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“Sariputra, if there are people who have already made the vow, who now make the vow, or who are about to make the vow, ‘I desire to be born in Amitabha’s country,’ these people, whether born in the past, now being born, or to be born in the future, all will irreversibly attain to anuttarasamyaksambodhi. Therefore, Sariputra, all good men and good women, if they are among those who have faith, should make the vow, ‘I will be born in that country.’”

~ Amitabha Sutra

When I obtain the Buddhahood, any being of the boundless and inconceivable Buddha-worlds of the ten quarters whose body if be touched by the rays of my splendour should not make his body and mind gentle and peaceful, in such a state that he is far more sublime than the gods and men, then may I not attain the enlightenment.

~ Amitabha Buddha's Thirty-Third Vow

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Four Hundred Verse Treatise Chapters on the Actions of a Bodhisattva's Yoga (Chapters 13 - 16)

Byang-chub sems-dpa'i rnal-'byor spyod-pa bzhi-brgya-pa'i bstan-bcos kyi tshig-le'ur byas-pa, Skt. Bodhisattva-yogacarya-catu:shataka-shastra-karika)

by Aryadeva

translated by Alexander Berzin, 1978

according to the commentary of Gyeltsabjey
(rGyal-tshab rJe Dar-ma rin-chen)

Chapters 1 - 4
Chapters 5 - 8
Chapters 9 - 12
Chapters 13 - 16

* Chapter Thirteen: The Meditations for Refuting (Truly Existent) Cognitive Sensors and Cognitive Objects
* Chapter Fourteen: Indicating the Meditations for Refuting Grasping at Extremes
* Chapter Fifteen: Indicating the Meditations for Refuting Collected Phenomena as Ultimately (Truly Arising)
* Chapter Sixteen: Indicating the Meditations for How to Cause Teachers and Disciples to Gain Certainty (about Voidness)

Thirteen: The Meditations for Refuting (Truly Existent) Cognitive Sensors and Cognitive Objects

(1) You do not see absolutely everything about a vase at the time when you see (its) form. Who would state “(because) the vase (is perceived by) bare (visual) cognition” as a reason (to prove) its (truly existent) reality?

(2) By this very (same) analysis, those with superior intelligence should refute fragrant odors, sweet (tastes), and smooth (tactile sensations as being truly existent and establishing the true existence of physical objects by the bare sensory cognition of them) – all (of them), each one.

(3) Suppose that all (qualities of an object) were to become seen by (the visual cognition that) sees its form. Then, by (the fact that such visual cognition) does not see (that object’s odor – even if you would accept that) it sees its form – how could it not become the case that it does not see (the form either? This would absurdly follow because just as if it sees one quality, it should see all of them; likewise if it does not see one, it should not see any).

(4) It cannot be the case that you have bare (sensory) cognition only simply with respect to forms (as truly existent whole “things”). Why? Because these (forms) have a far portion, a near portion, and a middle (one, and so are only imputations on their parts).

(5) And when you analyze whether the (constituent) particles (of a form) have parts or not, these indeed become included (in the category of that which has parts and therefore they too lack truly established existence). Because of that, it’s unreasonable for composite (forms made up) by composing (particles lacking true existence) to be established (as truly existent whole objects of bare sensory cognition).

(6) Everything indeed becomes a section (of something greater) and then again (itself) becomes something having sections. Because of that, even spoken syllables are (merely conventions) in this (world and) are not (truly) existent.

(7) If the (truly existent) shape (of a vase) were different from (its truly existent) color, then how could (the visual cognition of the color) cognitively take the shape (as its object)? On the other hand, if they were not different, (but the same on the basis of true existence), then why, with your body (in the dark, does your visual cognition of the shape) not also cognitively take the color (as its object too)?

(8) If a (resultant) form were not imputed to be something visible, (but truly existed as a visible object, inherently different from the elemental particles that were its cause), there wouldn’t appear to be causal (particles) of the form, (because the form would exist independently of and unrelated to them). On the other hand, if it were like that (that the form and its causal particles were truly the same, then) for what reason do the two not become cognitively taken (at once) by the very (same) visual (cognition)?

(9) Earth can be seen as firm and it can also be cognitively taken (as an object of tactile cognition) by the body. Therefore, (if the element of earth had truly established existence), you would need to say that earth could only be (an object of) touch (and not of sight and, moreover, could not be the cause of visible forms).

(10) If it arose (from its causes) as something that was perceptible, there’d be no (need) for a vase (to have) any qualities (such as having an inherent relation with some category, such as the universal “perceptibility,” in order for it to be seen, as you Vaisheshikas would claim. This is because it would already be perceptible). Therefore, if it were the case that it arose (as perceptible only from having such a truly existent relation with the universal) “perceptibility,” (then it itself would be non-perceptible and therefore) could not exist as an existent phenomenon (because it couldn’t be known).

(11) (The cognitive sensors of) the eye (do not truly exist and cognize form, because if they did, such cognition of a form) would arise (from something unrelated to it, and thus it could) likewise (arise from the cognitive sensors of) the ear. But what’s seen by the (cognitive sensors of) the eye is not (cognized) by any other (cognitive sensors. As this is difficult to comprehend), the ripening of karma (is even more difficult and) was therefore said by the Able Sage (Buddha) to be beyond imagination.

(12) Because the conditions are not complete, a (visual) cognition cannot exist before the (act of the eye sensors) looking (at a form). But, however, if (a visual cognition truly existed) after (the act of looking), the cognition would be pointless (because the looking would have already ceased). As for the third (alternative, namely the looking and the cognition occurring simultaneously, if this were so, then) the function (of the looking to cause the cognition) would become pointless.

(13) If those (truly existent) eye (sensors) were to possess the motion (of traveling to their object in order to perceive it, then) that which is distant would be seen after a longer time, (that which is close would be seen sooner, in which case the eye sensors see things differently and therefore cannot be truly existent. But, if the eye sensors did truly exist, then) why are forms that are extremely near and those at a great distance not (equally) clear (since both should be cognized the same)?

(14) If after (noticing) a form, the eye (sensors) travel (out to perceive it), there would be no advantage in its having traveled out, (since they would already have seen it). Or, (if they travel to see an object they haven’t yet seen and are unaware of, then) to say, “(I’m) definitely (going to see this object that I) wish to perceive” would be a lie (because your eye sensors would always travel blind and never could find the desired object).

(15) If the (truly existent) eye (sensors) cognitively took (truly existent) forms without (need to) travel (out to see them, then) they would have to see all such things. Any (eye sensors) that do not (need to travel to see) cannot have (any difference in their perception of objects whether) far (or near) or even (whether) obscured (or not).

(16) If the (truly existent) nature of all functional phenomena first appeared (established) in themselves, for instance, in the cognitive sensors, then) for what reason would the eye (sensors) not take (as its object) the eye (sensors) itself? (This would absurdly follow because, being truly existent as the perceiving agent, there should be nothing excluded from its range of vision, including itself.)

(17) The eye (sensors, being physical matter), cannot have (visual) consciousness (of an object); while (visual) consciousness, in fact, cannot have (the function of) looking (at an object, which is the function of the eye sensors. Therefore,) as (neither) can have a form (as its focal condition), how can a form be seen by (the collection of) these (three conditions – truly existent eye sensors, visual consciousness, and forms)?

(18) (Further,) if (the ear consciousness perceiving a voice) travels (out to hear) the sound (once it’s already been) spoken, then for what (reason) would (that consciousness) not have been the speaker (that uttered the sound, since it was already aware it was spoken)? On the other hand, if it in fact traveled (out to hear) the sound when it had not yet been spoken, for what (reason) would it have arisen as an (ear) consciousness (aimed at) this (sound as its object)?

(19) If, upon meeting (the ear sensors), a sound is cognitively taken, then by what is the first (moment) of the sound cognitively taken (as an object before it meets the ear)? As sound does not come alone (to the ear sensors, but always in particles composed of sub-particles of smell and so forth), how could it be cognitively taken (selectively) by itself? (The ear sensors should also cognize smells.)

(20) So long as a sound is not heard, it cannot be a sound for that interval. If what was indeed not a sound (when it was not heard) were to become a sound in the end (when it was heard), this would be unreasonable, (because then a smell as well, as not a sound, could also become a sound).

(21) Even if the mind devoid of any cognitive sensors were to travel (to objects), how could it function (to cognitively take them, since without eyes and so forth it would be like a blind man)? (Because of faults) like this, why wouldn’t (truly existent) minds and living (selves) be forever without cognition?

(22) The (subsidiary) mental (factor) that cognitively takes (the uncommon characteristic mark of) any object seen already, such as (water even) in a mirage (of water) – that’s called, within the scheme of all phenomena, the aggregate factor of distinguishing.

(23) (Such a) mental (factor), having relied on eye (sensors) and a form, comes to arise (even) while being (part of) an illusion. But if something (such as this factor of distinguishing) existed with (true) existence, it’d be unreasonable (for it) to be called (part of) an illusion.

(24) When there’s nothing on earth that becomes no longer peculiar to learned ones (after they’ve analyzed it with logic), then how can there be anything amazing about something like (valid and certain) apprehension (of a non-truly existent sensory object by a non-truly existent) sensory (cognition)?

(25) A circle of fire from a whirling firebrand, an emanation, a dream, an illusion, a moon in the water, a haze, an echo within (a cave or ravine), a mirage, and a cloud are (thus all examples) similar to what (conventionally) exists.

Fourteen: Indicating the Meditations for Refuting Grasping at Extremes

(1) Any functional phenomenon (having true existence) could not have come about from having relied on something else. (Furthermore, upon ultimate analysis,) its (independently existing) nature should be established (by itself alone). But nothing at all exists like that.

(2) (If you) say (in terms of truly established existence), “A vase is a form in general,” they cannot be one; (otherwise, wherever there was a form, it would have to be a vase). Also they cannot exist in different (categories of things, with) a vase possessing a form (like a man possessing a cow; otherwise, a vase by itself would have to exist independently of being a form). Also a vase cannot exist (as the reliant basis of being) a form and a form cannot exist (as the reliant basis of being) a vase, (since they cannot exist in separate independent categories of things).

