Friday, January 31, 2014

BUDDHACARITA 9.16: Sorrow As a Means-Whereby a Zealous Prince Becomes More Dry

−−⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−¦¦⏑−⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−   Upajāti (Bhadrā)
meghāmbu-kakṣādriṣu yā hi vttiḥ samīraṇārkāgni-mahāśanīnām |
tāṁ vttim-asmāsu karoti śoko vikarṣaṇocchoṣaṇa-dāha-bhedaiḥ || 9.16

For the action which on clouds, water, brushwood and mountains,

Is exerted by wind, sun, fire and the mighty thunderbolt:

Sorrow exerts that action on us –

Tearing us apart, causing us to become dry, 
burning us out and demolishing us.

Today's verse bears a striking resemblance to SN17.59:

agni-drumājyāmbuṣu yā hi vṛttiḥ kavandha-vāyv-agni-divākarāṇām /
doṣeṣu tāṃ vṛttim-iyāya nando nirvāpaṇotpāṭana-dāha-śoṣaiḥ //
The action which on fire, trees, ghee and water is exerted by rainclouds, wind, a flame and the sun, / Nanda exerted that action on the faults, quenching, uprooting, burning, and drying them up. // SN17.59 // 
Today's verse, then, tends strongly to confirm the suspicion that Aśvaghoṣa wants us to dig below the surface of the words of the Śākya King of Kapilavastu, so that we see the correspondence with the teaching of the Śākya king of dharma. That may be why the 3rd pāda has asmāsu, “us,” in the plural – on the surface Śuddhodana is just moaning on about how his personal sorrow is killing him, but below the surface a king of dharma is describing the practical benefits that sorrow can have on us, if we are able to let it.

Those practical benefits are listed under four ironic headings, namely:
  • vikarṣaṇa: tearing us apart.
  • ucchoṣaṇa: causing us to become dry.
So on the surface King Śuddhodana is expressing without irony what it is to be wet. But below the surface a dharma king might be suggesting with all due irony how sorrow can help a Zen practitioner on the way to becoming dry. 
  • dāha: burning us.
The Mirriam-Webster online dictionary, incidentally, defines burnout as:
the condition of someone who has become very physically and emotionally tired after doing a difficult job for a long time.
2 a :  exhaustion of physical or emotional strength or motivation usually as a result of prolonged stress or frustration
  • bheda: demolishing us.
Full Definition of DEMOLISH
1a :  tear down, raze   b :  to break to pieces :  smash
2a :  to do away with :  destroy b :  to strip of any pretense of merit or credence.

meghāmbu-kakṣādriṣu (loc. pl.): on clouds, water, grass and mountains
megha: m. " sprinkler " , a cloud
ambu: n. water
kakṣa: m. lurking place ; a forest of dead trees , a dry wood , underwood (often the lair of wild beasts) ; grass, dry grass
adri: m. a stone , a rock , a mountain
yā (nom. sg. f.): [that action] which
hi: for
vṛttiḥ (nom. sg.): f. rolling; course of action; working , activity , function

samīraṇārkāgni-mahāśanīnām (gen. pl.): of/by wind, sun, fire, and the mighty thunderbolt
sam-īraṇa: m. breeze , wind , air , breath
arka: m. a ray , flash of lightning ; the sun
agni: m. fire
mahat: mfn. great
aśani: f. the thunderbolt , a flash of lightning

tām (acc. sg. f.): that
vṛttim (acc. sg.): f. rolling; course of action; working , activity , function
asmāsu (loc. pl.): in us
karoti = 3rd pers. sg. kṛ: to do, make, effect
śokaḥ (nom. sg.): m. flame , glow , heat ; m. sorrow , affliction , anguish , pain , trouble , grief

vikarṣaṇocchoṣaṇa-dāha-bhedaiḥ (inst. pl.) by blowing apart, drying up, burning up, and breaking up
vikarṣaṇa: n. the act of drawing or dragging asunder
ucchoṣaṇa: n. drying up; making dry, parching
dāha: m. (fr. √ dah) burning , combustion , conflagration , heat
bheda: m. breaking , splitting , cleaving , rending , tearing , piercing

如雲水草山 風日火雹災
憂悲爲四患 飄乾燒壞心 

No comments: