Friday, August 31, 2012

BUDDHACARITA 2.31: Use of the Womanly Wile (in Four Phases)

−−⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−¦¦⏑−⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−    Upajāti (Vāṇī)
vāgbhiḥ kalābhir-lalitaiś-ca hāvair-madaiḥ sakhelair-madhuraiś-ca hāsaiḥ
taṁ tatra nāryo ramayāṁ-babhūvur-bhrūvañcitair-ardha-nirīkṣitaiś-ca || 2.31

Using sweet nothings and playful gestures

Accompanied by tipsy movements and charming chuckles,

The women there caressed him

With secretly arched eyebrows, and sidelong glances.

Even in a verse like today's verse a certain progression can be discerned that parallels the progression through the four noble truths.

In the 1st pāda the low moans and teasing gestures are intended to communicate meaning – though admittedly in this instance the meaning is far from intellectual and not necessarily reliant upon words.

In the 2nd pāda, movements that exhibit the tell-tale signs of intoxication, and chuckles, can be understood to involve unintentional or involuntary reactions of arms, hips, diaphragm, et cetera. (This sense of the unintentional, the automatic, the unconscious, the not done, seems to be picked up by the otherwise typically errant Chinese translation, in the Chinese translator's use of his favourite phrase 自然, "naturally, spontaneously, of themselves.") 

The 3rd pāda describes an action (an act of caressing), there and then – tatra.

And in the 4th pāda Aśvaghoṣa, gifted wordsmith that he was, delivers the punch line, which is so vividly suggestive that the reality he is pointing to almost seems to hit us, even though we were not there.

The four pādas of today's verse, then, fit well enough into the SOAR (Subject, Object, Action, Reality) scheme outlined by Gudo Nishijima.

The reason I am awake to this kind of progression is that in my 20s I spent hours and hours under the guidance of Gudo Nishijima analysing chapters of Shobogenzo, not to mention paragraphs, verses, sentences, and lists of four things within sentences, into four phases. And a fat lot of good it did me, the cynical reader might add, with some justification.

To be fair, Gudo Nishijima's teaching of the four noble truths was by no means only theoretical. As a devoted sitter, he took pains to relate the 3rd and 4th phases (the A and R of SOAR) to the practise of Zazen.

Again, after nearly 20 years now of exploring the connection, or identity, between the 3rd and 4th noble truths and the utterly practical truths that Alexander called inhibition and direction, I have got nobody but myself to blame for being so slow on the uptake when it comes to showing what the Buddha really meant by satyāvabodhāya, being awake to the four noble truths, viz:
So with regard to the truth of suffering, see suffering as an illness; with regard to the faults, see the faults as the cause of the illness; / With regard to the truth of stopping, see stopping as freedom from disease; and with regard to the truth of a path, see a path as a remedy. // SN16.41 // Comprehend, therefore, that suffering is doing; witness the faults impelling it forward; / Realise its stopping as non-doing; and know the path as a turning back. // SN16.42 // Though your head and clothes be on fire direct your mind so as to be awake to the truths. / For in failing to see the purport of the truths, the world has burned, it is burning now, and it will burn. // SN16.43 //
First thing yesterday I received an email from a person whose judgement I value, saying that he found this blog very valuable. Like the fusspot referred to in a recent post , like the big girl's blouse, like the moaning minnie I easily tend to be (for the mirror principle never fails), I have recently been suffering from a feeling of my efforts not being appreciated. And so this note of appreciation seemed to make me greedy for more appreciation -- like one sip of water received by a very thirsty bloke. 

Later in the morning I left the following comment on Dosho Mike Port's Wildfox Zen Blog, which I would like anyway to post on this blog for the record, since the main part of it relates to the oft-revisited topic of nimitta and bhāvana:
I happened on this post from a facebook share (by Catherine Spaeth) and your description of your long-term chewing on the subject of the withered tree resonated with me — though the metaphor that I favour, rather than chewing, is digging.

The post stimulated me to revisit the word nimitta, which is a key concept in Aśvaghoṣa’s Saundara-nanda.

A problem like the withered tree can be both an object and a subject [for meditation/chewing/digging]; again, it can be a stimulus for mental development, and thus a cause of growth.

All these meanings — subject, object, stimulus and cause — are possible translations of the Sanskrit word nimitta, which is used in various meanings in Aśvaghoṣa’s Saundara-nanda, especially in Canto 16 in connection with bhāvana, which means bringing into being, development, cultivation.
So far so good. But then I could not resist what is called in sumo, the dame-oshi, which means pushing an opponent unnecessarily out of the ring, after the fight has officially ended. So venting my righteous indignation that nobody to date in America has built a statue of me, I signed off like this:
Looking at your facebook friends, by the way, it looks like a roll call of the great and the good of American Zen. I wonder how many of them have benefited from the years of digging that I put into the Nishijima/Cross Shobogenzo translation. And I wonder how many of the Roshis and Abbots and Dharma Teachers would give me the steam of their piss…
Later on, in replying to my original correspondent (the appreciative one), I confessed thus:
I do tend to suffer sometimes from feeling unappreciated, and the cause of this feeling is an old idea or expectation that I would be appreciated, or indeed recognized as a kind of hero. So the business of feeling unappreciated is a nice demonstration of the four noble truths -- or at least the first two of them. I really did expect that Gudo Nishijima, at least, would appreciate what I was doing for him. Possibly he felt the same in reverse -- though I was the one living a rather lonely life in a foreign country, not him, who enjoyed many privileges as a graduate of Tokyo University Law Dept, and old boy of the Japanese Ministry of Finance. Anyway, if you look up the Nishijima/Cross translation of Shobogenzo on Amazon, you will see that Nishijima is nowadays listed as "author" and Cross as "contributor," which is absurd -- but useful as a factor or stimulus (nimitta?) to respond to, and thereby grow, or fail to grow, as the case may be! Perhaps an even stronger stimulus is the Shinji-Shobogenzo translation, which was actually conceived and initiated by me in the mid-80s. By the time the thing actually came to be published in the late 90s, Gudo had forgotten who used to come to his office to take his dictations in English, and then carry his bag to the Yanagi-bashi-kaikan in Asakusabashi where he gave his lectures on Shinji-Shobogenzo in Japanese. So my work wasn't credited in the acknowledgements. Apparently Gudo confused me with Jeremy Pearson and I heard later that he in fact tried to persuade Jeremy that Jeremy's name should appear together with Gudo's on the front cover. So there was no conscious plan to "erase my efforts"; it just worked out that way. "Erase my efforts," by the way, is Gudo's own phrase. He accused me of being out to erase his efforts. It is almost comical, really. You couldn't make it up. The irony would not have been lost on Aśvaghoṣa.
In the aforementioned lectures, incidentally, Gudo explained each of the 301 koans in Shinji-Shobogenzo according to the system of (KU; suffering); (SHU; accumulation); (METSU; cessation) and (DO; a path). So that was also a part of my intial grounding in the four noble truths.

