The Entrance into the Middle Way (Madhyamakavatara) By Chandrakirti – 3


The Entrance into the Middle Way (Madhyamakavatara) By Chandrakirti – 3

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.)

L9: [PERSON- Rejecting an argument against this explanation]
Indeed it is not established by the seven ways,
Either in thatness or for the worldly;
But from the point of view of the worldly without analysis
It is imputed here in dependence upon its parts.
L9: [PERSON- Showing that the nominal meaning of other names is also established]
It is a part-possessor and a component-possessor.
For living beings a cart is called an agent,
And for beings it exists as a taker.
Do not destroy conventionalities known to the world.
L8: [PERSON-2.1.6 USEFULNESS – This presentation has the good quality of allowing us easily to abandon conceptions grasping at extremes]
L9: [PERSON- The actual meaning]
How can it be said that that which is non-existent in the seven ways exists
When its existence is not found by Yogis?
Since they realize thatness easily,
Its existence should be asserted in the same way here.
L9: [PERSON- Rejecting an argument against this]
Objection How can you say that the parts of a cart do not exist inherently when everyone can clearly see the wheels and so forth?
If a cart does not exist, then in that case
Since there is no part-possessor its parts also do not exist.
For example, if a cart is burned its parts no longer exist.
Likewise when the part-possessor is consumed by the fire of wisdom, so too are the parts.
L9: [PERSON- Applying the analogy of the cart to the meaning of the nominal self]
In the same way, the self is held by worldly renown
To be an appropriator in dependence upon the aggregates –
The elements, and likewise the six sources.
The appropriated are the object, and it is the agent.
L9: [PERSON- Showing other good qualities of asserting a self that is dependently imputed]
Because the thing does not exist, it is not stable and not unstable,
It is not born and does not perish,
It also has no permanence and so forth,
And it is without oneness or otherness.
L9: [PERSON- Recognizing the self that is the basis both of the bondage of delusion and of liberation]
The self with respect to whom a mind grasping at I
Always arises strongly in living beings,
And with respect to whose possessions a mind grasping at mine arises,
That self exists uninvestigated and well-known to confusion.
L8: [PERSON-2.2 NO MINE – Negating inherently existent mine]
Since without an agent there is no [object of the] action,
Without a self there is no mine.
Therefore Yogis who see that self and mine are empty
Will attain liberation.
L7: [PERSON-3 ALL DHARMAS – The analysis of the self and the cart also applies to other things]
L8: [PERSON-3.1 THINGS – Applying it to things such as pots and woolen cloth]
Such things as pots, woolen cloth, canvas, armies, forests, rosaries, trees,
Houses, small carts, guest houses, and so forth
Should be realized in just the same way as they are spoken of;
Because the Able One would never argue with the worldly.
Parts and part-possessors, qualities and quality-possessors, attachment and the attached,
Characteristics and bases of characteristics, firewood and fire, and so forth-
Objects such as these do not exist in seven ways when analyzed like a cart;
But otherwise do exist by way of worldly renown.
L8: [PERSON-3.2 CAUSALITY – Applying it to cause and effect L8: [they cannot be simultaneous, not separated in time; not different, not the same; no causality, no non-causality]
If a cause produces a product it is a cause,
And if no effect is produced then, lacking that, it is not a cause;
But if an effect has a cause it is produced.
Therefore tell us what arises from what, and what precedes what?
If you say that a cause produces an effect through meeting,
Then if they are the same potential, producer and effect are not different;
And if they are different there is no distinction between cause and non-cause.
Having rejected these two, there is no other possibility.
If you say that causes do not produce effects, then so-called effects do not exist;
And without an effect there is no reason for a cause, and they do not exist.
Since both of these are just like illusions, we are not at fault;
And worldly people's things exist.
L8: [PERSON-3.3 Rejecting an argument against this]
L9: [PERSON-3.3.1 The arguments that the refutation of inherently existent cause and effect has similar faults]
Proponents of things
'Do these faults not apply to you as well,
For your refutation would refute what is to be
refuted either by meeting it or by not meeting it?
