- Whilst the Māra as found within Buddhist mythology can be demonstrated to by a modification of the Indra/Namuci myth, the origins of the term are derived from other sources.
- The Buddha's initial quest was to find the deathless condition, i.e. amṛta. He overcome death in the form of Māra. but he does not eradicate Māra. The Buddha does not become Māra-mārāka, 'the killer of death'.
- Māra does not come as pain, old age, sickness and death itself but as a plaguing spirit which seeks to 'rub-away' at the emotional stability of the Buddha.
- There are other roots from which a word Māra could plausibly be obtained: i.e. mṛd and not mṛt.
- Māra does not seek to destroy the Buddha or cut short his life, but to 'hinder' or 'thwart' the revelation of his teaching.
- Māra appears in the hypogogic sate of mind between full awakening and sleep. Māra, is then, a mare.
- Māra originates from within some pre-existing Proto-Indo European mythplex which is still reflected in extant European languages but becomes apotheosized in Buddhist subculture as Māra Deputra. Within Indo-Iranian mythology, the role of Māra is absorbed into Yakṣa mythplex whose origins are most likely founded within the mythologies of pre-aryan indigenous peoples.
Thursday, 7 October 2010
Saturday, 25 September 2010
- re-read the Chinese text and my translation.
- made corrections/amendments based upon information obtained from Karashima's glossary.
- resolved ambiguities in the reading of the text.
- resolved a number of topics which were unclear including 12 ascetic practices. the rishi, the division of the bodhisattva path.
- completed a chapter-by-chapter summary of the text.
- examined the text for key questions which underpin the specific development of the narrative of the text
- explored the topic of threshold experiences between altered states of consciousness.
- read-up how research in such altered states contribute to our understanding of prehistoric culture
- broadened the examination for evidence that might indicate how the Mara mytheme has origins in proto-indo-european culture. The evidence for this relies heavily upon comparative phonology, mythology and reconstructed phonology. This cannot rely upon Jungian ideas of the Archetype as, in general, the mythologies he considered are closely related.
- reviewed Maleksara's view of the nature of Mara, metaphor vs psychological reality.
- found an interesting reference to a parallel to Mara, but not developed in Jaina commentaries.
- began to structure the list questions into a chapter
- reflecting on how the prototype descriptions of the bodhisattva path can be contribute to the discussion of the text.
- exploring the notion that the traditional etymology of the word Mara be reconsidered in the light of comparative linguistics and mythologies which describe of evil spirits approaching during sleep. The significant issue here is that the English word 'mare' denotes such a dream-spirit and in the earliest texts that contribute to the current Mara mythplex typically denotes and approach at the sleep threshold. (ie during night, raining and victim in a possible semi-samadhi/sleep condition.
Thursday, 2 September 2010
I've also had a dabble at the formatting of the TOC and, at long last, can see how the formatting options are set for the content styles.
Other issues today, include recieving an Email from Chuck Muller, the maintainer of the DDBT, for clarification of some propsed entries. Also, the PDF of my translation crashed PDFStudio and makes Acrobat think twice returning an error on what I now believe to be some of the highlighting or comments that I've created. I'll remove the highlights and lets see what happens!
Wednesday, 1 September 2010
Tuesday, 31 August 2010
Whilst Karashima's T224 glosses have no reference to 諦, his glosses on Dharamaraksha's Lotus Sutra did have 諦觀 and 諦聽: 'to observe minutely' and 'listen carefully'.
After modifying my text I sent a comment to the DDBT for the 諦 entry to add an additional meaning.
With some luck and peace and quiet I should have Chapt.30 finished by this time tomorrow night.
Sunday, 29 August 2010
There were a couple of phrases which I needed to ponder over, indeed, I pondered over them so much that I can't remember what they are now! I'm pretty well-brain numbed. Its almost 11pm and I need to call it a day.
Chapt 28/29 I remember working on last autumn and so I expect most of this to be fine with the exception of a few minor corrections. I know that there will be some issues with the final chapter but, fortunately this is something of an epilogue and is quite brief (5 pages).
Friday, 27 August 2010
Today I was looking at FineReader Pro Version 10. This will also handle Chinese OCR. That would be useful! Downloaded the trial version but it wouldn't install using wine nor would it far any better in my Windows XP laptop. Perhaps it needs a more recent service pack. I'll try it on my Windows 7 box tomorrow.
Thursday, 26 August 2010
Make extensive use of PDFStudio today, adding Taisho page references to the Conze text and improving the range of bookmarks in both the Conze & Karashima PDFs.
