Sunday, November 16, 2014

BUDDHACARITA 12.104: Mind vs Senses, Round 2

nirvtiḥ prāpyate samyak satatendriya-tarpaṇāt |
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saṁtarpitendriyatayā manaḥ-svāsthyam avāpyate || 12.104 

Contentment is properly obtained

From constant appeasement of the senses;

By keeping the senses fully appeased,

Wellness of the mind is realized.

Pratītya-samutpāda, in my opinion, is not only an expression of the law of cause and effect whereby the origination or appearance of the real Universe is dependent on twelve inter-dependent links in a causal chain.

Pratītya-samutpāda is the very way of cessation of suffering that the Buddha realized while sitting under the bodhi tree.

Making this way into one's own possession is manusāvāpyaṁ phalaṁ, the result to be realized by mental means. Making the four noble truths into one's own possession, in other words, is ultimately the most mental thing there is. It is not a task that can be accomplished by doing something, not even upright sitting in the full lotus posture. And nobody can get inside another's brain and nervous system and do the task for them. It is a problem whose solution each person has to work out for himself or herself.

But this working out is not merely intellectual work. Ultimately it might be a mental working out, but a mental working out that is to be done in the context of physically working out – “working out” being a good translation of both meanings of the Chinese characters 工夫 (Ch: kung-fu; Jap: KU-FU).

Moreover, it is not a mental working out that is done by a disembodied mind. Rather, the bodhisattva is in the process of working out, the work to be done is to be performed by a mind that is healthy, well in itself (svastha) and contented (nirvṛta). For that reason, the importance of nutrition and rest is not to be denied. That was the gist of yesterday's verse.

We examined in verses BC12.91-94 how the relationship between the bodhisattva and the five bhikṣus was presented in such a way as to suggest something about the natural hierarchy that might properly exist between the mind and the senses. Today's verse seems to take us back to that metaphor, causing us to consider again what the proper relationship might be between mind and senses.

The first definition given in the MW dictionary for the Sanskrit word indriya is power, force, the quality which belongs especially to the mighty indra. So the word indriya, while it means a sense, or an organ of sense, has more of a connotation than those English words do of something which is powerful or autonomous in its own right. Hence in Sanskrit more than in English, metaphors seem natural that portray the senses as powerful enemies. E.g.
Some people some of the time are beleaguered by hateful enemies – or else they are not. / Besieged by the senses are all people everywhere, all of the time. // SN13.32 // Nor does one go to hell when smitten by the likes of an enemy; But meekly is one pulled there when smitten by the impetuous senses.... // SN13.33 // From ebbing of the power of the senses, as if from subjugation of enemies, / One sleeps or sits at ease, in joyful recreation, wherever one may be. // SN13.38 //

With this in mind, EHJ's translation of satatendriya-tarpaṇāt as “by constant appeasement of the senses” and saṁtarpitendriyatayā as “the full appeasement of the senses” seems best to hit the target of the Sanskrit – since we are familiar with the use of the word appeasement in the context of pacifying an enemy.
EHJ: Inward tranquillity is rightly gained by constant appeasement of the senses, and from the full appeasement of the senses the mind becomes well-balanced.

Where EHJ chose "appeasement," EBC had used the word "satisfaction": 
EBC: True calm is properly obtained by the constant satisfaction of the senses; the mind's self-possession is only obtained by the senses being perfectly satisfied.

PO used the word "content" which would also work fairly well, except that I already translated anirvṛtaḥ yesterday as "not contented" and nirvṛtiḥ today as "contentment."
PO: Tranquility is properly attained by always making the senses content; When the senses are well content, wellness of the mind is attained.

Wether we translate saṁtarpita as "well contented" or "fully appeased," the impression to be conveyed is that of keeping the senses happy, or of keeping the senses quiet, or of coming to some sort of accomodation with the senses, rather than trying to overpower the senses with the intensity of one's ascetic austerities.

What defeats the power of the senses, in the end, in the Buddha's teaching as the Buddha taught it, perhaps we can conclude, is not tapas, ascetic practice, but is rather śīla, integrity or discipline.

Hence, to bring this comment back to where it started, śīla is one of the three divisions of the noble eightfold path of cessation of suffering – the other two being samādhi and prajñā.
Comprehend, therefore, that suffering is doing; witness the faults impelling it forward; / Realise its stopping as non-doing; and know the path as a turning back. // SN16.42 // Though your head and clothes be on fire direct your mind so as to be awake to the truths. / For in failing to see the purport of the truths, the world has burned, it is burning now, and it will burn. // SN16.43 //

When I translated today's verse in 2008, I translated nirvṛtiḥ as “the joy of effortless ease,” and similarly translated the 3rd pāda in way that suited my own understanding – of the importance of the vestibular function of “sensory integration.”  Finally, and perhaps more defensibly, I took manaḥ to be the subject of the 4th pāda – so manaḥ (nom. sg.) svāsthyam (acc. sg.) avāpyate (causative passive) rather than manaḥ-svāsthyam (nom. sg.) avāpyate (passive):

The joy of effortless ease is properly gained
From constant appeasement of the senses;
From senses that are well integrated and content,
The mind recovers its health.

Where all this is leading -- where it has been leading for the last six years, or the last thirty-odd years, or the last fifty-odd years -- is towards a deeper understanding of how the teaching of pratītya-samutpāda fits within the overall purport of the four noble truths. 

nirvṛtiḥ (nom. sg.): f. complete satisfaction or happiness , bliss , pleasure , delight ; extinction (of a lamp)
prāpyate = 3rd pers. sg. passive pra- √āp: to attain to, reach
samyak: ind. in one direction ; correctly , truly , properly , fitly , in the right way or manner , well , duly

satatendriya-tarpaṇāt (abl. sg.): through constant appeasement of the senses
satata: mfn. constant , perpetual , continual , uninterrupted
indriya: sense
tarpaṇa: n. satiating , refreshing (esp. of gods and deceased persons [cf. ṛṣi- , pitṛ-] by presenting to them libations of water ); n. gladdening (ifc.)
tṛp: to satisfy one's self , become satiated or satisfied , be pleased with (gen. instr. , or rarely loc. e.g. nā*gnis tṛpyati kāṣṭhānām , " fire is not satisfied with wood " MBh. xiii ; átṛpyan brāhmaṇā́ dhánaiḥ , " the brahmans were pleased with wealth " ; to satisfy, please

saṁtarpitendriyatayā (inst. sg. f.): satisfaction of the senses, the state of the senses being satisfied
saṁtarpita: mfn. (fr. Caus.) satiated , satisfied
saṁ- √ tṛp : to satiate or refresh one's self with (gen.) : Caus. -tarpayati , to satiate , refresh , invigorate , gladden , delight
indriya: sense
-tā: feminine abstract noun suffix

manaḥ-svāsthyam (acc. sg.): n. health of mind, Bcar.
avāpyate = 3rd pers. sg. passive ava- √āp: to reach , attain , obtain , gain , get
manaḥ (nom. sg.): n. the mind
svāsthyam (acc. sg.): n. (fr. sva-stha) self-dependence , sound state (of body or soul) , health , ease , comfort , contentment , satisfaction
avāpyate = 3rd pers. sg. causative passive ava- √āp: to be caused to obtain

由禪知聖法 法力得難得 

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