Thursday, February 20, 2014

BUDDHACARITA 9.35: Sorrowing vs Wallowing

⏑−⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−¦¦−−⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−   Upajāti (Haṁsī)
yadādhvagānām-iva saṁgatānāṁ kāle viyogo niyataḥ prajānām |
prājño janaḥ ko nu bhajeta śokaṁ bandhu-pratijñāta-janair vihīnaḥ || 9.35

Since separation, as for travellers meeting on a road,

Is, in time, inevitable for living beings,

What wise man would wallow in sorrow

When rid of people with whom he was purported to be related?

The first half of today's verse can be read, again, as a nice expression of the 2nd law of thermodynamics, aka impermanence, aka Time's Arrow.

The operative word in today's verse, as I read it, is bhajeta in the 3rd pāda, whose meanings include would enjoy and would turn to, and which I have translated as would wallow in.

The gist of the bodhisattva's question might be a truth as simple, and a secret as profound, as the moral of the proverbial question, “What's the use of crying over spilt milk?”

At the same time, the style of expression of the 4th pāda, as I read it, is almost shockingly dry and cynical. It seems to presage what the Buddha will later tell Nanda in SN Canto 15, whose title is vitarka-prahāṇaḥ, “Abandoning Ideas.”

About 30 years ago my beloved at the time sent a valentine's card from England to me who was residing in sorrowful solitude in Japan, in which she teased me about wanting to have my cake and eat it. My relationship with her, I had to believe, was for keeps. I felt the same about my relationship with my guru in Japan – it had to be for keeps as well. As my life panned out, I ended up neither eating what I supposed to be my eternal cake nor even having it, which has given me ample opportunity over the years for indulging in self-pity, or wallowing in sorrow.

As evidence that I have managed to resist that temptation, and transcend sorrow, at least to some degree – certainly far from perfectly – there is, in the first instance, the Nishijima-Cross translation of Master Dogen's Shobogenzo; and, in the second instance, this Aśvaghoṣa translation effort. 

loke prakṛti-bhinne 'smin-na kaś-cit kasya-cit priyaḥ /
In this originally shattered world nobody is the beloved of anybody.
kārya-kāraṇa-sambaddhaṃ bālukā-muṣṭivaj-jagat // SN15.35 //
Held together by cause and effect, humankind is like sand in a clenched fist.

yadā: ind. since
yathā [EHJ]: ind. just as
adhva-gānām (gen. pl.): m. 'road-goer' ; a traveller
iva: like, as if
iha [EHJ]: ind. here, here and now
saṁgatānām (gen. pl. m.): mfn. come together , met , encountered , joined , united

kāle (loc. sg.): in time
viyogaḥ (nom. sg.): m. m. disjunction , separation (esp. of lovers)
niyataḥ (nom. sg. m.): mfn. fixed , established , settled , sure , regular , invariable , positive , definite
prajānām (gen. pl.): f. living beings, living creatures

prājñaḥ (nom. sg. m.): mfn. intelligent , wise , clever
janaḥ (nom. sg.): m. person
kaḥ (nom. sg. m.): who
nu: indeed (sometimes it lays stress upon a preceding word , esp. an interr. pronoun or particle , and is then often connected with khalu RV. &c ; it is also employed in questions)
bhajeta = 3rd pers. sg. optative bhaj: to obtain as one's share , receive as (two acc.) , partake of , enjoy (also carnally) , possess , have ; to turn or resort to , engage in , assume (as a form) , put on (garments) , experience , incur , undergo , feel , go or fall into (with acc. , esp. of abstract noun e.g. bhītim, to feel terror)
śokam (acc. sg.): m. sorrow , affliction , anguish , pain , trouble , grief

bandhu-pratijñāta-janaiḥ [EHJ] (inst. pl. m.): people alleged to be related
bandhu: m. connection , relation , association ; a kinsman (esp. on the mother's side) , relative , kindred
pratijñāta: mfn. admitted , acknowledged ; declared , stated , asserted , proposed , alleged
pratijñā: to admit , own , acknowledge , acquiesce in , consent to , approve
vihīnaḥ [EHJ] (nom. sg.): mfn. destitute or deprived of , free from (instr. abl. , or comp.)
bandhu-priyaḥ [EBC] (nom. sg. m): loving his relatives, holding his relatives dear
san [EBC] = nom. sg. m. pres. part. as: to be
api  [EBC]: even
bandhu-hīnaḥ [EBC] (nom. sg. m.): being without his relatives
hīna: bereft or deprived of , free from , devoid or destitute of , without (instr. abl. loc. acc. , or comp

如人隨路行 中道暫相逢
須臾各分析 乖理本自然
合會暫成親 隨縁理自分
深達親假合 不應生憂悲

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