Author Topic: Mulamadhyamakakarika - Nagarjuna  (Read 4490 times)

Offline Sunya

  • Member
  • Posts: 241
    • View Profile
Mulamadhyamakakarika - Nagarjuna
« on: July 18, 2010, 10:38:39 pm »

Translations: Madhyamaka-Sastra of Nagarjuna: Mulamadhyamakakarika

Arya Nargarjuna


Fundamentals of the Central Philosophy of Buddhism


Section 1
An Analysis of Conditioning Causes (Conditions) In 14 verses

Never are any existing things found to originate
From themselves, from something else, from both, or from no cause.

There are four conditioning causes
A cause (hetu) (1), objects of sensations (2), "immediately preceding condition," (3) and of course the predominant influence (4), there is no fifth.

Mulamadhyamakakarika I.3.
Certainly there is no self-existence (svabhava) of existing things in conditioning causes, etc;
And if no self-existence exists, neither does "other-existence" (parabhava).

Mulamadhyamakakarika I.4.
The efficient cause (kriya – primary condition, root cause, motive) does not exist possessing a conditioning cause,
Nor does the efficient cause exist without possessing a conditioning cause.
Conditioning causes are not without efficient causes,
Nor are there conditioning causes which possess efficient causes.

Mulamadhyamakakarika I.5.
Certainly those things are called "conditioning causes" whereby something originates after having come upon them;
As long as something has not originated, why are they not so long (i.e. during that time) "non-conditioning-causes" ?

Mulamadhyamakakarika I.6.
There can be a conditioning cause neither of a non-real thing (1) nor of a real thing (2).
Of what non-real thing is there a conditioning cause? And if it is already real, what use is a cause?

Mulamadhyamakakarika I.7.
If an element (dharma) occurs which is neither real nor non-real (4) nor both real- and-non- real (3),
How can there be a cause which is effective in this situation?

Mulamadhyamakakarika I.8.
Just that which is without an object of sensation is accepted as a real element;
Then if there is an element having no object of sensation, how is it possible to have an object of sensation?

Mulamadhyamakakarika I.9.
When no elements have originated, their disappearance is not possible.
Therefore it is not proper to speak of an ''immediately preceding condition"; for if something has already ceased, what cause is there for it.

Mulamadhyamakakarika I.10.
Since existing things which have no self-existence are not real,
It is not possible at all that: "This thing 'becomes' upon the existence of that other one."

Mulamadhyamakakarika I.11.
The product does not reside in the conditioning causes, individually or collectively,
So how can that which does not reside in the conditioning cause result from conditioning causes?

Mulamadhyamakakarika I.12.
Then the "non-real" would result from those conditioning-causes.
Why then would a product not proceed also from non-causes?

Mulamadhyamakakarika I.13.
On the one hand, the product consists in its conditioning causes;
on the other hand, the causes do not consist of themselves.
How can a product resulting from conditioning causes not consisting of themselves be consisting of those causes?

Mulamadhyamakakarika I.14.
Therefore, that product does not consist in those causes; yet it is agreed that a product does not consist of non-causes.
How can there be a conditioning cause or non-cause when a product is not produced?

MMK of Nagarjuna, Section 2
An Analysis of "Going to" (Change or Movement) In 25 verses

Mulamadhyamakakarika II.1.
Nargarjuna: That which is already gone to (gatam – goer after the going - iii)
is not that which is "being gone to" (gamyate);
more so, "that which is not yet gone to" (agatam – goer before the going - i)
is certainly not that "being gone to." (gamyate)
Also, the "present going to" (gamyamana – actual goer - ii)
without "that which is already gone to" and "that which is not yet gone to"
is not "being gone to".

Mulamadhyamakakarika II.2.
An opponent objects:
Where there is activity (cesta - visible activity) there is a "process of going" (gatis – real going process), and that activity (visible activity) is in the "present going to" (gamyamane - ii).
Then "process of going" (gatis - real going process) is inherent in the "present going to" (gamyamane - ii) since the activity (visible activity) is not in "that which is already gone to" (iii) nor in "that which is not yet gone to." (i)

Mulamadhyamakakarika II.3.
Nargarjuna answers:
How will the "act of going" (gamanam - visible activity & displacement) of "present going to" (gamyamana - ii) be produced,
Since both kinds of the "act of going" (visible activity & displacement) as applied to an active process and to the activity of going through space simply are not produced (i.e. originating) in the "present going to" (ii)?

Mulamadhyamakakarika II.4.
Having the "act of going" (gamanam - visible activity & displacement) of "present going to" (gamyamanasya - ii) has necessarily resulted in a lack of "the present going to" (ii) of the "process of going" (gati - real going process),
For the "present going to" (gamyamana - ii) is the "being gone to" (gamyate).

Mulamadhyamakakarika II.5.
Recognizing the "act of going" (visible activity & displacement) of "present going to" (ii) results in two kinds of "acts of going" (gamanadvaya - visible activity & displacement):
One by which there is "present going to" (gamyamana - ii), the other which is the "act of going" (gamana - visible activity & displacement).

Mulamadhyamakakarika II.6.
Two "goers" (gantarau) would fallaciously follow as a consequence of two "acts of going," (visible activity & displacement)
Since certainly the "act of going" (visible activity & displacement) is not produced without a "goer".

Mulamadhyamakakarika II.7.
If there is no going (gamana) (i.e. gamana equals "act of going") without a "goer" (gantara),
How will the "goer" (ganta / self-existing subject) come into being when there is no "going" (gamana) (i.e. gamana equals "act of going")?

Mulamadhyamakakarika II.8.
The "goer" does not go (move);
consequently a "non-goer" certainly does not go (move).
What third possibility goes (moves) other than the "goer" and "non-goer"?

Mulamadhyamakakarika II.9.
It is said: "The 'goer' goes" (moves) How is that possible,
When without the "act of going" (gamana - visible movement) no "goer" is produced?

Mulamadhyamakakarika II.10.
Those who hold the view that the "goer" "goes" (moves) must falsely conclude
That there is a "goer" without the "act of going" (visible activity & displacement) since the "act of going" (visible activity & displacement) is obtained (icchata) by a "goer."

