220.127.116.11.2 How to determine that there is no self in phenomena
18.104.22.168.2.1 Refutation of production from self
22.214.171.124.2.2 Refutation of production from another
126.96.36.199.2.3 Refutation of production from both self and another
188.8.131.52.2.4 Refutation of causeless production
184.108.40.206.2.5 How to infer that intrinsic production does not exist.
The bases to which the person is imputed include the five aggregates, the six constituents—such as the earth constituent—and the six sources—the eyes and so forth. These are objects. Their emptiness of essential or intrinsic existence is the absence of an objective self.
There are many ways to determine that objects lack intrinsic self. However, Candrakirti's 《Commentary on the "Middle Way"》 determines that things lack intrinsic existence by refuting four possible types of production. Since the 《Explanation of the "Middle Way" Commentary》 says that this determination is a determination of the absence of an objective self, I will now give a brief explanation of that refutation of four types of production.
Nāgārjuna's 《Fundamental Treatise》 says:”
There is no sense in which anything
Has ever been produced
Either from itself, from something else,
From both, or without a cause.
This means, in part: "No internal or external thing is ever in any way produced from itself." Three other theses can be constructed in the same way.
Reductio ad absurdum arguments will refute the claim that something can be produced from itself. Thus, these theses do not offer probative examples or reasons, but offer a critique of the contrary positions.
Here, if something is intrinsically produced, it is limited to two possibilities: either it relies upon a cause or it does not rely upon a cause. Hence, if it relies upon a cause, the cause and the effect are limited to two possibilities: they are either intrinsically one or intrinsically different.
Production in which cause and effect are intrinsically one is called production from self; production in which cause and effect are intrinsically different is called production from another.
Production that relies upon a cause is certain to be either production from self or production from another—which can be considered individually—or else to be production from both self and other in combination.
Individually, there are two cases—production from self and production from other. Therefore, this is how we rule out other possibilities while refuting just four possible types of production.
220.127.116.11.2.1 Refutation of production from self
If a seedling were produced from itself, its production would be pointless because production means that what is produced has come into being. If it were produced from itself, a seedling would already have come into being—as in the case of a seedling that is clearly manifest.
Production also would be endless because if an already-arisen seed were to arise again, the very same seed would have to arise repeatedly.
In that case, there is the fallacy that since the seed itself is arising continuously, there is never a chance for the production of seedlings and such.
Nāgārjuna's 《Fundamental Treatise》 says:
If cause and effect were the same,
Then the produced and the producer would be the same.
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Also, Candrakirti's 《Commentary on the "Middle Way"》 says:
There is no advantage in its arising from itself;
There is no reason for something which has been produced to be produced again.
If you suppose that something already produced is produced again,
Then the production of seedlings and such would not be found in this world.
Therefore, the imputation that things arise from themselves
Is reasonable neither in terms of reality nor in terms of the world.
18.104.22.168.2.2 Refutation of production from another
Opponent: The Buddha said that effects are produced from the four conditions which are other. Therefore, things are produced from another.
Reply. If effects were produced from intrinsically different causes, then thick darkness could arise even from a flame because those two are other.
Furthermore, all things—whether or not they are effects—would be produced from all things—whether or not they are causes—because they are alike in their otherness.
This means that if you assert that seed and seedling exist essentially or intrinsically, then it is evident that the way that a rice seedling essentially or intrinsically differs from things that cannot produce it, such as fire, is identical to the way that a rice seedling intrinsically differs from its cause, a grain of rice.
That is, when it appears to be intrinsically different from something that cannot produce it, a seedling seems different in the sense of being autonomous and independent, and it would seem different in the same way when it appears to be different from its own seed.
If the way they seem different is that they appear to be essentially or intrinsically different, then it is completely impossible to make the distinction that the rice seedling is not produced from fire and such, but is produced from a rice seed.
Objection: We distinguish that which produces a seedling from that which does not. We make this distinction in terms of whether something differs from the seedling in the sense of differing intrinsically.