Anyway, after I had sent this last email, while observing the truly sincere behaviour of my wife's dog in hot pursuit of a ball, I found myself reflecting on the comedy of it. I thought maybe if I get to the end of the Buddha-carita translation, I could work out a stand-up (or sit-down) comedy routine titled “The Four Noble Truths” and go to the Edinburgh fringe festival and tell my story to audiences who might see the funny side of it. I would start off by describing my dream-hero vision of myself in the early days, puffed up by Gudo's hopes and expectations for me, and juxtapose this by reading out the satirical piece written by Gudo's eventual successor, Brad Warner, devoted to “Mr Angry.” If I could trace it, I could also read out the email Brad sent around to Gudo's Dharma-heirs asserting his opinion (later retracted, in fairness) that Gudo, and not me, was the translator of the Nishijima/Cross Shobogenzo translation. “Thank you for your beautiful words,” replied Gudo to Brad. You could not make it up. Yep, reading out those emails might raise a few chuckles, for those who can see the funny side of a bloke slipping on a banana skin.
So with regard to the truth of suffering, see suffering as an illness; with regard to the faults, see the faults as the cause of the illness; / With regard to the truth of stopping, see stopping as freedom from disease; and with regard to the truth of a path, see a path as a remedy. // SN16.41 // Comprehend, therefore, that suffering is doing; witness the faults impelling it forward; / Realise its stopping as non-doing; and know the path as a turning back. // SN16.42 // Though your head and clothes be on fire direct your mind so as to be awake to the truths. / For in failing to see the purport of the truths, the world has burned, it is burning now, and it will burn. // SN16.43 //
The canto from which the above quote is drawn, Saundara-nanda Canto 16, titled “Exposition of the Noble Truths,” finishes with these words:
So direct your energy in pursuit of peace, for in directed energy, undoubtedly, lies all growth." // 16.98 //
vīrye hi sarva-rddhayaḥ, “for in directed energy lies all growth.”

This is the conclusion that this long and winding comment has been leading to: that the noble truths are all about growth. To grow or not to grow, that is the question. The ultimate criterion for being awake to the four noble truths is growth. A person who is stuck – who might be me -- is not truly awake to the four noble truths.

What the 3rd noble truth proclaims, at the most practical level, is that in order for a sitting practitioner to grow it is generally necessary for him or her to stop doing or thinking something, to give up an old habit or idea or expectation. What the 4th noble truth proclaims, at that same practical level, is that direction is the truest form of inhibition. The best way of preventing energy from flowing down the pathways of destructive old habit, is to direct energy into new, constructive pathways. 

In the cold light of Friday morning, Thursday, though it was reasonably full of sitting, was also full of mistakes. Such a long and self-indulgent comment was a mistake. And yet I don't feel inclined to delete it. Please see it – or rather take no notice of it -- like a heap of spoil left behind by a disgruntled miner.

Today's verse is a poem in four phases and at the same time, in the bigger picture it belongs to the 2nd phase, the phase of objective consideration, of exploration of objective facts without the self butting in. Thus, in the 2nd phase of the four noble truths, originally, there was the Buddha's consideration of causation.

In the 2nd phase, when a person suffers from the feeling of not having been appreciated, the cause, objectively thinking, is nothing other than his own thirst for appreciation.

vāgbhiḥ (inst. pl.): f. speech , voice , talk , language (also of animals) , sound (also of inanimate objects as of the stones used for pressing , of a drum &c )
kalābhiḥ (inst. pl. f.): mfn. indistinct, dumb; low , soft (as a tone) , emitting a soft tone , melodious (as a voice or throat)
lalitaiḥ (inst. pl. m.): mfn. sported , played , playing , wanton , amorous , voluptuous ; artless , innocent , soft , gentle , charming , lovely
lal: to play , sport , dally , frolic , behave loosely or freely
ca: and
hāvaiḥ (inst. pl.): m. calling , alluring , dalliance , blandishment (collective N. of ten coquettish gestures of women , beginning with līlā -- [in rhet.] a maiden's playful imitation of her lover.)

madaiḥ (inst. pl.): m. hilarity , rapture , excitement , inspiration , intoxication
sa-khelaiḥ (inst. pl.): gentle, playful
sa: (possessive prefix)
khela: moving , shaking , trembling
sa-khelam: ind. with a gentle motion
madhuraiḥ (inst. pl. m.): mfn. sweet , pleasant , charming , delightful ; sounding sweetly or uttering sweet cries , melodious , mellifluous
ca: and
hāsaiḥ (inst. pl.): m. laughing ; mocking, derision; jest, joke, fun

tam (acc. sg. m.): him
tatra: ind. there
nāryaḥ (nom. pl.): f. women
ramayām babhūvur = 3rd pers. pl. periphrastic causative perfect ram: to gladden , delight , please , caress , enjoy carnally

bhrū-vañcitaiḥ (inst. pl.): with secret archings of eyebrows
bhrū: f. eyebrow , the brow
vañcita: mfn. deceived , tricked , imposed upon
vañc: to move to and fro , go crookedly , totter , stagger , waver ; to go slyly or secretly , sneak along ; to pass over , wander over , go astray
ardha-nirīkṣitaiḥ (inst. pl.): with sidelong glances
ardha: m. side, part; half
nirīkṣita: looking, glancing
nir- √ īkṣ: to look at or towards , behold , regard
ca: and

如天犍撻婆 自然寶宮殿
樂女奏天音 聲色耀心目 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

BUDDHACARITA 2.30: Fabulous Digs

⏑−⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−¦¦−−⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−    Upajāti (Haṁsī)
kalair-hi cāmīkara-baddha-kakṣair-nārī-karāgrābhihatair-mṛdaṅgaiḥ
varāpsaro-nṛtya-samaiś-ca nṛtyaiḥ kailāsa-vat-tad-bhavanaṁ rarāja || 2.30

For, with sounds of gold-studded tambourines

Being softly beaten by women's fingers,

And with dancing
like the dancing of the choicest heavenly nymphs,

Those digs were fabulous as Mount Kailāsa.

