Friday, August 30, 2013

BUDDHACARITA 7.9: Reciprocal Respect to Upholders of a Dharma

¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−¦¦−−⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−   Upajāti (Ārdrā)
tataḥ sa tair-āśramibhir-yathāvad-abhyarcitaś-copanimantritaś-ca |
pratyarcayāṁ dharma-bhto babhūva svareṇa sāmbho-'mbu-dharopamena || 7.9

Then, being honoured and invited, with due courtesy,

By those ashram-dwellers,

He in return, to the upholders of a dharma, paid his respects

With a voice like rain clouds filled with rain.

Today's verse as I read it contains a teaching that is antithetical to the view I usually express on this blog about religion, about asceticism, and so on.

The Buddha-dharma, Aśvaghoṣa leaves us in no doubt, is not an ascetic dharma. And yet that is no basis, today's verse seems implicitly to suggest – at least insofar as we can assume the Buddha-to-be to have piled up exclusively good karma – for holding an ascetic dharma in contempt. On the contrary, the prince's attitude is portrayed in today's verse as one of respect, at least towards individual practitioners, and at least as a starting point.

The rain-cloud simile in the 4th pāda contrasts with the sun-god simile in yesterday's verse, and puts me, for one, as I sit outside beside soil I have recently dug, my thirst being quenched by the sound of the forest stream, in mind of all the elements...

Not reflective sitting; not seated reflecting
On elemental earth, water, wind, fire and wood.
Behind the hedge, a bird belts out a flutey song
And sends flying the shattered shards of my square glass mirror.

My poetry may be crap, but sometimes, in the shade, on a sunny evening, especially after an afternoon nap, my sitting in lotus is not half bad.

The truth might be that sitting in lotus is inherently unfathomably good, but mine is always liable to taint it. Much less so, ironically, when I am on my own.

tataḥ: ind. then
sa (nom. sg. m): he
taiḥ (inst. pl.): by those
āśramibhiḥ (inst. pl.): mfn. belonging to a hermitage , a hermit , anchorite
yathāvad: ind. duly , properly , rightly , suitably , exactly

abhyarcitaḥ (nom. sg. m.): mfn. reverenced
abhy- √ arc: to praise, worship, reverence
ca: and
upanimantritaḥ (nom. sg. m.): mfn. invited
upa-ni- √ mantr: to invite; to offer; to consecrate, inaugurate
ca: and

pratyarcayām babhūva = 3rd pers. sg. periphrastic perfect praty- √ arc: to greet in return or one by one
dharma-bhṛtaḥ = acc. pl. dharma-bhṛt: m. " law-supporter " , N. of princes and other men
bhṛ: to bear , carry , convey , hold ; to bear i.e. contain , possess , have , keep ; to support , maintain , cherish , foster ; (with , ājñām) to submit to , obey

svareṇa (inst. sg.): m. sound ; voice
bhādrāṁbu-dharopamena [e.c. EBC] (inst. sg. m.): like a raincloud in the rainy season
bhādra: m. (fr. bhadra , of which it is also the vṛddhi form in comp.) the month bhādra (a rainy month corresponding to the period from about the middle of August to the middle of September)
ambu-dharopamena (inst. sg. m.): like a raincloud
ambu-dhara: m. " water-holder " , a cloud
upama: mfn. (ifc.) equal , similar , resembling , like
sāmbho-'mbu-dharopamena [EHJ]: like a water-holding cloud holding water
sāmbhaḥ: mfn. having or containing water , watery
ambu-dharopamena (inst. sg. m.): like a rain cloud
ambu-dhara: m. " water-holder " , a cloud
upama: mfn. (ifc.) equal , similar , resembling , like

太子亦謙下 敬辭以問訊 
菩薩遍觀察 林中諸梵志

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