Tuesday, March 31, 2015

BUDDHACARITA 14.47: Going with the Flow

[No Sanskrit text]

| ’khor ba’i chu bo rten med du | | ’di ni ’chi bas bskor ba ste |
| tsam tsom du ni bskor ba yi | | ’gro bas gnas ni thob ma yin | 

chu bo: river, stream
rten med: no support

bskor ba: circulate, cycle, to rotate, 

tsam tsom: doubt
bskor ba: circulate, cycle, to rotate

gnas: abode, state (bhavana)
thob: reached
ma yin: is not

EHJ's translation from the Tibetan:
47. This stream of the cycle of existence has no support and is ever subject to death. Creatures, thus beset on all sides, find no resting-place.

衆生沒長流 漂泊無所依

All flesh immersed within its waves cast here and there without reliance! (SB)
Beings drown in an unceasing current. They are tossed about, without anything to rely upon. (CW)
In today's verse the sense of going with the flow is conveyed by the Tibetan chu bo (river, stream) and the Chinese 長流 (long flow; unceasing current).

The stream of saṁsāra has one direction, towards all the sufferings of aging and death.

Yesterday in the line quoted from the Mahākhandhaka in the Vinaya Piṭaka of the Pali Suttas,  the Buddha, in contrast, applied his mind thoroughly, going with the flow (anulomamand against the flow (paṭilomaṁ), to dependent arising - 

paṭiccasamuppādaṁ anulomapaṭilomaṁ manasākāsi

So this description means that for the Buddha, in applying his mind to dependent arising, there was not only one direction. There may in fact have been many directions. There may have been shining of light in all directions. But two directions, at least were specified in the Sutta -- anulomam, and paṭilomam.

The Pali anulomam is spelled the same in Sanskrit, and is defined in the MW dictionary as : “with the hair or grain”, in a natural direction , in order , regular , successive.

The Pali paṭilomam is pratilomam in Sanskrit and is defined in the MW dictionary as :
against the hair or grain,” contrary to the natural course or order , reverse , inverted ; adverse , hostile , disagreeable , unpleasant.

For loman, the MW dictionary gives: the hair on the body of men and animals (esp. short hair , wool &c ; not so properly applicable to the long hair of the head or beard , nor to the mane and tail of animals).

Anulomam, then, conveys a sense of going with the grain or going with the flow. That is the direction of travel which today's verse seems to be describing – as in saṁsāra one is pushed unceasingly along, as if in a stream, in the direction of the suffering of aging, death, and all the rest of it.

As Ānandajoti Bhikkhu clarifies on this page, in the exposition of pratītya-samutpada in such texts as the Exalted Utterances (Udāna; lit. “Breathing Upwards”), anulolam, or “going with the grain” can be represented thus: 

→ ignorance
→ doings
→ discriminating/divided/divisive consciousness
→ psycho-physicality [division into body and mind]
→ six senses
→ contacting
→ feeling
→ thirsting
→ clinging
→ becoming
→ being born
→ all the sufferings of aging and death.

Conversely, paṭilomam, or “going against the grain,” means
→x ignorance
→x doings
→x consciousness
→x psycho-physicality
→x six senses
→x contacting
→x feeling
→x thirsting
→x clinging
→x becoming
→x being born
→x aging, death, sufferings

These two directions, lit. “with and against the hair,” i.e, with and against the flow, or with and against the grain, ironically, might both be relevant in Dogen's backward step of turning light around and letting it shine.

Which is to say that the backward step sounds like an effort to oppose habitual end-gaining, which it is. It is an effort of turning the light of attention around and in, away from external objects (paṭilomaṁ). But at the same time this backward step includes a letting out, an allowing of light to shine outwards, or to reflect back out (anulomaṁ). 

In Saundarananda, for example, the journey of Nanda -- Beautiful Joy by name and nature -- is broadly a journey back to himself. But this journey involves sometimes making effort to turn around against the flow, and sometimes effortless going with the flow. 

As a specific example of Nanda making effort to turn the light around, i.e. to turn the light of his attention inward, I think of Nanda following the Buddha's advice to go and practice in solitude, deliberately separating himself from external distractions. 

