Monday, January 5, 2015

BUDDHACARITA 13.33: Like a Lion, Sitting

¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−¦¦−−⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−   Upajāti (Haṁsī)
upaplavaṁ dharma-vidhes tu tasya dṣṭvā sthitaṁ māra-balaṁ mahārṣiḥ |
na cukṣubhe nāpi yayau vikāraṁ madhye gavāṁ siṁha ivopaviṣṭaḥ || 13.33

But when the great seer saw,
as an affront to that method of dharma,

Māra's army standing by,

He did not budge, nor was he bothered at all,

Like a lion among moo-cows, in the middle, sitting.

Today's verse is very much the fourth in a series of four verses. As such it ties together the strands of the previous three verses.

  • like the efforts of those described in 13.32 as being the essence of dharma, the efforts of the bodhisattva are directed madhye, in the middle;
  • like the divine sages in 13.31, the bodhisattva even when provoked does not become angry; and yet
  • like the nāgas in 13.30, the bodhisattva retains a mighty natural power like the untamed power of a king of beasts.

The nāgas hiss and snort, and those whose essence is dharma go “Hā!” But the divine sages remain silent, and so does the bodhisattva.

And yet the silence of the bodhisattva sitting on the ground, under the spreading tree, is of a totally different order to the silence of gods in heaven.

The powerful silence of the bodhisattva has the spontaneity of the nāgas, but without any nāga noise. The directed silence of the bodhisattva has the direction of practitioners who are able to give voice to the very essence of dharma. That essence might be the truth of non-doing, which the bodhisattva, for the present, is expressing without even opening his mouth.

In bringing together these elements of the three previous verses, then, today's verse seems to remind us that we can learn from wild angry nāgas and can learn, on the contrary, from tame sages. Going further, we can learn from practitioners in the middle who speak the truth of non-doing. But above all we can be inspired by the bodhisattva's example of not budging and -- whatever he was confronted with -- not being bothered at all, like a lion among moo-cows, fearlessly and naturally just sitting. 

upaplavam (acc. sg.): m. affliction , visitation , invasion , inundation ; any public calamity , unlucky accident , misfortune , disturbance ; a portent or natural phenomenon (as an eclipse &c )
upa- √ plu : to overflow , inundate ; to assault , invade , afflict ; to eclipse ; to rush upon , assail
vidhi: m. method , manner or way of acting , mode of life , conduct , behaviour ; any act or action , performance , accomplishment , contrivance , work , business (ifc. often pleonastically e.g. mathana-vidhi , the [act of] disturbing)
tu: but
tasya (gen. sg.): his

dṛṣṭvā = abs. dṛś: to see
sthitam (acc. sg. n.): standing, standing ready
māra-balam (acc. sg. n.): Māra's army
mahārṣiḥ (nom. sg. m.): the great seer

na: not
cukṣubhe = 3rd pers. sg. perf. kṣubh: to shake , tremble , be agitated or disturbed , be unsteady , stumble (literally and metaphorically)
na: not
api: at all
yayau = 3rd pers. sg. perf. yā: to go, to enter a state
vikāram (acc. sg.): m. change of form or nature , alteration or deviation from any natural state , transformation , modification , change (esp. for the worse) of bodily or mental condition , disease , sickness , hurt , injury , (or) perturbation , emotion , agitation , passion

madhye (loc. sg.): the middle
gavām (gen. pl.): oxen, cows, cattle
siṁhaḥ (nom. sg.): m. lion
iva: like
upaviṣṭaḥ (nom. sg. m.): sitting

菩薩安靖默 光顏無異相
猶如師子王 處於群獸中 
皆歎嗚呼呼 奇特未曾有

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