The Entrance into the Middle Way (Madhyamakavatara) By Chandrakirti – 1

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The Entrance into the Middle Way (Madhyamakavatara) By Chandrakirti – 1
L1: [A PRAISE OF COMPASSION]
L4: [A. Praising great compassion without distinguishing its types]
L5: [Showing great compassion to be the principal cause of a bodhisattva]

The whole text is mainly composed of 10 grounds/chapters of varying number of verses.
The sixth ground (wisdom) is the core of this text.
They are preceded by a praise to compassion,
and followed by ‘The Good Qualities of the 10 grounds’
and by the resulting grounds: Buddhahood,
and by a conclusion.

For some verses there is a second translation, see : <<< … >>>

(Note: 'L#:' indicates the level of this sub-section title;
These could be useful to regenerate the structure of the text if required.)

<<< Shravakas and intermediate Buddhas arise from the Mighty Ones. Buddhas are born from the bodhisattvas. And compassionate mind, non-dual awareness, And bodhicitta are the causes of these heirs of the Victors. (1) >>>
.
[I.1]
#1.
Hearers and Middling Buddhas [i.e. Solitary Realizers] are born from the Powerful Able Ones;
Buddhas are born from Bodhisattvas;
And the mind of compassion, the wisdom of non-duality,
And Bodhicitta are the [three] causes of Conquerors Sons.
.
L5: [Showing great compassion to be the root of the other two causes of bodhisattva]
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<<< Since I assert that loving kindness itself is the seed of the Victors' abundant harvest, Is the water which causes it to flourish, And is its ripening that allows it to be enjoyed for a long time, I therefore praise compassion at the very outset. (2) >>>
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[I.2]
#2.
Because for this bountiful harvest of the Conquerors
Compassion itself is like the seed, like water for growth,
And like ripening remaining for long enjoyment,
At the beginning I praise compassion.
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L4: [B. An homage to the great compassion distinguishing its three types]
L5: [1. An homage to compassion observing mere living beings]
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<<< First thinking "me", they fixate on "self," Then, thinking, "This is mine," attachment to things develops. Beings are powerless, like a rambling water mill— I bow to compassion for these wanderers. (3) >>>
.
I.3
#3.
I bow down to that compassion for living beings
Who from first conceiving 'I' with respect to the self,
Then thinking 'This is mine' and generating attachment for things,
Are without self-control like the spinning of a well.
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L5: [2. A homage to compassion observing phenomena and the unobservable]
.
<<< Beings are like the moon on the surface of rippling water— They move and are empty of any self nature. (4ab) >>>
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I.4
#4ab.
Living beings are seen to be transient and empty of inherent existence,
Like a moon in rippling water.
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L1: [GROUNDS AND PATHS]
L1: [A PRESENTATION OF CAUSAL GROUNDS]
L2: [A PRESENTATION OF THE INDIVIDUAL GROUNDS]
L3: [The First Mind Generation: Perfect Joy (17 verses) – Giving]
L4: [A. Briefly showing the entity of the ground, the basis of characteristics]
.
<<< The Victors' heirs see this and in order to free beings completely Their minds come under the power of compassion, (4cd) And perfectly dedicating their virtue with Samantrabhadra's prayer, They perfectly abide in joy—this is called "the first". (5ab) >>>
.
[I.4.cd]
#4c 5b.
The mind of this Conquerors' Son,
Governed by compassion to liberate living beings completely,
.
Thoroughly dedicated with Samantabhadra's prayers,
And always abiding in joy, is called the first.
.
L4: [B. An extensive explanation of the good qualities that characterize the ground]
L5: [B.1 The good qualities that beautify one's own continuum]
L6: [B.1.1 Enumerating the good qualities/ Benefits of Bodhicitta]
.
<<< Having attained this ground They are called by the name "bodhisattva". (5cd) >>>
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#5cd.
From then on, because he has attained this,
He is addressed by the very name 'Bodhisattva' (1).
.
<<< They are born into the family of the tatagathas. They abandon all three that entangle sothoroughly. These bodhisattvas possess extraordinary happiness, And can cause a hundred worlds to quake. (6) Advancing from ground to ground, they fully progress upwards— (7a) >>>
.
