Friday, May 31, 2013

BUDDHACARITA 5.77: The Moon's a Maṇḍala, The Earth Is Everybody's Prize

¦−⏑−⏑−−¦¦⏑⏑−−⏑⏑¦−⏑−⏑−−   Aupacchandasaka
iha caiva bhavanti ye sahāyāḥ kaluṣe karmaṇi dharma-saṁśraye vā |
avagacchati me yathāntar-ātmā niyataṁ te 'pi janās-tad-aṁśa-bhājaḥ || 5.77

There again, all in this world who are companions,

Whether in tainted doing or in devotion to dharma,

Living beings without exception – as my inner self intuits –

Are entitled to their share of the prize.

If yesterday's verse was the thesis, that turning to dharma is ultimately something I do for myself in solitude, practising that practice which, in the first instance is born of separateness (viveka-jam), then today's verse can be read as the anti-thesis, in which the prince appears to be expressing an intuitive sense of being in the same boat, or on the same spaceship earth, as everybody else. 

The prince is describing this intuition, moreover, not as a recognition arising from his top two inches, but rather as a deep intuition, a function of the inner self. It seems to be, in other words, an intuition born not so much out of personal experience as out of some kind of collective consciousness or collective unconsciousness. 

Using a Christian (or Jewish) metaphor, FM Alexander used to say, “The people who come here are the salt of the earth."  

FM then went on to add: "If they knew what they were letting themselves in for, they wouldn't come."

Here is Aśvaghoṣa's description in SN Canto 3 of what happened to the earth at the time of the Buddha's enlightenment:
Sitting there, mind made up, as unmovingly stable as the king of mountains, / He overcame the grim army of Māra and awoke to the step which is happy, irremovable, and irreducible. // SN 3.7 // Sensing the completion of his task, the denizens of heaven whose heart's desire is the deathless nectar / Buzzed with unbridled joy. But Māra's crew was downcast and trembled. // SN3.8 // The earth with its mountains shook, that which feeds the fire blew benignly, / The drums of the gods resounded, and from the cloudless sky rain fell. // SN3.9 //
At that time, what change might an observer on the moon have noticed in the earth? I suspect that such an observer would not have noticed any change at all. So the truth might be that beyond the blue planet itself there never was nor ever will be any prize. 

The blue planet, the prince seems to be intuiting, to put it another way, is everybody's birthright. 

So what do I do to claim my inheritance? 

A major barrier (or a certain taintedness) might exist, ironically, in the question itself. 


iha: ind. here, in this world
ca: and
eva: (emphatic)
bhavanti = 3rd pers. pl. bhū: to be
ye (nom. pl. m.): [those] who
sahāyāḥ (nom. pl.): m. companion, ally

kaluṣe (loc. sg. n.): mfn. turbid , foul , muddy , impure , dirty (lit. and fig.)
karmaṇi (loc. sg.): n. act, action
dharma-saṁśraye (loc. sg.): in turning to dharma
saṁ- √ śri: to join or attach one's self to , go for refuge or succour to , resort or betake one's
self to , cling to for protection , seek the help of (acc.) ; to serve
saṁśraya: m. conjunction , combination , connection , association (ifc. " joined or connected with ") ; going or resorting or betaking one's self to any person or place (loc. or comp.) ; a refuge , asylum , shelter , resting or dwelling-place , residence , home (ifc. " residing with " , " living or dwelling or resting in or on ") ; devotion to , attachment to (ifc. " devoted or attached to "
vā: or

avagacchati = 3rd pers. sg. ava- √ gam: to hit upon , think of , conceive , learn , know , understand , anticipate , assure one's self , be convinced; to recognise
me (gen. sg.): my
yathā: ind. as
antar-ātmā (nom. sg. m.): the inner self
antar: ind. in the middle; sometimes compounded with a following word like an adjective , meaning interior , internal , intermediate
ātman: m. breath, self; (ifc.) the understanding , intellect , mind

niyatam: ind. always , constantly , decidedly , inevitably , surely
te (nom. pl. m.): [correlative of ye] they
api: and , also , moreover , besides , assuredly , surely
janāḥ (nom. pl.): m. creature , living being , man , person , race (páñca jánās , "the five races")
tad-aṁśa-bhājaḥ (nom. pl. m.): being entitled to their share of the booty
tad: that
aṁśa: m a share , portion , part , party ; inheritance ; a share of booty
bhāj: mfn. (mostly ifc. ; exceptionally with gen.) sharing or participating in , entitled to , possessing , enjoying , perceiving , feeling , sensible of. devoted to , intent upon ; forming a part of , belonging to