Mulamadhyamakakarika II.11.
If the "goer" "goes" (moves), then two acts of going (visible activity and displacement) erroneously follow;
One is that by which the "going on" (ganta) is designated, and the second is the real "goer" (ganta / self-existing subject) who "goes"(moves).

Mulamadhyamakakarika II.12.
The "state of going to" (gatum) is not begun in "that which is already gone to" (gatam - iii), nor in "that which is not yet gone to" (agatam - i);
Nor is the "state of going to" begun in "present going to" (gamyamana - ii).
Where then is it begun?

Mulamadhyamakakarika II.13.
"Present going to" (ii) does not exist previous to the beginning of the "act of going," (visible activity and displacement)
nor does "that which is already gone to" (iii) exist where the "act of going" (visible activity and displacement) should begin.
How can the "act of going" (visible activity and displacement) begin in "that which is not yet gone to" (i) ?

Mulamadhyamakakarika II.14.
It is mentally fabricated what is "that which is already gone to" (gatam - iii), "present going to" (gamyamana - ii) and "that which is not yet gone to" (agatam - i);
Therefore, the beginning of the "act of going" (visible activity and displacement) is not seen in any way.

Mulamadhyamakakarika II.15.
A "goer" does not remain unmoved (na tistati); then certainly the "non-goer" does not remain unmoved.
What third possibility other than "goer" and "non-goer" can thus remain unmoved?

Mulamadhyamakakarika II.16.
It is said that a "goer" continues to be a "goer".
But how can that be possible,
Since a "goer"(ganta / self-existing subject) lacking the "act of going" (gamanam - visible activity and displacement) is simply not produced?

Mulamadhyamakakarika II.17.
The "goer" does not continue to be a goer as a result of "present going to" (ii) or "that which is already gone to" (iii) or "that which is not yet gone to,"(i)
For then the act of going (gamana - visible activity and displacement) would be origination while the "process of going" (gati - real going process) would be the same as cessation.

Mulamadhyamakakarika II.19.
And if the "act of going" (visible movement) and the "goer" are identical,
The fallacy logically follows that the "person acting" (kartus) and the action (karma) are identical.

Mulamadhyamakakarika II.20.
Alternatively, if the "goer" is different from the "process of going" (gati - - real going process),
The "act of going" (gamana - visible activity and displacement) would exist without the "goer" and the "goer" would exist without the "act of going." (visible activity & displacement)

Mulamadhyamakakarika II.21.
Neither the identity nor the essential difference is established (siddhi) regarding the two conceptions "goer" and "act of going" (visible activity and displacement).
If these two alternatives are not established, in what way is this problem to be understood?

Mulamadhyamakakarika II.22.
The "goer" is defined by that which is in the "process of going" (real going process);
he does not go to that destination which is determined by the "process of going" (real going process)
because there is no prior "process of going." (gati - real going process)
Indeed someone goes somewhere.

Mulamadhyamakakarika II.23.
The "goer" does not go to that destination other than that "process of going" (real going process)- by which he is defined as "goer",
Because when one goes somewhere (i.e. else) two "processes of going" (real going processes) cannot be produced.

Mulamadhyamakakarika II.24.
A real "goer" does not motivate three kinds of "acts of going:" real, non-real, and real-and-non-real;
Nor does a non-real "goer" motivate three kinds of motion.

Mulamadhyamakakarika II.25.
Also, a real-non-real "goer" does not motivate three kinds of motion.
the "process of going" (gati - real going process),
the "goer" (ganta /self-existing subject)
and "a destination to be gone to" (gantavyam)
do not exist (inherently).

MMK of Nagarjuna, Section 3 
An Analysis of "Vision" and Other Sense-Faculties (the sense-fields) In 9 verses

Mulamadhyamakakarika III.1.
Vision, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching and thought
Are the six sense faculties.
The area of their concern is that which is seen heard, smelled and so forth.

Mulamadhyamakakarika III.2.
Certainly vision does not in any way see its own self.
Now if it does not see its own self, how can it possibly see something else?

Mulamadhyamakakarika III.3.
An understanding of vision is not attained through the example of fire which, itself, burns.
On the contrary, that example of fire together with vision is refuted by the analysis of "present going to," "that which is already gone to," and "that which is not yet gone to."

Mulamadhyamakakarika III.4.
When no vision occurs, nothing whatsoever is being seen.
How, then, is it possible to say: Vision sees?

Mulamadhyamakakarika III.5.
Therefore, vision does not see, and "no-vision" does not see.
Nevertheless, it is explained that also the "seer" is to be known only by his vision.

Mulamadhyamakakarika III.6.
There is no "seer" with vision or without vision;
Therefore, if there is no "seer," how can there be vision and the object seen?

Mulamadhyamakakarika III.7.
As the birth of a son is said to occur presupposing the mother and the father,
Knowledge is said to occur presupposing the eye being dependent on the visible forms.

Mulamadhyamakakarika III.8.
Since the "object seen" and the vision do not exist (independently, on their own),
there is no four-fold consequence: knowledge, etc. cognitive sensation, affective sensation, and "desire".
Also, then, how will the acquisition (upadana) of karma and its consequences i.e., existence, birth, aging, and death be produced?

Mulamadhyamakakarika III.9.
Likewise hearing, smelling, tasting, touching and thought are explained as vision.
Indeed one should not apprehend the "hearer," "what is heard," etc. as self-existent entities.

MMK of Nagarjuna, Section 4
An Analysis of the "Groups of Universal Elements" (the Aggregates) In 9 verses

Mulamadhyamakakarika IV.1.
Visible form (rupa) is not perceived without the basic cause of visible form (rupakarana);
Likewise the basic cause of visible form does not appear without the visible form.

Mulamadhyamakakarika IV.2.
If the visible form existed apart from its basic cause, it would logically follow that visible form is without cause;
But there is nothing anywhere arising without cause.

Mulamadhyamakakarika IV.3.
On the other hand, if there would be a basic cause apart from visible form,
The basic cause would be without any product; but there is no basic cause without a product.

Mulamadhyamakakarika IV.4.
Just as when there is visible form no basic cause of form obtains,
So when there is no visible form no basic cause of form obtains.

Mulamadhyamakakarika IV.5.
Furthermore, it does not obtain that no visible form exists without a basic cause,
One should not construe any constructs concerning the form.