When you say this you destroy only your own position;
Thus you are not able to refute what you seek to refute.
And because without any reason you cast aspersions on everything
With false consequences that even in your own words turn back on yourselves,
You will not be accepted by the Holy Ones;
For, because you have no position of your own, you can only dispute by refuting.'
L9: [PERSON-3.3.2 Replying that it does not have similar faults]
L9: [PERSON- How refutation and proof are accepted within our position]
L9: [PERSON- How refutation of others' position is accepted nominally]
The fault that you have stated here, that a refutation refutes what is to be refuted
Either by meeting or by not meeting,
Definitely applies to those who hold the position;
But since we do not hold that position, the consequence does not follow.
L9: [PERSON- How proofs within our own position are accepted]
Just as for you at the time of an eclipse and so forth
The characteristics of the orb of the sun are seen even in a reflection,
And although the meeting or non-meeting of the sun and the reflection are certainly inappropriate,
Nevertheless it arises dependently and merely nominally.
And although it is untrue, it is used to beautify the face.
Just as that exists, so too in the same way here,
Our reasons are seen to be effective in cleaning the wisdom face;
For although they are not suited, you should know that with them you can realize the object to be established.
L9: [PERSON- An explanation clarifying the reason why the others' consequence is not similar]
If the reasons that cause the objects they establish to be understood existed as things,
And if the object established, that which is actually understood, were an existent entity,
You could apply the reasoning of meeting and so forth;
But since they do not exist, you can only despair.
L9: [PERSON- Lack of inherent existence can be established but others cannot establish its opposite in the same way]
We can very easily induce the realization
That all things lack things,
But you cannot easily make others understand inherent existence in the same way;
So why confound the world with a net of bad views?
L9: [PERSON- How to understand the remaining refutations not explained here]
Having understood the last refutation just taught,
You should use it here to answer the position of meeting and so forth.
We are not like disputants who only refute.
Any remainder from what has been explained should be understood by this position.
L6: [ AN EXPLANATION OF THE DIVISIONS OF EMPTINESS – with a commentary from Rinpoche]
L7: [A. The division of emptiness in brief]
To liberate living beings, the Blessed One said
That this selflessness has two types when divided by way of persons and phenomena;
And then again, according to disciples,
He explained many divisions of these.
Having extensively explained
Sixteen emptinesses,
He again explained four in brief;
And these are regarded as the Mahayana.
L7: [B. An extensive explanation of the meaning of each division]
L7: [B.1 An extensive explanation of the division of emptiness into sixteen]
L8: [1. Emptiness of the inner]
<<< Since it has no inherent nature,
The eye is empty of being an eye.
The ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind are the same way.
They are all described in a similar way.
(Chap. 6., v. 181)
They are not stable nor forever lasting,
Nor do they remain for a short time and decay.
The eye and the rest that are the six inner ones
Are things that have no essential nature at all.
This is what is meant by "emptiness of the inner." (182) >>>
Eyes are empty of eyes
Because that is their nature.
Ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind
Should be understood in the same way.
Because they do not remain constant
And do not disintegrate,
The lack of inherent existence
Of the six, eyes and so forth,
Is said to be the emptiness of the inner (1).
L8: [2. Emptiness of the outer]
<<< For these reasons, form’s nature is emptiness;
Therefore form is empty of being form.
Sounds, odors, things that are tasted, and what the body feels too,
All these phenomena are exactly the same. (183)
Form and so forth have no essential nature:
This very lack of essence is called "emptiness of the outer." (184) >>>
Forms are empty of forms
Because that is their nature.
Sounds, smells, tastes, tactile objects, and phenomena
Are just the same.
The lack of inherent existence of forms and so forth
Is said to be the emptiness of the outer (2).
L8: [3. Emptiness of the inner and the outer]
<<< That both inner and outer lack an essential nature
Is what is called "emptiness of the inner and the outer." (184) >>>
The lack of inherent existence of both
Is the emptiness of the inner and outer (3).
