. The ignorant one therefore is the doer; the wise one is not, because of realizing reality. In the destruction of ignorance, there is the non-coming-into-being of doings. The destruction of ignorance, however, is because of the bringing-into-being of just this knowing. By the destruction of this one and that one, this one and that one no longer advance. This whole aggregate of suffering in this way is well and truly destroyed.


The turning words in MMK chap. 26 as I read it are thus the two ablative phrases tattva-darśanāt and jñanasyāsya bhāvanāt.

Tattva-darśanāt is I think intentionally ambiguous. Tattva-darśanāt could mean “because of seeing reality” (as opposed to clinging-skandha-based seeing of an object).  Tattva-darśanāt, again, could mean “because of reality making itself known.” 

“The realization of reality” does a better job of retaining this ambiguity. But “realizing reality” somehow seems closer to the original two word compound, while also allowing – at a stretch – some sense to be conveyed that reality does the realizing itself (taking realizing as an adjective, so that "realizing" is a description of reality). 

In the phrase jñanasyāsya bhāvanāt in the 2nd line of MMK26.11, bhāvana is opposed to asaṁbhavaḥ (non-coming-into-being, absence) in the 1st line. Hence I have translated it “bringing into being.” But as a phrase on its own jñanasyāsya bhāvanāt might sound better translated as “because of cultivating just this wisdom.” 

The latter translation would bring to mind more readily the 7th of the eight truths bequeathed by the Buddha on the night before he died. That truth is recorded in Chinese as 修智慧, “to cultivate wisdom."

What does it mean to cultivate wisdom?

Nāgārjuna's words seem to suggest that cultivating wisdom has to do with knowing the Buddha's teaching of pratītya-samutpāda, whereby ignorance is destroyed. 

Looking ahead to BC Canto 26 where Aśvaghoṣa gave his account of the eightfold awakening of a great human being, the Chinese has 
無明大闇冥 智慧爲明燈
In the great darkness of ignorance, wisdom is a bright lamp.  

The corresponding verse in EHJ's translation is BC26.67: 
Mystic wisdom is the boat on the great ocean of old age and death, a lamp, as it were, in the darkness of delusion, the medicine that smites all illnesses, the sharp axe that cuts down the trees of the sins.
The final chapter of Shobogenzo quotes the Buddha's words in like fashion, using the metaphors of boat/ship, lamp/torch, medicine, and sharp axe: 
Truly, wisdom is a sturdy ship in which to cross the ocean of aging, sickness and death. Again, it is a great bright torch for the darkness of ignorance; it is good medicine for all sick people; and it is a sharp axe to fell the trees of anguish.

Friday, April 17, 2015

BUDDHACARITA 14.64: Feeling Arises Depending on Contact (7→6)

[No Sanskrit text]

Tibetan: 
| de nas slar yaṅ tshor ba yi | | skye ba’i gnas ni gaṅ źes bsams |
| tshor ba tshor ba mthar byed kyis | | reg pa’i rgyu can ñid du mkhyen | 

de nas: then
slar yang: again
tshor ba: feeling (vedanā)
yi: [genitive particle]

skye: produce
bsams: thought, wisdom

tshor ba: feeling
mthar byed: lord of death who puts an end to every thing ; destroy; abolish
kyis: [instrumental particle]

reg pa: contact (saṁsparśa)
rgyu: cause ()
rgyu can:  'that which has cause'; result; caused by
nyid du: self; same (eva)
mkhyen: knowing, seeing

EHJ's translation from the Tibetan:
64. Then he again meditated, “What is the source of sensation? ” He, who had put an end to sensation, saw also the cause of sensation to be in contact.

Revised:
64. Then he again meditated, “What is the source of feeling? ” He, who had put an end to feeling, saw the cause of feeling to be in contact.