Mulamadhyamakakarika IV.6.
Just as it does not obtain that the product is the same as the cause,
So it does not obtain that product is not the same as the cause.

Mulamadhyamakakarika IV.7.
Also, sensation, thought, mental conception, conditioned elements (samskara) and
All "things" (bhava) are to be dealt with in the same way as visible form.

Mulamadhyamakakarika IV.8.
Whoever argues against "emptiness" in order to refute an argument,
For him everything, including the point of contention (sadhya) is known to be un-refuted.

Mulamadhyamakakarika IV.9.
Whoever argues by means of "emptiness" in order to explain an understanding,
For him, everything including the point to be proved (sadhya) is known to be misunderstood.

MMK of Nagarjuna, Section 5
An Analysis of the "Irreductible Elements" (the elements) In 8 Verses

Mulamadhyamakakarika V.1.
Space does not exist at all before the defining characteristic of space (akasalaksana).
If it would exist before the defining characteristic, then one must falsely conclude that there would be something without a defining characteristic.

Mulamadhyamakakarika V.2.
In no case has anything existed without a defining characteristic.
If an entity without a defining characteristic does not exist, to what does the defining characteristic apply?

Mulamadhyamakakarika V.3.
There is no functioning of a defining characteristic in a case where there is already a defining characteristic or where there is not a defining characteristic.
And it can function in nothing except where there is a defining characteristic or where there is not a defining characteristic.

Mulamadhyamakakarika V.4.
When there is no related function (sampravrtti) (i.e. defining process), it is not possible to have "that to which a defining characteristic applies."
And if "that to which a defining characteristic applies" is not possible, then a defining characteristic cannot come into existence.

Mulamadhyamakakarika V.5.
Therefore, "that to which a defining characteristic applies" does not exist (i.e. independently); and certainly a defining characteristic itself does not exist (i.e. independently).
Now, something does not exist without "that to which a defining characteristic applies" and the defining characteristic.

Mulamadhyamakakarika V.6.
If the existing thing (1) (bhava) does not exist, how then would the non-existing thing (2) (abhava) come into existence?
And who holds: the existing-and-non-existing (3) thing which does not have the properties of an existing-and-non-existing thing (4)?

Mulamadhyamakakarika V.7.
Therefore space is
neither an existing thing
nor a non-existing thing,
neither something to which a defining characteristic applies (i.e. separate from a defining characteristic)
nor a defining characteristic. (i.e. the same as a defining characteristic)

Also, the other five irreducible elements can be considered in the same way as space.

Mulamadhyamakakarika V.8.
But those unenlightened people who either affirm reality or non-reality
Do not perceive the blessed cessation-of-appearance of existing things.

MMK of Nagarjuna, Section 6 
An Analysis of Desire and One Who Desires in the Context of Their Separateness and Concomitance (affection and the person affected) In 10 verses

Mulamadhyamakakarika VI.1.
If the "one who desires" would exist before desire itself, then desire may be regarded.
When desire becomes related to "one who desires," then desire comes into existence.

Mulamadhyamakakarika VI.2.
If there is no one who desires, how then will desire come into being?
And the question whether desire exists or does not exist likewise holds true for the one who desires.

Mulamadhyamakakarika VI.3.
Further, it is not possible for both desire and the one who desires to be produced concomitantly.
Indeed, desire and the one who desires come into being independent of each other.

Mulamadhyamakakarika VI.4.
Concomitance does not exist in that which is only one thing, for certainly something which is only one thing cannot be concomitant.
But yet, how will concomitance come into being if there are separate (prthak) things?

Mulamadhyamakakarika VI.5.
If concomitance applied to that which is only one thing, then that one "with concomitance" would be that one "without concomitance."
If concomitance applied to separate things, then that one "with concomitance" would be that one "without concomitance."

Mulamadhyamakakarika VI.6.
And if concomitance applied to separate things, what is the proof for the separation of both desire and the one who desires,
Since that which is non-separate is concomitant.

Mulamadhyamakakarika VI.7.
Or, if the separateness of desire and the one who desires really were proved,
Why do you imagine the concomitance of them both?

Mulamadhyamakakarika VI.8.
You postulate concomitance by saying: neither is proved separate from the other.
And you postulate separateness even more to prove concomitance.

Mulamadhyamakakarika VI.9.
Because separateness is not proved, concomitance is not proved.
What kind of separateness must exist for you to establish concomitance?

Mulamadhyamakakarika VI.10.
Thus there is no proof that the desire is concomitant with or not concomitant with one who desires.
From this analysis of desire it can be shown that for every fundamental element (dharma) there is no proof of concomitance or non-concomitance.

MMK of Nagarjuna, Section 7
An Analysis of Composite Products (origination, duration, and decay) In 34 Verses

Mulamadhyamakakarika VII.1.
If origination (utpada) is a composite product, then the three characteristics of existence: "origination," "duration," and "dissolution" are appropriate.
But if origination is a non-composite (asamstrta), then how could there be characteristics of a composite product?

Mulamadhyamakakarika VII.2.
When the three are separate, origination of either of the other two characteristics does not suffice to function as a characteristic.
If united in a composite product, how could they all be at one place at one time?

Mulamadhyamakakarika VII.3.
If origination, duration, and dissolution are other secondary characteristics of composite products,
It is an infinite regress. If this is not so, they are not composite products.

Mulamadhyamakakarika VII.4.
The "originating origination" (utpadotpada) (i.e. the beginning of the origination) is only the origination of the basic origination (mulotpada) (i.e. the beginning of the product);
Also the origination of the basic origination (i.e. the beginning of the beginning of the product) produces the "originating origination." (i.e. the beginning of the origination)

Mulamadhyamakakarika VII.5.
But if, according to you, the originating origination (i.e. self-originating origination) produces basic origination, (i.e. also causes the beginning of the product)
How, according to you, will this originating origination (i.e. self-originating origination) produce that basic origination (i.e. the beginning of the product) if it itself is not produced by basic origination (i.e. the beginning of the product)?

Mulamadhyamakakarika VII.6.
If, according to you, that which has originated through basic origination (i.e. referring to the dependent originating origination) produces basic origination, (i.e. like affirming that the effect exist before the cause)
How does the basic origination, which is yet un-produced by that originating origination (i.e. self-originating origination), cause that originating origination (i.e. self-originating origination) to be originated?

