Friday, July 6, 2012

BUDDHACARITA 1.67: Being Beyond Doubt

−−⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−¦¦−−⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−− Upajāti (Indravajrā)
ity-āgatāvegam-aniṣṭa-buddhyā buddhvā narendraṁ sa munir-babhāṣe |
mā bhūn-matis-te npa kā-cid-anyā niḥsaṁśayaṁ tad-yad-avocam-asmi || 1.67

Knowing the king to be thus agitated

By a sense of foreboding, the sage said:

“Let not your mind, O Protector of Men,
be in any way disturbed;

What I have said I have said beyond doubt.

On the surface, the last line means “what I said is not open to doubt” or “what I said will certainly come true.”

But I think the real meaning is “what I said was spoken in a state without hesitation.”

The final word of the verse asmi literally means “I am.” EHJ in a footnote to his translation states that asmi (“I am”) for aham (the 1st person singular pronoun “I”) is well established. Even so, I think the use of asmi here is a suggestion that  niḥsaṁśayaṁ “beyond doubt” is not so much adjectival as adverbial.

Asita, then, like a good horseman quieting a nervous horse, or like a dog whisperer training a disturbed dog, is not trying to calm the king by what he says, nor even by the way he says it -- because Asita is not the kind of bloke who needs to try. (Dogs and horses, as a rule, seem to know the difference between somebody who is trying to show confidence, and somebody who is really confident. Ponzi schemes in the canine and equine world are not documented in the financial literature.)

When I say, “I am going to die,” what I have said is beyond doubt, but my saying it, as a mere intellectual recognition, does not amount to much.

If as a sportsman or a martial artist, in contrast, I decide “I am not going to make move A until such time as my opponent makes move B or C,” and I really mean it, so that there is no chance of me going against my decision, and I do in fact stick to my decision, that is not me saying something which I believe to be certain; it is being in myself beyond doubt.

The FM Alexander Techique as I practice and understand it is a kind of science, carried out in the laboratory of the self, of being beyond doubt.

So when I am receiving Alexander work from an experienced teacher and I am totally clear that in no way am I going to get in the teacher's way and mess up the process by trying to help, that is a kind of study of being beyond doubt.

Again if I am sitting in lotus in a tired slump and I think “I wish to allow my head to go forward and up,” but am content to continue slumping and am not the slightest bit tempted to try to do that direction even a little bit, that also is a branch or shoot of being beyond doubt.

When Marjory Barlow used to say to me, while I was lying on her teaching table, “now move your leg,” and my nervous system showed not a flicker of a sign of me reacting to that stimulus, that was just the study of being beyond doubt, in which teacher and student were holding one stick of being beyond doubt.

The Chinese Zen Master who stretched out his neck to receive the Emperor's sword is a nice example of being beyond doubt.

An example from the Buddha's mouth, as recorded in Saundara-nanda, is this:
One who eats anything at any place, and wears any clothes,
Who dwells in enjoyment of his own being and loves to be anywhere without people: /
He is to be known as a success, a knower of the taste of peace and ease, whose mind is made up --
He avoids involvement with others like a thorn. // 14.50 //
For another example of being beyond doubt, Zen Master Dogen tells the story in a chapter of Shobogenzo titled Gyoji of how a certain VIP in ancient China offered Dogen's teacher, Tendo, a lot of money as a token of his appreciation and gratitude, but Tendo resolutely refused to accept the money. I with my background in Accounting & Financial Management asked my teacher in all innocence why Tendo neglected this opportunity to improve the balance sheet of Tendo temple. My teacher replied memorably, “Master Tendo was enjoying his simple life.”

In the final analsysis, when Aśvaghoṣa describes Asita in BC1.52 as āsana-stham, “devoted to sitting," and in today's verse as niḥsaṁśayam “being beyond doubt,” he might not be describing two things.

iti: thus
āgatāvegam (acc. sg. m.): come to a state of agitation
āgata: mfn. come to any state
āvega: m. hurry or haste produced by excitement ; flurry , agitation
aniṣṭa-buddhyā (inst. sg.): by a sense of foreboding
aniṣṭa: mfn. unwished , undesirable , disadvantageous , unfavourable; bad , wrong , evil , ominous
buddhi: f. the power of forming and retaining conceptions and general notions , intelligence , reason , intellect , mind , discernment , judgement ; comprehension , apprehension , understanding ; an opinion , view , notion , idea

buddhvā = abs. buddh: to wake , wake up , be awake ; to perceive, notice
narendram (acc. sg.): m. " man-lord " , king , prince
sa (nom. sg.): m. he
muniḥ (nom. sg.):m. the sage
babhāṣe = 3rd pers. sg. perfect bhāṣ: to speak , talk , say , tell

mā: ind. not , that not , lest , would that not
bhūt = 3rd pers. sg. injunctive bhū: to be
matiḥ (nom. sg.): f. the mind , perception , understanding
te (gen. sg.): your
nṛpa (voc. sg.): m. protector of men , prince , king , sovereign
kā-cid (nom. sg. f.): in any way
anyā (nom. sg. f.): other, different

niḥsaṁśayam (acc. sg. n.): mfn. undoubted , certain
saṁśaya: m. uncertainty , irresolution , hesitation , doubt in or of
tad yad (acc. sg. n.): that which
avocam = 1st pers. sg. aorist vac: to say
asmi = 1st pers. sg. as: to be
EHJ notes that asmi for aham is well established.

仙人知父王 心懷大憂懼
即告言大王 王今勿恐怖
前已語大王 愼勿自生疑

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