Reply: This has been shown to be a contradiction. Candrakirti's 《Explanation of the "Middle Way" Commentary》 states this clearly:
Just as a productive rice seed is other than the rice seedling which is its effect, so it is that such things as fire, charcoal, and barley seed—which do not produce it—are also other than that seedling. Yet just as a rice seedling arises from a rice seed which is other, it would also arise from fire, charcoal, barley seed, etc. And just as from a rice seed there arises a rice seedling which is other, so things like pots and cloth would also arise from a rice seed. Yet you never see this. Hence, this is not the case.
Thus, the assertion [by earlier Tibetans] that logical entailments are proven by a multitude of isolated cases [i.e., by induction] is not what Candrakirti holds.
I explained the arguments contradicting that claim above, in the section on the refutation of the position that it is not established that, in a kitchen, the mere presence of smoke entails the mere presence of fire.
Nāgārjuna's 《Fundamental Treatise》 says:
If cause and effect were other,
Then causes and non-causes would be just alike.
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Also, Candrakirti's 《Commentary on the "Middle Way"》 says:
If things arose in dependence upon what is other,
Then thick darkness would arise even from a flame.
Everything would arise from everything. Why?
Because, in being other, all of the non-producers of something would be just like its producers.
You cannot answer such reductio arguments by distinguishing what produces something from what does not in terms such as whether something is included within the same continuum with the effect. For, as explained above, if things are other in the sense of being intrinsically different, their inclusion within the same continuum cannot be established.
Also, it is inadequate to reply that we can see a definite regularity as to what produces a certain effect and what does not.
This is because what we are now analyzing is whether such regularity could hold up if the difference between a cause and its effect were essential to objects themselves, rather than being posited by the mind.
22.214.171.124.2.3 Refutation of production from both self and another.
Advocates of production from both self and another claim that the production of a clay pot from clay is production from self and the production of a clay pot by a potter, etc. is production from another.
Even among Buddhists there are those who advocate production from both as follows: Since Devadatta takes birth in other lifetimes only by way of a life-essence, Devadatta and his life-essence are one. Therefore, he is produced from self.
At the same time, Devadatta's being produced from his parents and from his virtuous and nonvirtuous karma constitutes production from other.
Since there is neither production from self alone nor production from another alone, there is no production from the two together.
The same arguments given above refute this. Within production from both, the factor of production from self is refuted by the arguments that refute production from self, and the factor of production from another is refuted by the arguments that refute production from another.
Candrakirti's 《Commentary on the "Middle Way"》 says:
Production from both is also unreasonable. Why?
Because the fallacies already explained befall it.
Production from both together exists neither in terms of the world nor in terms of reality,
Because, individually, production from self and from another are not established.
126.96.36.199.2.4 Refutation of causeless production
Lokayata proponents of spontaneous origination argue that the production of things is only a matter of spontaneous origination, for no one is seen working to make lotus roots rough or to make lotus leaves soft, nor is anyone seen catching peacocks and such so as to put on their shapes and colors.
This is incorrect. For if production were causeless, then production such as exists at one place and time would have to exist at all places and times, or else must never exist anywhere.
This is because things arise at one place and time, and not at another, due to the presence or absence of their causes—something you do not accept. The "eyes" on the tail feathers of peacocks would also be present on crows and the like. In brief, if something were produced causelessly, then it would have to be produced from everything, or else it would never be produced.
Worldly beings, in order to obtain a desired effect, would not have to work to create the causes of that effect, and everything would be senseless.
Candrakirti's 《Commentary on the "Middle Way"》 says:
If it were the case that things are produced without any cause, then these worldly beings would not go through hundreds of hardships to collect seeds and such for growing crops.
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188.8.131.52.2.5 How to infer that intrinsic production does not exist.
Thus, by seeing the arguments contradicting the four alternative types of production, you establish that production from these four extremes does not exist. This entails the nonexistence of intrinsic production, as proven above in the section on precluding other possibilities beyond these four.
Therefore, you can use these [arguments] to become certain that things do not intrinsically exist.
When you make these reductio ad absurdum arguments, inference is thereby generated; at that time there is no syllogistic statement that directly proves the thesis.
Candrakirti's 《Commentary on the "Middle Way"》 concisely states the point of the arguments contradicting these four possible types of production:
Because things are not produced from self, another, both,
Or without relying on causes, they lack intrinsic existence.
This indicates how, as an effect of having stated reductio ad absurdum arguments, you can develop an inference based on a syllogistic reason. It is not that you begin by stating to the opponent this sort of syllogism based on what the other party accepts.