Mulamadhyamakakarika VII.7.
According to you, this, while originating, would certainly cause that to originate—
If this, not being produced, would be able to cause origination.

Mulamadhyamakakarika VII.8.
The opponent claim:
As a light is the illuminator of both itself and that which is other than itself,
So origination would originate both itself and that which is other than itself.

Mulamadhyamakakarika VII.9.
Nargarjuna answers:
There is no darkness in the light and there where the light is placed.
What could the light illumine? Indeed illumination is the getting rid of darkness.

Mulamadhyamakakarika VII.10.
How is darkness destroyed by the light being originated,
When the light, being originated, does not come in contact with darkness?

Mulamadhyamakakarika VII.11.
But then, if darkness is destroyed by a light having no contact with darkness,
A light placed here will destroy the darkness of the entire world.

Mulamadhyamakakarika VII.12.
If the light illuminated both itself and that which is other than itself,
Then, without a doubt, darkness will cover both itself and that which is other than itself.

Mulamadhyamakakarika VII.13.
If it has not yet originated, how does origination produce itself?
And if it has already originated, when it is being produced, what is produced after that which is already produced?

Mulamadhyamakakarika VII.14.
In no way does anything originate
by what is being originated (ii),
by what is already originated (iii),
or by what is not yet originated (i)—
Just as it has been said in the analysis of "presently going to (ii)," "that which is already gone to (i)" and "that which is not yet gone to (iii)."

Mulamadhyamakakarika VII.15.
When, in that-which-is-originated (iii), there is nothing which activates that which is being originated (ii),
How can one say: That which is being originated (ii) exists presupposing that which is produced?

Mulamadhyamakakarika VII.16.
Whatever comes into existence presupposing something else is without self-existence (stabhava).
As there is an allayment of "being originated," so also of that which is originated (iii).

Mulamadhyamakakarika VII.17.
If some particular thing which is not yet originated (i) is indeed known to exist,
That thing will be originated. What originates if it does not exist?

Mulamadhyamakakarika VII.18.
And if the origination originates that which is being originated (ii),
What origination, in turn, would originate that origination? (i.e. infinite regress)

Mulamadhyamakakarika VII.19.
If another origination originates that origination, there will be an infinite regress of originations.
But if non-origination is that which is origination, then everything without qualification would originate.

Mulamadhyamakakarika VII.20.
It is not possible that what has originated either exists or does not exist,
Nor that what has not originated either exists or does not exist; this has been demonstrated earlier.

Mulamadhyamakakarika VII.21.
The origination of something being destroyed is not possible;
And whatever is not being destroyed, that entity is not possible.

Mulamadhyamakakarika VII.22.
Neither an "entity that has endured (iii)" (sthitabhava) nor an "entity that has not endured (i)" endures;
Not even something enduring (ii) endures.
And what endures if it is not originated?

Mulamadhyamakakarika VII.23.
Duration is not possible of a thing that is being destroyed.
But whatever is not being destroyed, that thing (bhava) is also not possible.

Mulamadhyamakakarika VII.24.
Because every entity always remains in the law of old age and death,
What entities are there which endure without old age and death?

Mulamadhyamakakarika VII.25.
The enduring quality of a different duration is as impossible as of that same duration,
So the origination of origination is neither itself nor that which is other than itself.

Mulamadhyamakakarika VII.26.
"That which has ceased (iii)" (niruddha) does not cease; and "that which has not ceased (i)" does not cease;
Nor even "that which is ceasing (ii)."
For, what can cease if it is produced? (i.e. or if it is not really produced?)

Mulamadhyamakakarika VII.27.
Therefore cessation of an enduring entity is not possible.
Moreover, cessation of a non-enduring entity is not possible.

Mulamadhyamakakarika VII.28.
Indeed, a state of existence does not cease because of this state;
And a different state of existence does not cease because of a different state.

Mulamadhyamakakarika VII.29.
So, if the production of all dharmas is not possible,
Then neither is the cessation of all (i.e. any?) dharmas possible.

Mulamadhyamakakarika VII.30.
Therefore cessation of a real existing entity is not possible;
And certainly both an existing entity and a non-existing entity cannot be possible in the same case.

Mulamadhyamakakarika VII.31.
Even more, cessation of a non-real existing entity is not possible.
Just as there is no second decapitation!

Mulamadhyamakakarika VII.32.
There is no cessation by means of itself; nor cessation by something other than itself;
Just as there is no origination of origination by itself nor by another.

Mulamadhyamakakarika VII.33.
Because the existence of production, duration, and cessation is not proved, there is no composite product (samskrta);
And if a composite product is not proved, how can a non-composite product (asamskrta) be proved?

Mulamadhyamakakarika VII.34.
As a magic trick, a dream or a fairy castle.
Just so should we consider origination, duration, and cessation.

MMK of Nagarjuna, Section 8
An Analysis of the Product (Karma) and the Producer (action and agent) In 13 verses

A real producer does not produce a real product.
Even more so, a non-real producer does not seek a non-real product.

There is no producing action of a real thing; if so, there would be a product without someone producing.
Also, there is no producing by a real thing; if so, there would be someone producing without something produced.

If a non-existent producer would produce a non-real product,
The product would be without a causal source and the producer would be without a causal source.

If there is no causal source, there is nothing to be produced nor cause-in-general (karana).
Then neither do the producing action, the person producing, nor the instrument of production (karana) exist.

If the producing action, etc. do not exist, then neither can the true reality (dharma) nor false reality (adharma) exist.
If neither the true reality nor the false reality exists, then also the product (phala) born from that does not exist.

If there is no real product, then there also exists no path to heaven nor to ultimate release.
Thus it logically follows that all producing actions are without purpose.

And a real-non-real producer does not produce in a real-non-real manner.
For, indeed, how can "real" and "non-real," which are mutually contradictory, occur in one place?

A real producer (kartra) does not produce what is non-real, and a non-real producer does not produce what is real.
From that indeed, all the mistakes must logically follow.

The producer, who is neither real nor non-real, does not produce a product which is either real or non-real,
Because of the reasons which have been advanced earlier.

