Bodhisattvacharayvatara: Chapter VI, Patience – verse 78; reflectionary

Bodhisattvacharayvatara by Acharya Śāntideva

Chapter VI – verse 78

Transglomeration: [“It’s not that I am jealous of the merit of the person being praised, but it’s their happiness, not mine; their happiness has nothing to do with me.”] But again, in this way, if you, [O insular mind], allow yourself to be unconcerned or unhappy with others’ experience of happiness, then, logically, you had better give up paying wages or your bills, or giving any reward or benefit since it makes others happy. However, you should realise that this will amount to loss and adversity for you, both seen, in this life, and unseen, in future lives.

~~~ “BCA” ~~~

V. 76-77 overcoming envy/jealousy as a cause of anger: rejoicing in others’ happiness
↑ Stitch ↓
V. 78 but others’ happiness is none of my business; making oneself insular from others’ happiness adversely affects me

Stitch: this is still addressing ‘oh, my mind’ (oneself, some translators use ‘spirit’, whatever, this is a harrowing dressing down, up close and personal) from verse 77, still pointing out to the sulky, recalcitrant, self-obsessed mind what carrying on like this will result in, a consequentialist analysis: if you do this, then this will happen, with implacable cause and effect (karma) reasoning; and the way Śāntideva often achieves this consequentialist analysis is through the use of a …

Switch: not giving to others their due (whether wages, reward, recognition) leads to not being provided for oneself (support, livelihood, care) in the see-able future (i.e. immediately, and over days, months, years) and the unforeseeable future (i.e. future existences, situations which you just didn’t see coming).   What is done out of self-grasping and self-cherishing within saṃsāra is mirrored back to you magnified and distorted within that same saṃsāra that you perpetuate (with all your self-grasping and self-cherishing).   Yes, the opposite is also true, that if you provide for others (their due), then you will be provided for now and hereafter, but that is not the chief point being made in this verse: here is being illustrated one of the ways in which anger is the most destructive of un-virtues (ref. verses 1-2)

Stitch: it’s not clear whether to read the (albeit unstated, but implicit) objection as being un/happy about the person being praised or being un/happy about the person doing the praise, rejoicing.   The previous verse (77) certainly finished up with extolling the virtues of rejoicing, but both the last verse and this verse could be read equally as:

  • the rejoicer creating great virtue because of praising another (making the other happy and gathering people together in that celebration)
  • the rejoicer rejoicing because of the great virtue that the other person has developed in order to have the quality or fortune that is being rejoiced in in the first place

I suppose it’s not an either/or, it’s two aspects of the same activity; what is being emphasised in this verse, however, is that if you (a third party to the rejoicer and the rejoicee) don’t want the happiness of either the rejoicer or the rejoicee, then you experience the adverse results of that not-wanting … and that just doesn’t make sense for anyone …

Reflection: this seems to be in response to the stance: “I’m not bothered with others’ happiness; I don’t care” (and this is not to cast it as ‘evil’ but as usual, an attitude generally held in order to get through the obstacles of my own life, let alone have to worry about everyone else); the verse is ‘responding’: if you don’t want to be concenred about others’ happiness, you’d have to stop giving wages, presents (rewards, prizes, recognition, gifts, time etc.), and opt right out of the round of (even day-to-day mild) happiness, right out of your part in society, in your family, in your workplace.   Fine, but having done that you could then expect nothing from that society/family/employer, you would own nothing, you would be nothing – the only thing that makes you what you are and have in the world/society is what you give to it to be (“and in the end – baung beayinng – the love you take, is equal to the love – la la la la laa – you make”).   The practice of ‘looking after number one’ betrays a fundamental lack of understanding of how society works: it doesn’t just work because of the infrastructure and law, it works because of the giving and taking; and yes, this is just day-to-day happiness, this is happiness situated within saṃsāra, granted, but it is not the infrastructure and law that is saṃsāra, it is the self-centeredness that stops it working that is saṃsāra.   What has this got to do with patience – that we are often angry and frustrated because we aren’t getting our due (I’ve spent most of my life there since age eight) and this verse is graciously pointing out that it is our own making that we don’t get our due – if only we pulled back a bit from our self-centeredness to see)?   What is this verse teaching – guard against insularity, practise openness (almost with a Del-boy Trotter gurn, “you know it makes sense”).

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pursued

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                the clench of cape
