What’s with Asita and Subhadra? 阿私陀和須跋陀羅的關係

中文版請點這裡

So, why did I choose the story of Asita and Subhadra for our daily reading? Much because  they are chiasmically important. For one they occur at the start and end of the Buddhacarita, chapters 1 and 26 respectively. Of equal importance is that it they both reference the Enlightenment of Siddhartha, which occurs at the 14th chapter. If you recall the rough correspondence of the chapters of the Buddhacarita, the stories here figure into a triangle, as shown in the diagram below.

Preliminary Matching for Asita-Subhadra

And what does this chiasmic structure tell us about how to interpret the story? Think: what does Asita and Subhadra share? How do they differ?

Comparison Asita-Subhadra

Subhadra heard the teachings while Asita did not, and this enabled the former to quit samsaric (cyclical) existence despite both being extremely accomplished spiritual practitioners.

It might seem trivial to raise this point to any Buddhist, but this two sections quite clearly mirrors each other, and tells us what

changes the climax – the Enlightenment – brings about. And it should encourage us to see if similar discoveries can be made in other sections of the Buddhacarita.

讀者們如果這一個星期來有跟著我閲讀阿私陀和須跋陀羅的故事就會發現他們的重要性。首先,他們在整體故事裏所處在的位置符合了我正在探討的U-型環狀結構。阿私陀出現在第一品,而須跋陀羅出現在接近尾聲的第二十六品。他們兩的故事也提及與涉及到第十四品的佛陀証道。

可是這又怎樣呢?試想想,讀阿私陀和須跋陀羅之間是否有沒有什麽共同或不相似之處?然我以下面的表略說:

阿私陀---須跋陀羅

須跋陀羅聽聞了佛法之後,証了涅槃而不再得生而死,死而復生,而修行極爲高超的阿私陀無法凴他的修持而逃脫輪回之苦。這雖然對一般佛教信徒而言是看似人人皆知,不值一提的小事,可是從故事整體的結構來看卻是非常重要的。他們出現的位置再叮嚀著我們佛陀所証悟的法對世間起了什麽作用,也提醒我們要更努力地探索佛所行讚的其它部分是否也有類似可比對的故事。而我們又會發現什麽其它的訊息呢?

Advertisements

One thought on “What’s with Asita and Subhadra? 阿私陀和須跋陀羅的關係

  1. Pingback: Data mining the Asita-Subhadra connection: Progress Report 1 | buddhalives

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s