Bodhisattvacharyavatara by Acharya Śāntideva

Chapter VI– verse 123

Transglomeration: Just as there could be no joy, no alleviation in their mind, for someone being offered whatever sort of exquisite delicacy when their body was completely engulfed in fire, likewise, when beings are in torment, whether I directly perpetrate it or not, there is no joy to be found for the Compassionate Ones.

~~~ “BCA” ~~~

Text: still 4-liner verses in the Sanskrit (started verse 120), still haven’t figured out why this might be

Text: there is some riffing around the word ‘pleasure’ in this verse: no pleasure (for those burning) with objects of pleasure; no pleasure for those Beings of Ultimate Pleasure when beings suffer: no p in p when burning; no p for Ps when suffering

Text: It is only Berzin, so far, who has made this part read ‘there is no way to delight the Compassionate Ones’ (i.e. transitive, one making the Buddhas happy (with ones virtuous deeds etc.) cf. the previous verse) rather than ‘the Compassionate Ones cannot find joy when…’ (passive – suggesting, as phrased, a lack in the Compassionate Ones’ finding skills(!?), even less than the phrasing ‘there is no joy to be found here when …’); I think the transitive inflection fits better with what was established in verse 122, that of the incompatibility of pleasing the Buddhas with formal worship when, at the same time, causing harm to other beings in one’s everyday life

Text: Sanskrit tends to the generalised ‘when beings are in pain’, whereas Tibetan tends to the specific ‘when I give beings pain’: in both cases the point is the same (i.e. Buddhas – the Compassionate Ones, the Ones who have exchanged self-concern completely for other-concern and have exponential-ised that exchange through full realisation of the emptiness of any self of ‘one’ or the ‘other’ to be concerned about, so there is just Compassion – these ones cannot be happy (= there is no happiness to be found) as long as a sentient being is in pain), whether it was me (who is doing the offering/devotion to the Buddhas) who caused their pain or not, it’s just that it is wholly ironic if it is me doing the hurting while I am making worship to the Buddhas to try to better myself; it would be far better if I stopped doing this false worship and sort out my behaviour with other beings, in fact it would be an offering to the Buddhas if I behaved decently and well with all beings (in deed, in speech, in my mind)

Stitch: this an illustration of what was established in verse 122, and more specifically from the phrase ‘and as I bring pain to beings, likewise do I bring pain to the Munis’: and so, in the second half of verse 123, wherein it is shown that the Compassionate Ones can find no joy when beings suffer, it is already read and established that this means if I am all along ‘bringing pain to beings’; the Tibetan bevels this out a little more explicitly in its translation, but it is there clearly if the verses are being read ‘stitched’

Trichotometric embroidery: emphasising, again, that I (’oneself’) cannot leave the state of being sentient to being Enlightened (‘the Buddhas’), (it’s not like joining a club), without incorporating all other beings (‘all beings’) in the transition because the Buddhas are as enveloped in the welfare of all beings as it is possible to be – the heart of being a Buddha is the boundless compassion experienced for the plight of all beings in saṃsāra (heartbreakingly mixed with the realisation of all their lack of inherent being which makes their whole plight so pitiful); the Buddhas don’t just have compassion for ‘oneself’ – it’s not all about just ‘me, me, me’ – they will not be gratified by my self-serving worship of them if I am neglecting the benefit of others; the way of being (‘yāna’) of Bodhichitta is, and can only be, universal (‘Mahā’) or it is, certainly not nothing at all (it’s still far, far more than remaining sentient in saṃsāra), but much less (‘Hīna’) than all

Practice: don’t be self-satisfied with your own spiritual development if it is independent from meeting the needs and happiness of others; my devotion to the Buddha or my study of the Dharma Teachings or my reliance on the Saṅgha mean little if I, at the same time, wreak havoc and discomfort on other beings … reminiscent of the LoJong precept ‘don’t practise with partiality’ …

Practice: and even more specifically, it means not getting worked up about the progress of my spiritual practice, studies and projects at the expense of my responding to the needs and happiness of those to whom I am married, to whom I am a father, with whom I have occasional contact, both near or far: if I am shying away from contact with people because I think I won’t get as much study or reading or mantras in, then I know I’ve gone wrong somewhere – correct it