(3) (You Vaisheshikas) see the two (namely the universal “existence” and the particular substance “vase”) as being in dissimilar (truly existent categories) by definition. But then, if a vase were (truly) different from the phenomenon (“existence”), it would not be (reasonable for it itself to exist). Likewise, for what reason would the phenomenon (of “being existent”) not become (truly) different (and separate) from the vase, (thus also rendering a vase nonexistent)?

(4) (Moreover, you also say that substances and qualities, such as number, amount, and size, also exist in different truly existent categories and, although substances can exist on their own for a while to act as a basis for being qualified by a quality, yet qualities themselves can never exist on their own without qualifying a substance. But,) if you do not accept that (the amount) “one” can (come to qualify) a vase, then neither can a vase come to be (qualified by the amount) “one” as a quality. (This is because you do not allow for the existence of the amount “one” before it comes to qualify the vase. And if you say that the vase comes to possess the amount “one” as a quality, yet the quality “one” cannot come to possess the vase as what it qualifies, then since possession must be made between equals, namely between what can come to possess and what can come to be possessed, and) this possession is not between equals, then for this reason also, a vase cannot come to be (qualified by the amount) “one.”

(5) When the form (of a substance, as a quality of that substance, amounts to) just as much (in extent) as the substance (itself), then (in the same way as the substance itself can possess the quality of being large), why can’t the form (as another quality of the substance also possess the quality of) being large? If you opponents cannot (justify your thesis that qualities cannot act as the basis of other qualities on any grounds) other than (scriptural authority), your tradition could be said (to be logically deficient).

(6) Even if (you admit the refutation of truly existent) defining characteristics (or qualities), but (assert the true existence of) examples of what are characterized (by them, this too is unreasonable). Their (true) existence cannot be established in any way. In this (way), there is no phenomenon that (truly) exists separately from (any qualities), such as number and so forth.

(7) A vase cannot be (truly existent) as one (with its eight types of constituent sub-particles as you Sautrantikas assert. This is) because, being not separate (in nature from its eight types of sub-particles, which each have their own individual) defining characteristics, (it too, as a single unit, would have to exist as eight truly existent things). But, as each (of the eight sub-particles alone) is not the vase, it is not reasonable for (the vase to exist) in a multiple manner (as something truly existing separately from the eight).

(8) There can be no such thing as the simultaneous joining of (the four elemental sub-particles – earth, water, fire, and wind – which) possess (the ability to have) contact, and (the four subsidiary sub-particles – form, smell, taste, and touch – which) do not possess (the ability to have) contact, (in order to form a single vase, for how would they all meet)? Because of that, it is unreasonable in all respects for the joining of (the eight sub-particles of) form and so on (to establish an object that is a collection truly existing as a single unit).

(9) Form (for instance) is (just one of) the subsidiary (sub-particles) of a vase. Therefore, individually each (of the four subsidiary sub-particles) cannot be the vase. Because of this, (a vase) having these subsidiary (sub-particles) cannot have true existence (as a collection relying on them). And for that (same reason), the subsidiary (sub-particles) as well cannot have true existence, (since they too rely on directional parts).

(10) (Further,) as all forms are not dissimilar in their defining characteristics as form in general, then if one (form) were to (truly) exist as a vase, for what reason would all others not (also exist as a vase)?

(11) Suppose you assert that form is (truly) different from taste and so on (since each type of subsidiary sub-particle is cognitively taken by different senses) and yet a (form) is (truly) not different from a vase. Well, how could any vase that itself could not exist without including these (subsidiary sub-particles of taste and so on, which you say are different from form), not (likewise) be different from a form?

(12) A vase does not have (truly existent) causes and it itself does not become (a truly existent) result. Because of that, there is no vase that can (truly) exist as different from (its constituent causes) such as form and so on.

(13) As a vase becomes established from (its own) causes and (these) causes become established from other (causes, therefore) anything not established from its own (self-nature) can accordingly produce other things (as its result).

(14) Even if (the subsidiary sub-particles of form, smell, and so forth) were to gather together and meet (each other to constitute a whole), it is unreasonable for form to become a smell, (which it would need to become if they formed a truly existent, homogeneous whole). Therefore, like a vase, it is illogical for (any) collections (to exist) as (truly existent) single units.

(15) Just as there can be no vase that can exist without depending on (its constituent subsidiary sub-particles) such as form and so on, likewise there can be no (subsidiary sub-particles of) form as well, without depending on (the elemental sub-particles of) earth, wind, and so forth (upon which they are imputed).

(16) (Furthermore, fuel, which is in the nature of the three elements earth, water, and wind) can become hot in the nature of fire, but without (fuel, which can become) hot, how can (fire) burn? Therefore, there can be no such thing as what is called (truly existent) fuel (existing independently of the element fire and in the nature of the three other elements). Also there can be no (truly) existent fire without this (fuel).

(17) Even if (you say that fuel becomes) hot when (its own nature as earth, water, and wind is) overpowered (by the nature of fire), for what reason would (the fuel) not become fire (at that instance, because it was hot and burning? If you insist that hot burning fuel does not become of the nature of fire,) well then it is improper to say there is the existence of fire (in relation to) a different functional phenomenon that is not hot.

(18) If a sub-particle (of fire) has no fuel, then there would be an (independently existing) fire without fuel, (which amounts to asserting a fire that is causeless. Fearing this consequence,) if you say that even this (sub-particle of fire) has fuel, then it does not exist as a sub-particle with a nature of being a (truly existent, self-contained) unit.

(19) Any functional phenomenon, when fully examined, (is found) not to exist as a (truly existent unit or) oneness (since it is made of parts). And by this (same reason whereby) things do not (truly) exist as singular units, they do not (truly) exist as multiples either (since “many” is made up of several units, which themselves do not truly exist).

(20) (Now consider the position) in (non-Buddhist systems) which (accept sub-particles of earth and so on, but claim that) they are not functional phenomena (but static substances). If you (were also to) assert (that such sub-particles) are truly existent as (solitary units), well then whatever (reason you use to show that) everything truly exists in a triple (way, namely as substances, singular units, and truly existents, also proves that) they do not truly exist as solitary units.

(21) For (refuting the various philosophical) positions of (asserting) existence, nonexistence, both existence and nonexistence and neither existence nor nonexistence, the learned should always apply (such lines of reasoning as analyzing whether things are truly existently) one and so on.

(22) (There are many misconceptions that people can hold. For instance,) just as by regarding a continuity in a faulty manner, you can come to (the misconception) that (functional phenomena) exist as static; likewise, by regarding a collection in a faulty manner, you can come to (the misconception) that functional phenomena truly exist.

(23) But, whatever (conventionally) exists as having arisen by depending (on causes and so forth) cannot come to be (found as having true) independent (existence). As all these (things) are not independent, therefore there is no such thing as a (truly existent) “soul,” (either of a person or of any phenomenon).

(24) (Consider the assertion of) functional phenomena as (having true existence on their own) without (or independent of) the result (they will produce and which) do not exist (in the sense of) always being gathered (dependently) on their result. Any such (truly existent independent phenomenon) being gathered for the sake of (producing) a result cannot be included in (the sight of the total absorption of) an arya, (since aryas are focused on the non-true existence of dependent arising).

(25) (In short,) the seed of compulsive samsaric existence is the consciousness (that grasps at true existence), while objects (such as forms and so on) are the objects it utilizes. But seeing that these objects have no (truly existent) “soul” causes the seed of compulsive existence to come to an end.

Fifteen: Indicating the Meditations for Refuting Collected Phenomena as Ultimately (Truly Arising)

(1) If at the last (moment of the cause, the result is truly) nonexistent and then it comes to arise (as truly existent, this is unreasonable, because then even a rabbit’s horn could arise). Therefore, how can something truly nonexistent arise? And if you accept that (the result truly) exists (at the time of the cause) and then comes to arise, (this is also unreasonable, because it would already have arisen and thus have no need to arise again). Therefore, how can something truly existently arise?

(2) With the (generation of the) result, the cause disintegrates. Therefore, it is not that something (truly) nonexistent (at the time of the cause) comes to arise. And because there is no (necessity) for something (already) established (at the time of the cause) to be established (again, something truly) existent does not arise either.

(3) At that time (when the result already truly exists), it cannot have an arising (because it already exists). Moreover, at the other time (when it is truly nonexistent), it cannot have an arising (either, because then anything could arise). If it does not arise at either that time or the other time, when can it come to have an arising?

(4) Just as there is no arising in which something (truly existent produces) the phenomenon of itself (because there is no need), likewise there is no arising in which something (truly existent produces) another phenomenon, (because the two would be truly different and unrelated).

(5) (An arising) at the beginning, (an abiding) in the middle, and (a ceasing) at the end do not exist before something arises. And at (the time of each), the other two do not exist, (but yet they are not truly independent of each other). Just as each comes to begin (and thus there is no abiding or ceasing without an arising, likewise each comes to abide and to cease).

(6) Without other phenomena (as its causes, a result) is not produced as its own phenomenon (from itself, since functional phenomena rely on causes. Moreover, these causal functional phenomena that are other than the result they produce also lack true existence, since they too rely on their causes. Therefore,) because of that, there is no production from either of the two, (truly existent) self or others.

(7) You cannot say that that which is before (the result, namely a truly existing arising), and that which is after (the cause, namely a truly existing result), exist simultaneously (since then the result would already exist at the time of its arising and there would be no need for it to arise). Because of that, a vase and its arising do not occur simultaneously.

(8) As it is the case that (when something) first arises (it is not old) because (it is new), then (if it were truly existent as new), what first arises could not become old. Later, even after it has completely arisen, (it would not be old), and still afterwards what arose (as truly new) could never have become (old).

(9) (Further,) a functional phenomenon of the present is not produced from its own (truly existent time present); it is not produced from a (truly existent time) not yet to come; nor is it (produced) from a (truly existent time) already passed.

(10) Something that has (truly existently) arisen can have no coming and likewise no going to a ceasing. As this is the case, for what reason is (conventional) existence not like an illusion?

(11) As a (truly existent) arising, abiding, and ceasing cannot occur simultaneously and cannot occur in stages, when can they come to occur?

(12) (If) arising and so on (had true existence), they would all have to occur each of them over again, (as they each would already be existing before they had actually occurred). Because of that, a ceasing would become like an arising (when it actually came to occur), and an abiding would appear like a ceasing (before it actually began to occur).

