"Fundamental of the Middle Way"
An Analysis of Conditioning Causes (Conditions) In 14 verses
Never are any existing things found to originate
From themselves, from something else, from both, or from no cause.
There are four conditioning causes
A cause (hetu) (1), objects of sensations (2), "immediately preceding condition," (3) and of course the predominant influence (4) there is no fifth.
Certainly there is no self-existence (svabhava) of existing things in conditioning causes, etc;
And if no self-existence exists, neither does "other-existence" (parabhava).
The efficient cause (kriya – primary condition, root cause, motive) does not exist possessing a conditioning cause,
Nor does the efficient cause exist without possessing a conditioning cause.
Conditioning causes are not without efficient causes,
Nor are there conditioning causes which possess efficient causes.
Certainly those things are called "conditioning causes" whereby something originates after having come upon them;
As long as something has not originated, why are they not so long (i.e. during that time) "non-conditioning-causes" ?
There can be a conditioning cause neither of a non-real thing (1) nor of a real thing (2).
Of what non-real thing is there a conditioning cause? And if it is already real, what use is a cause?
If an element (dharma) occurs which is neither real nor non-real (4) nor both real- and-non- real (3),
How can there be a cause which is effective in this situation?
Just that which is without an object of sensation is accepted as a real element;
Then if there is an element having no object of sensation, how is it possible to have an object of sensation?
When no elements have originated, their disappearance is not possible.
Therefore it is not proper to speak of an ''immediately preceding condition"; for if something has already ceased, what cause is there for it.
Since existing things which have no self-existence are not real,
It is not possible at all that: "This thing 'becomes' upon the existence of that other one."
The product does not reside in the conditioning causes, individually or collectively,
So how can that which does not reside in the conditioning cause result from conditioning causes?
Then the "non-real" would result from those conditioning-causes.
Why then would a product not proceed also from non-causes?
On the one hand, the product consists in its conditioning causes;
on the other hand, the causes do not consist of themselves.
How can a product resulting from conditioning causes not consisting of themselves be consisting of those causes?
Therefore, that product does not consist in those causes; yet it is agreed that a product does not consist of non-causes.
How can there be a conditioning cause or non-cause when a product is not produced?
An Analysis of "Going to" (Change or Movement) In 25 verses
Nargarjuna: That which is already gone to (gatam – goer after the going - iii)
is not that which is "being gone to" (gamyate);
more so, "that which is not yet gone to" (agatam – goer before the going - i)
is certainly not that "being gone to." (gamyate)
Also, the "present going to" (gamyamana – actual goer - ii)
without "that which is already gone to" and "that which is not yet gone to"
is not "being gone to".
An opponent objects:
Where there is activity (cesta - visible activity) there is a "process of going" (gatis – real going process), and that activity (visible activity) is in the "present going to" (gamyamane - ii).
Then "process of going" (gatis - real going process) is inherent in the "present going to" (gamyamane - ii) since the activity (visible activity) is not in "that which is already gone to" (iii) nor in "that which is not yet gone to." (i)
How will the "act of going" (gamanam - visible activity & displacement) of "present going to" (gamyamana - ii) be produced,
Since both kinds of the "act of going" (visible activity & displacement) as applied to an active process and to the activity of going through space simply are not produced (i.e. originating) in the "present going to" (ii)?
Having the "act of going" (gamanam - visible activity & displacement) of "present going to" (gamyamanasya - ii) has necessarily resulted in a lack of "the present going to" (ii) of the "process of going" (gati - real going process),
For the "present going to" (gamyamana - ii) is the "being gone to" (gamyate).
Recognizing the "act of going" (visible activity & displacement) of "present going to" (ii) results in two kinds of "acts of going" (gamanadvaya - visible activity & displacement):
One by which there is "present going to" (gamyamana - ii), the other which is the "act of going" (gamana - visible activity & displacement).
Two "goers" (gantarau) would fallaciously follow as a consequence of two "acts of going," (visible activity & displacement)
Since certainly the "act of going" (visible activity & displacement) is not produced without a "goer".
If there is no going (gamana) (i.e. gamana equals "act of going") without a "goer" (gantara),
How will the "goer" (ganta / self-existing subject) come into being when there is no "going" (gamana) (i.e. gamana equals "act of going")?
The "goer" does not go (move);
consequently a "non-goer" certainly does not go (move).
What third possibility goes (moves) other than the "goer" and "non-goer"?
It is said: "The 'goer' goes" (moves) How is that possible,
When without the "act of going" (gamana - visible movement) no "goer" is produced?
Those who hold the view that the "goer" "goes" (moves) must falsely conclude
That there is a "goer" without the "act of going" (visible activity & displacement) since the "act of going" (visible activity & displacement) is obtained (icchata) by a "goer."
If the "goer" "goes" (moves), then two acts of going (visible activity and displacement) erroneously follow;
One is that by which the "going on" (ganta) is designated, and the second is the real "goer" (ganta / self-existing subject) who "goes"(moves).
The "state of going to" (gatum) is not begun in "that which is already gone to" (gatam - iii), nor in "that which is not yet gone to" (agatam - i);
Nor is the "state of going to" begun in "present going to" (gamyamana - ii).
Where then is it begun?
"Present going to" (ii) does not exist previous to the beginning of the "act of going," (visible activity and displacement)
nor does "that which is already gone to" (iii) exist where the "act of going" (visible activity and displacement) should begin.
How can the "act of going" (visible activity and displacement) begin in "that which is not yet gone to" (i) ?
It is mentally fabricated what is "that which is already gone to" (gatam - iii), "present going to" (gamyamana - ii) and "that which is not yet gone to" (agatam - i);
Therefore, the beginning of the "act of going" (visible activity and displacement) is not seen in any way.
A "goer" does not remain unmoved (na tistati); then certainly the "non-goer" does not remain unmoved.
What third possibility other than "goer" and "non-goer" can thus remain unmoved?
It is said that a "goer" continues to be a "goer".
But how can that be possible,
Since a "goer"(ganta / self-existing subject) lacking the "act of going" (gamanam - visible activity and displacement) is simply not produced?
The "goer" does not continue to be a goer as a result of "present going to" (ii) or "that which is already gone to" (iii) or "that which is not yet gone to,"(i)
For then the act of going (gamana - visible activity and displacement) would be origination while the "process of going" (gati - real going process) would be the same as cessation.
And if the "act of going" (visible movement) and the "goer" are identical,
The fallacy logically follows that the "person acting" (kartus) and the action (karma) are identical.
Alternatively, if the "goer" is different from the "process of going" (gati - - real going process),
The "act of going" (gamana - visible activity and displacement) would exist without the "goer" and the "goer" would exist without the "act of going." (visible activity & displacement)
Neither the identity nor the essential difference is established (siddhi) regarding the two conceptions "goer" and "act of going" (visible activity and displacement).
If these two alternatives are not established, in what way is this problem to be understood?
The "goer" is defined by that which is in the "process of going" (real going process);
he does not go to that destination which is determined by the "process of going" (real going process)
because there is no prior "process of going." (gati - real going process)
Indeed someone goes somewhere.
The "goer" does not go to that destination other than that "process of going" (real going process)- by which he is defined as "goer",
Because when one goes somewhere (i.e. else) two "processes of going" (real going processes) cannot be produced.
A real "goer" does not motivate three kinds of "acts of going:" real, non-real, and real-and-non-real;
Nor does a non-real "goer" motivate three kinds of motion.
Also, a real-non-real "goer" does not motivate three kinds of motion.
the "process of going" (gati - real going process),
the "goer" (ganta /self-existing subject)
and "a destination to be gone to" (gantavyam)
do not exist (inherently).
An Analysis of "Vision" and Other Sense-Faculties (the sense-fields) In 9 verses
Vision, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching and thought
Are the six sense faculties.
The area of their concern is that which is seen heard, smelled and so forth.
Certainly vision does not in any way see its own self.
Now if it does not see its own self, how can it possibly see something else?
An understanding of vision is not attained through the example of fire which, itself, burns.
On the contrary, that example of fire together with vision is refuted by the analysis of "present going to," "that which is already gone to," and "that which is not yet gone to."
When no vision occurs, nothing whatsoever is being seen.
How, then, is it possible to say: Vision sees?
Therefore, vision does not see, and "no-vision" does not see.
Nevertheless, it is explained that also the "seer" is to be known only by his vision.
There is no "seer" with vision or without vision;
Therefore, if there is no "seer," how can there be vision and the object seen?
As the birth of a son is said to occur presupposing the mother and the father,
Knowledge is said to occur presupposing the eye being dependent on the visible forms.
Since the "object seen" and the vision do not exist (independently, on their own),
there is no four-fold consequence: knowledge, etc. cognitive sensation, affective sensation, and "desire".
Also, then, how will the acquisition (upadana) of karma and its consequences i.e., existence, birth, aging, and death be produced?
Likewise hearing, smelling, tasting, touching and thought are explained as vision.
Indeed one should not apprehend the "hearer," "what is heard," etc. as self-existent entities.
An Analysis of the "Groups of Universal Elements" (the Aggregates) In 9 verses
Visible form (rupa) is not perceived without the basic cause of visible form (rupakarana);
Likewise the basic cause of visible form does not appear without the visible form.