As a specific example of Nanda going with the flow, I think of Aśvaghoṣa's description of Nanda passing from the first to the second dhyāna: 
kṣobhaṃ prakurvanti yathormayo hi dhīra-prasannāmbu-vahasya sindhoḥ /
ekāgra-bhūtasya tathormi-bhūtāś-cittāmbhasaḥ kṣobha-karā vitarkāḥ // SN17.45 //
For, just as waves produce disturbance 
in a river bearing a steady flow of tranquil water,
So ideas, like waves of thought, disturb the water of the one-pointed mind.

"You are all perfect, apart from what you are doing," the Alexander teacher Marjory Barlow used to say. The backward step, then, in these terms, is going back to perfection. But perfection is not a static state. Rather, perfection itself might be a work in progress, like a clear river calmly flowing. 

In writing such pretentious-sounding stuff, I must admit that I feel like something of a hypocrite. In the last couple of weeks, since the stream of Aśvaghoṣa's Sansrit verses ran dry, any light that I have seems to have started to sputter and flicker, and may be in danger of going out at any moment. 

I'm sure there must be a manuscript out there somewhere that has preserved the second half of Buddhacarita in Aśvaghoṣa's original Sanskrit. It would be very good if somebody could dig it up, or find it concealed behind a secret panel, or blow the dust off of it, and duly publish the Sanskrit text like EHJ did all those years ago. Then I might be able to get back into the mindless flow of simply translating one verse of Sanskrit per day. 

Monday, March 30, 2015

BUDDHACARITA 14.46: Suffering in Heaven - What the Buddha Taught

[No Sanskrit text]

| lha na sdug pa daṅ bral bas | | skyed pa’i sdug bsṅal phul byuṅ ste |
| bskor ba gson pa’i ’jig rten gyis | | gaṅ na źi ba ṅes par byed | 

lha: god
na:  [accusative, dative, locative particle]
sdug pa dang bral bas: separation from what one loves

skyed: produce, generate
sdug bsngal: suffering
phul byung: in the highest degree
ste [the gerundive connective particle]

bskor ba: circulate, cycle, to rotate
gson: warm blood or living animal ; to live
rten: dependence, support
gyis [instrumental particle]

gang na: place of residence, whereabouts
zhi ba: peace, calm
nges par byed: ascertain, determine, settle

EHJ's translation from the Tibetan:
46. In the heavens that are free from love the suffering of rebirth is excessive. For the ever-wandering world of the living there is most certainly no peace anywhere.

Revised version:
46. The suffering of rebirth in the heavens, when one is separated from what one loves, is excessive. For the ever-wandering world of living beings, there is no place to settle in peace.

雖云諸天樂 別離最大苦
迷惑生世間 無一蘇息處
嗚呼生死海 輪轉無窮已
although, they say, when born in heaven, ' then we shall escape these greater ills,'Deceived, alas ! no single place exempt, in every birth incessant pain ! Alas! the sea of birth and death revolving thus – an ever-whirling wheel – (SB)
One might mention the happiness of rebirth in heaven, but separation is a very great suffering.Being misled, one is reborn in the world and does not have any place to rest. Alas! In the sea of birth and death the wheel turns without end. (CW)

Verses 45 through to 48 round off the observation of suffering in the five realms of saṁsāra. From verse 49 onwards, the bodhisattva investigates the real nature of this world, and thereby gets to the bottom of twelvefold causation of suffering.

Yesterday's verse, then, spoke in the round of suffering in hell (1), and among animals (2), hungry ghosts (3), and human beings (4). Today's verse speaks of suffering in heaven (5).

I think the gist of this suffering in heaven might be expressed in the Chinese
and these five characters are best understood, simply, as per Charles Willemen's translation
“separation (別離) is a very great (最大) suffering ().”

According to the Tibetan to English Translation Tool helpfully provided by Andrés Montano Pellegrini, 
sdug pa dang bral bas 
“separation from what one loves.”
So this combined with the Chinese suggests that the original Sanskrit, like the Buddha in his first turning of the Dharma wheel, cited separation from what one loves as being a prime example of human suffering. 

The Chinese 
literally means  “There is not () one () recuperation-and-rest (蘇息) place ().”

