Tuesday, February 18, 2014

BUDDHACARITA 9.33: Owning Suffering (Disowning a View on Suffering)

⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−¦¦−−⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−   Upajāti (Indravajrā)
madd-hetukaṁ yat-tu narādhipasya śokaṁ bhavān-āha na tat priyaṁ me |
yat-svapna-bhūteṣu samāgameṣu saṁtapyate bhāvini viprayoge || 9.33

If, however, the gentleman present 
viewed me as the cause of the king's sorrow,

That view would not be near and dear to me

When, in comings together which are like a dream,

He suffers, amid inevitable separation. 

In BC9.24 the veteran to whom today's verse is addressed told the bodhisattva:
For in the deep sea whose water is sorrow and which has its origin in you – in the foaming sea of suffering, the Śākya king submerses himself. 
As I argued in commenting on that verse, this sounds on the surface like the veteran is blaming the prince for his father's sorrow – which would be a wrong view. But below the surface the verse can be read as an expression of the truth that the ocean of all sorrow has its origin in the thirsting subject, in which foaming sea of suffering a king of dharma invariably immerses himself.

For this reason I have translated the yat in the first pāda as “if,” and have understood that the bodhisattva in today's verse is saying “if you have taken a wrong view in regard to sorrow and suffering, then I disavow and disown that view.”

In the 2nd pāda, the syllable corresponding to tat in EHJ's text is missing in the old Nepalese manuscript. In EBC's text the 2nd pāda is
śokaṁ bhavān-arhati na priyaṁ me
I do not however approve that thou shouldst consider the king's grief as caused by me, when in the midst of his dream-like unions he is afflicted by thoughts of separations in the future. (EBC)
Reading the 2nd pāda as
śokaṁ bhavān-āha na tat priyaṁ me
EHJ and PO understood that what the bodhisattva did not approve, or what did not please him, was the king's distress.
As for your mention of the king's grief on my behalf, it does not please me that he should feel distress, since unions are fleeting as dreams and parting is certain. (EHJ)

You spoke about the king's grief on account of me; I am not pleased that he is so distressed, Amidst associations as fleeting as dreams, when separation is bound to take place. (PO)

While following EHJ's text, I have followed EBC in understanding that what does not please the bodhisattva is a wrong view in regard to what causes sorrow.

The phrase svapna-bhūteṣu, “like a dream,” in Dogen's teaching, means, in other words, “being real” i.e. being as real (as far removed from intellectual thinking) as a dream is.

So in today's verse, as I read it, the bodhisattva is NOT expressing a Mahāyāna view  based on intellectual musings on śūnyatā, or “emptiness" – that all instances of human beings coming together are purely illusory.  On the contrary, he is contemplating the suffering of real pain that takes place when real living beings come together, only then to suffer inevitable separation, in a universe governed by the 2nd law of thermodynamics. 

The three professors each took the subject of saṁtapyate in the 4th pāda to be the king. But since the bodhisattva addresses the veteran as bhavān, "the gentleman present" (nom. sg., taking the 3rd person) I think the subject of saṁtapyate  could equally be the veteran himself. 

The point, either way, but especially taking bhavān... saṇtapyate to mean "you, here and now, are sufferiing," is that the bodhisattva is negating a wrong view on suffering and affirming sorrow as something that is really burning here and now. 

The more I reflect on it, and the more I recite today's verse to myself, the surer I am that Aśvaghoṣa's real intention was that saṁtapyate means "you, here and now, are suffering." 

Finally then, on further reflection, the secret meaning of the 4th pāda of today's verse might be as a description of reality which is full of suffering, impermanant and not all about me. Contemplation of these three marks of reality, as described in SN Canto 17, can be a stage in a process leading to realizaton of the first stage of sitting-meditation, which in itself is described as viveka-jam or "born of separateness." 

When father and son are separated, and suffering, in reality, ensues, where does the cause of the father's suffering lie – in the son? in the father? in both parties? in neither? 

In today's verse, as I read it, the bodhisattva is saying that to put the blame for the king's sorrow on the son is a wrong view, and a view which is not grounded in appreciation of the reality of suffering or the reality of separation. 

In tomorrow's verse, the bodhisattva is going to put the blame on ignorance – though whose ignorance will remain a question for further investigation

madd-hetukam (acc. sg. m.): caused by me
hetuka: mfn. caused or effected or conditioned by
yat: that (with correlative tad) yad also = " so that " , " in order that " , " wherefore " , " whence " , " as " , " in as much as " , " since " , " because " [the correlative being tad , " therefore "] , " when " , " if "
tu: but
narādhipasya (gen. sg.): m. " lord of men " , king , prince
adhipa: m. a ruler , commander , regent , king

śokam (acc. sg.): m. sorrow , affliction , anguish , pain , trouble , grief
bhavān (nom. sg. m.): the gentleman present, you (used respectfully for the 2nd pers. pron. , but properly with the 3rd and only exceptionally with the 2nd pers. of the verb e.g. bhavān dadātu , " let your highness give ") 
āha = 3rd pers. sg. perf. to say , speak ; to call , hold , consider , regard as (with two acc. , for one of which may be substituted a phrase with iti)
na: not
tat (nom. sg. n.): that
priyam (nom. sg. n.): mfn. beloved , dear to (gen. loc. dat. or comp.) , liked , favourite , wanted
me (gen. sg.): to me

yat: when (yad also = " so that " , " in order that " , " wherefore " , " whence " , " as " , " in as much as " , " since " , " because " [the correlative being tad , " therefore "] , " when " , " if ")
svapna-bhūteṣu (loc. pl. m.): being of the nature of a dream
svapna: m. sleep , sleeping; a dream, dreaming
bhūta: (ifc.) being or being like anything , consisting of , mixed or joined with
samāgameṣu (loc. pl.): m. coming together (either in a hostile or friendly manner) , union (also sexual) , junction , encounter or meeting with

saṁtapyate = 3rd pers. sg. passive saṁ- √ tap: to be oppressed or afflicted , suffer pain , undergo penance
bhāvini (loc. sg. m.): mfn. becoming, being ; about to be , future , imminent , predestined , inevitable (often used as fut. tense of √ bhū)
viprayoge (loc. sg.): m. separation

聞父王憂悲 増戀切我心
但如夢暫會 倏忽歸無常

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