If the visible form existed apart from its basic cause, it would logically follow that visible form is without cause;
But there is nothing anywhere arising without cause.
On the other hand, if there would be a basic cause apart from visible form,
The basic cause would be without any product; but there is no basic cause without a product.
Just as when there is visible form no basic cause of form obtains,
So when there is no visible form no basic cause of form obtains.
Furthermore, it does not obtain that no visible form exists without a basic cause,
One should not construe any constructs concerning the form.
Just as it does not obtain that the product is the same as the cause,
So it does not obtain that product is not the same as the cause.
Also, sensation, thought, mental conception, conditioned elements (samskara) and
All "things" (bhava) are to be dealt with in the same way as visible form.
Whoever argues against "emptiness" in order to refute an argument,
For him everything, including the point of contention (sadhya) is known to be un-refuted.
Whoever argues by means of "emptiness" in order to explain an understanding,
For him, everything including the point to be proved (sadhya) is known to be misunderstood.
An Analysis of the "Irreductible Elements" (the elements) In 8 Verses
Space does not exist at all before the defining characteristic of space (akasalaksana).
If it would exist before the defining characteristic, then one must falsely conclude that there would be something without a defining characteristic.
In no case has anything existed without a defining characteristic.
If an entity without a defining characteristic does not exist, to what does the defining characteristic apply?
There is no functioning of a defining characteristic in a case where there is already a defining characteristic or where there is not a defining characteristic.
And it can function in nothing except where there is a defining characteristic or where there is not a defining characteristic.
When there is no related function (sampravrtti) (i.e. defining process), it is not possible to have "that to which a defining characteristic applies."
And if "that to which a defining characteristic applies" is not possible, then a defining characteristic cannot come into existence.
Therefore, "that to which a defining characteristic applies" does not exist (i.e. independently); and certainly a defining characteristic itself does not exist (i.e. independently).
Now, something does not exist without "that to which a defining characteristic applies" and the defining characteristic.
If the existing thing (1) (bhava) does not exist, how then would the non-existing thing (2) (abhava) come into existence?
And who holds: the existing-and-non-existing (3) thing which does not have the properties of an existing-and-non-existing thing (4)?
Therefore space is
neither an existing thing
nor a non-existing thing,
neither something to which a defining characteristic applies (i.e. separate from a defining characteristic)
nor a defining characteristic. (i.e. the same as a defining characteristic)
Also, the other five irreducible elements can be considered in the same way as space.
But those unenlightened people who either affirm reality or non-reality
Do not perceive the blessed cessation-of-appearance of existing things.
An Analysis of Desire and One Who Desires in the Context of Their Separateness and Concomitance (affection and the person affected) In 10 verses
If the "one who desires" would exist before desire itself, then desire may be regarded.
When desire becomes related to "one who desires," then desire comes into existence.
If there is no one who desires, how then will desire come into being?
And the question whether desire exists or does not exist likewise holds true for the one who desires.
Further, it is not possible for both desire and the one who desires to be produced concomitantly.
Indeed, desire and the one who desires come into being independent of each other.
Concomitance does not exist in that which is only one thing, for certainly something which is only one thing cannot be concomitant.
But yet, how will concomitance come into being if there are separate (prthak) things?
If concomitance applied to that which is only one thing, then that one "with concomitance" would be that one "without concomitance."
If concomitance applied to separate things, then that one "with concomitance" would be that one "without concomitance."
And if concomitance applied to separate things, what is the proof for the separation of both desire and the one who desires,
Since that which is non-separate is concomitant.
Or, if the separateness of desire and the one who desires really were proved,
Why do you imagine the concomitance of them both?
You postulate concomitance by saying: neither is proved separate from the other.
And you postulate separateness even more to prove concomitance.
Because separateness is not proved, concomitance is not proved.
What kind of separateness must exist for you to establish concomitance?
Thus there is no proof that the desire is concomitant with or not concomitant with one who desires.
From this analysis of desire it can be shown that for every fundamental element (dharma) there is no proof of concomitance or non-concomitance.
An Analysis of Composite Products (origination, duration, and decay) In 34 Verses
If origination (utpada) is a composite product, then the three characteristics of existence: "origination," "duration," and "dissolution" are appropriate.
But if origination is a non-composite (asamstrta), then how could there be characteristics of a composite product?
When the three are separate, origination of either of the other two characteristics does not suffice to function as a characteristic.
If united in a composite product, how could they all be at one place at one time?
If origination, duration, and dissolution are other secondary characteristics of composite products,
It is an infinite regress. If this is not so, they are not composite products.
The "originating origination" (utpadotpada) (i.e. the beginning of the origination) is only the origination of the basic origination (mulotpada) (i.e. the beginning of the product);
Also the origination of the basic origination (i.e. the beginning of the beginning of the product) produces the "originating origination." (i.e. the beginning of the origination)
But if, according to you, the originating origination (i.e. self-originating origination) produces basic origination, (i.e. also causes the beginning of the product)
How, according to you, will this originating origination (i.e. self-originating origination) produce that basic origination (i.e. the beginning of the product) if it itself is not produced by basic origination (i.e. the beginning of the product)?
If, according to you, that which has originated through basic origination (i.e. referring to the dependent originating origination) produces basic origination, (i.e. like affirming that the effect exist before the cause)
How does the basic origination, which is yet un-produced by that originating origination (i.e. self-originating origination), cause that originating origination (i.e. self-originating origination) to be originated?
According to you, this, while originating, would certainly cause that to originate—
If this, not being produced, would be able to cause origination.
The opponent claim:
As a light is the illuminator of both itself and that which is other than itself,
So origination would originate both itself and that which is other than itself.
There is no darkness in the light and there where the light is placed.
What could the light illumine? Indeed illumination is the getting rid of darkness.
How is darkness destroyed by the light being originated,
When the light, being originated, does not come in contact with darkness?
But then, if darkness is destroyed by a light having no contact with darkness,
A light placed here will destroy the darkness of the entire world.
If the light illuminated both itself and that which is other than itself,
Then, without a doubt, darkness will cover both itself and that which is other than itself.
If it has not yet originated, how does origination produce itself?
And if it has already originated, when it is being produced, what is produced after that which is already produced?
In no way does anything originate
by what is being originated (ii),
by what is already originated (iii),
or by what is not yet originated (i)—
Just as it has been said in the analysis of "presently going to (ii)," "that which is already gone to (i)" and "that which is not yet gone to (iii)."
When, in that-which-is-originated (iii), there is nothing which activates that which is being originated (ii),
How can one say: That which is being originated (ii) exists presupposing that which is produced?
Whatever comes into existence presupposing something else is without self-existence (stabhava).
As there is an allayment of "being originated," so also of that which is originated (iii).
If some particular thing which is not yet originated (i) is indeed known to exist,
That thing will be originated. What originates if it does not exist?
And if the origination originates that which is being originated (ii),
What origination, in turn, would originate that origination? (i.e. infinite regress)
If another origination originates that origination, there will be an infinite regress of originations.
But if non-origination is that which is origination, then everything without qualification would originate.
It is not possible that what has originated either exists or does not exist,
Nor that what has not originated either exists or does not exist; this has been demonstrated earlier.
The origination of something being destroyed is not possible;
And whatever is not being destroyed, that entity is not possible.
Neither an "entity that has endured (iii)" (sthitabhava) nor an "entity that has not endured (i)" endures;
Not even something enduring (ii) endures.
And what endures if it is not originated?
Duration is not possible of a thing that is being destroyed.
But whatever is not being destroyed, that thing (bhava) is also not possible.
Because every entity always remains in the law of old age and death,
What entities are there which endure without old age and death?
The enduring quality of a different duration is as impossible as of that same duration,
So the origination of origination is neither itself nor that which is other than itself.
"That which has ceased (iii)" (niruddha) does not cease; and "that which has not ceased (i)" does not cease;
Nor even "that which is ceasing (ii)."
For, what can cease if it is produced? (i.e. or if it is not really produced?)
Therefore cessation of an enduring entity is not possible.
Moreover, cessation of a non-enduring entity is not possible.
Indeed, a state of existence does not cease because of this state;
And a different state of existence does not cease because of a different state.
So, if the production of all dharmas is not possible,
Then neither is the cessation of all (i.e. any?) dharmas possible.
Therefore cessation of a real existing entity is not possible;
And certainly both an existing entity and a non-existing entity cannot be possible in the same case.
Even more, cessation of a non-real existing entity is not possible.
Just as there is no second decapitation!
There is no cessation by means of itself; nor cessation by something other than itself;
Just as there is no origination of origination by itself nor by another.
Because the existence of production, duration, and cessation is not proved, there is no composite product (samskrta);
And if a composite product is not proved, how can a non-composite product (asamskrta) be proved?
As a magic trick, a dream or a fairy castle.
Just so should we consider origination, duration, and cessation.
An Analysis of the Product (Karma) and the Producer (action and agent) In 13 verses
A real producer does not produce a real product.
Even more so, a non-real producer does not seek a non-real product.
There is no producing action of a real thing; if so, there would be a product without someone producing.
Also, there is no producing by a real thing; if so, there would be someone producing without something produced.
If a non-existent producer would produce a non-real product,
The product would be without a causal source and the producer would be without a causal source.
