Monday, September 29, 2014

BUDDHACARITA 12.56: 第四禪, The Fourth Dhyāna, By the Book

tādśaṁ sukham āsādya yo na rajyaty upekṣakaḥ |
caturthaṁ dhyānam āpnoti sukha-duḥkha-vivarjitam || 12.56

Only the one who, sitting in the presence of such ease,

Is not enamoured of it but is indifferent,

Reaches the fourth dhyāna

Beyond ease and suffering.

The passage from Mahāsatipaṭṭhānasuttaṁ (DN 22) quoted in the comments on BC12.49, 12.52, and 12.54, in connection with the first and second and third dhyānas, continues as follows:

Sukhassa ca pahānā, dukkhassa ca pahānā,
Having abandoned ease, abandoned suffering,
pubbeva somanassadomanassānaṁ atthaṅgamā,
and with the previous passing away of mental happiness and sorrow,
adukkham-asukhaṁ, upekkhāsatipārisuddhiṁ, 
[he dwells in the stage] beyond ease, beyond hardship,
with complete purity of mindfulness owing to equanimity –
catutthaṁ jhānaṁ upasampajja viharati.
he dwells having attained the fourth stage of meditation.

This verse completes the Buddha's elucidation in the Mahāsatipaṭṭhānasuttaṁ of sammāsamādhi, balanced stillness, or true balance and coordination. 
Hence the Buddha adds here:

Ayaṁ vuccati, bhikkhave, sammāsamādhi. 
This, monks, is called sammāsamādhi.

And sammāsamādhi, in turn, is the eighth branch of the noble eightfold path. 
Hence the Buddha adds further:

Idaṁ vuccati, bhikkhave, Dukkhanirodhagāminī paṭipadā Ariyasaccaṁ.
This, monks, is called the Noble Truth of the Practice Leading to the Cessation of Suffering.

The corresponding verses in SN Canto 17 are SN17.52-55.

dhyāne 'pi tatrātha dadarśa doṣaṃ mene paraṃ śāntam aniñjam eva /
Then, even in that stage of meditation, he found a fault:
he saw it as better to be quiet, not excited,
ābhogato 'pīñjayati sma tasya cittaṃ pravṛttaṃ sukham ity asram // SN17.52
Whereas his mind was fluctuating tirelessly because of ease circulating.

yatreñjitaṃ spanditam asti tatra yatrāsti ca spanditam asti duḥkham /
In excitement there is interference,
and where there is interference there is suffering,
yasmād atas tat-sukham iñjakatvāt praśānti-kāmā yatayas tyajanti // 17.53
Which is why, insofar as ease is excitatory,
devotees who are desirous of quiet give up that ease.

atha prahāṇāt sukha-duḥkhayoś ca mano-vikārasya ca pūrvam eva /
Then, having already transcended ease and suffering, and emotional reactivity,
dadhyāv upekṣā-smṛtimad viśuddhaṃ dhyānaṃ tathāduḥkha-sukhaṃ caturtham // 17.54
He realised the lucidity in which there is equanimity and full awareness:
thus, beyond suffering and ease, is the fourth stage of meditation.

yasmāt tu tasmin na sukhaṃ na duḥkhaṃ jñānaṃ ca tatrāsti tad-artha-cāri /
Since in this there is neither ease nor suffering,
and the act of knowing abides here, being its own object,
tasmād upekṣā-smṛti-pāriśuddhir nirucyate dhyāna-vidhau caturthe // SN17.55
Therefore utter lucidity through equanimity and awareness
is specified in the protocol for the fourth dhyāna.

My tentative conclusion, then, about the four dhyānas, is that the four dhyānas are what Charles Sherrington called convenient fictions. There is no such thing as four dhyānas. But there is such a thing as a right direction.

Going in the right direction may sometimes mean going by the book, as one who knows the teaching (śāstra-vid). And going in the right direction may sometimes mean throwing away the book and acting, as a man or woman of action (kṛtin).

In reality, there are no false dichotomies, but there is such a thing as a right direction. And Arāḍa's teaching of the four dhyānas, as far as it goes, at least up to this point, at least as I read it, is going in the right direction.

Arāda's teaching will shortly veer off in a wrong direction. Nevertheless, I think Aśvaghoṣa wanted us to recognize that these first eleven verses of Arāḍa's second speech contain an excellent and helpful summary of what Zen practice is all about. The foundation is acting with integrity. From that starting point, the challenge is to keep going in the right direction -- KBO, as Winston Churchill called it --  not getting carried away in the direction of religious bliss in the company of gods, and not even getting stuck in the fourth dhyāna, wrongly thinking it to be the ultimate step.

tādṛśam (acc. sg. n.): mfn. such, such a one
sukham (acc. sg.): n. ease
āsādya = abs. ā- √ sad: to sit, sit near ; to preside over ; to go to , go towards , approach ; to meet with , reach , find

yaḥ (nom. sg. m.): [the one] who
na: not
rajyati = 3rd pers. sg. rañj: to be dyed or coloured , to redden , grow red , glow ; to be affected or moved , be excited or glad , be charmed or delighted by (instr.) , be attracted by or enamoured of , fall in love with (loc.
upekṣakaḥ (nom. sg. m.): mfn. overlooking , disregarding , indifferent
upekṣā: f. overlooking , disregard , negligence , indifference , contempt , abandonment

caturthaṁ dhyānam (acc. sg n.): the fourth stage of meditation
āpnoti = 3rd pers. sg. ap: to reach , overtake , meet with , fall upon; to obtain , gain , take possession of ; to enter , pervade , occupy

sukha-duḥkha-vivarjitam (acc. sg. n.): in which ease and hardship are absent, from which ease and hardship are excluded; beyond the reach of ease and hardship
vivarjita: mfn. avoided , left , abandoned by , destitute or deprived of , free or exempt from (instr. or comp.) ; (ifc.) that from which anything is excluded , excepting , excluding

捨彼意樂者 逮得第四禪

1 comment:

Rich said...

Right direction. Sueng sahn used to say 'only go straight , don't know'