Chinese:
諸受觸爲因
then contact (sparśa) is the cause of all sensation (SB)
Any experiencing has contact as its cause. (CW)


COMMENT:
I got ahead of myself and commented yesterday on what is discussed in today's verse as putting an end to feeling, which must mean putting an end to feeling as a skandha of taking hold, or putting an end to feeling as fuel for attachment. 

Verse by verse, it becomes clearer that the Theravada emphasis on dependent arising, and the emphasis that the Zen ancestors of China and Japan placed upon the dropping off of body and mind, would not have been recognized as two different approaches, by Aśvaghoṣa or by Nāgārjuna. 

punar-bhavāya saṁskārān avidyā-nivṛtas tridhā |
abhisaṁskurute yāṁs tair gatiṁ gacchati karmabhiḥ ||MMK26.1||
vijñānaṁ saṁniviśate saṁskāra-pratyayaṁ gatau |
saṁniviṣṭe 'tha vijñāne nāma-rūpaṁ niṣicyate ||2||
niṣikte nāma-rūpe tu ṣaḍāyatana-saṁbhavaḥ |
ṣaḍāyatanam āgamya saṁsparśaḥ saṁpravartate ||3||
cakṣuḥ pratītya rūpaṁ ca samanvāhāram eva ca |
nāma-rūpaṁ pratītyaivaṁ vijñānaṁ saṁpravartate ||4||
saṁnipātas trayāṇāṁ yo rūpa-vijñāna-cakṣuṣām |
sparśaḥ saḥ tasmāt sparśāc ca vedanā saṁpravartate ||5||
vedanā-pratyayā tṛṣṇā vedanārthaṁ hi tṛṣyate |
tṛṣyamāṇa upādānam upādatte catur-vidham ||6||
upādāne sati bhava upādātuḥ pravartate |
syādd hi yady anupādāno mucyeta na bhaved bhavaḥ ||7||
pañca skandhāḥ sa ca bhavaḥ bhavāj jātiḥ pravartate |
jarā-maraṇa-duḥkhādi śokāḥ sa-paridevanāḥ ||8||
daurmanasyam upāyāsā jāter etat pravartate |
kevalasyaivam etasya duḥkha-skandhasya saṁbhavaḥ ||9||
saṁsāra-mūlaṁ saṁskārān avidvān saṁskaroty ataḥ |
avidvān kārakas tasmān na vidvāṁs tattva-darśanāt ||10||
avidyāyāṁ niruddhāyāṁ saṁskārāṇām asaṁbhavaḥ |
avidyāyā nirodhas tu jñānasyāsyaiva bhāvanāt ||11||
tasya tasya nirodhena tat tan nābhipravartate |
duḥkha-skandhaḥ kevalo 'yam evaṁ samyaṅ nirudhyate ||12||

The doings that lead to yet further becoming, the one enclosed in ignorance, in three ways, does do; and by these actions he goes to a sphere of existence. Divided consciousness, with doings as its causal grounds, seeps into the sphere of existence. And so, divided consciousness having seeped in, psycho-physicality is instilled. 
Conversely, once psycho-physicality is instilled, there is the coming about of six senses; six senses having arrived, there occurs contact; and – depending upon an eye, upon physical form, and upon the two being brought together – depending thus upon psycho-physicality, there occurs divided consciousness. 
Combination of the threesome of physical form, consciousness and eye, is contact; and from that contact there occurs feeling. With feeling as its causal grounds, there is thirsting – because the object of feeling is thirsted after. While thirsting is going on, taking hold takes hold in the four ways. While there is taking hold, the becoming arises of the taker – because becoming, if it were free of taking, would be liberated and would not become becoming. The five aggregates, again, are becoming itself. Out of the becoming arises birth. The suffering and suchlike of aging and death; sorrows accompanied by lamentations; dejectedness, troubles: all this arises out of birth. In this way this whole aggregate of suffering comes into being. 
The doings which are the root of saṁsāra thus does the ignorant one do. The ignorant one therefore is the doer; the wise one is not, because of realizing reality. In the destruction of ignorance, there is the non-coming-into-being of doings. The destruction of ignorance, however, is because of the bringing-into-being of just this knowing. By the destruction of this one and that one, this one and that one no longer advance. This whole aggregate of suffering in this way is well and truly destroyed.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

