Sunday, May 11, 2014

BUDDHACARITA 10.32: The Merit of a Kaṣāya

⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−¦¦−−⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−   Upajāti (Sālā)
snehena khalv-etad-ahaṁ bravīmi naiśvarya-rāgeṇa na vismayena |
imaṁ hi dṣṭvā tava bhikṣu-veṣaṁ jātānukampo 'smy- api cāgatāśruḥ || 10.32

I say this with sheer affection –

Not with eager desire for dominion and not with doubt.

For, seeing this beggar's clothing of yours,

I am moved to compassion and visited by tears.

At the beginning of the next canto, Aśvaghoṣa describes Bimbisāra's words as spoken with a good-hearted mouth/face but having an adverse meaning (suhṛn-mukhena pratikūlam-artham; BC11.1). This does not mean, however, that Bimbisāra's sincerity is open to doubt. Bimbisāra's advice is bad advice but, unlike the striver in SN Canto 8 & 9 for example, Bimbisāra is not fooling himself or lying to himself. Neither is he out to deceive anybody else.

So a better basis for judging Bimbisāra's sincerity, and for affirming his sincerity in today's verse, might be Aśvaghoṣa description of Bimbisāra's speech, at the end of the present canto, as samyak – straight, direct, frank, going in one direction (BC10.41).

On this basis, today's verse can be read as an honest expression, beyond right and wrong, of the effect that the bodhisattva's kaṣāya was able to have on the mind of a sincere bloke.

Wearing a valuable crown, metaphorically or literally – as Bimbisāra's own life story proved, when he was murdered by his own son – can easily stimulate in others feelings of jealousy. But wearing a beggar's robe, as a general rule, ought not to run any such risk.

Wearing a beggar's robe, accurately thinking, is not an expression of wanting nothing. It is an expression of wanting something – primarily food – but not wanting very much, and not being prepared to use any means more assertive than begging to get it. And this expression of a very limited desire for material stuff, by the wearing of a beggar's robe, is a non-verbal expression. 

In the present series of verses in which he champions the triple aims of dharma, wealth and pleasure, King Bimbisāra expresses in words a view on the merit of practising one's family-dharma when young and waiting to practise a religious/celibate dharma when one is old. Bimbisāra recommends the bodhisattva to enjoy pleasures while he is young. So on the subjects of dharma and pleasure, Bimbisāra has things to say. But he only mentions wealth in passing. Is it a case, then, in today's verse, of actions being allowed to speak louder than words?

snehena (inst. sg.): blandness , tenderness , love , attachment to , fondness or affection ; friendship with (saha)
khalu: ind. indeed
etat (acc. sg. n.): this
aham (nom. sg.): I
bravīmi = 1st pers. sg. brū: to speak, say

na: not
aiśvarya-rāgeṇa (inst. sg.): through eager desire for dominion
aiśvarya: n. the state of being a mighty lord , sovereignty , supremacy , power , sway ; dominion
rāga: m. colour, redness ; any feeling or passion , (esp.) love , affection or sympathy for , vehement desire of , interest or joy or delight in (loc. or comp.)
na: not
vismayena (inst. sg.): m. wonder , surprise , amazement , bewilderment , perplexity ; pride, arrogance; doubt, uncertainty
vi- √smi: to wonder , be surprised or astonished at (instr. loc. , or abl.) ; to be proud of (instr.)

imam (acc. sg. m.): this
hi: for
dṛṣṭvā = abs. dṛś: to see
tava (gen. sg.): your
bhikṣu-veṣam (acc. sg. m.): a beggar's garb
veṣa: work , activity , management ; dress , apparel , ornament , artificial exterior , assumed appearance (often also = look , exterior , appearance in general)

jātānukampaḥ (nom. sg. m.): mfn. compassionate, Bcar
jāta: mfn. born
anu- √ kamp: to sympathize with , compassionate
asmi = 1st pers. sg. as: to be
api: also
ca: and
āgatāśruḥ (nom. sg. m.): entered into tears, become tearful

我不恃王力 而欲強相留
見汝改形好 愛著出家衣
既以敬其徳 矜苦惜其人

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