遭苦良友難 求法必寡朋
堪此二友者 終獲於吉安 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

BUDDHACARITA 5.76: Times When You Are On Your Own

¦−⏑−⏑−−¦¦⏑⏑−−⏑⏑¦−⏑−⏑−−   Aupacchandasaka
su-labhāḥ khalu saṁyuge sahāyā viṣayāvāpta-sukhe dhanārjane vā |
puruṣasya tu dur-labhāḥ sahāyāḥ patitasyāpadi dharma-saṁśraye vā || 5.76

Readily indeed are companions found when the battle is joined,

Or in the happiness at the gaining of the end,
when the booty is acquired;

But companions are hard for a man to find

When he is getting into trouble 
– or when he is turning to dharma.

On first reading, today's verse – at least up until its final element (dharma-saṁśraye) – seems to express a common sentiment about fair-weather friends, along the lines of Bob Dylan's excellent lyric

You've got a lot of nerve, to say you are my friend.
When I was down, you just stood their grinning.
You've got a lot of nerve, to say you've got a hand to lend.
You just want to be on the side that's winning.

But the closing words of the verse dharma-saṁśraye vā (“or when he is turning to dharma”) somehow stick out like a sore thumb and cause us to question what point, through the prince's utterances to a four-legged friend, Aśvaghoṣa is intending us to reflect upon.

Now that I have slept on that question and sat, the point as I take it is that Aśvaghoṣa is drawing our attention to something which tends to come as a surprise, after the bells and incense of a ceremony to receive the bodhisattva precepts have stopped ringing and faded away; namely that the real work is nothing that anybody else can do for us. Real change for the better, if it occurs at all, occurs within my own brain and nervous system, and nobody but me can get in there and make that change.

“Change,” FM Alexander observed, “involves carrying out an activity against the habit of life.”

Who apart from me is going to cause me to carry out an activity against the habits of my life? You can try if you like. But I wouldn't recommend it. Because I am liable to bite your fucking head off.

Or rather what I should say, in a more balanced and harmonized manner, is that I have a deeply ingrained fault of reacting angrily to a person who I perceive as having an agenda to change me. 

Marjory Barlow and Ron Colyer, to name two rare individuals, never gave and have never given me any impression, even for a moment, of having any such agenda to change me – even though, as Alexander teachers, they were and are ostensibly in the business of change – and I can't remember ever having a cross word either with Marjory or with Ron. With Gudo Nishijima, in contrast, and with one or two other Alexander teachers, even very excellent ones who taught me a lot, I did perceive (rightly or wrongly) an agenda to change me, and I, in my anger and delusion, reacted accordingly.

I remember an episode when I was staying for a few weeks at my parents' house in Birmingham in around 1990, spending a lot of time in my sister's old bedroom above the garage, practising sitting-meditation, or, as I invariably called it then, Zazen. In between sittings I got into a conversation with my mother in which my eyeballs began to bulge and I told her “Don't fucking tell me what to do. Because nobody does!”

“Michael,” she coolly replied. “You always did have a nasty streak.”

A nasty streaky, yes. Or less emotively I would say a congenitally dodgy vestibular system, inherited mainly from my father.

This is part of the background to the unhealthy interest in money that I was confessing yesterday. I have long subscribed to the principle, made famous by Humphrey Bogart, of having an adequate supply of Fuck you money. In the background, then, there is a deep fear. Not of poverty, because I am happy living off scraps, but of loss of independence. 

Again I am digressing, sort of. The point Aśvaghoṣa as I hear him is making in today's verse is that the real battle, against the faulty tendencies of our own mind, is something that in the final analysis each one of us fights on our own.

Thus, when today's verse is read in light of the story of Nanda, as told by Aśvaghoṣa in his epic story of Beautiful Happiness, the Buddha is there for Nanda to help him draw up the battle lines, in SN Canto 5 (when Nanda has his head shaved) and again in SN Canto 10 (when the Buddha and Nanda pay a visit to nymphs in heaven), as also Ānanda joins Nanda in SN Cantos 5 and 11 for the same purpose of helping battle to be joined.