By refuting intrinsically existent production in this way, you become certain that things do not intrinsically exist; it is then easy to be certain that non-things [permanent phenomena] also lack intrinsic existence. You thereby find the view of the middle way—that is, the knowledge that all phenomena are empty of intrinsic existence.
Furthermore, Nāgārjuna's 《Fundamental Treatise》 says:
That which is dependently arisen
Is naturally at peace.
Candrakirti's 《Commentary on the "Middle Way"》 says:
Because things arise dependently
These misconceptions cannot bear scrutiny.
Therefore, the reasoning of dependent-arising
Cuts all the entanglements of bad views.
Accordingly, you use dependent-arising as a reason to become certain that seedlings and such are empty of intrinsic existence. When you do this, the eradication of any possible misstep is extremely clear in your mind. Hence, we will say a little about this.
In this case, you use an argument based on what others accept: "A seedling does not intrinsically exist because of arising in dependence upon its causes and conditions, like a reflection."
For example, when a reflection of a face appears, young children do not see it and think, "This appearance of eyes, nose, and so for this like this for the perspective of a mind such as mine, but the way it appears is not the way it exists." Rather, they consider what appears to be the way things actually exist, the way that they are.
Similarly, when living beings experience or see a phenomenon, they do not apprehend it as being set up by the power of the mind to which it appears. Rather, they apprehend it as existing just as it appears, i.e., as existing in an essentially objective manner. This is how intrinsic existence is superimposed.
The presence of such a nature in the object is what is meant by essence, intrinsic nature, and autonomous existence.
Thus, if such a nature were present, this would contradict reliance upon other causes and conditions. If this were not a contradiction, then it would be impossible to hold that an already existing pot does not need to be produced again from causes and conditions.
Accordingly, Aryadeva's 《Four Hundred Stanzas》 says:
That which arises dependently
Does not exist autonomously;
All of these things lack autonomous existence.
Therefore, they have no self.
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And Candrakirti's 《Commentary on the "Four Hundred Stanzas"》 comments on that passage:
That which has its own essence, intrinsic nature, autonomy, or independence from othersis self-existent and thus is not a dependent-arising. All compounded phenomena are dependent-arisings. Anything that is a dependent-arising is not autonomous because it is produced in dependence upon causes and conditions. These things all lack autonomy. Therefore, there is nothing which has self, that is, intrinsic nature.
"Autonomous" means something appears to be intrinsically existent, and when it does so (1) it appears to those same consciousnesses as not depending on other phenomena, and (2) it exists as it appears.
However, if you take autonomous existence to mean not depending on other causes and conditions, and refute that sort of autonomous existence, then there will be no need to prove the lack of such autonomous existence to our own Buddhist schools.
Yet despite refuting that, you will be unable to posit the view of the Madhyamaka middle way. Hence, we take autonomy to mean that something exists in a manner such that it is essentially capable of objectively establishing itself.
Therefore, since emptiness of intrinsic existence refers to the lack of that autonomy just described rather than to the nonexistence of functioning things,
you can use dependent-arising as a reason to refute intrinsic existence.
The earlier citation of Candrakirti's 《Commentary on the "Four Hundred Stanzas"》 continues:
Therefore, since in this Madhyamaka system to be a dependent arising is to lack autonomy, lacking autonomy is what emptiness means; emptiness does not mean that nothing exists.
Consequently, the view that functioning things do not exist is a mistaken denial of the existence of illusion-like dependent-arisings, both the pure and the afflicted; hence, it is not accurate.
The view that things intrinsically exist is also inaccurate because such intrinsic nature does not exist in anything.
Thus, Candrakirti's 《Commentary on the "Four Hundred Stanzas"》 continues:
Therefore, according to this Madhyamaka system, the view that those functioning things do not exist is inaccurate insofar as it mistakenly denies the functioning of dependent-arising and of illusion-like causes, both the pure and the afflicted. Because they do not intrinsically exist, the view that things intrinsically existis also inaccurate. Therefore, for those who claim that things have intrinsic nature, dependent-arising does not exist and the faults of the views of permanence and annihilation ensue.
Therefore, those who wish to be free from the views of permanence and annihilation should assert both the lack of intrinsic existence and the illusion-like dependent-arising of both pure and afflicted phenomena.
