Sunday, December 14, 2014

BUDDHACARITA 13.10: Whose Values are Upside Down?

¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−¦¦−−⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−   Upajāti (Indravajrā)
panthā hi niryātum ayaṁ yaśasyo yo vāhitaḥ pūrvatamair narendraiḥ |
jātasya rājarṣi-kule viśāle bhaikṣākam aślāghyam idaṁ prapattum || 13.10

For this path [of subjugating others] is a glorious path to travel,

Forged by the most ancient of Indras among men; 

for one born into an illustrious house of royal seers,  

This way of a beggar is not a praiseworthy way to go.

"This path" (ayam pathā) in the 1st pāda of today's verse means the path of an Indra who subjugates others by such means as the weapons of war and the methods of religion. 

In the value system of Māra, who represents death and destruction to true dharma, this path of subjugating others is glorious; whereas the way of a beggar, who relies on others' generosity, is ignominious. 

So the two value systems are diametrically opposed to each other: either the bodhisattva's value system is upside down, or Māra's value system is upside down. 

Apropos of which, when I began studying the primitive reflexes in 1998 under Peter Blythe of INPP Chester, one of PB's great buddies was a New York physician named Hal Levinson, who had written a book titled "The Upside-Down Kids: Helping Dyslexic Children Understand Themselves and Their Disorder."

The point that was impressed on me at that time was that the vestibular system (or as Hal Levinson called it "the inner ear system," including the cerebullum) was the ultimate arbiter of up and down; so that children whose vestibular system was faulty were liable to get everything arse over tit and back to front. 

Here again, then, we see the irony of the opening word of Māra's present speech, the imperative uttiṣṭha, "Spring up!" 

The irony might be that truly Springing Up, Having Gone Back (pratitya-samutpāda) is the highest human aim. But if we go for that aim directly, relying on a faulty sense of up and down, we are entrusting ourselves into the dirty paws of nobody but Māra. 

In the end, then, to worry about whether our own value system is true or false, good or bad, might not be the point -- though I have to confess I am not immune to such worrying. 

The point might be somehow to sit upright in such a way as to be free of any kind of doing. After solving that problem, the highest value -- in a dharma of liberation, as opposed to a dharma of subjugation -- might lie in somehow enabling others to solve the problem for themselves, on an individual basis. 

panthā = nom. sg. pathin: m. a way , path , road , course
hi: for
niryātum = inf. nir- √ yā: to go out , come forth , go from (abl.) to or into (acc.) ; to pass away (as time)
ayam (nom. sg. m.): this
yaśasyaḥ (nom. sg. m): mfn. conferring fame or renown , famous , creditable , glorious

yaḥ (nom. sg. m.): which
vāhitaḥ mfn. (for 2. » col.2) exerted , endeavoured; (for 1. » col.1) caused to be borne or conveyed ; given , administered (as medicine)
pūrvatamaiḥ (inst. pl. m.): most ancient
-tama: an affix forming the superl. degree of adjectives and rarely of substantives
narendraiḥ (inst. pl.): m. " man-lord " , king , prince

rājarṣi-kule (loc. sg.): a house of royal seers
viśāle (loc. sg.): mfn. great , important , powerful , mighty , illustrious , eminent

bhaikṣākam (nom. sg.): n. mendicancy, Bcar.
aślāghyam (nom. sg. n.): mfn. not to be praised , base
idam (nom. sg. n.): this
prapattum = inf. pra- √ pad : to go forwards set out for , resort to , arrive at , attain , enter ; to undertake , commence , begin , do

此道善名稱 先勝之所行
仙王高宗胄 乞士非所應 

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