The lack of inherent existence of phenomena
Is explained as emptiness by the wise.
L8: [4. Emptiness of emptiness]
<<< All phenomena lack the essential nature, and
The wisest of all call this "emptiness."
Furthermore, the Wise One said,
This emptiness is empty of being an inherently existent emptiness. (185)
The emptiness of what is called "emptiness"
Is the "emptiness of emptiness."
The Buddha taught it to counteract
The mind’s tendency to think of emptiness as something truly existent. (186) >>>
And that emptiness too is said to be
Empty of the entity of emptiness.
The emptiness of what is called emptiness
Is said to be the emptiness of emptiness (4).
It was taught to overcome the mind
That apprehends emptiness as a thing.
L8: [5. Emptiness of the great]
<<< The "great" is what the ten directions encompass:
All sentient beings and the entire universe.
The "immeasurables" prove the directions’ infiniteness:
They pervade the limitless directions, so they cannot be measured in extent. (187)
That all ten directions in their whole vast extent
Are empty of essence is the "emptiness of the great."
The Buddha taught about its emptiness
To reverse our conception of the vast as being real. (188) >>>
Because they pervade all environments
And their beings,
And because they are without end like the immeasurables,
The directions are great.
That which is the emptiness
Of all these ten directions
Is the emptiness of the great (5).
It was taught to overcome grasping at the great.
L8: [6. Emptiness of the ultimate]
<<< Because it is wanderer’s supreme of all needs,
Nirvana’s cessation is the ultimate here.
Nirvana, the Truth Body, is empty of itself,
And this is what the emptiness of the ultimate is. (189)
The Knower of the Ultimate
Taught the "emptiness of the ultimate"
To counteract the mind’s tendency
To think that nirvana is a thing. (190) >>>
Because it is the supreme purpose,
The ultimate is nirvana.
That which is its emptiness
Is the emptiness of the ultimate (6).
The Knower of the ultimate
Taught the emptiness of the ultimate
To overcome the mind
That apprehends nirvana as a thing.
L8: [7. Emptiness of the composite]
<<< Because they arise from conditions
The three realms are "composite," it is taught.
They are empty of themselves,
And this, the Buddha taught, is the "emptiness of the composite." (191) >>>
Because they arise from conditions,
The three realms are definitely explained as produced.
That which is their emptiness
Is said to be the emptiness of the produced (7).
L8: [8. Emptiness of the uncomposite]
<<< When arising, cessation, and impermanence are not among its characteristics,
A phenomenon is known as being "uncomposite."
They are empty of themselves.
This is the "emptiness of the uncomposite." (192) >>>
Whatever lacks production, abiding, and impermanence
Is unproduced.
That which is its emptiness
Is the emptiness of the unproduced (8).
L8: [9. Emptiness of that which is beyond extremes]
<<< That to which extremes do not apply
Is expressed as being beyond extremes.
Its emptiness of its very self
Is explained as the "emptiness of that which is beyond extremes." (193) >>>
Whatever is without extremes
Is described as beyond extremes.
The mere emptiness of that
Is explained as the emptiness of beyond extremes (9).
L8: [10. Emptiness of that which has neither beginning nor end]
<<< That which has no point from which it begins
Nor boundary where it ends is the cycle of existence.
Since it is free from coming and going,
It is just mere appearance, like a dream. (194) >>>
Existence is void of any existence:
This is the emptiness of
That which neither begins nor ends.
It was definitively taught in the commentaries. (195) >>>
Because samsara lacks both
A first beginning and a final end,
It is described as beginningless and endless.
Because it is free from coming and going, it is like a dream.
In the scriptures it clearly says that
That which is the isolation of this samsara
Is called the emptiness
Of the beginningless and endless (10).
L8: [11. Emptiness of what should not be discarded]
<<< To "discard" something means
To throw it away or to abandon it.
What should not be discarded is
What one should never cast away from oneself "the great vehicle". (196)
What should not be discarded
Is empty of itself.
Since this emptiness is its very nature,
It is spoken of as the "emptiness of what should not be discarded." (197) >>>
Rejected is clearly explained as
Cast aside or forsaken.
