Thursday, November 22, 2012

BUDDHACARITA 3.57: Knowing Who

−−⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−¦¦−−⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−   Upajāti (Bālā)
buddhīndriya-prāṇa-guṇair-viyuktaḥ supto visaṁjñas-tṛṇa-kāṣṭha-bhūtaḥ |
saṁvardhya saṁrakṣya ca yatnavadbhiḥ priya-priyais-tyajyata eṣa ko 'pi || 3.57

“Dissevered from the strings of sense power and breathing,

Inactive and insensible, akin to straw and wood,

Having been nurtured and cherished,
he is deliberately left alone by his dearest friends –

This, again, is Who.”

FM Alexander was overheard telling a pupil: “You are doing what you call leaving yourself alone.”

The 1st pāda of today's verse is ostensibly describing a corpse, but the real intention is to describe a sitting practitioner who is truly leaving himself alone – i.e who is truly allowing the right thing to do itself, rather than trying to arrange a good impression of the right thing doing itself.

In the 2nd pāda, the ostensible significance of tṛṇa-kāṣṭha-bhūtaḥ, “akin to straw and wood,” is that straw, wood, and a corpse are three flammable things that will all burn alike on a funeral pyre. The hidden significance is that straw and wood are organic materials which are not liable to emotional mood swings.

In the 3rd pāda yatna-vadbhiḥ is from yatna-vat, which the dictionary gives as “possessing energy,” and which would seem to make most sense if it were describing people as having expended energy or taken care in the process of nurturing and cherishing the man who is no longer breathing.

Hence EBC: “he is abandoned alike by friends and enemies after they have carefully swathed and guarded him.” EHJ: “He was brought up and cherished most lovingly with every care.” PO: “This is someone his dearest ones discard though they nurtured and guarded him with care.”

These readings take yatna-vadbhiḥ to be equivalent to yatnaiḥ (which the dictionary gives as "with effort, carefully, eagerly, strenuously"), and so EBC, EHJ, and PO all understood yatna-vadbhiḥ as an adverbial phrase describing the careful manner in which the corpse has previously been nurtured/swathed and cherished/guarded. But yatna-vadbhiḥ, as I read it, modifies the instrumental agent priya-priyaiḥ, “his dearest friends.” In that case, yatna-vadbhiḥ is not necessarily describing the nurturing and cherishing that was done in the past; it might rather be describing the attitude of the friends right now, that attitude being energetic, diligent, deliberate, studious, assiduous.

For the 4th pāda, the Old Nepalese manuscript has priyas-tyajyate eṣa ko 'pi; it is thus two syllables short of the 11-syllable upajāti metre; it also disobeys the rule of sandhi by which tyajyate + eṣa goes to tyajyata eṣa.

EBC's reading is priyāpriyais-tyajyata (“abandoned alike by friends and enemies”). EHJ took the original reading to have been priya doubled to express intensity of feeling; hence he amended to priya-priyais-tyajyata.

Accepting EHJ's reading of priya-priyaiḥ, it still remains to decide whether priya-priyaiḥ is an adverbial compound meaning “most lovingly” (as per EHJ, taking priya as a repeated neuter noun meaning “love”), or whether priya-priyaiḥ means “by his dearest friends” (as per PO, taking the first priya as the adjective “dearest” and the second priya as the masculine noun “friend.”).

I follow PO in taking priya-priyaiḥ (inst. pl. m.) to mean “by his dearest friends,” in which case yatna-vadbhiḥ (inst. pl. m.) describes those friends as possessing energy, or being diligent, studious, deliberate, assiduous.

Why might Aśvaghoṣa be describing the friends as such, not necessarily in their past nurturing but rather in their present abandoning? 

Because, while the prince in today's verse is ostensibly talking about a corpse, what he is really describing is a person who is leaving himself alone in sitting-meditation, at which time it is very natural for his friends in the good to take pains also to leave him alone -- as studiously, diligently, or assiduously as ever they can.

buddhīndriya-prāṇa-guṇaiḥ (inst. pl.): the twines of sense power and breathing
buddhīndriya: n. an organ of sense or perception (5 in number , viz , eye , ear , nose , tongue , and skin , opp. to , karmendriyāṇi)
buddhi: f. perception (of which 5 kinds are enumerated , or with manas 6)
indriya: n. power , force , the quality which belongs especially to the mighty indra ; n. bodily power , power of the senses ; n. faculty of sense , sense , organ of sense
karmendriya: n. an organ of action (five in number like the five organs of sense , viz. hand , foot , larynx , organ of generation , and excretion)
prāṇa: m. the breath of life , breath , respiration, spirit, vitality ; pl. life ; breath (as a sign of strength), vigour , energy , power
guṇa: m. a single thread or strand of a cord or twine, string or thread , rope ; a quality , peculiarity , virtue, merit
viyuktaḥ (nom. sg. m.): mfn. disjoined , detached , separated or delivered from , deprived or destitute of. deserted by (instr. or comp.)

suptaḥ (nom. sg. m.): mfn. fallen asleep , slept , sleeping , asleep ; lain down to sleep (but not fallen asleep) ; paralysed , numbed , insensible ; resting , inactive , dull , latent
visaṁjñaḥ (nom. sg. m.): mfn. unconscious ; bereft of sense , lifeless
tṛṇa-kāṣṭha-bhūtaḥ (nom. sg. m.): like/mixed with straw and wood
tṛṇa: n. grass , herb , any gramineous plant , blade of grass , straw (often symbol of minuteness and worthlessness)
kāṣṭha: n. a piece of wood or timber , stick ; wood or timber in general
bhūta: (ifc.) being or being like anything , consisting of , mixed or joined with

saṁvardhya = abs. causative saṁ- √ vṛdh: to cause to grow , rear , bring up , foster , cherish , augment , enlarge , strengthen , beautify , make prosperous or happy
saṁrakṣya = abs. saṁ- √ rakṣ: to protect , guard , watch over , defend , preserve ; to keep
ca: and
yatnavadbhiḥ (inst. pl. m.): mfn. possessing energy
yatna: m. activity of will , volition , aspiring after ; effort , exertion , energy , zeal , trouble , pains , care
yatna-vat-tva: n. making effort , taking pains about (loc.) , strenuous , diligent

priya-priyaiḥ (inst. pl. n.) with every love and kindness
priya: n. love , kindness , favour
priya-priyaih (inst. pl. m.): by dear friends
priya: mfn. beloved , dear to;
priya: m. a friend
priyāpriyaiḥ (inst. p.) by friends and enemies alike
priya: m. a friend
apriya: m. a foe , an enemy
tyajyate = 3rd pers. sg. passive tyaj: to leave, abandon ; to let go ; to part from ; to give away , distribute , offer (as a sacrifice or oblation to a deity; to set aside , leave unnoticed , disregard
eṣaḥ (nom. sg.): m. this one
kaḥ (nom. sg.): m. who? (interrogative pronoun)
api: even, also (emphatic)

諸根壞命斷 心散念識離
神逝形乾燥 挺直如枯木
親戚諸朋友 恩愛素纒綿
今悉不喜見 遠棄空塜間 

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