Again, the whole of SN Cantos 12 through 16 can be read as the Buddha's drawing up of the battle lines, along with his encouragement and exhortation to Nanda to go into battle.

Then finally in SN Canto 18 the Buddha and Nanda enjoy a happy reunion during which the Buddha says what a wonderful sight  for the Buddha to behold Nanda has become, now that he has gained the ultimate prize.

But in between times, most notably in SN Canto 7 (when Nanda is pining in the forest for Sundarī), at the beginning of SN Canto 11 (when he is immersed in red-hot asceticism with a view to subsequent sensual delights in the bosom of celestial nymphs), and through the whole of SN Canto 17 (when he truly turns to dharma and thereby finally turns the deathless nectar into his own possession), Nanda is left to face his emotional difficulties, to get deeper and deeper into ascetic trouble, and ultimately to get out of that trouble, all by himself.

Having asked myself the question yesterday and then slept on it and sat, it strikes me that what “turning to dharma” really means, in the end, is sitting on a round black cushion and working out what the Buddha's teaching is, by oneself and for oneself – for the benefit of the world.

Today's verse along with tomorrow's verse, then, hark back to the prince's reflection earlier in this Canto on the ignorance and blindness of people who disavow the other (param vijugupsate; BC5.12), this reflection – ironically – being born of separateness (vivika-jam; BC5.11).

su-labhāḥ (nom. pl. m.): mfn. easy to be obtained or effected , easily accessible or attainable , feasible , easy , common , trivial
khalu: ind. indeed , verily , certainly , truly
saṁyuge (loc. sg.): n. union , conjunction ; conflict , battle , war
sahāyāḥ (nom. pl.): m. " one who goes along with (another) " , a companion , follower , adherent , ally , assistant , helper

viṣayāvāpta-sukhe (loc. sg.): in the happiness of gaining an object
viṣaya: m. object ; anything perceptible by the senses , any object of affection or concern or attention , any special worldly object or aim or matter or business , (pl.) sensual enjoyments , sensuality
ava - √āp: to reach , attain , obtain , gain , get
sukha: n. ease , easiness , comfort , prosperity , pleasure , happiness
dhanārjane (loc. sg.): in the procuring of the prize
dhana: n. the prize of a contest or the contest itself ; booty, prey; any valued object ; (esp.) wealth , riches , money , treasure , gift
arjana: n. procuring , acquiring , gaining , earning ; to procure , acquire
vā: or

puruṣasya (gen. sg.): m. a man
tu: but
dur-labhāḥ (nom. pl. m.): mfn. hard to be obtained
sahāyāḥ (nom. pl.): m. companions, allies

patitasya (gen. sg. m.): mfn. fallen ; fallen into , being in (loc. or comp.)
āpadi (loc. sg.): f. misfortune , calamity , distress
ā- √ pad: to come , walk near , approach ; to enter , get in , arrive at , go into ; to fall in or into ; to be changed into , be reduced to any state ; to get into trouble , fall into misfortune
dharma-saṁśraye (loc. sg.): in taking refuge in dharma
saṁ-śraya: m. conjunction , combination , connection , association (ifc. " joined or connected with ") ; going or resorting or betaking one's self to any person or place (loc. or comp.) , going for refuge or protection , having recourse to
vā: or

戰鬥多衆旅 榮樂多伴遊
商人求珍寶 樂從者亦衆 
遭苦良友難 求法必寡朋
[Tenuously related with Sanskrit, and conflated with next verse]

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

BUDDHACARITA 5.75: Riding On What Goes Fast

¦−⏑−⏑−−¦¦⏑⏑−−⏑⏑¦−⏑−⏑−−   Aupacchandasaka
bahuśaḥ kila śatravo nirastāḥ samare tvām-adhiruhya pārthivena |
aham-apy-amtaṁ padaṁ yathāvat-turaga-śreṣṭha labheya tat-kuruṣva || 5.75

Often indeed has a lord of the earth expelled enemies

While riding in battle on you!

So that I too might realise the deathless step,

O best of horses, act!

