Sunday, December 28, 2014

BUDDHACARITA 13.25: Springing Up, in Four Phases

¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−¦¦−−⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−   Upajāti (Indravajrā)
ke cid vrajanto bhśam āvavalgur anyonyam āpupluvire tathānye |
cikrīḍur ākāśa-gatāś ca ke cit ke cic ca cerus taru-mastakeṣu || 13.25

Some as they progressed sprang wildly into action;

Ones who were different, again, sprang up, 
each towards the others;

Some played in emptiness,

While some roamed about on the tops of trees.

Discounting the spurious verse 23, there are eight verses in the present description of Māra's army, and we have been able without much difficulty to find buried not far below the surface of most of those verses the truly golden teaching of pratītya-samutpāda (in short, springing up by going back).

In today's verse as I read it, the springing up element is very much to the fore. The sense of springing up into action is strongly present in the four main verbs, one  in each pāda:
  • āvavalgur, they sprang
  • āpupluvire, they sprang towards
  • cikrīḍur, they played
  • cerur, they roamed
The progression through the four pādas can thus be seen as representing, ironically, the process not of a servant of Māra but of a bodhisattva.

Thus, in the 1st pāda, initial spontaneous springing into action is liable to be associated with the wild enthusiasm of a beginner. This is a natural part of a bodhisattva's process, passage through which is expressed by the present participle vrajantaḥ, which means going, proceeding, passing through a process.

In the 2nd pāda, springing up is different (anya) from what we are liable to think. We are liable to think for example that springing up in freedom is a kind of anarchic letting go in which every man for himself, or every woman for herself, lets everything hang out. The counter example that falsifies this conception is the traditional behaviour of bhikṣus, preserved in countries like Thailand and Śri Lanka, to consciously regulate each other's behaviour by such means as bi-weekly confession and reciting of the prātimokṣa (Pali: pātimokkha).

Here is the concluding part of Ovādapātimokkhaṁ (DN 14.3.26), translated by Ānandajoti Bhikkhu as The Disciplinary Advice:

“Tatra sudaṁ, bhikkhave, Vipassī Bhagavā Arahaṁ Sammāsambuddho
“Right there, monks, the Gracious One Vipassī, the Worthy One the Perfect Sambuddha,
Bhikkhusaṅghe evaṁ Pātimokkhaṁ uddisati:
in the midst of the Community of monks recited the Discipline thus:
‘Khantī paramaṁ tapo titikkhā, Nibbānaṁ paramaṁ vadanti Buddhā.
‘Forbearing patience is the supreme austerity, Nibbāna is supreme say the Buddhas.
Na hi pabbajito parūpaghāti, samaṇo hoti paraṁ viheṭhayanto.
One gone forth does not hurt another, (nor does) an ascetic harass another.
Sabbapāpassa akaraṇaṁ, kusalassa upasampadā,
Not doing any bad deeds, undertaking wholesome (deeds),
Sacittapariyodapanaṁ – etaṁ Buddhāna' sāsanaṁ.
And purifying one's mind – this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
Anūpavādo anūpaghāto, Pātimokkhe ca saṁvaro.
Not finding fault, not hurting, restraint in regard to the Discipline,
Mattaññutā ca bhattasmiṁ, pantañ-ca sayanāsanaṁ.
Knowing the correct measure in food, (living in) a remote dwelling place,
Adhicitte ca āyogo – etaṁ Buddhāna' sāsanan.’-ti
Being devoted to meditation – this is the teaching of the Buddhas.’

In the 3rd pāda, ākāśa-gatāḥ ostensibly means “in the sky.” Hence:

Some as they went leaped about wildly, others danced upon one another, some sported about in the sky, others went along on the tops of the trees.

Some, as they ran, leapt wildly about, some jumped on each other; while some gambolled in the sky, others sped along among the treetops.

But if we are thinking in terms of pratītya-samutpāda, then ākāśa-gatāḥ (being in emptiness) might be a function of coming back. Emptiness, in other words, might be intended to suggest the absence of doings – for the doings which are the root of saṁsāra doggedly does the dopey one do.

