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Read with me! Women strive to attract Siddhartha Part 2 and his reactions (3 Jan 2014) 婇女無法誘惑悉達多

Chapter 4: Verses 43-61, on women’s attempt to attract Siddhartha at the pleasure grove and how they failed


(A full list of topics can be found on my “Daily Readings” page;                                                  閲讀篇章全部收錄與 “Daily Readings” 頁面)

43. Then another with rolling eyes sniffed at a blue lotus and addressed the prince with words that were slightly indistinct in her excitement:—

44. “See, my lord, this mango loaded with honey-scented flowers, in which the koil calls, looking as if imprisoned in a golden cage.

45. Look at this asoka tree, the increaser of lovers’ sorrows, in which the bees murmur as if scorched by fire.

46. Behold this tilaka tree, embraced by a mango branch, like a man in white garments embraced by a woman with yellow body-paint.

47. See the kurubaka in full bloom, shining like lac just squeezed out, which bends over as if dazzled by the brilliance of the women’s nails.

48. And look at this young asoka tree, all covered with young shoots, which stands as if abashed by the glitter of our hands.

49. See the pond enveloped by the sinduvara bushes growing on its bank, like a woman lying down and clothed in white silk.

50. Consider the mighty power of women; for instance, the sheldrake in the water there follows obediently behind his mate like a servant.

51. Listen to the sound of the impassioned cuckoo’s cry; another koil calls at once like an echo.

52. Can it be that spring brings passion to the birds, but not to the wiseacre who reflects on what he should not reflect on?”

53. Thus these young women, to whose minds love had given free rein, assailed the prince with wiles of every kind.

54. But despite such allurements the prince firmly guarded his senses, and in his perturbation over the inevitability of death, was neither rejoiced nor distressed.

55. He, the supreme man, saw that they had no firm footing in the real truth, and with mind that was at the same time both perturbed and steadfast he thus meditated:—

56. “Do these women then not understand the transitoriness of youth, that they are so inebriated with their own beauty, which old age will destroy?

57. Surely they do not perceive anyone overwhelmed by illness, that they are so full of mirth, so void of fear in a world in which disease is a law of nature.

58. And quite clearly they sport and laugh so much at ease and unperturbed, because they are ignorant of death who carries all away.

59. For what rational being would stand or sit or lie at ease, still less laugh, when he knows of old age, disease and death?

60. But he is just like a being without reason, who, on seeing another aged or ill or even dead, remains indifferent and unmoved.

61. For when one tree is shorn both of its flowers and its fruit and falls or is cut down, another tree is not distressed thereby.”

p0007b16║ 菩薩心清淨,  堅固難可轉,
p0007b17║ 聞諸婇女說,  不憂亦不喜。
p0007b18║ 倍生厭思惟,  嘆此為奇怪,
p0007b19║ 始知諸女人,  欲心盛如是。
p0007b20║ 不知少壯色,  俄頃老死壞,
p0007b21║ 哀哉此大惑,  愚癡覆其心。
p0007b22║ 當思老病死,  晝夜勤勗勵,
p0007b23║ 鋒刃臨其頸,  如何猶嬉笑?
p0007b24║ 見他老病死,  不知自觀察,
p0007b25║ 是則泥木人,  當有何心慮?
p0007b26║ 如空野雙樹,  華葉俱茂盛,
p0007b27║ 一已被斬伐,  第二不知怖。
p0007b28║ 此等諸人輩,  無心亦如是。


Read with me! Women incited to bind Siddhartha to the passions (1 Jan 2014) 林中婇女被唆使要魅惑悉達多

Read with me! Women incited to bind Siddhartha to the passions (1 Jan 2014)

Chapter 4: Verses 1-15, on Siddhartha’s visit to the pleasure grove after seeing the third sight of a funeral procession, and how the women there were incited to bind him to the passions


(A full list of topics can be found on my “Daily Readings” page;                                                  閲讀篇章全部收錄與 “Daily Readings” 頁面)

1. Then the women went forth from the city garden, their eyes dancing with excitements, to meet the king’s son, as if he were a bridegroom arriving.

2. And, as they approached him, their eyes opened wide in wonder and they welcomed him respectfully with hands folded like lotus-buds.

3. And they stood around him, their minds absorbed in and seemed to drink him in with eyes that were moveless and blossomed wide in ecstasy.

4. For the glory of the brilliant signs on his person, as of ornaments born on him, made the women deem him to be the god of love in bodily form.

5. Some opined from his benignity and gravity that the moon had come down to earth in person with his rays veiled.

6. Enthralled by his beauty, they writhed suppressedly, and, smiting each other with their glances, softly sighed.

7. Thus the women did no more than gaze at him with their eves and were so constrained by his power, that they neither uttered anything nor laughed.