A horsewoman with whom I trained to be an Alexander teacher, nearly 20 years ago, assured me that lack of familiarity with horses was no obstacle to me being able to help horse-riders with their riding – in the same way that lack of ability in music making, as I do know from experience, is not necessarily an obstacle to helping a violinist to get a better sound out of a violin played with open strings, or to helping a guitarist move his fingers with greater speed and precision without pulling himself down in the process. 

Lest this sounds too cocky, I should perhaps confess that while lack of knowledge of music need not be an obstacle in such instances, lack of deep understanding of Alexander's work, and a tendency to veer away from principle, might be very big obstacles!

The reason I would hope to be able to help a horse-rider to ride his or her horse better is that AT training has equipped me, at least to some extent, to teach people how NOT to sit on a chair. And the main things to avoid when sitting well on a chair are, so experienced teachers of AT and horseriding report, also the main things to avoid when sitting well on a horse.

The main things to avoid are what the Buddha calls “the faults that stem from thirsting” (tṛṣṇādayo doṣa-gaṇāḥ; SN16.17) – things like stiffening up or collapsing in fear or foolish arrogance, things like failing to look and listen, things like holding the breath. These things in today's verse are represented by the metaphor of śatravaḥ, the enemies that threaten the sovereignty of a king.

These are enemies that, reading between the lines, I think Aśvaghoṣa is suggesting that a horse named Kanthaka taught the prince who would be Buddha to expel – in the same way that, for FM Alexander, horses were instrumental in him discovering the practical, non-intellectual truths that he discovered.

To sit on a round black cushion as a follower of the Buddha, in the final analysis, is akin to expelling enemies by riding on a big powerful rapidly responsive thing like a horse.

It is difficult or dangerous to try to say, with a word like “the unconscious,” what that big powerful thing is. My longest-suffering Alexander teacher, Ron Colyer, quotes his head of training Walter Carrington who spoke of “letting the works work.” In those terms, I venture to submit, a horse is used in today's verse as a metaphor for “the works.”

Because I work with children who suffer from immature primitive reflexes, other Alexander teachers sometimes expect me to be some kind of expert on the works. But I am no such thing. An individual reflex is, in any case, in Sherrington's words, "a convenient fiction," as he said in his book The Integrative Action of the Nervous System (the clue being in the title).  Understanding these convenient fictions called reflexes does not, in my book, help us understand the works, though such understanding might help us to see how spanners get thrown into the works. 

It is just as I was describing yesterday in connection with breathing. Marjory Barlow did not understand any better than I did what to do in the way of breathing well. But Marjory did know and see very clearly what NOT to do in the way of trying to breathe well. Her area of expertise was not the works; her area of expertise was interference with the works, and how to prevent such interference with the works. 

So, to return to today's verse, I see a horse as a metaphor for the works. And a horse is expressed as tura-ga, lit. “what goes quickly.”

Sometimes, it is true, the works appear to work slowly, as for example when I ask myself a comment about Aśvaghoṣa's writing during the course of one day, then sleep on it, and sit, and the answer seems to emerge by itself the next day; or as for another example when a meal passes slowly through the digestive system; or when the immune system takes days to fight off a cold.

When called upon twenty years ago to render the name Aśva-ghoṣa into English as part of translating Shobogenzo, I opted for Horse-Whinny. It has taken a lot of slow working of the works since then before I realized that a more meaningful English translation of Aśvaghoṣa already exists in English, and it is Horse Whisperer. So yesterday when I described Monty Roberts as the original horse whisperer, that might have been to do Aśva-ghoṣa an injustice. 

People think that Aśvaghoṣa wrote religious texts called the Saundara-nanda and the Buddha-carita in which he was concerned to record the religious doctrine of Buddhism as a means of converting people. It will take a lot of slow working of the works before people drop off that view and begin to see that Aśvaghoṣa's writing is all about Beautiful Happiness and Awakened Action, as original birthrights of human beings – before God or Allah or Jehovah ever raised his jealous, hairy, ugly head with its sectarian carbuncles of protestantism and catholicism, sunni and shia, zionist and orthodox, and the rest. Sometimes the works work too slowly. And so Syria slowly lifts itself onto what Hegel called the slaughter-bench of history. 

But sometimes, it is also true, the works work with a rapidity that surprises us, as for example when one is cycling fast down a hill and an eyelid suddenly closes without the intervention of any higher part of the brain, because the works have spotted that one's eyeball is on a collision course with a little fly.

