Saturday, January 18, 2014

BUDDHACARITA 9.3: Sitting as Private Business

⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−¦¦−−⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−   Upajāti (Sālā)
tau nyāyatas-taṁ pratipūjya vipraṁ tenārcitau tāv-api cānurūpam |
ktāsanau bhārgavam-āsana-sthaṁ chittvā kathām-ūcatur-ātma-ktyam || 9.3

They honoured that inspired sage, following the standard,

And were saluted by him accordingly.

As two who had sat, 
they spoke to one who abode in the act of sitting –

Cutting out chat, they told the son of Bhṛgu their private business.

Ostensibly today's verse mentions in passing that everybody was seated.

So kṛtāsanau bhārgavam-āsana-stham means:
“The two, having taken their seats, [addressed] the son of Bhṛgu who himself was seated.”

Hence EBC:
“having seated themselves... [they addressed] Bhārgava, who was likewise seated.”

“When they had been given seats and the Bhārgava had taken his...”

“When both they and Bhārgava had taken their seats...”

Below the surface (it is blindingly obvious even before the spade hits the earth), the two āsana in the 3rd pāda are pointing not to being seated or to seats but to sitting as the one great matter, the one great task, the one great job – and every Zen practitioner's private business.

Evidently, being a professor of Sanskrit is no guarantee of catching Aśvaghoṣa's gist. But his gist might not be too difficult to catch for anybody who is privately devoted to sitting.

The son of Bhṛgu is described in the 1st pāda as vipram sage, seer, singer, poet, learned theologian; Brahman; moon. The two approach him, one who abides in the act of sitting. They honour him following the standard, in which case the standard might be an act of bowing to the ground. And he salutes them accordingly, in which case saluting might mean joining the palms of the hands together to receive the bow.

In the absence of chat, such might be the means by which approachers and approached speak to each other of their private business. At the same time, the suggestion might be that the act of sitting itself, cutting all chat, is a means of each telling the other his or her private business.

The essence of bowing is going from the vertical to the horizontal and back again to the vertical, whereas sitting means just remaining in the vertical. The point, in conclusion, might be not so much to make a big show of the former, but more to be privately devoted to the latter.

tau (nom. dual): those two
nyāyataḥ: ind. in a fitting manner , as is fit or proper , according to right or justice
nyāya: m. that into which a thing goes back i.e. an original type , standard , method , rule , (esp.) a general or universal rule , model , axiom , system , plan , manner , right or fit manner or way , fitness , propriety
tam (acc. sg. m.): him
pratipūjya = abs. prati- √ pūj: to return a salutation , reverence , salute respectfully , honour , praise , commend , approve
vipram (acc. sg.): m. a sage , seer , singer , poet , learned theologian ; a Brahman ; the moon
mfn. stirred or excited (inwardly) , inspired , wise (said of men and gods , esp. of agni , indra , the aśvins , maruts &c ; cf. paṇḍita)
vip: to tremble , shake , shiver , vibrate , quiver , be stirred

tena (inst. sg. m.): by him
arcitau (nom. dual): mfn. honoured , worshipped , respected , saluted
tau (nom. dual): those two
api: also, as well
ca: and
anurūpam: ind. ifc. conformably , according ; mfn. following the form , conformable , corresponding , like , fit , suitable

kṛtāsanau (nom. dual): having accomplished the act of sitting, being seated
kṛta: mfn. done, made, accomplished ; prepared ; well done , proper , good ; cultivated
āsana: n. sitting
kṛta-paṇa: mfn. one who has laid a wager
kṛta-bhojana: mfn. one who has dined or made a meal
kṛta-vāpana: m. a penitent who has shaven his head and chin
kṛta-vetana: mfn. one who receives wages (as a hired servant or labourer)
kṛta-vyadhana: mfn. skilled in piercing
kṛtāñjali: mfn. one who joins the hollowed palms in reverence or to solicit a favour (holding the hollowed palms together as if to receive alms or an offering) , standing in a reverent or respectful posture
kṛtānana: mfn. possessing a great experience
kṛtāvadhāna: mfn. one who takes care , careful , cautious , attentive
kṛtāśana: mfn. one who makes a meal , feeding upon
kṛtāśa: mfn. one who forms hopes , hoping for anything
bhārgavam (acc. sg.): m. the son of Bhṛgu
āsana-stham (acc. sg. m.): engaged in the act of sitting, being seated
stha: (only ifc.) standing , staying , abiding , being situated in , existing or being in or on or among ; occupied with , engaged in , devoted to performing , practising

chittvā = abs. to cut off , amputate , cut through , hew , chop , split , pierce
kathām (acc. sg.): f. conversation , speech , talking together ; talk
ūcatur = 3rd pers. dual vac: to speak , say , tell , utter , announce , declare , mention , proclaim , recite , describe (with acc.)
ātma-kṛtyam (acc. sg.): their own business
kṛtya: n. what ought to be done , what is proper or fit , duty , office ; n. action , business , performance , service ; n. purpose , end , object , motive , cause
ātma-karya: n. one's own business , private affairs

諸仙請就座 説法安慰之
即白仙人言 意有所諮問

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