Well, onto the next chapter!
Wednesday, 25 August 2010
There's one slight deficiency with PDF Studio, it doesn't like UTF-8 input. Strange. I've emailed Qoppa, the developers of PDF Studio for their comments and feedback.
Lets see what happens!
Only a about five pages left in Chapter 25 which I should have finished by tomorrow evening or thursday by the latest.
Saturday, 31 July 2010
Wednesday, 21 July 2010
Karashima pairs 離本 with antyanta, which is composed of ati (extreme, very) and antaḥ , (end, boundary) (Coulson)
I need to think about this one....
Sunday, 18 July 2010
T08n0224_p0466a24 - T08n0224_p0466a29
...須菩提白佛言.設爾般若波羅蜜離本無對法.離本亦無對亦無證.亦無守.亦無行. 亦無有法當有所得.何以故.離般若波羅蜜 本無形故.本無遠離.何因當於般若波羅蜜中得佛.佛者離本無所有.何所本無所有當 得佛者.佛語須菩提.如須菩提所言離.今般
...Subhūti said to the Buddha: ‘If that which is prajñāpāramitā is turning away from that which is basically any isolated method, turning away from parts, there is nothing to see, nothing to take-up, nothing to pursue, there is no method to be found. For what reason? Turning away from prajñāpāramitā basically has no appearance as basically there is no turning far away. How, then, is awakening found within prajñāpāramitā? If awakening is turning away from that which does not exist, how can that which basically does not exist result in finding awakening?’
Subhuti: No, Lord, I do not. In consequence, to what dharma could I point, and say that "it is" or "it is not"? But a dharma which is absolutely isolated, to that one cannot attribute that "it is" or that "it is not.' Also an absolutely isolated dharma does not know full enlightenment. Because a dharma which has no existence cannot know full enlightenment.
Vaidya (1960, p.217)
so'haṁ bhagavan anyatra māyāyā māyopamādvā cittāt taṁ dharmasamanuśyan katamaṁ dharmamupadekṣyāmi astīti vā nāstīti vā? yaśca atyantavivikto dharmaḥ, na so'stīti vā nāstīti vā upaiti| yo'pi dharmo'tyantatayā viviktaḥ, nāsāvanuttarāṁ samyaksaṁbodhimabhisaṁbudhyate|
Karashima (2010, p.509) Suggest that 無對 means 'having no counterparts' but does not substantiate the basis of this view. Indeed, the term 'counterpart' which means 'equivalent' is not a tenable alternative. Edgerton (1953, p.500) does not have the term 'atyanta~vivikto' or 'absolutely isolated' but has 'viveka' -solitude. This too is not satisfactory. Whilst the practice of certain methods may lead to the practice of solitude, the idea in the texts is one of 'particular method or any other particular (method)'.
In the end, I don't that a simple translation is possible. The closest that I can get is without adding more to the text is:
Subhūti said to the Buddha: ‘If prajñāpāramitā is some basic, singular method; that which is basic and singular, there is nothing to see, nothing to take-up, nothing to pursue,...
A real conundrum this one. There is no clear literal interpretation. In essence Subhuti is saying that if prajnaparamita doesn't exist and is itself illusory, then what is the cause of awakening?
1) find buddhahood
2) become awake (bodhi)
The implication is significant as the former implies a static condition, as buddhahood is a noun, whereas the later implies a process as awake is a verb. The later is the right choice as it is consistent with the purport of the text.
It is unfortunate that these earlier text did not differentiate 佛 and 佛陀
Conze (1974, 256) has the following passage. It is a question Socratic question that the Buddha puts to Subhuti.
The Lord: When you see neither illusion, nor the thought which is like illusion, as a real separate entity, do you then perhaps see that dharma which knows full enlightenment as something other than illusion, or as something other than the thought which is like illusion?
The problem here, as is consistent with many others (including myself) who translate such passages is that the term 'dharma' is translated in a manner implying a substance rather than a method. 'That dharma' implies a thing, rather than what is simply is.
[The Buddha said:] The illusory heart is to be turned away from, is it seen as a method that finds some buddha path or not?’
Tuesday, 13 July 2010
- 新發意菩薩 Newly Resolved
- 隨次第上菩薩 Gradually progressing (Kumarajiva describes this as 行六波羅蜜, ṣaṭ-pāramitācāra)
- 阿惟越致 avivarti(ka) (Never Falling Back)
- 阿惟顏 abhiṣeka (consecration to Buddhahood)
Karashima (2010) provides more reliable sanskrit equivalents but does not discuss doctrinal issues.