There is a real mountain that goes by the name of Mount Kailash, from the Sanskrit kailāsa. A few years ago I saw a documentary that showed Tibetans, as described in the Wiki entry, circumnavigating the mountain only by means of prostrations. It looked like it might be good fun, especially if it were done without any superstitious belief or expectation along the lines of making merit, ensuring a higher status re-birth, et cetera.

I think the Kailāsa of today's verse, however, is not the real mountain revered in Tibetan Buddhism but is rather the older and more fabulous Hindu one in which was supposed to abide Kubera, the Wealth-Giver mentioned in the last verse of Canto One, BC1.89

Generally I come to France, and often I approach the round black cushion, aspiring to a bit of nothing. But sometimes, on a good day, when circumstances are incredibly quiet and I don't seem to be pulling my legs into my pelvis at all, I have moments of not aspiring to anything. After undergoing many such reps of deluded aspiring to nothing and not aspiring to anything, do I become better able to discern the difference between the two conditions? Or not? 

On the surface today's verse is about gorgeous women playing tambourines. But on the basis of not aspiring to anything, I don't mind confessing that am impious bloke like me does not have to dig very deep to suppose what else today's verse might be suggesting.

Speaking of digging, bhavanam means home or dwelling, and at the same time it has a secondary meaning of a place where something grows. How to translate the related word bhāvana which means something like “development [of the mind]” is a problem I struggled with long and hard in translating Saundara-nanda (see for example SN16.5). Much of Canto 16 is devoted to setting out how such development may take place, through the use of an appropriate nimitta (subject/object/cause/stimulus).

To capture this secondary sense of growth, I considered as a translation of tad-bhavanam, “those adolescent's quarters,” but in the back of my mind the word I was looking for was “digs.” The serious dictionary says “digs” is a dated and informal terms for rented accommodation. But dated and informal or not, to my ear it fits – because digging and growth are connected on many levels in various fields, and not only in fields of potatoes.

kalaiḥ (inst. pl. m.): mfn. indistinct; low , soft (as a tone) , emitting a soft tone , melodious (as a voice or throat)
hi: for
cāmīkara-baddha-kakṣaiḥ (inst. pl. m.): with a girdle of gold studs
cāmīkara: n. gold
baddha: mfn. bound ; girt with ; (with instr. or ifc.) inlaid or studded with , set in
kakṣa: mf. a girdle , zone , belt , girth ; mf. hem , border , lace; mf. the periphery , circumference

nārī-karāgrābhihataiḥ (inst. pl. m.): beaten by women's fingertips
nārī: f. a woman
karāgra: n. tip of the finger
kara: 'doer', hand
agra: tip
abhihata: mfn. struck; beaten (as a drum , &c )
mṛdaṅgaiḥ (inst pl.): m. (prob. fr. mṛdam + ga , " going about while being beaten "; a kind of drum , tabour

varāpsaro-nṛtya-samaiḥ (inst. pl. n.): on a par with the dancing of the choicest celestial nymphs
vara: mfn. " select " , choicest , valuable , precious , best , most excellent or eminent among
apsaras: f. celestial nymph
nṛtya: n. dancing , acting , gesticulation , pantomime
sama: mfn. level with, like
ca: and
nṛtyaiḥ (inst. pl.): n. dancing , acting , gesticulation , pantomime

kailāsa-vat: like Mt. Kailāsa
kailāsa: m. N. of a mountain (fabulous residence of kubera and paradise of śiva ; placed in the himālaya range and regarded as one of the loftiest peaks to the north of the mānasa lake)
vat: an affix added to words to imply likeness or resemblance
tad-bhavanam (nom. sg. n.): that dwelling ; his home
bhavana: n. a place of abode , mansion , home , house , palace , dwelling ; n. coming into existence , birth , production; n. the place where anything grows (ifc.= field cf. śāli-bh°) ;
rarāja: to be illustrious or resplendent , shine , glitter ; to appear as or like (iva)

妓女衆圍遶 奏合天樂音
勿隣穢聲色 令生厭世想

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

BUDDHACARITA 2.29: Geological Explorations

⏑−⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−¦¦−−⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−    Upajāti (Kīrti)
tataḥ śarat-toyada-pāṇḍareṣu bhūmau vimāneṣv-iva rañjiteṣu
harmyeṣu sarvartu-sukhāśrayeṣu strīṇām-udārair-vijahāra tūryaiḥ || 2.29

Then, in penthouse apartments
painted white as autumn clouds --

Like the seven-storey palaces of gods,
only on the earth --

And appointed for comfort in every season,

He roamed for fun
among female players of the finest instruments.

One of those fine instruments referred to in the 4th pāda was very probably the bamboo flute, known in Japanese as the shaku-hachi – the playing of which a certain long-time follower of this blog knows a bit about.

Retreating from such idle speculation and coming back to more solid ground, a key word in today's verse might be bhūmau, “on the earth.”

No bloke has ever really been to paradise, because paradise does not really exist, but many of us have had the experience of feeling like we were in paradise.

Before that many of us had the experience of fantasizing what the paradise-like experience might be like, possibly while leafing through a publication with a title like Playboy, or Penthouse, which seemed to us to be replete with idealized images of celestial nymphs.

But then, if we were lucky (or so we thought), we actually got to experience what all the fuss was about, on a bed, in a bedroom, on the upper storey of a house, built on the earth.

In the end how was it? Like paradise? Possibly. Either way, it was very fleeting. The paradise-like experience, if we ever had it, was impermanent, and it soon ushered in suffering.

Thinking objectively, the paradise-like experience is a trick that our biology plays on us, and it invariably either ends in the passing on of our genetic inheritance, or ends in tears. Sometimes both. Rarely neither.

In any event, the point conveyed by bhūmau is that the young prince had plentiful paradise-like experience down here on earth – not with celestial nymphs up in heavenly towers, and not only in his dreams, but with real women, on planet earth, in a palace with south-facing apartments furnished with heating facilities to keep rooms warm when it was cold outside, with north-facing apartments with cooling facilities to keep rooms cool when it was hot outside, with balconies from which to admire winter changing to spring and summer changing to autumn, et cetera.

Digging deeper bhūmau, into the earth, it makes no difference to the earth whether a royal palace is built on it so that female virtuosos can play the bamboo flute in penthouse apartments high above it, or whether an enlightened buddha on his transcendent way lightly treads upon it. Whether it is shat upon by a dog, or sat upon by a buddha, the earth does not mind at all – and this is a fact that, as an antidote to being too much of a fusspot, a big girl's blouse, a moaning minnie, might usefully be meditated upon.

