Tuesday, June 12, 2012

BUDDHACARITA 1.43: More Praise of Creativity & Innovation

−−⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−¦¦−−⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−− Upajāti (Sālā)
vālmīkir-ādau-ca sasarja padyaṁ jagrantha yan-na cyavano maharṣiḥ |
cikitsitaṁ yac-ca cakāra nātriḥ paścāt-tad-ātreya ṛṣir-jagāda || 1.43

Vālmīki invented a metre

Which the great seer Cyavana,
in his compositions, had never used;

And that treatise on healing which Atri failed to produce

The seer Ātreya would later expound.

This verse features, as does 1.41, a verb from the root sarj, which means to let fly, create,or invent. It also features, as does 1.42, the verb jagāda (he articulated, he expounded). The effect, to my ears, is to convey the impression that this group of Brahmans saw creativity and articulate speech as particular virtues.

What this verse is really doing, then, when we dig out the intention behind it, is the same as every verse that Aśvaghoṣa wrote, and the same as every chapter of Shobogenzo that Dogen wrote – namely, pointing us back in the direction of a round black cushion, where creativity and articulate speech are, in Dogen's words, like legs on a snake.

vālmīkiḥ (nom. sg.): m. N. of the celebrated author of the rāmāyaṇa (he was no doubt a Brahman by birth and closely connected with the kings of ayodhyā ; he collected the different songs and legendary tales relating to rāma-candra and welded them into one continuous poem , to which later additions may have been made ; he is said to have invented the śloka metre , and probably the language and style of Indian epic poetry owe their definite form to him)
ādau: ind. in the beginning , at first
ca: and
sasarja = 3rd pers. sg. perf. sṛj: , to let go or fly ; to emit , pour forth , shed , cause to flow (rain , streams &c ) ; to utter (a sound) ; to publish, proclaim ; (in older language only A1.) to emit from one's self i.e. create , procreate , produce , beget
padyam (acc. sg.): n. a verse , metre , poetry (opp. to gadya , prose)

jagrantha = 3rd pers. sg. perf. granth: to fasten , tie or string together , arrange , connect in a regular series ; to string words together , compose (a literary work)
yat (acc. sg. n.): [that] which
na: not
cyavanaḥ (nom. sg.): m. (later form for cyávāna) N. of a ṛṣi (son of bhṛgu , author of RV. x , 19)
maharṣiḥ (nom. sg. m.): the great seer

cikitsitam (acc. sg.) : n. (pl.) the chapters of the therapeutical section (of med.) ; = cikitsā f. medical attendance , practice or science of medicine (esp. therapeutics , one of the six sections of med.)
yat (acc. sg. n.): [that] which
ca: and
cakāra = 3rd pers. sg. perf. kṛ: to do, make
na: not
atriḥ (nom. sg.): m. N. of a great ṛṣi , author of a number of Vedic hymns ; (in astron.) one of the seven stars of the Great Bear

paścāt: ind. (abl. of paśca) from behind ; afterwards
tad (nom. sg. m.): that
ātreyaḥ (nom. sg.): m. a descendant of atri ; N. of a physician
ṛṣiḥ (nom. sg.): m. seer
jagāda = 3rd pers. sg. perf. gad: to speak articulately , to speak, relate, tell

末後胤跋彌 廣集偈章句
阿低利仙人 不解醫方論
後生阿低離 善能治百病

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