I keep finding more to say and more and more sources about the Man of Wood. That's why today I decided to blog about the Man of Stone (rdo'i mi) instead. I'll begin by just giving the sources, since I'm not sure if I'll write any conclusion at all today. To do that I would first have to get into some new... to me... and interesting... well, to myself at least... insights that cover both the Man of Wood and the Man of Stone as a 'natural' pair. And to do that I'd have to go into some new thinking on the Man of Wood, which I'll just have to save for another time, since the sources seem to keep rolling in. I'd hate to jinx this by writing about it too soon.
Just a hint for those few who might be able to accept it with supernatural ease: wood and stone are images that Buddhists could and did use to talk about issues of insentience, which is the alternative to sentience (as in 'sentient beings' which we could just as well call 'sapient beings'). They are images that (in one area or another... this being an important point... as in illness, fear, anxiety, counterproductive thinking... Well, you get the idea), encourage imperviousness, immovability. Even non-thought or 'mindlessness' in a certain sense, at least, if you don't mind me using that scary term (and if you do, you just never mind for now). Without wasting any more of our precious time (only joking, actually I could just care less about our precious time and plan to use up a whole lot of it, Huh huh haw!), I'd like to give just about all the examples I could find in the Zhijé Collection. The first ones I have translated in complete verses. The single lines work fine individually, but there is also a strong possibility that there may be, at times, an elusive conceptual continuity...
The first source, unlike the others, is found both in the Dergé Tanjur (no. 2440) and in the Zhijé Collection (vol. 1, pp. 383-404, at p. 387). It's called Secret Vajra Song: Great Sealing Precepts (Phyag-rgya-chen-po'i Man-ngag Rdo-rje Gsang-ba'i Glu). This is a Mahâmudrâ teaching from the Great Siddha by the name of Saraha, who ought to be the author, therefore. But I wonder if it resulted from a vision Padampa had of Saraha, which would mean we could with some reason call Padampa the author, too? (Just a question. Not like I have an answer or anything.)
dud pas mi 'jigs rtsi med sbrang ma'i tshang ||
'chi bdag kha ru ma tshud skye 'gro gad ||
lus la 'byung ba ma 'khrugs rdo yi mi ||
ming nas bos pas shi ba ldog gam ci ||
gad > ZC gang. rdo yi mi > ZC rdo'i myi.
It won't be destroyed by smoke, the beehive with no honey.
The creature not thrown into the mouth of the death lord, [show me] one.
In his body are no disturbances of the elements,* the man of stone.
Its name called out, does the dead man turn around to see?
*Disturbance of the elements very simply means physical sickness.
... ... ...
ZC vol.1, p. 396
gzeb > ZC gseb. rdo yi mi yi > ZC rdo'i myi'i. rig > ZC rigs. chag > ZC chags.
sgo nga > ZC sgong nga.
Oh my! The person of illusion has lost his ideas about things.
No profit will come of it, a basket full of wealth in a dream.
The intelligence (Vedas?) of the man of stone, Where did it go?
The elephant with no tusks on its head has nothing to fear.
The banana tree has no essence, neither within nor without.
Taking the egg but not checking for the viper is not to be done.
Do the rishis* [need] nurses and antidotes, you think?
The ship captain's son, for familiarity with the islands, questions his father.
*The ancient sages (seven or eight rishis) of Indian lore are the real founders of medicine among humans. They are believed to live forever... well, very nearly so.
... ... ...
ZC vol. 1, p. 401
sgra nyan pa yi phag rgod gdams pa ston ||
ngan smras bstod tshig khyad med rdo yi mi ||
smig rgyu'i klung na chu thigs yod ma yin ||
skye dang 'chi ba mo gsham bus ma byas ||
sgra nyan pa yi > ZC sgra la nyan pa'i. rdo yi mi > ZC rdo'i myi. smig rgyu'i klung > ZC dmyig sgyu'i rlung. yod ma > ZC yod pa.
The wild pig* that listens to the sound is teaching the precepts.
Speaking ill or hymns of praise make no difference to the man of stone.
In a mirage river there are no water drops.
Being born and dying are things the barren woman's child doesn't do.
*For the wild pig, see no. 57 here.
ZC vol. 1, p. 417
rdo'i myi zhes pa ni / rdo'i myi srin mo'i gling du skyal kyang myi 'jigs pa bzhin du / sems nyid kyi rtsa ba chod pas phyi nang gi 'jigs pa gang la yang spang blang myed pa gcig dgos / de byung na gnyen po phyir 'phel [~phul] ces pa ste / khams na sgun [~rgun] 'brum skems pa la kra ka srung dgos pas / de la dang po kra ka gcig bsad de gsob phyar bas des thub skad // de dang 'dra bar dben pa'i gnas su dge' sbyor nyams su len rtsam na / bar chad 'jigs skam [skyems? rgam?] pa la sogs pa myi mthun phyogs kyi rdog [~rtog, ~dogs] pa byung na / de sems nyid kyi nang du ngo sprad de / rtog pa dbyings su gsad / phyis skyes kyi rtog pa de kun bsrings pas / go cha bzang ste gnyen po phyir 'phel ba'o.
