Monday, April 20, 2015

BUDDHACARITA 14.67: Blind Man's Bluff?

[No Sanskrit text]

| loṅ bas gzugs ni mi rig ciṅ | | mig ni blo yis mi sbyor phyir |
| mig yod gyur na des sbyor te | | de phyir dbaṅ po yod na reg | 

long ba: blind
gzugs: form; body; matter; the atomic; visible form (rūpa)
mi rig: not perceive

mig: eye (cakṣus)
blo yi: of the mind
mi: not
sbyor: connect
phyir: because

mig: eye (cakṣus)
yod: exist
gyur na: if it so happened
des: therefore
sbyor: connect

de phyir: because of that; therefore
dbang po: sense
yod na: if something exists
reg: contact

EHJ's translation from the Tibetan:
67. The blind man does not perceive objects, since his eye does not bring them into junction with his mind; if sight exists, the junction takes place. Therefore there is contact, when the sense-organ exists.

67. The blind man does not see physical forms, since his eye does not bring them into junction with consciousness; if sight exists, the junction takes place. Therefore there is contact, when a sense exists.

(a man is blind because he cannot see the light) ; (SB) 
because a blind person does not have clear perception. (CW) 

There is no such thing as a right position, but there is such a thing as a right direction. And it is in that direction that we are groping on this blog.

The four lines of Tibetan verse, and still less the single line of Chinese translation, do not seem today to offer much help in that direction.

What kind of blindness Aśvaghoṣa might have had in mind in today's verse  either on or below the surface  and what kind of seeing, I cannot, by my own blind groping,  be certain.

But intellectual certainty, in any case, was not the kind of knowing to which Nāgārjuna referred when he asserted that ignorance is destroyed jñānasyāsyaiva bhāvanātthrough the bringing-into-being of just this act of knowing.

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 catur-vidham ||6||
upādāne sati bhava upādātuḥ pravartate |
syād dhi 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 thirsting – because the object of feeling is thirsted after. While thirsting is going on, taking hold takes hold in the 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. The five aggregates, again, are 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 realizing. 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.

The right direction, I venture to submit, is towards greater unity and in that sense 
 complexity of reality notwithstanding  greater simplicity. 

This may be why the Heart Sutra of the Accomplishment which is Real Knowing sings of their being no eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, mind (MU-GEN-NI-BI-ZESSHIN-I). 

FM Alexander, who knew a thing or two about what he called "the unity underlying all things," taught a certain use of the head relative to the neck-and-back, and of the head-neck-back to the rest of the body, which he called a "primary control of the use of the self." 

The reason I came back to England twenty years ago was to cultivate just this knowing, having been given a taste of it in Japan. 

In the end, what can I say about it that I haven't already said? 

The best contribution I can make, all things considered, may be to let Aśvaghoṣa and Nāgārjuna do the talking. 

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