#6.
He is also born into the lineage of the Tathagatas (2)
And has [completely] abandoned all three bonds (3).
This Bodhisattva possesses a supreme joy (4)
And is able to cause a hundred worlds to shake (5).
.
#7.
Mastering ground after ground, he advances higher (6).
.
<<< At that time, all paths to the lower realms are sealed off. At that time, all grounds of ordinary beings evaporate— They are taught to be like the eighth ground of the noble ones. (7bcd) >>>
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#7.
At that time for him all paths to lower rebirths have ceased (7);
At that time for him all grounds of ordinary beings are exhausted (8).
.
L6: [B.1.2 Showing the good qualities in brief]
.
#7.
He is shown to be similar to an eighth Superior [of the Hinayana].
.
L5: [B.2. The good qualities that outshine others' continuums / emptiness and liberation]
L6: [B.2.1 Outshining Hearers and Solitary Realizers by way of lineage on this ground]
.
<<< Even those abiding on the first ground of perfect bodhicitta, Through the power of their merit, outshine Both those born of the Mighty One's speech and the solitary sages. On the ground Gone Far Beyond, their minds also become superior. (8) >>>
.
#8.
Even when abiding on the first view of the mind of complete enlightenment,
He defeats those born from the speech of the
Powerful Able One [Hearer Superiors] and the Solitary Buddhas [Solitary Realizer Superiors] [i.e. Hinayana Superiors]
Through the power of his greatly increased merit;
.
L6: [B.2.2 Outshining Hearers and Solitary Realizers by way of wisdom on the seventh ground]
.
#8.
And on Gone Afar (7) he surpasses them in wisdom.
.
L6: [B.2.3 An explanation of the meaning established by this teaching]
L5: [B.3 The surpassing good quality of the first ground / the perfection of giving]
L6: [B.3.1 An explanation of the giving of one who abides on the first ground]
.
<<< At that time, the first cause of complete enlightenment, Generosity, becomes preeminent. When one is enthusiastic even about giving away one's own flesh, This is a sign of something that normally cannot be seen. (9) >>>
.
#9.
At that time giving, the first cause of the enlightenment of complete Buddhahood,
Becomes surpassing for him.
That he acts gracefully even when giving his own flesh
Is a reason for inferring the non-apparent.
.
L6: [B.3.2 An explanation of the giving of lower bases – giving practiced by ordinary beings who are not Bodhisattvas]
L7: [i. Attaining samsaric happiness through giving]
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<<< All beings strongly desire happiness But human happiness does not occur without objects of enjoyment. Knowing that these objects arise from generosity, The Mighty One taught generosity first. (10) >>>
.
#10.
All these beings strongly desire happiness,
And [ordinary] humans cannot be happy without enjoyments [basic enjoyments like food, drink, clothing, and shelter].
Knowing that these enjoyments [in this life] come from giving [in former lives],
The Able One taught giving first [of the ten paramitas].
.
<<< Even for those without much compassion Who are extremely hot-tempered and self-concerned, The objects of enjoyment they desire And that pacify their suffering come from generosity. (11) >>>
.
#11.
Even for those with little compassion and very rough minds,
Who pursue only their own interests,
Desired enjoyments [in future lives] that cause the alleviation of suffering
Arise from giving [in this life].
.
L7: [ii. Attaining the happiness of nirvana through giving]
.
<<< Even they, through an occasion of giving, Will meet a noble being, receive their counsel, And soon after, completely cutting the stream of cyclic existence, They will progress to peace, the result of that. (12) >>>
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#12.
Even they, on some occasion of giving,
Will soon come to meet a Superior being
Then, having severed the continuum of samsara completely,
Those who possess this cause will go to peace.
.
L6: [B.3.3 An explanation of Bodhisattvas' giving]
L7: [i. The uncommon benefits of Bodhisattvas' giving]
.
<<< Those whose minds vow to benefit beings Quickly gain happiness from their acts of generosity. (13ab) >>>
.
#13.
Those who hold in their mind a promise to help living beings
Immediately experience joy from giving.
.
