November 16, 2014


dPal-sprul, sNying nor (p. 40):

’khrul med rgyal ba’i bka’ zhes grags na yang ||
dad med mig sngar shog logs ri mo tsam ||
zab gnad dam pa’i gsung zhes nyan na yang ||
nges ’byung med la zhal gyi rlangs par zad ||

Although known as the genuine Word of the Victorious One, 
In the eyes of one with no [faculty of] appreciation, [it] is mere image on the surface of a paper. 
Although one listens to “the profound teachings of the Sublime One” (e.g. master),
To one who has no sense of renunciation, [these] are nothing but vapors [coming out] of [his/her] mouth.

Points to Ponder Over:

(1) dPal-sprul is describing  what I elsewhere called “Dharma-fatigue syndrome.”
(2) It makes us reflect on the idea of the Buddha’s Word (sangs rgyas kyi bka’: buddhavacana). For someone who is not intellectually and emotionally receptive, even “genuine” buddhavacana is nothing but some images on a page. For someone, who is intellectually and emotionally receptive and appreciative, even rustling of leaves in the wind or insulting or abusive words of a malicious enemy might “teach” one something and hence function like the Word of the Buddha. Such an idea seems to presuppose the idea that there is no such thing as “intrinsically valid or valuable” Word of the Buddha. Any word, even that of the Anti-Buddha (e.g. Māra), can be accepted as the Buddha’s Word insofar it is “extrinsically or instrumentally valid or valuable,” that is, efficient and beneficent for bringing about the reduction or elimination of pain and suffering of sentient beings. Of the two kinds of criteria of scriptural and doctrinal authenticity, which I have recently proposed, namely, genetic-diachronic and generic-synchronic criteria, the criterion of “extrinsic or instrumental validity or value” would be subsumed under the latter.
(3) I am experimenting with the translation of dad pa by rendering it as “[faculty of] appreciation.” That dad pa is considered a faculty requires no justification. Just consider dad pa’i dbang po, which is a dge ba’i dbang po. It is quasi-synonymous with dang ba, a clear state of mind in which appreciable/wholesome qualities, for example, of the Buddha, Dharma, and Saṃgha, come to be reflected or mirrored. I understand that dad pa has to do with a clear state of mind, which enables appreciation of other people’s good qualities. A murky, turbid, turbulent, or, toxic state of mind does not allow one to appreciate anything and anyone. Someone who is incapable of dad pa is also incapable of compassion. Cf. sangs rgyas nam mkhar phur kyang dad pa med. sems can rgyu ma lug kyang snying rje med
(4) Note the syntactical construction: x + par zad (“nothing but x”) = x + tsam.

Cf. dPal-sprul, sNying nor (p. 38): 
de lta na yang grub brnyes gong ma rnams ||
phyi yi yul ’di dpe char gsungs pas na ||

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