The non-real producer does not produce a product which is not real, nor both real-and-non-real,
Because of the reasons which have been advanced earlier.

And a real-non-real producer does not produce a product which is neither real nor non-real.
This is evident from the reasons which have been advanced earlier.

The producer proceeds being dependent on the product, and the product proceeds being dependent on the producer.
The cause for realization (i.e. Nirvana) is seen in nothing else.

In the same way one should understand the "acquiring" (i.e. of karma - upadana) on the basis of the "giving up," etc. of the producer and the product.
By means of this analysis of the product and the producer all other things should be dissolved.

MMK of Nagarjuna, Section 9
An Analysis of "the Pre-existent Reality" (grasper and grasping) In 12 verses

Certain people say: Prior to seeing hearing, and other sensory faculties together with sensation and other mental phenomena
Is that to which they belong.

They reason: How will there be seeing, etc. of someone (i.e. as the subject seeing) who does not exist?
Therefore, there exists a definite (vyavasthita) entity before that seeing, etc..

But that definite entity is previous to sight, hearing, etc., and sensation, etc --
How can that entity be known?

And if that entity is determined without sight and other sensory faculties,
Then, undoubtedly, those sensory faculties will exist without that entity.

Someone becomes manifest by something (i.e. like vision); something is manifest by someone.
How would someone exist without something? How would something exist without someone?

The opponent admits:
Someone does not exist previous to (purva) sight and all the other faculties together.
Rather, he is manifested by any one of them: sight, etc., at any one time.

Nargarjuna answers:
But if nothing exists previous to sight and all the other faculties together,
How could that being exist individually before sight, etc.?

Further, if that being were the "seer," that being were the "hearer," that being were the one who senses,
Then one being would exist previous to each. Therefore, this hypothesis is not logically justified.

On the other hand, if the "seer" were someone else, or the "hearer" were someone else, or the one who senses were someone else,
Then there would be a "hearers when there was already a "seer," and that would mean a multiplicity of "selves" (atma).

When he to whom seeing, hearing, etc., and feeling, etc. belong does not exist,
Then certainly they do not exist.

For him who does not exist previous to, at the same time, or after seeing, etc.
The conception "He exists," "He does not exist," is dissipated.

MMK of Nagarjuna, Section 10
An Analysis of Fire and Kindling (Fire and Fuel) In 16 Verses)

If fire is identical to its kindling, then it is both producer and product.
And if fire is different from kindling, then surely fire exists without kindling (i.e. separate).

A fire which is perpetually burning would exist without a cause, which is kindling,
Since another beginning would be pointless; in this case fire is without its object i.e., burning of kindling.

Fire is without a cause, namely kindling, if it were independent of anything else;
In which case another beginning would be pointless, and there is perpetual burning.

If it is maintained: Kindling is that which is being kindled,
By what is kindling kindled, since kindling is only that kindling?
It is inherent existence that would make extinguishing /liberation impossible

Fire, when different and not obtained through kindling, will not obtain; not burning, it will not burn later;
Without extinction, it will not be extinguished; if there is no extinction, then it will remain with its own characteristics.

The opponent claims:
If fire is different from kindling it could obtain the kindling
As a woman obtains a husband, and a man obtains a wife.

Nargarjuna answers:
Though fire is different from kindling, it could indeed obtain the kindling,
On the condition that both fire and kindling can be reciprocally differentiated —but, this is impossible.

If the fire is dependent on the kindling, and if the kindling is dependent on the fire
Which is attained first, dependent on which they are fire and kindling?

If fire is dependent on kindling, so is the proof of the proved fire.
Thus, being kindling it will exist without fire.

When a thing (bhava) is proved by being dependent on something else, then it proves the other by being dependent on it.
If that which is required for dependence must be proved, then what is dependent on what?

If that thing is proved by being dependent, how can that which has not been proved be dependent?
So, that which is proved is dependent; but the dependence is not possible.

Fire does not exist in relation to kindling; and fire does not exist unrelated to kindling.
Kindling does not exist in relation to fire; and kindling does not exist unrelated to fire.

Fire does not come from something else;
and fire does not exist in kindling.
The remaining analysis in regard to kindling is described by the analysis of "that which is being gone to," "that which is gone to" and ''that which is not yet gone to."

Fire is not identical to kindling, but fire is not in anything other than kindling.
Fire does not have kindling as its property; also, the kindling is not in fire and vice versa.

By the analysis of fire and kindling the syllogism of the individual self (atma) and "the acquiring" (upadana)
Is fully and completely explained, as well as "the jar" and "the cloth" and other analogies.

Those who specify the nature of the individual self and of existing things (bhava) as radically different—
Those people I do not regard as ones who know the sense of the teaching.

MMK of Nagarjuna, Section 11
An Analysis of the Past (purva) and Future Limits (aparakiti) of Existence (samsara) In 8 verses

The great ascetic Buddha said: "The extreme limit (koti) of the past cannot be discerned."
"Existence-in-flux" (samsara) is without bounds; indeed, there is no beginning nor ending of that existence.

How could there be a middle portion of that which has no "before" and "after";
It follows that "past," "future," and "simultaneous events" do not obtain.
Birth and death are not separate/different, not simultaneous/the same.

If birth is regarded as the former, and growing old and dying are regarded as coming into being later,
Then birth exists without growing old and dying, and something is born without death.

If birth were later, and growing old and dying were earlier,
How would there be an uncaused growing old and dying of something unborn?

And a birth which is simultaneous with growing old and dying is likewise impossible;
For, that which is being born would die, and both would be without cause.

Since the past, future, and simultaneous activity do not originate,
To what purpose do you explain in detail the existence of birth, growing old and dying?

That which is produced and its cause, as well as the characteristic and that which is characterized,
The sensation and the one who senses, and whatever other things there are --

Not only is the former limit of existence-in-flux (samsara) not to be found,
But the former limit of all those things is not to be found.

MMK of Nagarjuna, Section 12 
An Analysis of Sorrow (Suffering) In 10 verses

Some say:
Sorrow (dukkha) is produced by oneself (i),
or by another (ii),
or by both itself and another (iii),
or from no cause at all (iv);
But to consider that sorrow (dukkha) as what is produced is not possible.

