Friday, August 3, 2012

BUDDHACARITA 2.3: Politics & Economics (III) - Strong Defences

−−⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−¦¦⏑−⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−  Upajāti (Buddhi)
ye padma-kalpair-api ca dvipendrair-na maṇḍalaṁ śakyam-ihābhinetum
madotkaṭā haimavatā gajās-te vināpi yatnād-upatasthur-enam || 2.3

And elephants that none in this world,
not even top tuskers of Padma's ilk,

Could lead around a circle --

Himālayan elephants massively in rut --

Stationed themselves,
without the making of any effort at all,
about his circle.

Padma in the 1st pāda is the name of the southernmost of the elephants that support the earth; so Padma represents one hell of a mighty elephant.

The maṇḍala in the 2nd pāda appears to allude firstly to the kind of circle, or ring, around which an elephant might be led, and secondly to what MW defines as “the circle of a king's near and distant neighbours.”  The latter conception, that a kingdom is surrounded by a circle of natural enemies, and beyond them another circle of allies or neutral states, is attributed to Kauṭilya aka Cāṇakya aka Viṣṇu-gupta (c. 350–283 BC), a minister in the court of Candra-gupta Maurya, who was the founder of Mauryan Empire. Kauṭilya wrote a seminal treatise on statecraft called Artha-śāstra, earning him from western scholars the epithet of "the Machiavelli of India.”

So what?

My question, again, is: “What does today's verse have to do with the Buddha's one great purpose?”

And the answer that presents itself, again, is: Nothing whatsoever – unless you see sitting in full lotus as a kind of fortress, through its function of effortlessly strengthening the immune system and scaring off celestial demons without even trying.

Because of the peculiarities of the history, constitution, and tax system of the United States of America, celestial demons seem to be well catered for in that prosperous non-kingdom – so long as they can keep convincing people that they are worthy recipients of tax-deductible donations.

Today's verse might offer to a big angry bloke who sits a clue as to how to respond to such celestial demons – i.e. not going on the offensive into their circle, but just maintaining strong defences within one's own circle, without even trying.

Celestial demons means people with a religious agenda. Everywhere they call themselves the faithful, true ****ists. In Israel they call themselves haredim, "god-fearers." They fear the wrath of a delusion they call "God," and worry about going to hell.

Is the antipathy I feel towards those others, those who style themselves as "true Buddhists" and the like, a manifestation of the mirror principle? Of course it is. The mirror principle never fails.

“People who haven't any fish to fry,” said FM Alexander, “they see it all right.”

ye (nom. pl. m.): [those elephants] which
padma-kalpaiḥ (inst. pl. m.): equal to Padma
padma: m. name of a mythical elephant (cf. mahā-padma)
mahā-padma: m. name of the southernmost of the elephants that support the earth
kalpa: mfn. proper , fit , able , competent , equal to ( ifc )
api ca: ind. even
dvipendraiḥ (inst. pl.): m. " prince of elephants " , a large elephant
dvi-pa: m. elephant (lit. drinking twice , sc. with his trunk and with his mouth)
indra: m. a prince ; ifc. best , excellent , the first , the chief (of any class of objects)

na: not
maṇḍalam (nom. sg.): n. anything round ; n. a circle , globe , orb , ring , circumference , ball , wheel ; n. the path or orbit of a heavenly body ; n. a surrounding district or neighbouring state , the circle of a king's near and distant neighbours (with whom he must maintain political and diplomatic relations ; 4 or 6 or 10 or even 12 such neighbouring princes are enumerated)
śakyam: mfn. able , possible , practicable , capable of being (with inf. in pass. sense e.g. na sā śakyā netum balāt , " she cannot be conducted by force ")
iha: ind. in/to this place, here; in this world
abhinetum = inf. abhi- √ nī : to conduct towards , bring near

madotkaṭāḥ (nom. pl. m.): abounding in rut
madā: f. sexual desire or enjoyment , wantonness , lust , ruttishness , rut (esp. of an elephant)
utkata: mfn. exceeding the usual measure , immense , gigantic ; richly endowed with , abounding in ; drunk , mad , furious ; m. fluid dropping from the temples of an elephant in rut
haimavatāḥ (nom. pl. m.): mfn. (fr. hima-vat) belonging to or situated or growing on or bred in or coming or flowing from the himālaya mountains
gajāḥ (nom. pl.): m. an elephan
te (nom. pl. m.): those [which]

vinā: ind. without
api: even
yatnāt (abl. sg.): effort, trouble
upatasthur = 3rd pers. pl. perfect upa- √ sthā: to stand or place one's self near , be present ; to stand by the side of , place one's self near ; to come together or meet with , become friendly with , conciliate ; to stand near in order to serve , attend , serve
enam (acc. sg. m.): this, that ; him , his [circle]; grammarians assert that the substitution of enam &c for imam or etam &c takes place when something is referred to which has already been mentioned in a previous part of the sentence

清淨雪山中 兇狂群白象
不呼自然至 不御自調伏 

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