Sunday, October 26, 2014

BUDDHACARITA 12.83: Towards COMPLETE Springing Up, By Going Back

iti dharmam arāḍasya viditvā na tutoṣa saḥ |
aktsnam iti vijñāya tata pratijagāma ha || 12.83

Thus, having understood the dharma of Arāḍa,

He was not satisfied.

Knowing it to be incomplete,

Back he went from there.

Aśvaghoṣa does not imply in today's verse that the bodhisattva turned away from Arāḍa's teaching because that teaching was false. He says, emphatically, that knowing Arāḍa's teaching to be incomplete, the bodhisattva went back from there.

EBC translated tata pratijagāma ha, “then... he turned away”; EHJ as “he turned away from there”; and PO as “he went away from there.”

Thus each of the three professors, I think, missed the true point of pratijagāma, the significance of which might best be understood in light of the teaching – discussed yesterday – of pratītya-samutpāda.

In a footnote to today's verse, having translated pratijagāma  as "he turned away," EHJ observed: 
The use of pratijagāma in this sense is unusual but certified by T [the Tibetan translation].
I think Aśvaghoṣa used pratijagāma  in this unusual sense for a very good reason. 

The MW dictionary gives prati-√gam: to go towards; to go back, return, go home.

This definition tends to confirm that prati-√gam is more or less synonymous with prati-√i, which the MW dictionary also gives as: to go towards or against, go to meet (as friend or foe) ; to come back, return.

And prati-√i is the root from which is derived the pratītya of pratītya-samutpāda. 

Yesterday I translated pratītya-samutpāda as springing up by going back, but in view of the content of today's verse, the sam of pratītya-samutpāda should also be emphasized. The sam-  indicates that the springing up is all together, integral, complete

The ostensible meaning of the 4th pāda of today's verse, then, is something like “He left there at once.” But by using pratijagāma in an unusual way – and by emphasizing it with ha – Aśvaghoṣa may, below the surface, have been suggesting that the bodhisattva's knowing Arāḍa's teaching to be incomplete was the basis of his own subsequent realization, as the fully awakened Sambuddha, of the teaching of pratītya-samutpāda, or “completely springing up, by going back.”

The same suggestion of going back, to the real root of suffering, might be there in the title of BC Canto 6, chandaka-nivartanaḥ, Chandaka / Turning Back.

For a more explicit reminder of the importance in the Buddha's teaching of the backward step, we have for example SN16.42:

tasmāt pravṛttiṃ parigaccha duḥkhaṃ pravartakān apy avagaccha doṣān /
Comprehend, therefore, that suffering is doing; 
witness the faults impelling it forward;
nivṛttim āgaccha ca tan-nirodhaṃ nivartakaṃ cāpy avagaccha mārgam // 16.42 
Realise its stopping as non-doing; 
and know the path as a turning back.

In conclusion, the bodhisattva did not turn away or go away from Arāḍa because Arāḍa's teaching was false. Arāḍa was theman – the only man – the Buddha recognized as having been his teacher. The bodhisattva knew Arāḍa's teaching was incomplete, but he also knew it was true. And because Arāḍa's teaching was true, it was from there that he went back – thus, in due course, realizing the teaching of pratītya-samutpāda, completely springing up, by going back.

I have laboured the point. But it seems to me to be a really important point. 

iti: thus
dharmam (acc. sg.): m. dharma
arāḍasya (gen. sg.): Arāḍa

viditvā = abs. vid: to know , understand , perceive , learn , become or be acquainted with , be conscious of
na: not
tutoṣa = 3rd pers. sg. perf. tuṣ: to become calm , be satisfied or pleased with
saḥ (nom. sg. m.): he

akṛtsnam (acc. sg. m.): mfn. incomplete
akṛtsnaḥ [Hultzsch] (nom. sg. m.): mfn. incomplete
iti: “....,” thus
vijñāya = abs. vi- √ jñā: to distinguish , discern , observe , investigate , recognize , ascertain , know , understand

tataḥ: ind. from that place, thence
pratijagāma = 3rd pers. sg. perf. prati- √gam: to go towards; to go back , return , go home
prati- √i: to go towards or against , go to meet (as friend or foe) ; to come back , return
ha: ind. (prob. orig. identical with 2. gha , and used as a particle for emphasizing a preceding word , esp. if it begins a sentence closely connected with another ; very frequent in the brāhmaṇas and sūtras , and often translatable by) indeed , assuredly , verily , of course , then &c

所作則畢竟 於阿羅藍説

不能悦其心 知非一切智

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