Objection: If you use functional dependent-arisings to refute autonomy, and say that lacking autonomy means being a dependent-arising, then how will you refute us? For, we [other Buddhist schools] also assert functional dependent-arisings. Therefore, there is no difference between you and us.
Reply: Although you assert dependently arisen causes and effects, you are like a small child apprehending a reflection of a face as truly being a face. You reify dependent-arising as intrinsically existent and then call that the essence of things. Thus, you do not accurately know the meaning of dependent-arising and you express its meaning inaccurately.
Since we hold that dependent-arisings lack intrinsic existence and say so, that is the difference between you and us.
Accordingly, Candrakirti's 《Commentary on the "Four Hundred Stanzas"》 continues:
Qualm: If lacking autonomy means to be a dependent-arising, then how will you refute us? What difference is there between you and us?
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Reply: I will explain this. You do not understand how to know or to express the meaning of dependent-arising accurately. That is the difference.
By reifying a reflection as a truth, a young, pre-verbal child obviates its actual nature, emptiness; when the child thinks of the reflection and its nature, those ideas about the reflection are ignorant ones.
Similarly, you assert dependent-arising, but while dependent-arisings, like reflections, are empty of intrinsic nature, you do not understand their nature accurately. This is because you do not apprehend what lacks intrinsic nature as lacking intrinsic nature.
You reify an essence that does not exist into an essence that does exist. You also do not understand how to express the meaning of dependent-arising because you do not say that it is the absence of intrinsic existence, and because you call it the essence of things.
While we and they are alike in asserting the dependent-arising of causes and effects, the difference is that we understand, and they do not understand, how to know and to express dependent-arising accurately in terms of intrinsic nature and its absence.
The advocates of intrinsic existence call something "truly existent" if it can be accepted as a functioning thing, and amongst them there are some who conclude that the debate as to whether things truly exist is only a semantic one. Likewise, they say that it is only semantics when we debate with the Svātantrikas—for even the Svātantrikas claim that things exist by way of their intrinsic character—as to whether something that functions conventionally has a nature that conventionally exists by way of its intrinsic character. This teaching by Candrakirti clearly refutes these ideas.
For example, it would be as though someone absurdly claimed that since Samkhyas say that the thing that is known as the object of auditory consciousness is permanent, Buddhists are only quibbling over semantics when they refute the permanence of sound while accepting the thing that is known as the object of auditory consciousness.
When other living beings see something as produced in dependence upon causes and conditions, they see it as essentially or intrinsically existent, and thus they are bound in cyclic existence;
but for noble beings, production in dependence upon causes and conditions is reason enough to refute intrinsic existence and develop certainty about the lack of intrinsic existence.
Because it cuts the bonds of extreme views, the use of dependent-arising as a reason to prove that there is no intrinsic existence is a marvelous and highly skillful method.
After the Bhagavan saw the force of this point, he said [in the 《Question of the Nāga King Anavatapta》]:
Whatever is produced from conditions is not produced;
It is not intrinsically produced.
Whatever depends upon conditions, I consider empty;
One who knows emptiness is diligent.
The first two lines mean that production from conditions entails not being intrinsically produced. The third line states that dependent-arising, which is reliance on conditions, is the meaning of emptiness of intrinsic existence. The fourth line indicates the benefit of knowing emptiness in this way.
Similarly, that sūtra says that by knowing dependent-arising, you cut off extreme conceptions:
The learned will know dependently arisen phenomena,
And avoid extreme views.
Moreover, if things were essentially or intrinsically existent, the Conqueror and his disciples would have to have seen them in that way, but they did not.
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And since what intrinsically exists does not in any way work through conditions, it does not cut the net of elaborations, i.e., the conceptions of signs; thus, there would be no liberation.
As the 《Elephant Ornament Sūtra》 says:
If phenomena were intrinsically existent,
Then the Conqueror and his disciples would know it.
With static phenomena, no one would pass beyond sorrow.
The learned would never be free from elaborations.
In the third, fourth, and fifth chapters [of Nāgārjuna's 《Fundamenttal Treatise》], there are arguments that refute the intrinsic existence of the sources, aggregates, and constituents. In demonstrating that objects lack self, it is excellent to use those arguments as well. Yet I am wary of becoming long-winded and will not elaborate.