The Chinese phrase, maybe better than EHJ's English, thus brings to mind what the Buddha taught Nanda in SN Canto 15:
Again, from the turning of the circle of the seasons, and from hunger, thirst and fatigue, / Everywhere suffering is the rule. Not somewhere is happiness found. // SN15.44 // Here cold, there heat; here disease, there danger / Oppress humanity in the extreme. The world, therefore, has no place of refuge. // 15.45 // Aging, sickness and death are the great terror of this world. / There is no place where that terror does not arise. // 15.46 //  Where this body goes there suffering follows. / There is no way in the world going on which one is not afflicted. // 15.47 // Even an area that is pleasant, abundant in provisions, and safe, / Should be regarded as a deprived area where burn the fires of affliction. // 15.48 //  In this world beset by hardships physical and mental, / There is no cosy place to which one might go and be at ease. // SN15.49 //

This gist of today's verse, then, is not only what the bodhisattva observed, but also what the Buddha taught.

What the Buddha taught is what the Buddha realized. And what the Buddha realized is what the bodhisattva at this stage of BC Canto 14 is about to realize, that is, pratītya-samutpāda. 

After realizing it as the bodhisattva, he taught it as the Buddha. Hence: 

a-nirodham an-utpādam an-ucchedam a-śāśvatam |
an-ekārtham a-nānārtham an-āgamam a-nirgamam ||MMK1.1||
Beyond closing down, beyond springing up, 
beyond discontinuity, beyond continuity,
Beyond identity, beyond distinctions, 
beyond coming near, beyond going away,
yaḥ pratītya-samutpādaṁ prapañcopaśamaṁ śivam |
deśayām āsa saṁbuddhas taṁ vande vadatāṁ varam ||MMK1.2||
There is the dependent arising which, as the welcome abatement of noise,
He the Fully Awakened Sambuddha taught. I praise him, the best of speakers.

In these opening verses of Nāgārjuna's MMK, 
pratītya-samutpādaṁ prapañcopaśamaṁ śivam 
can be translated in any number of ways. My first bash at this phrase last year, while being determined to come at it from the standpoint (or more accurately the sit-point) of the fourth phase, was:
Complete Springing Up, by coming back, as the wholesome cessation of spin.

On reflection that may have been me trying to put on the original teaching the spin of a self-styled iron man of Zen.

Japanese historians record that when Dogen came back from Japan in his mid-20s and strongly preached the truth of sitting-zen, one result was that the less practical Buddhists he had offended burned his temple down. Thereafter Dogen's tone, they say, over the years became more moderate.

A more compromising (or harmonized?) translation in this spirit might be: 
pratītya-samutpādaṁ prapañcopaśamaṁ śivam
dependent arising, as the welcome abatement of noise.

Just as there is no such thing as a right sitting position, there might be no such thing as one English translation of pratītya-samutpāda that is right in every context. 

There is no such thing as a right position, FM Alexander said, but there is such a thing as a right direction.

In a similar way, there might be no such thing as one correct translation of pratītya-samutpāda, but there might be such a thing as right effort in the direction of pratītya-samutpāda.

Except, of course, that the Buddha would not have spoken, in Sanskrit, of pratītya-samutpāda. He would have spoken in an Indian vernacular, or maybe in several Prakrit dialects, that would later be represented in Sanskrit, and equally in Pali.

Thus in the Pali Suttas what the Fully Awakened Buddha taught, as the wholesome cessation of spin, or as the welcome abatement of noise, was paṭiccasamuppādam:

Tena samayena Buddho Bhagavā Uruvelāyaṁ viharati,
At that time the Awakened One, the Gracious One, was dwelling near Uruvelā, 
najjā Nerañjarāya tīre Bodhirukkhamūle paṭhamābhisambuddho.
on the bank of the river Nerañjarā, at the root of the Awakening tree, 
in the first (period) after the complete and perfect Awakening. 
Atha kho Bhagavā Bodhirukkhamūle
Then at that time the Gracious One sat at the root of the Awakening tree 
sattāhaṁ ekapallaṅkena nisīdi vimuttisukhapaṭisaṁvedī.
in one cross-legged posture for seven days experiencing the happiness of liberation.
Atha kho Bhagavā rattiyā paṭhamaṁ yāmaṁ,
Then the Gracious One, for the first watch of the night,
paṭiccasamuppādaṁ anulomapaṭilomaṁ manasākāsi:
applied his mind thoroughly, in forward and reverse order, to dependent arising:

