Monday, January 27, 2014

BUDDHACARITA 9.12: Sitting On Earth As [It Might Be] In Heaven

−−⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−¦¦⏑−⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−   Upajāti (Buddhi)
taṁ vkṣa-mūla-stham-abhijvalantaṁ puro-hito rāja-sutaṁ babhāṣe |
yathopaviṣṭaṁ divi pārijāte bhas-patiḥ śakra-sutaṁ jayantam || 9.12

The veteran priest addressed that son of a king

Who abode at the foot of the tree, shining,

As in heaven 'Lord of Prayer' Bṛhas-pati

Addressed 'Victorious' Jayanta, son of Mighty Indra,
sitting under the celestial coral tree:

So far today I have not been sitting much and not been shining at all; I have been laid low with a heavy cold, whose symptoms I suspect have been aggravated by abrupt withdrawal of all the caffeine I usually drink in coffee.

I'm not capable today of much in the way of deep thought. I couldn't even remember what today's verse was as I lay in bed all day feeling sorry for myself. What I did manage to remember, barely, when I finally managed to cross my legs, is

buddhaṁ śaraṇaṁ gacchami
dharmaṁ śaraṇaṁ gacchami
saṁghaṁ śaraṇaṁ gacchami
I go to buddha as a place of refuge
I go to dharma as a place of refuge
I go to saṁgha as a place of refuge.

What that means in practice is mainly plodding on with this translation of Aśvaghoṣa, which is the dharma of a buddha. My rent on earth is mainly serving the saṁgha to whom it belongs, that saṁgha being composed of people who love it.

That said, truly to love it is not only to like it intellectually. Truly to love it might be to sit, and in so sitting, to shine.

Hence what I do manage to notice about today's verse is that, like several recent verses, it describes a son of a king as shining (abhijvalantam) and sitting (upaviṣṭam).

Parallel expressions are
  • in BC9.8 shining with handsome form (vapuṣojjvalantam) and being royally seated, or sitting as a king (nṛpopaviṣṭam);
  • in BC9.10 honoured / caused him to shine (arcayām-āsatur) and honoured /caused them to shine (pratyarcayām-āsa);
  • and in BC9.11 the two sat (niṣīdatur) and the two shone (virejatur).

tam (acc. sg. m.): him
vṛkṣa-mūla-stham (acc. sg. m.): abiding at the root/foot of the tree
abhijvalantam = acc. sg. m. pres. part. abhi- √ jval: to blaze forth

puro-hitaḥ (nom. sg.): m. the veteran priest ; mfn. placed foremost or in front
rāja-sutam (acc. sg. m.): the king's son
babhāṣe = 3rd pers. sg. perf. bhāṣ: to speak , talk , say , tell

yathā: ind. as
upaviṣṭam (acc. sg. m.): mfn. seated , sitting
divi (loc. sg.): in heaven
pārijāte (loc. sg.): m. the coral tree , Erythrina Indica (losing its leaves in June and then covered with large crimson flowers) ; N. of one of the 5 trees of paradise (produced at the churning of the ocean and taken possession of by indra from whom it was afterwards taken by kṛṣṇa)

bṛhas-patiḥ (nom. sg.): m. " lord of prayer or devotion " N. of a deity (in whom Piety and Religion are personified ; he is the chief offerer of prayers and sacrifices , and therefore represented as the type of the priestly order , and the purohita of the gods with whom he intercedes for men ; in later times he is the god of wisdom and eloquence , to whom various works are ascribed ; he is also regarded as son of aṅgiras , husband of tārā and father of kaca , and sometimes identified with vyāsa ; in astronomy he is the regent of Jupiter and often identified with that planet)
śakra-sutam (acc. sg.): m. " indra's son "
śakra: mfn. strong , powerful , mighty (applied to various gods , but esp. to indra) ; m. N. of indra
jayantam (acc. sg.): m. victorious ; m. the moon ; m. N. of a son of indra

王師及大臣 啓請於王子
如毘利波低 語彼闍延多 


George O'Donoghue said...

Thanks for your effort. I read your posts every night before bed. Hope you feel better soon.

Mike Cross said...

Thanks George.