Saturday, September 22, 2012

BUDDHACARITA 2.53: All for the Reality of Sitting

−⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−¦¦−−⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−    Upajāti (Kīrti)
babhāra rājyaṁ sa hi putra-hetoḥ putraṁ kulārthaṁ yaśase kulaṁ tu
svargāya śabdaṁ divam-ātma-hetor-dharmārtham-ātma-sthitim-ācakāṅkṣa || 2.53

For he cherished his sovereignty on account of his son,

His son for the sake of his noble house,
his house as an expression of honour,

Expression of truth as a way to heaven,
and heaven as a function of the self.

He desired the continued existence of the self
for the sake of the dharma.

On the surface today's verse is about what motivated King Śuddhodhana but the real point, following on from yesterday's verse, might be to continue with the description of what a Zen patriarch is like – in which case putra means not so much a biological son as a student, and kula means not so much a biological family as the house or lineage of the buddha-ancestors.

In the 3rd pāda I am not sure what śabda is intended to mean. Literally it means “sound.” Surely Aśvaghoṣa was not talking about empty fame?

Fame? For heaven's sake!

Whatever Aśvaghoṣa intended by yaśas (honour), śabdam (sound) and svargam (heaven), the point of the 3rd pāda might be that all things in reality – even including such intangibles as honour and heaven  are a function of ātman, the self, “the person or whole body considered as one and opposed to the separate members of the body.”

In the 4th pāda, for a king like Śuddhodhana whose ultimate motivation was his dharma, his dharma might be his consecrated duty as king. But for a king of dharma, that is to say, a Zen patriarch, to sit dharmārtham, for the sake of dharma, might mean to sit for the sake of the reality of all realms (sarvān viṣayān). Or it might mean, in other words, to sit for the sake of sitting.

So the real meaning of dharma in the 4th pāda might be the truth of reality, or the reality of sitting. Does that make the Buddha's teaching a religion of realism which might be called "Buddhism"? 

In a word, No.

In three words, Does it fuck. 

If the above is an expression of the truth, is it a way to heaven? Possibly; or possibly to somewhere warmer. That realm of redness (and whiteness) also – for somebody who accepts and uses himself well in sitting – might be a function of the whole self.

babhāra = 3rd pers. sg. perf. bhṛ: to bear , carry , convey , hold ; to balance , hold in equipoise (as a pair of scales); to bear i.e. contain , possess , have , keep ; to support , maintain , cherish , foster
rājyam (acc. sg.): n. royalty , kingship , sovereignty , empire ; kingdom
sa (nom. sg. m.): he
hi: for
putra-hetoḥ (gen. sg.): because of his son, on account of his son
hetu: " for a cause or reason " , " by reason of " , " on account of " ; ifc. hetu also = " having as a cause or motive " , " caused or effected or actuated or attracted or impelled by " e.g. karma-hetu , " caused by the acts [of a former existence]

putram (acc. sg.): m. son
kulārtham: ind. for the sake of his family
kula: n. a race , family , community , tribe , caste , set , company ; the residence of a family , seat of a community ; a house ; a noble or eminent family or race
yaśase (dat. sg.): n. honour , glory , fame , renown
kulam (acc. sg.): n. family
tu: but

svargāya (dat. sg.): m. heaven , the abode of light and of the gods , heavenly bliss , (esp.) indra's heaven or paradise (to which the souls of virtuous mortals » transferred until the time comes for their re-entering earthly bodies ; this temporary heaven is the only heaven of orthodox Brahmanism ; it is supposed to be situated on mount meru); mfn. (or suvargá) going or leading to or being in light or heaven , heavenly , celestial
suvar-ga: “going to the sun/light/heaven”
suvar: the sun , light , heaven
śabdam (acc. sg.): m. sound , noise , voice; a word ; speech , language; the right word , correct expression ; the sacred syllable Om ; a name , appellation , title ; verbal communication or testimony , oral tradition
divam (acc. sg.): n. heaven , sky
ātma-hetoḥ (gen. sg.): because of the self, on account of the whole self
ātman: m. the breath, the soul; the self; the person or whole body considered as one and opposed to the separate members of the body

dharmārtham: ind. for the sake of dharma
ātma-sthitim (acc. sg.): the continued existence of the self
sthiti: f. standing upright or firmly , not falling ; continuance in being , maintenance of life , continued existence
ācakāṅkṣa = 3rd pers. sg. perf. ā-√kāṅkṣ: to desire , long for , endeavour to gain (with acc.) ; to expect , wait for or till ; (in Gr.) to require some word or words to be supplied for the completion of the sense

不令王國土 慮其心放逸
縱情著世樂 不能紹王種  

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