And then the 4th pāda might be intended to suggest the ultimate stage in the life process of a bodhisattva, roaming in transcendent freedom. In roaming about on the top of trees, it may be that neither eyes nor body necessarily moves, but still the Eye, containing the whole body, is free to roam. 

At the end of The Disciplinarya Advice, I notice in passing, the Buddha says that the teaching of the buddhas is devotion to adhicitta. AB translates adhicitta as “meditation.” But more literally adhi- as a prefix in Sanskrit means “over and above” and citta means “thinking.” Hence MW gives adhicitta-śikṣā as training in higher thought (one of the 3 kinds of training). So adhicitta can be translated as “meditation” or as “higher thought” or as “transcendent thinking.” And those translations put me in mind of Ray Evans' description of inhibition (not doing) and direction (mainly Up), as practised in Alexander work, as an “extra awareness.”

The attitude to Alexander work of my  Zen teacher, Gudo Nishijima, was that "If AT is the same as Buddhism, I don't need to study it. And if AT is different from Buddhism, I don't have any interest in studying it." 

But my teacher was just flat out wrong. Alexander's principle of inhibition, or not doing, is not different from the Buddha's third noble truth; but my teacher ought indeed to have studied it further. 

The underlying message of the present series of verses is that even the footsoldiers in Māra's army are bodhisattvas and buddhas. It is just that they haven't realized it yet. 

Thus pratītya-samutpāda is not a doctrine that you have to learn. Pratītya-samutpāda is a side effect of having turned back to what you already know. 

This turning back, I would like to have taught my teacher, is an act of knowing, not an act of doing. 

And yet...
saṁsāra-mūlaṁ saṁskārān avidvān saṁskaroty ataḥ |
avidvān kārakas tasmān na vidvāṁs tattva-darśanāt ||MMK26.10
The doings which are the root of saṁsāra
Thus does the dopey one do.
The dopey one therefore is the doer;
The wise one is not, because of reality making itself known.

avidyāyāṁ niruddhāyāṁ saṁskārāṇām asaṁbhavaḥ |
avidyāyā nirodhas tu jñānasyāsyaiva bhāvanāt ||MMK26.11
In the cessation of ignorance,
There is the non-coming-into-being of doings.
The cessation of ignorance, however,
Is because of the allowing-into-being of just this act of knowing.

ke cid (nom. pl. m.): some
vrajantaḥ = nom. pl. m. pres. part. vraj: to go , walk , proceed , travel , wander , move ; to undergo , go to any state or condition ,
bhṛśam: ind. strongly , violently , vehemently , excessively , greatly , very much
āvavalgur = 3rd pers. pl. perf. ā- √ valg: to spring , jump , leap up
ā-: (as a prefix to verbs , especially of motion , and their derivatives) near , near to , towards

anyonyam: ind. mutually, on each other
āpupluvire = 3rd pers. pl. perf. ā- √ plu: to spring or jump towards or over , dance towards or over ; to bathe , wash ; to bathe , wash another ; to overrun
√ plu: to float , swim ; to go or cross in a boat , sail , navigate ; to sway to and fro , hover , soar , fly ; to hop , skip , leap , jump , spring from (abl.) or to or into or over or upon (acc.)
tathā: ind. similarly, equally
anye (nom. pl. m.): others

cikrīḍur = 3rd pers. pl. perf. krīḍ: to play , sport , amuse one's self , frolic , gambol , dally (used of men , animals , the wind and waves , &c )
ākāśa-gatāḥ (nom. pl. m.): in the sky ; in emptiness
ākāśa: m. a free or open space , vacuity ; the ether , sky or atmosphere
ca: and
ke cit (nom. pl. m.): some

ke cit (nom. pl. m.): some
ca: and
cerus = 3rd pers. pl. perf. car: to move one's self , go , walk , move , stir , roam about , wander  
taru-mastakeṣu (loc. pl.): the top of a tree, Bcar.
mastaka: mn. the head, skull; the upper part of anything , top , summit (esp. of mountains or trees)

或奔走相逐 迭自相打害 

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