Tuesday, September 24, 2013

BUDDHACARITA 7.34: Not Being Strident, Like the Light of the Silvery Moon

¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−¦¦⏑−⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−   Upajāti (Vāṇī)
kāś-cin-niśās-tatra niśā-karābhaḥ parīkṣamāṇaś-ca tapāṁsy-uvāsa |
sarvaṁ parikṣepya tapaś-ca matvā tasmāt-tapaḥ-kṣetra-talāj-jagāma || 7.34

For several nights, resembling the night-making moon,

He dwelt there, investigating ascetic practices; 

And, having embraced asceticism in the round 

and come to his own conclusion about it, 

He made to depart from that field of asceticism. 

In the 1st pāda of today's verse the Buddha-to-be is compared to the moon. The comparison might be intended to suggest a contrast with the sun, the Brilliant One, referred to in BC7.32 -- the moon being associated with mildness, as opposed to the kind of blazing stridency that, if the prince had shown it, might have antagonized and offended the devotees of asceticism who were extending their hospitality to him in the ashram. 

Reading the 3rd pāda in a more mellow silvery light, then, I think matvā might be intended to express an inward mental process, as opposed to a strident passing of judgement. Hence also in BC7.19, in the phrase that introduces the monologue that has just ended, the prince is described as śanair-idaṁ cātma-gataṁ babhāṣe, "silently saying this to himself."  

EHJ wrote in a footnote to his translation: The third pāda is hopelessly corrupt. I translate T [the Tibetan translation] which cannot be put back into Sanskrit (paricchidya is the most probable), but C [the Chinese translation] is perhaps nearer the original reading. For the context requires something approaching the adverse judgement on austerities in SN3.2. Possibilities are sarvaṁ pratikṣipya tapaś ca matyā and sarvaṁ pratikṣepyam ataś ca matvā, but it is not a case for putting a conjecture into text. 

EHJ's translation of the 3rd pāda was "after considering them all and forming a judgement on them...," which seems to be fairly close to the Sanskrit (I don't know about the Tibetan) except that tapaḥ has gone from singular to plural, and "considering" is a bit of a leap from parikṣepya, which means encircling or embracing. 

So I am not sure why EHJ was so sure that the third pāda was "hopelessly corrupt" -- or why, for that matter, he expressed this conclusion so stridently! 

Amending matvā to matyā, "in his mind," (as per the original conjecure of Cappeller), would seem to me to work well, but I have followed EHJ in leaving the original text be.  

kāś-cid (acc. pl. f.): several
niśāḥ (acc. pl.): f. night
tatra: ind. there
niśā-karābhaḥ (nom. sg. m.): like the night-making moon
niśā-kara: " night-maker " , the moon
ābha: f. splendour , light ; likeness , resemblance ; ifc. like , resembling , appearing

parīkṣamāṇaḥ = nom. sg. m. pres. part. pari- √īkṣ: to look round , inspect carefully , try , examine , find out , observe , perceive
ca: and
tapāṁsi (acc. pl.): n. ascetic practises
uvāsa = 3rd pers. sg. perf. vas: to dwell

sarvam (acc. sg. n.): mfn. all, the whole
parikṣepya = abs. pari- √ kṣip : to put or lay or wind round ; to throw about , surround , encircle , embrace
tapaḥ (acc. sg.): n. ascetic practice
ca: and
matvā = abs. man:  to think , believe , imagine , suppose , conjecture ; to agree or be of the same opinion with (acc.) ; to set the heart or mind on , honour , esteem (with nau , disdain) , hope or wish for (acc. or gen.)  ; to think of (in prayer  &c  , either " to remember , meditate on " , or " mention , declare " , or " excogitate , invent ")  ; to perceive , observe , learn , know , understand , comprehend (acc.)
matyā = inst. sg. mati: f. thought;  opinion , notion , idea , belief , conviction , view ; the mind

tasmāt (abl.) from that
tapaḥ-kṣetra-talāt (abl. sg.): field of asceticism
kṣetra: n. landed property , land , soil ; a field ; place
tala: n. surface , level , flat roof (of a house) ; the part underneath , lower part , base , bottom
jagāma = 3rd pers. sg. perf. gam: to go, to set out

不見眞實義 則便欲捨去 

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