Saturday, February 28, 2015

BUDDHACARITA 14.14: Crosses to Bear

ke cit tīkṣṇair ayo-daṁṣṭrair bhakṣyante dāruṇaiḥ śvabhiḥ |
ke cid dhṣṭair ayas-tuṇḍair vāyasair āyasair iva || 14.14

Some are chewed up, harshly,

By keen hounds with teeth made of the metal,

Some are scavenged by the crowing ayas-tuṇḍas, 'Metal-Beaks' –

As if by carrion crows, made of the metal.

Some are devoured by fierce dreadful dogs with iron teeth, others by gloating crows with iron beaks and all made as it were of iron; (EBC)
Some are devoured by fierce horrid dogs with iron teeth., others by the gloating Iron-beaks as if by crows of iron. (EHJ)

EHJ noted:
For the ayas-tuṇḍas, Abhidharma-kośa, II, 151; it is wrong to take vāyasaiḥ with ayas-tuṇḍaiḥ.

There is no denial, ostensibly or below the surface, of the existence in saṁsāra of hell. What Aśvaghoṣa as I hear him is negating, below the surface, is fear of passing through hell.
The doings that lead to rebirth one veiled in ignorance, in the three ways, / Does do; and by these actions he enters a sphere of existence. //MMK26.1 // Consciousness seeps, with doings as causal grounds, into the sphere of existence./ And so, consciousness having seeped in, pychophysicality is infused. //26.2// There again, once psychophysicality is infused, there is the coming into existence of the six senses; / The six senses having arrived, contact arises; //26.3// And when the faculty of sight, going back, has met a physical form, and met indeed a meeting together, / – When sight has gone back, in this way, to psychophysicality – then consciousness arises. //26.4// The combination of the three – physical form, consciousness and faculty of seeing – / Is contact; and from that contact arises feeling. //26.5// On the grounds of feeling, there is thirst – because one thirsts for the object of feeling. / While the thirsting is going on, grasping hold takes hold in four ways.//26.6// While there is grasping hold, the becoming originates of the one who grasps – / Because becoming, in the absence of grasping hold, would be set free and would not become becoming. //26.7// The five aggregates, again, are the becoming. Out of the becoming rebirth is born. / The suffering of ageing and death, and all the rest of it – sorrows, along with lamentations; //26.8// Dejectedness, troubles – all this arises out of rebirth. / In this way there is the coming about of this whole mass of suffering. //26.9// 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. //26.10// In the destruction of ignorance, there is the non-coming-into-being of doings./ The destruction of ignorance, however, is because of the bringing-into-being of just this act of knowing.//26.11// 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//

We are working towards a situation in which the doings which are the root of saṁsāra are not done. Doings are not done, Nāgārjuna says, because of cultivation of just that act of knowing. And the act of knowing in question seems to mean knowing that the right thing does itself, or the truth emerges by itself, or reality makes itself known.

If the cultivation of just this act of knowing requires us to go to hell and be fed upon by fierce dogs and metal-beaked demons, then so be it.

In fact what Aśvaghoṣa as I hear him is suggesting is stronger than “so be it.” What he seems to be suggesting is that the teeth and beaks of these beings in hell are made of the fire-coloured metal described in BC14.12, that is, gold.

The suggestion might be, then, that a bodhisattva's sufferings in the harsh reality of saṁsāra, acutely painful though they are, insofar as they are the sufferings of a bodhisattva, are the most valuable thing there is.

From where my teacher sat, I must sometimes have seemed like a very keen hound, and at the same time like a very needy scavenger, occasionally given in his ignorance to crowing. 

We all, so they say, have our crosses to bear.

ke cit (nom. pl. m.): some
tīkṣṇaiḥ (inst. pl. m.): sharp , hot , pungent , fiery , acid ; harsh , rough , rude ; sharp, keen ; zealous
ayo-daṁṣṭraiḥ (inst. pl. m.): with iron teeth

bhakṣyante = 3rd pers. pl. passive bhakṣ: to eat or drink , devour ; to consume , use up , waste , destroy ; to drain the resources of , impoverish
dāruṇaiḥ (inst. pl. m.): mfn. hard, harsh ; rough , sharp , severe , cruel , pitiless; dreadful , frightful
śvabhiḥ (inst. pl.): m. dog

ke cit (nom. pl. m.): some
dhṣṭaiḥ (inst. pl. m.): mfn. bold , daring , confident , audacious , impudent
ayas-tuṇḍaiḥ (inst. pl. m.): mfn. having an iron point ; EHJ: “Iron-beaks”
tuṇḍa: n. a beak , snout (of a hog &c ) , trunk (of an elephant)

vāyasaiḥ (inst. pl.): m. (fr. vayas, bird) a bird , (esp.) a large bird ; crow ; mfn. relating or peculiar to crows ; consisting of birds ; n. a multitude of crows
āyasaiḥ (inst. pl. m.): mfn. made of iron
iva: like, as if

長牙群犬食 利嘴鳥啄腦 

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