⏑−⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−⏑−¦¦⏑−⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−⏑− Vaṁśasthasva-karma-dakṣaś-ca yadāntiko jagad-vayaḥsu sarveṣv a-vaśaṁ-vikarṣati |
⏑−⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−⏑−¦¦⏑−⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−⏑−vināśa-kāle katham-avyavasthite jarā pratīkṣyā viduṣā śamepsunā || 11.61
And when Death who is so skilled at his work
Drags mankind, in all stages of life, helplessly to our end,
How, when the time of his demise is not subject to orderly arrangement,
Shall the wise man who seeks quiet look forward to old age?
According to the conventional wisdom, as represented by the view of King Bimbisāra, the time to seek quiet is old age. But the mind of the bodhisattva stands (or sits) opposed to the conventional view.
As an example of the working of one such mind, here again is what Marjory Barlow said in her FM Alexander Memorial Lecture in 1965:
One simple way of working, based on this understanding, is this:
As I publish this post Frederique the builder is making a racket next door, but this morning in search of quiet I got up early enough to sit for a couple of hours before Fredo could get going with his angle grinder. And very quiet it was.
I reflected on Dogen's description of sitting-Zen, in the opening sentence of Shobogenzo as 無為 (Jap: MU-I), which the dictionary gives as "idle, inactive," but which my teacher originally translated as "natural." "Natural" is very good, except the original is a negative. 無為 stands for the Sanskrit a-saṁskṛta, and a-saṁskṛta, it occurs to me now, on the basis of 30-plus years of sitting, 20 years of Alexander work, and the last few years of studying Sanskrit, simply means "not done."
Ironically, on this fine quiet morning I have a sense -- it may only be temporary -- of my own understanding of sitting-Zen being saṁskṛta, cooked. As cooked as it will ever be. The affirmation is there in the hitting of the target with a translation of a-saṁskṛta that now seems blindingly obvious.
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.
People discuss Nāgārjuna as if he was some kind of great philosopher. But I hope, beginning in earnest next year, to clarify how, before he was a philosopher, Nāgārjuna was a practitioner and a teacher of non-doing.
How, in the end, might we best describe the practice of just sitting? I think we might best describe it like this:
sva-karma-dakṣaḥ (nom. sg. m.): skilled in its own task
svakarman: n. one's own deed; one's own business or occupation
dakṣa: able , fit , adroit , expert , clever , dexterous , industrious , intelligent
yadā: ind. since
antikaḥ [EHJ] (nom. sg. m.): Death
tu [EBC]: but
kaḥ [EBC] (nom. sg. m.): who? [= Fate]
jagat (acc. sg.): n. the world, living beings
vayaḥsu (loc. pl.): n. age
sarveṣu (loc. pl. n.): mfn. all
a-vaśam (acc. sg. n.): not having one's own free will , doing something against one's desire or unwillingly
vikarṣati = 3rd pers. sg. vi- √ kṛṣ: to draw apart or asunder , tear to pieces , destroy ; to draw along or after , to pull out
vināśa-kāle (loc. sg.): the time of utter loss
vināśa: m. utter loss , annihilation , perdition , destruction , decay , death , removal
avyavasthite (loc. sg. m.): mfn. not conformable to law or Practice; not in due order , unmethodical ; unsettled, uncertain, Bcar.
jarā (nom. sg.): f. old age
pratīkṣyā = nom. sg. f. gerundive pratīkṣ: to look at ; to look forward to , wait for , expect
viduṣā = inst. sg. vidvas: m. a wise man , sage , see ; mfn. one who knows , knowing , understanding , learned , intelligent , wise
śamepsunā (inst. sg. m.): mfn. desirous of a tranquil life
śama: m. tranquillity , calmness ; peace
īpsu: mfn. striving to obtain ; wishing to get or obtain , desirous of (with acc.)
īps: (Desid. of √āp) to wish to obtain.