“The conscious mind” concluded FM Alexander, after a lifetime of loving horses and teaching the Alexander technique, “must be quickened.”

One of my oldest friends, who I met in a karate dojo in Japan during “winter training” (kangeiko) back in the New Year of 1982, is a long-time rider of powerful motorbikes and of ocean waves. He is also a long-term rider of the waves of financial markets – and if it had not been for his good advice I would have lost even more of our family savings than I have done during the recent decline in the price of gold.

Speaking for myself I am not a surfer and recently don't have a motorbike to ride, but I have experienced in the past how rapidly the human stomach can be caused to churn when one is speeding along a road on a motorbike and some danger suddenly presents itself. And a similar experience can be had (though I would not recommend it), without even leaving one's computer, by taking a position in a volatile financial market. Hence the phrase “stomach churning” used advisedly in this article from last Friday's Daily Telegraph, in a sentence that begins, Last night's panic in Tokyo, where the Nikkei dropped a stomach churning 7 per cent...

I don't know why I am as interested as I am in money. The reason, at a deeply unconscious level, could be that my parents were very short of it when I was growing up, and I remember being hungry on a Sunday night because my mother's housekeeping money had run out. For whatever reason, I decided that I wanted to study economics in school and at university. The memory plays tricks but as I remember it I made that decision out of the most altruistic – albeit deluded and romantic – of motivations. I thought that studying economics was going to be a route for me to save everybody in the world. (The messianic delusion that I was the guy who was going to save the planet had me already in its grip even before I met Gudo Nishijima.) Anyway, for whatever reason, I opted to study economics, little realizing what a pile of horseshit – as George Soros has very clearly elucidated, and proved by making his billions – classical economics was and is.

Largely because of faith hitherto placed in classical economics, with all its unreal assumptions, the global economy now, as George Soros describes it, is in a very precarious far-from-equilibrium situation. We in the UK have been living beyond our means and our response to the consequent accumulation of debt has been to get on a money-printing treadmill, which is taking us further and further away from equilibrium. In George Soros's view this money-printing was a necessary expedient, akin to life-support, but that is hardly grounds for optimism. Life-support is what a patient needs when the works would otherwise stop working – a far-from-equilibrium situation, a situation which is very far from  amṛtam padaṁ, the deathless step, in which all the works (including, I dare say, money) are working in accordance with their original dharma. 

What the prince now describes as amṛtam padaṁ, the deathless step, even before he has fully realized it yet, might thus be a moment of spontaneous flow in which allower and works, rider and ridden, earth-lord and planet Earth, are one big one.

An image like this is a kind of mandala, an aid to the meditative reflection that we are all riding together on something that is tura-ga, going fast.

Today's verse is a mighty metaphor, which I have thus attempted to kill by a characteristically wordy and long-winded comment – a comment that, I fear, lacks the power to influence for the better man or beast.

In the final, final analysis, the key word whose meaning a big human brain is ever liable to overlook is nothing too philosophical but simply tat-kuruṣva: Go for it! Act in that manner! Giddy up!

In the absence of anything with more serious grunt, like the 900 cc Yamaha I used to own, I am going to get on my push-bike and go for a ride.

bahuśaḥ: ind. manifoldly , repeatedly , much , often
kila: ind. (a particle of asseveration or emphasis) indeed , verily , assuredly
śatravaḥ (nom. pl.): m." overthrower " , an enemy , foe , rival , a hostile king (esp. a neighbouring king as a natural enemy)
nirastāḥ (nom. pl. m.): mfn. cast out or off , expelled , banished , rejected , removed , refuted , destroyed
nir- √ as: . to cast out , throw or drive away , expel , remove , banish ; to ward off, keep away ; to reject , refuse , decline (as a suitor , an offer , &c ) ; to destroy , annihilate

samare (loc. sg. ): m. coming together , meeting , concourse , confluence ; hostile encounter , conflict , struggle , war , battle
tvām (acc. sg. m.): you
adhiruhya = abs. to ascend, mount, ride on
pārthivena (inst. sg.): m. an inhabitant of the earth; m. a lord of the earth , king , prince , warrior ; mfn. earthen , earthy , earthly , being in or relating to or coming from the earth , terrestrial ; fit for kings or princes , royal , princely