                into wing opens heavy doors

                into questioning
                that will be pursued despite

                occasion of legacy
                billowing in after-tow o’er

                hill and vale
                and where leafless branches

                reach, fixed
                in growth, it is fingers will

                pull beyond
                the furl and flack to present

                as white shadow
                in response

 

Detective Comics #403, September 1970, “You Die By Mourning” by Frank Robbins and Bob Brown

 

 

————w(O)rmholes________________________________|—–

Batman wormhole: ‘streetsigns …’
branches & history wormhole: The Boats of Vallisneria by Michael J. Redford – Trees
doors wormhole: A Solitude by Denise Levertov
shadow wormhole: on facing the Have
society wormhole: {reading right to left}
white wormhole: SPRING AND ALL XXII by William Carlos Williams

 

{reading right to left}

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The Crystal Palace, London, 1871

                deep eaves in Sydenham the
                chimney stacks raised high

                to draw the draft – splendid
                in counter – front-garden shrubbery

                left tangled to riot and dampened
                from autumn, seems stuck in

                foreboding brown conflagration;
                the clean stroke of streetlamp

                under sandened sky will not
                be sullied by slimey gas until

                after dark – controlled, controlled blue –
                but, we read in the right direction:

                look, the flag from some
                turgic land of the Empire swaves

                away from its pole – the dirty
                heavens cry – the dwarfed

                chimneys, here, their smoke of
                coke and belch drift

                in the same direction conjuring
                transparent edifice where mens’

                seriousness loom in smudged
                silhouette, foreboding to behold,

                and others scuttle about the
                bright, wide street coming

                and crossing in all direction –
                pushchairs and carriages to hold

 

The Crystal Palace, London, 1871 by Camille Pissaro

 

 

————w(O)rmholes________________________________|—–

autumn wormhole: La Route de Louveciennes, 1870
blue & society & streets wormhole: on facing the Have
brown & wind wormhole: SPRING AND ALL I by William Carlos Williams
garden wormhole: Lapping Reflections [Deep Within Waters] – pageant of the trees
London & sky wormhole: London, 1809
passing wormhole: SPRING AND ALL XI by William Carlos Williams
people wormhole: only
reading wormhole: early // Minoan & Mycenaean Exhibitions in the British Museum – diptych

 

London, 1809

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                there are monoliths built
                of unknowable antiquity

                scattered arcanely about
                the basin horizon,

                pillars of ribs help them
                breathe once a century,

                fields between have yet
                to be built; the Thames

                seethes gaseous silver
                while to the west a

                tarnished silver sphinx
                unicorn, hideous possibility,

                sits solitary as if a pack
                before the proscenium sky

                of gilded cloud steel and
                titan to all of time

 

London from Greenwich Park exhibited 1809 Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775-1851 Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/N00483

London, William Turner, 1809

 

 

————w(O)rmholes________________________________|—–

breathing wormhole: blister on me thumb
buildings wormhole: ‘streetsigns …’
clouds & time wormhole: on facing the Have
gold wormhole: THE GREAT FIGURE by William Carlos Williams
horizon & London wormhole: early // Minoan & Mycenaean Exhibitions in the British Museum – diptych
silver wormhole: that
sky wormhole: Lapping Reflections [Deep Within Waters] – pageant of the trees
Thames wormhole: Plumstead – Woolwich – Plumstead 220211

 

Bodhisattvacharayvatara: Chapter VI, Patience – verses 76 – 77; reflectionary

Bodhisattvacharayvatara by Acharya Śāntideva

Chapter VI – verses 76 – 77

Transglomeration: [76] If someone is attuned enough to spiritual things to find delight and joy in recognising the appearance of excellent qualities and worth in another and praising them as a good person, and if this makes them happy and draws people close together, why then, oh (sulky) mind, don’t you join in with the recognition as well; why are you not rejoicing too and taking the same delight too?   [77] (But isn’t feeling joy and delight an attachment, and therefore bad?)   But this pleasure, this delight cultivated through praise of another’s virtue, is an entirely virtuous activity, a spring, a fountain, of joy, which is not prohibited, but, even, a precept, taught by those of Ultimate Quality and Worth, an excellent way to bring people together of which one should take full advantage.

