yathaa bhiShak pitta-kaph'aanilaanaaM
ya eva kopaM samupaiti doShaH
shamaaya tasy' aiva vidhiM vidhatte
vyadhatta doSheShu tath" aiva buddha
Just as a physician,
for a disorder of bile, phlegm, or wind,
-- For whatever disorder of the humours
has manifested the symptoms of disease --
Prescribes a course of treatment
to cure that very disorder,
So did the Buddha prescribe for the faults:
“I drive a gold Rolls-Royce, ‘cuz it’s good for my voice,” sang Marc Bolan circa 1970. I like that lyric. Everybody should do WHATEVER it is that causes his or her original features to appear.
I have a friend who is a homeopath and who tends to observe the individual peculiarities of others in an interested but non-judgemental way, through the eyes of a homeopath. People who are familiar with the principles of homeopathy will know what I mean. If you are a drill-and-fill dentist who believes in amalgam fillings for all, then you will wonder what the hell I am talking about.
When FM Alexander was searching for a title for his second book, he came up with: Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual. Somebody complained that it was a bit of a mouthful, and so how about dropping the last three words? “Oh no!” FM protested, “Don’t you see? That is the most important part!”
This and the previous verse are not in the form of a quotation of the Buddha’s instruction. These two verses are Ashvaghosha himself speaking.
In this verse Ashvaghosha seems to me to drive home the point made in the 3rd and 4th line of the previous verse, that the Buddha knew Nanda, as an individual person, inside and out. The Buddha knew Nanda’s peculiarities and his personal history, and the Buddha instructed Nanda on that individual basis.
The thrust of Ashvaghosha’s message, it seems to me, is totally antithetical to what Master Kodo Sawaki called gurupo boke, “group delusion.”
Master Kodo, by all accounts, was himself a very unique individual. The fact that I know, not only on the basis of the Sanskrit dictionary but also with my skin, flesh, bones and marrow, that nimitta does not mean either “subject of meditation” or “meditational technique,” is mainly thanks to Master Kodo -- a man who was truly not interested in meditation and who, I think, was never afraid to be seen by Buddhist scholars, Buddhist monks and Buddhist students as a non-Buddhist. When he felt like a swim, into his swimming costume the old man changed and into the sea he went -- and I have seen the photo to prove it. If driving a gold Rolls-Royce had been good for his voice, I have a feeling Master Kodo might have driven one.
Master Kodo was a truly remarkable individual, and all the more so considering that he was born into Japanese society -- that most conformist of all societies. In a previous post, I expressed criticism of Master Kodo, because I think a lot of bad, doing habits (viz. pulling in the chin to stretch the back of the neck) are traceable back to his wrong instructions. I don’t retract those criticisms. But at the same time, I think Master Kodo was a true individual.
In this verse, “disorder of the humours” and “faults” are the same word: dosha. The faults referred to in the 4th line seem to refer back to the lust, ill-will and delusion that the Buddha has just discussed -- i.e. the three gross faults -- and at the same time to refer forward to the subtler patterns of negative mental chatter that the Buddha is about to discuss.
As the physician prescribes the treatment for the cure of disease according to which one of the three humours it is that has become deranged, so the Buddha prescribed the treatment for the faults :-
Just as a doctor prescribes a treatment to alleviate whichever among the humors of bile, phlegm, and wind has become irritated, so too has the Buddha prescribed concerning the faults.
yathaa: just as
bhiShak = nom. sg. bhiShaj: m. a healer, physician
pitta: bile, the bilious humour
aanilaanaam = genitive, plural of anila: wind as one of the humors or rasas of the body; rheumatism , paralysis , or any affection referred to disorder of the wind
yah (nominative, singular): [that] which
kopam (acc. sg.): m. morbid irritation or disorder of the humors of the body
samupaiti = 3rd person singular, sam-upa- √i: to approach, go to (acc.); to occur , happen , appear
doShaH = nominative, singular doSha: m. fault , vice , deficiency , want , inconvenience ; alteration , affection , morbid element , disease (esp. of the 3 humours of the body, applied also to the humours themselves)
shamaaya (dative of shama): for the appeasing, curing
tasya (genitive of sa): of it, of that [disorder]
eva: (emphatic) the same, that very
vidhim = accusative of vidhi: any prescribed act, instruction, formula, method, course
vidhatte = from vidh (weak form of √vyadh): to rule, prescribe
doSheShu = locative, plural of doSha: fault, imbalance, disorder
tath"aiva: so too
buddha (voc. sg. m.): O Buddha! O Awakened One!