Under the rose-apple tree

Under the rose-apple tree

Saturday, 1 March 2014

MŪLA-MADHYAMAKA-KĀRIKĀ 27.30: Towards Abandonment of All Views

sarva-dṛṣṭi-prahāṇāya yaḥ saddharmam-adeśayat |
anukampām upādāya taṁ namasyāmi gautamam || 27.30

In the direction of abandoning all views,

He taught the true dharma,

Putting compassion into practice.

I bow to him, Gautama.

This verse concludes the final canto of Nāgārjuna's Mūla-madhyamaka-kārikā, which my teacher Gudo Nishijima regarded as being a very important work. 

I decided while sitting this afternoon, on the 1st March 2014, that I would begin this blog today, at the finishing line. Subsequently, maybe around the summer of 2015, if I live long enough, after getting to the end of the extant part of Buddha-carita, I will start work on Nāgārjuna's MMK. Having started, I will carry on, in the spirit of polishing a tile. Whether or not I get to the finishing line,  every step of the way I will at least know in what direction the finishing line lies --> in the direction of abandoning all views.

It strikes me as very meaningful that Nāgārjuna began the final verse in this work with "abandonment of all views" in the dative case. The dative expresses movement in a direction. To miss this point might be to have totally missed what I have come to see as the most fundamental point of the Buddha's teaching.  

The point I refer to is that there is no such thing as a right position, but there is such a thing as a right direction. 

sarva-dṛṣṭi-prahāṇāya (dat. sg.): towards the abandonment of all views
sarva: mfn. all
dṛṣṭi: f. view, notion ; theory , doctrine , system
prahāṇa: n. relinquishing , abandoning , avoiding

yaḥ (nom. sg. m.): [he] who
saddharmam (acc. sg. m.): the true dharma
adeśayat = 3rd pers. sg. causative imperf. diś: to show, point out, assign ; to direct , order , command; teach , communicate , tell , inform

anukampām (acc. sg.): f. sympathy, compassion
anu- √ kamp: to sympathize with , compassionate
upādāya = abs. upā - √dā: to receive , accept , gain , acquire , appropriate to one's self , take away , carry off , steal; to take as help , use , employ , apply ; to seize , lay hold of , gather , take up , draw up ; to feel , perceive , experience

tam (acc. sg. m.): him
namasyāmi = 1st pers. sg. namas: to pay homage
gautamam (acc. sg.): Gautama