Nagarjuna's Seventy Stanzas

Discussion in 'Buddhism' started by darrellkitchen, Jan 17, 2005.

  1. darrellkitchen

    darrellkitchen Lifetime Supporter

    Nagarjuna's "Seventy Stanzas"

    The Mahayana Buddhist Phychology of Emptiness
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    Translation of Text and Commentary (where included) by Venerable Tenzin Dorjee and David Ross Komito





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  2. darrellkitchen

    darrellkitchen Lifetime Supporter

    [1] "Arising," "enduring," and "disintegrating;" "existing" and "non-existing;" "inferior," "middling," and "superior" do not have true existence. These terms are used by the Buddha in accordance with worldy conventions.
     
  3. darrellkitchen

    darrellkitchen Lifetime Supporter

    [2] All phenomena must have either self-existence or non-self-existence. There is no phenomenon which is other than these two, nor are there any expressions which do not come under these two catagories. All phenomena which are the subject of this treatise are similar to nirvana because all phenomena are devoid of inherent existence.
     
  4. darrellkitchen

    darrellkitchen Lifetime Supporter

    [3] What is the reason for this? It is because the inherent existence of all phenomena is not to be found in causes, conditions, aggregations or individualities. Thus all phenomena are devoid of inherent existence and are empty.
     
  5. darrellkitchen

    darrellkitchen Lifetime Supporter

    [4] Some assert that a result already exists inherently in the nature of its cause; but then it cannot arise because it already exists. Others assert that a result exists inherently but not in the nature of its cause; so it cannot arise becuse it is not in the nature of its cause. Yet others assert that a result both does and does not exist inherently in its cause; but then they are asserting contradictory views about an object because an object cannot simultaneously both exist and not exist. Because phenomena do not arise inherently so also they do not endure or cease inherently.
     
  6. darrellkitchen

    darrellkitchen Lifetime Supporter

    [5] Whatsoever has already arisen will not be able to arise. Whatsoever has not arisen will not arise. Either a phenomenon has already arisen or else it will arise; there is no other possibility beyond these two. Whatever is in the process of arising should have already arisen or else it will arise in the future.
     
  7. darrellkitchen

    darrellkitchen Lifetime Supporter

    [6] The cause of a result which already exists is similar to that which is not a cause. Also in the case where a result does not already exist, then its cause will be similar to that which is not a cause. A phenomenon should be either existent or non-existent but cannot be both non-existent and not-non-existent because these two are contradictory. Therefore it is not suitable to assert that there is either an inherently existing cause or an inherently existing result in the three times.
     
  8. darrellkitchen

    darrellkitchen Lifetime Supporter

    [7] Without one there cannot be many and without many it is not possible to refer to one. Therefore one and many arise dependently and such phenomena do not have the sign of inherent existence.
     
  9. darrellkitchen

    darrellkitchen Lifetime Supporter

    [8] The twelve limbs of dependent origination result in suffering: since the twelve limbs and suffering do not arise independently of each other, they don't exist inherently. Furthermore, it is not acceptable to assert that the twelve limbs are based on a single moment of a mind nor on successive moments of mind, as such moments arise dependently and do not exist inherently.
     
  10. darrellkitchen

    darrellkitchen Lifetime Supporter

    [9] Because contaminated things arise in dependence on one another they do not exist inherently as permanent phenomena nor do they exist inherently as impermanent phenomena; neither as phenomena with self-nature nor without self-nature; neither as pure or impure; neither as blissful nor as suffering. It is thus that the four distortions do not exist as qualities which inhere in phenomena, but rather are imputed to phenomena.
     
  11. darrellkitchen

    darrellkitchen Lifetime Supporter

    [10] There are no four distortions which exist inherently and thus there can be no ignorance arising from them. Because that ignorance does not exist inherently it cannot give birth to karmic formations, which means karmic formations will not arise and so also the remaining limbs too.
     
  12. darrellkitchen

    darrellkitchen Lifetime Supporter

    [11] Ignorance cannot originate as a cause except in dependence on the karmic formations. Also, the karmic formations cannot originate except in dependence on their cause, which is ignorance. Because ignorance and karmic formations are interrelated as cause and effect so these two are known by a valid cognizer not to exist inherently.
     
  13. darrellkitchen

    darrellkitchen Lifetime Supporter

    [12] By itself none of the twelve limbs can originate inherently, but must depend on the remaining limbs. How then can one limb produce another limb? Moreover, because one limb has originated as a cause in dependence on the other limbs, so how can it act as a condition for the origination of results such as the other limbs?
     
  14. darrellkitchen

    darrellkitchen Lifetime Supporter

    [13] The father is not the son and the son is not the father. These two are mutually not non-existent and the two of them cannot arise simultaneously. It is likewise with the twelve dependent limbs.
     
  15. darrellkitchen

    darrellkitchen Lifetime Supporter

    [14] Just as in a dream, happiness and suffering depend on dream objects and upon awakening these objects are known not to actually exist, likewise any phenomenon which arises in dependence on another dependent phenomenon should be known not to exist in the manner of its appearance.
     
  16. darrellkitchen

    darrellkitchen Lifetime Supporter

    [15] Vaibhisika: If you assert that phenomena don't exist inherently then you are asserting that they don't exist at all. So how can you make distinctions like inferior, middling, and superior or that there are different beings in the six realms of existence? How then can you assert the manifestation of a result which arises from causes?
     
  17. darrellkitchen

    darrellkitchen Lifetime Supporter

    [16] Response: When you assert that phenomena exist inherently you are asserting that they do not originate in dependence on causes and conditions and thus that phenomena actually do not exist. For if phenomena do not depend on causes and conditions, then they should have independent existence throughout the three times. Therefore there cannot be inherent existence for functional phenomena which arise from causes and conditions or non-functional phenomena which do not arise from causes and conditions, and there cannot be any third mode of existence for phonemena.
     
  18. darrellkitchen

    darrellkitchen Lifetime Supporter

    [17] Opponent: If phenomena do not exist inherently, how can you use terms to refer to their own characteristics or their characteristics in relation to other phenomena or non-functional phenomena?


    Response: Although phenomena lack inherent existence, still we can use terms like own-characteristics, other-characteristics and non-functional phenomena for although these are unfindable upon analysis, still, like objects of a dream they appear to have existence to ordinary perception. So the way they exist and they way they appear are different and these conventional existences are called distortions or false.
     
  19. darrellkitchen

    darrellkitchen Lifetime Supporter

    [18] Opponent: If phenomena are devoid of inherent existence then they will be completely non-existent like the horns of a rabbit, and so there can be no occurrence of their arising or their cessation. As Buddha has spoken about arising and cessation, they must exist, so how can things be devoid of inherent existence?




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    Changed the word 'Hinayanist' to 'Opponent' in the opening sentence. This is a form of prejudice and not how a Hinayanist would respond knowing the Buddha's teaching of voidness (what Mahayanists refer to as emptiness).
     
  20. darrellkitchen

    darrellkitchen Lifetime Supporter

    [19] Response: An object cannot simultaneously arise as a functional phenomenon and cease as a non-functional phenomenon. If a non-functional phenomenon does not exist then a functional phenomenon cannot exist because an object cannot arise and endure as a functional phenomenon without depending on its cessation as a non-functional phenomenon, or else it would exist at all times. If a non-functional phenomenon which is different from a functional phenomenon does not exist then it is impossible for a functional phenomenon to exist.
     

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