Tuesday, March 24, 2015

BUDDHACARITA 14.38: Down With Celestial Nymphs

| gaṅ źig sa la lhuṅ ba bźin | | lus ’dud do śal g-yo rnams kyis |

| sdug rnams gźal med khaṅ rnams nas | | sñiṅ rja daṅ bcas ltuṅ ba lta | 

śal: face
sdug: beloved ; suffering
med: departed
lta: view, look, see

EHJ's translation from the Tibetan:
38. Some look as if they were falling to earth with their ropes of pearls swaying, as they try to hold up their lovers falling miserably from the pavilions.

坐臥塵土中 悲泣相戀慕
sitting or asleep upon the dusty earth, weep bitterly in recollection of their loves; (SB)
Sitting or lying in the dirt, they wept sadly and longed for them. (CW)

In saṁsāra as the bodhisattva is observing it, both hell and heaven are places where we burn.

In the description of hell we saw, below the surface, a suggestion that burning in hell has got its upside; hence the fire-coloured metal referred to in BC14.12 might be gold.

As far as we can judge from the Chinese and the Tibetan no such upside, or value, is implicit in the description of the suffering associated with celestial nymphs in heaven. 

Which is to say that no upside is implied for the blokes who are falling from heaven, their sojourn in heaven having proved all too temporary; nor either for the heavenly nymphs who try in vain to hold onto their erstwhile lovers.

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