Avijjāpaccayā saṅkhārā,
With ignorance as grounds there are doings;
saṅkhārapaccayā viññāṇaṁ,
with doings as grounds, consciousness;
viññāṇapaccayā nāmarūpaṁ,
with consciousness as grounds, psycho-physicality,
nāmarūpapaccayā saḷāyatanaṁ,
with psycho-physicality as grounds, six senses;
saḷāyatanapaccayā phasso,
with six senses as grounds, contact;
phassapaccayā vedanā,
with contact as grounds, feeling,
vedanāpaccayā taṇhā,
with feeling as grounds, thirsting;
taṇhāpaccayā upādānaṁ,
with thirsting as grounds, clinging;
upādānapaccayā bhavo,
with clinging as grounds, becoming;
bhavapaccayā jāti,
with becoming as grounds, birth;
jātipaccayā jarāmaraṇaṁ,
with birth as grounds, old age, death,
sokaparidevadukkhadomanassupāyāsā sambhavanti,
grief, lamentation, pain, sorrow, and despair come into being.
evam etassa kevalassa dukkhakkhandhassa samudayo hoti.
Thus there is an origination of this whole aggregate of suffering.

Avijjāya tveva asesavirāganirodhā saṅkhāranirodho,
But from the complete fading away and cessation of ignorance, 
there is the cessation of doings,
saṅkhāranirodhā viññāṇanirodho,
from the cessation of doings, the cessation of consciousness,
viññāṇanirodhā nāmarūpanirodho,
from the cessation of consciousness, the cessation of psycho-physicality,
nāmarūpanirodhā saḷāyatananirodho,
from the cessation of psycho-physicality, the cessation of six senses,
saḷāyatananirodhā phassanirodho,
from the cessation of six senses, the cessation of contact,
phassanirodhā vedanānirodho,
from the cessation of contact, the cessation of feeling,
vedanānirodhā taṇhānirodho,
from the cessation of feeling, the cessation of thirsting,
taṇhānirodhā upādānanirodho,
from the cessation of thirsting, the cessation of clinging,
upādānanirodhā bhavanirodho,
from the cessation of clinging, the cessation of becoming,
bhavanirodhā jātinirodho,
from the cessation of becoming, the cessation of birth,
jātinirodhā jarāmaraṇaṁ,
from the cessation of birth cease old age, death,
soka-parideva-dukkha-domanassupāyāsā nirujjhanti,
grief, lamentation, pain, sorrow, and despair.
evam-etassa kevalassa dukkhakkhandhassa nirodho hotī” ti.
Thus there is the cessation of this whole aggregate of suffering.”

In terms of the phases discussed yesterday, this rendering, from the Great Chapter (Mahākhandhaka) in the Discipline Collection (Vinaya Piṭaka) of the Pali Suttas, seems to me to belong to the third phase more than it belongs to the second phase. Which is to say that it seems to be primarily concerned, in a practical way, with the cessation of suffering. 

And the key to this reading is in the two lines
paṭiccasamuppādaṁ anulomapaṭilomaṁ manasākāsi...
he applied his mind thoroughly, in forward and reverse order, to dependent arising
evam-etassa kevalassa dukkhakkhandhassa nirodho hotī” ti.
...Thus there is the cessation of this whole aggregate of suffering.

Here, then, are some tentative conclusions so far about what the Buddha taught:
  • The Buddha taught, probably in some form of Prakrit, a teaching and practice that was rendered into Pali as paṭiccasamuppādaṁ  and into Sanskrit as pratītya-samutpāda. 
  • A definitive translation of these terms into English might not be easy, since they might mean different things at different phases. E.g. samutpāda is generally understood as meaning the arising of the world (at the 2nd phase), but I think it could also mean (at the 4th phase) the complete springing up of a person who is dropping off body and mind in sitting. 
  • Notwithstanding this ambiguity, what the Buddha taught has a single unifying direction. That direction is towards the abandoning of all views (sarva-dṛṣṭi-prahāṇāya; MMK27.30)
  • In transmitting  from China into Japan what the Buddha taught, Dogen spoke of learning a backward step -- a backward step of turning light and letting it shine. 
  • When the Buddha applied his mind to what he taught, which has one direction, that application of the mind had two directions -- called in Pali anulomam (lit. going with the hair/grain) and paṭilomam   (lit. going against the hair/grain).
To be continued...

