Tuesday, September 25, 2012

BUDDHACARITA 2.56: Rooting Bodhisattva, Budding Root

      −−,−⏑−−⏑−− Mālinī
vanam-anupama-sattvā bodhisattvās-tu sarve
viṣaya-sukha-rasa-jñā jagmur-utpanna-putrāḥ |
     ⏑ −−,−⏑−−⏑−−
ata upacita-karmā rūḍha-mūle 'pi hetau
     ⏑ −−,−⏑−−⏑−−
sa ratim-upasiṣeve bodhim-āpan-na-yāvat || 2.56

iti buddha-carite mahā-kāvye 'ntaḥ-pura-vihāro nāma dvitīyaḥ sargaḥ || 2 ||

To the forest, nonetheless, went all bodhisattvas,
all matchless beings on the way to awakening,

Who had known the taste of sensuality 
and produced a son.

Thus did he who had heaped up ample karma, 
even while the cause [of his awakening] 
was a developing root,

Partake of sensual enjoyment,
in the period before he took possession of awakening.

The 2nd canto, 
titled “Exploring Within the Battlements,” 
in an epic story of awakened action.

Today's verse caused me to ask what a budding root might look like, and a google search led me to this image from a 19th-century periodical called Scientific American. The accompanying caption reads: Root-bud and frost-flower of the Cunila Mariana. A, the developing or budding root. B, the old stem of the previous year. C, the congealed vapour or hoarfrost, forming the first flower of various shapes.

The main point I take from today's verse is that going to the forest is not the fundamental cause of a bodhisattva's taking possession of awakening, i.e. attaining the truth, or realizing enlightenment. The fundamental cause is rather a bodhisattva's heaping up of good karma.

Partaking of sensual enjoyment was not necessarily part of that heaping up of good karma, but neither, evidently, did it kill the budding root.

Applying the principle of non-endgaining, in the light of today's verse, bodhisattvas whose end was awakening might understand that the intelligent course for a bodhisattva is not necessarily to hasten to some remote forest with a view to attaining enlightenment. The intelligent course might rather be just to continue heaping up whatever good karma can be salvaged out of the present moment – for example, by serving buddhas, with or without the tainted expectation that there might eventually be something in it for me.

Thus, what we have been exploring in Canto 2, within the battlements of King Śuddhodana's palace, is mainly cause and effect -- but not as a Buddhist teaching.

vanam (acc. sg.): n. forest
anupama-sattvāḥ (nom. pl. m.): matchless beings
an-upama: mfn. incomparable , matchless ; excellent , best
sattva: n. being , existence , entity , reality (īśvara-sattva, " the existence of a Supreme Being "); true essence , nature , disposition of mind , character ; m. embryo , fetus , rudiment of life
bodhisattvāḥ (nom. pl.): m. " one whose essence is awakening,” , one who is on the way to the attainment of perfect knowledge
tu: but
sarve (nom. pl. m.): mfn. all

viṣaya-sukha-rasa-jñāḥ (nom. pl. m.): knowing the taste of sensual pleasure
viṣaya-sukha: n. the pleasures of sense
rasa-jña: mfn. knowing tastes or the taste of , appreciative (gen. or comp.); familiar with; m. a poet or any writer who understands the rasas ; m. an alchemist who understands the magical properties of mercury
jagmur = 3rd pers. pl. perf. gam: to go
utpanna-putrāḥ (nom. pl. m.): having produced a son
utpanna: mfn. arisen , born , produced; come forth
ut- √ pad: to be born or produced

ataḥ: ind. from this, hence ; henceforth, from this or that cause or reason
upacita-karmā (nom. sg. m.): with his former acts being heaped up; being abundantly furnished with karma
upacita: mfn. heaped up , increased; thriving , increasing , prospering , succeeding; big, fat, thick; covered over , furnished abundantly , possessing plentifully
karman: n. action ; former act as leading to inevitable results ; office , special duty , occupation , obligation (frequently ifc. , the first member of the compound being either the person who performs the action [e.g. vaṇik-k°] or the person or thing for or towards whom the action is performed [e.g. rāja-k° , paśu-k°] or a specification of the action [e.g. śaurya-k° , prīti-k°]).
rūḍha-mūle (loc. sg.): of budded root
rūḍha: mfn. mounted , risen , ascended ; budded
mūla: n. root ; basis , foundation , cause , origin , commencement , beginning
api: even, although
hetau (loc. sg.): m. motive , cause

sa (nom. sg. m.): he
ratim (acc. sg.): f. pleasure , enjoyment , delight ; the pleasure of love , sexual passion or union , amorous enjoyment ; the pudenda
upasiṣeve = 3rd pers. sg. perf. upa- √ sev: to frequent, visit; to stay with a person , attend on , serve , do homage , honour , worship ; to have sexual intercourse with (acc.) ; to practise , pursue , cultivate , study , make use of , be addicted to
bodhim (acc. sg.): m. awakening, enlightenment; m. " wakener " , a cock
āpat = 3rd pers. sg. aorist āp: to reach , overtake , meet with , fall upon; to obtain , gain , take possession of
na yāvat: while not, before, till

iti: thus
buddha-carite mahā-kāvye (loc. sg.): in the epic story of awakened action; in the great poem “Acts of the Buddha.”
antaḥ-purāṇi (acc. pl. n.): BC1.23 “royal householders”
antaḥ-pura: n. the king's palace , the female apartments , gynaeceum ; those who live in the female apartments ; a queen
antar: inside, internal
pura: n. a fortress , castle , city , town; the female apartments , gynaeceum ; a house , abode , residence , receptacle; an upper story ; a brothel
vihāra: m. walking for pleasure or amusement , wandering , roaming ; sport , play , pastime , diversion , enjoyment , pleasure (" in " or " with " comp. ; ifc. also = taking delight in) ; a place of recreation , pleasure-ground ; (with Buddhists or jainas) a monastery or temple (originally a hall where the monks met or walked about ; afterwards these halls were used as temples) ;
vi- √ hṛ: to roam , wander through (acc.) ; (esp.) to walk or roam about for pleasure , divert one's self
nāma: ind. by name
dvitīyaḥ sargaḥ (nom. sg. m.): the 2nd canto

過去菩薩王 其道雖深固
要習世榮樂 生子繼宗嗣
然後入山林 修行寂默道


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