Tuesday, May 6, 2014

BUDDHACARITA 10.27: Who to Conquer – Self or Others?

⏑−⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−¦¦−−⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−   Upajāti (Ārdrā)
atha tv-idānīṁ kula-garvitatvād-asmāsu viśrambha-guṇo na te 'sti |
vyūḍhāny-anīkāni vigāhya bāṇair-mayā sahāyena parān-jigīṣa || 10.27

Or if, for the present, pride in your own noble house

Precludes you from placing your trust in ours,

Then piercing with arrows the massed ranks of armies,

Seek, with me as an ally, to conquer foreign foes.

The word in today's verse that gives Śreṇya away, showing that the only dharma he has in mind is the dharma of kings, might be parān ("foreign foes") in the 4th pāda. 

As an adjective para means other or different, and as a masculine noun the MW dictionary gives para as: m. another (different from one's self), a foreigner, enemy, foe, adversary

In setting out for Nanda's benefit the dharma of liberation, the Buddha uses several synonyms for "enemy"; and in SN Canto 17 Aśvaghoṣa himself uses several synonyms for "enemy," but neither the Buddha nor Aśvaghoṣa, as far as I can find by searching, ever uses the word para, as King Śreṇya uses it in today's verse, as a masculine noun that means  “enemy” in the sense of “those others,” or “foreigners.”

In today's verse EBC translates parān as “thy foes,” EHJ as “your foes” and PO as “your foes.” And, again, the MW dictionary gives “enemy, foe, adversary” in its definition of para (when para is used as a masculine noun). 

In today's verse, then, in King Bimbisāra's words, parān evidently means “enemies” or “foes.” But in the many quotes that follow, for a reason that is obvious, neither the Buddha nor Aśvaghoṣa use the word para to mean “enemy” or “foe.” And that reason, to state the obvious, is that in the Buddha's dharma of liberation, what we are here to defeat is not other people. 

For this reason the Buddha eschews the use of the word para to mean "enemy" in the following verses, but uses various other words (śatru, ari,  pratiśatru, amitra, ripuinstead. 

bhetavyaṃ na tathā śatror-nāgner-nāher-na cāśaneḥ /
There is less to fear from an enemy or from fire, 
or from a snake, or from lightning,
indriyebhyo yathā svebhyas-tair-ajasraṃ hi hanyate // SN13.31 //
Than there is from one's own senses; 
for through them one is forever being smitten.

dviṣadbhiḥ śatrubhiḥ kaś-cit kadā-cit pīḍyate na vā /
Some people some of the time are beleaguered by hateful enemies 
– or else they are not.
indriyair-bādhyate sarvaḥ sarvatra ca sadaiva ca // 13.32 //
Besieged through the senses are all people everywhere, all of the time.

na ca prayāti narakaṃ śatru-prabhṛtibhir-hataḥ /
Nor does one go to hell when smitten by the likes of an enemy;
kṛṣyate tatra nighnas-tu capalair-indriyair-hataḥ // 13.33 //
But meekly is one pulled there when smitten through the impetuous senses.

tasmāt-tama iti jñātvā nidrāṃ nāveṣṭum-arhasi /
Therefore, knowing it to be darkness, you should not let sleep enshroud you
apraśānteṣu doṣeṣu sa-śastreṣv-iva śatruṣu // 14.31 //
While the faults remain unquieted, like sword-wielding enemies.

dvārādhyakṣa iva dvāri yasya praṇihitā smṛtiḥ /
When a man, like a gatekeeper at his gate, is cocooned in vigilance,
dharṣayanti na taṃ doṣāḥ puraṃ guptam-ivārayaḥ // 14.36 //
The faults do not venture to attack him, any more than enemies would attack a guarded city.

śaravyaḥ sa tu doṣāṇāṃ yo hīnaḥ smṛti-varmaṇā /
But he is a target for the faults who lacks the armour of mindfulness:
raṇa-sthaḥ pratiśatrūṇāṃ vihīna iva varmaṇā // 14.38 //
As for enemies is he who stands in battle with no suit of armour.

vasañ-śūnyāgāre yadi satatam-eko 'bhiramate
If he constantly abides as a unity, in an empty abode,
yadi kleśotpādaiḥ saha na ramate śatrubhir-iva /
If he is no fonder of arisings of affliction than he is of enemies,
carann-ātmārāmo yadi ca pibati prīti-salilaṃ
And if, going rejoicing in the self, he drinks the water of joy,
tato bhuṅkte śreṣṭhaṃ tridaśa-pati-rājyād-api sukham // 14.52 //
Then greater than dominion over thirty gods is the happiness he enjoys.