aham (nom. sg. m.): I
api: also, even
amṛtam (acc. sg. n.): mfn. not dead, immortal , imperishable
padam (acc. sg.): n. step, stage
yathāvat = yathā: so that, in such a manner

turaga-śreṣṭha (voc. sg.): O best of fast-goers!
turaga: m. " going quickly " , a horse
śreṣṭha: mfn. most excellent , best , first , chief (n. " the best or chief thing ") , best of or among or in respect of or in (with gen. loc. , or comp.)
labheya = 1st pers. sg. opt. labh: to obtain, gain
tat-kuruṣva: Go for it! Act in that manner! Giddy up!
tad: ind. then, in that case; tad (ind.) yathā " in such a manner as follows " , namely , viz.
kuruṣva = 2nd pers. sg. imp. kṛ: to do, act

父王常乘汝 臨敵輒勝怨
吾今欲相依 遠渉甘露津 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

BUDDHACARITA 5.74: Preparing to Go Into the Middle

¦−⏑−⏑−−¦¦⏑⏑−−⏑⏑¦−⏑−⏑−−   Aupacchandasaka
upagṛhya sa taṁ viśāla-vakṣāḥ kamalābhena ca sāntvayan kareṇa |
madhurākṣarayā girā śaśāsa dhvajinī-madhyam-iva praveṣṭu-kāmaḥ || 5.74

He whose chest was broad reached up
and drew him to himself;

Then, while comforting with a lotus-like hand,

He bade him with a song of soothing noises,

As a warrior might when preparing to go,
where banners fly, into the middle:

Last night an enlightened individual from California named Monty Roberts, of whom the British queen is a fan, was featured in a BBC documentary on the Queen's horses. Today's verse could be a description of Monty, the original horse-whisperer, at work.

The verse also brings to my mind a moment when I was lying on the teaching couch of another enlightened individual named Marjory Barlow, and somewhat “over-breathing” – as per FM Alexander's observation “That is not breathing. That is lifting your chest and collapsing.”

For a human being, it should be noted in my defence, holding the breath is not healthy. So “breathing” in the sense of doing as opposed to truly allowing the breathing is a lot more conducive to spontaneous flow than is the alternative of not breathing at all.

In any event, Marjory's memorable response to my unenlightened effort to breathe well was to pat me around my sternum and make a sound like a horse-whisperer steadying a nervous horse – something like “whoa boy.”

Aśvaghoṣa, similarly, must have observed that the same basic techniques that a good horseman or horsewoman uses to calm horses are effective in meditative work on the self. At the same time, Aśvaghoṣa  must have observed or supposed that the time when those techniques are most needed are, ironically, not when little white puffs of blue cloud are floating in a blue sky and the birds are intermittently breaking the silence with their song... but rather in a time of readiness for a stressful event, like preparing to go into battle.

On the metaphorical battlefield the prince is preparing to enter, on one side there is consciousness; and on the other side, under the banners of greed, anger, faulty sensory appreciation, and the rest, are the forces of unconsciousness.

Opposing unconsciousness might be the subtlest thing in the world. Why? Because when the warrior tries to oppose unconsciousness, taking sides against unconsciousness under the banner of consciousness, just in that very trying the warrior has already lost the battle, and has lost the middle – as when an Alexander teacher who should know better, while lying on the teaching table of an Alexander teacher who does know better, tries to get away with breathing as if he knew how to do it.

upagṛhya = abs. upa- √ grah: to seize from below ; to seize , take possession of , take , obtain ; to subdue , become master of ; to draw near (to one's self)
sa (nom. sg. m.): he
tam (acc. sg. m.): him
viśāla-vakṣāḥ (nom. sg. m.): he of the broad chest
viśāla: spacious , extensive , broad , wide , large
vakṣas: n. the breast , bosom , chest ; m. an ox , bullock

kamalābhena (inst. sg. m.): lotus-like
kamala: mfn. pale-red , rose-coloured; mn. a lotus
ā-bhā: f. splendour, light ; ifc. like , resembling , appearing
ca: and
sāntvayan = nom. sg. m. pres. part. sāntv: to console , comfort , soothe , conciliate , address kindly or gently
kareṇa (inst. sg.): m. " the doer " , the hand