184.108.40.206.3 How to eliminate afflictive and cognitive obscurations by becoming accustomed to those views.
After you have seen that the self and that which belongs to the self lack even the slightest particle of intrinsic nature, you can accustom yourself to these facts, thereby stopping the reifying view of the perishing aggregates as the self and that which belongs to the self.
When you stop that view, you will stop the four types of grasping—grasping that holds on to what you want, etc.—explained earlier.
When you stop these, existence conditioned by attachment will not occur; hence, there will be an end to the rebirth of the aggregates conditioned by existence; you will attain liberation.
Nāgārjuna's 《Fundamental Treatise》 says:
Because of the pacification of the self and that which the self owns,
The conception "I" and the conception "mine" will be gone.
When thoughts of the self and that which belongs to the self
Are extinguished in regard to internal and external things,
Grasping will stop;
Through its extinction, birth will be extinguished.
Accordingly, since grasping is an affliction and potential existence is karma, you are liberated through extinguishing the causes of birth, i.e., karma and afflictions.
Nāgārjuna's Fundamental Treatise says:
Through extinguishing karma and afflictions, there is liberation.
As for the extinction through which karma and afflictions are extinguished, that same passage continues:
Karma and afflictions arise from misconceptions;
These misconceptions arise from elaborations;
These elaborations are stopped by emptiness.
That is, the cyclic flow of birth and death arises from karma. Only physical, verbal, and mental compositional activity associated with an afflicted mind constitutes karma that establishes cyclic existence, so karma arises from afflictions.
Afflictions that are rooted in the reifying view of the perishing aggregates do not arise without the operation of misconceptions that superimpose upon objects signs such as pleasant and unpleasant. Thus, afflictions such as attachment and hostility—rooted in the reifying view of the perishing aggregates—are produced from such misconceptions.
These misconceptions operate mistakenly only by clinging to the notion, "This is real," in regard to the eight worldly concerns, or men and women, or pot, cloth, form, or feeling. Since it is these misconceptions that conceive those objects, they are generated from the elaboration of conceptions of true existence.
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Candrakirti's 《Clear Words》 says:
Emptiness—viewing all things as emptiness—stops all worldly elaborations. Why? Because when you see something as real, there are going to be elaborations such as those explained. Insofar as the daughter of a barren woman is not seen, the lustful will not engage in elaborations with her as the object. When elaborations are not operating, their object is not going to be misconceived. As misconceptions are not operating, afflictions rooted in the reifying view of the perishing aggregates are not generated through clinging to "I" and "mine." As afflictions rooted in the reifying view of the perishing aggregates are not generated, actions are not performed. Those who do not perform actions Will not experience cyclic existence, which is called "birth, aging, and death."
Candrakirti's Clear Words also states very clearly how knowing emptiness stops those elaborations and misconceptions:
Why? It is like this: Emptiness is not elaborated insofar as it has the character of thoroughly quelling elaboration. Since it is not elaborated it stops misconceptions; through stopping misconceptions, it stops the afflictions. Stopping karma and afflictions stops birth. Therefore, since only emptiness has the character of stopping all elaborations, it is called "nirvāna."
This passage proves that the view of emptiness cuts the root of cyclic existence and is the heart of the path to liberation. Hence, you must gain firm certainty about this.
Accordingly, the treatises of the noble master Nāgārjuna clearly state that even Śrávakas and pratyekabuddhas can know that all phenomena lack intrinsic existence. For, they state that liberation from cyclic existence is achieved through the view of emptiness of intrinsic existence.
Śrāvakas and pratyekabuddhas meditate on that view for as long as their afflictions remain. When their afflictions are extinguished, they are satisfied and do not persist in meditation; hence they are unable to eliminate cognitive obscurations.
Bodhisattvas, not content with mere liberation from cyclic existence through the mere extinction of afflictions, seek buddhahood for the sake of all living beings; hence they meditate so as to utterly extinguish cognitive obscurations. Thus, they meditate for a very long time and are adorned with limitless collections of merit and wisdom.
Accordingly, while the remedy that purges the seeds of both obscurations is the view of emptiness, as explained above, because of the limited duration of their meditation śrāvakas and pratyekabuddhas can eliminate only afflictive obscurations; they do not eliminate cognitive obscurations.