Sunday, March 29, 2015

BUDDHACARITA 14.45: Suffering in Hell, or among Animals, Hungry Ghosts and Humans

[No Sanskrit text]

| dmyal ba rnams su sdug bsṅal drag | | dud ’gro rnams su phan tshun za |
| bkres skom sdug bsṅal yi dags su | | mi la tshol ba’i sdug bsṅal lo | 

dmyal ba rnams: hell beings (地獄)
su: [accusative, adverbial accusative, dative, and locative particle] 
sdug bsngal: suffering; pain ()
drag: fierce; violent; terrible

phan tshun: mutual, each other ()
za: to eat

bkres skom sdug bsngal: the suffering of hunger and thirst (飢渇逼)
yi dags: preta, hungry ghosts (餓鬼)

mi la: fierce, frightful
tshol: to seek
sdug bsngal lo: it is painful

EHJ's translation from the Tibetan:
45. In the hells is excessive torture, among animals eating each other, the suffering of hunger and thirst among the pretas, among men the suffering of longings,

地獄受衆苦 畜生相殘殺
餓鬼飢渇逼 人間疲渇愛
in hell enduring every kind of pain, as beasts tearing and killing one the other, As Pretas parched with direst thirst, as men worn out, seeking enjoyment ; (SB)
In hell one experiences various suffering, and animals kill each other. Hungry ghosts are forced to suffer hunger and thirst, and humans are exhausted from craving.(CW)

In today's verse the Tibetan and Chinese are back on track, corresponding with each other in  describing suffering among beings in hell, animals, hungry ghosts, and human beings. Mentioned again tomorrow will be heaven, the fifth of the five saṁsāric realms, as depicted in the bhava-cakra, or wheel of existence.

Around the rim of the wheel are depicted the 12 links in the chain which Kumārajīva's  Chinese version of the Lotus Sutra calls 十二因縁, or “twelve causal conditions/connections.”

As we saw in the last but one post, the Lotus Sutra in Sanskrit has
pratītya-samutpāda-pravṛttiṃ ca vistareṇa saṃprakāśayām āsa
And he clarified in full detail the active practice of dependent arising –

Whereas Kumārajīva's translation has
And he expounded extensively the law of the twelve causal connections 

I have promised to explore in more detail what I see as having been lost in this translation.

First of all, there is inherent in samutpāda the sense of upward direction – the ut in pratītya-samutpāda, or the arising in dependent/conditional arising. In Chinese and Japanese, also, the up is there in the translation of pratītya-samutpāda as 縁起 (Jap: ENGI), in which compound  means “conditional” and  means “arising.”

So Kumārajīva's 十二因縁法, “the law of twelve causal conditions/connections,” removes from pratītya-samutpāda-pravṛttim the original sense of springing up. Remember that the first definition of sam-ut-√pad in the MW dictionary is to spring up together.

Second, I think there is inherent in pratītya the sense of something coming back and resting on something, or being grounded in something. Hence the sense of dependence, when pratītya-samutpāda is understood to mean “dependent arising.” But remember, again, that the MW dictionary gives the verb prati- √i as to go towards or to come back to. I cannot help making the connection between this sense of pratītya, i.e, coming back, with Dogen's description of sitting-zen as a backward step.

Third, Kumārajīva's translation does not seem to take account of the word pravṛtti in the compound pratītya-samutpāda-pravṛttim. On its own pravṛtti means (1) progress or positive activity, and as a suffix it can mean (2) giving or devoting one's self to, prosecution of, course or tendency towards, inclination or predilection for, and also (3) news, tidings, intelligence of.

So the pravṛttim in pratītya-samutpāda-pravṛttim could mean:
(1) pratītya-samutpāda as a positive activity;
(2) a course towards pratītya-samutpāda;
(3) the gospel of pratītya-samutpāda.

My favoured reading among these three is (1) “dependent arising as a positive activity” or “the active practice of dependent arising.” Pratītya-samutpāda-pravṛttim suggests to me pratītya-samutpāda as not so much a doctrine to be understood as a practice to be practised.  

In that case, the suggestion seems to me to be that pratītya-samutpāda is better understood as residing at the third of the four phases in the four-phased philosophical system that my teacher saw as underlying all Dogen's thinking in Shobogenzo.

Alternatively, pratītya-samutpāda can be understood as residing at the second phase.