If you were to take a man of stone to a rakshasi island it would have no fear. Even so, when you have gotten to the root of Mind Proper, what is required is an absence of acceptance/rejections toward any fearful thing, whether inner or outer. When that happens, send the antidotes back where they came from.
In Kham, they say, when drying grapes they have to guard them from the crows. So first they kill one crow and fly it as a scarecrow and that suffices. Similarly, when you start practicing the virtuous applications in an isolated place, you may become fearful of inimical forces, like fear of obstacles. In that case recognize it as belonging to Mind Proper and slay the mental reservations [troubling thoughts] in the Realm. That will completely close off access for all the mental reservations that would have arisen later on. Put on this excellent armor [of renunciation] and send the antidotes away.
ZC vol. 1, p. 439
If an attractive young woman were to have her head catch on fire she would put everything else aside and kill the fire. Likewise, perseverance in all the Dharma practices is essential. For example, if you were to strike a man of stone with whip or club, it would not produce in him the least displeasure. Similarly you ought to weather the inimical winds of bodily injuries and mental injuries.
ZC vol. 1, p. 446
For example, it is said that in India, a homeless person with no possessions might go to a cremation ground and eat the food offerings left there for the dead, and dress himself in shrouds. But even he has fear of wild carnivores. A stone man is free from fear and ruin. Emulate him when you do the spiritual practices (sâdhana). Give up attachment to life and limb.
ZC vol. 2, p. 167
As a symbolic way of saying that this understanding is a conceptual one, that there is nothing that could make one understand the real meaning, no master who could make one understand
— “There was this yogi who was explaining Dharma to men of stone.”
As a symbolic way of saying that the explainer of the secret precepts is like an echo, and that they haven't yet made the ear that could make it understandable to the hearer
— “It was heard with turtle ears.”
ZC vol. 2, p. 205
When a yogi taught dharma to a man made of stone, it was heard in the turtle's ear.*
*For a weird exchange about turtle ears, see this Early Tibet blog. The idea here is that the turtle doesn't have any ear (actually, it has two so-called tympana, but anyway), and therefore nothing to hear with, but nevertheless hears. This is one of the 'wonders of the world' that Padampa tells his Tingrian students he has seen. He's having fun with them. In a way.
... ... ...
This next one is a citation from a still unidentified work called Ornament of Shining Precious Substances (Rin-po-che Snang-ba'i Rgyan). From citations elsewhere in the Zhijé Collection, we know that this is a Vajra Song (ZC vol. 5, p. 386):
rdo'i myi yis rma bya'i mdongs ||
kha dog ci 'dra shes myi 'gyur ||
sems la ma brten yul myi snang ||
phyi rol don du bden gyurd na ||
ngo bo chu'i dngos po la ||
lha dang yi dags nya sbal gyis ||
bdud rtsi rnag khrag yul khyim du ||
mthong bar rigs pa ma yin no zhes pa'o ||
The man of stone is not going to recognize
what colors the feathers of the peacock might be.
Without being based in mind, no external realms appear.
If external objects were true in any essential way,
in consequence the thing made of the substance water,
you will have to agree,
would not be seen by gods, pretas* and fish or tadpoles
as nectar, bloody pus and homeland.
*See Fenner's article (p. 260), where he translates this verse from the Mahayana philosopher Candrakirti:
"6.71 Like (a person who) has a diseased (sense) faculty, a spirit (yi-dwags, preta) at a flowing river also experiences pus. In summary, as there are no objects of knowledge so also there is no mind. Understand this meaning thus."I much prefer Huntington's (p 165) translation:
"[The mechanism involved when] hungry ghosts experience cognition of a river flowing with pus is identical to that of the visual organ afflicted with ophthalmia. Our meaning here must be understood as follows: Just as there is no object of knowledge, so there is no cognition."
... ... ...
ZC vol. 5, p. 478
rnal 'byord pa cig rdo'i myi la chos bshad pas ru[s] sbal gyi rna bar thos |
A yogi taught Dharma to a man of stone and it was heard in the ear of the turtle.*
*This is also one of those 'wonders of the world' passages. It is repeated more than once or twice in the collection.
... ... ...
PS: I really want to write something about the monkey paw that gets washed in the 'borax' (?) water, but so much to write and so little time. We'll see. Did anybody see those puppets? They were here a few minutes ago. Where did I leave them? Never mind.
Todd Fenner, Candrakîrti's Refutation of Buddhist Idealism, Philosophy East & West, vol. 33, no. 3 (July 1983), pp. 251-61. Full text available here.
C.W. Huntington Jr., with Geshe Namgyal Wangchen, The Emptiness of Emptiness: An Introduction to Early Indian Madhyamika, Motilal Banarsidass (Delhi 1989).
Kurtis R. Schaeffer, Dreaming the Great Brahmin: Tibetan Traditions of the Buddhist Poet-Saint Saraha, Oxford University Press (Oxford 2005).