If it were produced by itself (i.e. self-causation), it would not exist dependent on something else.
Certainly those "groups of universal elements" (skandhas) exist presupposing these "groups."

If these were different from those, or if those were different from these,
Sorrow (dukkha) would be produced by something other than itself (i.e. other-causation), because those would be made by these others.

If sorrow (dukkha) is made through one's own personality (i) (svapudgala), then one's own personality would be without sorrow (dukkha);
Who is that "own personality" by which sorrow (dukkha) is self-produced (i)?

If sorrow (dukkha) were produced by a different personality (ii) (parapudgala),
How would he, to whom is given that sorrow (dukkha) by another after he had produced it, be without sorrow (dukkha)?

If sorrow (dukkha) is produced by a different personality, who is that different personality
Who, while being without sorrow (dukkha), yet makes and transmits that sorrow (dukkha) to the other?

It is not established that sorrow (dukkha) is self-produced (i), but how is sorrow (dukkha) produced by another (ii)?
Certainly the sorrow (dukkha), which would be produced by another (ii), in his case would be self-produced (i’).

Sorrow (dukkha) is not self-produced (i), for that which is produced is certainly not produced by that personality.
If the "other" (para) is not produced by the individual self (atma), how would sorrow (dukkha) be that produced by another?

Sorrow (dukkha) could be made by both self and the "other" (iii) if it could be produced by either one.
But not produced by another, and not self-produced (iv) —how can sorrow (dukkha) exist without a caused

Not only are the four causal interpretations not possible in respect to sorrow (dukkha),
but also none of the four causal interpretations is possible even in respect to external things (bhava).

MMK of Nagarjuna, Section 13
An Analysis of Conditioned Elements (the real) In 8 verses

A thing of which the basic elements are deception is vain, as the glorious one said.
All conditioned elements (samskara) are things that have basic elements (dharma) which are deception; therefore, they are vain.

"If that which has deceptive basic elements is vain, what is there which deceives?"
This was spoken by the glorious one to illuminate "emptiness."

An opponent says:
There is non-self-existence of things since a thing, by observation, becomes something else. (i.e. impermanence)
A thing without self-existence does not exist—due to the emptiness of existing things.

If self-existence does not exist, whose "other-existence" would there be?

Nargarjuna answers:
If self-existence does exist, whose "other-existence" would there be?

Just as there is no other-existence of a thing, so also an-other-existence of something else is not possible—
Since a youth is not aging (jiryate), and since "who has already aged" is not aging (jiryate).

If there would be an other-existence of a thing, milk would exist as curds.
But surely "being curds" will be something other than milk.

If something would be non-empty, something would logically also be empty
But nothing is non-empty, so how will it become empty?

Emptiness is proclaimed by the victorious one as the refutation of all viewpoints;
But those who hold "emptiness" as a viewpoint—the true perceivers have called those "incurable" (asadhya).

MMK of Nagarjuna, Section 14
An Analysis of Unification (Combination) In 8 verses

That which is seen, sight, and the "seer": these three
Do not combine together either in pairs or altogether.

Desire, the one who desires, and the object of desire have to be regarded in the same way,
As also the impurities which remain and the three kinds of "base of sense" (ayatana) which remain.

Some hold: There is unification (samsarga) of one different thing with another different thing; but since the different-ness
Of what is seen, etc. does not exist, those factors do not enter into unification.

Not only does the different-ness of that which is seen, etc. not exist,
Also the different-ness of something coming from another does not obtain.

A thing is different insofar as it presupposes a second different thing.
One thing is not different from another thing without the other thing.

If one different thing is different from a second different thing, it exists without a second different thing;
But without a second different thing, one different thing does not exist as a different thing.

Different-ness does not exist in a different thing, nor in what is not different.
When different-ness does not exist, then there is neither what is different nor "this" from which something can be different.

Unification is not possible by uniting one thing with that one thing, nor by uniting one thing with a different thing;
Thus, the becoming unified, the state of being united, and the one who unites are not possible.

MMK of Nagarjuna, Section 15
An Analysis of a Self-existent Thing  (being and non-being) In 11 Verses

The production of a self-existent thing by a conditioning cause is not possible,
For, being produced through dependence on a cause, a self-existent thing would be "something which is produced" (krtaka).

How, indeed, will a self-existent thing become "something which is produced"?
Certainly, a self-existent thing by definition is "not-produced" and is independent of anything else.

If there is an absence of a self-existent thing, how will an other-existent thing (parabhava) come into being ?
Certainly the self-existence of an other-existent thing is called ''other-existence."

Further, how can a thing exist without either self-existence or other-existence?
If either self-existence or other existence exist, then an existing thing, indeed, would be proved.

If there is no proof of an existent thing, then a non-existent thing cannot be proved.
Since people call the other-existence of an existent thing a "non-existent thing."

Those who perceive self-existence and other-existence, and an existent thing and a non-existent thing,
Do not perceive the true nature of the Buddha's teaching.

In "The Instruction of Katyayana" both "it is" and "it is not" are opposed
By the Glorious One, who has ascertained the meaning of "existent" and non-existent."

If there would be an existent thing by its own nature, there could not be "non-existence' of that thing.
Certainly an existent thing different from its own nature would never obtain.

An opponent asks:
If there is no basic self-nature (prakti), of what will there be "otherness"?

Nargarjuna answers:
If there is basic self-nature, of what will there be "otherness"?

"It is" is a notion of eternity. "It is not" is a nihilistic view.
Therefore, one who is wise does not have recourse to "being" or "non-being."

That which exists by its own nature is eternal since "it does not not-exist."
If it is maintained: "That which existed before does not exist now," there annihilation would logically follow.

MMK of Nagarjuna, Section 16 
An Analysis of Being Bound  and Release (Bondage and Release) In 10 verses

When conditioned elements (dispositions, conditioning?) continue to change (through rebirths?), they do not continue to change as eternal things (the same before and after).
Likewise they do not continue to change as non-eternal things (different before and after).
The arguments here is the same as for a living being.

If the personality would change when it is sought five ways in the "groups" (skandha), "bases of sense perception" (ayatana), and the "irreducible elements" (dhatu),
Then it does not exist. Who is it who will change (i.e. transmigrate)?