L7: [ii. The instructions on giving are fundamental for both bases]
.
<<< It is for those who are loving and those who are not— Therefore, generosity is foremost. (13cd) >>>
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#13.
Therefore whether one is compassionate or not,
The instructions on giving are fundamental.
.
L7: [iii. The great joy a Bodhisattva obtains from giving]
.
<<< The happiness of an arhat attaining peace Cannot match the joy experienced by a bodhisattva Upon merely hearing the words, "Please give to me." So what need to mention their joy when they give away everything? (14) >>>
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#14.
If from hearing and contemplating the word 'Give (1)',
The Conquerors' Son develops a bliss
The like of which is not aroused in the Able Ones through experiencing peace,
What can be said about giving everything?
.
L7: [iv. Whether a Bodhisattva experiences pain when giving away his body]
.
<<< The pain one feels from cutting one's own flesh to give it away Brings the suffering of others in the hell realms and so forth Directly into one's own experience, And awakens one's vigor in striving to cut that suffering off. (15) >>>
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#15.
Through the pain from cutting and giving his body,
He sees from his own experience
The suffering of others in the hells and elsewhere,
And strives with great effort to eliminate it quickly.
.
L6: [B.3.4 The divisions of the perfection of giving]
.
<<< Giving empty of gift, giver, and recipient Is a transcendent perfection beyond the world. When attachment to these three arises, That is a mundane transcendent perfection. (16) >>>
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#16.
Giving with emptiness of giver, gift, and receiver
Is called a supramundane perfection.
Where attachment to these three is generated
It is explained as a mundane perfection.
.
L4: [C. Conclusion by way of expressing the good qualities of the ground]
.
<<< Like that, the Victors' heirs utterly abide in the mind of bodhicitta And from their excellent support, joy's light beautifully shines. This joy, like the jewel of the water crystal, Completely dispels the thick darkness—it is victorious! (17) >>>
.
#17.
Thus, abiding high in the mind of the Conquerors' Son,
Beautifying with light this holy base,
This Joyful (1) is like a water crystal jewel [i.e. the moon];
For having dispelled all heavy darkness it is victorious.
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L3: [The Second Mind Generation The Stainless (10 verses) – Moral discipline]
L4: [A. The completely pure moral discipline on this ground]
L5: [A.1 The excellent moral discipline on this ground]
L5: [A.2 The completely pure qualities that depend upon this]
.
<<< Because the bodhisattvas' discipline has such excellent qualities, They abandon the stains of faulty discipline even in their dreams. Since their movements of body, speech and mind are pure, They gather the ten types of virtue on the path of the genuine ones. (1) >>>
.
[II.1.ab]
#18.
Because he possesses excellent moral discipline (2) and pure qualities,
He has abandoned the stains of degenerate discipline even in his dreams.
Because his conduct of body, speech, and mind is pure,
He accumulates all ten paths of holy actions.
.
L5: [A.3 This moral discipline surpasses that of the first ground]
.
<<< These ten types of virtue have been practiced before, But here they are superior because they have become so pure. Like an autumn moon, the bodhisattvas are always pure, Beautified by their serenity and radiance. (2) >>>
.
#19.
For him all these ten virtuous paths
Are perfected, and so extremely pure.
Like the autumn moon he is always completely pure.
Pacified and radiant, he is beautified by these.
.
L5: [A.4 Another cause of completely pure moral discipline]
.
<<< But if they thought their pure discipline had an inherent nature, Their discipline would not be pure at all. Therefore, they are at all times completely free Of dualistic mind's movement towards the three spheres. (3) >>>
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#20.
If we keep pure moral discipline with the view of inherent existence,
Then because of that our moral discipline is not pure.
Therefore he is always completely free from the wanderings
Of the dualistic mind towards the three.
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L4: [B. A praise of moral discipline]
L5: [B.1 Enjoying the fruits of giving in fortunate realms depends upon moral discipline]
L5: [B.2 Enjoying the fruits of giving continuously depends upon moral discipline]
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<<< Generosity can result in wealth gained in the lower realms When an individual has lost their legs of discipline. Once the wealth's principal and interest are completely spent, Material enjoyments will not come again. (4) >>>
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#21.
