Bodhisattvacharyavatara by Acharya Śāntideva
Chapter VII– verse 5
Transglomeration: And do I still not see all these ones about, my mothers, felled and finished with, one by one, without let? And all the while I am one who allows himself a complacent slumber like the buffalo unperturbed before the butcher!
~~~ “BCA” ~~~
V. 4 cornered prey, trapped in birth after birth
↑ Stitch ↓
V. 5 evidence of death all around, but I sit chewing the cud
Glimpse: living (life) in ignorance of death (simile: the buffalo asleep with the butcher – Sharma, ‘…and the butcher’s sword breathing over its neck, one goes on chewing the cud of illusory joys…’); everyone else is dying
Reflection: making the implication of verse 4 even more explicit, there’s nothing clever going on here, no subtlety of argument: death is immanent, it’s there, it’s right behind you! It really is! Verses 4-6 are driving the point home, verse 4 a hook – makes us look completely the other way; verse 5 a body punch, right in the ribs, makes us look stupid, wo wind; verse 6 the downing KO, this is what happens when you live stupidly; and what is ‘stupid’: in verse 5 it is the wilful ignorance we exercise, the ostrich-reaction to what is the single most definite thing in life – death; and this is beyond the ‘o, people die’ realisation, the flippant ‘no one can live forever and can I have that last piece of pizza’, and neither is it the perverse reaction to death that makes a ghoulish fetish and fashion out of it, this should be the realisation that should bite, sink its teeth in and draw blood – the fact that we are still sitting around, chewing the cud, means that that realisation has not bitten; `makes us look really stupid
Determination: if I am really serious about making anything out of my life anything more meaningful than swallowed cud, there needs to be an edge that pricks me out of complacency; now!