Monday, April 6, 2015

BUDDHACARITA 14.53: Aging & Death→Birth (12→11)

[No Sanskrit text]

| skye gnas nas de ñid bsgoms pa | | de yis mṅon par rtogs par gyur |
| rga daṅ ’chi ba dag gis ni | | skye ba yod na rdzogs pa’o | 

skye gnas: birth-place, process of re-birth
nas: [ablative particle]
skye gnas nas: [EHJ:' to its core'; yoniśaḥ]
de nyid: reality; suchness; principle (tattva)
bsgoms pa: meditate; meditatively cultivate

mngon par rtogs par: clear realization

rga dang ’chi: (= rga shi): aging and death (老死jarā-maraṇa)

skye ba: birth
yod na: if it exists

EHJ's translation from the Tibetan:
53. Penetrating the truth to its core, he understood that old age and death are produced, when there is birth.

決定知老死 必由生所致
He was assured that age and death must come from birth as from a source. (SB)
He knew with certainty that old age and death had to be brought about by birth.(CW)

As described yesterday, using a maṇḍala as a visual aid,  the bodhisattva in Aśvaghoṣa's account is working backwards (against the grain; pratilomam) from sufferings of aging and death [12], via birth/rebirth [11].  

The main thrust of Nāgārjuna's account, conversely, is forward (with the grain; anulomam) from ignorance and doings [1,2] towards birth/rebirth [11] and the consequent sufferings of aging and death [12]. 

Except, however, it is striking that in dwelling on mutual dependence of divided consciousness [3] and psycho-physicality [4], both Nāgārjuna and Aśvaghoṣa go both with the grain and against the grain.  Thus in MMK chapter 26, MMK26.2 follows with the grain, but 26.3 and 26.4 go temporarily against the grain. The corresponding verses in BC Canto 14, highlighting mutual inter-dependendence of consciousness [3] and psycho-physicality [4], as we shall see in a week or two, are verses BC14.70 - 76. 

Thereafter, in three verses, BC14.77-79, the bodhisattva goes with grain, briefly recapping  the casual processes linking consciousness [3] to sufferings of aging and death [12]. Finally, on getting back to doings [2] and ignorance [1], the bodhisattva knows what is to be known, and emerges -- having completely sprung out of the cycle of saṁsāra, having completely sprung up on his round sitting cushion -- as the fully awakened Sambuddha. 

But from today's verse to BC14.71, the bodhisattva in Aśvaghoṣa's account is going to work backwards (against the grain; pratilomam) from sufferings of aging and death [12] through birth/rebirth [11] to divided consciousness [3]. 

Nāgārjuna's account of the 12 links in MMK chapter 26, though it goes broadly with the grain, is I believe the best point of reference in Sanskrit for what Aśvaghoṣa wrote. The chances of Nāgārjuna not being thoroughly conversant with BC Canto 14 are, I would guess, vanishingly close to nil. So here again is MMK chapter 26. 

punar-bhavāya saṁskārān avidyā-nivṛtas tridhā |
abhisaṁskurute yāṁs tair gatiṁ gacchati karmabhiḥ ||MMK26.1||
vijñānaṁ saṁniviśate saṁskāra-pratyayaṁ gatau |
saṁniviṣṭe 'tha vijñāne nāma-rūpaṁ niṣicyate ||2||

niṣikte nāma-rūpe tu ṣaḍāyatana-saṁbhavaḥ |
ṣaḍāyatanam āgamya saṁsparśaḥ saṁpravartate ||3||
cakṣuḥ pratītya rūpaṁ ca samanvāhāram eva ca |
nāma-rūpaṁ pratītyaivaṁ vijñānaṁ saṁpravartate ||4||

saṁnipātas trayāṇāṁ yo rūpa-vijñāna-cakṣuṣām |
sparśaḥ saḥ tasmāt sparśāc ca vedanā saṁpravartate ||5||
vedanā-pratyayā tṛṣṇā vedanārthaṁ hi tṛṣyate |
tṛṣyamāṇa upādānam upādatte caturvidham ||6||
upādāne sati bhava upādātuḥ pravartate |
syādd hi yady anupādāno mucyeta na bhaved bhavaḥ ||7||
pañca skandhāḥ sa ca bhavaḥ bhavāj jātiḥ pravartate |
jarā-maraṇa-duḥkhādi śokāḥ sa-paridevanāḥ ||8||
daurmanasyam upāyāsā jāter etat pravartate |
kevalasyaivam etasya duḥkha-skandhasya saṁbhavaḥ ||9||

saṁsāra-mūlaṁ saṁskārān avidvān saṁskaroty ataḥ |
avidvān kārakas tasmān na vidvāṁs tattva-darśanāt ||10||
avidyāyāṁ niruddhāyāṁ saṁskārāṇām asaṁbhavaḥ |
avidyāyā nirodhas tu jñānasyāsyaiva bhāvanāt ||11||
tasya tasya nirodhena tat tan nābhipravartate |
duḥkha-skandhaḥ kevalo 'yam evaṁ samyaṅ nirudhyate ||12||

The doings [2] that lead to yet further becoming [10], the one enclosed in ignorance [1], in three ways, does do; and by these actions he goes to a sphere of existence. Divided consciousness [3], with doings [2] as its causal grounds, seeps into the sphere of existence. And so, divided consciousness having seeped in, psycho-physicality [4] is instilled.
Conversely, once psycho-physicality [4] is instilled, there is the coming about of six senses [5]; six senses [5] having arrived, there occurs contact [6]; and – depending upon an eye, upon physical form, and upon the two being brought together – depending thus upon psycho-physicality [4], there occurs divided consciousness [3].
Combination of the threesome of physical form, consciousness and eye, is contact [6]; and from that contact [6] there occurs feeling [7]. With feeling [7] as its causal grounds, there is thirst [8] – because one thirsts for the object of feeling. While the thirsting [8] is going on, taking hold [9] takes hold in four ways. While there is taking hold [9], the becoming [10] arises of the one who takes – because becoming [10], if it were free of taking hold [9], would be liberated and would not become becoming [10]. Five aggregates, again, is becoming [10] itself. Out of the becoming arises birth [11]. The suffering and suchlike of aging and death [12]; sorrows accompanied by lamentations; dejectedness, troubles: all this arises out of birth. In this way this whole aggregate of suffering comes into being.
The doings [2] 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. In the destruction of ignorance [1], there is the non-coming-into-being of doings [2]. The destruction of ignorance [1], however, is because of the bringing-into-being of just this act of knowing. By the destruction of this one and that one, this one and that one no longer advance. This whole aggregate of suffering in this way is well and truly destroyed.

As I carry on reciting the Sanskrit to myself, I am continuing day by day to make small changes  to the English. Thus today, reflecting on the depiction of a person grasping hold or taking hold of fruit on a tree, but reflecting at the same time on the metaphor of a fire taking hold of its fuel, or clinging to its fuel, I decided to change the translation of upādānam from grasping hold to taking hold. 

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