Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Nagarjuna’s Seventy Verses

[1] Though the Buddhas have spoken of duration, origination, destruction, being, non-being, low, moderate, and excellent by force of worldly convention, [they] have not done [so] in an absolute sense.

[2] Designations are without significance, for self, non-self, and self-non-self do not exist.  [For] like nirvana, all expressible things are empty of own-being.

[3] Since all things altogether lack substance either in causes or conditions, [in their] totality, or separately — they are empty.

[4] Being does not arise, since it exists.  Non-being does not arise, since it does not exist.  Being and non-being [together] do not arise, due to [their] heterogeneity. Consequently they do not endure or vanish.

[5] That which has been born cannot be born, nor can that which is unborn be born. What is being born now, being [partly] born, [partly] unborn, cannot be born either.

[6] A cause has an effect when there is an effect, but when there is no [effect] the [cause] amounts to no cause. It is inconsistent that [the effect] neither exists nor does not exist. It is illogical that [the cause is active] in the three times.

[7] Without one, there are not many.  Without many, one is not possible. Whatever arises dependently is indeterminable.

[8] The twelve dependently arising members, which result in suffering, are unborn. They are possible neither in one mind nor in many.

[9] Permanent is not, impermanent is not, not-self is not, self is not, impure is not, pure is not, pleasure is not, and suffering is not.  Therefore the perverted views do not exist.

[10] Without these, ignorance based on the four bad views is not possible. Without this [ignorance], the formative forces do not arise.  The same [is true] for the [ten] remaining [dependently arising members].

[11] Ignorance does not occur without the formative forces [and] without it the formative forces do not arise.  Caused by one another, they are not established by own-being.

[12] How can that which is not established by own-being create others?  Conditions established by others cannot create others.

[13] A father is not a son, a son is not a father.  Neither exists except in correlation with the other.  Nor are they simultaneous.  Likewise for the twelve members.

[14] Just as pleasure and pain depending on an object in a dream do not have [a real] object, so neither that which arises dependently nor that which it arises in dependence on exists.

[15] Opponent: If things do not exist by own-being, then low, moderate, and excellent and the manifold world are not established and cannot be established, even through a cause.

[16] Reply: If own-being were established, dependently arising things would not occur. If [they were] unconditioned, how could own-being be lacking?  True being also does not vanish.

[17] How can the non-existing have own-being, other-being, or non-being? Consequently, own-being, other-being, and non-being [result from] perverted views.

[18] Opponent: If things were empty, origination and cessation would not occur.  That which is empty of own-being: How does it arise and how does it cease?

[19] Reply: Being and non-being are not simultaneous. Without non-being, no being. Being and non-being would always be.  There is no being independent of non-being.

[20] Without being there is no non-being. [Being] neither arises from itself nor from [something] else.  This being so, this [being] does not exist: So there is no being, and [therefore] no non-being.

[21] If there is being there is permanence; if there is non-being there is necessarily annihilation.  When there is being, these two [dogmas] occur. Therefore [one should] not accept being.

[22] Opponent: These [dogmas] do not occur due to continuity: Things cease after having caused [an effect]. Reply: As before [see v. 19], this [continuity] is unestablished.  It also follows that the continuity would be interrupted.

[23] Opponent: [No!] The Buddha’s teaching of the path aims at showing origination and cessation, not sunyata! Reply:  To experience the two as mutually exclusive is a mistake.

[24] Opponent: If there is no origination and cessation, then to the cessation of what is nirvana due? Reply: Is not liberation this: that by nature nothing arises and ceases?

[25] If nirvana [resulted] from cessation, [then there would be] destruction.  If the contrary, [there would be] permanence.  Therefore it is not logical that nirvana is being or non-being.

[26] If a definite cessation did abide, it would be independent of being.  It does not exist without being, nor does it exist without non-being.

[27] The marked is established through a mark different from the marked; it is not established by itself.  Nor are the [two] established by each other, [since what is] not established cannot establish the not-established.

[28] In this [way], cause, effect, feeling, feeler, and so forth, the seer, the visible, and so forth —whatever may be — all are explained, without exception.

[29] The three times do not exist (substantially) since they are unfixed and are mutually established, since they change [and] are not self-established, [and] since there is no being.  They are merely discriminations.

[30] Since the three marks of the conditioned – origination, duration, and cessation – —do not exist, there is not the slightest conditioned or unconditioned [phenomenon].

[31] The non-destroyed does not cease, nor does the destroyed. The abiding does not abide, nor does the non-abiding. The born is not born, nor is the unborn.

[32] Composite and non-composite are not many [and] not one; are not being [and] are not non-being; are not being-non-being. All [possibilities] are comprised within these limits.

[33] Opponent: The Bhagavat, the Teacher, has spoken of karma’s duration, of karma’s nature, and of karma’s result, and also of the personal karma of living beings and of the non-destruction of karma.

[34] Reply: Karma is said to lack own-being. [Karma] that is not born is not destroyed. From that again I-making is born.  But the belief that creates it is due to discrimination.

[35] If karma had own-being the body created by it would be permanent.  So karma would not result in suffering and would therefore be substantial.

[36] Karma is not born from conditions and by no means from non-conditions, for karma-formations are like an illusion, a city of gandharvas, and a mirage.

[37] Karma has klesas as its cause. [Being] klesas, the karma-formations are of impassioned nature (klesatmaka).  A body has karma as its cause. So [all] three are empty of own-being.

[38] Without karma, no agent. Without these two, no result. Without these, no enjoyer.  Therefore things are void.

[39] When —because the truth is seen —one correctly understands that karma is empty, karma does not arise.  When [karma] is no more, what arises from karma arises no more.

[40] Just as when the Lord Tathagata magically projects an apparition and this apparition again projects another apparition-

[41] In that case the Tathagata’s apparition is empty (not to mention the apparition [created] by the apparition!).  Both of them are but names, merely insignificant discriminations.

[42] Just so, the agent is like the apparition, and karma is like the apparition [created] by the apparition.  By nature [they are] without significance: mere discriminations.

[43] If karma possessed own-being, there would be no nirvana nor deeds [of an] agent. If [karma] does not exist, the pleasant or unpleasant result created by karma does not exist.

[44] ‘Is’ and ‘is not’ and also ‘is-is not’ have been stated by the Buddhas for a purpose. It is not easy to understand!

[45] If form is material (bhautika) in itself, it does not arise from the elements (bhuta). It is not derived from itself— – it does not exist, does it? – nor from anything else.  Therefore it does not exist [at all].

[46] The four [great elements] are not [found] in one [element], nor is one of them [found] in [any of] the four.  How can form be established with the four great elements as [its] cause?

[47] Since it is not conceived directly, [it seems form does] not exist.  But if [you maintain it to be conceived] through a mark, that mark, born from causes and conditions, does not exist.  And it would be illogical [if form could exist] without a mark.

[48] If mind could grasp form, it would grasp its own-being.  How could a [mind] that does not exist (since it is born from conditions) really conceive absence of form?

[49] Since one moment of mind cannot within [the very same] moment grasp a form born (as explained), how could it understand a past and a future form?

[50] Since color and shape never exist apart, they cannot be conceived apart.  Is form not acknowledged to be one?

[51] The sense of sight is not inside the eye, not inside form, and not in between. [Therefore] an image depending upon form and eye is false.

[52] If the eye does not see itself, how can it see form?  Therefore eye and form are without self.  The same [is true for the] remaining sense-fields.

[53] Eye is empty of its own self [and] of another’s self.  Form is also empty.  Likewise [for the] remaining sense-fields.

[54] When one [sense-field] occurs simultaneously with contact, the others are empty. Empty does not depend upon nonempty, nor does non-empty depend upon empty.

[55] Having no [independent] fixed nature, the three [namely, indriya, visaya, and vijnana] cannot come into contact.  Since there is no contact having this nature, feeling does not exist.

[56] Consciousness occurs in dependence on the internal and external sense-fields. Therefore consciousness is empty, like mirages and illusions.

[57] Since consciousness arises in dependence on a discernible object, the discernible does not exist [in itself].  Since [the conscious subject] does not exist without the discernible and consciousness, the conscious subject does not exist [by itself].

[58] [In a relative sense] everything is impermanent, but [in the absolute sense] nothing is permanent or impermanent.  [If there] were things, they would be either permanent or impermanent.  But how is that [possible]?

[59] Since the entities ‘desire’, ‘hatred’, and ‘delusion’ arise through perverted views about pleasant and unpleasant, desire, hatred, and delusion do not exist by own-being.

[60] Since one [may] desire, hate, and be deluded regarding the very same [thing], [the passions] are created by discrimination. And that discrimination is nothing real.

[61] That which is imagined does not exist.  Without an imagined object, how can there be imagination?  Since the imagined and the imagination are born from conditions, [they are] sunyata.

[62] Through understanding the truth, ignorance, which arises from the four perverted views, does not exist.  When this is no more, the karma-formations do not arise. The remaining [ten members vanish] likewise.

[63] The thing that arises in dependence upon this or that does not arise when that is absent.  Being and non-being, composite and non-composite are at peace.  This is nirvana.

[64] To imagine that things born through causes and conditions are real the teacher calls ignorance.  From that the twelve members arise.

[65] But when one has understood by seeing fully that things are empty, one is no longer deluded.  Ignorance ceases, and the twelve spokes [of the wheel] come to a halt.

[66] Karma-formations are like the city of gandharvas, illusions, mirages, nets of hair, foam, bubbles, phantoms, dreams, and wheels made with a firebrand.

[67] Nothing exists by virtue of own-being, nor is there any non-being here.  Being and non-being, born through causes and conditions, are empty.

[68] Since all things are empty of own-being, the incomparable Tathagata teaches dependent co-origination regarding things.

[69] The ultimate meaning consists in that!  The perfect Buddhas, the Bhagavats, have [only] conceived the entire multiplicity in reliance upon worldly convention.

[70] The worldly norms [dharmas] are not violated.  In reality [the Tathagata] has not taught the Dharma.  Not understanding the Tathagata’s words, [fools] fear this spotless discourse.

[71] The worldly principle, “This arises depending on that,” is not violated.  But since what is dependent lacks own-being, how can it exist? That is certain!

[72] One with faith who tries to seek the truth, one who considers this principle logically [and] relies [upon] the Dharma that is lacking all supports leaves behind existence and non-existence [and abides in] peace.

[73] When one understands that “This is a result of that,” the nets of bad views all vanish.  Undefiled, one abandons desire, delusion, and hatred and gains nirvana.

Translation by Christian Lindtner

source http://emptinesscafe.com/



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