~~~ “BCA” ~~~

Reflection: so, rather than being envious and sitting to one side of events smouldering anger, while people get on doing stuff and supporting each other (and, face it, Mark, people DO make a whole, world-wide society of life which is both the crowning achievement of humanity, as well as its repeated acts of shame) I should be recognising the good of others: their talent, their kindness, their love, their steadfastness, their generosity, their art, their smile.

 

In fact it is a precept, as the Tibetan would have it, something I should be cultivating, something I should be indulging in; in fact, where fountains are concerned, it is something I should rather be getting drunk on.   It is a (the?) means of getting close to others, of including others, of not rejecting others.   This is not, so much, making friends with others (a bit needy for a Bodhisattva), but of gathering people into my circle of care and thought and concern and recognition … and love.   It is not about gathering disciples or acolytes – it’s not about widening my circle, so much, as enriching the circle that was always there if I wasn’t so sulky and insular that I didn’t know it.   In fact it is not something that will be expressed all that much aloud, only to the people I live with and acquaintances (now that I’ve finished working), but it is something that will be, nevertheless, involved, muscular, glue-like to the society in which I sit, quietly, in my quiet house.

 

And what is stopping me doing it?   And why am I sitting here, sulking.   It’s because I didn’t get the praise, so I’m churlish about dishing it out myself.   ‘Praise’ is getting the reputation, it’s getting the recognition.   It means ‘getting the job’, getting the ‘likes’, getting the ‘followers’, winning the prize, … if I don’t get it (or any of it), I’ll fume with ‘it’s not fair/biased/underserved; what about me, me, me’, I’ll not recognise the joy of the ‘winner’, I’ll not recognise the joy of the ‘bestower/granter’, I’ll just be seething ‘what about me!’.   But the unabashed rejoicing, the not-thinking-about-it and just … rejoicing, the just being happy that some people have found a bit of happiness in this world (and, for goodness’ sake, happiness is not just laying around anywhere to be picked up and delight), this frees me from the me, me, me.   And the only thing making a problem with living a more inclusive life with open arms is … me, me, me: everyone else is delighted, except me, me, me.

 

So come on, oh wondrous Bodhisattva, all piously sitting here on your own making all these prayers for the happiness of all: lighten up and do some virtuing!   It’s free, and hardly takes any effort.

SPRING AND ALL XXII by William Carlos Williams

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                so much depends
                upon

                a red wheel
                barrow

                glazed with rain
                water

                beside the white
                chickens

 

from Spring and All, 1923; “wait, is that it, one of his most famous and quoted poems, and that’s it?”; well, no … this poem was actually nested within a whole weave of contemplations and exclamations to the contrary (quoted liberally, tatteredly and patch-workly – sorry, Bill): “the fixed categories into which life is divided … exist – … not as dead dissections … but in a different condition when energised by the imagination … but at present [early 1920s, America, and hence the upcoming androcentrist reference, I do apologise] knowledge is placed before a man as if it were a stair at the top of which a DEGREE is obtained which is superlative … the inundation of the intelligence by masses of complicated fact is not knowledge … it is on imagination on which reality rides … it is a cleavage through everything by a force that does not exist in the mass and therefore can never be discovered by its anatomisation … it is for this reason that I have always placed art first … art is the pure effect of the force upon which science depends for its reality – Poetry … poetry has to do with the crystallisation of the imagination – the perfection of new forms as additions to nature …”

 

taken from Ali Shapiro at http://blog.pshares.org/index.php/poetic-analytics/: I hope she doesn’t mind – those venn circles, they were so cold and so sweet

 

————w(O)rmholes________________________________|—–

being & life wormhole: on facing the Have
education wormhole: The Boats of Vallisneria by Michael J. Redford – On Doing Nothing
knowledge wormhole: The Boats of Vallisneria by Michael J. Redford – Trees
poetry wormhole: oh, alright then
rain wormhole: THE GREAT FIGURE by William Carlos Williams
reality wormhole: coagulating
red wormhole: SPRING AND ALL I by William Carlos Williams
water wormhole: sun setting over a lake, 1840
white wormhole: Lapping Reflections [Deep Within Waters] – pageant of the trees
William Carlos Williams wormhole: SPRING AND ALL XI by William Carlos Williams

 

sun setting over a lake, 1840

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                                                quick
                let us stand close as our wadded
                       clothing

                                               will allow,
                the watery expanse will dissimulate all
                       possibility

                                                of shore
                at the precise moment that the sun
                       perches

                                               lastly
                over hills before the wider gulf
                       of ever

 

Sun Setting over a Lake, William Turner, 1840

 

 

————w(O)rmholes________________________________|—–

emptiness & space wormhole: The Passage of the St. Gothard, 1804
groundlessness wormhole: with all love released
love wormhole: only
speech wormhole: SPRING AND ALL VI by William Carlos Williams
sunset wormhole: we held cold hands
water wormhole: on facing the Have