(13) If you said that the (three) modes (of arising, abiding, and ceasing) and the basis of the modes (for example the functional phenomenon of a vase, were truly existent and) different (from each other), then the basis of the modes would be anything but nonstatic, (since being truly separate from an arising and so forth, it would have to be static). Or else, (if they were truly existently one with each other), there should not exist any clear (distinction) in the (truly) existent natures of all four (and that would destroy the relationship of a mode and the basis of a mode).

(14) A (truly existent) functional phenomenon cannot arise from a (truly existent) functional phenomenon (because it would already exist). Moreover, (such) a functional phenomenon cannot arise from a (truly existent) nonfunctional phenomenon (because like a burnt seed it would lack the power to produce a result). A nonfunctional phenomenon cannot arise from a nonfunctional phenomenon (because like a rabbit’s horn, such cannot arise from anything).

(15) A (truly existent) functional phenomenon cannot become a functional phenomenon (that arises, because it will already have arisen) and a (truly existent) nonfunctional phenomenon cannot become a functional phenomenon (that arises, otherwise the son of a barren woman could be born). A nonfunctional phenomenon cannot become a nonfunctional phenomenon (that has ceased, otherwise the son of a barren woman could die) and a functional phenomenon cannot become a nonfunctional phenomenon (that has ceased, because the two truly existent categories must be mutually exclusive).

(16) While (something) is arising, because it is half (already) arisen (and half not yet arisen) the process of arising cannot be a (truly existent) arising (apart from these portions). Or else there would be the absurd conclusion that all (three times, namely the portion of not yet having arisen, the portion of arising now and the portion of already having arisen) would be the (truly existently) arising.

(17) (In terms of true existence, if) what is in the process of arising were the thing itself it was going to be, it would make it not what is in the process of arising (because being in the process of arising would imply that the thing itself had not yet been established). Even if what is in the process of arising were not the thing itself it was going to be, it would still make it not be what is in the process of arising (because it would then be truly different from and thus totally unrelated to what it would be and would not be arising as anything).

(18) Any (tradition that asserts that) the two (namely the time not yet come and the time already passed) cannot exist without something in between, (must also assert that) the process of arising lacks true existence. Why, because it too would have something in between (its first and last portions, and so on with infinite regress).

(19) (Suppose you say that) because the process of arising is (the time when the cause) has ceased and what is to have arisen (namely the result) is about to arise, therefore the process of arising is seen in the nature of being something (truly) existent that is in fact different (from a portion of being halfway already arisen and one of being halfway not yet arisen).

(20) (Well, if as you claim, the process of arising had true existence separately from and before what is to have arisen, then) when what is to have arisen (truly exists), at such a time there cannot exist the process of its arising (because the arising will have already ceased. Thus, you cannot establish that what has arisen was produced from this process of arising that you inferred to truly exist separately and before it. The two would be unrelated. And if you grant this, but say that on the basis of true existence what is to have arisen is in the process of arising, well then) when what is to have arisen is in the process of arising, at such a time what reason is there for it to have to be made to arise (again – it would already have arisen, being truly existent)?

(21) (Suppose you claim that) the process of arising is merely when what has not yet arisen (is progressing toward the state when it) will be proclaimed as what has arisen. (Well then,) because (this assertion made in terms of true existence amounts to) there being no difference (between what has not yet arisen and what has already arisen), why at the time when (there is something functioning as) a vase could it not be (also) conceived of as not (a vase or something functional, because likewise there should be no difference between a vase that has arisen and the nonfunctional state when it has not yet arisen)?

(22) (Suppose you retort that there is a difference between the process of arising and when something has not yet arisen, namely the former is connected with the action of arising while the latter is not necessarily so connected. Well then,) when something is in the process of arising, it is in fact not yet complete (and thus has a portion of being not yet arisen. Therefore, by being connected with the action of arising,) what has not yet arisen would pass beyond (the category of being something not yet come, for it would be presently occurring). And if that were indeed so, then by the very fact that the process of arising is beyond the limits of when something has already arisen (and thus has a portion of being not yet arisen), then because of that, what has not yet arisen would be arising.

(23) (And suppose you further assert that) the process of arising, even before it has occurred, can be proclaimed to be (truly) existent (as a functional phenomenon), because later (it will come to be connected with the action of arising. Well then,) by that, (you would) in fact (be forced to conclude that only) what has not yet arisen arises (and that is unreasonable on the basis of true existence. After all,) what has not yet arisen is said to have not occurred (and therefore has not acquired the status of being the functional phenomenon of itself. Thus, it could not enter into the action of arising and) could not arise.

(24) To say that (when the action of arising is) completed, (a functional phenomenon) exists and to say that (when the action of arising) has not been done, (a functional phenomenon) does not yet exist (is irrelevant). When there is no such thing as a (truly existent) process of arising, what can be said about one?

(25) (In short), when there can exist no result without a cause that can be understood, then a (truly existing result) entering into (a process of arising) and a (truly existing cause) reversing (and ceasing) are illogical.

Sixteen: Indicating the Meditations for How to Cause Teachers and Disciples to Gain Certainty (about Voidness)

(1) All these chapters have been to refute individually any reasons (that may be given why), although (everything is) void (of true existence, others grasp at them) to be as if not devoid.

(2) When you (object) that it is improper to say that the author, subject matter, and likewise (the words of these chapters) are void (because they exist; well then, since) whatever arises from depending on (something else) is (void of true existence, therefore) these three as well are not (truly) existent.

(3) If, by the faults (of everything being) void, it were to be established that (things) are not void, then by (these very same) faults (that would arise from everything) not being void, (namely that nothing could exist or function,) why wouldn’t voidness be established?

(4) To counter another’s position and establish your own position, (you need to rely on reasoning). If one faction (merely) took pleasure in criticizing (the other), why wouldn’t they (be happy) to establish (their own position based merely on opinion, but not on logic)?

(5) If a position becomes not (reasonable if), upon thorough analysis, (what it asserts is found) not to be (a validly knowable phenomenon), then all three (assertions of things being truly existently) one (or many or beyond speech) and so on become untenable positions.

(6) (If you say that) anything seen by bare (sensory) cognition, (such as) a vase, has (true existence, well) this (tradition that asserts the voidness of true existence) does not have (as part of its tenets such faulty) lines of reasoning coming from other (Mahayana Buddhist) traditions, (although) in other respects we have (assertions in common, such as the bodhichitta aim).

(7) As what is not voidness, (namely a basis of voidness), does not have (true existence), from what could its voidness arise (as being truly existent)? As one of them does not have (true existence, namely the basis of voidness, such as a vase), how could its opponent (namely its lack of true existence) come to arise (as truly existent)?

(8) If (the position of voidness) were a truly existent position, then what is not that position (namely true existence) would (also) become truly existent as a position. (But since voidness is not truly existent,) what is not the position (of voidness) is not truly existent (either. As truly existent phenomena do not exist at all,) what could come to constitute the counter-set (of things that are not void of true existence, which would be necessary for establishing as a truly existent set everything that is void)?

(9) If functional phenomena (in general) lack true existence, how could (a specific one, such as) the heat of a fire, become (truly existent)? A hot fire, as well, has no true existence as was (established by) previous countering (arguments).

(10) If it can be countered that by seeing functional phenomena (you can validly know that) functional phenomena lack true existence, then which of the four positions (asserting phenomena to be truly existently one, many, existent, or nonexistent) could be seen as having abandoned (all) faults, (because truly existent phenomena would have to exist in one or another of those ways)?

(11) (If) particles (existed as) truly existent functional phenomena, (they should be the object of valid cognition). But as they are not (the object) of any (valid cognition), how could they be (truly existent)? As the Buddhas (testified that everything) is indeed non-truly existent, for that very reason you should adhere (to asserting non-true existence).

(12) If the absence of the dual (division of some things being truly existent and some being void applies) to everything, what else is there that can be a truly existent functional phenomenon? If you dispute these lines of reasoning (already proven), what can (your views, which are) different (from that of voidness,) do (for you? They cannot bring you liberation.)

(13) As there are no (truly existent) phenomena among all phenomena, it is unreasonable to divide (phenomena into truly existent and non-truly existent ones. The voidness) that is seen of all things cannot become a division (opposed to true existence, because everything is void).

(14) If (we Prasangikas) were known as unanswerable to other positions because (we asserted the total) nonexistence (of everything), then why is it that your own position can be countered by the logic (of voidness) and not be established (by reason)?

(15) Even if you say (it is well known) in the world that lines of reasoning to undermine (voidness) are easy to find, why is it that you are unable to state (any) faults in our position of what is other (than true existence, namely voidness, which can withstand the test of logic)?

(16) If by merely (your words) that (everything has) true existence, (everything) were to exist as truly existent phenomena, then why wouldn’t (everything) become non-truly existent merely by (our words) that (they are) non-truly existent?

(17) And (if things) do not become (totally) nonexistent because of their being labeled with the names “existing” and “obtaining,” they do not (on the other hand) become (truly) existent because of their being given the name “(truly) existent,” (for this latter is a case of applying a misnomer).

(18) Suppose (you say that everything) in the world has true existence since everything can be spoken of (in words) by the world, (despite these words not having the same truly existent nature as their objects. Well then,) how could any functional phenomenon that had ultimate existence become (an object of speech) of the world, (because words and referents truly existently different by nature could not be related)?

(19) Suppose (you claimed that) all functional phenomena would become totally nonexistent because of their lack of (true) existence. (Well then,) if that were so, then all those (who hold the Prasangika) position (would be asserting that what previously had been truly existent had become totally) nonexistent phenomena. (But this) is unreasonable (since, throughout beginningless time, everything has been non-truly existent).

(20) Because phenomena lack true existence, the non-phenomenon (of their voidness) cannot come to have true existence. As phenomena have never had true existence, from what (basis) could the non-phenomenon (of the absence or voidness of their true existence) be established?

(21) Suppose (you said that) because voidness comes (to be established) from (truly existent) lines of reasoning, (voidness) cannot be void (of true existence. Well then,) if the asserted (thesis) and the line of reasoning were (truly existently) different, (they would be unrelated, and the former could not be proven by the latter). And if they were not (different, but truly existently one), then it would not be a (proper) line of reasoning, (since being identical with the thesis, the line of reasoning could not prove the thesis, as is the case in a tautology).