If enjoyments [in the next life] that result from giving [in this life] arise in a lower rebirth [in the next life],
It is because that being broke his legs of moral discipline [in this life].
If both the interest and the capital are spent,
No enjoyments will arise for him in the future.
.
L5: [B.3 It is extremely difficult for those who lack moral discipline to escape from the lower realms]
.
<<< If when independent and enjoying favorable circumstances, One does not protect oneself from falling into the lower realms, Once one has fallen into the abyss and has no power to escape, What will be able to lift one up and out of that? (5) >>>
.
#22.
If, when living in good conditions and acting with freedom,
We do not act to hold ourself back [in this life],
Once we have fallen into the abyss and lost our freedom [in the next life],
How shall we raise ourself from there in the future [in subsequent lives]?
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L5: [B.4 Why the instructions on moral discipline were given after the instructions on giving]
.
<<< Therefore, after giving his advice on generosity, The Victor taught about accompanying it with discipline. When good qualities thrive in discipline's field, The enjoyment of their fruits is unceasing. (6) >>>
.
#23.
Therefore the Conqueror taught moral discipline
After he had taught giving.
When qualities grow in the field of moral discipline,
The fruits will be enjoyed unceasingly.
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L5: [B.5 Praising moral discipline as a cause of both high status and definite goodness]
.
<<< For ordinary individuals, those born of the Buddha's speech, Those set on solitary enlightenment, And heirs of the Victor, The cause of the higher realms and of true excellence is nothing other than discipline. (7) >>>
.
#24.
There is no cause other than moral discipline [in this life]
For the high status [happiness in the next life] and definite goodness [i.e. happiness of liberation and enlightenment]
Of ordinary beings, those born from the speech,
Those definite in self-enlightenment, and Conquerors' Sons. [for all beings whatever their goal is]
.
L4: [C. An illustration of separation from that which is incompatible with moral discipline]
.
<<< Like the ocean with a corpse, And auspiciousness with misfortune, When great beings come under discipline's power, They do not abide together with its decay. (8) >>>
.
#25.
As with an ocean and a corpse together,
And auspiciousness and misfortune together,
So too this great being controlled by moral discipline
Has no desire to remain with that which is degenerate.
.
L4: [D. The divisions of the perfection of moral discipline]
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<<< If there be any focus on these three— The one who abandons, the abandoned act, and the one with regard to whom it is abandoned— Such discipline is explained to be a worldly transcendent perfection. Discipline empty of attachment to these three has gone beyond the world. (9) >>>
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#26.
If there is observation of the three-
What is abandoned, by whom, and with respect to whom –
That moral discipline is explained as a mundane perfection.
That which is empty of attachment to the three is supramundane.
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L4: [E. Conclusion by way of expressing the good qualities of the ground]
.
<<< Free from stains, The Stainless, the bodhisattvas arising from the moon Are not of the world, yet are the world's glory. Like the light of the moon in autumn They assuage the torment in the minds of beings. (10) >>>
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#27.
This Stainless (2), free from stains, arises from the moon, the Conquerors' Son,
Who although not of samsara is the glory of samsara;
And just like the light of the autumn moon,
It relieves the mental torment of living beings.
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L3: [The Third Mind Generation: The Luminous (13 verses) – Patience]
L4: [A. The etymology of the ground, the basis of characteristics]
.
<<< Here the kindling of all objects of knowledge is consumed in a fire Whose light is the reason this third ground is called The Luminous. At this time, an appearance like the copper sun Dawns for the heirs of the sugatas. (1) >>>
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[III.1]
#28.
Because there arises the light of the fire
That consumes all the fuel of objects of knowledge, this third ground is Luminous (3).
At this time there arises for the Sugatas' Son
A copper-like appearance similar to the sun.
.
L4: [B. The good qualities that characterize this ground]
L5: [B.1 The surpassing patience on this ground – of bodhisattvas]
.
<<< Even if someone becomes enraged with a bodhisattva, who is not an appropriate object of anger, And cuts the flesh and bone from their body Ounce by ounce over a long period of time, The bodhisattva's patience with the one who is cutting grows even greater. (2) >>>
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#29.
