Monday, January 19, 2015

BUDDHACARITA 13.47: Arrows Targetting Reality

¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−¦¦−−⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−   Upajāti (Indravajrā)
pañceṣavo 'nyena tu vipramuktās tasthur viyaty eva munau na petuḥ |
saṁsāra-bhīror viṣaya-pravttau pañcendriyāṇīva parīkṣakasya || 13.47

But five arrows that one who was different did shoot

Stayed up there in mid-air, and did not impinge upon the sage –

Like the five senses, during pursuit of objects,

When those senses belong to a saṁsāra-fearing scrutinizer. 

If we are prone to think that, in general, fear is a bad thing, devotion to objects is a bad thing, and lack of restraint where the five senses are concerned is a bad thing, then today's verse can be read as being antithetical to those general conceptions.

For the 2nd pāda, the old Nepalese manuscript has tasthau nayaty eva munau na petuḥ. EBC amended this to tasthur nayaty eva munau na petuḥ, taking nayati... munau as locative absolute (“at the sage's directing”), and translating “stood motionless and fell not, through the saint's ruling guidance...”

EHJ amended further  to tasthur nabhasy eva munau na petuḥ, and translated “stood arrested in the air and did not fall on the sage.” EHJ noted that there is nothing to chose between nabhasi [EHJ: “in the air”] and viyati [“in the sky” or “in mid-air”], except that Aśvaghoṣa uses the former rather oftener.

In the 4th pāda parīkṣakasya was translated by EBC "[the five senses] of him who is well experienced [in the course of worldly objects]" and by EHJ "[the five senses] of a wise man [when their objects are present]."  

So I have followed EHJ in reading  viṣaya-pravṛttau as locative absolute ("during pursuit of objects") rather than as the object of experiencing, investigating or scrutinizing (parīkṣaka)

In that case parīkṣakasya means "of a wise man" (as per EHJ) or "of a man of insight" or of an investigator, or of a scrutinizer. And the object of investigation or scrutiny that is understood might be tattva -- reality, or the truth of what is. Hence, for example: 
From then on, through investigation of what is (tattva-parīkṣaṇena), he applies his mind to eradicating the polluting influences, / For on this basis he fully understands suffering and the rest, the four true standpoints: // SN16.3 // This is suffering, which is constant and akin to trouble; this is the cause of suffering, akin to starting it; / This is cessation of suffering, akin to walking away. And this, akin to a refuge, is a peaceable path. // SN16.4 //

pañceṣavaḥ (nom. pl.): five arrows
iṣu: mf. an arrow ; the number five
anyena (inst. sg.): by another; by one who was different
tu: but
vipramuktāḥ (nom. pl. m.): mfn. let loose ; discharged , shot , hurled

tasthur = 3rd pers. pl. perf. sthā: to stand, stand still
nayati = loc. sg. pres. part. √ nī: to lead , guide , conduct , direct , govern
nabhasi [EHJ] (loc. sg.): n. mist , clouds , vapour ; the sky
viyati = loc. sg. viyat: mfn. (pr. p. of vi- √5. i) going apart or asunder; n. the sky , heaven , air , atmosphere (prob. as " that which parts asunder or forms the intermediate region between heaven and earth ")
eva: (emphatic)
munau (loc. sg.): the sage
na: not
petur = 3rd pers. pl. perf. pat: 1. to be master , reign , rule , govern , control , own , possess , dispose of (acc. or instr.) ; to partake of , share in (loc.)
2. to fly, soar, rush on ; to fall ; to fall down or off , alight , descend (with acc. or loc.) ,

saṁsāra-bhīroḥ (gen. sg.): being afraid of saṁsāra
viṣaya-pravṛttau (loc. abs.): “when their objects are present” [EHJ];
pravṛtti: f. moving onwards , advance , progress ; coming forth , appearance , manifestation ; activity ; active life (as opp. to ni-vṛtti [q.v.]); giving or devoting one's self to , prosecution of, course or tendency towards , inclination or predilection for (loc. or comp.)

pañcendriyāṇi (nom. pl.): the five senses
iva: like
parīkṣakasya (gen. sg.): mfn. trying , examining ; m. a prover , examiner , judge
pari- √īkṣ: to look round , inspect carefully , try , examine , find out , observe , perceive

[No corresponding Chinese translation]

No comments: