Thursday, August 2, 2012

BUDDHACARITA 2.2: Politics & Economics (II) - Loads of Money

⏑−⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−¦¦⏑−⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−  Upajāti (Upendravajrā)
dhanasya ratnasya ca tasya tasya kṛtākṛtasyaiva ca kāñcanasya
tadā hi naikān-sa nidhīn-avāpa manorathasyāpy-atibhāra-bhūtān || 2.2

For all sorts of money and treasure,

Of wrought gold, or nothing but bullion --

Manifold reserves, did he then obtain,

Seemingly loaded even beyond the capacity
of the chariot of his mind.

In today's verse as I read it a certain financial acumen is evidenced in a philosophical progression through four phases, namely:
(1) a generic expression of “treasure,” as a child might expect to find it buried by a pirate in a chest;
(2) a cynical recognition of the distinction between wrought gold and gold bullion, the former being ever liable to become inflated in price relative to the latter, especially when gold is wrought into coinage to be used as money, a process generally associated with debasement;
(3) an expression of the wisdom of having reserves (nidhīn) set aside for unforseen events, and at the same time the wisdom of not putting all one's eggs in one basket – the wisdom of having, in the financial jargon, “a diversified (naikān) portfolio.”

In the 4th line, whereas we would say in colloquial English that the king (nom. sg.) was loaded, in the grammar of the original Sanskrit it is literally the manifold reserves (acc. pl.) that constitute an excessive burden. Either way, the expression in the 4th phase is an expression of that conspicuous real situation realized by those individuals in this world who, from ancient times to the present, have been able to accumulate more wealth than anybody, including the individual himself, could reasonably count. The expression includes a play on the word mano-ratha, which literally means either “mind-chariot” or “heart's desire,” depending on whether ratha is understood as coming from the root √ṛ, to go, or from the root √ram, to delight. Aśvaghośa plays with the same ambiguity three times in Saundara-nanda:
He became thirsty, desirous of drinking up the apsarases, afflicted by a pervading itch to have them. / Dragged along by the mind-chariot whose horse is the restless power of the senses, he could not come to stillness. // 10.41 //
Turning back from heaven, the chariot of his mind, whose horse was willpower, / Was like a great chariot turned back from a wrong road by an attentive charioteer. // 12.5 //
Then, surely, when she hears of your steadfast mind with its chariots turned back from sundry objects, / Your wife following your example will also talk, to women at home, the talk of dispassion. // 18.59 //
I really like today's verse.

“But,” some Reverend Master of the Church of Soto Zen might ask, “what has it got to do with Buddhist practice?”

Nothing whatsoever.

“What relation does it bear to gleaming Buddha statues, and daily services and flowers and incense and Japanese Zen clothes?”

Absolutely fuck all.

If, inspired by Aśvaghoṣa's wisdom, I go on hands and knees and knock my head on the ground, I do it not as a religious act but mainly as an action that is good for my faulty vestibular system.

People who are truly in the lineage of practice of Kodo Sawaki abhor things that are called in Japanese “bukkyo kusai,” affected by the stink of Buddhism.

In sitting-zen as I heard it taught by the late Abe Tsunemasa, who as a young boy was taught by Kodo Sawaki how mindfully and patiently to piss, the stink of religion is totally absent.

Similarly in today's verse, as I read it, the stink of religious Buddhism is conspicuous by its absence.

“What has today's verse got to do with the great thing which is just sitting,” I ask myself, and the answer that presents itself (sorry if it offends anybody, but I write it here as it presents itself to my mind) is: “Fuck all. Except, the just.”

In the end that is what I am always digging for. Nothing wrought, but the just, the whole just, and nothing but the just.

dhanasya (gen. sg.): n. any valued object , (esp.) wealth , riches , (movable) property , money , treasure , gift
ratnasya (gen. sg.): n. a jewel , gem , treasure , precious stone
ca: and
tasya tasya = gen. sg. tad tad: this and that , various , different

kṛtākṛtasya (gen. sg. n.): wrought and unwrought
kṛta: mfn. done, made ; prepared , made ready
akṛta: not made ; unprepared, unfinished
eva: (emphatic)
ca: and
kāñcanasya (gen. sg.): n. gold; mfn. golden , made or consisting of gold

tadā: ind. at that time , then , in that case (often used redundantly)
hi: for
naikān (acc. pl. m.): mfn. not one , more than one , various , manifold , numerous , many
sa (nom. sg. m.): he
nidhīn (acc. pl.): m. setting down ; a place for deposits or storing up , a receptacle; a store , hoard , treasure (in later language esp. the divine treasures belonging to kubera)
ni- √ dhā: to put or lay down , deposit , lay up , preserve
avāpa = 3rd pers. sg. perf. ava-√āp: to reach , attain , obtain , gain , get

manorathasya (gen. sg.): m. " heart's joy ", a wish , desire (also = desired object); fancy , illusion ; the heart compared to a car (» 1. ratha)
ratha: (1) m. (√ṛ) "goer", a chariot , car , esp. a two-wheeled war-chariot ; any vehicle; (2) m. (√ ram) pleasure , joy , delight
api: even
atibhāra-bhūtān (acc. pl. m.): constituting/being like an excessive burden
atibhāra: m. an excessive burden , excessive obscurity (of a sentence); (also) excess
bhāra: m. ( √ bhṛ, to bear) a burden , load , weight
bhūta: (ifc.) being or being like anything , consisting of , mixed or joined with

無量諸伏藏 自然從地出

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