Thursday, October 10, 2013

BUDDHACARITA 7.50: Not Antagonizing Self or Other - through Synthesis of Opposites

¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−¦¦−−⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−   Upajāti (Ārdrā)
tato vacaḥ sūntam-arthavac-ca su-ślakṣṇam-ojasvi ca garvitaṁ ca |
śrutvā kumārasya tapasvinas-te viśeṣa-yuktaṁ bahu-mānam-īyuḥ || 7.50

Then, having listened to the prince's speech,

Which was both friendly and full of real meaning,

Thoroughly gracious and yet strong and proud,

Those ascetics held him in especially high regard.

The Buddha-to-be, even before he was the Buddha, was no shrinking violent. Though friendly and thoroughly gracious, he was at the same time, strong and proud – or loud (ojasvi) and proud (garvitam). His speech was full of real meaning; he said what he meant and meant what he said, but in such a way that he did not antagonize the ascetic others but rather caused his fellow devotees of painful practice to respect him all the more.

One intra-verse echo that I have not been able to bring out in translation is that between ojas-vin and tapas-vin. The Buddha-to-be is described as ojas-vi, which means “having ojas,” while the ascetics are tapas-vinaḥ, “those who have tapas.” And both ojas and tapas can mean warmth. The dictionary definition of ojas that fits best in context is “vigorous or emphatic expression,” but before that ojas means bodily strength or vital energy or vital warmth. And the dictionary definition of tapas that fits best in context is “religious austerity,” but before that tapas means warmth or heat.

The suggestion might be – and I think it is a suggestion that echoes not only within today's verse but throughout this canto – that in some sense a bodhisattva and an ascetic practitioner are not always in a relation of self and other. In some sense, though we are rowing in different directions, we are in the same kind of boat; namely, the big boat of painful practice.

That said, a follower of Śiva who lies in ashes, wears a topknot, and carries a skull in one hand is evidently not one of us – which may be why the 1st pāda of tomorrow's verse contains the particle tu, meaning “but,” “however,” or “at the same time.”

tataḥ: ind. from that ; then ; in consequence of that , for that reason , consequently
vacaḥ (acc. sg.): n. speech, words
sūnṛtam (acc. sg. n.): joyful , glad ; friendly , kind ; pleasant and true (in this sense supposed to be fr. 5. su + ṛta)
arthavat (acc. sg. n.): mfn. full of sense , significant ; suitable to the object , fitting ; full of reality, real
ca: and

su-ślakṣṇam (acc. sg. n.): mfn. very smooth or soft or tender ; very gracious (as speech) Bcar.
ojasvi acc. sg. n. ojas-vin = ojas-vat: mfn. vigorous , powerful , strong , energetic
ojas: n. bodily strength , vigour , energy , ability , power ; vitality (the principle of vital warmth and action throughout the body) ; (in rhet.) elaborate style (abounding with compounds) ; vigorous or emphatic expression
ca: and
garvitam (acc. sg. n.): haughty , conceited , proud [EBC: full of dignity; EHJ: dignified; PO: spirited] ;
garv: to be or become proud or haughty
garva: m. pride, arrogance ; (in dram.) proud speech
ca: and

śrutvā = abs. śru: to hear, listen to
kumārasya (gen. sg.): m. the prince
tapasvinaḥ (nom. pl. m.): the ascetics
tapas: n. warmth , heat ; pain , suffering ; religious austerity , bodily mortification , penance , severe meditation , special observance
te (nom. pl. m.): those

viśeṣa-yuktam (acc. sg. m.): furnished with distinction ; special
viśeṣa: m. distinction , peculiar merit , excellence , superiority (in comp. often = excellent , superior , choice , distinguished e.g. ākṛti-v° , " an excellent form " ; cf. viśeṣa-pratipatti, a special mark of honour)
yukta: furnished or endowed or filled or supplied or provided with , accompanied by , possessed of (instr. or comp.)
bahu-mānam (acc. sg.): m. high esteem or estimation , great respect or regard for (with loc.) of pers. or thing , rarely with gen. of pers.) ; n. a gift made by a superior to an inferior
īyuḥ = 3rd pers. pl. perf. √i: to go, walk; to arrive at , reach , obtain ; to go to or towards (with acc.) ; to undertake anything (with acc.) ; to be employed in , go on with , continue in any condition or relation

爾時諸梵志 聞菩薩所説
眞實有義言 辭辯理高勝
其心大歡喜 倍深加宗敬  

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