madhurākṣarayā (inst. pl. f.): with melodious speech ; with soothing noises
madhura: mfn. sweet , pleasant , charming , delightful ; sounding sweetly or uttering sweet cries , melodious , mellifluous
akṣara: n. a syllable, vowel, sound
akṣarā: f. (cf. a-kṣára n. above ) , word , speech
girā = inst. sg. gir: f. invocation , addressing with praise , praise , verse , song ; speech , speaking , language , voice , words ; f. a kind of mystical syllable
śaśāsa = 3rd pers. sg. perf. śās: to chastise , correct , censure , punish ; to restrain , control , rule , govern ; to direct, bid , order, command ; to teach, instruct

dhvajinī-madhyam (acc. sg.): the middle of an army
dhvajin: mfn. having or bearing a banner
dhvajinī: f. " a bannered host " , an army
iva: like, as if
praveṣṭu-kāmaḥ (nom. sg. m.): desiring to go into
pra- √ viś: to enter, go into ; to enter upon , undertake , commence , begin , devote one's self to ; to enter into i.e. be absorbed or thrown into the shade by (acc.)
kāma: n. (ifc.) desirous of , desiring , having a desire or intention (cf. go-k° , dharma-k° ; frequently with inf. in tu)

太子撫馬頸 摩身而告言 

Monday, May 27, 2013

BUDDHACARITA 5.73 More Equine Reflections

¦−⏑−⏑−−¦¦⏑⏑−−⏑⏑¦−⏑−⏑−−   Aupacchandasaka
pratata-trika-puccha-mūla-pārṣṇiṁ nibhtaṁ hrasva-tanūja-prṣṭha-karṇam |
vinat'-onnata-pṣṭha-kukṣi-pārśvaṁ vipula-protha-lalāṭa-kaṭy-uraskam || 5.73

His tail, supports, and heels formed spreading triangles;

The mane around his crown and ears was closely cropped,
in an unassuming manner;

The curves of his back, belly and sides
wound downward and wound upward;

His horse's nostrils expanded, 
as did his forehead, hips and chest.

On the basis of my own base of spreading triangles formed by sacrum and tail-bone, by ischial tuberosities, by knees, and by heels, I think I know what kind of horse the ancient Indian horse-whisperer Aśva-ghoṣa had in mind in his description of this particular aśva.

Who is master and who is servant?
Who is teacher and who is student?
No. Fuck master, teacher, student, servant.
Who is helping who? 
Who is deeply knowing who? 

Iron men of Zen just sit; 
they do not meditate on mandalas.
When they die they leave nothing behind. 

What a master deeply knows. 
What a horse commands. 

pratata-trika-puccha-mūla-pārṣṇim (acc. sg. m.): with tail, feet and heels forming spreading triads
pratata: mfn. (pra- √tan, to spread) spread over , diffused , covered , filled
trika: mfn. triple , threefold , forming a triad; n. the loins , regio sacra , hips ; (also " the part between the shoulder-blades ") [EHJ: chine]
puccha: mn. a tail , the hinder part ; [EHJ: rump]
mūla: n. " firmly fixed " , a root (of any plant or tree ; but also fig. the foot or lowest part or bottom of anything) [EHJ: fetlocks (?) ]
pārṣṇi: f. the heel ; the extremity of the fore-axle to which the outside horses of a four-horse chariot are attached (the two inner horses being harnessed to the dhur , or chariot-pole) ; the rear of an army (°ṇim √ grah with gen. , to attack in the rear) ; the back ; a kick

nibhṛtam (acc. sg. m.): mfn. borne or placed down , hidden , secret; nearly set (as the moon) ; fixed , settled , decided ; attached , faithful ; still , silent ; quiet , humble , modest , mild , gentle ; free from passions , undisturbed ; n. humility , modesty
hrasva-tanūja-pṛṣṭha-karṇam (acc. sg. m.): the upper side and ears with short plumage
nibhṛta-hrasva-tanūja-pṛṣṭha-karṇam [EHJ] (acc. sg. m.): with crown and ears whose mane was modestly short
nibhṛta: modest
hrasva: short , small , dwarfish , little
tanū-ja: mfn. produced or born on or from the body ; belonging to the person ; n. the plumage , wing ; m. a son
pṛṣṭha: n. n. (prob. fr. pra-stha , " standing forth prominently ") the back (as the prominent part of an animal) , the hinder part or rear of anything ; the upper side , surface , top , height
puccha [EHJ]: mn. a tail , the hinder part
karṇa: m. the ear