Moving from "acquisition" (upadana) to "acquisition" would be "that which is without existence" (vibhava).
Who is he who is without existence and without acquisition? To what will he change (i.e. transmigrate)?

The final cessation (nirvana) of the conditioned elements certainly is not possible at all.
Nor is the final cessation of even a living being possible at all.

The conditioned elements, whose nature (dharma) is arising and destruction, neither are bound nor released.
Likewise a living being neither is bound nor released.

If the acquisition (upadana) were the "binding," that one having the acquisition is not bound;
Nor is that one not having the acquisition bound.
Then in what condition is he bound?

Certainly if the "binding" would exist before "that which is bound," then it must bind;
But that does not exist. The remaining analysis is stated in the analysis of "the present going to," "that which has already gone to" and "that which has not yet gone to."

Therefore, "that which is bound" is not released and "that which is not bound" is likewise not released.
If "that which is bound" were released, "being bound" and "release" would exist simultaneously.

"I will be released without any acquisition."
"Nirvana will be mine."
Those who understand thus hold too much to "a holding on" i.e., both to the acquisition of karma, and to a viewpoint.

Where there is a super-imposing of nirvana on something else, nor a removal of existence-in-flux,
What is the existence-in-flux there?
What nirvana is imagined?

MMK of Nagarjuna, Section 17 
An Analysis of Action (karma) and Its Product (action and its results) In 33 verses

The state of mind, which is self-disciplined, being favorably disposed toward others,
And friendship: that is the dharma; that is the seed for the fruit now and after death.

The most perceptive seer Buddha has said that there is action (karma) as volition and as a result of having willed.
The variety of acts of that action has been explained in many ways.

Thus, that action which is called "volition": that is considered by tradition as mental;
But that action which is a result of having willed: that is considered by tradition as physical or verbal.

Sound (1), gesture (2) and that which does not rest which is considered as unknown (3),
Also the other unknown which is considered to be at rest (4);

That which is pure as a result of enjoyment (5), that which is impure as a result of enjoyment (6),
And volition (7): these seven basic elements (dharma) are considered by the tradition as the modes of action.

If an action exists by enduring to the time of its fulfillment, that action would be eternal.
If an action were stopped—being stopped, what will it produce?

There is fruit (phala) when a process, a sprout, etc., starts from a seed;
But without a seed that process does not proceed.

Inasmuch as the process is dependent on a seed and the fruit is produced from the process,
The fruit, presupposing the seed, neither comes to an end nor is eternal.

There is a product (phala) when a mental process starts from a thoughts;
But without a thought that process does not proceed.

Inasmuch as the process is dependent on a thought and the product (phala) is produced from the process,
The product, presupposing the thought, neither comes to an end nor is eternal.

The ten pure "paths of action" are means for realizing the dharma.
And the five qualities of desired objects i.e., desire to know the form, sound, odor, taste, and touch of existence are fruits (phala) of the dharma both now and after death.

There would be many great mistakes if that explanation were accepted.
Therefore, that explanation is not possible.

In rebuttal I will explain the interpretation which can be made to fit the facts,
That which is followed by the Buddha, the self-sufficient enlightened ones (Pratyekabuddha) and the disciples of Buddha.

As "that which is imperishable" is like a credit on an account statement, so an action (karma) is like a debt.
The imperishable is of four kinds in its elements (dhatu) i.e., desire, form, non-form, and pure; in its essential nature it cannot be analyzed.

An imperishable force is not destroyed qua destruction; rather it is destroyed according to spiritual discipline.
Therefore, the fruit of actions originates by the imperishable force.

If the imperishable force were that which is destroyed by usual destruction or by transference of action,
Fallacies like the destruction of action would logically result.

At the moment of transition that imperishable force
Of all identical and different actions belonging to the same element (dhatu) originates.

That imperishable force is the dharma, having arisen by one action after another in visible existence;
And it remains constant even in the development of all bifurcating action.

That imperishable force is destroyed by death and by avoiding the product (phala) .
There the difference is characterized as impure and pure.

"Emptiness," "no annihilation," existence-in-flux, "non-eternity,"
And the imperishable reality of action: such was the teaching taught by the Buddha.

Nargarjuna refutes the above arguments:

Why does the action not originate?
Because it is without self-existence.
Since it does not originate, it does not perish.

If an action did exist as a self-existent thing, without a doubt, it would be eternal.
An action would be an un-produced thing; certainly, there is no eternal thing which is produced.

If the action were not produced, then there could be the fear attaining something from "something not produced";
Then the opposite to a saintly discipline would follow as a fallacy.

Then, undoubtedly, all daily affairs would be precluded.
And even the distinction between saints and sinners is not possible.

Then an act whose development had taken place would develop again,
If an act, because it persists, exists through its own nature.

An action is that whose "self" (atman) is desire, and the desires do not really exist.
If these desires do not really exist, how would the action really exist?

Action and desire are declared to be the conditioning cause of the body.
If action and desire are empty, what need one say about "body"?

An opponent tries to establish an identifiable entity by saying:
The man shrouded in ignorance, and chained by craving (trsna)
Is one who seeks enjoyment. He is not different from the one who acts, nor identical to it.

Nargarjuna answers:
Since action is not "originated presupposing the conditions" nor fails to arise from presupposing the conditions, There is no one acting.

If there is no action, how could there be one who acts and the product of action?
And if there is no product, how can there be an enjoyer of the product?

Just as a teacher, by his magical power, formed a magical form,
And this magical form formed again another magical form—

Just so the "one who forms" is himself being formed magically; and the act performed by him
Is like a magical form being magically formed by another magical form.

Desires, actions, bodies, producers, and products
Are like a fairy castle, resembling a mirage, a dream.

MMK of Nagarjuna, Section 18
An Analysis of the Individual Self (the Self and Phenomena) In 12 verses

If the individual self (atma) were identical to the "groups" (skandha), then it would partake of origination and destruction.
If the individual self were different from the "groups," then it would be without the characteristics of the "groups."

If the individual self does not exist, how then will there be something which is "my own"?
There is lack of possessiveness and no ego on account of the cessation of self and that which is "my own."

He who is without possessiveness and who has no ego — He, also, does not exist.
Whoever sees "he who is without possessiveness" or "he who has no ego" really does not see.

