Friday, November 14, 2014

BUDDHACARITA 12.102: Sometimes You Gotta Be Strong. Sometimes You Need Guts.

na cāsau durbalenāptuṁ śakyam ity āgatādaraḥ |
śarīra-bala-vddhy-artham idaṁ bhūyo 'nvacintayat || 12.102 

But that cannot be realized by one who is weak.”

Thus did he reflect.

Still more, with a view to increasing his bodily strength,

On this did he meditate further:

EHJ noted that āgatādaraḥ has been variously understood. EBC translated “resuming his care for his body”; Formichi: “so reflecting”; Windrusch: “who has gained respect for himself.” EHJ himself went with: “in all seriousness”; and PO: “with a sense of urgency.”

For the record, this is how I translated today's verse back in 2008, taking account of EHJ's reading and translating āgatādaraḥ as “soberly”:

And that mode of being, for one who is weak,
Is unattainable." So, soberly,
With a view to increasing his bodily strength,
On this, more deeply still, he reflected:

The point of the verse seems to be to lay emphasis on the importance of not being weak (dur-bala) but of positively nurturing one's own bodily strength (śarīra-bala).

And so just as this principle of strength is emphasized by the repetition in the 1st and 3rd pādas by bala, the words āgatādaraḥ and anvacintayat in the 2nd and 4th pāda can both be read as emphasizing the principle of reflection.

In other words, thus the bodhisattva reflected on the importance of staying strong. And then he reflected on it some more.

Looking ahead to Canto 13, there are many verses of vivid descriptions of terrific challenges that Māra presented to the bodhisattva. Totally unmoved by greed or fear, however, the bodhisattva guarded his own resolve like it was a kinsman (sva-niścayaṁ bandhum ivopaguhya ; BC13.43).

So Canto 13, on first perusal, does not look too philosophical (though the philosophy may be there when we come to dig for it). The overt thrust of Canto 13 is more motivational, encouraging us and reminding us not to be wimpish in the battle against Māra, but to show some backbone, and some well-nourished guts. And today's verse also seems to be written in that spirit.

Brown rice anybody? 

Sadly the winter radishes I brought back from France are all gone. They were excellent grated on brown rice. 

The basis of my breakfast this morning will be strong Canadian bread flour, and butter. Probably if I was wiser and better disciplined, I would go easier on the accompanying jam and coffee. 

na: not
ca: and
asau (nom. sg. m.): that
durbalena (inst. sg.): m. an impotent man , weakling
āptum = inf. āp: to reach , overtake , meet with ; to obtain , gain , take possession of

śakyam (nom. sg. n.): mfn. possible
iti: “...,” thus
āgatādaraḥ: EBC: “resuming his care for his body”; Formichi: “so reflecting”; Windrusch: “who has gained respect for himself”; EHJ: “in all seriousness”; PO: “with a sense of urgency.”
āgata: mfn. come to or into
ādara: m. respect , regard , notice ; care , trouble
ā- √dṛ: to regard with attention , attend to , be careful about (acc.)

śarīra-bala-vṛddhy-artham (acc. sg. n.): for the growth of bodily strength
śarīra-bala: bodily strength
vṛddhi: f. growth, increase
artha: mn. aim, purpose

idam (acc. sg. n.): this
bhūyaḥ: ind. more , most , very much , exceedingly; still more , moreover , besides , further on; anew
anvacintayat = 3rd pers. sg. imperfect anu- √ cint: to meditate , consider , recall to mind

道非羸身得 要須身力求
飮食充諸根 根悦令心安

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