Saturday, September 29, 2012

BUDDHACARITA 3.3: Thou Shalt Be Happy!



⏑−⏑−
¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−¦¦−−⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−   Upajāti (Kīrti)
tato nṛpas-tasya niśamya bhāvaṁ putrābhidhānasya mano-rathasya |
−−⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−¦¦−−⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−
snehasya lakṣmyā vayasaś-ca yogyām-ājñāpayām-āsa vihāra-yātrām || 3.3

3.3
Then the king, catching the gist

Of the prince's expression of his heart's desire,

Convened a procession,
commensurate with his affection and wealth,
and with a young man's energy --

The ruler of men decreed a pleasure outing.

COMMENT:
Yesterday morning on the way to the Alexander training school which suffers us on Fridays, my wife and I chuckled at the under-developed sense of irony manifested by Hollywood screen goddess Goldie Hawn during her appearance on Desert Island Discs. Goldie, who I must admit retains a very feisty and young voice despite her advancing years, selected as one of her eight songs Let It Be, and deigned to interpret, for her BBC Radio audience in Britain and around the world, what the title of that Beatles song means. 

Come off it, Goldie! The great unwashed mass of British plebs were invaded by the Normans in 1066 and we have been learning to let it be ever since. If we hadn't spent the last thousand years letting it be, English would not be as rich a language as it is, and the Germano-Greek royal family whose head is nominally the ruler of these islands would all have had their heads chopped off long ago. Generally speaking we are a tolerant lot. But some of the less tolerant among us are liable to say to pontificators who think they know a thing or two about, say, morality, or mindfulness, or the Law of God: “Fuck off back to [Rome/Hollywood/Islaamabad/other].”

Could this tirade against a poor little innocent like Goldie, for having an underdeveloped sense of irony, be a manifestation of the mirror principle? If the cap fits, my grandma used to say, wear it.

When I went to bed last night the only thing I had in mind to comment on in today's verse was the three elements in the 3rd pāda, which seem to follow a certain order, namely: (1) something subjective (sneha; affection), (2) something objective (lakṣmī; wealth), and (3) something active (vayas; youthful energy).

Due to the resurfacing of my own Irony Deficit Disorder – the very IDD which tied me to a know-it-all named Gudo Nishijima for so many years – I totally failed to be hit by the fourth element in the series, as expressed in the punchline of the 4th pāda (ājñāpayām-āsa vihāra-yātrām; “he commanded a walking-for-pleasure procession,” “he decreed a pleasure outing”). 

The thing that saved me from my own chronic IDD, and finally allowed me to be hit by the punchline, was nothing but the lifeblood, by which I mean nothing but sitting.

I don't know how Goldie Hawn understands the mindfulness which she preaches, but in the sitting that I practice, on a good morning, like this fine sunny morning, there is a highly developed sense of irony.

At the root of this sense of irony is a truth that repeatedly obstructs a sitting practitioner who sincerely wishes to sit,  letting everything be, like Gautama Buddha under the bodhi tree – which is namely that the desire to go directly for that end is the very anti-thesis of letting it be.

In the end, what can I say?

Something within me wishes to conclude with these words:

A pint of Guiness and a big bag of fish and chips.


VOCABULARY
tataḥ: ind. then
nṛpaḥ (nom. sg.): m. “ruler of men,” king
tasya (gen. sg.): his, his son's
niśamya = abs. ni- √ śam: to observe , perceive , hear , learn
bhāvam (acc. sg.): m. true condition or state , truth , reality; any state of mind or body , way of thinking or feeling , sentiment , opinion , disposition , intention ; purport , meaning , sense

putrābhidhānasya (gen. sg.): expressed by his son
putra: m. son
abhidhāna: n. telling , naming , speaking , speech , manifesting ; a name , title , appellation , expression , word
mano-rathasya (gen. sg.): m. (ifc. f(ā).) " heart's joy ", a wish , desire ; the heart compared to a car (ratha = chariot)

snehasya (gen. sg.): m. tenderness , love , attachment to , fondness or affection
lakṣmyā (inst. sg.): f. good fortune , prosperity , success , happiness; wealth , riches ; beauty , loveliness , grace , charm , splendour , lustre
vayasaḥ (gen. sg.): n. energy (both bodily and mental) , strength , health , vigour ; vigorous age , youth , prime of life , any period of life , age
ca: and
yogyām (acc. sg. f.): mfn. fit for the yoke; useful , serviceable , proper , fit or qualified for , able or equal to , capable of (gen. loc. dat. inf. with act. or pass. sense , or comp.)

ājñāpayām āsa = 3rd pers. sg. causative periphrastic perfect ā- √ jñā: to order , command , direct
vihāra-yātrām (acc. sg.): f. a pleasure excursion
vihāra: m. walking for pleasure or amusement , wandering , roaming
yātrā: f. going , setting off , journey , march , expedition ; a festive train , procession

父王聞太子 樂出彼園遊
即勅諸群臣 嚴飾備羽儀   

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