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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Nāgabuddhi's Vyavastholi[kā] sect. 1 ed. by Kimiaki Tanaka

In case you missed it (as I have), here is a link to an article by Dr. Kimiaki Tanaka in which he edits the first section of a very important work from the Guhyasamāja tradition. The English abstract pretty much puts everything into perspective, so there is no need to repeat the background information here.

Two words about the name of the author and the title. The Japanese scholar in his earlier articles rather constantly referred to him as Nāgabodhi. This is based on the Tibetan rendering of the name, Klu'i byang chub. However, at one point it was noticed (sorry for not looking up the exact date) that the work from which Tanaka reconstructed much of Nāgabodhi's ouvre, the Vajrācāyanayottama of Rāhulagupta, does mention the name in the form Nāgabuddhi. I prefer to mention him in this form, however, it should be kept in mind that the Vajrācāryanayottama is a rather late work, and it is possible that the name is not the 'original', but a corrupted form. Earlier works mentioning this author must be awaited to settle this question.

As for the title, Dr. Tanaka consistently prints [Samājasādhana]vyavasthālī, although he does note that it is usually spelt Vyavastholi (e.g. the first verse has Vyavastholir nigadyate). It is to be noted that a later authority, the Gūḍhapadā, has a similar form: Vyavastholikā[yāṃ] (ms. 50v). While the first form is doubtless the 'correct' Sanskrit, it cannot be an accident that the Middle-Indic form pops up this often and it should probably be retained, especially as there does not seem to be any semantic difference.

If you have ever tried your luck with what seems to be the single surviving manuscript of this work (more precisely: the photographs thereof in Göttingen), you will know what an arduous task it is to make any sense of some of the blurry photographs Rahula Sankrtyayana took. We must therefore be extremely grateful to Dr. Tanaka for undertaking this work. In what follows I will try to offer some readings that might help to constitute a better text. This is in no way meant to criticize the edition (based on which I corrected countless mistakes in my own partial transcription).

p. 451 (48): tato yogānuyogātiyogamahāyogāḥ krameṇa mahāvajradharam ātmānaṃ niṣpādya ... It is probably better to read the visarga as -nu-, therefore: ... -mahāyogānukrameṇa ...

p. 449 (50): for syandante it is perhaps better to read spandante, and correct varddhamānā to varddhamānāḥ.

p. 442 (57): for yāvad āyanti sāmagrīn na labhate ... we should perhaps read: yāvad utpattisāmagrīn na labhate. In the same sentence we are probably dealing with clumsy scribal punctuation, hence for ... tiṣṭhatīti niścayam āha| we should read ... tiṣṭhatīti niścaya āha, that is to say: tiṣṭhatīti niścaya[ḥ| ]āha| with the āha introducing a new question by the disciple.

p. 441 (58): I wonder if we should conjecture idam idānīntanaṃ madīyakalevaram... for idānīn taṃ madīyaṃ kalevaram...

p. 441 (58) - 440 (59): anenotpattikramabhāvakair sā yogānuyogakrameṇa niṣpannadevatāmūrtir deśayati does not seem to yield any sense. I think we should rather read: anenotpattikramabhāvukānāṃ yogānuyogakrameṇa niṣpannadevatāmūrtiṃ deśayati| 

p. 440 (59): for manuṣyāṇām arthaḥ kartun na śaknuta iti kṛtvā it would be better to read manuṣyāṇām arthaḥ kartuṃ na śakyata iti kṛtvā. On the same page we have: tathā 'ntarābhavastho 'pi saptāhātyaye(=je) nānādisvavikalpavāsanāprabandhodbhūtakarmaṇā saṃcodite saty utpatti gṛhṇāty ... Better read tathāntarābhavam api saptāhāt [saṃ?]tyajya anādisvavikalpavāsanāprabandhodbhūtakarmaṇā saṃcodita utpattiṃ gṛhnāty ...? [later add.: make sure you read the first comment for this]

p. 435 (64): for punsān read pumān.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for the post. Re the author's name there is some useful discussion (though it does not come to a conclusion) in van der Kuijp 2007 (Steinkellner Festschrift).

Re the name of the text: indeed, it is clear that Vyavastholi(kā)/Vyavastholī should be preferred. The forms with the Middle-Indic -o- are also found (apart from in the Gūḍhapadā which you mention) used by e.g. Muniśrībhadra (unfortunately, Tomabechi and Jiang constantly emended their author's Vyavastholyām to Vyavasthālyām), Kelikuliśa, and Abhayākaragupta.

Your proposed corrections are very useful. It is to be hoped that Tanaka will published a revised edition, including the whole of the text, at some point in the future.

'It is probably better to read the anusvāra as -nu-,'. You meant visarga rather than anusvāra? I think, by the way, that the MS does indeed have clearly -nu.

anenotpattikramabhāvukānāṃ is a typo for anenotpattikramabhāvakānāṃ I suppose?