“Roamed for fun,” incidentally is vijahāra, from the root vi-√hṛ, from which is also derived the vihāra (“exploring”) of the canto title, as discussed yesterday.

In terms of the mining metaphor, exploration can be seen as a stage preparatory to the more rigorous work of mining, so that exploration is a cause whose effect is mining. Alternatively, mining, including exploration, can be seen as a cause whose effect is abundant gold, wrought and unwrought, in jewellery and in bullion.

Either way, the exploring and mining are done not in heaven but on the earth and in the earth – bhūmau.

tataḥ: ind. then, on that basis
śarat-toyada-pāṇḍareṣu (loc. pl.): white as autumn clouds
śarad: f. autumn (as the " time of ripening ") , the autumnal season (the sultry season of two months succeeding the rains ; in some parts of India comprising the months bhādra and āśvina , in other places āśvina and kārttika , fluctuating thus from August to November)
toya-da: m. " water-giver " , a rain-cloud
pāṇḍara: mfn. whitish-yellow , pale , white

bhūmau (loc. sg.): f. the earth , soil , ground
vimāneṣu (loc. pl.): m. n. a car or chariot of the gods , any mythical self-moving aerial car (sometimes serving as a seat or throne , sometimes self-moving and carrying its occupant through the air ; other descriptions make the vimāna more like a house or palace , and one kind is said to be 7 stories high); m. the palace of an emperor or supreme monarch (esp. one with 7 stories)
iva: like
rañjiteṣu (loc. pl.): mfn. coloured , dyed , painted , tinted ; illumined ; affected , moved , charmed , delighted

harmyeṣu (loc. pl.): n. a large house , palace , mansion , any house or large building or residence of a wealthy person
sarvartu-sukhāśrayeṣu (loc. pl.): furnished with comforts for every season
sarvartu: m. every season ; " containing all seasons " , a year
sarva: all
ṛtu: seasons
sukha: ease, pleasure, comfort
āśraya: mfn. ifc. depending on , resting on , endowed or furnished with

strīṇām (gen. pl.): f. woman
udāraiḥ (inst. pl.): mfn. high , lofty , exalted ;
vijahāra = 3rd pers. sg. perf. vi- √ hṛ: to spend or pass (time) ; (esp.) to walk or roam about for pleasure , divert one's self
tūryaiḥ (inst. pl.): n. a musical instrument

温涼四時適 隨時擇善居

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

BUDDHACARITA 2.28: Consideration of Causation

−−⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−¦¦⏑−⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−    Upajāti (Vāṇī)
kiṁ-cin-manaḥ-kṣobha-karaṁ pratīpaṁ kathaṁ-na paśyed-iti so 'nucintya
vāsaṁ nṛpo vyādiśati sma tasmai harmyodareṣv-eva na bhū-pracāram || 2.28

“How might he not see the slightest unpleasantness

That could cause disturbance in his mind?”

Reflecting thus, the king assigned him a residence

Up in the very bowels of the palace,
away from the bustle on the ground.

The story of how Śuddhodhana, King of the Śākyas, tried to insulate his son from all unpleasantness, and thereby accidentally caused the Śākya prince to focus his mind on suffering, has been told and retold through the ages in many languages.

For me, just this way is how I wish to hear it. Not in Pali, not in the broken English of a Japanese master, not in the fluent English of an eloquent native speaker of English, but just in the Sanskrit poetry of the buddha-ancestor named Aśvaghoṣa.

I wish to sift through every single word that Aśvaghoṣa wrote, rigorously, and extract whatever gold I am able to extract.

I read somewhere that in an article for Tricycle magazine, Norman Fischer described the Nishijima/Cross translation as “rigorous,” as distinct from the other complete translations of Shobogenzo that are “pious” and “poetic.” I take that as a complement, because pious I sure as hell am not and neither is being poetic my primary aim. But rigorous I do aspire to be – in the style of Frederique the builder, who faced with the choice between taking a short-cut and doing a job properly would invariably conclude “Pas de choix.” Frederique is, in the words of my French neighbour, exigeant -- exacting, rigorous. A couple of years ago, when Frederique knocked a big hole in a stone wall for us in order to put in some patio doors, I was totally impressed and inspired by his degree of exigeance, or rigour. So thank you for that Norman. I haven't read the Tricycle artice, but I hope credit was given where credit was due to the translation that was first -- the Editio Princeps, as EH Johnston referred to EB Cowell's translation of Buddha-carita. 

In a spirit of unrelenting rigour, then, the first thing to notice is that the phrase manaḥ-kṣobha-kara in the 1st pāda of today's verse is repeated in Canto 17 of Saundara-nanda, in connection with the stages of sitting-meditation:
Distanced from desires and tainted things, containing ideas and containing thoughts, /Born of solitude and possessed of joy and ease, is the first stage of meditation, which he then entered. // SN17.42 // Released from the burning of the bonfire of desires, he derived great gladness from ease in the act of meditating -- / Ease like a heat-exhausted man diving into water. Or like a pauper coming into great wealth. // 17.43 // Even in that, he realised, ideas about aforesaid things, and thoughts about what is or is not good, / Are something not quieted, causing disturbance in the mind (manaḥ-kṣobha-karān), and so he decided to cut them out. // 17.44 //
There is a certain irony at play, then, in the king's question. There is more meaning than the king himself realizes in his question -- How not to cause disturbance in the mind?  In trying to answer it, the king resorts to the end-gaining strategy of stimulus avoidance, whereas Nanda in his sitting-meditation cuts out the disturbance at its cause, by directing himself back to his original state of unitary awareness and, in so doing, gradually giving up the ideas and thoughts that have been creating the disturbance: 
For, just as waves produce disturbance in a river bearing a steady flow of tranquil water, /  So ideas, like waves of thought, disturb the water of the one-pointed mind (cittāmbhasaḥ kṣobha-karā vitarkāḥ// 17.45 // And just as noises are a source of bother to one who is weary, and fallen fast asleep, / So do ideas become bothersome to one who is indulging in his original state of unitary awareness. // 17.46 // And so gradually bereft of idea and thought, his mind tranquil from one-pointedness, / He realised the joy and ease born of balanced stillness -- that inner wellbeing which is the second stage of meditation. // 17.47 //
EH Johnston (whose work, for all his failings as a non-practitioner, I nonetheless appreciate very much, like Freddo the builder, as an excellent mirror of rigour) notes that the harmya is properly the upper part of the palace. So I have translated harmyodareṣv eva as “up in the very bowels of the palace.”