8. But the purohita’s son, the sagacious Udayin, seeing them to be so embarrassed by love as to be attempting nothing, addressed these words to them:—

9. “You are all of you skilled in all the arts, adepts at captivating the feelings, possessed of beauty and charm, and pre-eminent in your endowments.

10. With these gifts you would even grace the Northern Kurus and the pleasaunce of Kubera, much more then this earth.

11. You could make even lust-free seers waver, and captivate even gods who are accustomed to the Apsarases.

12. And by your knowledge of the sentiments, your blandishments, your wealth of charm and beauty, you have power over women, how much more then over men in respect of passion?

13. When with such qualities you are lax, each of you, in your own special accomplishment, and exhibit such conduct, I am displeased with your simplicity.

14. Conduct such as this of yours would be more proper in brides who narrow their eyes in shame, or even in the wives of cowherds.

15. As for the argument that he is steadfast and exalted by the power of his majesty, after all the might of women is great; therefore show determination in this matter.

p0006c24║ 太子入園林,  眾女來奉迎,
p0006c25║ 並生希遇想,  競媚進幽誠,
p0006c26║ 各盡伎姿態,  供侍隨所宜。
p0006c27║ 或有執手足,  或遍摩其身,
p0006c28║ 或復對言笑,  或現憂慼容,
p0006c29║ 規以悅太子,  令生愛樂心。
p0007a01║ 眾女見太子,  光顏狀天身,
p0007a02║ 不假諸飾好,  素體踰莊嚴,
p0007a03║ 一切皆瞻仰,  謂天子來。
p0007a04║ 種種設方便,  不動菩薩心,
p0007a05║ 更互相顧視,  抱愧寂無言。
p0007a06║ 有婆羅門子,  名曰優陀夷,
p0007a07║ 謂諸婇女言:  「汝等悉端正,
p0007a08║ 聰明多技術,  色力亦不常,
p0007a09║ 兼解諸世間,  隱祕隨欲方,
p0007a10║ 容色世希有,  狀如女形。
p0007a11║ 天見捨妃,  仙為之傾,
p0007a12║ 如何人子,  不能感其情?
p0007a13║ 今此太子,  持心雖堅固,
p0007a14║ 清淨德純備,  不勝女人力。

Christmas Flash Mob by Journey of Faith at South Bay Galleria

Buddha lives, as does Jesus, in our hearts. Ever wondered why this blog is named buddhalives? In one sense, it is meant to talk about how Buddha continues to be very much alive in the hearts of Buddhists. The other is obvious, because I am talking about the lives of the Buddha.

The beautiful effort made by the Christians in the video to tell people about their love for Christ, and vice versa, is a wonderful reminder to Buddhists to stand testament to their practice in their own special ways.

State-of-my-data-mining-exploits report

I haven’t devoted much time to trying to data-mine myself into some new understanding of the Buddhacarita, but I’ve to talk about it tomorrow, and present my work to-date to my class tomorrow, so here’s a brief review.

1. My data comes from the Chinese version of the Buddhacarita found in the digital version of the Taisho Shinshu Daizokyo as completed by CBETA. This text is called 佛所行暫.

2. Arthur Chen, a Master’s candidate at the Department of Religious Studies of Hsi Lai University did me a great favor by converting the Chinese text into a tab-delimited file that indicates the location and occurrence of each character in the entire 60,000-character-long text. There are 1997 unique characters.

3. In preparation for a clustering analysis of the file, I have removed about a 100 unique characters because they are not quite meaningful in and of themselves. These include prepositions and conjunctions, etc.

4. Clustering analysis is used because there cannot be supervised learning (the characters cannot be classified into known categories). In this case, I am trying to explore if there are some unknown – and unexplored – connections between the characters that my current manual reading and interpretation of the text.

5. There are two possible directions to take here. One is to input an attribute indicating the location (in which chapter, for example) of each character and use clustering to tell me which locations (chapters) are more related to one-another. The other is to use my current understanding of the structure of the text and select material to be clustered, thereby zooming into particular sections and using the results from the analysis to inform my manual reading.

Read with me! Asita’s reason for visiting Suddhodana’s palace (18 Dec 2013) 阿私陀親臨淨飯王宮宇的緣由

Chapter 1: Verses 49-58, on Asita’s reasons for visiting Suddhodana’s palace

第一品:阿私陀親臨淨飯王宮宇的緣由 (中文版在下面

(A full list of topics can be found on my “Daily Readings” page;                                                  閲讀篇章全部收錄與 “Daily Readings” 頁面)

49. Then by reason of the signs and through the power of his austerities the great seer Asita learned of the birth of him (Suddhodana’s son, Siddhartha) who was to put an end to birth, and came to the palace of the Sakya king, thirsting for the holy Law.

50. He was chief among the knowers of the Absolute and shone with the majesty of of priestly power and with the majesty of asceticism. Accordingly the king’s spiritual director brought him into the regal palace with reverence and honour.