When "I" and "mine" have stopped, then also there is not an outside nor an inner self.
The "acquiring" of karma (upadana) is stopped; on account of that destruction, there is destruction of verse existence.

On account of the destruction of the pains (klesa) of action there is release for pains of action exist for him who constructs them.
These pains result from phenomenal extension (prapanca); but this phenomenal extension comes to a stop by emptiness.

When the domain of thought has been dissipated, "that which can be stated" is dissipated.
Those things which are un-originated and not terminated, like nirvana, constitute the Truth (dharmata).

Everything is "actual" (tathyam) or "not-actual," or both "acts actual-and-not-actual,"
Or "neither-actual-nor-not-actual":
This is the teaching of the Buddha.

"Not caused by something else," "peaceful," "not elaborated by discursive thought,"
"Indeterminate," "undifferentiated": such are the characteristics of true reality (tattva).

Whatever exists, being dependent on something else, is certainly not identical to that other thing,
Nor is a thing different from that; therefore, it is neither destroyed nor eternal.

The immortal essence of the teaching of the Buddhas, the lords of the world, is
Without singleness or multiplicity; it is not destroyed nor is it eternal.

If fully-developed Buddhas do not arise in the world and the disciples of the Buddha disappear,
Then, independently, the knowledge of the self-produced enlightened ones (Pratyekabuddha) is produced.

MMK of Nagarjuna, Section 19
An Analysis of Time (Time) In 6 verses

If "the present" and "future" exist presupposing "the past,"
"The present" and "future" will exist in "the past."

If "the present" and "future" did not exist there in "the past",
How could "the present" and "future" exist presupposing that "past?

Without presupposing "the past" the two things "the present" and "future" cannot be proved to exist.
Therefore neither present nor future time exist.

In this way the remaining two times can be inverted.
Thus one would regard "highest," "lowest" and "middle," etc., as oneness and difference. (or "after," "before" and "middle", or "right," "left" and "middle" …)

A non-stationary "time" cannot be "grasped"; and a stationary "time" which can be grasped does not exist.
How, then, can one perceive time if it is not "grasped"?

Since time is dependent on a thing (bhava), how can time exist without a thing?
There is not any thing which exists; how, then, will time become something?

MMK of Nagarjuna, Section 20
An Analysis of the Aggregate of Causes and Conditions (cause and effect) In 24 verses

If a product (phala) is produced through the aggregate of causes and conditions,
And exists in an aggregate, how will it be produced in the aggregate?

If a product is produced in the aggregate of causes and conditions,
And does not exist in the aggregate, how will it be produced in the aggregate?

If the product is in the aggregate of causes and conditions,
Would it not be "grasped" i.e., located in the aggregate? But it is not "grasped" in the aggregate.

If the product is not in the aggregate of causes and conditions,
Then the causes and conditions would be the same as non-causes and non-conditions.

If a cause, having given the cause for a product, is stopped,
Then that which is "given" and that which is stopped would be two identities of the cause.

If a cause without having given the cause for a product is stopped
Then, the cause being stopped, the product would be produced as something derived from a non-cause (ahetuka).

If the product would become visible concomitantly with the aggregate of causes and conditions,
Then it would logically follow that the producer and that which is produced exist in the same moment.

If the product would become visible before the aggregate,
Then the product, without being related to causes and conditions, would be something derived from a non-cause.

If, when the cause of the product is stopped, there would be a continuation of the cause,
It would logically follow that there would be another production of the previous producing cause.

How can that which is stopped, i.e., something which has disappeared, produce the arising of a product?
How could a cause which is enclosed by its product, even though it persists, originate that product?

Or if that cause were not enclosed by the product, which product would i

Offline ABC

  • Member
  • Posts: 344
    • View Profile
Re: Mulamadhyamakakarika - Nagarjuna
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2010, 01:50:55 am »
A computer exists due to many causes, such as mental cognition of it and the parts that form it.  

Although the computer exists dependent on causes (hetu) & conditions (paccaya), this does not deny the existence of the computer as a "computer". The 'whole' or 'product of the parts' has its own functional integrity. It is a computer both with the appearance and function of a "computer".

When one or many of the causal factors cease, the computer will cease to be a "computer".

There was, is and will remain the existence a computer (until the causes & conditions cease). It functioned to produce this post.

The computer is not sabhava or eternal but it still has a temporal existence.


« Last Edit: July 19, 2010, 01:55:57 am by ABC »
Therefore, Ananda, engage with me friends and not as opponents. That will be for your long-term well-being & happiness - MN 122

Offline Sunya

  • Member
  • Posts: 241
    • View Profile
Re: Mulamadhyamakakarika - Nagarjuna
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2010, 07:54:26 am »
Almost half of the quoted text seems to have been cut off. See the link at the very top of the first post for the full translated text of Nagarjuna's Mulamadhyamakakarika, the Fundamental Verses of the Middle Way.

The style may seem cryptic, and it is far from what one would call an easy read, but this work is central to Mahayana Madhyamaka philosophy and makes much more sense once the general pattern of reasoning is understood.

ABC's example nicely illustrates Nagarjuna's style of reasoning in this text. Likewise, just as there is no thought without a thinker, there is no thinker without thought. Can we think without there being a thought to be thought of, and can a thought exist without a thinker to think it? The two are inseparable, mutually interdependent, only coming into being through their relation as causes and conditions for their counterpart. Nothing exists in and of itself.

Offline treederwright

  • Om Mani Padme Hum
  • Member
  • Posts: 19
    • View Profile
    • Active Bodhichitta - Blog
Re: Mulamadhyamakakarika - Nagarjuna
« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2010, 05:16:43 pm »
I reccomend Garfields translation of this book, because it has a western commentary that is not beginner and definately not advanced such as Tsongkhapa

It  is more like intermediate.
Bodhicharyavatara Ch 1 vs 10

For like the supreme substance of the alchemists,It (bodhichitta) takes our impure flesh and makes of it The body of a Buddha, jewel beyond all price. Such is bodhichitta. Let us grasp it firmly

A new blog on living the Bodhicharyavatara ( Way of the Bodhisattva) .

Another Forum


SimplePortal 2.3.3 © 2008-2010, SimplePortal