Wednesday, May 6, 2015

BUDDHACARITA 14.83: Conclusion - Doings Inhibited by Absence of Ignorance

[No Sanskrit text]

| ma rig pa ni mza’ dag med las de bźin du | 
| ’du byed ’gag par draṅ sroṅ chen pos mkhyen pa ste |
| ’di las mkhyen bya ’di ni yaṅ dag mkhyen mdzad nas | 
| saṅs rgyas źes ni ’jig rten na rab gnas par gyur |  

ma rig pa: ignorance; avidyā ()
rig pa: awareness
med la: non existence
de bzhin du: likewise,

’du byed: formation, doing, saṁskāra ()
gag: obstructed, suppressed
drang srong chen po: great rishi/ sage, Buddha
mkhyen pa: wisdom, knowing

di las: from this, therefore
mkhyen bya: that which should be known
yang dag: authentically, properly
mkhyen: wisdom, knowing

sangs rgyas: Buddha
'jig rten: world
gyur: become, be

EHJ's translation from the Tibetan:
83. Similarly the great seer understood that the factors are suppressed by the complete absence of ignorance. Therefore he knew properly what was to be known and stood out before the world as the Buddha.

83. Similarly the great seer understood that doings are inhibited by the complete absence of ignorance. Therefore he knew properly what was to be known and stood out before the world as the Buddha.

癡滅則行滅 大仙正覺成
如是正覺成 佛則興世間

ignorance destroyed, then the saṁskāra will die; the great rishi was thus perfected in wisdom (sambodhi). Thus perfected, Buddha then devised for the world's benefit... (SB)

When delusion is extinguished, formation is extinguished. The great seer’s right awakening was accomplished. When right awakening was thus accomplished, the Buddha appeared in the world (CW)

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.

(Audio Reading of the above, 
with thanks to Jordan Fountain for making it into a podcast)


Rich said...

Am I missing something or has it been almost a week since you last published?

Mike Cross said...

Thanks for your attention, Rich. The lights may be off for a while, but all being well somebody will still be at home, commenting less and translating more.

For example, Nāgārjuna's Vigraha-vyāvartanī-vṛtti ends something like this:

[These teachings] are to be obtained, each for himself, by going in this direction – it being possible to teach little in words. In this matter, again, I bow down before him who preached emptiness as synonymous with dependent arising and the middle path; I bow down before the unequalled awakened one.

svayam adhigantavyā anayā diśā kiṃ-cic chakyaṃ vacanenopadeṣṭum iti |  
bhavati cātra yaḥ śūnyatāṃ pratītya-samutpādaṃ madhyamāṃ pratipadaṃ ca |
ekārthāṃ nijagāda praṇamāmi tam apratima-buddham || 

[These teachings] are to be obtained, each for himself (svayam), by going in this direction (anayā diśā) – it being possible to teach little in words. In this matter, again, I bow down before him who preached emptiness (śūnyatāṃ) as synonymous with dependent arising (pratītya-samutpādaṃ) and the middle path (madhyamāṃ pratipadaṃ ca); I bow down before the unequalled awakened one (apratima-buddham).

Rich said...

Great that you are doing well. No problem, comment when you can. Will just be sitting and helping here.

Mike Cross said...

Received from Chip Coleman:


I'm sorry I'm sending this through email, but I couldn't get my post to show up on your blog.

I have a question. I noticed that in the profile pic of you sitting with your sons, and in other pics I've seen of you sitting on your previous blogs, that you hold your mudra above the lap unsupported.

How are yoou able to do this without tension? I've thought for sometime that this might the preferable place to hold the mudra if it weren't for the upper back tension.



Mike Cross said...

Hi Chip,

In the photo you refer to my left leg is uppermost, and my right hand is lightly supported on the left heel somewhere around the knuckle of the left little finger. At least I think so.

But the most important principle to understand is FM Alexander's principle that there is no such thing as a right position, but there is a right direction.

When the camera is on us, the stimulus is strong to want to arrange ourselves so that we might look sort of balanced to people who will see the photograph. Just that, I think, is what Nāgārjuna meant when he said "The doings which are the root of saṁsāra, thus does the ignorant one do."

I hope in the more than ten years that have elapsed since that photo was taken, I have learned to care less about what I might look like to others.

My own Zen teacher, though it is extremely rude of me to point it out in public, did not understand this principle of "no right position" and did not teach it. FM Alexander understood it, and FM Alexander taught it.

Zen has come to America, IMO, through the dirty filter of Japanese Zen masters who did not understand the most important teaching of the Buddha. That's why, when the blind lead the blind, they invariably recommend that the chin should be "tucked in." This, as they say in Spain, is caca del torro.

There is no preferable place to hold the mudra, Chip. What is preferable is to let go of the mudra. What is preferable is to let go of the view that there might be such a thing as a right position.

Chip said...


Thank you very much for your kind response.

This makes sense and clarifies what it means to have "the right thing do itself".

I appreciate your work and efforts.


Mike Cross said...

Thanks Chip. Glad you found your way here -- I tried to reply to your email, but for some reason it bounced back.

Yes, "the right thing does itself" might be the key to unlocking the real meaning of Fukan-zazengi.

In the opening part of Fukan-zazengi, Dogen just says, in so many words, "The right thing does itself." So there is nothing for us to do.

If, however, we think that seeing this is tantamount to enlightenment, we are up the creek without a paddle.

No, if we really understand how the right thing does itself, that understanding will manifest itself naturally in practice in which we allow the right thing to do itself.

The recurring irony is that when we, in our ignorance, think that we are wisely allowing, we turn out still to be unconsciously doing.

Hence veteran Alexander teacher Marjory Barlow, after 70 years of practice at allowing, said: "I think of doing nothing. Then I ask myself: 'What kind of nothing am I doing?' "

Cf. BC4.52:

Can spring deliver exuberant joy, to those that fly the skies,
But not the mind of a thinking man who thinks that he is wise?

Don't know just at the moment, in light of the above, whether to laugh or cry. Doubtless it is the result of regrettably chequered karma.

Thirty-odd years ago I remarked to my teacher that I could not believe how stupid I had been in a certain matter. His response was "Human life is stupid." He certainly got that one right.

If and when you really appreciate my work, Chip, I sincerely hope that you will find your own way to pass it on to others for whom the penny has not yet dropped.

Mike Cross said...

it's allowing a growing
in the bones
of an act of knowing
with the bones

Rich said...

Hi Mike, how are you? Are you still doing the nargarjuna translation?

Mike Cross said...

Hi Rich,

Thanks for asking. I can't complain... but sometimes I still do.

nirvāṇasya ca yā koṭiḥ koṭiḥ saṃsaraṇasya ca |
na tayor antaraṃ kiṃ-cit susūkṣmam api vidyate ||MMK25.20|| 
Whatever is the cusp of nirvāṇa, is the cusp of saṁsāra.
Between the two, not the slightest gap is to be found.

Rich said...

Yes, I've noticed that sometimes. 😊