Saturday, July 12, 2014

BUDDHACARITA 11.51: The Bodhisattva's Motive – Not Impatience, Not Desire for Revenge, Not Lofty Aspirations

⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−¦¦⏑−⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−   Upajāti (Māyā)
na hy-asmy-amarṣeṇa vanaṁ praviṣṭo na śatru-bāṇair-avadhūta-mauliḥ |
kta-spho nāpi phalādhikebhyo ghṇāmi naitad-vacanaṁ yatas-te || 11.51

For not because of impatience have I entered the forest;

Nor did enemy arrows cause me to cast away a crown.

Nor is it because I aspire to superior fruits

That I decline this offer of yours.

In today's verse the bodhisattva clarifies for Bimbisāra's benefit what a bodhisattva is NOT motivated by. King Bimbisāra's offer was based on the presumptions that (1) the bodhisattva might have got fed up waiting to succeed King Śuddhodana, or (2) the bodhisattva might be interested in a campaign involving enemy armies  and arrows. 

This being so, as EHJ points out, amarṣeṇa in the 1st pāda seems to be a reference to marṣayituṁ in BC10.25:
So if, my friend, out of love for your father, you do not wish by forcible means to inherit your father's kingdom, / But you have no mind to hold out (or to be patient, marṣayituṁ) for a regular succession, (na ca kramaṁ marṣayituṁ matis-te), then enjoy possession of half of my realm, right away!//BC10.25//

Again, śatru-bāṇaiḥ in the 2nd pāda would seem to refer to BC10.27:
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.//BC10.27//

If we understand the 2nd pāda in this light, the gist of what the bodhisattva is saying in the 2nd pāda might be that he is not motivated by any kind of desire for revenge.

So (1) he has not retreated to the forest because of impatience, i.e. because of frustrated eager desire for his father's throne; and (2) he does not wish to join forces with King Bimbisāra in an angry desire to give rival kings their comeuppance.

If the first two pādas thus relate to greed (manifested by impatience) and anger or hatred (manifested by desire to exact revenge), the 3rd pāda would seem to relate to delusion, as manifested by aspiring to superior fruits, or lofty attainments -- as opposed to more earthy and modest aims. 

Read like this, today's verse is a stimulus to reflect again on those teachings quoted a couple of days ago in connection with BC11.49, viz:

Shika areba sunawachi jôchi kagu o ronzezu,
Therefore, we do not discuss intelligence as superior and stupidity as inferior.
rijin donsha o erabu koto nakare,
Let us not choose between clever persons and dull ones.
sen'itsu ni kufû seba, masani kore bendô nari.
If we make effort devotedly, that is just wholehearted pursuit of the truth.
Shushô onozukara zenna sezu,
Practice-and-experience is naturally untainted.
shukô sarani kore byôjô naru mono nari.
The direction of effort becomes more balanced and constant.

And from the Rāhula Sutta:

Paṭhavīsamaṁ Rāhula bhāvanaṁ bhāvehi
Bring into being, Rāhula, the act of bringing-into-being
which is as balanced and constant as the earth.

The fruits of my digging for victory

The act of bringing-into-being  (bhāvanam) to which the Buddha directed Rāhula's attention, and the act of bringing-into-being which Nāgārjuna described as the cause of the cessation of ignorance, is an act of knowing

Knowing what? When Nāgārjuna wrote of jñānasyāsyaiva, "just this act of knowing," in MMK26.11, he might have been referring back to tattva-darśana in MMK26.10 -- "the act of realizing reality," or "reality making itself known," or "the act of seeing that-ness" or "that-ness's act of making itself visible."  

However we choose to translate  tattva-darśana, and there can never be one definitive true translation, the thing that struck me, as I sat on the cushion minutes after taking the above photo, is that the act in question is not an act of doing. It is an act of non-doing. 

The true act of knowing, of which Nāgārjuna spoke, is not an act of doing. It is an act of non-doing. 

Actual  digging, with spade and pick and shovel and wheelbarrow, is mainly a matter of doing. But just sitting, by definition, must be an act of non-doing. The "just" in "just sitting," in other words, expresses the absence of doing, or the non-coming-into-being of doings (saṁskārānām asaṁbhavaḥ)

saṁsāra-mūlaṁ saṁskārān avidvān saṁskaroty ataḥ |
avidvān kārakas tasmān na vidvāṁs tattva-darśanāt ||MMK26.10

The doings which are the root of saṁsāra

Thus does the ignorant one do.

The ignorant one therefore is the doer;

The wise one is not, because of reality making itself known.

avidyāyāṁ niruddhāyāṁ saṁskārāṇām asaṁbhavaḥ |
avidyāyā nirodhas tu jñānasyāsyaiva bhāvanāt ||MMK26.11

In the ceasing of ignorance,

There is the non-coming-into-being of doings.

The cessation of ignorance, however,

Is because of the bringing-into-being of just this act of knowing.

tasya tasya nirodhena tat-tan nābhipravartate |
duḥkha-skandhaḥ kevalo 'yam evaṁ samyaṅ nirudhyate ||MMK26.12

By the destruction of each [link],

Each is discontinued.

This whole edifice of suffering

Is thus totally demolished.

Totally unappreciative toad

na: not
hi: for
asmi = 1st pers. sg. as: to be
amarṣeṇa (inst. sg.): m. impatience , indignation , anger , passion
vanam (acc. sg.): n. the forest
praviṣṭaḥ (nom. sg. m.): mfn. entered

na: not
śatru-bāṇaiḥ (inst. pl.): by enemy arrows
avadhūta-mauliḥ (nom. sg. m.): my crown having been removed
avadhūta: mfn. shaken off ; removed ; disregarded , neglected , rejected
ava- √ dhū: to shake off or out or down ; to shake off (as enemies or evil spirits or anything disagreeable) , frighten away
mauli: mf. a diadem , crown , crest

kṛta-spṛhaḥ (nom. sg. m.): desirous of (dat.), Bcar.
spṛhā: f. eager desire , desire , covetousness , envy , longing for , pleasure or delight in (dat. , gen. loc. , or comp. ; acc. with √ kṛ or bandh , " to long for , be desirous of [loc. or comp.] " ; with √ kṛ , " to envy any one [loc.] ")
na: not
api: also, again
phalādhikebhyaḥ (dat. pl.): superior fruits/results
adhika: mfn. additional , subsequent , later ; surpassing (in number or quantity or quality) , superior , more numerous

gṛhṇāmi = 1st pers. sg. grah: to accept
na: not
etad (acc. sg. n.): this
vacanam (acc. sg.): n. words, speech ; n. advice , instruction , direction , order , command
yataḥ: ind. for which reason
te (gen. sg.): your

我不畏怨家 不求生天樂
心不懷俗利 而捨於天冠
是故違汝情 不從於來旨

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