arjanādīni kāmebhyo dṛṣṭvā duḥkhāni kāminām/
See how acquisition and other troubles stem from the desires of men of desire,
tasmāt-tān-mūlataś-chindhi mitra-saṃjñān-arīn-iva // 15.7 //
And on that basis cut off at their root those troubles,
which are akin to enemies calling themselves friends. 

idam-āścaryam-aparaṃ yat-suptaḥ pratibudhyate /
Here is another wonder: that one who was asleep wakes up
svapity-utthāya vā bhūyo bahv-amitrā hi dehinaḥ // 15.58 //
Or, having been up, goes back to sleep; 
for many enemies has the owner of a body.

garbhāt prabhṛti yo lokaṃ jighāṃsur-anugacchati /
He who stalks humankind, from the womb onwards, with murderous intent:
kas-tasmin viśvasen-mṛtyāv-udyatāsāv-arāv-iva // 15.59 //
Who can breath easy about him? 
Death, poised like an enemy with sword upraised.

tad-ārya-satyādhigamāya pūrvaṃ viśodhayānena nayena mārgam /
So, in order to make the noble truths your own, 
first clear a path according to this plan of action,
yātrā-gataḥ śatru-vinigrahārthaṃ rājeva lakṣmīm-ajitāṃ jigīṣan // 16.85 //
Like a king going on campaign to subdue his foes
wishing to conquer unconquered dominions.

nayaṃ śrutvā śakto yad-ayam-abhivṛddhiṃ na labhate
When a capable person hears the guiding principle but realises no growth,
paraṃ dharmaṃ jñātvā yad-upari nivāsaṃ na labhate /
When he knows the most excellent method but realises no upward repose,
gṛhaṃ tyaktvā muktau yad-ayam-upaśāntiṃ na labhate /
When he leaves home but in freedom realises no peace:
nimittaṃ kausīdyaṃ bhavati puruṣasyātra na ripuḥ // 16.96 //
The cause is the laziness in him and not an enemy.

nirjitya māraṃ yudhi durnivāram adyāsi loke raṇa-śīrṣa-śūraḥ /
Having conquered Māra, who is so hard to stop in battle,
today, at the forefront of the fight, you are a hero among men.
śūro 'py-aśūraḥ sa hi veditavyo doṣair amitrair-iva hanyate yaḥ // SN18.28 //
For even a hero is not recognized as a hero who is beaten by the foe-like faults.

Similarly in SN Canto 17, in the role of narrator, Aśvaghoṣa himself also eschews the word para in the sense of enemy but uses other words (ripu, ari, śatru, mahāvairin) instead: 

puraṃ vidhāyānuvidhāya daṇḍaṃ mitrāṇi saṃgṛhya ripūn vigṛhya /
For just as, by laying out fortifications and laying down the rod of the law,
by banding with friends and disbanding foes,
rājā yathāpnoti hi gām-apūrvāṃ nītir-mumukṣor-api saiva yoge // SN17.11 //
A king gains hitherto ungained land,
that is the very policy towards practice of one who desires release.

vimokṣa-kāmasya hi yogino 'pi manaḥ puraṃ jñāna-vidhiś-ca daṇḍaḥ /
Because, for a practitioner whose desire is release,
the mind is his fortress, know-how is his rod,
guṇāś-ca mitrāṇy-arayaś-ca doṣā bhūmir-vimuktir-yatate yad-artham // 17.12 //
The virtues are his friends, the faults are his foes;
and liberation is the territory he endeavours to reach.

saj-jñāna-cāpaḥ smṛti-varma baddhvā viśuddha-śīla-vrata-vāhana-sthaḥ /
As a bow of true knowledge, clad in the armour of awareness,
standing up in a chariot of pure practice of integrity,
kleśāribhiś-citta-raṇājira-sthaiḥ sārdhaṃ yuyutsur-vijayāya tasthau // 17.23 //
He took his stance for victory, ready to engage in battle his enemies,
the afflictions, who were ranged on the battlefield of his mind.

sa smṛty-upasthāna-mayaiḥ pṛṣatkaiḥ śatrūn viparyāsa-mayān kṣaṇena /
With arrows made from the presence of mindfulness,
instantly he shot those enemies whose substance is upside-down-ness:
duḥkhasya hetūṃś-caturaś-caturbhiḥ svaiḥ svaiḥ pracārāyatanair-dadāra//17.25//
He split apart four enemies, four causes of suffering,
with four arrows, each having its own range.

