Friday, August 2, 2013

BUDDHACARITA 6.51: Expectation, Attachment, Purpose (& Positive Batting)

brūyāś-cāsmāsu sāpekṣaṁ janaṁ kapilavastuni |
tyajyatāṁ tad-gataḥ snehaḥ śrūyatāṁ cāsya niścayaḥ || 6.51

Again, say to people in Kapilavastu

Who look to me with expectation:

'Let attachment directed there be given up,

And let this purpose here and now be heard.

The hidden subtext of yesterday's verse, in which attachment (sneha) is opposed by the practice of detachment, continues into today's verse.

With that in mind, we are required first of all to make our best guess of the original text of the first pāda of today's verse, which is in doubt. In making this guess, I am looking for a reading that 
1. is as close as possible paleographically to the old Nepalese manuscript; 
2. has an ostensible meaning that makes sense; and 
3. contains upon further digging additional hidden meaning, consistent with the subtext of practising detachment. 
A final 4th consideration that can't be ruled out is corroborating or negating evidence from the Tibetan and Chinese translations, though I have found the Chinese translation, while often interesting, to be unreliable.

The old Nepalese manuscript for the first pāda has brūyāc-cāsmāsv-anākṣepaṁ, which EBC amended only slightly to brūyāś-cāsmāsv-anākṣepaṁ and translated “Say, without reproaching us.” Anākṣepam, incidentally, is given in the MW dictionary as meaning, with a locative object, “without reproaching” – but the dictionary definition is itself referenced to Buddhacarita, as translated at that time by EBC.

EHJ noted that the old Nepalese manuscript's reading is nonsense. EHJ noted further that the Tibetan and Chinese translations were clearly right in indicating that -kṣepaṁ is an inversion of -pekṣam. The Chinese translation has 顧遺念我者. One by one the character  means to reflect or look back on, means to bequeath or leave behind, means mind, thought, or mindfulness, and means me, and so the Chinese translation does indeed support the view that the original text had a word from the root √īkṣ (to look at) rather than from the root √kṣip (to hurt at).

Based on his reading of the Tibetan and Chinese translations, EHJ amended the first pāda to brūyāś-cāsmat-kṛtāpekṣaṁ and translated “And you should say to the folk in Kapilavastu, who keep regard for me.” Retaining EHJ's Sanskrit, PO translated “And tell the folks of Kapila-vastu, who have affection for me.”

EHJ further noted that a very slight amendment of the Tibetan translation (from byas to bcas) would give cāsmasu sāpekṣam, which is closer paleographically to the old Nepalese manuscript. Since sāpekṣa (from sa + āpekṣā) has connotations of expectation and emotional dependence, this reading strikes me as being the most likely to fulfill all three (or all four) criteria listed above.

Both the original asmāsu and the asmad of EHJ's text are plural, and EBC took asmāsu as such ("us"). EHJ and PO, however, took asmad as the singular “me” – presumably in the sense of the royal “we”?

If asmāsu is to be taken as plural, to whom is "us" intended to refer? The prince, Chandaka, and the horse Kanthaka, all of whom the townsfolk expected to return?

“Who look to me with expectation” would seem to work better, especially since the prince is ostensibly referring in the second half of today's verse, with the words tad and asya, to himself – tyajyatāṁ tad-gataḥ snehaḥ ostensibly means “Let love for him be given up,” while śrūyatāṁ cāsya niścayaḥ ostensibly means “And let his resolve be heard.” Hence:

Let your love for him be given up, and hear his resolve. (EBC)
Quit your love for him and hear his resolve. (EHJ)
Give up your love for him! Listen to his resolve! (PO)

Below the surface, however, reading sāpekṣam in the 1st pāda invites the 3rd pāda, tyajyatāṁ tad-gataḥ snehaḥ, to be read as an imperative directed at sitting-zen practitioners – “Let the attachment to that be given up!” – in which case that (tad) could represent any object of expectation or emotional dependence, or could mean any [absract] thing out there. In terms of what I was discussing yesterday, that  (tad) could be VIP-hood, or any other result of the sort to which a deluded person attaches.

In the 4th pāda, similarly, asya (lit. “of this one” [gen. sg. mn.]) ostensibly means “the prince's” but in the hidden meaning “of this one” might mean not only of the prince but “of a man of the here and now” or “of a real person” or “of the here-and-now itself.”

Also in the 4th pāda, as in very many other places in Aśvaghoṣa's writing, śru might mean much more than hearing with the ears; it might mean listening or learning with the whole of oneself in action – so that the 4th pāda also becomes a kind of instruction for sitting-zen – “Let the purpose of one who is here and now be heard” ; “Let the purpose of a buddha be transmitted through a total psycho-physical act of listening.” Śrūyatām, “let it be heard,” in other words, might mean “let the one-to-one transmission be continued.”

Finally the word niścayaḥ (see also BC5.31, 6.19, 6.22, 6.27) which ostensibly means resolve, as per each of the three professors' translations, is also given in the dictionary as purpose, and positiveness.

Positiveness was a virtue that Geoff Boycott picked up in his commentary yesterday on the cricket – he said that he coached players to be as positive, i.e. not tentative, in playing defensive shots as in playing attacking ones.

Insofar as niścaya means purpose, it might be said that after Bodhidharma went to China, the central question in Chinese Zen was: when Bodhidharma came from India what was asya niścayaḥ, “the purpose of this man”?

Among the better known answers are those of Taiso Eka, who made three prostrations without saying anything, and Joshu Jushin who answered: “The cedar tree in the garden.”

As simple, and as complicated, as that.

Turning back finally to the reality of test-match cricket, there may be no realistic prospect of Australia, who are already two-nil down, winning three tests on the trot and thus securing the ashes. That being so, the challenge for the Aussie losers may be -- in showing the never-say-die attitude for which Aussie sportsmen are traditionally known – to give up attachment to the result that folks down under expected them to achieve, and to let the real meaning of positiveness be seen and heard.

"Sport" Gudo Nishijima once said to me "is sport. Sport is not life."

In response, an opponent of Gudo might point out that books are books. Books are not life. But that didn't stop Gudo from loving books, especially ones written by him! 

In my book, for studying things like human expectation, attachment, and purpose there is no truer laboratory than sport. So there. 

As Bill Shankly famously said, "Football is not a matter of life and death. It is more important than that." 

brūyāt = 3nd pers. sg. optative brū: to speak, say, tell
brūyāḥ = 2nd pers. sg. optative brū: to speak, say, tell
ca: and
asmāsu (loc. pl. aham): to us

anākṣepam: ind. without reproaching (loc.), Bcar. vi, 51.
ākṣepa: m. drawing together , convulsion , palpitation ; reviling , abuse , harsh speech
sākṣepa: mfn. containing an objection or limitation ; conveying reproach or irony , taunting (-am ind. tauntingly)
ā- √ kṣip: to throw down upon (loc.) ; to strike with a bolt ; to convulse , cause to tremble ; to draw or take off or away , withdraw from (abl.) ; to chase or drive out of a place (abl.) , disperse ; to put into (loc.) ; to point to , refer to , hint , indicate
asmat-kṛtākṣepam [EHJ] (acc. sg. m.): “who keep regard for me” (EHJ); “who have affection for me” (PO)
asmad: base of the first person pl. , as used in comp.
kṛta: mfn. done, made; doing, making
apekṣā: f. looking round or about , consideration of , reference , regard to ; dependence on ; looking for , expectation , hope , need , requirement
sāpekṣa: mfn. having regard or respect to (loc. or acc. with prati) ; requiring or presupposing anything , dependent on (comp.)
sāpekṣa-tva: n. dependence on
anapekṣa: mfn. regardless , careless ; indifferent, impartial ; irrespective of ; irrelevant ;
anapekṣam: ind. irrespectively , carelessly
apa-√īkṣ: to look away , to look round ; to have some design ; to have regard to , to respect ; to look for , wait for ; to expect , hope ; to require , have an eye to
janam (acc. sg.): m. people
kapilavāstuni (loc. sg.): in Kapilavastu

tyajyatām = 3rd pers. sg. passive imperative tyaj: to abandon
tad-gataḥ (nom. sg. m.): going to him, to him, directed at him ; directed there
tad: that; there
gata: mfn. going
snehaḥ (nom. sg.): m. love, affection, attachment

śrūyatām = 3rd pers. sg. passive imperative śru: to hear, listen to ; to hear (from a teacher) , study , learn ; to be attentive , be obedient , obey
ca: and
asya (gen. sg.): his ; belonging to this / this one here (referring to something near the speaker)
niścayaḥ (nom. sg.): m. inquiry , ascertainment , fixed opinion , conviction , certainty , positiveness ; resolution , resolve fixed intention , design , purpose , aim ; resolve, intention, conviction

迦毘羅衞人 聞我心決定
顧遺念我者 汝當宣我言 

1 comment:

Rich said...

In my book, for studying things like human expectation, attachment, and purpose there is no truer laboratory than sport. So there.

As Bill Shankly famously said, "Football is not a matter of life and death. It is more important than that."

right on and its in the playing.