- 阿闍浮 ādhibhū(mika)
新發意菩薩 prtahama-yāna-samprasthita 'those who have newly awakened the mind' (p.544
隨次第菩薩 caryā-pratipanna 'progress step by step' (p.471)
- 阿惟越致 avivarti(ka) 'irreversible' (pp.13-16)
- 阿惟顏 abhiṣeka (p.13)
1) durārohā 'Difficult to enter'
2) baddhamāna 'Fastening'
3) puṣpamaṇḍitā 'Adorned with Flowers'
4) rucirā 'Beautiful'
5) cittvistarā 'Expansion of the Heart'
6) rūpavatī 'Lovely'
7) durjayā 'Difficult to Conquer'
8) janmanideśa 'Ascertainment of Birth'
9) yauvarājya 'Installation as Crown Prince'
10) abhiṣeka 'Coronation'
Monday, 12 July 2010
歡欣 found in approx. 40 locations within the T224 also has the meaning of 'joyful'. Although the text does not discuss the bodhisattvabhumi, some differentiation is found. Chapt 23, for instance, discuses the 'joy' of those bodhistattvas new to raising the thought. It could be argued that if the first stage of the bodhisattva path was formally recognised at the time of translation, then the experience would have most likely have been transliterated rather than translated. The other key un-numbered stage in the path within the T224 is that of the Avivartin, which is transliterated.
Sunday, 11 July 2010
Saturday, 10 July 2010
1) It helps explain the division in the early sangha as to what the Buddha's teachings actually were.
2) This corresponds to the accounts given in the Mahayana about the the 'turnings of the teachings' ie three fold turn of the 12 spoked wheel.
3) It demonstrates parallels found in the daoxing itself where at the outset of the text the key topic is the acquisition of sarvajna which then becomes tranformed into the quest for prajnaparamita.
Friday, 9 July 2010
Well. Chapt 22 is cleared-up for now. There were a number of sections that were problematic I must admit but I feel that the gist has been correctly extracted and presented. I have noticed one thing that crept in however, and it was the use of pronouns in clauses. That is: 'they..A..., they..B...' rather that 'they..A..., ..B....'
Also, the term 法 has been rendered as 'method' rather than being left simply as 'dharma'. The original translators has a clear idea of what is meant, and that is the 'method' to do something. In retrospect it becomes clearer that 法 and 方邊. dharma and upaya, are closely related. All pursues have a method, which is largely depicted as relating to the paths of the arhat and pratyeka buddha. The Bodhisattva has a 'super-method', the upaya, the special boon that takes him one step beyond.
Tomorow I can complete the few lines or so which are for the chapter synopsis.
Thursday, 8 July 2010
If such metanarratives are ignored, in favour of any abstracted, quasi-philosophic interpretation of the text, the most of the core meaning of the text becomes lost. The bodhisattva, as the buddha is the supreme ksatriya. He has not simply set out to subdue to other kings, but to subdue the threat of the greatest kings, Maradevaputra.
The occurance of such Cultural References in the Daoxing is by no meand an indicator of the presence of 'daoist ideas' or 'influences'. The use of such of such terms implies that these were familiar to the scribe who was paraphrasing within his own personal lexis those ideas presented to him. It does not imply either that the translator was familiar with the technicalities behind the origins of such terms, they are simply what they are, cultural references. Mythologically, the gods (神) led by the Jade Emperor (玉皇) are sustained by the peaches of immortality, but this is not consistent with amrta being a liquid.
Wednesday, 7 July 2010
滅神入禪. This is constructed in an unusual way which does not immediately yield a clear meaning. The wording of the Dàoxíng would suggest: ‘extinguishes those dhyānas that enters into (the realms of the) spirits’. In the corresponding passage in the Sanskrit (Vaidya 1960, p.211) we find ‘..na dīrghāyuṣkeṣu deveṣūpapadyate..’ which has been translated by Conze (1974, p.250) as: ‘..does not get reborn among the long-lived Gods’. The expression 長壽天 (Southill & Hodous p.284) for this class of devas is a clearer linguistic correspondence but does not enter the Chinese Buddhist lexis until its usage by Buddhayaśas in the 長阿含經 (T) his translation of the Dīrghâgama; during 5th century CE.