51. He entered the precincts of the royal women’s dwelling and the rush of joy that he felt was occasioned only by the birth of the prince; for from the intensity of his austerities and the support afforded by old age he remained otherwise unmoved, deeming himself to be, as it were, in a forest.

52. Then the king rightly honoured the sage, when seated, with water for the feet and proper offerings, and then addressed him with due courtesy, as Antideva of old did Vasistha:-

53. “Fortunate am I and honoured this house that Your Holiness should deign to visit me. Be pleased to command what I should do, O benign one: I am your disciple and you should show confidence in me.”

54. When the sage was invited in this befitting fashion by the king with all cordiality, his large eyes opened wide in admiration and he spoke these profound and solemn words:-

55. “It indeed accords with your great soul, your hospitality, your generosity, your piety, that you should thus show to me a kindly disposition, so worthy of your nature, family, wisdom and age.

56. And this is the course by which those royal seers, acquiring wealth by the subtile Law, ever continued giving it away according to rule, thus being rich in austerities and poor in worldly goods.

57. But hear the reason for my visit and be rejoiced. In the path of the sun I heard a divine voice saying, “To thee is born a son for Enlightenment.”

58. As soon as I heard the voice, I put my mind into trance and understood the matter through the signs. Then I came here to see the lofty banner of the Sakya race uplifted like the banner of Indra.

T04n0192_p0002c02║ 時近處園中,  有苦行仙人,
T04n0192_p0002c03║ 名曰阿私陀,  善解於相法,
T04n0192_p0002c04║ 來詣王宮門,  王謂梵天應。
T04n0192_p0002c05║ 苦行樂正法,  此二相俱現,
T04n0192_p0002c06║ 梵行相具足,  時王大歡喜。
T04n0192_p0002c07║ 即請入宮內,  恭敬設供養,
T04n0192_p0002c08║ 將入內宮中,  唯樂見王子。
T04n0192_p0002c09║ 雖有婇女眾,  如在空閑林,
T04n0192_p0002c10║ 安處正法座,  加敬尊奉事,
T04n0192_p0002c11║ 如安低牒王,  奉事波尸吒。
T04n0192_p0002c12║ 時王白仙人:  「我今得大利。
T04n0192_p0002c13║ 勞屈大仙人,  辱來攝受我,
T04n0192_p0002c14║ 諸有所應為,  唯願時教勅。」
T04n0192_p0002c15║ 如是勸請已,  仙人大歡喜:
T04n0192_p0002c16║「善哉常勝王,  眾德悉皆備。
T04n0192_p0002c17║ 愛樂來求者,  惠施崇正法,
T04n0192_p0002c18║ 仁智殊勝族,  謙恭善隨順。
T04n0192_p0002c19║ 宿殖眾妙因,  勝果現於今,
T04n0192_p0002c20║ 汝當聽我說,  今者來因緣。
T04n0192_p0002c21║ 我從日道來,  聞空中天說,
T04n0192_p0002c22║ 言王生太子,  當成正覺道。
T04n0192_p0002c23║ 并見先瑞相,  今故來到此,
T04n0192_p0002c24║ 欲觀釋迦王,  建立正法幢。」

Am I forcing the structure upon the text?

I spent a couple of days to organize me thoughts on my research in order to present it at my thesis proposal defense, and two questions popped up; Questions that Prof Huifeng tells me I would meet even when I have completed the research (if that is ever possible) and made “conclusive” results – so I better be prepared.

The first is: How can I be sure of the text’s original meaning since I can read the original in Sanskrit?

My thoughts: I can’t read it, nor do I believe I could have learnt to understand the text within the time I have completing my program. But I am quite heavily aided by E.H. Johnston’s heavily annotated critical edition and his translation, and also University of Oslo’s Bibliotheca Polyglotta project, which also features synoptic text for texts from the Abhidharmakośabhāṣya to the Grammar of Buddhist Chinese.

If I were to be really careful, I could also look up all the verses that indicate correspondence according to my analysis in Sanskrit. But that would perhaps be too much work, and, depending on the quality of my guesswork and the Sanskrit-English dictionary, not all that fruitful.

So I resolve to pay more attention to Johnston’s footnotes when I look for correspondences.

The second question: How can I ensure that I do not force the structure upon the text?

My thoughts: At this point I can’t. On a lighter note, Eric half-jokingly said that “every reading is a forced reading”. I can only say that the conditions that are placed upon the text for it to be recognised as chiasmic are not quite that easy to fulfil.

I once thought I could check the text against a variety of known literary structures to check if the chiasmus is the “best fit”. But that would, again, take way too much time and knowledge. So, it’s back to the books to find out what have the scholars written about this issue. I’ll report back in later.

A side note: I have started a page and included excerpts from E.H. Johnston’s translation of his critical edition of the Buddhacarita.