Saturday, March 8, 2014

BUDDHACARITA 9.51: To the Forest with Conviction

⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−¦¦−−⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−   Upajāti (Indravajrā)
teṣāṁ ca rājye 'stu śamo yathāvat-prāpto vanaṁ nāham-aniścayena |
chittvā hi pāśaṁ gha-bandhu-saṁjñaṁ muktaḥ punar-na pravivikṣur-asmi || 9.51

Or if any of those kings during his kingship
did properly realize peace, be that as it may!

I, for my part, have not come to the forest
with any lack of conviction.

For, having cut the snare called kith and kin,

I am free, and not about to enter it again.”

In today's verse, as I read it, the prince conclusively manifests himself as a bodhisattva, i.e. a prince in the sense of a king-to-be of the buddha-dharma.

In so doing, in the 2nd pāda the bodhisattva fittingly uses the first person singular personal pronoun, aham, “I”; and at the end of the 4th pāda the first person singular of the verb to be, asmi, “am.”

What comes across from today's verse, then, and indeed from the whole speech that concludes with today's verse, is the bodhisattva's iron resolve, and true self-confidence, which is totally immune to the arguments of the nay-saying veteran and counsellor.

I send my bent knees forwards and away as my sitting bones arrive on top of a round black cushion. I cross my legs, right foot on left thigh and left foot on right thigh. I arrange my kaṣāya... but not my posture. On the contrary, allowing myself to be directed up, by what I don't know, I reflect that thanks to the teaching of FM Alexander, I am free, and not about to enter that particular snare again.

My right hand rests, helpless and useless, on my left foot, and my left hand rests, helpless and useless, on my right hand. If you tell me that I ought to do this and that, pulling my chin in a little to keep my neck bones straight, and making my posture symmetrical, I do not believe you, not in a million years. Plus, I dare say, you haven't yet understood the true meaning of coming to the forest.

teṣām (gen. pl.): of them
ca: and
rājye (loc. sg.): n. kingship, kingdom
astu (3rd pers. sg. imperative): let it be
śamaḥ (nom. sg.): quiet, peace
yathāvat: ind. duly , properly , rightly , suitably , exactly ; as , like (= yathā)

prāptaḥ (nom. sg. m.): mfn. mfn. attained to , reached , arrived at ; come to
vanam (acc. sg.): n. the forest
na: not
aham (nom. sg.): I
a-niścayena (inst. sg.): irresolutely
niścaya: m. inquiry , ascertainment , fixed opinion , conviction , certainty , positiveness ; resolution , resolve, fixed intention , design , purpose , aim

chittvā = abs. chid: to cut off , amputate , cut through
hi: for
pāśam (acc. sg.): m. a snare , trap , noose , tie , bond , cord , chain , fetter (lit. and fig.)
gṛha-bandhu-saṁjñam (acc. sg. m.): called 'home and kindred' ; called 'family relations'
saṁjñā: f. a name , appellation , title , technical term (ifc. = " called , named ")

muktaḥ (nom. sg. m.): mfn. set free, released
punar: ind. again, once more, back
na: not
pravivikṣuḥ (nom. sg. m.): mfn. (fr. Desid. pra- √viś) wishing or being about to enter (acc.)
pra- √viś: to enter , go into , resort to (acc. or loc.)
asmi = 1st pers. sg. as: to be

既非決定心 或出還復入
我今已決定 斷親屬鉤餌

正方便出家 云何還復入

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