Not rejected, or not given up,
Is that which should not be rejected at any time.
That which is the emptiness
Of the not rejected
Is therefore called
The emptiness of the not rejected (11).
L8: [12. Emptiness of the true nature]
<<< The true essence of composite and all other phenomena is pure being,
Therefore, neither the students, the solitary realizers,
The bodhisattvas, nor the Buddhas
Created this essence anew. (198)
Therefore, this essence of the composite and so forth
Is said to be the very nature of phenomena.
It itself is empty of itself.
This is the emptiness of the true nature. (199) >>>
Because the very entity
Of the produced and so forth
Was not made by Hearers, Solitary Realizers,
Conquerors' Sons, or Tathagatas,
So the very entity of the produced and so forth
Is explained as their very nature.
That which is the emptiness of that
Is the emptiness of nature (12).
L8: [13. Emptiness of all phenomena]
<<< The eighteen potentials, the six types of contact,
And from those six, the six types of feeling,
Furthermore, all that is form and all that is not,
The composite and the uncomposite "this comprises all phenomena". (200)
All of these phenomena are free of being themselves.
This emptiness is the "emptiness of all phenomena." (201) >>>
The eighteen elements, the six contacts,
The six feelings that arise from them,
Likewise those possessing form and those not possessing form,
And produced and unproduced phenomena;
That which is the isolation of all of these
Is the emptiness of all phenomena (13).
L8: [14. Emptiness of defining characteristics]
<<< All composite and uncomposite phenomena
Have their own individual defining characteristics.
These are empty of being themselves.
This is the "emptiness of defining characteristics." (215) >>>
L9: [– a brief explanation]
[That which is the non-thing of suitable to be form and so forth
Is the emptiness of definitions (14).
L9: [– an extensive explanation]
L9: [– The definitions of the phenomena of the base]
Form has the definition, suitable to be form,
Feeling has the nature of experience,
Discrimination is apprehending signs,
And compositional factors are produced phenomena.
The definition of consciousness
Is cognizing aspects of individual objects.
The definition of aggregate is suffering.
The nature of the elements is said to be a poisonous snake.
The sources are said by Buddha
To be the doors for generation.
Within dependent relationship, that which arises
Is defined as coming together.
L9: [– The definitions of the phenomena of the path]
The perfection of giving is giving away.
Moral discipline is defined as without torment.
Patience is defined as without anger.
Effort is defined as without non-virtue.
Mental stabilization is defined as gathering.
Wisdom is defined as without attachment.
These are given as the definitions
Of the six perfections.
The mental stabilizations, the immeasurables,
And likewise others that are formless
Are said by the Perfect Knower
To have the definition unperturbed.
The thirty-seven realizations conducive to enlightenment
Are defined as causing definite emergence.
The definition of emptiness
Is complete isolation through not observing.
Signlessness is pacification;
The definition of the third is the absence of suffering and confusion.
The [concentrations of] perfect liberation
Are defined as perfectly liberating.
L9: [– The definitions of the phenomena of the result]
The forces are said to be the nature of
Utterly perfect decisiveness.
The fearlessnesses of the Protector
Are the nature of utter firmness.
The correct, specific cognizers
Have the definition inexhaustible confidence and so on.
Accomplishing the benefit of living beings
Is called great love.
Completely protecting those who suffer
Is great compassion.
Joy is defined as supreme joy,
And equanimity should be known by the definition unmixed.
Whatever are asserted to be
The eighteen unshared qualities of a Buddha
Are defined as unsurpassed
Because the Blessed One is never surpassed by them.
The exalted awareness knowing all aspects
Is said to have the definition direct perceiver
Others, being limited,
Are not called direct perceivers
L9: [– a summary]
Whether they are definitions of produced phenomena
Or definitions of unproduced phenomena,
Their mere emptiness
Is the emptiness of definitions (14).
L8: #15. Emptiness of the imperceptible
<<< The present does not remain;
The past and future do not exist.