As elsewhere in this text, 入 denotes entrance into a destination, in the sense of future rebirth and arguably corresponds to the Sanskrit bhavati, 'to become, to happen, to come o be'. The implication is not a physical act of translocating from one side of a passageway to another but the change of state that results from such a movement. The choice of the term 神 for dīrgha-ayuṣka deva (Conze 1967, p.200) is an unusual one as the general practice within the Daoxing is to associate the term with one of two ideas: 1) non-heavenly non-corpreal beings, typically yaksas (eg 鬼神, 火神) or, 2) the possesion of some magical ability as if possessed by a devata or the Buddha (eg 威神). Perhaps the inclusion was to provide a closer cultural association with the immortal deities of Chinese mythology rather any Indo-European devata. Interestingly, the word 滅 is not a clear equivalence of the sanskrit ‘na’ which would the Chinese 不. The implication necessarily lies in the sense of bringing existing practices to an an end rather than merely not to engage in them from the outset. Whilst a single phrase such as this provides no conclusive proof, one possible explanation for the occurance of such a unique phrase is provide a cultural reference to longevity practices found in the alchemical practices in mystical Daoism.
Monday, 5 July 2010
1) the aim of the Buddha's method is release from birth, old age, sickness and death
2) amṛta is the Buddhist variant of the death-defying nutriment of the Vedic Soma, Olympian Ambrosia or the Golden Apples of the Aesirs, a core theme in Indo-European Religion.
The meaning being that amṛta becomes allegorical, it is the 'stuff' that allows the pursuer to enter the gate which is the 'method' (dharma) that leads to living beings to escape from samsara.
Conze(1974,p.249) gives something extremely unwiedly, '..the door of the deathless element..' It is possible to see the reasoning behind this, but dhatu, in connection to a door would imply a door onto a 'somewhere' and not a 'classification'. Conze (1967, p.69) gives the Sanskrit as: amṛta-dhātu-dvāra. I would translate this as lit: the 'gate to the world of deathlessness'. One thing is for certain, although the passages have much in common interms of general structure, changes in the use of specific terms had resulted in a shift in meaning.
One last word, Conze (1968. p.69) along with Karashima (2010. p.179) give the Tibetan for this phrase as:
bdud-rtsi'i dbyings-kyi sgo. This offers a slightly different meaning, one I am curious enough to want to see the whole passage. Here were have amṛta = bdud-rtsi'i, in an adjectival forms (ie post-fix 'i) and sgo = door. dbyings-kyi, due to the kyi I believe to be be accusative (?) and dbyings which means 'space'. So the overall phrase, I would render as 'the amrta that is the door to space'.
As we approach lunchtime I've reviewed/re-written about 15% of this chapter. There are some areas which were quite unintelligible but now I've put that right. As always, I take a peek at Conze's translation from the Sanskrit. The shift in flow corresponds to his Chap. 25 also entitled 'Training'. Just like the preceeding chapter, there are clear areas of ammendments to the sanksrit text from which he worked. Also, he becomes burdened again with the term 'bhutakoti', translated by Lokaksema as '本無', 'basically has no'. Taking this to signify an 'ultimate reality' is not sound as such a meaning is not consistent with the narrative itself.
Well, I'll drink my tea and resume in a about 30mins....
Saturday, 3 July 2010
Although these distinction exists, the development of modern art, in all cultures is ultimately derived from the expression of sacred and religious ideas. The question is then, are the creators of such works simply recording the ideas of their times or creating pieces of literature with narrative structures more in keeping with modern writers in which personae embody necessary roeke in order to facilitate the development of narrative content?
The development of Buddhist sutras is not restricted to a single period of time, even within Indian history. The earliest text are simple annecdotes, with subsequent works becoming increadingly elaorated descriptive with the final works such as the Mahayana sutra becoming embellished with length litanies and repetitions. Non the less, through all of these texts there are common personae, which integrate in a single overarching metanarrative. Unlike the Mahabharata and other epic texts such as the Illiiad and Odessy and Sagas , these works are not considered to be parts of an ongoing saga, but snapshots in time. For the creators of these text, the connectively between them was not significant.
Wednesday, 23 June 2010
Getting to this stage has not been easy but now that Dr Wang has been appointed as my second supervisor I'm sure that I can make speedier progress. Prof. Yao is clearly a very busy man and clearly understands the subject matter that I'm dealing with but I'm certain that Dr Wang who shares a common interest in the Buddhist textuality will be able to engage more deeply and challenge more specifically, some of the question that I raise and the solutions that I hypothesize.
So, why Blog about this, who's going to read this? Why? Because it gives me the opportunity to express some of the tasks I'm involved in and the ideas that I'm exploring. Who? Perhaps no-one. Perhaps my supervisors will take a look once in a while just to see that something is going on out there....