[No Sanskrit text]
| des ni lha yi spyan gyis ni | | las las ’jug par mkhyen pa ste |
| dbaṅ phyug las min raṅ bźin min | | bdag las ma yin rgyu med min |
lha yi spyan: divine eye (天眼)
las: karma, action
ḥjug pa: continuity; produce; productive (Skt: pravṛtti) [EHJ: 'active being']
mkhyen pa: wisdom, knowing
dbang phyug: god, ruler, lord (自在天; īśvara)
min: is not (非)
rang bzhin: nature; own-being; inherent existence (自性)
min: is not (非)
bdag las ma yin: not from itself
rgyu med: fortuitous, impossible, without any cause (無因)
min: is not (非)
EHJ's translation from the Tibetan:
56. With his divine eyesight he saw that active being proceeds from the act, not from a Creator or from Nature or from a self or without a cause.
56. With his divine eyesight he saw doing [or end-gaining or becoming] arising from karma – not from a Creator or from Nature or from a self or without a cause.
then with his Deva-eyes scanning these deeds, he saw they were not framed by Iśvara ; They were not self-caused, they were not personal existences, nor were they either uncaused ; (SB)
His divine eye observed that the action of existence was not produced by the god Īśvara. It had no specific nature and no self, and neither was it without a cause. (CW)
Islaamic terrorism is not a new problem. Islaamic terrorists are thought to have ransacked and destroyed Nalanda about 800 years ago, burning massive piles of manuscripts in the process, including no doubt Aśvaghoṣa's Buddhacarita.
Consequently, I find myself this morning suffering from indecision.
One option, taking our cue from Nāgārjuna, is to keep it simple.
upādāne sati bhava upādātuḥ pravartate |
syādd hi yady anupādāno mucyeta na bhaved bhavaḥ ||MMK26.7||
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.
If we keep it simple, then, the Tibetan ḥjug pa and the Chinese 有業 are both simply translations of bhava (becoming). And the simple point is that bhava does not arise dependent upon a Creator (īśvara; 自在天) or from Nature (sva-bhava;自性) or from a self (ātman; 我) or without a cause ( niṣ-kāraṇa/ahetu; 無因). Rather, bhava arises dependent on upādānam – taking hold, clinging, attachment.
Keeping it simple:
56. With his divine eyesight he saw that becoming arises not from a Creator or from Nature or from a self or without a cause.
Such was the solution with which I was satisfied when I went to bed last night – before I woke up cursing Islaamic terrorism.
I had prepared a comment to the effect that something in the way of simplicity might have been lost in EHJ's translation.
Thus, whereas EHJ gives us a positive assertion about pravṛtti – “active being proceeds from the act” – I guessed that Aśvaghoṣa's original, as indicated by the Chinese, might have consisted of purely negative statements.
And I suspected that those negative statements were not about “active being” (EHJ's translation of ḥjug pa) or about “deeds” (SB's translation of 有業) or about “the action of existence” (CW's translation of 有業). I supposed that those negative assertions, if we take Nāgārjuna as our guide, might simply have been about the arising of bhava, "becoming."
The Tibetan ḥjug pa, however, (whose English meanings include continuity; begin, engage; worldly activity; proceeding) was evidently used in Tibetan texts to represent the Sanskrit pravṛtti. So EHJ's reading should not be rejected so easily – especially considering that in Saundara-nanda there are a couple of verses which discuss the causes out of which pravṛtti arises:
pravṛtti-duḥkhasya ca tasya loke tṛṣṇādayo doṣa-gaṇā nimittam /
naiveśvaro na prakṛtir na kālo nāpi svabhāvo na vidhir yadṛcchā // SN16.17 //
And this, the suffering of doing, in the world,
has its cause in clusters of faults which start with thirsting – /
The cause is certainly not in God, nor in primordial matter, nor in time;
nor even in one’s inherent constitution, nor in predestination or self-will. //
yo hi pravṛttiṃ niyatām avaiti naivānya hetor iha nāpy ahetoḥ /
pratītya tat-tat samavaiti tat-tat sa naiṣṭhikaṃ paśyati dharmam āryam //SN17.31
For he who understands that doing in this world
is determined neither by any outside cause nor by no cause, /
And who sees this one and that one depending on this one and that one:
he sees the ultimate noble dharma.//
To come to a kind of conclusion, in a spirit of defiance, I would like to say to Islaamic terrorists of the past, present, and future: you can destroy manuscripts containing the Buddha's teaching, and you can take down websites presenting the Buddha's teaching, but the Buddha's teaching itself is tat-tva, lit. that-ness, the truth of what is – in short, reality. So good luck with destroying that.
In Nāgārjuna's words, the wise one is not the doer, tattva-darśanāt.
But if the question is how to rise above those Islaamic terrorists who would like to destroy the Buddha's teaching, then I think the strongest answer might be not by doing something, and not even by realizing anything. It might not even be necessary for reality to realize itself.
“The ignorant one therefore is the doer; the wise one is not, because of the realization of reality.” ?
That wording has the virtue of not coming down on the side of subject or object. But even “the realization of reality” somehow sounds like too much effort.
“The ignorant one therefore is the doer; the wise one is not, because of the presence of reality. 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 knowing.” ?
Maybe that translation sounds like too little effort. And in SN17.31, again, there is one who understands, and one who sees -- avaiti, samavaiti, in the 3rd person singular.
Translation is always a losing game.
But in conclusion, if I set aside my own indecision, “because of the realization of reality” is a translation into English of which my late Zen teacher would most heartily have approved. That is for damn sure.
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 the realization of reality. 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.