Wednesday, April 8, 2015

BUDDHACARITA 14.55: Birth Arises Dependent on Becoming (11→10)

[No Sanskrit text]

| de nas de yi slar gyur pa | | skye ba ’di slar gaṅ la źes |
| de nas las srid las skye bar | | skye ba yaṅ dag mkhyen pa’o | 

de nas: then, from that
slar: again (punar)
gyur pa: become, arise

skye ba: birth
slar: again
gang la: where (kutra)
zhes: [quotation particle]

de nas: then
las: action, karma
srid: existence, becoming [Sanskrit: bhava
las srid: [EHJ: 'existence due to the power of the act'; karma-bhava]
skye bar: production

skye ba: birth
yang dag: rightly
mkhyen: exalted wisdom; know; wisdom ; seeing

EHJ's translation from the Tibetan:
55. Then the thought again arose in him, “What does this birth proceed from?” Then he saw rightly that birth is produced from existence due to the power of the act.

55. Then the thought again arose in him, “What does this birth proceed from?” Then he saw rightly that birth arises out of becoming.

又觀生何因 見從諸有業
Then looking further whence comes birth, he saw it came from life-deeds done elsewhere ;(SB)
He further observed how birth was caused, and he saw that it was through the action of existence. (CW)

Today's verse might originally have simply expressed that link no. 11 (jāti, birth) arises out of link no. 10 (bhava, becoming). 

But this original simplicity might have been lost in translation. 

Thus EHJ equates the Tibetan las srid with the Sanskrit karma-bhava, and translates 'existence due to the power of the act.' 

In Chinese karma-bhava would be 業有. But the Chinese translator has it the other way around with 有業 (CW: “the action of existence”). 

It is conceivable that 有業 represented the Sanskrit bhava-karma ('becoming'-action), but it is more likely I think that the original word was simply bhava, becoming. 

A possibility to be considered is whether 有業 might have represented the Sanskrit pravṛtti. Indeed, in tomorrow's verse (BC14.56), where the Chinese again has 有業 the Tibetan has ḥjug pa, which EHJ equates with pravṛtti and translates as 'active being.'

In Saundara-nanda I generally translated pravṛtti as “doing,” as opposed to nivṛtti which means “non-doing.” (See e.g. SN16.42.) 

Now that I have firmly decided to translate saṁskārāh (link no. 2 in the 12 fold chain) as “doings,” one way the two Sanskrit terms can be distinguished is by the fact that pravṛtti invariably appears in the singular (“doing”) whereas the sense of  saṁskārāh   (“doings”) is plural -- though saṁskāra sometimes forms compounds like saṁskāra-pratyayam  ("with doings as causal grounds"). Another way the two terms might be distinguished is by translating saṁskārāh as “doings” and pravṛtti, which has a sense of movement being driven forward, as “end-gaining.”

Clearly, there is considerable overlap between pravṛtti (doing/endgaining), saṁskārāḥ (doings/arrangements/confections/acts of manufacturing), and bhava (becoming). Hence the difficulty in deducing from the Tibetan and the Chinese exactly what terms Aśvaghoṣa was using in today's and tomorrow's verses.

In this situation, again, it is good to have Nāgārjuna's Sanskrit as a guide. In Nāgārjuna's rendering, without any ambiguity or embellishment, jāti, birth [link no. 11], arises out of bhava, becoming [link no. 10]. 

punar-bhavāya saṁskārān avidyā-nivṛtas tridhā |
abhisaṁskurute yāṁs tair gatiṁ gacchati karmabhiḥ ||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 catur-vidham ||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 that lead to yet further becoming, the one enclosed in ignorance, in three ways, does do; and by these actions he goes to a sphere of existence. Divided consciousness, with doings as its causal grounds, seeps into the sphere of existence. And so, divided consciousness having seeped in, psycho-physicality is instilled. 
Conversely, once psycho-physicality is instilled, there is the coming about of six senses; six senses having arrived, there occurs contact; and – depending upon an eye, upon physical form, and upon the two being brought together – depending thus upon psycho-physicality, there occurs divided consciousness. 
Combination of the threesome of physical form, consciousness and eye, is contact; and from that contact there occurs feeling. With feeling as its causal grounds, there is thirst – because the object of feeling is thirsted after. While an object is being thirsted after, taking hold takes hold in four ways. While there is taking hold, the becoming arises of the taker – because becoming, if it were free of taking, would be liberated and would not become becoming. Five aggregates, again, is becoming itself. Out of the becoming arises birth. The suffering and suchlike of aging and death; 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 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, 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. 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.

Thus guided by Nāgārjuna, in the direction of simplicity, I have understood both the Tibetan  las srid and the Chinese 有業  to be explanatory translations of the Sanskrit bhava, becoming. 

The Sanskrit sūtra mentioned yesterday, Pratītya-samutpādādi-vibhaṅga-nirdeśa-sūtram, has the following analysis of bhava (becoming):

upādāna-pratyayo bhava iti bhavaḥ katamaḥ
With taking hold as its causal grounds, there is becoming – what is becoming?
trayo bhavāḥ kāma-bhavaḥ rūpa-bhavaḥ arūpya-bhavaḥ
There are three kinds of becoming: becoming in the sensual realm, 
becoming in the form-realm, and becoming in the formless realm.

The three kinds of becoming [= link no. 10] thus correspond to three kinds of thirsting/craving [= link no. 8] – namely, thirsting for a sensual object, thirsting for an object which has a physical form, and thirsting for an object which has no physical form.

The contrast vividly represented by the maṇḍala, then, is between what is represented within the wheel into which Yama has his teeth sunk -- variations on the theme of doings (saṁskārāḥ), doing/end-gaining (pravṛtti), thirsting (tṛṣṇā), and becoming (bhava) -- and what the sitting Buddha represents in the way of having small desire and being content. 

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