If there is no causal source, there is nothing to be produced nor cause-in-general (karana).
Then neither do the producing action, the person producing, nor the instrument of production (karana) exist.
If the producing action, etc. do not exist, then neither can the true reality (dharma) nor false reality (adharma) exist.
If neither the true reality nor the false reality exists, then also the product (phala) born from that does not exist.
If there is no real product, then there also exists no path to heaven nor to ultimate release.
Thus it logically follows that all producing actions are without purpose.
And a real-non-real producer does not produce in a real-non-real manner.
For, indeed, how can "real" and "non-real," which are mutually contradictory, occur in one place?
A real producer (kartra) does not produce what is non-real, and a non-real producer does not produce what is real.
From that indeed, all the mistakes must logically follow.
The producer, who is neither real nor non-real, does not produce a product which is either real or non-real,
Because of the reasons which have been advanced earlier.
The non-real producer does not produce a product which is not real, nor both real-and-non-real,
Because of the reasons which have been advanced earlier.
And a real-non-real producer does not produce a product which is neither real nor non-real.
This is evident from the reasons which have been advanced earlier.
The producer proceeds being dependent on the product, and the product proceeds being dependent on the producer.
The cause for realization (i.e. Nirvana) is seen in nothing else.
In the same way one should understand the "acquiring" (i.e. of karma - upadana) on the basis of the "giving up," etc. of the producer and the product.
By means of this analysis of the product and the producer all other things should be dissolved.
An Analysis of "the Pre-existent Reality" (grasper and grasping) In 12 verses
Certain people say: Prior to seeing hearing, and other sensory faculties together with sensation and other mental phenomena
Is that to which they belong.
They reason: How will there be seeing, etc. of someone (i.e. as the subject seeing) who does not exist?
Therefore, there exists a definite (vyavasthita) entity before that seeing, etc..
But that definite entity is previous to sight, hearing, etc., and sensation, etc --
How can that entity be known?
And if that entity is determined without sight and other sensory faculties,
Then, undoubtedly, those sensory faculties will exist without that entity.
Someone becomes manifest by something (i.e. like vision); something is manifest by someone.
How would someone exist without something? How would something exist without someone?
The opponent admits:
Someone does not exist previous to (purva) sight and all the other faculties together.
Rather, he is manifested by any one of them: sight, etc., at any one time.
But if nothing exists previous to sight and all the other faculties together,
How could that being exist individually before sight, etc.?
Further, if that being were the "seer," that being were the "hearer," that being were the one who senses,
Then one being would exist previous to each. Therefore, this hypothesis is not logically justified.
On the other hand, if the "seer" were someone else, or the "hearer" were someone else, or the one who senses were someone else,
Then there would be a "hearers when there was already a "seer," and that would mean a multiplicity of "selves" (atma).
When he to whom seeing, hearing, etc., and feeling, etc. belong does not exist,
Then certainly they do not exist.
For him who does not exist previous to, at the same time, or after seeing, etc.
The conception "He exists," "He does not exist," is dissipated.
An Analysis of Fire and Kindling (Fire and Fuel) In 16 Verses)
If fire is identical to its kindling, then it is both producer and product.
And if fire is different from kindling, then surely fire exists without kindling (i.e. separate).
A fire which is perpetually burning would exist without a cause, which is kindling,
Since another beginning would be pointless; in this case fire is without its object i.e., burning of kindling.
Fire is without a cause, namely kindling, if it were independent of anything else;
In which case another beginning would be pointless, and there is perpetual burning.
If it is maintained: Kindling is that which is being kindled,
By what is kindling kindled, since kindling is only that kindling?
It is inherent existence that would make extinguishing /liberation impossible
Fire, when different and not obtained through kindling, will not obtain; not burning, it will not burn later;
Without extinction, it will not be extinguished; if there is no extinction, then it will remain with its own characteristics.
The opponent claims:
If fire is different from kindling it could obtain the kindling
As a woman obtains a husband, and a man obtains a wife.
Though fire is different from kindling, it could indeed obtain the kindling,
On the condition that both fire and kindling can be reciprocally differentiated —but, this is impossible.
If the fire is dependent on the kindling, and if the kindling is dependent on the fire
Which is attained first, dependent on which they are fire and kindling?
If fire is dependent on kindling, so is the proof of the proved fire.
Thus, being kindling it will exist without fire.
When a thing (bhava) is proved by being dependent on something else, then it proves the other by being dependent on it.
If that which is required for dependence must be proved, then what is dependent on what?
If that thing is proved by being dependent, how can that which has not been proved be dependent?
So, that which is proved is dependent; but the dependence is not possible.
Fire does not exist in relation to kindling; and fire does not exist unrelated to kindling.
Kindling does not exist in relation to fire; and kindling does not exist unrelated to fire.
Fire does not come from something else;
and fire does not exist in kindling.
The remaining analysis in regard to kindling is described by the analysis of "that which is being gone to," "that which is gone to" and ''that which is not yet gone to."
Fire is not identical to kindling, but fire is not in anything other than kindling.
Fire does not have kindling as its property; also, the kindling is not in fire and vice versa.
By the analysis of fire and kindling the syllogism of the individual self (atma) and "the acquiring" (upadana)
Is fully and completely explained, as well as "the jar" and "the cloth" and other analogies.
Those who specify the nature of the individual self and of existing things (bhava) as radically different—
Those people I do not regard as ones who know the sense of the teaching.
An Analysis of the Past (purva) and Future Limits (aparakiti) of Existence (samsara) In 8 verses
The great ascetic Buddha said: "The extreme limit (koti) of the past cannot be discerned."
"Existence-in-flux" (samsara) is without bounds; indeed, there is no beginning nor ending of that existence.
How could there be a middle portion of that which has no "before" and "after";
It follows that "past," "future," and "simultaneous events" do not obtain.
Birth and death are not separate/different, not simultaneous/the same.
If birth is regarded as the former, and growing old and dying are regarded as coming into being later,
Then birth exists without growing old and dying, and something is born without death.
If birth were later, and growing old and dying were earlier,
How would there be an uncaused growing old and dying of something unborn?
And a birth which is simultaneous with growing old and dying is likewise impossible;
For, that which is being born would die, and both would be without cause.
Since the past, future, and simultaneous activity do not originate,
To what purpose do you explain in detail the existence of birth, growing old and dying?
That which is produced and its cause, as well as the characteristic and that which is characterized,
The sensation and the one who senses, and whatever other things there are --
Not only is the former limit of existence-in-flux (samsara) not to be found,
But the former limit of all those things is not to be found.
An Analysis of Sorrow (Suffering) In 10 verses
Sorrow (dukkha) is produced by oneself (i),
or by another (ii),
or by both itself and another (iii),
or from no cause at all (iv);
But to consider that sorrow (dukkha) as what is produced is not possible.
If it were produced by itself (i.e. self-causation), it would not exist dependent on something else.
Certainly those "groups of universal elements" (skandhas) exist presupposing these "groups."
If these were different from those, or if those were different from these,
Sorrow (dukkha) would be produced by something other than itself (i.e. other-causation), because those would be made by these others.
If sorrow (dukkha) is made through one's own personality (i) (svapudgala), then one's own personality would be without sorrow (dukkha);
Who is that "own personality" by which sorrow (dukkha) is self-produced (i)?
If sorrow (dukkha) were produced by a different personality (ii) (parapudgala),
How would he, to whom is given that sorrow (dukkha) by another after he had produced it, be without sorrow (dukkha)?
If sorrow (dukkha) is produced by a different personality, who is that different personality
Who, while being without sorrow (dukkha), yet makes and transmits that sorrow (dukkha) to the other?
It is not established that sorrow (dukkha) is self-produced (i), but how is sorrow (dukkha) produced by another (ii)?
Certainly the sorrow (dukkha), which would be produced by another (ii), in his case would be self-produced (i’).
Sorrow (dukkha) is not self-produced (i), for that which is produced is certainly not produced by that personality.
If the "other" (para) is not produced by the individual self (atma), how would sorrow (dukkha) be that produced by another?
Sorrow (dukkha) could be made by both self and the "other" (iii) if it could be produced by either one.
But not produced by another, and not self-produced (iv) —how can sorrow (dukkha) exist without a caused
Not only are the four causal interpretations not possible in respect to sorrow (dukkha),
but also none of the four causal interpretations is possible even in respect to external things (bhava).
Section 13 -
An Analysis of Conditioned Elements (the real) In 8 verses
A thing of which the basic elements are deception is vain, as the glorious one said.
All conditioned elements (samskara) are things that have basic elements (dharma) which are deception; therefore, they are vain.
"If that which has deceptive basic elements is vain, what is there which deceives?"
This was spoken by the glorious one to illuminate "emptiness."
An opponent says:
There is non-self-existence of things since a thing, by observation, becomes something else. (i.e. impermanence)
A thing without self-existence does not exist—due to the emptiness of existing things.
If self-existence does not exist, whose "other-existence" would there be?
If self-existence does exist, whose "other-existence" would there be?
Just as there is no other-existence of a thing, so also an-other-existence of something else is not possible—
Since a youth is not aging (jiryate), and since "who has already aged" is not aging (jiryate).
If there would be an other-existence of a thing, milk would exist as curds.