This phrase brings to mind the canto title anta-puraḥ-vihāraḥ, which EHJ translates as “Life in the Palace” but which I provisionally intend to translate as “Exploring Within the Battlements” (see also comment to BC2.9). On the surface, anta-puraḥ-vihāraḥ suggests the prince's sexual explorations, not only with Yaśodhara but also with other courtiers skilled in the erotic arts. But I think the exploring Aśvaghoṣa really had in mind was exploration of cause and effect, by poet and by reader/listener.

What this canto, as I read it, is really all about, is exploration of the workings of cause and effect. 

On the surface, the explorer means the young Śākya prince, but I think Aśvaghoṣa's intention is that the explorer should be the listener or reader who, following Aśvaghoṣa's own example, hears the Buddha's story neither as religious revelation or transmission of a sacred word, nor primarily as an act of a poet's creative imagination, but primarily as a story that was crafted on the unshakeable foundation of cause and effect, and a story that every practitioner is required to work out for himself or herself, on the unshakeable foundation of cause and effect.

In today's verse, as in Canto 17 of Saundara-nanda, manaḥ-kṣobha-kara, means “causing disturbance in the mind.” And the practical question, accepting the truth that the right thing everywhere tends to do itself, might mainly be how not to do that.

The not doing of that is the essence of the 3rd noble truth.

And a way of not doing that is the 4th noble truth, whose essence might be expressed in the Alexander maxim “Direction is the truest form of inhibition.”

The 1st noble truth might be expressed as recognition, or acceptance, of the fact that human minds everywhere are subject to being disturbed.

And the 2nd noble truth might be expressed as recognition, or acceptance, of the fact that such disturbance has a cause.

When push comes to shove, it seems to me, neither piety nor poetry are the slightest bit of use in understanding the four noble truths – though Aśvaghoṣa evidently saw poetry as a useful sweetener to help people swallow the bitter pill.

There again, in the canto title, anta-puraḥ-vihāraḥ, or “Exploring Within the Battlements,” among various meanings of vihāra are wandering around for fun, or roaming about. So, in the final analysis, being unrelentingly rigorous about the exploration might also not be it. Being overly rigorous might indeed be a cause of disturbance in the mind.

kiṁ-cit: somewhat, a little
manaḥ-kṣobha-karam (acc. sg. n.): a cause of disturbance in the mind
manas: mind
kṣobha: m. shaking , agitation , disturbance , tossing , trembling , emotion
kara: mfn. a doer , maker , causer ; m. the act of doing , making &c (ifc. ; cf. su-kara, “doing good” &c );
pratīpam (acc. sg. n.) : mfn. " against the stream " , " against the grain " , going in an opposite direction , meeting , encountering , adverse , contrary , opposite , reverse ; displeasing , disagreeable

katham: how?
na: not
paśyet = 3rd pers. sg. optative paś: to see (with na " to be blind ") , behold , look at , observe , perceive , notice ; to live to see , experience , partake of, undergo , incur
iti: “....,” thus
saḥ (nom. sg.): m. he
anucintya = abs. anu- √ cint: to meditate, consider

vāsam (acc. sg.): m. staying , remaining (esp. " overnight ") , abiding , dwelling , residence , abode
nṛpaḥ (nom. sg.): m. 'ruler of men,' the king
vyādiśati = 3rd pers. sg. present vy-ā- √ diś: to point out separately ; to point out , show , explain , teach ; to prescribe, enjoin ; to appoint , assign , despatch to any place or duty , direct , order , command (with dat. loc. , or prati)
sma: ind. a particle perhaps originally equivalent to " ever " , " always " and later to " indeed " , " certainly " , " verily " , " surely " (it is often used pleonastically ; it is also joined with a pres. tense or pres. participle to give them a past sense [e.g. praviśanti sma , " they entered "] )
tasmai (dat. sg. m.): for him

harmyodareṣu (loc. pl.): in the bowels of the palace
harmya: n. a large house , palace , mansion , any house or large building or residence of a wealthy person
udara: n. the belly , abdomen , stomach , bowels ; the interior or inside of anything
eva: (emphatic)
na: not
bhū-pracāram (acc. sg. m.): a place for going around on the ground,
bhū: f. the act of becoming or arising; f. the place of being , space , world or universe (also pl.) ; f. earth (as a substance) , ground , soil , land ;
pracāra: m. roaming , wandering ; coming forth , showing one's self; a playground , place of exercise ; pasture-ground , pasturage (= Vishn2. xviii , 44 , where Sch. " a way or road leading from or to a house ") Cf. bhikṣa-cāra: mfn. going about begging , a mendicant

瑰艷若天后 同處日夜歡
爲立清淨宮 宏麗極莊嚴

Monday, August 27, 2012

BUDDHACARITA 2.27: The Fresh Prince Has Fun, Frankly

−−⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−¦¦⏑−⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−    Upajāti (Vāṇī)
vidyotamāno vapuṣā pareṇa sanatkumāra-pratimaḥ kumāraḥ
sārdhaṁ tayā śākya-narendra-vadhvā śacyā sahasrākṣa ivābhireme || 2.27

The prince, with his supremely fine form shining forth,

Like “the Prince Who Was Forever Fresh,” Sanat-kumāra,

Enjoyed himself together with that Śākya princess

As did mighty “All-Eyed” Indra, mightily, with Śacī.

śacyā in the 4th pāda means “mightily” and at the same time “with Śacī” – Śacī being the name of Indra's wife.

The reference to Indra being “all-eyed” (lit. “thousand-eyed”) is explained in detail in this Wiki entry on Ahalya, whose aged husband Gautama punished Indra for seducing his wife by cursing Indra to carry his shame on his body in the form of a thousand vulvae. These female organs, according to an account in the Brahma Vaivarta Purana, turned to eyes when Indra worshipped the sun-god Surya.

In some sense, then, the verse is euphemistically saying “the prince and princess had enjoyable sex with each other” But in another sense the verse could hardly be less euphemistic, bringing to the reader's mind a thousand …. [choose your own four-letter word for a female sexual organ].

In today's verse, then, as I read it, two somewhat opposing tendencies are at play – the first is the tendency to prefer indirectness to directness of expression; the second is a tendency to see things directly, as they are. A stone lantern in the temple garden is a stone lantern in the temple garden. And just as a stone lantern in the garden is like that, so too is the act of sexual intercourse between a man and a woman like that. 

The paradoxical combination of indirectness and directness is paralleled in Dogen's writing in his effort to transmit a subtle method which is supreme and free of doing (最上 無為の妙 術, SAIJO-MUI NO MYO-JUTSU), and at the same time a way that is directly indicated and straightforward (直指端的の道, JIKISHI-TANTEKI NO DO).