(22) And suppose (you said that) because there are truly existent examples (to prove) voidness, therefore (voidness) cannot be void of true existence. (Well then,) can you say that (from the example) “just like a crow” (you can substantiate that) the “self” is likewise black? (A truly existent example and thesis would be likewise irrelevant to each other.)

(23) If functional phenomena existed with truly established existence, what benefit would there be from seeing voidness, (because it would be incorrect)? But since you are bound (with suffering in samsaric existence from) seeing with misconceptions (everything as being truly existent), therefore (an implied object of this grasping for true existence) is to be refuted here.

(24) (Further), to say (like you Chittamatrins) that the one (namely consciousness) has true existence, while the (other) one (namely external objects) does not exist (at all) is not so in terms of the facts of reality, (since both lack true existence). Moreover, it is not so on the worldly level either, (since both are conventionally existent). Therefore, you cannot say that this (namely consciousness, ultimately) has true existence and this (namely external objects, conventionally) has no existence (at all).

(25) (In short,) any position that (asserts either) true existence, total nonexistence, both true existence and nonexistence, (or neither) does not exist (as a valid one with the support of logic). Even after a very long time, (proponents of) such (positions) will never have the ability to expound an answer (that could refute voidness, because voidness is irrefutable).

This concludes Four Hundred Verse Treatise on the Actions of a Bodhisattva’s Yoga, composed by the Learned Master Aryadeva, who was miraculously born from a lotus in Sri Lanka. Having crossed the ocean of his own and others’ tenets and divided the correct from the incorrect view, he completely clarified the Middle Path (view) of Madhyamaka and became the spiritual son of the Highly Realized Arya Nagarjuna.

This was translated, (from Sanskrit into Tibetan), and edited and finalized in the Precious Hidden Pleasure Garden in the center of the city of Pemey (dPe-med) in Kashmir by the Indian Master Sushmajnana and the Tibetan translator Patsab Lotsawa Nyima-drag (Pa-tshab Lo-tsa-ba Nyi-ma grags).


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Four Hundred Verse Treatise Chapters on the Actions of a Bodhisattva's Yoga (Chapters 9 - 12)

(Byang-chub sems-dpa'i rnal-'byor spyod-pa bzhi-brgya-pa'i bstan-bcos kyi tshig-le'ur byas-pa, Skt. Bodhisattva-yogacarya-catu:shataka-shastra-karika)

by Aryadeva

translated by Alexander Berzin, 1978
according to the commentary of Gyeltsabjey
(rGyal-tshab rJe Dar-ma rin-chen)

Chapters 1 - 4
Chapters 5 - 8
Chapters 9 - 12
Chapters 13 - 16

* Chapter Nine: Indicating the Meditations for Refuting Static Functional Phenomena
* Chapter Ten: Indicating the Meditations for Refuting a (Static, Impossible) “ Self” or “Soul”
* Chapter Eleven: Indicating the Meditations for Refuting (Truly Existent) Time
* Chapter Twelve: Indicating the Meditations for Refuting (Attraction to Distorted) Views

Nine: Indicating the Meditations for Refuting Static Functional Phenomena

[Starting with this chapter, verses are written as paragraphs rather than divided into lines.]

(1) All (functional phenomena) arise as a fact of being the result (of a collection of causes and circumstances). Therefore, there’s no such thing as a static (functional phenomenon that is causeless and truly existent). Except for the Thusly Gone Able Sage (Buddhas), there isn’t anyone (who can simultaneously cognize, nonconceptually,) just how functional phenomena (are both nonstatic and devoid of true existence).

(2) Whatever (functional phenomena there are) do not exist just at any place or at any time without relying (on causes and circumstances). Therefore, there is no such thing whatsoever as a (functional phenomenon that is) static, anytime, anywhere.

(3) There is no such thing as a functional phenomenon without a cause, and no such thing as something static having a cause. Therefore, concerning (a static functional phenomenon) established from no cause, it is said that such indeed cannot be established (as an object of valid cognition even) by the Omniscient One.

(4) (Suppose you Vaisheshikas say the criterion for knowing something to be) nonstatic is from seeing that it has been produced, while if (you can) not (see it) has been produced, (that makes it) static. (Well then,) from seeing that it has been produced, (you merely know something to be) existent. (Therefore, not seeing an atman or “soul” as having been produced) makes (such a so-called) static object nonexistent.

(5) Space and so forth are understood to be static (and substantially existent, because they perform the function of serving as objects of the cognition of them, only) by ordinary folk (such as you Vaibhashikas, who do not correctly understand Buddha’s texts). The wise do not see such things as objects (of valid cognition), even on a worldly (conventional level).

(6) Directional (space), such as (that of the eastern) direction, does not abide everywhere. Because of that, it’s extremely clear that directional (space) indeed has directions and other (divisions such as parts. Thus, it cannot be a static functional phenomenon in the way you Vaisheshikas define it as being both all-pervasive and partless).

(7) And any (type of time) that exists, allowing either the occurrence or prevention of a functional phenomenon to be seen (at its proper time) must, (in order to function as a cause), come under the influence of other (factors). Therefore, it itself becomes a result (and thus cannot be static as you Vaidantikas claim).

(8) Any cause that does not have a result cannot exist as a cause. Because of that, you are forced to conclude that every cause must itself be a result, (for its ability to produce its result is itself the result of other conditions).

(9) If a cause transforms, it becomes the cause of something else. Whatever has transformation cannot be called static.

(10) (Further,) a functional phenomenon that has something static (such as time) as its cause should arise (at its proper time even) from (other supporting conditions) not coming about. Thus, it becomes something arising independently, in which case such (a functional phenomenon) would become the opposite of (something that relies on) causes.

(11) (After all), how can a functional phenomenon that arises from something static be nonstatic? A cause and effect that have dissimilar characteristics can never be seen.

(12) (Consider the ultimately smallest particles, which you Vaisheshikas say are static and partless. How can they form an object?) Any (such particles) that had certain sides, (which when they met) were the cause (for an object’s forming, and certain sides, which were not the cause), would (therefore) have various (parts). How is it logical for that which has various (parts) to be static (by your definitions)?

(13) (The objects that would be) the result of (the meeting of such static particles, which as) a cause are round, do not have (this same round shape and size). Therefore, it is (also) unreasonable for (such) particles to join with their entire natures (merging on all sides all at once to form an object).

(14) (Suppose you said that they do not actually merge on all sides, since) you do not accept that the place occupied by one particle can also be (occupied) by another. Well then, because of that, (you are forced to say that in order to build up a gross, visible object, they must meet with at least some sides not joining, since) it cannot be accepted that (each of) the causal (particles) and the resultant (objects they form) are both equal in size. (But, then, if some sides join and some do not, these particles cannot be partless).

(15) Any (ultimately smallest particle) that has an eastern side also has an eastern part. (Therefore) any particles that have directional sides cannot be asserted as particles that are the ultimately smallest (partless) particles.

(16) Any (ultimately smallest particle) that, (when moving), has both (a space) before it that it takes and one behind it that it gives up cannot be (partless, since it has a front and a back). Or (else you would have to say that such particles) cannot be something that moves (to form an object).

(17) And any (ultimately smallest particle) that has no first (part in front), that has no middle, and any that has no end (in the rear) cannot be (situated) before (any mind). As this is so, by what kind (of valid yogic cognition) could it be seen?

(18) (With the production) of its result, a cause disintegrates. Therefore, (particles as) a cause must be nonstatic and impermanent. Otherwise, whatever had (static eternal particles) as its cause would have its cause and effect existing (simultaneously).

(19) A functional phenomenon that can (have its motion) obstructed (which implies a change of state) and yet is static cannot be seen anywhere. Therefore, the Buddhas never said that particles are static and permanent.

(20) (Now) liberation (as the noble truth of true stoppings, in being static and permanent,) is different from the binding (truth of true origins of suffering), the bound (truth of true sufferings) and the method (truth of true pathway minds). If, (however,) it had (substantial) existence (because of performing the function of serving as a cause for the cognition of it, as you Vaibhashikas claim, it should produce an effect). But nothing at all arises from it. Therefore, such (a substantially existent stopping) cannot be said to be liberation.

(21) (You also incorrectly think that) in the nirvana state beyond sorrow (without any residue), aggregates do not exist at all and a person (or conventional “me” relying on them) does not exist either. But, as (only a truly existent “person”) who has passed beyond sorrow cannot be seen anywhere, how can nirvana (itself be substantially existent)?

(22) At the time of liberation, when there is parting from craving, if (the atman or “self”) had (a nature of) consciousness (as you Samkhyas assert), what point would there be (to this, since according to you there would be no objects for it to perceive). And if it were to exist then and not be conscious, this amounts to what is clearly not so (according to your system, since you assert that the “self” with the nature of consciousness is static and permanent).

(23) If a “self” that was liberated had (true) existence, then (even if) it existed (in this condition) as having (only) the potential for consciousness, (this would still be unreasonable, since by not actually being conscious, it contradicts your definitions). And if (a truly existent “self”) did not exist (with consciousness when liberated), it wouldn’t be (reasonable) for it ever to have thought about (becoming released from) recurring samsaric existence, (since being truly existent and static, it could never have been conscious at all).

(24) (Thus,) it is definite that people who are liberated from suffering do not have (an independently existing “self”) different from (that which can merely be labeled on the basis of their aggregate factors of experience). Because of that, it is said that it is best to eliminate (grasping at a truly existent) “self” in all respects.

(25) (But you may object that) worldly ones easily (accept the conventional existence) of these (ordinary things), while not (doctrinally asserting) at all their ultimate (true existence; so why bother trying to refute true existence. After all,) for worldly ones, the slightest (things) have existence, but do not have ultimate (true) existence. (Well then, just because they do not have doctrinally based grasping at things to have true existence, this does not negate or eliminate their having automatically arising grasping).

Ten: Indicating the Meditations for Refuting a (Static, Impossible) “ Self” or “Soul”

(1) A (static, truly existent) internal “self” (or atman as asserted by you Vaisheshikas) can be neither female, nor male, nor hermaphroditic, (otherwise you would always have to be reborn as the same gender). When this is so, then it is only out of unknowing (naivety) that you can think in terms of being a (truly existent) male “self” (and so on).

(2) And when it is so that none of the elements (constituting the body) exist as male, female, or hermaphroditic, then how can (an external “self”) that relies on these be (truly existently) male or female or hermaphroditic?

