Thursday, November 8, 2012

BUDDHACARITA 3.43: This Fault of Being Moved

−−⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−¦¦−−⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−   Upajāti (Indravajrā)
ity-ūcivān rāja-sutaḥ sa bhūyas-taṁ sānukampo naram-īkṣamāṇaḥ |
asyaiva jātaḥ pṛthag-eṣa doṣaḥ sāmānyato roga-bhayaṁ prajānām || 3.43

The son of the king spoke again,

Being moved by pity as he looked at the man:

“[Is] this fault arisen specifically in the one here [?].

[Is] fear of breaking down common to all creatures [?].”

Today's verse parallels 3.32:
Thrown somewhat off balance on being thus informed, he the fruit of a king's loins said to the charioteer: “Will I also have this fault (eṣa doṣaḥ) in the future?”
In today's verse, as in 3.32, Aśvaghoṣa describes the prince as being moved emotionally (calitaḥ/sānukampaḥ), and then speaking of “this fault (eṣa doṣaḥ)” In both verses, eṣa doṣaḥ ostensibly refers to an evil evident in a man out there – the evil in question being old age in 3.32 and sickness in today's verse. But Aśvaghoṣa's real intention, as I read it, is that the fault is a fault in here, i.e. the fault of being moved, as opposed to remaining inwardly still.

Being moved before I am ready to go into movement is the essence of the faultiness in me. And this faultiness, which causes a loss of integrity, centred most obviously on a breaking of the integrity of the back, turns out not to be peculiar to me but to be something universally wrong in human beings. And the vast majority of individuals, to a greater or lesser extent, are afraid of this enemy within; we fear breaking down, and therefore, as a response to fear, we try to be right. One or two odd individuals, however, seem not to be too afraid of this wrongness, but seem rather to enjoy investigating its arising and vanishing.

One such individual was Marjory Barlow, who taught her students, by that same old procedure (krameṇa tenaiva; see 3.39), when a stimulus to move reaches our consciousness, to give up the idea of moving, and in so doing to cut off at source the possibility of being moved in a faulty manner. The next step in the same old procedure, while continuing to abandon the idea of moving, or the desire to move, which triggers faulty movements in the brain and nervous system, is to give directions that cause new pathways to be laid down in the brain and nervous system. Expressed as verbal orders, these directions are something along the lines of: “Let the neck be free, to let the head go forward and up, to let the back lengthen and widen, while sending the knees forwards and away.” The final step in the same old procedure, as described here, is, while continuing to abandon the idea of movement and continuing to give these four directions, which after a while should have become one, to move. Give up all idea of moving and yet move.

Here is another irony, then. In order to be free of the fault of being moved, the secret, in the final analysis is just to move. “Go into movement without a care in the world. Let it come out in the wash.”

Ostensibly, in the 3rd and 4th pādas of today's verse the prince is asking one two-part question. Hence, EBC: “Is this evil peculiar to him or are all beings alike threatened by sickness?”; EHJ: “Is this evil peculiar to him, or is the danger of disease common to all men?” PO: “Is this an evil that's specific to this man? Or is sickness a danger common to all men?”

However, when the prince asks in 3.32 “Will I also have this fault in the future?” (kim-eṣa doṣo bhavitā mamāpīty) he uses the interrogative particle kim, whereas in today's verse there is no interrogative particle.

Literally, therefore the 3rd and 4th pādas can be read as two assertions, the first of which is a Marjory-style observation arising out of investigation in the laboratory of practical work on the self, and the second of which is the statement of a universal truth about all sentient beings. Thus,

3rd pāda: This here fault is born individually right here in me.
4th pāda: Fear of breaking down is common to all creatures.

Finally, then, if we look for a four-phased structure underlying Aśvaghoṣa's composition of today's verse, the underlying structure is:
(1) Subject (the son of the king)
(2) Object (the sick man)
(3) Actual situation here and now (this fault in me)
(4) Universal truth (all sentient beings fear the loss of their integrity).

iti: thus
ūcivān = nom. sg. m. perf. part. vac: to speak, say, tell
rāja-sutaḥ (nom. sg. m.): the king's son
sa (nom. sg. m.): he
bhūyaḥ: ind. once more, further, again

tam (acc. sg. m.): him
sānukampaḥ (nom. sg. m.): mfn. full of pity , compassionate , tender , kind
anu-√kamp: to sympathize with
√ kamp: to tremble , shake
naram (acc. sg.): m. the man
īkṣamāṇaḥ = nom. sg. m. pres. part. īkṣ: to see , look , view , behold , look at , gaze at

asya (gen. sg.): this , this here , referring to something near the speaker
eva: (emphatic)
jātaḥ (nom. sg. m.): mfn. grown , produced , arisen , caused , appeared ; happened, present
pṛthak: ind. widely apart , separately , differently , singly; (as a prep. with gen.) apart or separately or differently from
eṣaḥ (nom. sg. m.): this , this here , here (especially as pointing to what is nearest to the speaker)
doṣaḥ (nom. sg.): m.

sāmānyataḥ: ind. equally , similarly ; in general
roga-bhayam (nom. sg. n.): fear of breaking down
roga: m. ( √ruj, to break) " breaking up of strength " , disease , infirmity , sickness (also personified as an evil demon)
bhaya: n. fear of (abl. gen. or comp.) or for (comp.); sg. and pl. terror , dismay , danger , peril , distress ; danger from (abl. or comp.)
prajānām (gen. pl.): f. procreation ; a creature , animal , man , mankind; people

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