But surely "being curds" will be something other than milk.
If something would be non-empty, something would logically also be empty
But nothing is non-empty, so how will it become empty?
Emptiness is proclaimed by the victorious one as the refutation of all viewpoints;
But those who hold "emptiness" as a viewpoint—the true perceivers have called those "incurable" (asadhya).
An Analysis of Unification (Combination) In 8 verses
That which is seen, sight, and the "seer": these three
Do not combine together either in pairs or altogether.
Desire, the one who desires, and the object of desire have to be regarded in the same way,
As also the impurities which remain and the three kinds of "base of sense" (ayatana) which remain.
Some hold: There is unification (samsarga) of one different thing with another different thing; but since the different-ness
Of what is seen, etc. does not exist, those factors do not enter into unification.
Not only does the different-ness of that which is seen, etc. not exist,
Also the different-ness of something coming from another does not obtain.
A thing is different insofar as it presupposes a second different thing.
One thing is not different from another thing without the other thing.
If one different thing is different from a second different thing, it exists without a second different thing;
But without a second different thing, one different thing does not exist as a different thing.
Different-ness does not exist in a different thing, nor in what is not different.
When different-ness does not exist, then there is neither what is different nor "this" from which something can be different.
Unification is not possible by uniting one thing with that one thing, nor by uniting one thing with a different thing;
Thus, the becoming unified, the state of being united, and the one who unites are not possible.
An Analysis of a Self-existent Thing (being and non-being) In 11 Verses
The production of a self-existent thing by a conditioning cause is not possible,
For, being produced through dependence on a cause, a self-existent thing would be "something which is produced" (krtaka).
How, indeed, will a self-existent thing become "something which is produced"?
Certainly, a self-existent thing by definition is "not-produced" and is independent of anything else.
If there is an absence of a self-existent thing, how will an other-existent thing (parabhava) come into being ?
Certainly the self-existence of an other-existent thing is called ''other-existence."
Further, how can a thing exist without either self-existence or other-existence?
If either self-existence or other existence exist, then an existing thing, indeed, would be proved.
If there is no proof of an existent thing, then a non-existent thing cannot be proved.
Since people call the other-existence of an existent thing a "non-existent thing."
Those who perceive self-existence and other-existence, and an existent thing and a non-existent thing,
Do not perceive the true nature of the Buddha's teaching.
In "The Instruction of Katyayana" both "it is" and "it is not" are opposed
By the Glorious One, who has ascertained the meaning of "existent" and non-existent."
If there would be an existent thing by its own nature, there could not be "non-existence' of that thing.
Certainly an existent thing different from its own nature would never obtain.
An opponent asks:
If there is no basic self-nature (prakti), of what will there be "otherness"?
If there is basic self-nature, of what will there be "otherness"?
"It is" is a notion of eternity. "It is not" is a nihilistic view.
Therefore, one who is wise does not have recourse to "being" or "non-being."
That which exists by its own nature is eternal since "it does not not-exist."
If it is maintained: "That which existed before does not exist now," there annihilation would logically follow.
"Now, then, Master Gotama, does everything exist?"
"'Everything exists' is the senior form of cosmology, Brahmin." (i.e. Realism)
"Then, Master Gotama, does everything not exist?"
"'Everything does not exist' is the second form of cosmology, Brahmin." (i.e. Idealism or nihilism)
"Then is everything a Oneness?"
"'Everything is a Oneness' is the third form of cosmology, Brahmin." (i.e. Monism)
"Then is everything a Many-ness?"
"'Everything is a Many-ness' is the fourth form of cosmology, Brahmin. (i.e. Dualism)
Avoiding these two extremes, the Tathágata teaches the Dhamma via the middle...
To Kaccayana Gotta (on Right View)
"By and large, Kaccayana, this world is supported by (takes as its object) a polarity, that of existence and non-existence. But when one sees the origination of the world as it actually is with right discernment, 'non-existence' with reference to the world does not occur to one. When one sees the cessation of the world as it actually is with right discernment, 'existence' with reference to the world does not occur to one."
"'Everything exists': That is one extreme. (i.e. Realism)
'Everything doesn't exist': That is a second extreme. (i.e. Idealism or nihilism)
Avoiding these two extremes, the Tathágata teaches the Dhamma via the middle."
To Ánanda (on Self, No Self, and Not-self)
Then the wanderer Vacchagotta went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, exchanged courteous greetings with him. After an exchange of friendly greetings and courtesies, he sat down to one side. As he was sitting there he asked the Blessed One:
"Now then, Venerable Gotama, is there a self?" (i.e. Realism) When this was said, the Blessed One was silent.
"Then is there no self?" (i.e. Idealism or nihilism) A second time, the Blessed One was silent...
"Ánanda, if I -- being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is a self -- were to answer that there is a self, that would be conforming with those priests and contemplatives who are exponents of Eternalism the view that there is an eternal, unchanging soul.
If I -- being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is no self -- were to answer that there is no self, that would be conforming with those priests and contemplatives who are exponents of Annihilationism the view that death is the annihilation of consciousness.
If I -- being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is a self -- were to answer that there is a self (i.e. Realism), would that be in keeping with the arising of knowledge that all phenomena are not-self?"
"And if I -- being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is no self -- were to answer that there is no self (i.e. Idealism or nihilism), the bewildered Vacchagotta would become even more bewildered: 'Does the self I used to have now not exist?'"
The Shorter Discourse on the Lion's Roar
"Bhikkhus, there are these two views: the view of being and the view of non-being.
Any recluses or Brahmins who rely on the view of being (i.e. Realism), adopt the view of being, accept the view of being, are opposed to the view of non-being.
Any recluses or Brahmins who rely on the view of non-being (i.e. Idealism or nihilism), adopt the view of non-being, accept the view of non-being, are opposed to the view of being.
"Any recluses or Brahmins who do not understand as they actually are the origin, the disappearance, the gratification, the danger and the escape in the case of these two views are affected by lust, affected by hate, affected by delusion, affected by craving, affected by clinging, without vision, given to favoring and opposing, and they delight in and enjoy proliferation. They are not freed from birth, aging and death, from sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair; they are not freed from suffering, I say.
"Any recluses or Brahmins who understand as they actually are the origin, the disappearance, the gratification, the danger and the escape in the case of these two views are without lust, without hate, without delusion, without craving, without clinging, with vision, not given to favoring and opposing, and they do not delight in and enjoy proliferation. They are freed from birth, aging and death, from sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair; they are freed from suffering, I say.
'This self is the same as the cosmos. This I will be after death, constant, lasting, eternal, not subject to change.' This eternalist view is a fabrication...
Or...he may have a view such as this: 'I would not be, neither would there be what is mine. I will not be, neither will there be what is mine.' This annihilationist view is a fabrication...
Setting the Wheel of Dhamma in Motion
"There are these two extremes that are not to be indulged in by one who has gone forth. Which two? That which is devoted to sensual pleasure with reference to sensual objects: base, vulgar, common, ignoble, unprofitable; and that which is devoted to self-affliction: painful, ignoble, unprofitable. Avoiding both of these extremes, the middle way realized by the Tathágata -- producing vision, producing knowledge -- leads to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding.
"And what is the middle way realized by the Tathágata that -- producing vision, producing knowledge -- leads to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding? Precisely this Noble Eightfold Path: right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration. This is the middle way realized by the Tathágata that -- producing vision, producing knowledge -- leads to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding.
"Venerable sir, concerning the various views that arise in the world -- `The cosmos is eternal' or `The cosmos isn't eternal'; `The cosmos is finite' or `The cosmos is infinite'; `The soul and the body are the same' or `The soul is one thing, the body another'; `A Tathágata exists after death' or `A Tathágata doesn't exist after death' or `A Tathágata both exists & doesn't exist after death' or `A Tathágata neither exists nor doesn't exist after death'; these along with the sixty-two views mentioned in the Brahmajala -- when what is present do these views come into being, and when what is absent do they not come into being?"
When this was said, the senior monk was silent. A second time...A third time...
Cut the stream and go across, abandon sensuality, Brahmin. When you have achieved the stilling of
the activities of the mind, you will know the unconditioned, Brahmin.
When a Brahmin has crossed beyond duality, then all the fetters of such a seer come to an end.
When a man knows no this shore, other shore, or both - such a one, free from anxiety, liberated, that is what I call a Brahmin.
What's been attained, what's to be attained,
are both defiled by one who trains
in line with the afflicted.
Those for whom precepts and practices
are the essence of the training,
for whom celibacy is the essence of service:
this is one extreme.
Those who say, "There's no harm in sensual desires":
this is the second extreme.
Both of these extremes cause the growth of cemeteries,
and cemeteries cause views to grow.
Not directly knowing these two extremes,
some fall short,
some run too far.
But those who directly know them,
don't exist there,
don't conceive things
And for these people,
there's no whirling through the cycle
to be described.
From: A Survey of the Paths of Tibetan Buddhism by His Holiness Tenzing Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet
...When we take into account the different explanations of various philosophical schools within Buddhism, including the great vehicle schools, it is necessary to discriminate those sutras that are definitive and those requiring further interpretation. If we were to make these distinctions on the basis of scriptural texts alone, we would have to verify the scripture we used for determinating whether something was interpretable or definitive against another sutra, and because this would continue in an infinite regression it would not be a very reliable method. Therefore, we have to determine whether a sutra is definitive or interpretable on the basis of logic. So, when we speak of the great vehicle philosophical schools, reason is more important than the scripture.
How do we determine whether something is interpretable? There are different types of scriptures belonging to the interpretable category, for instance, certain sutras mention that one's parents are to be killed. Now, since these sutras cannot be taken literally, at face value, they require further interpretation. The reference here to parents is to the contaminated actions and attachment which brings about rebirth in the future.
Similarly, in tantras such as Guhyasamaja the Buddha says that the Tathágata or Buddha is to be killed and that if you kill the Buddha, you will achieve supreme enlightenment.
It is obvious that these scriptures require further interpretation. However, other sutras are less obviously interpretable. The sutra which explains the twelve links of dependent arising, states that because of the cause, the fruits ensue. An example is that because of ignorance within, contaminated actions come about. Although the content of this type of sutra is true on one level, it is categorized as interpretable, because when ignorance is said to induce contaminated action, it does not refer to the ultimate point of view. It is only on the conventional level that something can produce something else. From the ultimate point of view, its nature is emptiness. So, because there is a further, deeper level not referred to in these sutras, they are said to be interpretable.
Definitive sutras are those sutras, like the Heart of Wisdom, in which the Buddha spoke of the ultimate nature of phenomena, that form of emptiness and emptiness is form; apart from form, there is no emptiness. Because such sutras speak of the ultimate nature of phenomena, their ultimate mode of existence, emptiness, they are said to be definitive. However, we should also note that there are different ways of discriminating between definitive and interpretable sutras among different Buddhist schools of thought.
In short, the texts of the Middle Way Consequentialist (Madhyamika Prasangika) school, particularly those by Nargarjuna and his disciple Chandrakirti, are definitive and expounded the view of emptiness the Buddha taught to its fullest extent. The view of emptiness expound the view of emptiness the Buddha taught to its fullest extent. The view of emptiness expounded in these texts is not contradicted by logical reasoning, but rather is supported by it.
Amongst the definitive sutras are also included sutras belonging to the third turning of the wheel of doctrine, particularly the Tathágata Essence Sutra, which is actually the fundamental source of such Middle Way treatises as the Sublime Continuum and the Collection of Praises written by Nargarjuna...
An Analysis of Being Bound and Release (Bondage and Release) In 10 verses
When conditioned elements (dispositions, conditioning?) continue to change (through rebirths?), they do not continue to change as eternal things (the same before and after).
Likewise they do not continue to change as non-eternal things (different before and after).
The arguments here is the same as for a living being.
If the personality would change when it is sought five ways in the "groups" (skandha), "bases of sense perception" (ayatana), and the "irreducible elements" (dhatu),
Then it does not exist. Who is it who will change (i.e. transmigrate)?
Moving from "acquisition" (upadana) to "acquisition" would be "that which is without existence" (vibhava).
Who is he who is without existence and without acquisition? To what will he change (i.e. transmigrate)?
The final cessation (nirvana) of the conditioned elements certainly is not possible at all.
Nor is the final cessation of even a living being possible at all.
The conditioned elements, whose nature (dharma) is arising and destruction, neither are bound nor released.
Likewise a living being neither is bound nor released.
If the acquisition (upadana) were the "binding," that one having the acquisition is not bound;
Nor is that one not having the acquisition bound.
Then in what condition is he bound?
Certainly if the "binding" would exist before "that which is bound," then it must bind;
But that does not exist. The remaining analysis is stated in the analysis of "the present going to," "that which has already gone to" and "that which has not yet gone to."
Therefore, "that which is bound" is not released and "that which is not bound" is likewise not released.
If "that which is bound" were released, "being bound" and "release" would exist simultaneously.
"I will be released without any acquisition."
"Nirvana will be mine."
Those who understand thus hold too much to "a holding on" i.e., both to the acquisition of karma, and to a viewpoint.
Where there is a super-imposing of nirvana on something else, nor a removal of existence-in-flux,
What is the existence-in-flux there?
What nirvana is imagined?
An Analysis of Action (karma) and Its Product (action and its results) In 33 verses
The state of mind, which is self-disciplined, being favorably disposed toward others,
And friendship: that is the dharma; that is the seed for the fruit now and after death.
The most perceptive seer Buddha has said that there is action (karma) as volition and as a result of having willed.
The variety of acts of that action has been explained in many ways.
Thus, that action which is called "volition": that is considered by tradition as mental;
But that action which is a result of having willed: that is considered by tradition as physical or verbal.
Sound (1), gesture (2) and that which does not rest which is considered as unknown (3),
Also the other unknown which is considered to be at rest (4);
That which is pure as a result of enjoyment (5), that which is impure as a result of enjoyment (6),
And volition (7): these seven basic elements (dharma) are considered by the tradition as the modes of action.
If an action exists by enduring to the time of its fulfillment, that action would be eternal.
If an action were stopped—being stopped, what will it produce?
There is fruit (phala) when a process, a sprout, etc., starts from a seed;
But without a seed that process does not proceed.
Inasmuch as the process is dependent on a seed and the fruit is produced from the process,
The fruit, presupposing the seed, neither comes to an end nor is eternal.
There is a product (phala) when a mental process starts from a thoughts;
But without a thought that process does not proceed.
Inasmuch as the process is dependent on a thought and the product (phala) is produced from the process,
The product, presupposing the thought, neither comes to an end nor is eternal.
The ten pure "paths of action" are means for realizing the dharma.
And the five qualities of desired objects i.e., desire to know the form, sound, odor, taste, and touch of existence are fruits (phala) of the dharma both now and after death.
There would be many great mistakes if that explanation were accepted.
Therefore, that explanation is not possible.
In rebuttal I will explain the interpretation which can be made to fit the facts,
That which is followed by the Buddha, the self-sufficient enlightened ones (Pratyekabuddha) and the disciples of Buddha.
As "that which is imperishable" is like a credit on an account statement, so an action (karma) is like a debt.
The imperishable is of four kinds in its elements (dhatu) i.e., desire, form, non-form, and pure; in its essential nature it cannot be analyzed.
An imperishable force is not destroyed qua destruction; rather it is destroyed according to spiritual discipline.
Therefore, the fruit of actions originates by the imperishable force.
If the imperishable force were that which is destroyed by usual destruction or by transference of action,
Fallacies like the destruction of action would logically result.
At the moment of transition that imperishable force
Of all identical and different actions belonging to the same element (dhatu) originates.
That imperishable force is the dharma, having arisen by one action after another in visible existence;
And it remains constant even in the development of all bifurcating action.
That imperishable force is destroyed by death and by avoiding the product (phala) .
There the difference is characterized as impure and pure.
"Emptiness," "no annihilation," existence-in-flux, "non-eternity,"
And the imperishable reality of action: such was the teaching taught by the Buddha.
Nargarjuna refutes the above arguments:
Why does the action not originate?
Because it is without self-existence.
Since it does not originate, it does not perish.
If an action did exist as a self-existent thing, without a doubt, it would be eternal.
An action would be an un-produced thing; certainly, there is no eternal thing which is produced.
If the action were not produced, then there could be the fear attaining something from "something not produced";
Then the opposite to a saintly discipline would follow as a fallacy.
Then, undoubtedly, all daily affairs would be precluded.
And even the distinction between saints and sinners is not possible.
Then an act whose development had taken place would develop again,
If an act, because it persists, exists through its own nature.
An action is that whose "self" (atman) is desire, and the desires do not really exist.
If these desires do not really exist, how would the action really exist?
Action and desire are declared to be the conditioning cause of the body.
If action and desire are empty, what need one say about "body"?
An opponent tries to establish an identifiable entity by saying:
The man shrouded in ignorance, and chained by craving (trsna)
Is one who seeks enjoyment. He is not different from the one who acts, nor identical to it.
Since action is not "originated presupposing the conditions" nor fails to arise from presupposing the conditions, There is no one acting.
If there is no action, how could there be one who acts and the product of action?
And if there is no product, how can there be an enjoyer of the product?
Just as a teacher, by his magical power, formed a magical form,
And this magical form formed again another magical form—
Just so the "one who forms" is himself being formed magically; and the act performed by him
Is like a magical form being magically formed by another magical form.
Desires, actions, bodies, producers, and products
Are like a fairy castle, resembling a mirage, a dream.
An Analysis of the Individual Self (the Self and Phenomena) In 12 verses
If the individual self (atma) were identical to the "groups" (skandha), then it would partake of origination and destruction.
If the individual self were different from the "groups," then it would be without the characteristics of the "groups."
If the individual self does not exist, how then will there be something which is "my own"?
There is lack of possessiveness and no ego on account of the cessation of self and that which is "my own."
He who is without possessiveness and who has no ego — He, also, does not exist.
Whoever sees "he who is without possessiveness" or "he who has no ego" really does not see.
When "I" and "mine" have stopped, then also there is not an outside nor an inner self.
The "acquiring" of karma (upadana) is stopped; on account of that destruction, there is destruction of verse existence.
On account of the destruction of the pains (klesa) of action there is release for pains of action exist for him who constructs them.
These pains result from phenomenal extension (prapanca); but this phenomenal extension comes to a stop by emptiness.
When the domain of thought has been dissipated, "that which can be stated" is dissipated.
Those things which are un-originated and not terminated, like nirvana, constitute the Truth (dharmata).
Everything is "actual" (tathyam) or "not-actual," or both "acts actual-and-not-actual,"
This is the teaching of the Buddha.
"Not caused by something else," "peaceful," "not elaborated by discursive thought,"
"Indeterminate," "undifferentiated": such are the characteristics of true reality (tattva).
Whatever exists, being dependent on something else, is certainly not identical to that other thing,
Nor is a thing different from that; therefore, it is neither destroyed nor eternal.
The immortal essence of the teaching of the Buddhas, the lords of the world, is
Without singleness or multiplicity; it is not destroyed nor is it eternal.
If fully-developed Buddhas do not arise in the world and the disciples of the Buddha disappear,
Then, independently, the knowledge of the self-produced enlightened ones (Pratyekabuddha) is produced.
An Analysis of Time (Time) In 6 verses
If "the present" and "future" exist presupposing "the past,"
"The present" and "future" will exist in "the past."
If "the present" and "future" did not exist there in "the past",
How could "the present" and "future" exist presupposing that "past?
Without presupposing "the past" the two things "the present" and "future" cannot be proved to exist.
Therefore neither present nor future time exist.
In this way the remaining two times can be inverted.
Thus one would regard "highest," "lowest" and "middle," etc., as oneness and difference. (or "after," "before" and "middle", or "right," "left" and "middle" …)
A non-stationary "time" cannot be "grasped"; and a stationary "time" which can be grasped does not exist.
How, then, can one perceive time if it is not "grasped"?
Since time is dependent on a thing (bhava), how can time exist without a thing?
There is not any thing which exists; how, then, will time become something?
An Analysis of the Aggregate of Causes and Conditions (cause and effect) In 24 verses
If a product (phala) is produced through the aggregate of causes and conditions,
And exists in an aggregate, how will it be produced in the aggregate?
If a product is produced in the aggregate of causes and conditions,
And does not exist in the aggregate, how will it be produced in the aggregate?
If the product is in the aggregate of causes and conditions,
Would it not be "grasped" i.e., located in the aggregate? But it is not "grasped" in the aggregate.
If the product is not in the aggregate of causes and conditions,
Then the causes and conditions would be the same as non-causes and non-conditions.
If a cause, having given the cause for a product, is stopped,
Then that which is "given" and that which is stopped would be two identities of the cause.
If a cause without having given the cause for a product is stopped
Then, the cause being stopped, the product would be produced as something derived from a non-cause (ahetuka).
If the product would become visible concomitantly with the aggregate of causes and conditions,
Then it would logically follow that the producer and that which is produced exist in the same moment.
If the product would become visible before the aggregate,
Then the product, without being related to causes and conditions, would be something derived from a non-cause.
If, when the cause of the product is stopped, there would be a continuation of the cause,
It would logically follow that there would be another production of the previous producing cause.
How can that which is stopped, i.e., something which has disappeared, produce the arising of a product?
How could a cause which is enclosed by its product, even though it persists, originate that product?
Or if that cause were not enclosed by the product, which product would it produce?
For the cause does not produce the product, having seen or not having seen the product.
There is no concomitance of a past product with a past cause, a future cause or present cause.
Certainly there is no concomitance of the present product with future cause, past cause or present cause.
Certainly there is no concomitance of a future product with a present cause, future cause or past cause.
If there is no concomitance whatever, how would the cause produce the product?
Or if a concomitance exists, how would the cause produce the product?
If the cause is empty of a product, how would it produce the product?
If the cause is not empty of a product, how would it produce the product?
A non-empty product would not be originated, and a non-empty product would not be destroyed.
Then that is non-empty which will not originate or not disappear.
How would that be produced which is empty?
How would that be destroyed which is empty?
It logically follows, then, that which is empty is not originated and not destroyed.
Certainly a oneness of cause and product is not possible at all.
Nor is a difference of cause and product possible at all.
If there were a oneness of the cause and product, then there would be an identity of the originator and what is originated.
If there were a difference of product and cause, then a cause would be the same as that which is not a cause.
Can a cause produce a product which is essentially existing in itself (svabhva) ?
Can a cause produce a product which is not essentially existing in itself (svabhava) ?
It is not possible to have "what is by its nature a cause" (hetutva) of "that which is not producing."
If "what is by its nature a cause" is not possible, whose product will exist?
How will that aggregate of causes and conditions produce a product when
That which is the aggregate of causes and conditions does not produce itself by itself?
The product is not produced by the aggregate;
nor is the product not produced by the aggregate.
Without the product, how is there an aggregate of conditions?
An Analysis of Origination and Disappearance (coming to be and passing away) In 21 verses
There is no disappearance either with origination or without it.
There is no origination either with disappearance or without it.
How, indeed, will disappearance exist at all without origination?
How could there be death without birth?
There is no disappearance without prior origination.
How can disappearance exist concomitantly with origination?
Since, surely, death does not exist at the same moment as birth.
How, indeed, will origination exist at all without disappearance?
For, impermanence does not fail to be found in existent things ever.
How can origination exist concomitantly with disappearance?
Since, surely, death does not exist at the same moment as birth.
When two things cannot be proved either separately or together,
No proof exists of those two things.
How can these two things be proved?
There is no origination of that which is destructible, nor of that which is not-destructible.
There is no disappearance of that which is destructible nor of that which is non-destructible.
Origination and disappearance cannot exist without an existent thing.
Without origination and disappearance an existent thing does not exist.
Origination and disappearance does not obtain for that which is empty.
Origination and disappearance does not obtain for that which is non-empty.
It does not obtain that origination and disappearance are the same thing.
It does not obtain that origination and disappearance are different.
You argue: Origination, as well as disappearance, is seen.
Therefore it would exist for you.
But origination and disappearance are seen due to a delusion.
An existent thing does not originate from another thing;
and an existent thing does not originate from a non-existent thing.
Also, a non-existent thing does not originate from another non-existent thing;
and a non-existent thing does not originate from an existent thing.
An existent thing does not originate either by itself or by something different.
Or by itself and something different at the same time. How, then, can it be produced?
For someone assuming an existent thing, either an Eternalistic or nihilistic point of view would logically follow,
For that existent thing would be either eternal or liable to cessation.
An opponent objects:
For someone assuming an existent thing, there is not only Eternalism or nihilism,
Since this is existence: namely, the continuity of the originating and stopping of causes and product.
If this is existence: namely, the continuity of originating and stopping of causes and product,
It would logically follow that the cause is destroyed because the destroyed thing does not originate again.
If there is self-existence of something which is intrinsically existing, then non-existence does not obtain.
At the time of nirvana there is destruction of the cycle of existence (bhavasamtana) as a result of the cessation.
If the last part of existence is destroyed, the first part of existence does not obtain.
If the last part of existence is not destroyed, the first part of existence does not obtain.
If the first part of existence were produced while the final part were being destroyed,
There would be one thing being destroyed and being produced both at the same time.
If the one "being destroyed" and the one "being produced" cannot exist together,
Can someone be produced in those "groups of universal elements" (skandhas) in which he is also "dying"?
Thus, the chain of existences is not possible in any of the tree times i.e. past, present, and future;
And if it does not exist in the three times, how can the chain of existences exist?
An Analysis of the "Fully Completed" (Tathágata-- the Buddha) In 16 verses
That one who is "fully-completed" is not the "groups of universal elements" (skandha),
nor something other than the "groups";
the "groups" are not in him, nor is he in them;
The "fully completed" does not possess the "groups."
What, then, is the "fully completed"?
If the Buddha exists dependent on the "groups," then he is not "that which exists by itself" (svabbava)
And how can he exist as something else (parabhava) ("other-existence") if he is not "that which exists by itself" (svabbava)?
That which exists presupposing another existent thing is properly called a "non-individual self" (anatma).
How will that which is a non-individual self become the "fully completed"?
And if there is no self-existence (svabhava), how would it have an "other-existence" (parabhava)?
What would that "fully completed" reality be without either a self-existence or other-existence?
If some kind of "fully completed" thing would exist without dependence on the "groups,"
It is dependent now; therefore it exists dependent on something.
There is no kind of "fully completed" being which is not dependent on the "groups."
And whatever is not non-dependent—how will it become dependent?
There is nothing whatever that is dependent on the "groups" and there is no thing whatever on which something does not depend.
There would not exist in any way a "fully completed" being without being dependent on the "groups".
That fully completed being which does not exist by its actual reality (tattva) or by some other reality (anyatva) according to the five-fold examination—
How is the "fully completed" being perceived by being dependent?
So when there is dependence, self-existence does not exist;
And if there is no self-existence whatever, how is an other-existence possible?
Thus "dependence" and "that which is dependent" are completely empty (sunya).
How is that empty "fully completed one" known through that which is empty?
One may not say that there is "emptiness" (sunya) (1)
nor that there is non-emptiness. (2)"
Nor that both exist simultaneously (3),
nor that neither exists (4);
the purpose for saying "emptiness" is for the purpose of conveying knowledge.
How, then, will "eternity," "non-eternity," and the rest of the Tetralemma apply to bliss (santa)?
