Sunday, August 10, 2014

BUDDHACARITA 12.6: Being Altogether Steadfast

sarvathā dhtimac-caiva prājñaṁ caiva manas-tava |
yas-tvaṁ prāptaḥ śriyaṁ tyaktvā latāṁ viṣa-phalām-iva || 12.6

Altogether steadfast,

And wise, is your mind;

In that you have come here abandoning royal power

As if it were a creeper bearing poison fruit.

These are the words of a teacher Aśvaghoṣa has praised as muni-sattamaḥ, the truest of sages, the best of sages. Since the principle generally holds good that it takes one to know one, it seems to me that in the present series of verses Arāḍa is demonstrating that he, like the bodhisattva, is a sincere seeker of the exit route out of saṁsāra.

As such, the first virtue Arāḍa praised in the bodhisattva, in yesterday's verse, was the will to pursue freedom from the bonds of emotional attachment. 

Insofar as that will is an inclination towards what is wild, or unfettered, today's verse is somewhat antithetical to yesterday's verse. In today's verse Arāḍa praises the bodhisattva's qualities of steadfastness and wisdom – virtues which tend to adorn one whose energies are harnessed in a particular direction.

To put it another way, breaking out or breaking free suggests a moment of liberation. Being steadfast and wise in every way suggests the necessity for such moments to continue in a long series of moments. 

The analogy of poison fruit may be fitting in the sense that the primary enemies of steadfastness and wisdom are known as the three poisons – namely, greed, anger, and delusion.

And yet, in the back of our minds we know that this is not a meeting between two fully awakened sambuddhas, because the bodhisattva is still a buddha-to-be, and Arāḍa's teaching is not sufficient for him to have fully realized his own aim.

There might be a hint of irony, therefore, in Arāḍa's sarvathā (in every way, entirely, altogether).

A connection might be drawn between Aśvaghoṣa's sarvathā  and Nāgārjuna's kevalaḥ

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

By the destruction of each,
Each is discontinued.
This whole edifice of suffering
Is thus brought tumbling down.

sarvathā: ind. in every way , in every respect; altogether , entirely , in the highest degree , exceedingly
dhṛtimat (nom. sg. n.): mfn. steadfast , calm , resolute
ca: and
eva: (emphatic)

prājñam (nom. sg. n.): mfn. intelligent , wise , clever
ca: and
eva: (emphatic)
manaḥ (nom. sg.): n. mind
tava (gen. sg.): your

yaḥ (nom. sg. m.): who, which
tvam (nom. sg. m.): you
prāptaḥ (nom. sg. m.): mfn. arrived
śriyam (acc. sg.): f. prosperity , welfare , good fortune , success , auspiciousness , wealth , treasure , riches (śriyā , " according to fortune or wealth ") , high rank , power , might , majesty , royal dignity; symbol or insignia of royalty
tyaktvā = abs. tyaj: to leave, abandon

latām (acc. sg.): f. a creeper
viṣa-phalām (acc. sg. f.): mfn. bearing a poisonous fruit
iva: like

深智覺慧明 能免斯毒果

No comments: