Saturday, September 27, 2014

BUDDHACARITA 12.54: The Third Dhyāna, By the Book

yas tu prīti-sukhāt tasmād vivecayati mānasam |
ttīyaṁ labhate dhyānaṁ sukhaṁ prīti-vivarjitam || 12.54

The one, in contrast, who separates his mind

From this joy and ease,

Obtains the third dhyāna –

Which has the ease without the joy.

The passage from Mahāsatipaṭṭhānasuttaṁ (DN 22) quoted in the comments on BC12.49 and 12.52, in connection with the first and second dhyānas, continues as follows:

Pītiyā ca virāgā upekkhako ca viharati,
With the fading away of joy he dwells equanimous,
sato ca sampajāno, sukhañ-ca kāyena paṭisaṁvedeti,
mindful, fully aware, experiencing ease [AB: happiness] through the body,
yan-taṁ Ariyā ācikkhanti: “Upekkhako satimā sukhavihārī” ti,
about which the Noble Ones declare: “He dwells at ease [AB: pleasantly], mindful, and equanimous,”
tatiyaṁ jhānaṁ upasampajja viharati. 
he dwells having attained the third dhyāna [AB: absorption].

The corresponding verses in SN Canto 17 are SN17.48-50:

tad-dhyānam āgamya ca citta-maunaṃ lebhe parāṃ prītim alabdha-pūrvām /
And on reaching that stage, in which the mind is silent,
he experienced an intense joy that he had never experienced before.
prītau tu tatrāpi sa doṣa-darśī yathā vitarkeṣv abhavat tathaiva //SN17.48 
But here too he found a fault, in joy, just as he had in thoughts.

prītiḥ parā vastuni yatra yasya viparyayāt tasya hi tatra duḥkham /
For when a man finds intense joy in anything,
paradoxically, suffering for him is right there.
prītāv ataḥ prekṣya sa tatra doṣān prīti-kṣaye yogam upāruroha // 17.49 
Hence, seeing the faults there in joy, 
he kept going up, into practice that goes beyond joy.

prīter virāgāt sukham ārya-juṣṭaṃ kāyena vindann atha saṃprajānan /
And so experiencing the ease enjoyed by the noble ones, 
from non-attachment to joy,
knowing it totally, with his body,
upekṣakaḥ sa smṛti-mān vyahārṣid dhyānaṃ tṛtīyaṃ pratilabhya dhīraḥ // 17.50 
He remained indifferent, fully aware,
and, having realised the third dhyāna, steady.

Buddhism, according to Aśvaghoṣa's presentation as Patrick Olivelle understands it, is the crowning and consummation of the Brahmanical religion.

Japanese Zen Buddhism, again, others have asserted, represents the flowering of the Buddhism of India.

But Aśvaghoṣa as I hear him is indicating something which totally contradicts views like these.

The Buddha's teaching, whose direction is towards the abandoning of all -isms, was grounded in Zen practice.

So the facts as Aśvaghoṣa reported them, and as some of us are investigating them, from the inside, are totally different from the suppositions of scholars and commentators whose views are formed on the outside.

It is not that Japanese Zen is the flowering of an Indian root. The truth, if we trust Aśvaghoṣa as a reliable source, and I do, is rather that the Buddha's teaching was originally rooted in Zen practice. 

The length of the present Canto, which is longer than any other extant Canto, may be a reflection of how important it is for us to get this point. The teaching of the four dhyānas, as a Zen patriarch like Aśvaghoṣa described it in SN Canto 17, was originally taught to the bodhisattva Gautama by the non-Buddhist Arāḍa. 

If the Buddha's teaching was the crowning and consummation of anything, then, it was the crowning and consummation of a tradition of Zen practice that pre-dated the Buddha. 

yaḥ (nom. sg. m.): [he] who
tu: but
prīti-sukhāt (abl. sg.): joy and ease; joyful ease
tasmāt (abl. sg.): from that

vivecayati = 3rd pers. sg. causative vi- √ vic: to separate
mānasam (acc. sg.): n. the mental powers , mind , spirit , heart , soul

tṛtīyam (acc. sg. n.): the third
labhate = 3rd pers. sg. labh: to obtain, gain, win
dhyānam (acc. sg.): n. Zen, stage of meditation

sukham (acc. sg. n.): mfn. (said to be fr. 5. su + 3. kha , and to mean originally " having a good axle-hole " ; possibly a Prakrit form of su-stha q.v. ; cf. duḥkha) running swiftly or easily (only applied to cars or chariots ; pleasant, comfortable, happy
prīti-vivarjitam (acc. sg. n.): without the joy

方便離喜樂 増修第三禪


Rich said...

Buddha's teaching was the crowning and consummation of anything, then, it was the crowning and consummation of a tradition of Zen practice that pre-dated the Buddha.

I like that statement. So the Buddha was more of a salesperson than a creative person -). Maybe the Buddha statue is actually Arrada -).

Mike Cross said...

A buddha statue is actually a material like gold or clay or wood.

Wake up at the back there, Rich, and pay attention!

Rich said...

Ok Mike. Just kidding.

Mike Cross said...

This might be a kind of elucidation of what Arāḍa meant by abiding in seclusion:

A dojo of which this man was in charge, was not a place for kidding around!