How, then, will "the end," "without end," and the rest of the Tetralemma apply to bliss?
That image of nirvana in which the Buddha (Tathágata) either "is" or "is not"—
By him who so imagines nirvana the notion is crudely grasped.
Concerning that which is empty by its own nature (svabhava), the thoughts do not arise that:
The Buddha "exists" or "does not exist" after death.
Those who describe in detail the Buddha, who is unchanging and beyond all detailed description—
Those, completely defeated by description, do not perceive the "fully completed" being.
The self-existence of the "fully completed" being is the self-existence of the world.
The "fully completed" being is without self-existence and the world is without self-existence.
An Analysis of Errors (the perverted views) In 25 verses
It is said that desire (raga), hate, and delusion are derived from mental fabrication (samkalpa),
Because they come into existence presupposing errors as to what is salutary and un-salutary.
Those things which come into existence presupposing errors as to what is salutary and un-salutary
Do not exist by their own nature (svabhava); therefore the impurities (klesa) do not exist in reality.
The existence or non-existence of the individual self (atma) is not proved at all.
Without that individual self, how can the existence or non-existence of the impurities be proved?
For impurities exist of somebody, and that person is not proved at all.
Is it not so that without someone the impurities do not exist of anybody?
In reference to the view of having a body of one's own, the impurities do not exist in what is made impure according to the five-fold manner.
In reference to the view of having a body of one's own, that which is made impure does not exist in the impurities according to the five-fold manner.
The errors as to what is salutary and non-salutary do not exist as self-existent entities (svabhavatas)
Depending on which errors as to what is salutary and non-salutary are then impurities?
Form, sound, taste, touch, smell, and the dharmas: this six-fold
Substance (vastu) of desire, hate, and delusion is imagined.
Form, sound, taste, touch, smell, and the dharmas are
Merely the form of a fairy castle, like a mirage, a dream.
How will "that which is salutary" or "that which is non-salutary" come into existence
In a formation of a magical man, or in things like a reflection?
We submit that there is no non-salutary thing unrelated to a salutary thing.
And in turn depending on which, there is a salutary thing; therefore, a salutary thing does not obtain.
We submit that there is no salutary thing unrelated to a non-salutary thing,
And in turn depending on which, there is a non-salutary thing; therefore a non-salutary thing does not obtain.
If "what is salutary" does not exist, how will there be desire for it?
And if "what is non-salutary" does not exist, how will there be hatred for it?
Even if the notion "What is permanent is in something impermanent" is in error,
How can this notion be in error since "what is impermanent" does not exist in emptiness?
Even if the notion "what is permanent is in something impermanent" is in error,
Is not then the notion concerning emptiness, i.e., that it is impermanent, in error?
That by which a notion is formed, the notion, those who have notions, and that which is grasped in the notion:
All have ceased; therefore, the notion does not exist.
If a notion is not existing either as false or true,
Whose is the error? Whose is the non-error?
Nor do errors of someone who has erred come into existence.
Nor do errors of someone who has not erred come into existence.
And errors of someone who is at present in error do not come into existence.
Now you examine of whom do errors really come into existence!
How in all the world will errors which have not originated come into existence?
And if errors are not originated, how can there be someone involved in error?
Since no being is produced by itself, nor by something different,
Nor by itself and something different at the same time, how can there be someone involved in error?
If the individual self, "what is pure," "what is eternal," and happiness really exist,
Then the individual self, "what is pure," "what is eternal," and happiness are not errors.
But if individual self, "what is pure," "what is eternal," and happiness do not exist,
Then non-individual self, "what is impure," "what is impermanent" and sorrow (dukkha) do not exist.
From the cessation of error ignorance ceases;
When ignorance has ceased, conditioning forces (samskara) and everything else cease.
If any kind of self-existent impurities belong to somebody,
How in all the world would they be eliminated? Who can eliminate that which is self-existent?
If any kind of self-existent impurities do not belong to somebody,
How in all the world would they be eliminated? Who can eliminate that which is non-self-existent?
An Analysis of the Holy Truths (the noble truths) In 40 verses
If everything is empty, there is no origination nor destruction.
Then you must incorrectly conclude that there is non-existence of the four holy truths.
If there is non-existence of the four holy truths, the saving knowledge, the elimination of illusion,
The "becoming" enlightened (bhávaná), and the "realization" of the goal are impossible.
If there is non-existence, then also the four holy "fruits" do not exist.
In the non-existence of fruit there is no "residing in fruit" nor obtaining.
When the community of Buddhists does not exist, then those eight "kinds of persons" i.e., four abiding in the fruit and four who are obtaining do not exist.
Because there is non-existence of the four holy truths, the real dharma does not exist.
And if there are no dharma and community, how will the Buddha exist?
By speaking thus, that everything is empty certainly you deny the three jewels i.e., the Buddha, the dharma, and the community.
You deny the real existence of a product, of right and wrong,
And all the practical behavior of the world as being empty.
We reply that you do not comprehend the point of emptiness;
You eliminate both "emptiness" itself and its purpose from it.
The teaching by the Buddhas of the dharma has recourse to two truths:
The world-ensconced truth and the truth which is the highest sense.
Those who do not know the distribution (vibhagam) of the two kinds of truth
Do not know the profound "point" (tattva) in the teaching of the Buddha.
The highest sense of the truth is not taught apart from practical behavior,
And without having understood the highest sense one cannot understand nirvana.
Emptiness, having been dimly perceived, utterly destroys the slow-witted.
It is like a snake wrongly grasped or magical knowledge incorrectly applied.
Therefore the mind of the ascetic Gautama was diverted from teaching the dharma,
Having thought about the incomprehensibility of the dharma by the stupid.
Time and again you have made a condemnation of emptiness,
But that refutation does not apply to our emptiness.
When emptiness "works", then everything in existence "works". (A)
If emptiness "does not work", then all existence "does not work". (B)
You, while projecting your own faults on us, (i.e. objectifying emptiness)
Are like a person who, having mounted his horse, forgot the horse! (i.e. a tool)
If you recognize real existence on account of the self-existence of things,
You perceive that there are uncaused and unconditioned things.
You deny "what is to be produced," cause, the producer, the instrument of production, and the producing action,
And the origination, destruction, and "fruit."
The "originating dependently" we call "emptiness";
This apprehension, i.e., taking into account all other things, is the understanding of the middle way.
Since there is no dharma whatever originating independently,
No dharma whatever exists which is not empty.
If all existence is not empty, there is neither origination nor destruction.
You must wrongly conclude then that the four holy truths do not exist.
Having originated without being conditioned, how will sorrow (dukkha) come into existence?
It is said that sorrow (dukkha) is not eternal; therefore, certainly it does not exist by its own nature (svabbava).
How can that which is existing by its own nature originate again?
For him who denies emptiness there is no production.
There is no destruction of sorrow (dukkha) if it exists by its own nature.
By trying to establish "self-existence" you deny destruction.
If the path of release is self-existent, then there is no way of bringing it into existence (bhávaná);
If that path is brought into existence, then "self-existence," which you claim does not exist.
When sorrow (dukkha), origination, and destruction do not exist,
What kind of path will obtain the destruction of sorrow (dukkha)?
If there is no complete knowledge as to self-existence, how can there be any knowledge of it?
Indeed, is it not true that self-existence is that which endures?
As in the case of complete knowledge, neither destruction, realization, "bringing into existence,"
Nor are the four holy fruits possible for you.
If you accept "self-existence," and a "fruit" is not known by its self-existence,
How can it be known at all?
In the non-existence of "fruit," there is no "residing in fruit" nor obtaining the "fruit";
When the community of Buddhists does not exist, then those eight "kinds of persons" do not exist.
Because there is non-existence of the four holy truths, the real dharma does not exist.
And if there is no dharma and community, how will the Buddha exist?
For you, either the one who is enlightened (Buddha) comes into being independent of enlightenment,
Or enlightenment comes into being independent of the one who is enlightened.
For you, some one who is a non-Buddha by his own nature (svabhava) but strives for enlightenment (i.e. a Bodhisattva)
Will not attain the enlightenment though the "way of life of becoming fully enlightened."
Neither the dharma nor non-dharma will be done anywhere.
What is produced which is non-empty? Certainly self-existence is not produced.
Certainly, for you, there is a product without the distinction of dharma or non-dharma.
Since, for you, the product caused by dharma or non-dharma does not exist.
If, for you, the product is caused by dharma or non-dharma, be non-empty?
How can that product, being originated by dharma or non-dharma empty?
You deny all mundane and customary activities
When you deny emptiness in the sense of dependent co-origination (patytya-samutpada).
If you deny emptiness, there would be action which is un-activated.
There would be nothing whatever acted upon, and a producing action would be something not begun.
According to the doctrine of "self-existence" the world is free from different conditions;
Then it will exist as un-produced, undestroyed and immutable.
If non-emptiness does not exist, then something is attained which is not attained;
There is cessation of sorrow (dukkha) and actions, and all evil is destroyed.
He who perceives dependent co-origination (patytya-samutpada)
Also understands sorrow (dukkha), origination, and destruction as well as the path of release.
An Analysis of Nirvana In 24 verses
(Which may originally have been the final chapter.)