(3) That which is your “self” is not my “self.” Therefore, this (object of your self-preoccupation) cannot be a (truly existent) “self,” because (if it were, it would also have to be the object of my self-preoccupation and this) cannot be ascertained (to be so). Doesn’t the thought (of a “self”) arise (merely as an imputation) on the nonstatic functional phenomena (of one’s own aggregate factors of experience)?

(4) A “person” (or “self”) would have to change aspects from rebirth to rebirth in accordance with (the change in) body (and life form). Therefore, it is unreasonable for you (to maintain) that (the “self”) is a different (substantial) entity from the body and static.

(5) It can never happen that something that cannot have contact (with anything) can be said to incite a functional phenomenon (into action). Because of that, the “living one” (or “self”) cannot become the agent for (causing) the body’s motion.

(6) (If) it cannot be harmed, how can you think there is any use in causal (actions to prevent suffering) for a static “self”? In no respect, would you ever need to protect a diamond-hard scepter from wood-worms!

(7) If your “self” is static and permanent because it has memories of (past) lives (in which it also considered itself “me,” well then) from seeing a mole (on your body similar to one you) had in a previous (life), why would your body itself not be static and permanent?

(8) And if (you say it is) a “self” that possesses (the quality of) having consciousness that indeed is the knower (of previous lives and so on), well then such a “ person” (or “self”) that is not conscious (on its own, but then comes to) have consciousness (as its quality) could not be static.

(9) You can see that the “living one” (or “self”) when it possesses (qualities) such as happiness and so on (takes on) varied (aspects) in accordance with whether (it is experiencing) happiness and so on. Because of that, it is improper for (the “self”) to be static indeed while (it can experience being) happy and so on.

(10) But if, (according to you Samkhyas, the “self” or “person,” which) has (a nature) of consciousness, is static and permanent, then (its needing to rely on cognitive sensors for) the action (of cognizing objects) becomes contrary (to this). If fire were static and permanent, (its reliance on) fuel (in order to burn) would not be meaningful.

(11) As long as there is a substantially existent (potential for awareness, which is not different from the static “person” or “self” and which has) the function (of causing the “person” to have cognitions), it will never fluctuate (from doing this) until (the “ person”) disintegrates. But, as (you assert that) the “person” exists (staticly, forever), it is unreasonable to say its cognitions ever cease to exist.

(12) You see (the “person” or “self”) as sometimes in the sphere (of having the potential) for having cognitions and at others (actually) having cognitions. Because this is like iron (sometimes being) in a molten state (and at other times not), the “person” becomes something that changes in aspect.

(13) (Now Suppose as you Nyaiyikas say, that the “person” or “self”’s) having consciousness (is due to its relying) on merely (one of its atoms being conjoined with) mind and (also that) the “person” is vast (and as all-pervasive) as space. Well then, because (the vast majority of the infinite “self” is not conjoined with mind), it would appear as though its nature could not be one (that would allow for) having consciousness.

(14) If the “self” existed (as static, partless, and pervasive) to everyone, why shouldn’t you, through (the “self” in) someone else, conceive of him as “me”? It is unreasonable to say (it is because your) very (“self,” although present in someone else,) is obscured by (his) very (“self,” since then the “self” would have parts and not be single).

(15) Any (views, such as those of the Samkhyas, that assert primal matter with an equal proportion of the three constituent) qualities (namely the principles of happiness, suffering, and indifference) as being the creator (of all manifestations of these) and yet not having consciousness of any of these aspects, have no difference whatsoever from those of madmen.

(16) What could be more unreasonable than for (primal matter, as a balance of these three constituent) qualities, to create all aspects, such as houses and so on, and yet not be conscious (of them) as the conscious experiencer (of the fruits of its actions)?

(17) (A “self,” as asserted by you Vaisheshikas, that) has actions cannot (also) be static. And (also), one that extends to all (times and places) cannot have actions (such as coming and going. Thus, your assertions about it are self-contradictory). Further, (a “self”) that did not have actions would be tantamount to its being nonexistent. (Therefore,) why not rejoice in (the fact that there is) no (truly existent) “self”?

(18) Some (such as you Vaisheshikas and Samkhyas) see (the “self”) as extending in everyone. Some, (such as you Jains, observe) the “person” to be merely (the same size as each individual’s) body. While some, (such as you Nyaiyikas, perceive) the “person” to be merely an atom. But those with discriminating awareness see it as non(-truly) existent, (since if it truly existed, everyone should validly see it the same).

(19) Where can there be harm for (a “self” that is) static and permanent, and where can there be liberation for what cannot be harmed? Therefore, liberation is unreasonable for anyone whose “self” is static and permanent.

(20) If there (actually) existed what is known as a (truly existent) “ self,” it would be unreasonable to think there was no (such) “self,” and it would indeed be a lie to say that you could pass beyond sorrow (into nirvana) from a definite understanding of the facts of reality (namely, the voidness of the “self”).

(21) But suppose (you say that although there is no truly existent “self” in recurring samsaric existence, yet the liberated “self” has truly established existence. Well then,) the liberated (“self”) must be non-truly existent, as it previously also was non-truly existent. (This is because) whatever is seen concerning (the voidness of a “self”) that does not possess (any relation with anything else) is explained as being its nature (whether liberated or not).

(22) If nonstaticness (or impermanence meant that things) discontinue completely (after their first moment, then) how could there still be grass and so on? If this (absurd position) were true, there wouldn’t be any naivety occurring in anyone (since, being nonstatic, it too would have disappeared after its first moment).

(23) Even if a (static, truly existent) “self” existed, (it should produce things all by itself. But,) as its bodily form can be seen to arise from (numerous) other (conditions being assembled), can be seen to abide from others (continuing to support it), and can be seen to disintegrate from others (no longer being present, therefore) it can be seen (that such a static and permanent “self” does not exist at all).

(24) Just as a functional sprout arises from a functional seed, likewise all nonstatic (phenomena) are produced from nonstatic (causes, not from a static “self”).

(25) (In short,) because functional phenomena come about ( from them, causes) do not become discontinuous, (as you nihilists would assert). And because functional phenomena become annulled (once they have produced an effect, causes) do not become static and permanent, (as you eternalists would assert).

Eleven: Indicating the Meditations for Refuting (Truly Existent) Time

(1) When the vase has not yet come about, the vase that will be present does not exist, nor does (the vase) that will later have passed away. (Otherwise, if the past, present, and future were static and truly existent as you Vaidantikas claim, then) since both (the vase that will be present and the one that will have passed would already be existing when they had) not yet come about, then (in fact) there would be no (time when they had) not yet come.

(2) (Even) if (only a portion of the vase that) will have disintegrated (existed) in the nature of (the vase that) has not yet come about, it would (in fact) not yet have come about. How can that which (truly) exists in the nature of having not yet come ever become what has already passed away?

(3) If (time) not yet come were a (substantially existent, static) functional phenomenon, (then time) not yet come would have to abide truly existently (and forever). Therefore, because of that, (as such a time would have arisen, but never ceased to be,) it would become the present and would not exist at all as what had not yet come.

(4) (If, as you Vaisheshikas, Vaibhashikas, and so forth claim, time) not yet come were (truly) existent, and (time) already passed were (truly) existent, and (time) presently happening were (truly) existent, when would (any of them ever) not exist? From what (grounds then), would any (debater who asserted the substantial) existence of all (three) times (also be able to assert) nonstaticness (or impermanence)?

(5) If a (truly existent time) already passed were to pass away, then for what reason would it have been a time passed, (if it need pass again)? And if a (truly existent time) already passed were not to pass away, then for what reason would it be a time passed (since it would always be the case)?

(6) (If the three times were substantially existent, nonstatic functional phenomena, as you Vaibhashikas claim, and the past and future of an object were the same as that object itself, then) if the (vase) not yet come has (already) arisen, how could it not become (equivalent to) a present (vase that is here and now, since it has arisen and not yet ceased)? Either that (would be so), or if it has no arising, would the (vase) not yet come become eternal or what? (It would have to be eternal, since what is eternal and static has no arising.)

(7) Suppose (you say that) the (vase) not yet come is nonstatic (and impermanent) due to (the fact that) it disintegrates (when the vase of the present comes about from causes and circumstances), although (it itself) has no arising. Well then, as the (vase) already passed does not have a disintegration, why do you not consider it as static (and eternal, with no arising)?

(8) As for the (vase) already passed away and the (vase) of the present, since these could not become impermanent (if they had substantial existence, because what has truly passed cannot disintegrate and what is truly present cannot be associated with a process of disintegration), then the third (time, namely that not yet come), which in aspect is different from these (two), cannot exist (as both substantially existent and impermanent either, since then it would be independent of the other two times).

(9) If (you accept that) functional phenomena that will arise later exist (substantially) before (they have arisen, well because of that, don’t you fall to the distorted position of those propounders of chance (the Charvakas who assert that everything exists without a cause)?

(10) It is unreasonable to say that whatever is to come about (later already) exists beforehand (as the substantially existent future). If what already existed were to arise (later), it would amount to what has already arisen (needing to) come about again.

(11) If (substantially existent) functional phenomena not yet come about could be seen (by the yogis), then why couldn’t totally nonexistent phenomena (like rabbit’s horns also) be seen? Anyone who accepts time not yet come as (substantially) existent cannot have far-distant (occurrences happen) to him (since these would always remain truly in the future).

(13) If your Dharma (vows of the time not yet come already had substantial) existence without need to have done (any practice to develop an interest in taking them), then definitely to restrain (yourself by taking them) would become pointless. Why make even a little (effort)? A result (of your effort) would be impossible, as (your vows of the time not yet come would already be substantially) existent.

(14) (If disturbing emotions and suffering not yet come did not exist as nonstatic, functional, objective phenomena, but only as static, nonfunctional, metaphysical ones, as you Sautrantikas believe, then) you would already be liberated without need to tighten (your effort to develop true pathway minds that cognize voidness). Like (arhats) who were freed, (disturbing emotions and suffering) not yet come would not exist (objectively at all for you and therefore could never come to affect you). And if that were so, then when desire indeed came about in (your mental continuum, which should have been) without (any future) attachment, (it would come about without cause, as if in the mental continuum of an arhat).

(15) For (you Samkhyas and Vaibhashikas) who assert the true existence of the result (simultaneous with the cause) and (you Sautrantikas) who assert the nonexistence (as functional phenomena) of results (not yet come about), adorning (supports) such as pillars and so forth become pointless in order (to produce) a house (as their result).