The direct (JIKI) of "directly indicated" suggests the transmission of the Buddha's teaching face-to-face (as opposed to via the internet, for example). At the same time straightforward  (端的; TANTEKI) means straightforward, frank, not euphemistic, direct. 

Where the indirectness comes in is in the subtle (妙, MYO) of "subtle method." Indirectness has to come into the equation in order to circumvent the end-gaining mind. Closely allied to this subtlety and indirectness is the irony by which a master of irony like Aśvaghoṣa constantly subverts the end-gaining mind. 

Far-fetched though the claim may seem to be, then, I see even in today's verse a suggestion of the paradox at the heart of Zen practice.

Move your leg,” Marjory Barlow used to say to me, going to the heart of this paradox, in order to point me towards re-discovery of what her uncle had re-discovered – “the secret of Zen for our time,” as a friend and pupil of hers had put it. She gave me the instruction “move your leg” because she wanted me in the first instance to give up all idea of moving my leg, because she knew that if I had in the back of my mind the hint of an idea of doing something, I would revert instantly to my habitual manner of using myself (together with my habitual manner of not accepting myself).

Marjory wanted me to give up all idea of moving a leg – not like hitting the pause button on a CD player, but like hitting the stop button and going over to the wall and unplugging the damn thing. She wanted me consign the idea of moving a leg to total oblivion... and yet move the leg.

This (Sunday) afternoon it has been very quiet here by the forest. I have been sitting for two or three hours, interspersed with throwing and kicking balls for the dog to retrieve, and re-visiting what Aśvaghoṣa meant by “those enemies that grab the heel." Aśvaghoṣa describes Nanda overpowering those enemies as a prelude to entering the first stage of sitting-meditation:
In order to go entirely beyond the sphere of desire, he overpowered those enemies that grab the heel, / So that he attained, because of practice, the fruit of not returning, and stood as if at the gateway to the citadel of nirvāṇa. // SN17.41 // Distanced from desires and tainted things, containing ideas and containing thoughts, / Born of solitude and possessed of joy and ease, is the first stage of meditation, which he then entered. // SN17.42 //
It is as if Marjory Barlow gave me a very powerful weapon for overpowering those old enemies which, though you thought and felt you had put them behind you, come back from time to time and bite you on the backside. Like the terminator, the old enemy is not easily overpowered. But just what is this old enemy? Nothing more than an idea. And nothing less.

The idea is very old. It is intimately related with fear, and with desire. If it could speak it might be saying to every muscle in the body "You had better do something." 

As FM Alexander so truly said, "the most difficult things to get rid of are the ones that don't exist."

I think that the ultimate aim of every verse that Aśvaghoṣa wrote, including today's verse, is to encourage us to get rid of those most difficult of things to get rid of. 

vidyotamānaḥ = nom. sg. m. pres. part. vi- √ dyut: to flash forth , lighten , shine forth (as the rising sun) ; (ví-dyotate , " it lightens " ; vi-dyótamāne , " when it lightens ") ;
vapuṣā (inst. sg.): n. form , figure , (esp.) a beautiful form or figure , wonderful appearance , beauty
pareṇa (inst. sg. n.): mfn. furthest out; best or worst , highest , supreme

sanatkumāra-pratimaḥ (nom. sg. m.): like Sanatkumāra
sanatkumāra: m. " always a youth " or " son of brahmā " , N. of one of the four or seven sons of brahmā (cf. sanaka ; he is said to be the oldest of the progenitors of mankind ; the N. of sanat-kumāra is sometimes given to any great saint who retains youthful purity)
sanat: ind. from of old , always , ever
kumāra: m. boy, youth, prince
pratimā: f. image, likeness; ifc. like , similar , resembling , equal to
kumāraḥ (nom. sg.): m. the prince, boy

sārdham: ind. jointly , together , along with , with (instr.)
tayā (inst. sg. f.): with her
śākya-narendra-vadhvā (inst. sg. f.): the younger female relation of the Śākya man-lord; the Śākya princess
śākya-narendra: the Śākya man-lord, the king of the Śākyas
vadhvā (inst. sg.): f. a bride or newly-married woman , young wife, any wife or woman; a daughter-in-law ; any younger female relation

śacyā = inst. sg. śacī: f. the rendering of powerful or mighty help , assistance , aid (esp. said of the deeds of indra and the aśvins , instr. śácyā and śácībhis , often = " mightily " or , " helpfully ") RV. ; N. of the wife of indra (derived fr. śacī-pati q.v.);
śacī-pati: m. 'lord of might or help'; name of Indra
sahasrākṣaḥ (nom. sg. m.): mfn. 'thousand-eyed' ; all-perceiving , all-inspecting ; m. N. of indra (so called from the curse of gautama who detecting indra in a desire to seduce his wife ahalyā covered him with a thousand marks of the female organ , afterwards changed to eyes )
sahasra: thousand
akṣa: (ifc. = akṣi); the eye
iva: like
abhireme = 3rd pers. sg. perf. abhi- √ ram : to dwell, delight

太子志高遠 徳盛貎清明
猶梵天長子 舍那鳩摩羅

Sunday, August 26, 2012

BUDDHACARITA 2.26: A True Woman

⏑−⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−⏑−¦¦−−⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−    Upajāti (Haṁsī)
kulāt-tato 'smai sthira-śīla-yuktāt-sādhvīṁ vapur-hrī-vinayopapannām
yaśodharāṁ nāma yaśo-viśālāṁ vāmābhidhānāṁ śriyam-ājuhāva || 2.26

Then he summoned for him,
from a family of steadfast integrity,

A true woman,
the possessor of fine form, modesty and discipline,

A woman full of glory
whose name was Yaśodharā, “Bearer of Glory” --

In the shape of such a woman
did the king invoke Śrī, goddess of fortune.

Today's verse conveys another important point in the Buddha's biography, in introducing Yaśodharā, who would be the mother of the Buddha's son Rāhula.

EHJ points out that the wording śriyam-ājuhāva “suggests invocations to Śrī of which Buddhists did not approve." Sounds interesting. 

I see a richer vein of irony, however in the 2nd pāda, which, understood superficially, could easily be translated in such a way as to offend a feminist.

Going strictly by the dictionary, the 2nd pāda might be understood as describing Yaśodharā as “a chaste and virtuous woman / a faithful wife, endowed with a beautiful figure, modesty and good breeding.”

