smokey wrote:"Through the round of many births I roamed without reward, without rest, seeking the house-builder. Painful is birth again & again. House-builder, you're seen! You will not build a house again. All your rafters broken, the ridge pole destroyed, gone to the Unformed, the mind has come to the end of craving." — Dhp 153-4
Was he referring to the craving or mental fermentations?
This is not the only instance in Buddhism (or the Tipitakas) where words associated with the art and craft of Building is used by the Buddha and Ananda and the original followers of Buddha. It's just "invisible" when Buddhism is translated into English. Certain key things are often lost in translation.
First the word "Tipitaka" has an Building significance. It means "The Three Baskets." Most people never ask themselves why the imagery of Baskets is used and what its original significance was in 2500BC.
At a construction site way back then when masons and builder gathered to construct something baskets were used by the workers first to haul dirt out of an area so that a foundation can be laid down. After that the baskets were used to transport brick and stone to the work sight. If Tipitaka has a building significance, then we may ask if there are more words associated with Building? And there are, in fact, most key words associated with Buddhism have original building meanings.
Upasaka or Upasika also has a building significance. Up+as+aka/ika originally meant "One Who Serves," or "One Who Attends," or "One Who is Close By At Hand." In modern lingo we would call such people "gofers," or labourers, or attendants.
Believe it or not the original meaning of both the Sanskrit word "Karma," and the Pali word "Kamma" both means to "Build." A Karmika meant a Builder. The root word "Kar" today in Khmer still has the meaning of "To Work," "Labour," or a "Job." This word is still used to mean Builder or Architect:
There is a Great Architect in Vedic mythos named Vishvakarman meaning Great Architect: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vishvakarman
Vishvakarman makes a few cameo appearances in the Tipitakas (jataka) under his Pali name Vissukamma which means the same thing. In the Tipitaka Vissukamma inhabits a realm in the Kamasugati named "33" after the 33 founders of that realm, Vissukamma being one of them. In the Jataka Vissukamma follows orders from the Buddha. In one story he builds for the Buddha an emerald staircase so Buddha can descend to the earth. In Khmer he is known as Bisnukara. There is a ceremony and ritual held for Bisnukara when a new Wat (Temple) is going to be built in Khmer & Thai Buddhist culture.
- http://www.palikanon.de/english/pali_na ... akamma.htm
Kamma (nt.) [Vedic karman, work esp. sacrificial process. For ending
˚man=Idg. *men cp. Sk. dhāman=Gr. dh=ma, Sk. nāman=Lat nomen] the
doing, deed, work; orig. meaning (see karoti) either building (cp. Lit. k�rti,
Opr. kūra to build) or weaving...
For ending ˚man=Idg. *men cp. Sk. dhāman=Gr. dh=ma, Sk. nāman=Lat
nomen] the doing, deed, work; orig. meaning (see karoti) either building (cp.
Lit. k�rti, Opr. kūra to build) or weaving, plaiting (still in
mālākamma and latā˚ "the intertwining of garlands and
Dhamma, like other key words, originally had an architectural significance also:
Dhamma1 (m. & rarely nt.) [Ved. dharma & dharman, the latter a formation like
karman (see kamma for expln of subj. & obj. meanings); dhṛ (see
dhāreti) to hold, support: that which forms a foundation and upholds=
that which forms a foundation and upholds= constitution. Cp. Gr. qro/nos, Lat.
firmus & fretus; Lith. derme (treaty), cp. also Sk. dhariman form, constitution,
perhaps=Lat. forma, E. form] constitution etc
Originally Dhamma has two meanings related to the craft of Building: 1) The Foundation of a structure & 2) The Blueprints or "constitution" an Master Architect draws out to be followed by his workmen.
The words the Buddha used: Kusala and Akusala which are mistranslated into English sometimes as "good," and "bad," which gives it some sort of moral quality. Both originally had non-moralistic Building meanings. Kusala actually means "Skillful," or "Trained," while Akusala means "Unskillful," or "Untrained."
Those two words in their original meanings has great significance in context and in conjunction with the word Kamma as the Buddha used the phrases: Kusalla kamma and Akusala Kamma.
Those two phrases are mistranslated in English as "Good Karma," and "Bad Karma," when in Pali the phrase has the semantic essence and quality of: Skilled Building/Work and Unskilled Building/Work.
This explains Buddha's ideation of Causation a whole lot better. The Mind of an architect draws the blueprints. The workers takes that blueprint and Works. If the Blueprint sucks the Temple (End Result/Fruit) will suck. And if the Workers are Unskilled, the Temple will come out sucky even if the blueprint/Dhamma is well drafted.
Skilled Work produces a Kusala Fruit. Unskilled Work yields Akusala Fruit in life.
"House-Builder" in this context would thus refer to Chitta in its Mortal State, because it is the House-Builder: Upasaka, Worker who follows the Dhamma drafted by Buddha.
Lastly in Thai and Khmer "Buddh-ism" is referred to as Preahput Sasana [Khmer] or Praput Sasana [Thai]. The word sasana also alludes to this building theme. Sasana doesn't mean "religion." It means a set of orders, commands, or instructions to be followed. In the same sense that the US Constitution is a set of orders, commands, and instructions to be followed.