Even if someone inappropriately angered
Were to cut flesh and bone from his body,
Piece by piece for a long time,
He would generate a superior patience (3) towards the mutilator.
.
<<< For the bodhisattvas who see selflessness, The flesh cut off of them, the one who is cutting, the length of time cut, and the manner in which it is done— All these phenomena they see are like reflections, And for this reason as well they are patient. (3) >>>
.
#30.
Furthermore, for the Bodhisattva who has seen selflessness,
What is cut, by whom, at what time and in what manner All these phenomena are seen to be like reflections;
Therefore he is patient.
.
L5: [B.2 The way to rely upon other patience – for ordinary beings]
L6: [B.2.1 The unsuitability of getting angry]
L7: [i. Anger is unsuitable because it is unnecessary and very faulty]
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<<< Once the harm is done, if one becomes angry, Does that anger reverse what has happened? Therefore, anger certainly brings no benefit here, And will be of detriment in future lives as well. (4) >>>
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#31.
If someone harms us and we become angry,
Does our anger undo what was done?
Thus getting angry is certainly senseless here,
And contradictory with the world beyond.
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L7: [ii. Not wishing future suffering and retaliating harmfully are contradictory]
.
<<< The harm one experiences is said to be the very thing That exhausts whatever wrong deeds one performed in the past. So why would the bodhisattva, through anger and harming another, Again plant the seeds for future suffering to be endured? (5) >>>
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#32.
How can one who wants to assert that he is eradicating
The effects of non-virtuous actions committed in the past
Sow the seeds of future suffering
Through anger and harm towards others?
.
L7: [iii. Anger is unsuitable because it destroys virtues previously accumulated over a long time]
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<<< Since getting angry with bodhisattvas Instantly destroys all the virtue That generosity and discipline have accumulated over a hundred eons, There is no greater negativity than impatience. (6) >>>
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#33.
Through getting angry with Conquerors' Sons [i.e. a Bodhisattva]
Virtues accumulated from giving and moral discipline
Over a hundred aeons are destroyed in an instant;
Therefore there is no evil greater than anger.
.
L7: [iv. Stopping anger having contemplated the many faults of impatience]
.
<<< It makes one ugly, brings one close to those not genuine, And robs one of the ability to discriminate right from wrong. Impatience quickly hurls one into the lower realms— (7abc) >>>
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#34ac.
Impatience creates unattractive forms, leads to the unholy,
Robs us of our discrimination that knows right from wrong,
And soon throws us into lower realms.
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L6: [B.2.2 The suitability of relying upon patience]
L7: [i. Contemplating the many benefits of patience]
.
<<< Patience brings out the good qualities opposite to these. (7d) Patience makes one beautiful and endears one to the genuine beings. It brings one skill in knowing what is appropriate and what is not. Later it brings birth as a human or a god And exhaustion of negative deeds as well. (8) >>>
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#34d.
Patience produces qualities opposite to what has been explained .
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#35.
From patience come beauty, closeness to holy beings,
Skill in knowing the suitable and unsuitable;
And after this, birth as a human or god;
And the eradication of negativity.
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L7: [ii. In summary, an exhortation to rely upon patience]
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<<< Ordinary beings and heirs of the Victor Should realize the faults of anger and the good qualities of patience, Abandon impatience, and always quickly rely On the patience praised by the noble ones. (9) >>>
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#36.
Knowing the faults of anger and the good qualities of patience
In ordinary beings and Conquerors' Sons,
We should quickly abandon impatience
And always rely upon patience praised by Superior beings.
.
L5: [B.3 The divisions of the perfection of patience]
.
<<< Even though dedicated to the enlightenment of perfect Buddhahood, If it focuses on the three spheres, it is worldly. When there is no focus, the Buddha taught, This is a transcendent perfection beyond the world. (10) >>>
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#37.
Although dedicated to the enlightenment of complete Buddhahood,
If there is observation of the three, it is mundane.
Buddha taught that if there is no observation,
That is a supramundane perfection.
.