Wherever you look, you cannot see them,
So the three times are called, "imperceptible." (216)
The imperceptible is in essence empty of itself.
It is neither permanent and stable
Nor impermanent and fleeting.
This is the "emptiness of the imperceptible." (217) >>>
The present does not remain,
And past and future do not exist;
Because they are not observed anywhere,
They are explained as unobservable. [the three times]
That which is the very isolation
Of the entities of these unobservable
Because they neither remain constant nor disintegrate,
Is the emptiness of the unobservable (15).
L8: #16. Emptiness that is the absence of entities
<<< Since an entity arises from causes and conditions,
It lacks the nature of being a composite.
This emptiness of there being anything that is a composite
Is the "emptiness that is the absence of entities." (218) >>>
Because they arise from conditions,
Things lack the entity of assembling. [lacks the nature of being a composite]
The emptiness of assembling
Is the emptiness of no thing (16).
L7: [B.2 An extensive explanation of the division of emptiness into four]
L8: #1. Emptiness of entities / things (i.e. Not realism)
<<< In short, "entities" are
Everything included in the five aggregates.
Entities are empty of being entities,
And this is the "emptiness of entities." (219) >>>
The term 'thing'
Indicates the five aggregates when condensed.
That which is their emptiness
Is explained as the emptiness of things (17 / A).
L8: #2. Emptiness of non-entities / non-things (i.e. Not idealism / nihilism)
<<< In short, "non-entities" are
All uncomposite phenomena.
Non-entities are empty of being non-entities,
And this is the "emptiness of non-entities." (220) >>>
Indicates unproduced phenomena when condensed.
That which is the emptiness of non-things
Is the emptiness of non-things (18 / B).
L8: #3. Emptiness of the nature (i.e. Not monism)
<<< The nature of phenomena is that they have no essence.
It is called their "nature" because no one created it.
The nature is empty of itself,
And this is the "emptiness of the nature." (221) >>>
Nature's lack of entityness
Is called the emptiness of nature (19/ C).
Thus, it is explained that because nature is not created
It is called nature.
L8: #4. Emptiness of the entity that is other (i.e. Not dualism)
<<< Whether or not Buddhas appear in the world,
The natural emptiness of all entities
Is proclaimed to be
The "entity that is other." (222)
Other names for this are the "genuine limit" and "suchness."
They are empty of themselves and this is the "emptiness of the entity that is other."
In the sutras of The Great Mother, The
Transcendent Perfection of Wisdom,
These twenty emptinesses are explained in great detail. (223) >>>
Whether Buddhas actually appear
Or do not appear,
The emptiness of all things
Is explained as the other entity.
The perfect end and thatness
Are the emptiness of other entities (20 / D).
These explanations have been given
According to Perfection of Wisdom.
L4: [2.4 Conclusion by way of expressing the good qualities of the ground]
<<< With his broad white wings of the relative and suchness,
The king of swans soars ahead to lead the flock.
By the power of virtue's wind
He crosses to the far shore of the ocean of the Victor's supreme qualities. (226) >>>
Thus, with the rays of his wisdom he attains a clear appearance
Just like an olive resting in the palm of his hand;
And realizing that, from the beginning, all these three worlds have been without production,
He enters into cessation through the power of nominal truth.
Even though his thought is constantly directed towards cessation,
He still generates compassion for protectorless living beings.
After this, through his wisdom, he will also defeat
All those born from the Sugata's speech and all Middling Buddhas.
This king of the geese, spreading his broad, white wings of convention and thatness,
Comes to the fore of the geese of living beings
And then, through the force of his powerful winds of virtue,
Goes to the supreme – the ocean of the Conquerors' qualities.
L3: [The Seventh Mind Generation Gone Far Beyond (1 verse) – Means]
L4: [The good qualities of the seventh ground]
<<< Here on the ground Gone Far Beyond,
Instant by instant, they can enter cessation,
And the transcendent perfection of method excellently blazes. >>>
Here, on Gone Afar (7), he can enter into cessation
Instant by instant.
And he has also attained a surpassing perfe