EB Cowell, translating in the 1890s went with “a bride possessed of beauty, modesty, and gentle bearing.” 

EH Johnston in the 1930s followed EBC in regard to the meaning of vapus (beauty), hrī (modesty) and vinaya (gentle bearing) but in his understanding of the meaning of sādhvī he went further in the direction of identifying female virtue with virginity: “a maiden... virtuous and endowed with beauty, modesty and gentle bearing.”

P Olivelle in 2007 went in similar vein with “a virtuous maiden...endowed with beauty, modesty, and good bearing.”

The description of Yaśodharā as sādhvīṁ vapur-hrī-vinayopapannām, however, could just as easily be understood as subverting the chauvinist conception of an ideal bride.

Though the Monier-Williams dictionary defines sādhvī only as “a chaste or virtuous woman, faithful wife,” sādhvī is simply the feminine of sādhu, which MW defines primarily as “a good or virtuous or honest man.” So setting aside impermanent cultural conceptions of what an ideal wife might look like, I think the best translation of sādhvī, and the one that Aśvaghoṣa really intended, is simply “a true woman.”

vapus which on the surface might be taken as suggesting a beautiful female figure – whether in the shape of an egg-timer, as per the 1950s ideal, or in the shape of a thin twig – could also be taken as describing the fine form of a well-coordinated woman of action like an athlete or swimmer or practitioner of sitting-meditation.

Accepting that hrī means modesty, which of the three meanings of modesty given in the dictionary should we think Aśvaghoṣa was pointing to as an attribute of a true woman: 1. humility: unwillingness to draw attention to your own achievements or abilities 2. sexual reserve: reserve in appearance, manner, and speech, especially in relation to sexual matters; or 3. shyness: lack of confidence or assertiveness, with a tendency to embarrass easily? If we follow the route of easy understanding, then 2. and 3. would seem relevant to the description of a blushing virgin bride. But I think what Aśvaghoṣa really had in mind was only 1., that is, modesty as humility.

And among the many meanings of vinaya -- which EBC and EHJ translate as “gentle bearing” and PO translates as “good bearing” – is discipline, in which context vinaya is used in several places in Saundara-nanda without any sense of anything airy-fairy or feminine like “gentle bearing,” viz:
Even lesser creatures moved there in the some subdued manner as the stags, / As if from their ascetic protectors they had learned the rules of discipline (vinaya) // 1.13 //
Tall they were like golden columns, lion-chested, strong-armed, / Worthy of their great name and royal insignia and good upbringing (vinaya). // 1.19 //
Possessed of good conduct, discipline (vinaya), prudence and industry, Bearing the big umbrella for duty's sake, not to pander to the power of the senses, / He guarded that realm, surrounded by his brothers, Like roaring Indra guarding heaven with his retinue of storm-gods. // 1.62 // 
And so the wheel of dharma -- whose hub is uprightness, whose rim is constancy, determination, and balanced stillness, / And whose spokes are the rules of discipline (vinaya) -- there the Seer turned, in that assembly, for the welfare of the world. // 3.11 // 
And so, seeing that he had made a vessel of the ruler of men, through the wealth of his accomplishments, / And that the townsfolk also were amenable, the Guide gave voice to the dharma and the discipline (vinaya). // 3.26 // 
Even one there who had been given over to ends like wealth / Was now content with free giving, discipline (vinaya), and restraint: he also fared well, not straying from the true path. // 3.40 //
For the man of spirit and noble birth; for the man who cherishes honour and strives to earn respect; / For the man of grit -- better death for him than life as a backslider (cyuta-vinayasya). // 8.57 //
Finally, upapanna is from the root upa-√pad, which means to go towards, reach, gain possession of. So in the 2nd line “possessed of” and “endowed with” are perfectly literal translations of -upapannām but, at the risk of splitting hairs, those translations do tend to paint Yaśodharā as the recipient of gifts from nature, whereas some sense may be read in the original word upapanna of qualities that Yaśodharā, as a true woman – and not necessarily a chaste and virtuous maiden who is passively endowed with characteristics that men deem to be desirable in a woman – has gone towards, has reached, has gained possession of, has made her own.

Implicit in today's verse, then, as I would like to read it, is Aśvagahoṣa's recognition that a woman, through her own efforts, can be the possessor of fine form, modesty, and discipline. If, however, she has some unexamined idea of “possessing fine form” and works directly to realize that end – for example, by going to the gym or having plastic surgery or going to an Alexander teacher to improve her posture – that is end-gaining, which is never a reliable means of possessing fine form.

A reliable means is an indirect route, beginning with recognition and giving up of the idea or expectation or desire which triggers the end-gaining which causes energy to be directed down old pathways associated with the generation of suffering.

These days I am quite alert to end-gaining tendencies, in others. Preventing myself from barging about unskilfully, however, continues to prove difficult.

kulāt (abl. sg.): n. family
tataḥ: ind. then
asmai (dat. sg.): for him
sthira-śīla-yuktāt (abl. sg. n.): possessed of solid integrity
sthira: mfn. firm, hard, solid; steadfast; n. steadfastness , stubbornness , resistance
śīla: n. habit , custom , usage , natural or acquired way of living or acting , practice , conduct , disposition , tendency , character , nature ; good disposition or character , moral conduct , integrity , morality , piety , virtue
yukta: mfn. set to work , made use of , employed , occupied with , engaged in , intent upon (instr. loc. or comp.); furnished or endowed or filled or supplied or provided with , accompanied by , possessed of (instr. or comp.); (ifc.) added to , increased by (e.g. catur-yuktā viṁśatiḥ , twenty increased by four i.e. 24); (ifc.) connected with , concerning ; (ifc.) subject to , dependent on; fit , suitable , appropriate , proper , right , established , proved , just , due , becoming to or suitable for (gen. loc. or comp.)