(16) Suppose (as you Samkhyas assert) that functional phenomena (of the time present truly exist, since they are) transformations (of truly existent, static primal matter in which they existed unmanifestly during the time when they had not yet come about. But even this is incorrect, since such unmanifest existence of the present) is not cognitively taken (as an object) even by the mind. As this is seen to be so, it is (only) the unlearned who conceive of the time present to be (truly) existent.

(17) As they have no (truly) existent abiding, how can functional phenomena be (the cause for imputing the true existence of time)? As they are nonstatic, how can they have an abiding? If (something) were to abide (as it was) at first, it could never become old in the end.

(18) (Moreover,) just as one (moment of) consciousness cannot be conscious of two (moments of an) object, likewise two (moments of) consciousness cannot be conscious of the same (moment of an) object.

(19) If (on the basis of true existence) time had an abiding (as something currently happening), it would never change (from being) the abiding time. (On the other hand, on the basis of true existence) how could (time) have no abiding, for then there could be no end to its not abiding (and nothing would ever occur)?

(20) If impermanence and functional phenomena were (truly existent and) different, functional phenomena could not become impermanent (and perish). And if (they were truly existent and) the same, how could what was impermanent (and nonstatic) ever abide (for even an instant) as a functional phenomenon?

(21) (Truly existent phenomena) that have less strength impermanence (while they abide) cannot have less strength abiding (later, which they would need in order to perish. For if they were truly existent in their former condition of abiding with weak impermanence), by whom could their later turning away (from the state of abiding) be seen? (Their impermanence would never have enough strength to overcome their abiding.)

(22) But if (on the basis of true existence) they had not less strength impermanence (while they abide – in other words, their impermanence was stronger then than their ability to abide), then all functional phenomena that existed at all (times) would (truly existently) have no abiding (because their abiding would never have enough strength to overcome their impermanence and so they would instantly change). Or, the whole lot (of them) could not (actually) be impermanent, (because none of them would ever abide long enough to perform a function and nonfunctional phenomena are static and permanent).

(23) If (functional phenomena truly existently abided, which means they would be) static (while abiding) and then they came to exist with impermanence (in order for them to perish), then their permanence would have no abiding. Furthermore, what had already become static would later have become nonstatic, (which is self-contradictory).

(24) If (on the other hand) functional phenomena (truly) existed simultaneously as (both) abiding and nonstatic, then either their impermanence would have to reverse (while they were abiding) or their abiding would become false (when they perished).

(25) As it is certain that functional phenomena already seen cannot appear (again) and that a consciousness (with an actual past event as its object) cannot (arise) once more, then what is known as “remembering” (is a deceptive cognition that) arises in but a distorted (manner) toward a distorted object.

Twelve: Indicating the Meditations for Refuting (Attraction to Distorted) Views

(1) A listener who is upright and unbiased, has common sense (discrimination), and takes keen interest is described as being a proper vessel (for these voidness teachings. To the mind of such a suitable disciple,) the good qualities of the propounder (of the teachings) will not change into a different aspect (and appear as faults). Nor will (this change of good qualities into faults) happen with respect to the listener either.

(2) (Buddha) spoke of compulsive samsaric existence (as true suffering) and the method of (entering) compulsive existence (as the true origin of suffering), also the method of pacifying (both as the true pathway mind), and likewise their pacification (as a true stopping). But worldly ones, who (are improper vessels and therefore) cannot comprehend this at all, will attribute (the fault of their inability to understand) as if it were that of the Able Sage (Buddha).

(3) (You Samkhyas and Vaisheshikas) are really amazing – you wish to pass beyond sorrow (to nirvana) by giving up all (and yet you still cling to your belief in truly established existence). What reason is there (for you) not to be happy at these (teachings of voidness, since it’s the understanding of them that) will extricate all (your disturbing emotions and suffering)?

(4) How can those who do not know the methods for giving up (suffering actually) come to give it up? Therefore, it is said that except (through the teachings on voidness given) by the Able Sage (Buddha), there definitely can be no state of peace.

(5) Anyone who comes to develop indecisive wavering about the obscure phenomena spoken of by Buddha (can resolve his doubts by relying on the fact that his) teachings on voidness (are verifiably true. In this way,) he can develop confidence solely in this very (Sage also concerning phenomena extremely obscure).

(6) Any (non-Buddhist teachers asserting a static creator) who have difficulty seeing (correctly the actual facts about the gross) world are (surely) charlatans with respect to other (more subtle matters, such as the nature of reality). Whoever would follow them will be deceived for a very long while.

(7) It is extremely difficult for those who would go themselves to a state beyond sorrow to do that. (Although Buddha taught voidness) for the purpose of leading (others to this state), those unfit (as vessels for it become frightened of voidness and) are unhappy to take it to mind.

(8) Those who do not see (the advantages of meditation on voidness or the disadvantages of not so doing) do not (even) begin to fear (voidness), while those who do see (voidness) will in all ways turn away from (fearing it). Therefore, it is said that fear (of voidness) arises for sure (only) in those who know (only) a little (about it).

(9) What is completely certain about immature ones is that they are habituated to the (very) thing that causes them to enter (recurring samsaric existence, namely grasping for true existence); whereas, because they are not habituated (to voidness), they become frightened at that (very) thing which can turn them away (from samsaric existence).

(10) Anyone, obscured simply by naivety, who would prevent (teachings being given on) voidness will not even go to (a better rebirth of) positive qualities and goodness, so what need to mention liberation?

(11) Although degeneration from ethical discipline is a simple (matter), it’s not at all (the same with degeneration) from the (correct) view (of voidness. This is because) with ethical discipline you can progress (only as far as) to a higher status rebirth, but with a (correct) view, you can achieve the supreme states (of liberation or enlightenment).

(12) (So,) to those who are unfit (vessels for the voidness teachings), it’s best (to teach in accord with their) grasping for impossible “souls” and not to teach (them) the lack of impossible “souls.” For (such a) one, (these teachings would cause him to) go to a worse rebirth state (by his misunderstanding); whereas for those who are out of the ordinary, (they will lead) to a state of peace.

(13) There’s no second gateway to (any state of) peace (other than through the realization of voidness), as it causes all wrong views to fall apart. Thus, what becomes the object of cognition for all Buddhist (aryas) is said to be the lack of an impossible “ soul.”

(14) Those that are unfit (vessels) generate fear even from the name of this teaching, (namely “voidness”). Whereas it can be seen that powerful ones who (understand voidness) do not generate fear at inferior (views).

(15) This teaching (of voidness) was not spoken by the Thusly Gone (Buddhas) for the sake of debate; but be this as it may, it burns off (the wrong views of) the proponents of (all) other (teachings), like fuel by fire.

(16) Anyone who comes to know this teaching (of voidness) will not be happy with other (views claiming truly established existence). Therefore, this teaching seems to me like a threshold at which (all wrong views) fall apart.

(17) In reality, there are no (truly existent) “souls.” So what (arya), abiding in what (Buddha) intended, thinking like that, would become excited about the (conventionally) existent (self)? And what (arya) would become frightened by the (totally) nonexistent (“self”)?

(18) After seeing so many (Tirthika) holders of incorrect salvific views, which will become the seed for their meaningless (suffering in samsaric existence), who wouldn’t develop compassion for (these) beings who wish the teachings (for liberation)?

(19) The ultimate Dharma of the Shakya(muni followers), the naked (Jains), and the Brahmins – these three are upheld (respectively) by the mind, the eyes, and the ears. Because of that, the tradition of the classical texts of the Able Sage (Buddha) is the subtlest.

(20) Just as concerning the Brahmins, most of their Dharma teachings can be said to be external hypocritical (rituals), likewise concerning the naked (Jains), most of their Dharma can be said to be ridiculous.

(21) Just as (some) develop respect for the Brahmins’ (tradition), because (they need only) have taken on (the recitation of) the Vedas: likewise (some) become kindly toward the naked (Jains’ tradition), because (they need only) take on deluded (actions such as exposing themselves to the elements).

(22) Because the suffering (of the Jains’ asceticism) is the ripening of karma, how could it come to be (considered) a Dharma (practice)? It isn’t. And because birth (as a Brahmin) is the ripening of karma, it’s not a Dharma (practice either).

(23) The Thusly Gone (Buddhas) have said that the (practice of) Dharma is, in short, doing no harm (in order to attain a higher status rebirth) and (realizing) voidness, the (natural) state beyond sorrow (in order to attain liberation or enlightenment). In this (Buddha-Dharma), there are only these two.

(24) But for all worldly ones, their own positions become as attractive as their own places of birth. For what (reason) should the causes for reversing this (attachment, namely not harming and realizing voidness), be attractive (to them)?

(25) But those with sense will most graciously accept topics of knowledge (useful for liberation) even from other (traditions). Isn’t the sun universally the same for everyone on this earth (in bringing light) to those who have eyes?


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Four Hundred Verse Treatise Chapters on the Actions of a Bodhisattva's Yoga (Chapters 5 - 8)

(Byang-chub sems-dpa'i rnal-'byor spyod-pa bzhi-brgya-pa'i bstan-bcos kyi tshig-le'ur byas-pa, Skt. Bodhisattva-yogacarya-catu:shataka-shastra-karika)

by Aryadeva

translated by Alexander Berzin, 1978 according to the commentary of Gyeltsabjey
(rGyal-tshab rJe Dar-ma rin-chen)

Chapters 1 - 4
Chapters 5 - 8
Chapters 9 - 12
Chapters 13 - 16

* Chapter Five: Indicating the Behavior of Bodhisattvas
* Chapter Six: Indicating Methods for Ridding Yourself of Disturbing Emotions
* Chapter Seven: Indicating Methods for Ridding Yourself of Craving for Pleasurable Objects That People Enjoy
* Chapter Eight: Training Disciples

Five: Indicating the Behavior of Bodhisattvas

(1) There are no actions of the Buddhas
That are not causes (for benefiting others).
Even their breath is issued
Only for the sake of (acting as a) medicine for limited beings.

(2) Just as the word Lord of Death
Produces terror for all the world;
Likewise, this word Omniscient One
Produces terror indeed for the Lord of Death.

