Monday, May 4, 2015

BUDDHACARITA 14.81: Links 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5 - Against the Grain

[No Sanskrit text]

| de nas srid ’gags pa las de ni ’gag pa ste | 
| tshor ba yod pa min na sred pa yod ma yin |
| reg las chud zos gyur na tshor ba yod min źiṅ | 
| skye mched ’jug pa med las reg pa zad pa’o |  

de nas: from that, further
srid: existence, becoming
gags: stoppage, obstructed

tshor ba: feeling
yod pa min na: if it does not exist
sred pa: thirsting
yod ma yin: does not exist

reg: contact
chud zos: go to waste
gyur na: if it happened
tshor ba: feeling
yod min: does not exist

skye mched ’jug: six senses
med la: in its nonexistence
reg pa: contact
zad pa: extinction

EHJ's translation from the Tibetan:
81. Further the latter is suppressed through the suppression of thirst; if sensation does not exist, thirst does not exist; if contact is destroyed, sensation does not come into existence; from the non-existence of the six organs of sense, contact is destroyed.

81. Further, the latter is ended through the ending of thirst; if feeling does not exist, thirst does not exist; if contact is ended, feeling does not come about; from the non-existence of six senses, contact is ended.

有滅則生滅 取滅則有滅 
愛滅則取滅 受滅則愛滅 

Destroy bhava then will birth cease; destroy 'cleaving' (upādāna) then will bhava end; destroy tṛṣnā (desire) then will cleaving end ; destroy sensation then will tṛṣnā end; Destroy contact then will end sensation; (SB)
When existence is extinguished, birth is extinguished. When grasping is extinguished, existence is extinguished. When craving is extinguished, grasping is extinguished. When experiencing is extinguished, craving is extinguished. When contact is extinguished, experiencing is extinguished. (CW)

The word nirodha probably featured somewhere in Aśvaghoṣa's original of today's verse, maybe several times, just as words derived from ni- √ rudh feature in each of the four closing lines of MMK chapter 26.

The first definition of ni-√rudh given in the MW dictionary is to hold back, stop; and this seems to be the meaning conveyed by gags (stopped, obstructed) in the 1st line of the Tibetan, translated by EHJ as suppressed.

We can only hold back, obstruct, or suppress things, if those things really exist.

If, however, given the indivisible reality of a moment of human existence, there has never been any such thing as psycho-physicality, how can we hold it back or obstruct it or suppress it?

That being so, “stop” is maybe a better word, since in regard to psycho-physicality, we may at least be able to stop believing in it.

The Tibetan also three times uses the expression yod min (does not exist) – if A does not exist, then B does not exist.

This yod min corresponds in Nāgārjuna's Sanskrit with asaṁbhavaḥ, as in saṁskārāṇām asaṁbhavaḥ in MMK26.11, “there is the non-coming-into-being of doings.”

The Chinese goes in every case with , translated by SB as “destroy” and by CW as “extinguish.” In the rendering into Chinese of the third noble truth, nirodha-satya is the character usually used to represent nirodha

In the opening verses of MMK24, Nāgārjuna seems implicity to link bhāvanā (bringing-into-being, growing, developing, cultivating) with the third noble truth (the truth of cessation, the truth of stopping, the truth of inhibition; nirodha-satya). 

yadi śūnyam idaṁ sarvam udayo nāsti na vyayaḥ |
caturṇām ārya-satyānām abhāvas te prasajyate ||MMK24.1||
parijñā ca prahāṇaṃ ca bhāvanā sākṣikarma ca |
caturṇām ārya-satyānām abhāvān nopapadyate ||MMK24.2||
If all this is empty, there is neither appearance or disappearance. The non-existence follows, for you, of the four noble truths. Understanding [1], letting go [2], cultivating [3], and the act in which one sees for oneself [4], in the absence of the four nobles truths, are impossible.

The underlying logic is that the 1st noble truth is understood by understanding, the 2nd by letting go, the 3rd by cultivating something [or a bit of nothing], and the 4th by realizing something for oneself, in one's own action. 

Whatever understanding I have of the four noble truths has most certainly not been been arrived at via Japanese Soto Zen, in which forms, including a person's form in sitting, tend to be placed higher than philosophical contents.  Whatever understanding I have got has come from studying Shobogenzo, along with the Lotus Sutra, and more recently the teachings of Aśvaghoṣa. But when it came to sākṣikarma, really seeing for myself, what made the difference for me was Alexander work. 

In Alexander terms, if we are talking bhāvanā, what we wish to develop or cultivate is primarily our human powers of inhibition. 

In the end, any way up, I have decided to translate the final sentence of MMK chapter 26 as "This whole aggregate of suffering in this way is completely inhibited." 

For the time being, I won't be making any further changes to the translation of MMK chapter 26 -- even if I want to -- since I have made a recording of the English and sent the MP3 file to Jordan Fountain to put on line as a podcast. I will include a link in due course. 

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, a person engulfed in ignorance, in the three ways, does do – and by these actions, to a new sphere in the cycle of going, does go. Divided knowing, into the new sphere of going, does seep, having doings as its causal grounds. And so with the seeping in of this divided consciousness, psycho-physicality is instilled. 
There again: With the instilling of psycho-physicality, there is the coming about of six senses. Six senses having arrived, there occurs contact. Depending on eye, on form, and on the bringing of the two together – depending in other words on psycho-physicality – divided consciousness occurs. 
When the threesome of form, consciousness and eye are combined, that 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 taking hold is taking hold, the becoming arises of the taker – because becoming, if it were free of taking hold, would be liberated and would not become becoming. Five aggregates, again, are becoming itself. Out of the becoming arises birth. The suffering and suchlike of ageing and death – sorrows, accompanied by bewailing and complaining; downheartedness, troubles – all this arises out of birth. In this way there is the coming into being of this whole aggregate of suffering. 
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, on the grounds of the realization of reality. In the dispelling of ignorance, there is the non-coming-into-being of doings. At the same time, the dispelling of ignorance is on the grounds of the bringing-into-being of just this act of knowing. By the stopping of this one and that one, this one and that one no longer advance. This whole aggregate of suffering in this way is completely inhibited.

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