vinat'-onnata-pṛṣṭha-kukṣi-pārśvam (acc. sg. m.): with back, belly, and sides curving down and up
vinata: mfn. bent , curved , bent down , bowed , stooping , inclined , sunk down , depressed , deepened; humble, modest
unnata: mfn. bent or turned upwards , elevated , lifted up , raised , high , tall , prominent , projecting , lofty ; (figuratively) high , eminent , sublime , great , noble ; having a large hump , humpbacked (as a bull)
pṛṣṭha: n. the back (as the prominent part of an animal) , the hinder part or rear of anything
kukṣi: m. the belly , cavity of the abdomen
pārśva: side

vipula-protha-lalāṭa-kaṭy-uraskam (acc. sg. m.): with large nostrils, brow, buttocks and breast
vipula: mfn. large , extensive , wide , great , thick , long
protha: mn. the nostrils of a horse
lalāṭa: n. the forehead , brow
kaṭi: f. the hip , buttocks
uraska: ifc. = úras n. the chest , breast , bosom

高翠長髦尾 局背短毛耳
鹿腹鵝王頸 額廣圓瓠鼻
龍咽臗臆方 具足驎驥相 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

BUDDHACARITA 5.72: Bringing the Master an Excellent Horse

¦−⏑−⏑−−¦¦⏑⏑−−⏑⏑¦−⏑−⏑−−   Aupacchandasaka
atha hema-khalīna-pūrṇa-vaktraṁ laghu-śayyāstaraṇopagūḍha-pṣṭham |
bala-sattva-javānvay'-opapannaṁ sa varāśvaṁ tam-upānināya bhartre || 5.72

And so one whose mouth was filled with a golden bit,

One whose back was overspread
by the instant refuge of a light covering of cloth,

One endowed with strength, spirit, quickness and pedigree –

A most excellent horse he brought out for the master.


Talking spontaneous flow, the role in the world of masters like Kodo Sawaki and FM Alexander, who were roughly contemporaries of each other, was akin to the priming of other people's pumps. 

Otherwise, in the spirit of less is more, I shall confine my comment today to the following lines:

Thus, one whose head was going forward and up,
One whose back was lengthening and widening,
One endowed with free hips and quickened consciousness –
A most excellent horse, for a most excellent master: 

atha: ind. and, and so, then
hema-khalīna-pūrṇa-vaktram (acc. sg. m.): his mouth being filled with golden bits
hema: gold
khalīna: mn. the bit of a bridle
pūrṇa: mfn. filled , full , filled with or full of (instr. or gen. or comp.); abundant ; complete
vaktra: n. " organ of speech " , the mouth , face , muzzle

laghu-śayyāstaraṇopagūḍha-pṣṭham (acc. sg. m.): his back covered by light bed-clothes / by the act of spreading an instant refuge
laghu: mfn. light , quick , swift , active , prompt , nimble ; light , easy , not heavy or difficult
śayyā: f. a bed ; lying , reposing , sleeping ; resort , refuge
śayyā-tara: mfn. affording refuge
ā-staraṇa: n. the act of spreading; n. a carpet , rug; n. a cushion , quilt , bed-clothes; n. a bed; n. an elephant's housings , a painted cloth or blanket worn on his back
upagūḍha: mfn. hidden , concealed , covered; clasped round , embraced
pṛṣṭha: n. the back

bala-sattva-javānvay'-opapannam (acc. sg. m.): endowed with strength, spirit, swiftness and pedigree
bala: n. power, strength
sattva: n. being, spirit ; vital breath , life , consciousness , strength of character , strength , firmness , energy
java: m. speed , velocity , swiftness
anvaya: m. ( √ i » anv- √i) , following , succession ; connection, being linked to ; descendants , race , lineage , family.
upapanna: mfn. endowed with , possessed of , furnished with

sa (nom. sg. m.): he
varāśvam (acc. sg. m.): most excellent horse
vara: mfn. " select " , choicest , valuable , precious , best , most excellent
tam (acc. sg. m.): him
upānināya = 3rd pers. sg. perf. upā√ nī: to bring or lead near
bhartre (dat. sg.): m. bearer; a preserver , protector , maintainer , chief , lord , master

平乘駿良馬 衆寶鏤乘具