Sunday, August 24, 2014

BUDDHACARITA 12.20: Making Sense of It All – Contemplating the Whole Self

asya kṣetrasya vijñānāt kṣetra-jña iti saṁjñi ca |
kṣetra-jña iti cātmānaṁ kathayanty ātma-cintakāḥ || 12.20

Because it makes sense of this field,

The conscious is called Kṣetra-jña, “Knower of the Field.”

At the same time, those who contemplate the Ātman, the Self,

Speak of the Self as “Knower of the Field.”

In the 2nd pāda of today's verse, saṁjñi could mean “having a name” or could mean “having consciousness.”

EBC goes with the former reading; hence:

There is also a something which bears the name kṣetrajña, from its knowledge of this "field.”

EHJ notes that EBC's reading is corroborated by the Tibetan translation, but EHJ nevertheless prefers the latter reading, hence:

And that which is conscious is called the knower of the field, because it knows this field.

This, EHJ asserts, gives the standard doctrine better, cp. Mahā-bhārata xii 6921:

atmā ksetrajña ity uktaḥ samyuktaḥ prākṛtair guṇaih |
tair eva tu vinirmuktaḥ paramātmety udāhṛtaḥ ||

In the Chinese translation, ksetrajña is rendered 知因者 “knower of the cause.” This would be the correct translation into Chinese of another Sanskrit term that appears in the Mahā-bhārata, hetujña (EHJ cites as a reference MBh xii. 7667).

One way of reading today's verse, in a positive light, is as a suggestion of the truth that what makes sense of “this field” (this unified field combining sense objects, physical organs and the mind) is not only what is conscious, but is the whole self in action.

Read like that, today's verse, which is the fourth of four verses presenting the introductory outline of Arāḍa's system (BC12.17 – 20), rightly belongs to the fourth phase.

asya (gen. sg. n.): this
kṣetrasya (gen. sg.): n. a field
vijñānāt (abl. sg.): n. the act of distinguishing or discerning , understanding , comprehending , recognizing , intelligence , knowledge

kṣetra-jñaḥ (nom. sg. m.): knower of the field
iti: “...,” thus
saṁjñi = nom. sg. m. saṁjñin: mfn. having consciousness , conscious of (comp.) ; having a name , named
ca: and

kṣetra-jñaḥ (nom. sg. m.): knower of the field
iti: “...,” thus
ca: and
ātmānam (acc. sg.): m. the soul , principle of life and sensation; the individual soul , self , abstract individual

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)
ātma-cintakāḥ (nom. pl. m.): those who contemplate the ātman
cintaka: mfn. ifc. one who thinks or reflects upon , familiar with

意根兼二義 亦業亦名覺
性轉變爲因 知因者爲我

[Relation with Sanskrit tenuous] 

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