Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Konjaku Monogatarishū Vol. 2, Tale 1: Śuddhodana's Death #1 (part 7)

Fig. 1: 失
Fig. 2: 御
Last time, Śuddhodana's life finally came to an end. But the story doesn't end there:
As [Śuddhodana] vanished, the Buddha and Nanda were both at his bedside (fig. 1), while Ānanda and Rāhula were both at his feet (fig. 2).
Note the term 「枕上」 — it means "a person's bedside", in this case Śuddhodana's. As for 「候ひ」, that is the continuative form (連用形) of the verb 「候ふ」, which is an archaic verb for "to be".

I wasn't entirely sure about the furigana for the kanji in 「在シマス」, but based on dictionary entries like 「ましま」, I guessed that the text had an alternate writing where 「しま」 had been moved from the furigana into the okurigana.

Edit: as explained by Matt in the comments below, 「御跡」 means "feet", rather than the literal meaning of "remains".

Fig. 4: 佛


Fig. 3: カクテ
Thus, during the funeral (fig. 3), in order to warn people in the far future about failing to repay their debts of gratitude to their parents for their upbringings, the Buddha (fig. 4) went to shoulder his father’s coffin, when (fig. 5) a major earthquake hit, and the world was not calm (fig. 6).
 The first point of confusion in fig. 4 is the meaning of the phrase 「末世の衆生」. According to the explanation on this page, it refers to "people [the masses] in the distant future", which makes sense in this context.

Fig. 5: 父ノ
Next, we see the kanji 「恩」 by itself. It has a couple of meanings, including "favor", "obligation", and "debt of gratitude". I think either of the last 2 would apply here.

There is also the verb 「報ふ」, which means "to repay [a debt]". Note how it is in the Sinitic "negative first" grammatical format in the original text. I have changed it to the Japanese equivalent in the quoted text above.

「報ふ」 is in the imperfective form here (未然形), followed by the negative auxiliary verb 「ず」, which is also in the imperfective form and takes on the form 「ざら」. Finally,  we see the auxiliary verb 「む」 in the attributive form (連体形), which has several possible meanings. I think it takes on the "hypothetical" meaning here, since it refers to something that happens in the distant future.

That same verb is encountered at the end of 「給ハム」, but there takes on the meaning of intention ("in order to"). It's also seen with this meaning in fig. 5: 「荷ハム」.

Fig. 6: 

The meaning of 「御棺」 is explained here — it's a polite way of referring to the coffin that Śuddhodana was placed in.

The kanji 「為」 is used in fig. 5 for a different purpose than it is at the end of fig. 4. Here, it represents the verb 「」, which has the same meaning as the modern verb 「する」.

At the end of fig. 6, there is another Sinitic negative pattern — 「不安ス」. The okurigana 「ス」 is missing dakuten. This is very interesting, as it must be the auxiliary negative verb 「ず」, even though there is also a 「不」 in the original text.

1 comment:

  1. "Ānanda and Rāhula were both at his remains" -- wow, they don't waste time! Just kidding, 御跡 is actually an honorific way of writing "feet", as famously (and topically!) seen in Bussokusekika #1:

    御跡作る 石の響きは 天に至り 地さえ揺れ 父母がために 諸人のために

    "May the ringing/ Of the stone whereon we fashion/ The holy footprints/ Reach heaven, and earth itself resound –/ For the sake of father and mother,/ For the sake of all people." (Roy Andrew Miller's translation)