sādhvīm (acc. sg.): f. a chaste or virtuous woman , faithful wife
sādhu: straight, true ; leading straight to a goal , hitting the mark ; straightened , not entangled (as threads) ; well-disposed , kind , willing , obedient
vapur-hrī-vinayopapannām (acc. sg. f.): endowed with fine form, modesty, and mild manners / monastic discipline
vapus: mfn. having form or a beautiful form ; n. form , figure , (esp.) a beautiful form or figure , wonderful appearance , beauty
hrī: f. shame , modesty
vinaya: m. leading , guidance , training (esp. moral training) , education , discipline , control ; m. (with Buddhists) the rules of discipline for monks ; m. good breeding , propriety of conduct , decency , modesty , mildness
upapanna: mfn. one who has approached a teacher (as a pupil); one who has obtained or reached; endowed with , possessed of , furnished with
upa- √ pad: to go towards ; to reach , obtain , partake of ; to enter into any state

yaśodharām (acc. sg.): f. 'maintaining or preserving glory'
nāma: ind. by name
yaśo-viśālām (acc. sg. f.): full of glory
yaśas: n. beautiful appearance , beauty , splendour , worth ; honour , glory , fame , renown
viśāla: (ifc.) abundant in , full of

vāmābhidhānām (acc. sg. f.): with “beautiful woman” for a name
vāmā [EHJ]: f. a beautiful woman , any woman or wife
vāma: mfn. lovely , dear , pleasant , agreeable , fair , beautiful , splendid , noble; n. a lovely thing , any dear or desirable good (as gold , horses &c ) , wealth , fortune
tulya [EBC]: equal to , of the same kind or class or number or value , similar , comparable , like
tāma [2 manuscripts]: mfn. terrifying, horrible
abhidhāna: n. telling , naming , speaking , speech , manifesting; a name , title , appellation , expression , word ; putting together , bringing in close connection
abhi- √ dhā: to put on or round, to cover; to explain, set forth, name
śriyam (acc. sg.): f. light , lustre , radiance , splendour , glory , beauty , grace , loveliness ; N. of lakṣmī (as goddess of prosperity or beauty and wife of viṣṇu , produced at the churning of the ocean , also as daughter of bhṛgu and as mother of darpa)
ājuhāva = 3rd pers. sg. perf. ā- √ hve: to call near , invoke, invite , summon , cite

廣訪名豪族 風教禮義門
容姿端正女 名耶輪陀羅
應嫂太子妃 誘導留其心

Saturday, August 25, 2012

BUDDHACARITA 2.25: The King's End-gaining Plan

−−⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−¦¦−−⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−    Upajāti (Bālā)
naiḥśreyasaṁ tasya tu bhavyam-arthaṁ śrutvā purastād-asitān-maharṣeḥ
kāmeṣu saṅgaṁ janayāṁ-babhūva vanāṁ na yāyād-iti śākya-rājaḥ || 2.25

But having heard before, from the great seer Asita,

That the prince's future purpose would be transcendent bliss,

The Śākya king encouraged in his son 
attachment to sensual desires,

So that he might not go to the forest.

Two of the three manuscripts upon which EB Cowell based his text omitted the 4th pāda of today's verse. Relying on the other manuscript (which may have contained a 4th pāda only as a result of the copyist's conjecture), EBC's text has:
vṛddhir bhavac-chākyakulasya rājñāḥ
“the increase of the king of the present Śākya race.”
EBC noted that “The last pāda seems spurious as it is only found in C [the third of the three manuscripts]. I have tried to make some sense by reading buddhiḥ (judgement) for vṛddhiḥ (increase).”
Hence EBC's translation of the 3rd and 4th pādas is:
“the anxious care of the king of the present Śākya race turned the prince to sensual pleasures.”

EH Johnston surmised that the 4th pāda of the old Nepalese manuscript (of which EBC's manuscripts were copies) was illegible except for the last two syllables, rājñāḥ. Based on the Tibetan translation, EHJ amended his text of the 4th pāda to:
vanāni yāyād-iti śākya-rājaḥ.

At the translation stage, however, EHJ noted that “the restoration of T [the Tibetan translation] is not quite certain, apparently vanaṁ for vanāni. C [the Chinese translation] is no help and I should prefer vanaṁ na yāyād iti.

EHJ's translation of the 3rd and 4th pādas was:
“he feared lest he should go to the forests and therefore he turned him to sensual pleasures.”

On the surface, then, today's verse points to an important fact in the Buddha's biography, which is namely that the king took steps to encourage his son to become attached to sensual pleasures and thereby, by the universal law of unintended consequences, helped to bring about the very result that he feared.

Digging deeper is always difficult, but particularly so in today's verse when so much uncertainty attaches to the 4th pāda.

I have accepted EHJ's final conjecture as a stopgap, but I suspect that if we had Aśvaghoṣa's original words, they would contain an encouragement to dig deeper, and ask just what it is about the end-gaining mind, that it causes us to bring about a result that is the opposite of what we wanted. 

This irony relates to the tactic that the Buddha used to help Nanda move on from attachment to his sensual desire for Sundarī, in Aśvaghoṣa's Epic Story of Beautiful Joy. It also relates to ironies that everybody can observe for himself or herself in sitting practice -- whereby in our efforts to be mindful, we go around looking like zombies; in our efforts not to interfere with breathing, we interfere like hell; and in our efforts to let body and mind spontaneously drop off,  we become self-conscious, stilted and stiff. 

I could go on -- in our efforts to keep precepts we can't stop breaking them; and in our efforts to be seen as heroic, we end up looking to everybody like the bad guy. Enough said. 

naiḥśreyasam (acc. sg.): mfn. leading to happiness or future beatitude
naiḥ: (strengthening particle)
śreyasa: n. welfare , happiness , bliss (mostly ifc.)
tasya (gen. sg.): his
tu: but
bhavyam (acc. sg.): mfn. future, due to be
artham (acc. sg.): mn. aim, purpose; cause , motive , reason

śrutvā = abs. śru: to hear, listen, learn, be informed/enlightened [see discussion in BC1.76-1.78]
purastāt: ind. before
asitāt (abl. sg.): m. Asita, “the Not-White One.”
maharṣeḥ (abl. sg.): m. the great seer

kāmeṣu (loc. pl.): m. desires, sensual pleasures
saṅgam (acc. sg.): m. sticking , clinging to , touch , contact with (loc.); addiction or devotion to , propensity for , (esp.) worldly or selfish attachment or affection , desire , wish , cupidity
janayām babhūva = 3rd pers. sg. periphrastic causative perfect jan: to generate , beget , produce , create , cause

vanāni (acc. pl.): n. forest
yāyāt = 3rd per. sg. optative yā: to go to, set out for
iti: thus
śākya-rājaḥ (nom. sg.): m. the Śākya king, king of the Śākyas
vṛddhiḥ (nom. sg.): f. growth , increase , augmentation , rise , advancement , extension , welfare , prosperity , success , fortune , happiness
buddhi: f. intelligence , reason , intellect , mind , discernment , judgement
bhavac-chākyakulasya rājñāḥ (gen. sg. m.): of the king of the present Śākya clan
bhavat: mfn. present
shākya-kula: Śākya clan
rājan: m. king

父王見聰達 深慮踰世表