sa lobha-cāpaṃ parikalpa-bāṇaṃ rāgaṃ mahā-vairiṇam-alpa-śeṣam /
A small vestige of the great enemy, red passion,
whose straining bow is impatient desire and whose arrow is a fixed conception,
kāya-svabhāvādhigatair-bibheda yogāyudhāstrair-aśubhā-pṛṣatkaiḥ // 17.38 //
He destroyed using weapons procured from the body as it naturally is -- 
using the darts of unpleasantness, weapons from the armoury of practice.

sa kāma-dhātoḥ samatikramāya pārṣṇi-grahāṃs-tān-abhibhūya śatrūn /
In order to go entirely beyond the sphere of desire,
he overpowered those enemies that grab the heel,
yogād-anāgāmi-phalaṃ prapadya dvārīva nirvāṇa-purasya tasthau // 17.41 //
So that he attained, because of practice, the fruit of not returning,
and stood as if at the gateway to the citadel of nirvāṇa.

Having prepared this comment yesterday, and sat just now, I find myself reflecting again on the meaning of pratītya-samutpāda, in connection with pursuit in Alexander work of the practice and experience of "going up." 

Mindfulness is all very well, but we get it, Alexander used to say, in movement

"Going up" in other words, is something (or a bit of nothing) that is practised and experienced in a context like sitting, like standing, and like moving from standing to sitting and back again. And even though we get it in the context of physical movements and non-movements like these, Alexander used to say that this work is the most mental thing there is. 

Basic anti-gravity movements, I understand from developmental work, represent a backward step in developmental / evolutionary terms. And at the same time, the most mental work there is requries us to step back not so much with our bodies as with our minds. 

People tend to come to Alexander lessons perceiving that they have got a problem like "a bad back" or "poor  posture." The teacher's job is to help the pupil to see that the inimical symptoms they conceive as "a bad back" or "poor posture" are manifestations of disorder deeper within. Thus it may be truer to see the enemy not as "a bad back" or "poor posture" but rather to see the enemy as those volitional processes that Alexander called "end-gaining." And what is behind those volitional processes? 

Ulitimately, perhaps, what the Pali suttas call avijjā, or in Sanskrit avidyā, ignorance. 

In this connection I remember an exchange I had with Marjory Barlow when we were discussing, and working on, cessation (or to use the word that Alexander used "inhibition"). People tend to think that the task is to inhibit the manifestation of misuse, but Marjory's work alway seemed to me to focus on inhibiting the end-gaining idea that was behind and which triggered the distorted pattern of muscular response. 

In one lesson I remember raising the question of what lay behind whatever Marjory was indicating was behind the external manifestation. I cannot remember the specifics. What I do remember was Marjory asking me: "How far back do you want to go?" 

Without even thinking about it, I said "All the way." 

I didn't have to think about, because I had already been thinking about it for years and years. 

The description of the Buddha under the bodhi tree in this ancient Pali text seems to me to be a description of a practitioner who, when it came to going back and conquering those enemies that grab the heel,  really had succeeded in going all the way. 

Springing Up, by going back ? 

atha: ind. else
tu: but
idānīm: ind. now
kula-garvitatvāt (abl. sg.): because of pride in your lineage
kula: n. family; house ; a noble or eminent family or race
garvita: mfn. haughty , conceited , proud
-tva = neuter abstract noun suffix

asmāsu (loc. pl.): towards us
viśrambha-guṇaḥ (nom. sg. m.): the quality of confidence
viśrambha: m. relaxation; trust , confidence in (loc. gen. , or comp.) ; absence of restraint , familiarity , intimacy
guṇa: a quality , peculiarity , attribute or property ; good quality , virtue , merit , excellence
na: not
te (gen. sg.): of/in you
asti: there is

vyūḍhāni (acc. pl. n.): pushed or moved apart , divided , distributed , arranged ; expanded , developed , wide , broad , large
vy- √ ūh: to push or move apart , place asunder , divide , distribute ; to arrange , place in order , draw up in battle-array
anīkāni (acc. pl. n.): mn. appearance , splendour , edge , point ; front , row , array , march ; army, forces
vigāhya = abs. vi- √ gāh: to plunge or dive into , bathe in , enter , penetrate , pervade , betake one's self into (acc. or loc.); to pierce
bāṇaiḥ (inst. pl.): m. a reed-shaft , shaft made of a reed , an arrow

mayā (inst. sg.): with me
sahāyena (inst. sg.): m. " one who goes along with (another) " , a companion , follower , adherent , ally , assistant , helper in or to
parān (acc. pl.): m. another (different from one's self) , a foreigner , enemy , foe , adversary
jigīṣa = 2nd pers. sg. desiderative imperative ji: conquer (in battle) , vanquish (in a game or lawsuit) , defeat

或恃名勝族 才徳容貎兼
不欲降高節 屈下受人恩
當給勇健士 器仗隨軍資

No comments: