Tuesday, January 20, 2015

BUDDHACARITA 13.48: Free Fallin'

¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−¦¦⏑−⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−   Upajāti (Mālā)
jighāṁsayānyaḥ prasasāra ruṣṭo gadāṁ ghītvābhimukho mahārṣeḥ |
so prāpta-kālo vivaśaḥ papāta doṣeṣv ivānartha-kareṣu lokaḥ || 13.48

Bent on destruction,
one who was different furiously sprang forth,

Wielding a bludgeon [or a string of sentences],
while facing in the great seer's direction;

His time having come, into free fall he went, helplessly –

As the world falls into calamitous faults.

The saṁsāra-fearing one of yesterday's verse and the one bent on destruction in today's verse are both described as anyaḥ, another, a different one. Ostensibly they are different from each other, but ironically they might be the same one, who is different from what you think.

So the one who is different in today's verse, when he is bent on destruction, might be bent on the destruction of the ignorance which is the grounds for the doings which are the root of saṁsāra.

That being so, his bludgeon might look something like this:
The doings which are the root of saṁsāra thus does the ignorant one do. / The ignorant one therefore is the doer; the wise one is not, because of reality making itself known. //MMK26.10// In the destruction of ignorance, there is the non-coming-into-being of doings./ The destruction of ignorance, however, is because of the allowing-into-being of just this act of knowing. //MMK26.11// By the destruction of this one and that one, this one and that one are discontinued. / This whole edifice of suffering is thus well and truly demolished. //MMK26.12//

When the world falls into calamitous faults, the falling is accomplished vivaśaḥ, involuntarily, helplessly, spontaneously – as easily as falling off a log.

Ironically, therefore, the falling of the world into calamitous faults, for a person whose primary task is the dropping off of body and mind, is exemplary behaviour. 

It is exemplary because of its spontaneity. 

It is not hampered, for a start, by any religious sense of belonging to the chosen group, or by an idealistic desire to be right. 

A year or two ago, while I was in France for the summer, an Alexander teacher named Claire Rennie very kindly asked and encouraged me to contribute to a book that has just been published. I heard the announcement yesterday. So I have been trying to remember why I didn't take up Claire's kind offer. It would have been a good chance for me to draw attention, for example, to the very profound connection between Alexander's four primary directions and four primitive vestibular reflexes. I could have stuck a metaphorical flag in the ground as the bloke who, having been guided by Ray Evans, was the first to make explicit the correspondence between the four directions and the four reflexes. Doubtless before too long some other bright spark will come along and take the glory.

So my first reaction when I read Claire's announcement was a kind of shaking of my head at myself. Why didn't I take the chance of spreading the good word? Why spend all this energy keeping this blog, which nobody reads, when I could have used Claire's book as an excellent platform?

But just now, I accidentally answered my own question, when I wrote of a person whose primary task is the dropping off of body and mind... 

Now I remember. My primary task is not to spread the good word. My primary task – as I tend to remember when, assisted by the trees, I am on my own in France, but tend to forget when back in Aylesbury – is just to drop off body and mind.

And my keeping this blog – as you may have noticed if you are a regular visitor – is not primarily for the purpose of spreading the word. It is not written primarily for the reader's benefit. I resolved six years ago to do this translation at a rate of one verse per day, and ever since I have been embracing that resolve like a friend.

Before I started this translation I was suffering from a pain in the stomach that no amount of sitting, and no amount of Alexander inhibition and direction, was taking away. When I started work on this translation, and allowed myself to write whatever the hell I wanted to write in these comments, the pain cleared up. I'm not quite sure how that worked in theory, but it worked in fact. 

Is this helping to clarify the hidden meaning of vivaśaḥ papāta, “he fell helpless,” or “into free fall he spontaneously went”? Or am I just expressing a pathetic degree of self-indulgence?

Maybe a bit of both.

I do remember the Dalai Lama telling Jerry Paxman several years ago that his dream would be to live the life of an anonymous monk, free to devote himself to his own practice. Mindful of that, I thank my lucky stars, in my better moments, that this blog has not attracted more interest.

It could be that these intolerably long and self-indulgent rambles of mine, with the occasional descent into foul and abusive language, are a kind of technique for keeping people away. That is how my wife, for one, sees my behaviour.

So here, apropos of not much, but in the spirit of further shameful self-indulgence, is Tom Petty singing Free Fallin'.

I liked this song even before I got a real taste, as a student of the FM Alexander Technique, of how just sitting upright in the lotus posture might be enjoyed not only as an act of doing but also as an act of non-doing -- an act, in other words, of true free falling. 

Spare a moment to appreciate the excellent contribution (bass guitar and backing vocals) of Jeff Lynne, whose joy and suffering I shared in the 1970s as a supporter of Birmingham City Football Club.

We are all unfathomably inter-connected. That being so, it matters not that nobody reads my stuff. If any of us can truly spring up, having gone back, even for a moment, who knows what beneficial side effects there might be?

That's all, for today, from Pseud's Corner.

jighāṁsayā (inst. sg.): f. wish or intention to strike or slay or destroy ; malice , revenge
anyaḥ (nom. sg.): m. another ; one who was different
prasasāra = 3rd pers. sg. perf. pra- √ sṛ: to move forwards , advance (" for " or " against " acc.) , proceed (lit. and fig.) , spring up , come forth , issue from (abl.) , appear , rise , spread , extend
ruṣṭaḥ (nom. sg. m.) = ruṣiṭa mfn. injured , offended , irritated , furious , angry
to hurt , injure , kill (hiṁsāyām) Dha1tup. ;
ruṣ: to be hurt or offended by , take offence ; to displease , be disagreeable to (gen.) ; to be vexed or cross , be angry with (gen.)

gadām (acc. sg.): f. a series of sentences; f. club, bludgeon
gad: to speak articulately , speak , say , relate , tell
gada: m. a sentence
gṛhītvā = abs. grah: to grasp, seize
abhimukhaḥ (nom. sg. m.): mfn. with the face directed towards , turned towards , facing (with acc.)
mahārṣeḥ (gen. sg.): the great seer

saḥ (nom. sg. m.): he
prāpta-kālaḥ (nom. sg. m.): mfn. one whose time has come , seasonable , suitable , opportune
aprāpta-kālaḥ [EBC] (nom. sg. m.): 'without finding an opportunity'
aprāpta-kāmaḥ [EHJ] (nom. sg. m.): '[men (lokaḥ)] not obtaining their desires'
aprāpta: mfn. unobtained
vi-vaśaḥ (nom. sg. m.): mfn. deprived or destitute of will , powerless , helpless (" through " comp.) , unwilling , involuntary , spontaneous
papāta = 3rd pers. sg. perf. pat: to fly , soar , rush on to fall down ; to fall (in a moral sense) , lose caste or rank or position

doṣeṣu (loc. pl.): m. faults
iva: like
anartha-kareṣu (loc. pl. m.): causing calamity ; producing evil or misfortune
lokaḥ (nom. sg.): m. world

諸種種形類 欲害菩薩者
不能令傾動 隨事還自傷

[Roughly summarizes verses 45 – 48] 


Rich said...

Was away last week so am catching up. More people may read your translation blog in the future.

I wanna glide down over Mulholland
I wanna write her name in the sky
I wanna free fall out into nothin'
I'm gonna leave this world for a while

Now I'm free, free fallin', fallin'
Now I'm free, free fallin', fallin'

Mike Cross said...

Thanks Rich. Yes, maybe a hundred years from now, somewhere in India, reading this will be somebody's wearisome homework assignment.