(3) The Able Sage (Buddha) possesses (the foresight to know
When) to act and not to act,
What to teach and not to teach.
Therefore, what reason is there to say
that the Omniscient One is not omniscient.

(4) Because you cannot see (any action),
Such as going and so forth, (becoming) positive and so on
Except through the thought (that motivates it),
Therefore the mind is established as crucial for all karma.

(5) For bodhisattvas, then,
Constructive (actions) and even (normally) destructive ones
Become constructive and good through their intentions.
Why? Because these (actions) are controlled
(in accordance) with their minds.

(6) The positive force of a bodhisattva’s
First (generating a deepest bodhichitta) mind
Is more especially distinguished than that which (would be required)
For all the limited beings on the earth to become
universal chakra-emperors.

(7) And (the positive force of) someone who disciplines and causes
(others) to develop bodhichitta
Is said to be chosen as more supreme
Than that from erecting a stupa with the nature of precious gems
And as high as the universe.

(8) A spiritual mentor who wishes to benefit a disciple
Needs to show deference to his (inclinations and needs).
Because he knows not (how) to benefit himself,
(A disciple) is called “one who’s to be taught.”

(9) Just as a doctor doesn’t fight with a (patient)
Seized by demons and rage;
Likewise, a sage sees the disturbing emotions as the enemy,
Not the person who’s possessed with these emotions.

(10) Whatever (teachings) anyone has preference for,
He should be (taught to) act (in accord with) these first.
By no means is (someone a) vessel for (the profound)
sacred teachings
If they would cause him (spiritually) to decline
(if he were taught them prematurely).

(11) Just as a mother would be more especially
concerned and loving
Toward a child afflicted with a sickness;
Likewise, the loving affection of bodhisattvas
For those not nice is especially (great).

(12) Appearing as the disciples of some
And as the spiritual mentors of others,
Those who know skilful means
Use various methods to bring insight
to those not understanding (voidness).

(13) Just as it’s rare for a physician, who has become proficient,
Not to be able to treat some sickness,
Likewise it is exceedingly rare for a bodhisattva,
after he’s gained his powers,
Not to be able to tame someone.

(14) If a bodhisattva were not to encourage some people
To be objects (for his enlightening influence),
He’d be causing them to go to worse rebirth states
And thus would become an object of abuse
For others with intelligence.

(15) And how could any (beginner bodhisattva), who
(because of jealousy)
Did not accept that it’s good to be compassionate and kind
to others oppressed (by disturbing emotions),
Later on, give with generosity and kindness
(Even his body) to these protectorless ones?

(16) In order to benefit (all) wandering beings,
(bodhisattvas) remain for as long as the universe.
If those who would remain apart (from having respect for them)
Bring ruination (upon themselves),
What’ll be for those who hate them from the bottom of their hearts?

(17) Those (bodhisattvas) who have even the five
extrasensory abilities for (helping) all beings
(Will assume even) inferior forms,
Like those of lowly (animals, in order to help others.
Such are) their extremely difficult actions (to benefit others).

(18) The Thusly Gone (Buddhas) have said
That the (amount of) positive force built up (by these bodhisattvas)
Over extremely long periods of time through (such) methods
(to benefit others) at all times
Is not even an object an omniscient mind knows.

(19) (Freedom from) death, the Dharma teachings
and (opportunities for) other lives –
(All these) are indicated by the (single) word giving.
Therefore, every time bodhisattvas hear the word giving
(It gives them great joy).

(20) To give in order to receive (something back, however),
Thinking great (enjoyment) will come about in this (lifetime)
as the result from generous giving,
Is just like selling and so forth,
And is despised (by the hallowed ones).

(21) (How can you say that those bodhisattvas) who have previously
built up negative karmic force
Cannot (eliminate) its possession (through their positive deeds)?
There’s no such thing as these (bodhisattvas) having constructive karma
And yet not being able to fulfill (the purposes of others).

(22) Those (arya bodhisattvas) whose minds have great waves
(of exceptional resolve),
Even (while remaining) in this (samsaric existence)
are not harmed (by it).
Therefore, for them, there’s no difference
(Whether they’re) in (compulsive samsaric) existence
or in a nirvana state of release.
(They’re unaffected by the disadvantages of either).

(23) (Arya bodhisattvas) are able to take birth (as they wish)
From having control over their minds at all times.
For what reason, then, should they not become
The lords of all the world, (able to help everyone)?

(24) Great outstanding (results come) from outstanding (causes).
Certain (examples of this) can be seen even in this world.
Therefore, understand that from the force
of an inconceivable (buildup of positive force),
There certainly will be (the omniscience of Buddhahood).

(25) Just as the stupid generate fear
For the extremely profound teachings (of voidness),
The cowardly generate fear
For the extremely amazing teachings
(concerning bodhisattva behavior).

Six: Indicating Methods for Ridding Yourself of Disturbing Emotions

(1) Since pleasable things cause desire to increase
And painful things cause anger to expand,
Why are pleasable things not included as ascetic practices
And why are painful things included as (these) practices?

(2) The activity of desire is to gather (things);
The activity of anger is to dispute;
And the activity of naivety is like wind
for all the elements (such as fire) –
It causes (the other disturbing emotions) to flare up.

(3) Not meeting with (what you cherish),
you have suffering due to desire.
From not having the force (to overcome enemies),
you have suffering due to anger.
From not fully understanding (reality),
you have naivety.
(Being overpowered) by those (three poisonous attitudes),
you don’t comprehend those (sufferings they cause you as suffering).

(4) Just as you see that (people) do not simultaneously meet
With phlegm and bile;
Likewise, you see that (people) do not simultaneously meet
With desire and anger (toward the same object).

(5) (A spiritual mentor) should use (disciples with) desire as servants.
Why? Because not to be deferential (with them)
is a medicine for their (desire).
But for those with anger, he should treat them as lords,
Because the medicine for their (anger) is (showing them) deference.

(6) First (in the morning), there comes (the) total naivety (of dullness).
Intermediately (during the daytime), there comes anger
(and annoyance with work).
Lastly (at night), desire arises.
Thus the day has these three stages.

(7) Although desire is not a friend, it (appears) like a friend.
Therefore shouldn’t you fear it?
Since it has no benefits,
Shouldn’t people especially rid themselves of this (seeming) friend?

(8) Desire arises from causes (namely, the habit of familiarity)
And desire arises from circumstances
(namely, meeting with an object of desire).
For the desire that arises from circumstances,
it’s easier to establish (the opponents),
But that’s not the case with the other sort.

(9) When anger is firm, it definitely (harms oneself and others).
Destructive, it brings about great faults.
By knowing the characteristics of all these types
(of disturbing emotions),
You’ll be able to bring such emotions to an end.

(10) Just as the cognitive power of the body
(pervades the whole) body,
Naivety abides in all (disturbing emotions).
Therefore, by destroying naivety,
All disturbing emotions will be destroyed.

(11) When (it’s the case that things) come about
by dependently arising, (they cannot be truly existent).
Seeing (this), naivety will not arise.
Therefore, you should make all efforts (in this,
Since) only this topic shall be related in this (text).

(12) The characteristics of always liking to dance and so on,
Giving and receiving (presents),
And keeping (fastidiously) clean and the like
Appear in people having desire.

(13) The Buddhas have said that those with desire
Should in all ways give up having
excellent, good food, clothing and shelter,
And should always abide
In the vicinity of their spiritual mentors.

(14) To become angry with someone you have no ability (to affect)
Only makes your face ugly.
And not to have love for someone you have the ability (to help) –
This is said to be vile.

(15) Unpleasant sounds (of abuse) are said
To put an end to your previously built up negative karmic debts.
(It’s only) those bewildered, by nature, (about cause and effect)
and who aren’t upright,
Who do not accept (them as) a purification.

(16) And even unpleasant (words of abuse) that you hear,
By their essential nature, do you no harm.
Therefore, as (the harm) comes from your own prejudiced thoughts,
It’s the vain who think that it comes from others.

(17) Just as it says (in worldly texts)
That you should punish someone who abuses (you);
Likewise, then why shouldn’t you reward (this same person)
If he says something pleasant (to you)?

(18) Even if no one has spoken of your rebuke-worthy (faults,
they are obvious to everyone.
Therefore) if others should come to know of them,
It’s improper to become angry with the one who’s spoken (of them).
As (this is the case), is there need to mention
(not becoming angry with) those who speak (accusing you) falsely?

(19) (After all), unpleasant (words of abuse) from your inferiors
Do not give rise to anything serious.
Therefore, treat unpleasant (words) from inferiors
As something petty and insignificant
(coming from a child) to someone above him.

(20) Since (retaliating) has not even the slightest benefit
(In reversing) harm already done by others,
It’s only an extension of my (self-)clinging to show you respect
(O mind,) who become angry for no benefit.

(21) If, with patience, you can attain
Great positive force, without effort,
Then who would be foolish enough to prevent this
(By becoming angry)?

(22) You especially don’t generate so-called “anger”
Toward those more powerful (than yourself).
So, how could you possibly be respected
For your anger (directed) at smashing those who are weaker?

(23) Patience toward an object for anger
Gives rise to meditation (on love) for him.
If you think to discard this basis for all good qualities
(because of fearing the opinions of others),
You’re but a fool.

(24) Who can put an end to being slighted
(Even) if you go to your next life?
Therefore, since (if you retaliate, you build up)
negative karmic debts for yourself,
Mind, you should think that to be abused is all right.

(25) (In short,) any (yogi with) a consciousness (that realizes)
That consciousness (itself) is perfectly devoid
of (a truly existing) abiding and so on
Will have no place in his intelligent (mind)
For disturbing emotions to reside.

Seven: Indicating Methods for Ridding Yourself of Craving for Pleasurable Objects That People Enjoy

(1) This ocean of suffering
Has no end at all.
Childish one, why do you not generate fear
At being immersed in it?

(2) Your youth (of the present) has come behind
(your old age of the past)
And will come once again ahead (of it, just after death).
Even if (you’re proud of your youth, thinking) it’ll last,
Yet, in this world, (youth, old age, and death) are like
competitors in a race (vying to come) first.

(3) Since, in compulsive samsara, you don’t have (the power
To guarantee) another (better) rebirth as you wish,
What intelligent person would not have fear,
Being under the power of something else,
(namely, karmic impulses and disturbing emotions)?

