Investigation of Time

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(return to list of Contents & Translation of "Mulamadhyamakakarika: Verses from the Centre")

19. Investigation of Time


1. /da ltar byung dang ma ‘ongs pa//gal te ‘das la ltos gyur na//da ltar byung dang ma ‘ongs pa//’das pa’i dus ni yod par ’gyur/

1. If the present and the future were contingent on the past, then the present and the future would have existed in the past.

2. /da ltar byung dang ma ‘ongs pa//gal te de ni med gyur na// da ltar byung dang ma ‘ongs pa//ci ltar de la ltos par ‘gyur/

2. If the present and future did not exist there, then how could the present and the future be contingent on it?

3. /‘das pa la ni ma ltos par//de gnyis grub pa yod ma yin//de phyir da ltar byung ba dang//ma ‘ong dus kyang yod ma yin/

3. Without being contingent on the past neither can be established. Hence the present and the future times also do not exist.

4. /rim pa’i tshul ni ‘di nyid kyis//hlag ma gnyis po bsnor ba dang//mchog dang tha ma ‘bring la sogs//gcig la sogs pa’ang shes par bya/

4. These very stages can be applied to the other two. Superior, inferior, middling etc., singularity and so on can also be understood [thus].

[a-b: this means that you could say the same about past and future in relation to the present and present and past in relation to future as you can of present and future in relation to past as Nagarjuna has just done in v. 1-3.]

5. /mi gnas dus ni ‘dzin mi byed//gang zhig gzung bar bya ba’i dus//gnas pa yod pa ma yin pas//ma bzung dus ni ji ltar gdags/

5. Non-dwelling time cannot be apprehended. Since time which can be apprehended, does not exist as something which dwells, how can one talk of unapprehendable time?

6. /gal te dus ni dngos rten te//dngos med dus ni ga la yod//dngos po ‘ga’ yang yod min na//dus lta yod par ga la ‘gyur/

6. If time depended on things, where would time which is a non-thing exist? If there were no things at all, where would a view of time exist?

dus brtag pa zhes bya ba ste rab tu byed pa bcu dgu pa'o // //