abhigamya ca tās-tasmai vismayotphulla-locanāḥ |
cakrire samudācāraṁ padma-kośa-nibhaiḥ karaiḥ || 4.2
And having approached him,
Their peepers opened wide in wonderment,
They made their salutations
With hands like lotus buds,
Today's verse can again be read as progressing through four phases concerned with (1) direction, (2) physical manifestation of mind, (3) action, and (4) suggestion of a beautiful reality through the use of metaphor.
Otherwise, if hidden meaning is to be found in today's verse, it might be contained in the hands which Aśvaghoṣa expresses at the end of the verse with the word karaiḥ. Kara literally means “doer,” and hence the human organ of doing, the hand.
The irony that Aśvaghoṣa may intend, then, is that when wide-eyed women hold their hands together in the shape of lotus buds, in welcoming salutation, such hands might be conspicuously beautiful expressions of non-doing.
I read a quote on Facebook to the effect that the world doesn't need any more successful people but we need more lovers, healers, et cetera.
The world certainly doesn't need more end-gainers who blindly pursue success by harmful means. But neither does it need the kind of end-gainer who manifests himself as a healer.
People praised FM Alexander as a healer, but he wasn't having any of it. As far as he was concerned, he taught people an indirect means of getting out of the way, and healing was nature's job. “There are many miracles in nature,” was FM's reply when people accused him of being a miracle-worker.
To take a view that the Buddha's teaching is anti-success, or anti-beauty, or anti anything real, would be to take a wrong view.
The world needs everybody to be more and more successful, and everybody to be more and more beautiful, because of consciously following a means-whereby.
The women in today's verse are manifesting beautiful non-doing hands not because of consciously following a means-whereby principle, but rather because of being enthralled in unconscious open-mouthed and open-eyed admiration for the prince.
What has this got to do with sitting-meditation? And what has it got to do with the FM Alexander Technique?
As Alexander said:
"When an investigation comes to be made it will be found that every single thing we do in the work is exactly what is done in Nature, where the conditions are right, the difference being that we are learning to do it consciously."
In the Lotus Sutra, the lotus is a symbol of the Buddha's true dharma. At the same time the lotus is a universal symbol of beauty. The Buddha's teaching, in my book, is never anti-beauty. The Buddha's teaching rather points to the pursuit of beauty by a conscious means. And if I am clear in my understanding on this point, the clarity comes via the Alexander teachers who have taught me a conscious means whereby the befouling faults associated with end-gaining may be eradicated (not that I am always sufficiently diligent or thorough in applying what I have been taught).
abhigamya = abs. abhi- √ gam: to go near to, approach
tāḥ (nom. pl. f.): they
tasmai (dat. sg. m.): him
vismayotphulla-locanāḥ (nom. pl. f.):
vismaya: m. wonder , surprise , amazement
utphulla: mfn. blown (as a flower); wide open (as the eyes)
locana: n. " organ of sight " , the eye
cakrire = 3rd pers. pl. perf. kṛ: to do, make
sam-udācāram (acc. sg.): m. preset station , offering , entertainment (of a guest &c ); proper or right practice or usage or conduct or behaviour ; salutation
padma-kośa-nibhaiḥ (inst. pl. m.)
padma: a lotus
kośa: m. a cask; a bud , flower-cup , seed-vessel
nibha: mfn. resembling , like , similar (ifc.)
karaiḥ (inst. pl.): m. " the doer " , the hand