Monday, August 25, 2014

BUDDHACARITA 12.21: Being Awake vs Not Being Awake

sa-śiṣyaḥ kapilaś-ceha pratibuddhir iti smtaḥ |
sa-putro '-pratibuddhas-tu prajāpatir-ihocyate || 12.21

Kapila, the one studied by students,

Is known here as Pratibuddhi, the Awake;

Whereas Prajāpati, the one endowed with progeny, 

Is called here Apratibuddha, the Not Awake.

Kapila is considered to be the founder of Sāṁkhya philosophy, whereas Prajāpati is creator of the material universe having as his sons the five elements of ether, air, fire, water, and earth.

The opposition between Kapila and Prajāpati, then, as suggested by Arāda's description of the former as sa-śisyaḥ (with student/s) and the latter as sa-putraḥ (with sons  [=the elements]), is simply the opposition between the immaterial (i.e. the intellectual or spiritual or philosophical) and the material. 

Still, EHJ describes today's verse as enigmatic, and provides a long footnote on it.

EBC read the 3rd pāda as sa-putra pratibuddhaś ca, and translated pratibuddhaḥ as “the illuminated”; hence:

“and he, as the illuminated, with his son is now called here Prajāpati.”

As EHJ points out, this fails to bring out the opposition between pratibuddhiḥ and a-pratibuddhaḥ. And Arāḍa's gist would seem to hinge on this opposition.

EHJ notes that If we read pratibuddha with EBC, then probably smrtiḥ should be corrected to smrtaḥ.

Even before reading EHJ's note I had thought that smṛtaḥ would make better sense, and so I have decided to go ahead and make the amendment to smṛtaḥ -- even though EHJ himself (reading a-pratibuddhaḥ) did not go so far as to make that correction. 

In today's verse as I read it iha is important, echoing svasya śastrasya ("his own teaching") in BC12.15. EBC translated iha as “now... here,” EHJ as “in this world,” and PO as “in this system.” I read iha (literally “in this place”) as Arāḍa emphasizing that what he is teaching is his own teaching -- as opposed in particular to the Sāmkhya philosophy of which Kapila is considered to be the founder.  For brevity and accuracy I have translated iha as "here," but a translation that brought out the real meaning more clearly would be "in this my teaching." 

So on the surface Arāḍa may seem to be requiring us to know something of the Sāṁkhya philosphy of Kapila, but in reality Arāḍa's intention might be opposite to that. He might be saying something analogous to a modern-day Zen teacher telling a student this:
You needn't study the dialetic of Hegel; Hegel in this my teaching is one moment of the will to the truth. Equally, you needn't study the dialectic materialism of Marx; Marx in this my teaching is a lump of coal or a pound of rice. 

In terms of this analogy, just as all we need know about Hegel is that he was a philosopher whose basis was spirit, all we need to know about Kapila is that, in the words of PO, Kapila is considered the founder of the Sankhya system. Here he and his pupils are identified with the spiritual principle of the cosmos.

Equally, just as all we need to know about Marx is that he was a philosopher whose basis was matter, all we need to know about Prajāpati is that, again in PO's words, he is the old creator god, viewed as the personification of the material universe.

EHJ's footnote confirms that The sons of Prajāpati are the five elements, an idea that can be traced back to the Brāhmanas.

To sum up, then, Arāḍa as I hear him in today's verse is not necessarily advocating intellectual study of the teachings of Kapila; he might rather be suggesting that we should transcend such study. He might rather be expressing his interest in the more real and practical problem of knowing what it is to be awake vs not being awake.

So when EHJ writes of Arāḍa in the present Canto setting out the Sāṁkhya, what EHJ writes might not be true. EHJ himself was clearly very interested in the Sāṁkhya, but that interest might have blinded EHJ to the fact that what Arāḍa sets out in BC Canto 12 is his own teaching (svasya śastrasya; BC12.15), and not anybody else's Sāṁkhya philosophy. 

Arāḍa is thus emerging as an interesting individual in his own right. His own man teaching his own teaching. A Zen master steeped in the four dhyānas. Not a buddha. Not counted by the Buddha Śākyamuni as one of the Seven Ancient Buddhas. But acknowledged by the Buddha to have been his teacher. 

sa-śiṣyaḥ (nom. sg. m.): with his pupil
kapilaḥ (nom. sg.): m. Kapila m. N. of an ancient sage (identified by some with viṣṇu and considered as the founder of the sāṁkhya system of philosophy) ; mfn. " monkey-coloured " , brown
ca: and
iha: here, in this my teaching

pratibuddhiḥ (nom. sg.): f. awakening; EBC: the illuminated ; EHJ: intellection; PO: the Conscious
prati- √ budh: to awaken (intr.) , awake , wake ; to perceive , observe , learn ; to awaken (trans.)
iti: “...,” thus
smṛtiḥ (nom. sg.): f. calling to mind ; the whole body of sacred tradition or what is remembered by human teachers (in contradistinction to śruti or what is directly heard or revealed to the ṛṣis)
smṛtaḥ (nom. sg. m.): mfn. remembered , recollected , called to mind , thought of ; handed down , taught , prescribed , (esp.) enjoined by smṛti or traditional law , declared or propounded in the law-books ; declared as , passing for (nom. loc. , or dat.); termed , styled , named (nom. with or without iti)

sa-putraḥ (nom. sg. m.): with his sons
apratibuddhaḥ (nom. sg. m.): not awake, unenlightened ; EHJ: that which is without intellect; PO: the Unconscious
pratibuddhaḥ (nom. sg. m.): mfn. awakened , awake (also said of the Dawn); one who has attained to perfect knowledge ; illuminated, enlightened ; EBC: the illuminated
tu: but

prajāpatiḥ (nom. sg.): m. " lord of creatures " , N. of savitṛ , soma , agni , indra &c
iha: here, in this my teaching
bhūtātman: m. " soul of all beings " , N. of brahmā ; m. " the self consisting of the elements " , the body
ucyate = 3rd pers. sg. passive vac: to be called

迦毘羅仙人 及弟子眷屬
於此我要義 修學得解脱
彼迦毘羅者 今波闍波提

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