If all existence is empty, there is no origination nor destruction.
Then whose nirvana through elimination of suffering and destruction of illusion would be postulated?
If all existence is non-empty, there is no origination nor destruction.
Then whose nirvana through elimination of suffering and destruction of illusion would be postulated?
Nirvana has been said to be neither eliminated nor attained, neither annihilated nor eternal,
Neither disappeared nor originated.
Nirvana is certainly not an existing thing, for then it would be characterized by old age and death. In consequence it would involve the error that an existing thing would not become old and be without death.
And if nirvana is an existing thing, nirvana would be a constructed product (samskrta),
Since never ever has an existing thing been found to be a non-constructed-product (asamskrta).
But if nirvana is an existing thing, how could nirvana exist without dependence on something else?
Certainly nirvana does not exist as something without dependence.
If nirvana is not an existing thing, will nirvana become a non-existing thing?
Wherever there is no existing thing, neither is there a non-existing thing.
But if nirvana is a non-existing thing, how could nirvana exist without dependence on something else?
Certainly nirvana is not a non-existing thing, which exists without dependence.
That state which is the rushing in and out of existence when dependent or conditioned—
This state, when not dependent or not conditioned, is seen to be nirvana.
The teacher Gautama has taught that a "becoming" and a "non-becoming" (vibhava) are destroyed;
Therefore it obtains that: Nirvana is neither an existent thing nor a non-existent thing.
If nirvana were both an existent and a non-existent thing,
Final release (moksa) would be both an existent and a non-existent thing; but that is not possible.
If nirvana were both an existent and a non-existent thing,
There would be no nirvana without conditions, for these both operate with conditions.
How can nirvana exist as both an existent thing and a non-existent thing,
For nirvana is a non-composite-product (asamskrta), while both an existent thing and a non-existent thing are composite products (samskrta).
How can nirvana exist as both an existent and a non-existent thing?
There is no existence of both at one and the same place, as in the case of both darkness and light.
The assertion: "Nirvana is neither an existent thing nor a non-existent thing"
Is proved if the assertion: "It is an existent thing and a non-existent thing" were proved.
If nirvana is neither an existent thing nor a non-existent thing,
Who can really arrive at the assertion: "neither an existent thing nor a non-existent thing"?
It is not expressed if the Glorious One the Buddha exists (1) after his death,
Or does not exist (2), or both (3) or neither (4).
Also, it is not expressed if the Glorious One exists (1) while remaining in the world,
Or does not exist (2), or both (3) or neither (4).
There is nothing whatever which differentiates the existence-in-flux (samsara) from nirvana;
And there is nothing whatever which differentiates nirvana from existence-in-flux.
The extreme limit (koti) of nirvana is also the extreme limit of existence-in-flux;
There is not the slightest bit of difference between these two.
The views regarding whether that which is beyond death is limited by a beginning or an end or some other alternative
Depend on a nirvana limited by a beginning (purvanta) and an end (aparanta),
Since all dharmas are empty, what is finite ? What is infinite ?
What is both finite and infinite ? What is neither finite nor infinite ?
Is there anything which is this or something else, which is permanent or impermanent,
Which is both permanent and impermanent, or which is neither ?
The cessation of accepting everything as real is a salutary (siva) cessation of phenomenal development (prapanca);
No dharma anywhere has been taught by the Buddha of anything.
An Analysis of the Twelve Components (the twelve spokes) In 12 verses
"What is hidden by ignorance (1)" (avidyanivrta) has caused the three kinds of conditioned things (2) (samskara) to be made for rebirth —
By those actions it i.e., " what is hidden by ignorance" goes forward.
Consciousness (3), presupposing that which is conditioned (samskara), enters on its course.
When consciousness is begun, the "name-and-form'- (namarupa) (4) is instilled.
When the "name-and-form" is instilled, the six domains of sense perceptions (5) (ayatana) are produced.
Having arrived at the six domains of sense perceptions, the process of perception begins to function.
Consciousness begins to function presupposing the eye, the visual forms, and ability of mental association—
That which is the coincidence (6) (samnipata) of visual form, consciousness, and the eye:
That is sensual perception; and from perception, sensation (7) begins to function.
"Craving (8)" (trsna) for existing things is conditioned by sensation.
Certainly a person craves for the sake of sensation. The one who craves acquires the four-fold acquisition (9) (upadana) namely sexual pleasure, false views, ascetic morality and vows, and the doctrine of self-existence.
When the acquisition exists, the acquirer begins to function (10) (i.e. existence, becoming).
If he were someone without acquisition, that being would be released, and would not exist.
That being is the five "groups of universal elements" (skandha). Because of a being, birth (11) begins to function.
Growing old, dying, sorrow (dukkha) (12), etc., grief and regrets,
Despair and agitation: all this results from birth;
That "produced being" is a single mass of sorrows (dukkha).
Thus the ignorant people construct the conditioned things (samskara); that is the source for existence-in-flux.
The one who constructs is ignorant; the wise person is not one who constructs because he perceives true reality.
When ignorance ceases, the constructed phenomena do not come into existence.
A person's cessation of ignorance proceeds on the basis of "becoming" enlightened through knowledge.
Through cessation of every component none functions;
That single mass of sorrow (dukkha) is thus completely destroyed.
An Analysis of the Views About Reality (dogmas) In 30 verses
Those views relating to the limits of the past reality are: "The world is eternal," etc.,
And "I have existed in the past," "I have not existed in the past," etc.
The assertion: "I will not become something different in a future time,"
"I will become something different," and the alternative, etc., are relating to an end in the future.
The assertion: "I existed in a past time (1)" does not obtain,
Since this present being is not (i.e. "ii" is not the same as "i") that one who was in a former birth.
Were he in a previous birth, that individual self (atma) which he acquires in coming into existence would be different.
Moreover, what kind of individual self is there without acquisition (upadana)?
If it were held that: "There is no individual self without the acquisition,"
Then the individual self would be only the acquisition or it is not an individual self at all.
The individual self is not the acquisition, since that acquisition appears and disappears.
Now really, how will "he who acquires" become "that which is acquired?
Moreover, it does not obtain that the individual self is different from the acquisition.
If the individual self were different, it would be perceived without the acquisition; but in fact it is not so perceived.
Thus that individual self is not different from nor identical to the acquisition.
The individual self is not without acquisition; but there is no certainty that "It does not exist."
The assertion: "I have not existed in a past time (2)" does not obtain,
For that one now living is not different (i.e. "ii" is not different than "i") from that one who was in a former birth.
If that present person were different, he would exist in exclusion of that former one.
Therefore either that former person persists, or he would be born eternal!
-- note 4 : Verse 11 is not available in the Sanskrit test, but it is known from the Tibetan translation
There is no existing thing which is "that which has not existed prior." Therefore, the error logically follows that
Either the individual self is "what is produced" or it originates without a cause.
Thus the view concerning the past which asserts "I have existed (1)," or "I have not existed (2),"
Both "existed and not existed" (3) or neither (4): this does not obtain at all.
The views: "I will become something in a future time (1'),"
Or "I will not become (2') something," etc. (3') (4'), should be considered like those views of the past.
If "This is a man, this is a god" obtains, then eternity (i) exists,
For god is un-produced, and certainly something eternal would not be born.
If man is different from god, there would exist something non-eternal (ii).
If man is different from god, then a continuity does not obtain. (i.e. they cannot be different)
If one part were divine and another part human, (i.e. a man with an eternal soul)
Then there would be something non-eternal together with that which is eternal (iii); but that is not possible.
If something both non-eternal and eternal were proved,
Then, no doubt, something "neither eternal nor non-eternal (iv)" is proved.
If someone, having come from somewhere, in some way goes somewhere again,
Then there would be existence-in-flux with no beginning; but this is not the case.
If someone who is eternal does not exist, who will exist being non-eternal,
Or who being both eternal and non-eternal, or devoid of these two characteristics ?
If the world would come to an end, how would an other-world come into existence?
If the world would not come to an end, how would an other-world come into being?
Since the continuity of the "groups of universal elements" (skandhas) from one moment to the next functions like flames of lamps,
The view: "both having an end and not having an end" is not possible.
If the former "groups" would disappear, those new "groups" which are dependent on those former "groups" would not arise;
Therefore, the world would come to an end (ii).
If the former "groups" would not disappear, these new "groups" which are dependent on those former "groups" would not arise;
Therefore, the world would be eternal (i).
If one part were finite and the other were infinite,
The world would be both finite and infinite (iii); but this is not possible.
Therefore, how can it be that one part of "one who acquires" karma will be destroyed, (i.e. the body – man ?)
And one part not destroyed? (i.e. the very subtle mind -- the divine part ?) This is not possible.
How, indeed, can it be that one part of the acquisition of karma (i.e. the learning stored in the body) will be destroyed,
And one part not destroyed? (i.e. the learning stored in the mind) That, certainly does not obtain.
If the view "both finite and infinite" were proved,
Then no doubt, "neither finite nor infinite" (i.e. nothing at all) could be proved.
Because of the emptiness of all existing things,
How will the views about "eternity," etc., come into existence, about what, of whom, and of what kind?
To him, possessing compassion, who taught the real dharma
For the destruction of all views—to him, Gautama, I humbly offer reverence.