If we see pratītya-samutpāda as a doctrine or law at the first and second phases, what is vital in it is understanding, or selfless realization, of how the world arises dependent on causes and conditions.

If we see pratītya-samutpāda as a teaching and practice at the third and fourth phases, what is vital in it is what Dogen called the backward step of turning light and letting it shine.

In future comments in this Canto, as the description passes from the five saṁsāric realms to the twelve links in the twelvefold chain, I intend to consider these two alternatives -- and other possibilities as well, in light of Nāgārjuna's striking assertion, at the beginning of MMK, that what the Buddha taught was pratītya-samutpāda. 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

BUDDHACARITA 14.42-44: Paradise - A Passing Phase

[No Sanskrit text]

| las maṅ rnams kyis thob pa yis | | mtho ris mi brtan g-yo ba la |
| ’bral bas byas pa’i sdug bsṅal ni | | gaṅ du ’di ’dra thob par ’gyur |

| kye ma ded las khyad par du | | ’jig rten mdzad pa’i chos ñid de |
| ’dod chags bral ba thob nas kyaṅ | | gźan rnams lha nas ṅes par lhuṅ | 

| ’di ni rtag par gnas pa ste | | źes ni ṅes pa’i sems ldan rnams |

| ’jig rten ’di yi raṅ bźin ni | | ’di lta bur ni mthoṅ ma yin |

las: karma, action
mang; many
rnams: [plural marker]
kyis: [instrumental marker]
thob pa yis: for the attainment

mtho ris: high estate, heaven
mi brtan: transitory
ba la: strength
bas: since
byas: do; act; perform; fabricate
sdug bsngal: suffering, pain
ni: [separative particle]

gang du: wherein [Skt: yatra]
thob par: to attain

kye ma: Alas! = bata [EHJ]
las: karma, action
nges par : inexorably = dhruvam [EHJ]
khyad par du: especially = viśeṣataḥ [EHJ]

rten: basis
mdzad: action, deed, do
chos nyid: reality, real nature
de: that

chags bral ba: freedom from attachment/ desire/ bondage, indifference (離於愛)
thob nas: having gained/obtained/attained
kyang: though, even

gzhan rnams: all others
lha nas: grain offered to the gods, from the gods
nges par lhung: sure fall, sin  (墮落)

rtag par: eternal, always, forever
gnas pa: abide
ste: [gerundive connective particle]

zhes ni: such and such
nges: ascertain, understand, determine, be certain about (決定)
sems ldan: sensible
rnams: [plural marker]

rten: support, seat, station
yi rang: rejoicing
bzhin: face, likeness, similar to

lta bur: such as, similar
mthong: to see, perceive
ma yin: is not

EHJ's translation from the Tibetan:
42. Seeing that Paradise, obtained by many labours, is uncertain and transitory, and that such suffering will be caused by separation from it,
43. Alas, inexorably this is in an especial degree the law of action in the world; this is the nature of the world and yet they do not see it to be such.
44. Others, who have disjoined themselves from sensual passion, conclude in their minds that their station is eternal; yet they fall miserably from heaven.

積劫修苦行 永離於愛
謂決定長存 而今悉墮落
thro' lapse of ages bearing suffering, striving to crush [sic] desire and lust ,
Now certainly expecting long reprieve, and yet once more destined to fall ! (SB)
Practicing asceticism for eons and forever free from desire, one may think one will surely abide a long time, but in the present all miserably fall. (CW)

In a note to verses 43-44, EHJ says
the Chinese shows the Tibetan's order to be wrong here; my verse 43 is made up of Weller's 44ab, 45cd, and verse 44 of 45ab, 44cd. In the first line of 43 I read ṅes-par for des las [=ded las in the TLB version?] and understand something like lokakāryasya dharmo' yaṁ dhruvaṁ bata viśeṣataḥ. Verse 44 refers to the inhabitants of the Brahmā world.

So that is as clear as mud.

As far as I can tell, the four lines of Chinese (4 lines of 5 characters each) must have rendered only in summarized form the 12 pādas of original Sanskrit which, in verses 42-44, were represented by 12 lines of Tibetan.

