Friday, March 7, 2014

BUDDHACARITA 9.50: Regal Gravitas Is Not the Ultimate

⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−¦¦−−⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−   Upajāti (Bālā)
tan-niścayād-vā vasudhādhipās-te rājyāni muktvā śamam-āptavantaḥ |
rājyād-mitā vā nibhtendriyatvād-anaiṣṭhike mokṣa-ktābhidhānāḥ || 9.50

Resolutely, therefore, those rulers of the wealth-giving earth

Abandoned their kingdoms and obtained peace;

Or else, firmly anchored, on the grounds of sovereign power, 
on the grounds of subdued senses,

They affixed the name 'liberation' to what was not the ultimate.

EHJ could not make good sense of the old Nepalese manuscript's rājyād-mitāḥ ("firmly anchored, on the grounds of sovereign power"), and so he amended his text to rājyāṅgitābased on his own conjecture, translating “stained by kingship.” I have understood the bodhisattva to be describing with mitāḥ (lit. “fastened in the earth” or “strong”) the kind of gravitas that heads of state, with their mighty ballast of sovereign power, are supposed to be good at demonstrating  especially on momentous occasions like when they are crowned, or sworn in, or when they address the nation. This kind of gravitas, it could be argued, is a kind of samādhi. There is a certain balanced stillness about it. It is very different, for example, from the state of a child with so-called ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) whose senses are such that he cannot sit still for two minutes. It is the kind of regal gravitas that poor old King George VI of England, "the stuttering sovereign," so badly wished to project. But, the bodhisattva as I hear him has perceived, this kind of regal gravitas, which seems to exude the sense of somebody in control, firmly in the driving seat, is not the ultimate.

The bodhisattva, by his own admission (in BC9.75; adṛṣṭa-tattvasya sato 'pi kiṁ tu me), has not yet realized the ultimate truth in his own experience. But his bodhi-mind is such that he can at least intuit what is NOT the ultimate – unlike, for example, the beggar of the fourth dhyāna who mistook that stage of sitting-meditation for the ultimate, and whose salutary tale Dogen tells in Shobogenzo chap. 90, Shizen-biku.

For those of us who have yet to realize the ultimate in our own experience, it may be futile to speculate what the ultimate is. I am tempted again to express the view that the ultimate in Dogen's teaching is sitting as the King of Samādhis. At the same time, the ultimate verse of Nāgārjuna's Mūla-madhyamaka-kārikā continues hanging in the air like a giant wrecking ball, reminding us that when the Buddha taught sitting as the King of Samādhis, he did so in the direction of abandonment of all views.

Finally, then, today's verse can be read as giving another clue as to the meaning of the canto title kumārānveṣaṇa, “The Seeking of a Prince” – the point being that what the prince was seeking was nothing less, and nothing more, than the right direction ultimate.

tad: ind. therefore
niścayāt (abl. sg.): m. inquiry , ascertainment , fixed opinion , conviction , certainty , positiveness ; resolution, resolve
vā: or
vasudhādhipāḥ (nom. pl.): m. lord of the earth , a king
vasudhā: f. 'producing wealth', the earth
adhipa: m. a ruler , commander , regent , king
te (nom. pl. m.): those
rājyāni (acc. pl.): n. kingship; kingdom
muktvā = abs. muc: to let go, give up, abandon,
śamam (acc. sg.): m. peace
āptavantaḥ = nom. pl. m. past. part. āp: to reach , overtake , meet with ; to obtain , gain , take possession of

rājyāt (abl. sg.): n. kingship, kingdom
mitāḥ (nom. pl. m.): mfn. fixed , set up , founded , established; firm, strong; cast , thrown , scattered ; measured , meted out , measured or limited by i.e. equal to (instr. or comp.)
√1. mi: to fix or fasten in the earth , set up , found , build , construct ; to mete out , measure; to judge, know ; to cast , throw , scatter
√3. mā: to measure , mete out , mark off ;
rājyāṅgitāḥ (nom. pl. m.): “stained by kingship” [EHJ]
rājyāṅga: n. " limb of royalty " , a requisite of regal administration (variously enumerated as 7 , 8 , or 9 , viz. the monarch , the prime minister , a friend or ally , treasure , territory , a stronghold , an army , the companies of citizens , and the puro-hita or spiritual adviser)
vā: or else
nibhṛtendriyatvāt (abl. sg.): because of the calmness of their senses
nibhṛta: mfn. borne or placed down , hidden , secret ; still , silent ; quiet , humble , modest , mild , gentle ; free from passions , undisturbed (= śānta)
indriya: n. bodily power , power of the senses
-tva: (neuter abstract noun suffix)
nibhṛtācāra: mfn. of resolute conduct , firm
nibhṛtātman: mfn. resolute-minded , resolute
nibhṛtordhvakarṇa: mfn. having the ears fixed and erect (said of horses)
nibhṛtī- √ kṛ: to keep quiet or unmoved

a-naiṣṭhike (loc. sg.): not ultimate , imperfect
naiṣṭhika: mfn. forming the end , final , last ; definitive , fixed , firm ; highest , perfect , complete
mokṣa-kṛtābhidhānāḥ (nom. pl. m.): called “liberation”
mokṣa: m. emancipation , liberation , release ; release from worldly existence or transmigration , final or eternal emancipation
kṛta: mfn. done, made
abhidhāna: n. telling , naming , speaking , speech , manifesting; a name , title , appellation , expression , word
mokṣa-kṛtābhimānāḥ [EHJ] (nom. pl. m.): “they claimed to have attained liberation” [EHJ]
abhimāna: m. high opinion of one's self , self-conceit , pride , haughtiness; conception (especially an erroneous one regarding one's self)

決定修解脱 亦不居王位
若言居王位 兼修解脱者

此則非決定 決定解亦然

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