Investigation of Samskaras

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

Chapter 13. Investigation of Samskaras







1. bcom ldan 'das kyis chos gang zhig/
bslu ba de ni brdzun zhes gsungs/
'du byed thams cad bslu ba'i chos/
des na de dag brdzun pa yin//

1. The Bhagavan said that whatever dharma is deceptive, that is false. All conditions [are] deceptive dharmas, thus they are false.

[The key to this verse lies in the source of the statement of the Buddha. Jeffrey Hopkins points out that a similar statement is found in the Dhatuvibhanga-sutra of the Majjhima Nikaya [MN 140: 26, p.1093]. This passage is translated from the Pali as: "For that is false, bhikkhu, which has a deceptive nature, and that is true which has an undeceptive nature - Nibbana. Therefore a bhikkhu possessing [this truth] possesses the supreme foundation of truth. For this, bhikkhu, is the supreme noble truth, namely, Nibbana, which has an undeceptive nature." Tsongkhapa's outline treats this verse under the heading: "explaining non-inherent existence by means of a citation well-known to others." He then cites this text, which reads: "Bhikshus, whatever phenomenon is a deceptive conditioned thing, ('dus byas) that is false and whatever phenomenon - nirvana - is undeceptive, that is the sublime truth." And then another: "Likewise, a conditioned thing is also a deceptive phenomenon. It is also an utterly perishing phenomenon." (Ts. 250-1)].






2. gal te bslu chos gang yin pa/
de brdzun de la ci zhig bslu/
bcom ldan 'das kyis de gsungs pa/
stong nyid yongs su bstan pa yin//

2. If whatever is a deceptive phenomenon is false, what is deceptive about it [in what way is it deceptive]? That statement by the Bhagavan is a complete presentation of emptiness.






3.dngos rnams ngo bo nyid med de*/
gzhan du 'gyur ba snang phyir ro/
dngos bo ngo bo nyid med med/
gang phyir dngos rnams stong pa nyid//

[ Ts. *na]

3. Things have no essential nature because they are seen to change into something else. Things do not lack an essential nature because things are emptiness.






4. gal te ngo bo nyid med na/
gzhan du 'gyur ba gang gi yin/
gal te ngo bo nyid yod na/
gzhan du 'gyur bar ji ltar rung *//

(Lha. *ci ltar bur na gzhan du 'gyur)

4. If there were no essential nature, whose [nature] would it be to change into something else? If there were an essential nature, how would it be possible to change into something else?






5. de nyid la ni gzhan 'gyur med/
gzhan nyid la yang yod ma yin/
gang phyir gzhon nu mi rga ste/
gang phyir rgas pa'ang mi rga 'o//

5. This itself does not change into something else. The other itself too does not [either]. Because youth does not age. Because age too does not age.






6. gal te de nyid gzhan 'gyur na/
'o ma nyid ni zhor 'gyur ro/
'o ma las gzhan gang zhig ni/
zho yi dngos po yin par 'gyur//

6. If this itself changes into something else, milk itself would be curds. Something other than milk would be the being of curds.






7. gal te stong min cung zad yod/
stong pa'ang cung zad yod par 'gyur/
mi stong cung zad yod min na/
stong pa* yod par ga la 'gyur//

[Lha. *pa'ang

7. If a bit of the non-empty existed, a bit of the empty would also exist. If there did not exist a bit of the non-empty, how could the empty exist?






8. rgyal ba rnams kyis stong pa nyid/
lta kun nges par 'byung bar gsungs/
gang dag stong pa nyid lta ba/
de dag bsgrub tu med par gsungs//

8. The Conquerors taught emptiness as the forsaking of all views. Those who view emptiness are taught to be without realisation [incurable / incorrigible].

[The source here is given by Candrakirti and Tsongkhapa as the Ratnakuta Sutra, i.e. a Mahayana text. "The earliest Mahayana sutras now extant appear to be some of those collected in what came to be called the Ratnakuta. ... Some of these were translated into Chinese as early as the latter part of the 2nd century AD." (Warder. Indian Buddhism, 356). The Kasyapaparivarta seems to be one of these early sections, in Warder it is sometimes synonymous with the Ratnakuta (in contrast to the Great Ratnakuta). It also originates from Andra in South India.
Je Tsongkhapa quotes a large chunk of the Kasyapaparivarta ('od srungs kyis zhus pa), pp 260-1, which concludes with this passage: "The Bhagavan said: 'Likewise, Kasyapa, if emptiness is the emerging from (forsaking of) all views, then Kasyapa, he who views emptiness alone cannot possibly be cured."]



'du byed brtag pa zhes bya ba ste rab tu byed pa bcu sum pa'o//