L5: [B.4 The other pure qualities that arise on this ground]
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<<< On this ground the Victor's heirs gain the samadhis and clairvoyances, Desire and aversion are completely exhausted, And they are ever able to vanquish The desire experienced by worldly beings. (11) >>>
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#38.
The Conquerors' Son on this ground
Has the mental stabilizations and clairvoyance
Attachment and hatred are completely extinguished,
And he is always able to overcome the desirous attachment of worldly beings.
.
L4: [C. The characteristics of the first three perfections]
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<<< Generosity and so forth—these three dharmas The Sugata particularly praised to lay people. They are also the accumulation of merit And the causes of the Buddha's form body. (12) >>>
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#39.
These three Dharmas, giving [moral discipline and patience] and so forth,
Are especially praised by the Sugatas for lay people.
They are known as the 'collection of merit',
The cause of a Buddha's Body that is the nature of form.
.
L4: [D. Conclusion by way of expressing the good qualities of the ground]
.
<<< The heirs of the Victor, abiding in the sun, these luminous ones, First perfectly dispel the darkness present in themselves, And then fervently yearn to vanquish the darkness in others. On this ground, though incredibly sharp, they do not become angry. (13) >>>
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#40.
This Luminous (3), abiding in the sun, the Conquerors' Son,
First completely removes the darkness within himself,
And then strongly wishes to eliminate the darkness of living beings.
Being very sharp on this ground, he never gets angry.
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L3: [The Fourth Mind Generation: The Radiant (2 verses) – Effort]
L4: [A. The surpassing effort on this ground]
.
<<< All good qualities follow after diligence— It is the cause of both the accumulations of merit and wisdom. The ground where diligence blazes Is the fourth, The Radiant. (1) >>>
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[IV.1]
#41.
All good qualities follow upon effort,
The cause of the two collections of merit and wisdom.
The ground on which effort blazes (4)
Is the fourth, Radiant (4).
.
L4: [B. The etymology of this ground]
.
<<< Here for the heirs of the Sugatas there dawns an appearance Even better than the copper light — It arises from an even greater cultivation of the branches of perfect enlightenment. (2abc) >>>
.
#42abc.
There, for the Sugatas' Son,
There arises an appearance superior to the copper light
That is produced from superior meditation on the realizations conducive to complete enlightenment;
.
L4: [C. The characteristics of abandonment]
.
<<< Everything connected with the views of self and self-entity is completely exhausted. (2d) >>>
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#42d.
And what is related to the view of self is completely eradicated.
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L3: [The Fifth Mind Generation: The Difficult to Overcome (1 verse) – Concentration]
L4: [A. The etymology of the fifth ground]
.
<<< The great beings on the ground that is Difficult toOvercome Cannot be defeated even by all the maras. >>>
.
[V.1.ab]
#43ab.
This great being on the ground Difficult to Overcome (5)
Cannot be defeated even by all the maras.
.
L4: [B. The surpassing mental stabilization and skill in the truths]
.
<<< Their meditative stability becomes superior and their excellent minds Become incredibly skilled in subtle realization of the nature of the truths. >>>
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#43cd.
His mental stabilization is surpassing (5),
and he also attains great skill in realizing
The [gross and] subtle nature of the [noble] truths of a good mind [i.e. they are truths for Superior Beings].
.
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L3: [The Sixth Mind Generation: The Approach (226 verses) – Wisdom]
L4: [1. Introduction to the sixth ground]
L4: [2. Explanation of the sixth ground]
L5: [2.1 The etymology of this ground and the surpassing perfection of wisdom]
.
<<< The perfect bodhisattvas whose minds rest in the equipoise of the approach Approach the qualities of Buddhahood. They see the suchness of dependent arising And from abiding in wisdom, they will attain cessation. (1) >>>
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[VI.1]
#44.
Abiding in a mind of meditative equipoise on Approaching (6),
He approaches the state of complete Buddhahood.
He sees the thatness of dependent arising,
And through abiding in wisdom (6) attains cessation.
.
L5: [2.2 A praise of the perfection of wisdom]
.
<<< Just as a person with eyes Can easily lead a whole group of blind people wherever they wish to go, So here, the mind endowed with wisdom Guides the blind qualities to the Victor's ground. (2) >>>