Friday, October 31, 2014

BUDDHACARITA 12.88: The End of the Beginning?

yasmāc ca tad api prāpya punar āvartate jagat |
bodhi-sattvaḥ paraṁ prepsus tasmād udrakam atyajat || 12.88

But since, again, even having reached that state,

[The mind] returns to the jostling world,

Therefore, desiring to reach the ultimate,

The bodhisattva left Udraka.

In today's verse as I read it Aśvaghoṣa advisedly calls the bodhisattva the bodhisattva, i.e. one who has established the bodhi-mind.

In Shobogenzo, Dogen often summarizes four stages as
  1. 発心 (HOSSHIN), establishment of the mind;
  2. 修行 (SHUGYO), practice, training;
  3. 菩提 (BODAI), bodhi, awakening; and
  4. 涅槃 (NEHAN), nirvāṇa, the serene and peaceful state.
In the present epic story of awakened action, the parts that cover 3. the Buddha's awakening and 4. his living and dying in the serene and peaceful state of nirvāṇa, are missing in the original Sanskrit. But the first twelve cantos up to around here can be read as covering 1. the establishment of the bodhi-mind. And from here until Aśvaghoṣa's Sanskrit runs out, we are set to enjoy Aśvaghoṣa's description of 2. the bodhisattva's practice – ascetic and otherwise.

Today's verse, then, as I ventured yesterday, can be read as representing the end of the beginning.

Dogen called the beginning, for short, 発心 (HOSSHIN), establishment of the mind. This stands for 発菩提心 (HOTSU-BODAI-SHIN), establishment of the bodhi-mind, or alternatively 無上 (HOTSU-MUJO-SHIN), establishment of the will to the supreme. 

 (MUJO), "the supreme,"  represents the Sanskrit an-uttara (lit. “without upper," "having nothing above it”), the best or most excellent – as in the phrase anuttara-samyak-sambodhi, the supreme integral full awakening.

In Chinese anuttara-samyak-sambodhi is 正等菩提 (Jap: MUJO-SHOTO-BODAI), the supreme integral bodhi, or 正等覚 (MUJO-SHOTO-KAKU), the supreme integral awakening.

In today's verse, then, param points beyond the jostling world of the living (saṁsāra) to the supreme integral awakening as, in EBC's translation “something beyond” and in EHJ's translation “the highest stage.”

Whereas EBC, EHJ and I have translated tasmād in the 4th pāda as “therefore,” PO may have taken tasmād as the ablative of tad, and so translated param...tasmād,  “[aiming to attain] a state beyond that.”

In any event, what is clear is that the bodhi-mind is not satisfied with what is anaiṣṭhikam (short of the ultimate; BC12.69), or akṛtsnam (incomplete; BC12.83). The bodhi-mind desires to reach beyond what is anaiṣṭhikam, short of the ultimate, and akṛtsnam, incomplete.

That being so, the best expression of the bodhi-mind might be to sit with shaved head, wearing a kaṣāya, with one's legs fully crossed, one's sitting bones on a firm cushion, one's knees on a thick mat, and one's whole being directed upward relative to the gravitational pull of the whole of mother earth.

The reason I regard my own teacher's teaching as having been incomplete has to do with this meaning of “being directed upward.” For my teacher this “being directed upward” seemed to be something one did, by tensing the lower back, pulling in the chin, and keeping the neck bones straight.

The doings which are the root of saṁsāra thus does the dopey one do.

yasmāt: ind. since, wherefore
ca: and
tad (acc. sg. n): it, that
api: even
prāpya = abs. pra- √āp: reach, realize

punaḥ: ind. back , home , in an opposite direction (with √ 1. gam , yā , to go back or away ; with √ dā , to give back , restore ; with √ bhū , to turn round ; with √ as and dat. , to fall back upon)again , once more; further , moreover , besides
āvartate = 3rd pers. sg. ā- √ vṛt: to turn or draw round or back or near ; to return, revolve
jagat (nom./acc. sg.): n. that which moves or is alive , men and animals , animals as opposed to men , men ; the world , esp. this world , earth

bodhi-sattvaḥ (nom. sg.): m. the bodhisattva, the one whose very being was awakening
param (acc. sg. n.): mfn. further, beyond ; better or worse than , superior or inferior to , best or worst , highest , supreme , chief (in the compar. meanings [where also -tara] , with abl.): ind. beyond
prepsuḥ (nom. sg. m.): mfn. (fr. desid. pra- √āp) wishing to attain , desirous of obtaining , seeking , longing for , aiming at (acc. or comp.)

tasmāt: 1. ind. therefore, for that reason ; 2. (abl. sg.): [beyond] that state
udrakam (acc. sg.): m. Udraka
atyajat = 3rd pers. sg. imperf. tyaj: to leave, abandon, quit ; shun

菩薩求出故 復捨鬱陀仙 

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