BUDDHACARITA 14.63: Thirst and Thirsting


[No Sanskrit text]

Tibetan:
| tshor bas mṅon bcom skye dgu rnams | | gñen por byed la sred pa ste |
| skom pa med na chu la ni | | kha cig mṅon par dga’ ba yin | 


tshor ba: feeling
mngon bcom: slain destroyed, fully subdued
skye dgu: all beings
rnams: [plural marker]

gnyen po: antidote; counteragents ; means of suppressing
sred pa: thirsting ()

skom pa: thirst ()
med na: in the case that it does not exist,
chu: water

kha cig: somebody (kaś cit)
yin: is, be
min [EHJ]: not
[EHJ notes: Weller misunderstands gñen por byed la as gñen-byed-la, 'marrying'; gñen po means 'remedy,' 'means'. The last word of the verse should be clearly min, not yin as kha-cig = kaścit, not kaḥ.]

EHJ's translation from the Tibetan:
63. Mankind, overwhelmed by their sensations, thirst for the means of satisfying them; for no one in the absence of thirst takes pleasure in water.

Revised:
63. Overwhelmed by feelings, the world thirsts for the means of satisfying those feelings; for in the absence of thirst nobody would take pleasure in drinking water.

Chinese:
飢渇求飮食 受生愛亦然
As the starving or the thirsty man seeks food and drink, so 'sensation' (perception) brings 'desire' for life; (SB)
Hunger and thirst seek drink and food. Experiencing produces craving in the same way (CW)

COMMENT:
In today's verse the Tibetan and the Chinese diverge somewhat, but both seem to suggest a distinction between thirst as a feeling (dry throat etc.) and thirsting as an impatient seeking out of a desired object (water).

The former, more objective thirst, thirst as feeling, is represented in the Chinese as , thirst, dryness. The second more goal-seeking thirst, thirst as thirsting, is represented in the Chinese as , love, attachment.

Insofar as thirst means thirsting after something, then thirst can be inhibited or suppressed – for example, by going deliberately slowly, giving oneself more than enough time; or, as per the Buddha's final teaching, practising small desire for its own sake.

But how can a feeling, like having a dry throat and feeling thirsty, be inhibited or suppressed?

The only answer that occurs to me is suggested by Nāgārjuna's statement in MMK26.8:
pañca skandhāḥ sa ca bhavaḥ
The five aggregates, again, are becoming itself.

The five aggregates are
  1. rūpa, form 
  2. vedanā, feeling 
  3. samjñā, perception 
  4. samskārāḥ, doings 
  5. vijñāna, consciousness
In The Discourse that Set the Dhamma Wheel Rolling (Dhammacakkappavattanasuttaṁ), the Buddha ends his introduction to the noble truth of suffering by saying:
saṅkhittena pañcupādānakkhandhā dukkhā
in brief, the five aggregates of taking hold are suffering.

In Sanskrit, pañcupādānakkhandhā would be  pañcopādāna-skandhāh  (pañca + upādāna + skandāḥ). 

Ānandajoti Bhikku translates pañcupādānakkhandhā 
“the five constituent groups (of mind and body) that provide fuel for attachment”;

Piyadassi Thera on this Wiki page translates as 
“the five aggregates subject to grasping.”

Thanissaro Bhikku writes of five“clinging-khandas.”


My tentative conclusion, then, is that we are not required to inhibit or destroy or suppress a feeling like thirst as a fact; we are required to inhibit feeling as a skandha that provides fuel for attachment, or as an aggregate that is subject to grasping, or in short as a clinging-skandha.

It is not within our power as human beings to control what we feel. When my throat is dry and I feel thirsty, I feel thirsty. But it might be in a person's power to prevent such a feeling of being thirsty [7] from becoming fuel for the thirsting [8] in whose presence taking hold [9] takes hold.