(4) There’ll be no end in the future (to your recurring samsaric
rebirths, if you make no effort now) –
Indeed, in all lives (you’ve remained) an ordinary being –
So, make you life (be not meaningless) like that.
Don’t become the same as you’ve been in the past.

(5) The occurrence of a (proper) listener, (teachings) to be listened to,
And one to explain them is extremely rare to find.
Therefore, in short, though recurring samsara won’t be endless
(if these conditions come together),
It’ll have no end (if they’re not).

(6) Most people are not pure,
But are fully inclined toward the direction
(of destructive behavior).
Therefore most ordinary people
Will definitely go to worse rebirth states.

(7) (The suffering of) people on (this) earth,
(which is) the ripening of their negative karmic debts,
Is seen to vie only (with that of the joyless hell realms).
Therefore, compulsive samsaric existence appears
The same as a slaughtering ground to the hallowed (aryas).

(8) If you become mad
From your mind not remaining (under your control),
What wise person would consider as not mad
Someone still living a compulsive samsaric existence?

(9) When you try to turn away from the suffering
of (excessive) walking and so on (by sitting down and so forth,
The pleasure of relief) is seen (eventually) to decline.
Therefore, those with intelligence should enhance their minds
To exhaust all their (throwing) karma.

(10) When a first cause of even one result (such as the mind)
does not appear,
At such a time, at seeing the extensive (results)
Of even a single (negative action),
In whom would the fear (of recurring samsaric existence) not arise?

(11) There’s no certainty that all (worldly karmic) fruits
(Such as prosperity) will come about.
And since even if they do come about, they will come to an end,
Why destroy yourself for their sake?

(12) (Worldly) actions, done with effort, once they are done,
Will disintegrate without any effort.
As this (naturally) happens,
Won’t you ever distance yourself from attachment
to (worldly) actions?

(13) There’s no happiness to be had (in the consciousness) of the past
(since it’s already ceased),
Nor is there in that of the future (for it hasn’t yet occurred).
It’s (the same) with that of the present too, since it will come to pass.
Therefore, for what reason do you (make all this effort)
in karmic actions (for worldly pleasure)?

(14) The wise generate fear even for higher status (states of rebirth)
The same as (they do) for the joyless hell realms.
It’s rare for them not to generate fear
For any situation anywhere in compulsive samsaric existence.

(15) If even childish beings come to understand
the sufferings of recurring samsara in all situations,
(As the aryas do, who realize voidness),
At that very moment, their minds (as ordinary beings)Will simultaneously cease for sure.

(16) Limited beings with arrogance aren’t rare,
And, as those with arrogance have no compassion,
It’s therefore said that it’s extremely hard for them
To go from brighter to brighter (rebirth states).

(17) When you turn your mind (from pleasurable objects) in this (life)
(Because of wishing for higher rebirth),
It’s well known that (in future lives) you’ll still
be focused on them.
As this is a distorted Dharma (practice),
for what reason should this be accepted as correct?

(18) (After all), when you have luxurious objects as the result
of positive karmic force,
You must protect them from (being stolen by) others.
So, how can anyone who must always guard (his wealth)
from (being ruined even by) other (factors, such as the elements),
Ever become his own (master)?

(19) Although you may follow as a Dharma (practice)
Any kind of worldly social custom (such as a marriage ceremony),
Yet, (customs change and) because of that,
Although) worldly (customs) may seem stronger than Dharma ones,
(don’t be lured).

(20) Although (pleasurable) objects may come
to your mind’s (enjoyment as a result) of constructive acts;
Nevertheless, as even those objects are considered badly
(by those wishing liberation),
What need (for them) for those who would accomplish
(something constructive)?
Anyone who gives up (these sources of distraction,
really) becomes virtuous.

(21) Anyone who (due to his having control of his mind)
has no need for (worldly) power and authority,
For him, Dharma practices (to gain such power)
become meaningless.
Anyone who has interest in worldly power and authority
Is called but a fool among the people.

(22) If you crave and desire (to practice) the Dharma
from seeing fruits (of prosperity coming from it) in the future;
Well, if you, who are so desirous, could see
(the worse rebirths that are awaiting)
At the end of this future (prosperous life),
How could you do (this) and not be afraid?

(23) Doing positive actions for a reward is in all ways
The same as (being attached to) a salary.
How could anyone who accepts that any constructive actions
(done like that are also only causes for further samsara)
Ever commit destructive acts?

(24) But those who see wandering beings
To be like illusory people, similar to
(Creations from) a collection of mechanical devises,
Go to a hallowed, extremely radiant state of
The supreme achievement (enlightenment).

(25) (Therefore) for those who, (seeing reality,)
find no joy whatsoever
In any (pleasurable) object of recurring samsara,
Joy in any situation in it
Is something totally inappropriate

Eight: Training Disciples

(1) Just as dissimilar people
Will not stay close friends for long
(when their attachment is gone);
Likewise, desire will not stay for a long time
In those who realize the faults of all (things).

(2) Some have attachment for a certain (object or person);
Some have repulsion for that very same (thing);
And some are insensitive toward it.
Therefore, an object of desire is not (truly existent as such).

(3) There are no such things as (truly) existent desire and so forth
Without conceptual thought (incorrectly considering them to be so).
Who among those with intelligence would hold
(Both) perfectly established deepest (existence)
and (existence established by merely) conceptual thought?

(4) There’s no such thing as any (male)
being (inherently) bound together
With any (female).
If you were (truly existently) bound together to someone else,
It would be illogical for you ever to become separated.

(5) Those with little positive force
Won’t even entertain doubts about this teaching (on voidness).
But merely by entertaining doubts (about it),
Your compulsive existence will become threadbare.

(6) Anyone who has no respect for the teachings (of voidness),
Which the Able Sage (Buddha) has said (once realized
Will bring) an increase (of your positive force) up to liberation,
Clearly has no intelligence.

(7) (You might say,) “I shall pass beyond sorrow (with nirvana),”
But, without seeing void (phenomena) to be devoid (of true existence),
The Thusly Gone (Buddha) has said that
You can’t pass beyond sorrow with a distorted view.

(8) It’s from (the Buddha’s scriptures), from which teachings derive
on the (samsaric) world,
That (you get) the discussions about (how you) enter (it
because of unawareness);
And it’s from (the Buddha’s scriptures), from which
the explications of deepest (voidness) derive,
That (you get) the discussions about (how to) turn away
(from it).

(9) If you are brought to generate fear by thinking,
“(If things were devoid of true existence)
Everything would be (totally) nonexistent,
And so what is the use (to make effort to gain liberation)?
Well, if actions (actually) had truly established existence,
(Realization of) this teaching (of voidness)
could not bring the action about of reversing (samsara).

(10) If you have attachment to your own position (of voidness)
and dislike for the other position (of true existence),
You’ll be unable to pass beyond sorrow (to nirvana.
This is because) peace will not come to those who act
With (grasping for a truly existent) duality
(of what’s to be accepted and what’s to be rejected).

(11) (When you realize) that there are no (truly existent actions) to do,
you pass beyond sorrow (into nirvana),
But by doing (actions you think are truly existent),
you become reborn (in samsara) over and again.
Therefore, as it’s no tax to your mind,
The state beyond sorrow is easy to attain,
which is not the case with the other alternative.

(12) How can anyone who has no disgust
with this (samsaric existence)
Have respect for (the state of) peace?
Like from their homes, renouncing themselves
from this compulsive existence (they imagine to be pleasant)
Will indeed be difficult (for them) to do.

(13) It can be seen that some (people), overwhelmed with suffering,
Wish to kill themselves.
But because of their naivety at such times,
It ends up that they don’t pass to a topmost pure state
(beyond sorrow).

(14) (Buddha) spoke about generosity for those of least (capacity),
He spoke about moral discipline for those who are middling
And, for those who are of supreme (capacity), he spoke about
(voidness, the method) to pacify (all suffering).
Therefore, always (aspire to) make yourself supreme.

(15) First, you turn away from demeritorious (actions);
Intermediately, you turn away from (grasping at a gross) self;
And, finally, you turn away from all views (of true existence).
Anyone who knows (these stages for leading a disciple) is wise.

(16) (Buddha) has explained that anyone who’s the seer
of (the voidness of) one phenomenon,
That (person) is the seer of (the voidness of) everything.
That which is the voidness of one (thing) is, by nature,
(The same as) the voidness of all (things).

(17) The Thusly Gone (Buddhas) spoke about (generating)
attachment to (constructive) Dharma practices
To those desiring higher rebirth.
But if this very (attachment to constructive practice)
will spoil (the chances) of those who would wish for liberation,
What need to mention the other (alternative –
attachment to destructive ones)?

(18) Those who wish (to bring about) positive force (in others)
Don’t teach (them) voidness every time.
Wouldn’t medicine prescribed at the wrong occasion
Become a poison?

(19) Just as barbarians will be unable to comprehend (teachings
In) languages other (than their own);
Likewise, worldly ones will be unable to comprehend (voidness)
Without (first) understanding (the conventional truth) about the world.

(20) (Buddha) indeed taught (true) existence,
Non-(true) existence, both (true) existence
And non-(true) existence, and neither of the two.
In accordance with the sickness, can’t anything be called a medicine?

(21) If you (fully) see the pure (view of voidness,
you go) to a supreme abode (of liberation),
And if you see it a little, (you go) to an excellent rebirth state.
Therefore, those who are wise should always enhance their intelligence
To reflect on (the voidness of) their inner selves.

(22) Having realized the facts of reality,
Even if you do not achieve a (nirvana) state beyond sorrow
in this (lifetime),
It is certain that you’ll achieve it with no effort in your next rebirth,
Just like (what happens with the type of) karma
(that ripens in your next life).

(23) It’s extremely rare for all actions to bring about
(their results) as intended.
Yet, it’s not that in these (teachings) there can be no nirvana release.
(It’s just that) meeting (the conducive conditions)
And thus liberation are difficult to find.

(24) By hearing that the body has no good qualities,
Desire and attachment (for one) will not remain long.
(Thus) by this very pathway of mind
(of meditating on dependent arising)
Won’t (your disturbing emotions) all be depleted?

(25) Just as you can see the end of a seed (when it gets burned),
Although (the line it has come from) has no beginning;
Likewise, (when you’ve eliminated unawareness,)
Rebirth indeed will not come to happen,
because its causes will not be complete.


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