Tuesday, March 18, 2014

BUDDHACARITA 9.61: A View on Psycho-Physical Unity vs Effort to Develop in that Direction

⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−¦¦−−⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−   Upajāti (Sālā)
yat-pāṇi-pādodara-pṣṭha-mūrdhnā nirvartate garbha-gatasya bhāvaḥ |
yad-ātmanas-tasya ca tena yogaḥ svābhāvikaṁ tat-kathayanti taj-jñāḥ || 9.61 

When, with hands, feet, belly, back and head,

A being develops in the womb,

And when there is union of that being with its soul –

Those who know such things describe this
as arising naturally out of innate being.

Again today's verse seems to express a particular view on the relation between body and mind, or body and soul. And again the temptation is to oppose this view with an alternative view, supported by quotes on the subject of “psycho-physical unity” from the likes of Charles Sherrington and FM Alexander.

If, by such efforts, I side with the true in opposition to the false, what use to anybody is that?

Speaking in practical terms, rather, of human development, the separation of the self into left and right sides, and subsequently into top and bottom halves, is vital at a certain stage of development. But after that it is vital that the reflexes responsible for initiating the separation are inhibited, or integrated, or brought to maturity.

When parents and teachers who don't yet know such things do know such things, our approach to educating children will change. There will be a more conscious emphasis on raising truly integrated human beings, whose left and right sides, and top and bottom halves, know what each other are doing.

But to help human society go in that direction, which I venture to submit might be what FM Alexander called “the right direction,” it turns out not always to be wise, or useful, to make effort to change the minds of experts, taj-jñāh, those who are supposed to know such things. They tend to have a vested interested in the truth of their old knowledge. Perhaps I am of an age already when I should write we tend to have a vested interested in the truth of our old knowledge. 

It is children, and young people, who are the future. Energy directed towards facilitating their development in the right direction, and their understanding, and the development and understanding of their children, might be energy more wisely spent.

In concrete terms, what does that mean​? I think it means, for a start, understanding the importance of four primitive vestibular reflexes which are the four cornerstones of human development.

And making an effort in the direction of better integration of those reflexes might mean, for example, going on hands and knees and bowing. 

yad: that
pāṇi-pādodara-pṛṣṭha-mūrdhnā [EBC] (inst. sg. m.): with hands, feet, belly, back and head
pāṇi-pādodara-pṛṣṭha-mūrdhnām [EHJ] (gen. pl. m.): with its hands, feet, belly, back and head
pāṇi: hand
pāda: foot
udara: belly
pṛṣṭha: back
mūrdhan: m. head

nirvartate = 3rd pers. sg. nir- √ vṛt : , to come forth , originate , develop , become
garbha-gatasya (gen. sg.): an embryo, Bcar.
bhāvaḥ (nom. sg.): m. becoming , being , existing , occurring , appearance ; turning or transition into (loc. or comp.) ; manner of acting , conduct , behaviour ; that which is or exists , thing or substance , being or living creature

yad: that
ātmanaḥ (gen. sg.): m. the soul, self
tasya (gen .sg. m.): his, its
ca: and
tena: ind. in that direction , there ; in that manner , thus ; on that account , for that reason , therefore
tena (inst. sg. m.): with him, with that being
yogaḥ (nom. sg.): m. yoking, union ; any junction , union , combination , contact with (instr. with or without saha , or comp.)

svābhāvikam (acc. sg. n.): mfn. (fr. svabhāva) belonging to or arising from one's own nature , natural , native , spontaneous , original , peculiar , inherent
tat (acc. sg. n.): that
kathayanti = 3rd pers. pl. kath: to tell , relate , narrate , report , inform , speak about , declare , explain , describe (with acc. of the thing or person spoken about)
taj-jñāḥ (nom. pl. m.): mfn. knowing that , (m.) a knowing man

如人處胎中 手足諸體分
神識自然成 誰有爲之者 

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