If I may enter into some discussion of one passage, the last one in which you put forward corrections: for
tathā 'ntarābhavastho 'pi saptāhātyaye(=je) nānādisvavikalpavāsanāprabandhodbhūtakarmaṇā saṃcodite saty utpatti gṛhṇāty ... you say 'Better read tathāntarābhavam api saptāhāt [saṃ?]tyajya anādisvavikalpavāsanāprabandhodbhūtakarmaṇā saṃcodita utpattiṃ gṛhnāty ...?'
I think that -atyaya in the sense of 'passing, lapse' at the end of compounds with word expressing a duration of time is perfectly good; and the instrumental is also acceptable. Neither Tanaka's conjecture nor yours seems to me an improvement, or indeed necessary (in my opinion the Tibetan translation's dor te is not by any means proof that we should have in the Sanskrit some form of tyaj). Your other conjectures in this passage also do not convince me, with the exception of utpattiṃ for Tanaka's utpatti (the anusvāra is perhaps there in the MS, though goodness knows I can't swear to it). The only thing that is syntactically disturbing is saṃcodite saty where we would want/expect (accepting antarābhavastho 'pi, which incidentally has some support from the Tibetan translation) saṃcoditaḥ san (sann, allowing for sandhi). As for this, let me note that in the parallel passage (it is not extremely close in wording, but the parallelism is nonetheless clear enough, I would say) in the Caryāmelāpakapradīpa (end of ch. 4), one of the MSS (Wedemeyer's C, followed by him) has saṃcoditaḥ san where the other has saṃcodite sati.
Make of that what you will...


4:40 am  
Blogger PDSz said...

Thanks for the comment, H.! I did indeed mean visarga, this has been corrected.

I think the ms. does read -bhāvukānāṃ, but I'll have to go back and check.

Indeed, that passage... in the words of Rāhulagupta:

aparādho 'yam alpatvāt kṣantavyo viduṣā mama[|]
vikṣepo 'pi hi bālasya tanoty eva mudaṃ guroḥ|

10:48 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

> I think the ms. does read -
> bhāvukānāṃ, but I'll have to go
> back and check.

I can imagine that you read it thus at first; but that is probably confusing the superscript r of -nirmāṇa- in the line below for a medial u.

aparādho 'yam alpatvāt kṣantavyo viduṣā mama[|]
vikṣepo 'pi hi bālasya tanoty eva mudaṃ guroḥ|

That's a rather lovely verse, indeed. The MS reads, though, viduṣāṃ, rather than viduṣā; and though an instrumental is more natural, the plural is good to have, and we should, I think, accept the genitive.

See you soon!


11:36 am  
Blogger elisa freschi said...

Sorry for the basic question. My Japanese is less than non-existent and I failed to locate the article. Could you explain me how to find it or post a more direct link?

10:46 pm  
Blogger PDSz said...

sorry, something rather weird happened. the links have been fixed, click either from the title or from the word `link' and see if it works now.


11:09 pm  
Blogger elisa freschi said...

Thanks a lot, Peter!
How illegible is the part of Chapter 1 which is out of focus in RS's photographs? Can one "read" it, once one knows what should be there (by reading the texts it quotes)? If not or not completely,what do you think of Tanaka's choice to restore the illegible part of the manuscript through the texts it quotes? I am often sceptical about the literality of quotations and would only do it with much caution (see here), but maybe the Guhyasamāja milieu is different…

11:28 pm  
Blogger PDSz said...

Goodness, where to begin. The question, as you would expect, is a rather tricky one. The photos are of varying quality, sometimes they are near-perfect, sometimes the edges are blurred (the camera focused on the middle), sometimes the whole thing is blurred (the camera moved slightly). With the blurs one can sometimes tell what _ought_ to be there (mostly based on the Tibetan, sometimes acc. to context, sometimes from parallels, or simply based on an educated guess), but some akṣaras can still fool you, see the case of visarga read for -nu- above.

The exercise is not at all futile in my view (and I know you were not suggesting that it was), especially if you consider that - at least in this case - this seems to be the only extant ms. of a highly influential work. We do not know where these ms. are right now (sometimes we do know that they still exist, but they cannot be accessed). In short, this is pretty much all we have and we have to make the best of it.

As for the literality of quotations, your suspicions are entirely justified. For the time being, the material being as it is, it is quite an achievement to show that something is quoted somewhere, since it helps us see the relative chronology of these authors a little better. There is overwhelming evidence that quotations are not always 'precise'. Whether this is because the author's memory fails him, or because he has an agenda to tinker the text a little, or because he has a different transmission, or because the scribe of this particular ms. (or ms. transmission) fails to copy precisely, ... well, who's to say. It varies from case to case. Sometimes we can tell that the text is deliberately changed (I think these are the most interesting cases), but most of the times the reasons behind the fluctuation cannot be pinned down.

Doubtless, there is much more to say about this, and I'm convinced your quotation project will yield some very interesting results.

1:51 pm  

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