Thursday, March 13, 2014

BUDDHACARITA 9.56: The Wrong Kind of Effortlessness, and the Right Kind of Effort

⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−¦¦−−⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−   Upajāti (Sālā)
bhūyaḥ pravttir-yadi kā-cid-asti raṁsyāmahe tatra yathopapattau |
atha pravttiḥ parato na kā-cit-siddho 'prayatnāj-jagato 'sya mokṣaḥ || 9.56 

If we do carry on hereafter in some form

We will enjoy ourselves in that life as befits our birth;

Or else, 
if there is no carrying on in any form beyond this life,

Release is already a given for this world, 
without any effort on our part.

Once again, as in yesterday's verse, the counsellor is affirming the wrong kind of effortlessness. And once again I think Aśvaghoṣa's intention is that we should compare and contrast the counsellor's affirmation of the wrong kind of effortlessness with the Buddha's affirmation of the right kind of effort.

Thus, the Buddha again encourages Nanda, at the end of SN Canto 18, even in the enlightened state, to keep on making effort:

ihārtham-evārabhate naro 'dhamo vimadhyamas-tūbhaya-laukikīṃ kriyām /
The lowest sort of man only ever sets to work for an object in this world. 
But a man in the middle does work both for this world and for the world to come.
kriyām-amutraiva phalāya madhyamo viśiṣṭa-dharmā punar-apravṛttaye // SN18.55 //
A man in the middle, I repeat, works for a result in the future. 
The superior type, however, tends towards abstention from positive action.

ihottamebhyo 'pi mataḥ sa tūttamo ya uttamaṃ dharmam-avāpya naiṣṭhikam /
But deemed to be higher than the highest in this world is he who, 
having realized the supreme ultimate dharma,
acintayitvātma-gataṃ pariśramaṃ śamaṃ parebhyo 'py-upadeṣṭum-icchati // 18.56 //
Desires, without worrying about the trouble to himself, 
to teach tranquillity to others.

vihāya tasmād-iha kāryam-ātmanaḥ kuru sthirātman para-kāryam-apy-atho /
Therefore forgetting the work that needs to be done in this world on the self, 
do now, stout soul, what can be done for others.
bhramatsu sattveṣu tamo-vṛtātmasu śruta-pradīpo niśi dhāryatām-ayam // SN18.57 //
Among beings who are wandering in the night, 
their minds shrouded in darkness, 
let the lamp of this transmission be carried.

A technical difficulty in translating today's verse, with an eye to tomorrow's verse, is presented by the word pravṛtti, which means moving onwards, or active life, or positive action (as in SN18.55 above) -- i.e,  doing, as opposed to nivṛtti, non-doing.  

I originally translated the 1st pāda, "If we do go on living in some form," and the 3rd pāda, "Or else if the cycle of living does not continue in any form beyond this life."  

But in order to preserve the sense of pravṛtti as including not only life itself, but especially frenetic activity, I went back and changed the translation of  pravṛtti from "living" to "carrying on." 

bhūyaḥ: ind. still more , moreover , besides , further on ; anew
pravṛttiḥ (nom. sg.): f. moving onwards , advance , progress ; coming forth , appearance , manifestation ; activity , exertion , efficacy , function ; active life (as opp. to ni-vṛtti, non-doing)
yadi: ind. if
kā-cid (nom. sg. f.): some, any
asti: there is

raṁsyāmahe = 1st pers. pl. future: ram: to be glad or pleased , rejoice at , delight in , be fond of (loc. instr. or inf.)
tatra: there, in that
yathopapattau (loc. sg.): EBC: 'as may offer'; EHJ: 'according to the birth we obtain'; PO: 'in accordance with our birth'
yathā: ind. as, according to
upapatti: f. happening , occurring , becoming visible , appearing , taking place , production , effecting , accomplishing ; cause , reason ; origin, birth ; fitness , propriety , possibility
yathopapatti: ind. according to the event or occasion , as may happen

atha: and, but, else
pravṛttiḥ (nom. sg.): f. moving onwards , advance , progress ; coming forth , appearance , manifestation ; activity , exertion , efficacy , function ; active life
paratas: ind. farther , far off , afterwards , behind ; otherwise , differently
na: not
kā-cit (nom. sg. f.): any

siddhaḥ (nom. sg. m.): mfn. accomplished , fulfilled , effected , gained , acquired ; admitted to be true or right , established , settled , proved ; adjudicated , decided , terminated (as a lawsuit)
aprayatnāt: without any bother
prayatnāt: ind. with special effort , zealously , diligently , carefully
prayatna: m. persevering effort , continued exertion or endeavour
jagataḥ (gen. sg.): n. that which moves or is alive , men and animals , animals as opposed to men , men ; n. the world , esp. this world , earth ; n. people , mankind
asya (gen. sg. n.): this
mokṣaḥ (nom. sg.): m. emancipation , liberation ; release from worldly existence or transmigration

若當有後世 應任其所得
若言後世無 無即爲解脱  

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