 

on facing the Have

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                bone to stone drifting
                catastrophic slow

                lee to face-ward drifting
                shadow to quotidian

                suggesting life
                only when settled

                under branch of roof;
                noticeable change

                comes at the price
                of sheild and pike:

                death-mask disciplined
                to the painted face

                open to the very depth
                of loss, later settled

                to economies of
                plea, barter and

                proliferation of fact
                artisaned superfluous

                to being – faces fixed
                in leer the rest of

                born days, where
                animals are skinned

                under abnegated face,
                where stone walls

                turn green, staining
                clothing and where the

                emerald poise of head
                and neck watches

                the peck of open flay, all
                “exterminated by

                 slow acting and still
                 existing causes …”

                … time begins
                to tick – well it had to

                start somewhere – and
                with time cometh writing

                and with writing the
                topography fades from

                hill-wide face to
                pock-mark street and settlement

                all fitted ingeniously
                with raised wall over arch,

                high to unresolved descant
                always left in minor;

                the woman bends
                to the laundry before

                the rush of water
                released from the mill:

                power is only explicit
                when blocked and

                channelled, tree to
                gable with date

                and signature, silk
                to valence with

                drape of repose and spreading peacock dream;
                so, is there choice

                of governance: cut
                through from neck to child;

                you stay unnatural-still
                your image will be caught,

                you turn, and your
                head will disappear,

                you climb the wall
                and stand still, you

                stay in the mud yard
                and stand still, … only

                hats stay constant, cast-
                iron flanges reach

                from cast-circular
                hinges, woven to corset,

                slave to youth; the
                memorial stone,

                painfully-carved,
                reflects the blue

                of grey cloud, under
                posts of wire

                the death-etched
                face stoops to kiss

                the face of
                wholly mud

 

291218 – spent the afternoon at the Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery to tread time from immemorial to the First World War; the quote is from “Thinking Path” by Shirley Chubb (2004), an exhibition that explores the life and legacy of Charles Darwin, an artwork and series of installations inspired by Darwin’s daily ritual of walking the same path at Down House; “Shadow Stories”, an animated short film by Samantha Moore is not directly referenced but weaves about the whole perambulation; references include the Roman conquest, medieval, Civil War, and industrial exhibits, up to the Open Art Exhibition commemorating the 100th anniversary of the First World War

 

 

————w(O)rmholes________________________________|—–

being & clouds & doing & identity & power wormhole: The Passage of the St. Gothard, 1804
blue & woman wormhole: SPRING AND ALL XI by William Carlos Williams
change & streets wormhole: to let be
death wormhole: What You Are by Roger McGough
dream wormhole: THURSDAY by William Carlos Williams
economics & society & walls & war wormhole: The Boats of Vallisneria by Michael J. Redford – Trees
faces wormhole: The Boats of Vallisneria by Michael J. Redford – With Cows
green & shadow & trees & writing wormhole: Lapping Reflections [Deep Within Waters] – pageant of the trees
grey & time wormhole: La Route de Louveciennes, 1870
Have wormhole: SPRING AND ALL VI by William Carlos Williams
life wormhole: ‘… and yet I think I am so modest: …’
music wormhole: JANUARY by William Carlos Williams
river wormhole: quiet river
roof wormhole: breakfast
stone wormhole: early // Minoan & Mycenaean Exhibitions in the British Museum – diptych
water wormhole: SPRING AND ALL I by William Carlos Williams

 

The Passage of the St. Gothard, 1804

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                this hideous gulf
                I step into, the path

                kept too tight to the
                bulgeoning sides

                urging my center
                of balance out from

                my picky feet; out here,
                I see that now;

                futher up, that I’ll
                never make, the heights

                of terrible summit
                commit unspeakable act,

                leaning to void,
                becoming cloud

 

 

 

————w(O)rmholes________________________________|—–

being & identity wormhole: to let be
clouds wormhole: SPRING AND ALL I by William Carlos Williams
emptiness wormhole: you
feet wormhole: The Boats of Vallisneria by Michael J. Redford – With Pigs
path wormhole: the balance necessary between
power wormhole: What You Are by Roger McGough
realisation wormhole: despite that
space wormhole: ‘streetsigns …’
striving wormhole: the both passive and transitive / non-presumptive pre-conceptualist attenuation of being

 

‘streetsigns …’

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                streetsigns
                point north south east
                in silhouette

                buildings
                rise in solitary storey,
                the wings

                of the Batman
                unfurl under the
                moon and flutter

                suggesting
                all manner of alleyway
                between

 

unfurled from Batman #225, September, 1970; Denny O’Neill, Irv Novick

 

 

————w(O)rmholes________________________________|—–

Batman & buildings wormhole: raised brow
moon wormhole: ‘… plane is upright …’
silhouette wormhole: ‘a blacknight fitted perfectly …’
space wormhole: to let be