And if this is true for feeling [7], it might similarly be true for contact [6], six senses [5], mind and body [4], and consciousness [3].

punar-bhavāya saṁskārān avidyā-nivṛtas tridhā |
abhisaṁskurute yāṁs tair gatiṁ gacchati karmabhiḥ ||MMK26.1||
vijñānaṁ saṁniviśate saṁskāra-pratyayaṁ gatau |
saṁniviṣṭe 'tha vijñāne nāma-rūpaṁ niṣicyate ||2||
niṣikte nāma-rūpe tu ṣaḍāyatana-saṁbhavaḥ |
ṣaḍāyatanam āgamya saṁsparśaḥ saṁpravartate ||3||
cakṣuḥ pratītya rūpaṁ ca samanvāhāram eva ca |
nāma-rūpaṁ pratītyaivaṁ vijñānaṁ saṁpravartate ||4||
saṁnipātas trayāṇāṁ yo rūpa-vijñāna-cakṣuṣām |
sparśaḥ saḥ tasmāt sparśāc ca vedanā saṁpravartate ||5||
vedanā-pratyayā tṛṣṇā vedanārthaṁ hi tṛṣyate |
tṛṣyamāṇa upādānam upādatte catur-vidham ||6||
upādāne sati bhava upādātuḥ pravartate |
syād dhi yady anupādāno mucyeta na bhaved bhavaḥ ||7||
pañca skandhāḥ sa ca bhavaḥ bhavāj jātiḥ pravartate |
jarā-maraṇa-duḥkhādi śokāḥ sa-paridevanāḥ ||8||
daurmanasyam upāyāsā jāter etat pravartate |
kevalasyaivam etasya duḥkha-skandhasya saṁbhavaḥ ||9||
saṁsāra-mūlaṁ saṁskārān avidvān saṁskaroty ataḥ |
avidvān kārakas tasmān na vidvāṁs tattva-darśanāt ||10||
avidyāyāṁ niruddhāyāṁ saṁskārāṇām asaṁbhavaḥ |
avidyāyā nirodhas tu jñānasyāsyaiva bhāvanāt ||11||
tasya tasya nirodhena tat tan nābhipravartate |
duḥkha-skandhaḥ kevalo 'yam evaṁ samyaṅ nirudhyate ||12||

The doings [2] that lead to yet further becoming, the one enclosed in ignorance [1], in three ways, does do; and by these actions he goes to a sphere of existence. Divided consciousness [3], with doings as its causal grounds, seeps into the sphere of existence. And so, divided consciousness having seeped in, psycho-physicality [4] is instilled.
Conversely, once psycho-physicality is instilled, there is the coming about of six senses [5]; six senses having arrived, there occurs contact [6]; and – depending upon an eye, upon physical form, and upon the two being brought together – depending thus upon psycho-physicality [4], there occurs divided consciousness [3].
Combination of the threesome of physical form, consciousness and eye, is contact [6]; and from that contact there occurs feeling [7]. With feeling as its causal grounds, there is thirsting [8] – because the object of feeling is thirsted after. While thirsting is going on, taking hold [9] takes hold in the four ways. While there is taking hold, the becoming [10] arises of the taker – because becoming, if it were free of taking, would be liberated and would not become becoming. The five aggregates, again, are becoming itself. Out of the becoming arises birth [11]. The suffering and suchlike of aging and death [12]; sorrows accompanied by lamentations; dejectedness, troubles: all this arises out of birth. In this way this whole aggregate of suffering comes into being. 
The doings which are the root of saṁsāra thus does the ignorant one do. The ignorant one therefore is the doer; the wise one is not, because of the realization of reality. In the destruction of ignorance, there is the non-coming-into-being of doings. The destruction of ignorance, however, is because of the bringing-into-being of just this knowing. By the destruction of this one and that one, this one and that one no longer advance. This whole aggregate of suffering in this way is well and truly destroyed.