Friday, February 13, 2015

BUDDHACARITA 13.72: Māra Melts Away - What a Wonderful World!

,−⏑−−⏑−−   Mālinī
dravati sapariakte nirjite puṣpa-ketau
jayati jita-tamaske nīrajaske maharṣau |
yuvatir iva sahāsā dyauś cakāśe sa-candrā
surabhi ca jala-garbhaṁ puṣpa-varṣa papāta || 13.72

iti buddha-carite mahā-kāvye 'śvaghoṣa-kte māra-vijayo nāma trayodaśaḥ sargaḥ || 13 || 

As the Flower-Bannered One surrounded by his acolytes, 
melted away, defeated,

Leaving victorious the great seer, 
the passion-free vanquisher of darkness,

The moonlit sky shone like a smiling girl,

And a rain of fragrant flowers, containing water, fell down.

The 13th canto, titled Victory Over Māra,
in an epic tale of awakened action, composed by Aśvaghoṣa.

Today's verse is one of those which is covered, in parts, by one of Hartmann's fragments. This is mainly significant for the 1st pada, where the old Nepalese manuscript has saparipakṣe, translated by EHJ as “with his following.” EHJ commented (in a footnote to his English translation) that “paripakṣa does not occur elsewhere; those who do not like it can choose between saparirakṣesaparivāre, and saparibarhe.”

Hartmann's manuscript b has [sapari]ṣakte, which, Hartmann noted, is preferable on linguistic grounds. Since EHJ himself had expressed a doubt about saparipakṣe, I am sure EHJ would have adopted sapariṣakte had he known about the fragment which Hartmann would later discover.

In the 2nd pāda, where the old Nepalese manuscript has jayati jita-tamaske, Hartmann's manuscript b has jayati ca vita[maske]. Hartmann again notes that the reading in his manuscript b is preferable, this time, on stylistic grounds. In this case, however, since Hartmann's case seems less compelling, I have stuck with EHJ's reading. The sense, in any case, is affected little in the 2nd pāda, and negligibly in the 1st pada. 

While still on the subject of the Sanskrit text, it should be noted that in the old Nepalese manuscript Canto 13 closes with an extra verse which EHJ convincingly rejects on four grounds. EHJ notes:
The following verse, as pointed out by Luders long ago, is undoubtedly spurious,
  • as not in the Chinese translation
  • as simply repeating 72 in different terms,
  • as containing words not used elsewhere by the poet (pāpīyasyosāvikalmasa), and
  • as following a verse in a longer metre.
For the record, the spurious verse (including a couple of textual amendments by EHJ) is as follows:

tathāpi pāpīyasi nirjite gate diśaḥ praseduḥ prababhau niśākaraḥ |
divo nipeturbhuvi puṣpavṣṭayo rarāja yoṣeva vikalmaṣā niśā || 13.73

EBC translated the verse: “When the wicked one thus fled vanquished, the different regions of the sky grew clear, the moon shone forth, showers of flowers fell down from the sky upon the earth, and the night gleamed out like a spotless maiden.”

Having got those textual niceties out of the way, I read today's verse as a reminder, and final reaffirmation, of the fundamental principle of non-doing – “Stop doing the wrong thing, and the right thing does itself.” 

In view of the content of the present Canto, the principle is maybe more exactly stated like this: “Let the wrong thing be, and the right thing does itself.” 

Or, to put it another way, “You are all perfect, apart from what you are doing!”

Or, to express it as a series of rhetorical questions: 
Now when we come to investigate it, the truth is all around: why rely on practice and experience? The vehicle for the fundamental exists naturally: where is the need to expend effort? Furthermore, the whole body far transcends dust and dirt: who could believe in the means of sweeping and polishing? In general, we never depart from the place where we should be: of what use, then, are the tiptoes of training?” 
Understood like this, “Māra melts away” means, in other words, “body and mind spontaneously drop off.” And “containing water” is a reminder of what a wonderful world this is, here on planet Earth, where the right thing does itself, water being life and life being miraculous water.

My Zen teacher, Gudo Nishijima, reported that when he first met Master Kodo Sawaki and heard Master Kodo deliver a lecture on Fukan-zazengi, he was struck by the fundamentally optimistic message contained in words like, for example, SHUJO JIZAI: NANZO KUFU O TSUIYA SAN? The vehicle for the fundamental exists naturally: where is the need to expend effort?

Then, following Master Kodo's teaching around right posture, my teacher spent his life teaching others to pull in the chin a little so as to cause the back of the neck to be stretched. That way, my teacher taught, the autonomic nervous system is allowed to come naturally into balance.

Discussing the truth of non-doing offers the discursive one the choice of whether to discuss the wrongness of the doing of self and others, born of ignorance, or else to focus on the wonder of this water-containing world in which the right thing does itself. For whatever reason, I generally tend towards discussing the former, prefering to dive totally into good old reliable wrongness than to teeter on the brink of something momentarily wonderful which, in any event, can never be expressed in words. 

What could be more cringeworthy than the flowery words of a Zen legend in his own lunchtime, trying to express an enlightenment that he has only read and heard about? 

No, it is much better, if you ask me, to befriend those doings that Nāgārjuna talked about, the doings which are the root of saṁsāra, the doings which the ignorant one does do. 

dravati = loc. abs. pres. part. dru: to run , hasten , flee ; to become fluid , dissolve , melt
sa-pariṣakte (loc. abs.): mfn. surrounded by a college of disciples (as a teacher)
nirjite (loc. abs.): mfn. conquered , subdued
puṣpa-ketau (loc. abs.): m. " characterized by flower " , the god of love
ketu: m. (fr. √4. cit) , bright appearance , clearness , brightness ; sign , mark , ensign , flag , banner

jayati = loc. abs. pres. part. ji: to win or acquire (by conquest or in gambling) , conquer (in battle) , vanquish ; to be victorious
jita-tamaske (loc. abs.): having subdued darkness
ca vi-tamaske [Hartmann] (loc. abs.): free from darkness
nī-rajaske (loc. abs.): mfn. free from dust ; free from passion
rajas: n. " coloured or dim space " ; vapour , mist , clouds , gloom , dimness , darkness ; impurity , dirt , dust , any small particle of matter ; the " darkening " quality , passion , emotion , affection
maharṣau (loc. abs.): the great sage

yuvatiḥ (nom. sg.): f. a girl , young woman
iva: like
sa-hāsā (nom. sg. f.): mfn. accompanied with a laugh , laughing
dyauḥ = nom. div: f. in later Skr. heaven , the sky
cakāśe = 3rd pers. sg. perf. kāś: to be visible , appear MBh. &c ; to shine , be brilliant , have an agreeable appearance
sa-candrā (nom. sg. f.): mfn. accompanied by the moon

surabhi (nom. sg. n.): mfn. (prob. fr. 5. su + √ rabh , = " affecting pleasantly ") sweet-smelling , fragrant
ca: and
jala-garbham (nom. sg. n.): mfn. wet with dew, Bcar. xiii, 72; containing water
puṣpa-varṣam (nom. sg. n.): a shower of flowers
papāta = 3rd pers. sg. perf. pat: to fall

衆魔既退散 菩薩心虚靜
日光倍増明 塵霧悉除滅
月明衆星朗 無復諸闇障
空中雨天花 以供養菩薩


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