Monday, April 13, 2015

BUDDHACARITA 14.60: Taking Hold Arises Dependent on Thirsting (9→8)

[No Sanskrit text]

| gaṅ gi rgyu las len pa źes | | de nas de yi gyur pa ste |
| de nas ñe bar len pa’i rkyen | | sred par des ni mkhyen pa’o | 

gang gi: of which (yasya)
rgyu: cause (hetu)
len pa: taking hold, clinging, grasping ( upādāna)
zhes: [quotation marker] (iti)

de: that (tad)
gyur pa: arise

rkyen: causal condition (pratyaya)

sred pa: attachment, craving, thirst (tṛṣṇā)
mkhyen: wisdom, knowing

EHJ's translation from the Tibetan:
60. Then the thought occurred to him, “From what cause does appropriation come?” Thereon he recognised the causal condition of appropriation to lie in thirst.

60. Then the thought occurred to him, “From what cause comes taking hold?” Thereon he recognised the causal grounds of taking hold to be thirsting.


Upādāna comes from tṛṣnā (SB)
Grasping had craving as its cause, (CW)

pravṛtti-duḥkhasya ca tasya loke tṛṣṇādayo doṣa-gaṇā nimittam
And this, the suffering of doing, in the world, 
has its cause in clusters of faults which start with thirsting (SN16.17).

When I translated the above line from Saundara-nanda Canto 16 a few years ago, I would have had it in mind, based on experience of Alexander work, that thirsting (tṛṣṇā) means the impulse to go ahead directly and gain an end – the inhibition of this impulse being the key to extricating oneself from the whole tangle of misuse.

It occurs to me now that not only tṛṣṇā (thirsting; link no. 8) but also upādāna (taking hold; link no. 9), bhava (becoming; link no. 10), and not forgetting avidyā (ignorance; link no. 1) are all very closely related with
(a) what FM Alexander called “end-gaining”; and 
(b) what the Buddha called pravṛtti (lit. “rolling onwards”; i.e doing or end-gaining, as opposed to nivṛtti, non-doing.)

tisras-tṛṣṇāḥ kāma-tṛṣṇā rūpa-tṛṣṇā arūpya-tṛṣṇā ca
There are three kinds of thirsting: 
thirsting after sensual desires, 
thirsting after what has physical form, 
and thirsting after what has no physical form.

Thus, the object thirsted after, as with end-gaining in Alexander work, can be something as spiritual as, say, Zen enlightenment; and can be something as immaterial as, say, vindication in the minds of others. 

The Chinese renders tṛṣṇā, thirsting, as , love, which somehow seems to miss the point. As a general rule, buddhas love nature -- for example, in the form and scent of plum blossoms, or in the chirping of small birds (not necessarily in the crowing of cockerels?). And when they experience nirvāṇa, like the flame of an oil lamp going out because all the oil has been used up, it is not that their love of nature has been used up. It is not that they have no love or no desire. It might rather be that, having small desire, they are content. 

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