積劫修苦行 (accumulated kalpas of practising painful practice)
seems to correspond in EHJ's translation to
obtained by many labours” (in EHJ's verse 42)

永離於愛欲 (forever separated from sensual desire)
seems to correspond in EHJ's translation to
who have disjoined themselves from sensual passion” (in EHJ's verse 44)

謂決定長存 (though they with certainty assumed a long existence)
seems to correspond in EHJ's translation to
conclude in their minds that their station is eternal” (in EHJ's verse 44)

而今悉墮落 (and yet now all fall down)
seems to correspond in EHJ's translation to
yet they fall miserably from heaven” (in EHJ's verse 44).

The Chinese thus seems to offer a scant basis upon which to fiddle around with the order of the Tibetan text, as EHJ has done. 

But the gist of this part, in any event, was as per what Ānanda emphasized for Nanda's benefit in SN Canto 11:
Since in spiralling through saṁsāra you have gained celestial nymphs and left them / A hundred times over, what is this yearning of yours for those women? // 11.31 // A fire is not satisfied by dry brushwood, nor the salty ocean by water, / Nor a man of thirst by his desires. Desires, therefore, do not make for satisfaction. // 11.32 // Without satisfaction, whence peace? Without peace, whence ease? / Without ease, whence joy? Without joy, whence enjoyment? // 11.33 // Therefore if you want enjoyment, let your mind be directed within. / Tranquil and impeccable is enjoyment of the inner self and there is no enjoyment to equal it. // 11.34 // In it, you have no need of musical instruments, or women, or ornaments; / On your own, wherever you are, you can indulge in that enjoyment. // 11.35 // The mind suffers mightily as long as thirst persists. / Eradicate that thirst; for suffering co-exists with thirst, or else does not exist. // 11.36 // In prosperity or in adversity, by day or by night, / For the man who thirsts after desires, peace is not possible. // 11.37 // The pursuit of desires is full of suffering, and attainment of them is not where satisfaction lies; / The separation from them is inevitably sorrowful; but the celestial constant is separation. // 11.38 // Even having done action that is hard to do, and reached a heaven that is hard to reach, / A man comes right back to the world of men, as if to his own house after a spell away. // 11.39 // The backslider when his residual good has run out / Finds himself among the animals or in the world of the departed, or else he goes to hell. // 11.40 // Having enjoyed in heaven the utmost sensual objects, / He falls back, beset by suffering: what has that enjoyment done for him? // SN11.41 //

Ānanda's point is not to negate the possibility of sexual contact with nymphs in a heaven which is clearly a much sexier place than the Anglican heaven with which I am more familiar -- at least from second-hand descriptions of it on BBC Radio 4. Ānanda is rather emphasizing the ultimately transitory and unsatisfactory nature of enjoyment in heaven of the utmost sensual objects.

In making this point, Ānanda says:
riraṃsā yadi te tasmād adhyātme dhīyatāṃ manaḥ
Therefore if you want enjoyment, let your mind be directed within.

This line from SN11.34 might have provided a good segue into what I had planned to highlight in detail in today's comment, namely, pratītya-samutpāda not as a doctrine of depending origination, but rather as active practice of the backward step of turning light and letting it shine.

However, as the Japanese proverb goes, isogaba maware – When in a hurry, take the roundabout route.

The intention remains to connect
(a) pratītya-samutpāda as teaching and practice,
(b) Dogen's backward step,
(c) Alexander's teaching and practice of non-doing.

But the making of that connection involves, in practice, the growth of connections between zillions of neurons. And such growth cannot be hurried.

We will get there, slowly. In light of which intention, it does not matter that working on the three verses covered today has been like trudging through mud.

What I will add in closing, mainly for my own benefit, because I am so easily prone to forget, is Marjory Barlow's words: "You are all perfect, apart from what you are doing." 

How can we really know that? 

How can we know that we are perfect, when it so rarely feels that way?

Not by taking a religious leap of faith. Because to believe is not really to know. 

And not by reading and writing blog  posts like this, because intellectual knowing is not it. 

The answer must be by learning Dogen's backward step, and, equally, by steeping oneself in the practice of non-doing. 

Thus, it seems to me, pratītya-samutpāda was not primarily a doctrine about how the world arises from co-dependent causes and conditions. Pratītya-samutpāda-pravṛtti is not a doctrine or a law to be understood, but is teaching and practice -- an actual practice (pravṛtti)  to be learned in practice. 

But learning in practice takes the time it takes, and I for one continue to surprise on the downside, when it comes to showing myself to be slow on the uptake.