For example, the very same knowledge of the lack of self is the remedy for both the objects which are eliminated on the path of seeing and the objects which are eliminated on the path of meditation. Yet simply directly seeing the lack of self can eliminate the objects that are eliminated on the path of seeing, but cannot eliminate the objects to be eliminated on the path of meditation. Thus, you must meditate for a long time in order to eliminate the objects that are eliminated on the path of meditation.
It is similar to this case. Still, the elimination of the cognitive obscurations cannot be accomplished even by meditating for a longtime on that alone; it also involves training in many other sublime activities.
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Since Śrāvakas and pratyekabuddhas do not cultivate the remedy to cognitive obscurations, but cultivate only the means to eliminate afflictive obscurations, it is said that Śrāvakas and pratyekabuddhas lack full and complete knowledge of the lack of self in phenomena.
Candrakirti's 《Explanation of the "Middle Way" Commentary》 says:
Although even Šrávakas and pratyekabuddhas see this same condition of dependent-arising, they still lack a full and complete cultivation of the lack of self in phenomena; they have only a means to eliminate the behavioral afflictions of the three realms.
Thus what other Madhyamikas consider a conception of self in phenomena, this master considers afflictive ignorance.
Even though Śrāvakas and pratyekabuddhas meditate on the lack of self in phenomena to the point of utterly eliminating afflictive ignorance, they lack a complete meditation on the lack of self in phenomena. These statements should be understood as I have explained them both here and above.
What are cognitive obscurations in this [Prāsangika] system? Certain latent propensities are firmly set in the mind-stream through its being beginninglessly suffused with strong attachment to things regarded as intrinsically existent; these latent propensities give rise to errors of dualistic appearance, so that things appear to be intrinsically existent when they are not. These errors are cognitive obscurations.
As Candrakirti says in his 《Explanation of the "Middle Way" Commentary》:
Śrāvakas, pratyekabuddhas, and bodhisattvas who have eliminated afflictive ignorance see composite phenomena as like something that is merely existent, e.g., a reflection.
For them, because they lack the inflated sense of true existence, composite phenomena have fabricated natures and are not truths. These fabrications deceive children.
For others, they are mere conventions since, like illusions and such, they are just dependent-arisings. Also, because these three types of beings partake of the mere ignorance that has the character of being a cognitive obscuration, these mere conventionalities appear to noble beings whose spheres of activity are associated with appearance, and not to those whose spheres of activity are devoid of appearance.
"Bodhisattvas who have eliminated afflictive ignorance" refers to those who have attained the eighth level, because Candrakirti's 《Commentary on the "Four Hundred Stanzas"》, as cited earlier, states that they are bodhisattvas who have attained forbearance regarding the teaching of non-production.
Therefore, bodhisattvas and Hinayāna arhats who have reached the eighth level have put an end to the creation of new latent propensities for errors of dualistic appearance, but since they have many long-established latent propensities for dualistic appearance that are yet to be cleared away, they still must train for a long time. When they clear away these propensities—stopping all latent propensities for error—they become buddhas.
The noble Nāgārjuna and his successors taught that Hinayāna and Mahāyāna are alike in their views of the definitive meaning;
this implies two marvelous certainties. After you have developed certainty that there is no way to attain even mere freedom from cyclic existence—let alone buddhahood—without the view that knows that all phenomena lack intrinsic existence,
you find the stainless view by making great effort at many methods.
After you have developed certainty from the very depths of your heart that the features that differentiate Mahāyāna from Hinayāna are the precious spirit of enlightenment and the sublime bodhisattva activities,
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you accept the teachings on the behavioral aspects of the practice as the most intimate advice. After you have taken the vows of a conqueror's child [bodhisattva], you train in those activities.
Here I say:
Going to that most beautiful mountain,
That lord of mountains called "Vulture Peak,"
Shaking the universe in six directions,
And magically filling a hundred pure lands with light,
The Sage gave forth from his magnificent throat
The great mother from whom all noble children are born,
The incomparably eloquent Perfection of Wisdom,
The heart of both sūtra and mantra paths.
Nāgārjuna, the hero who had been prophesied,
Gave a precise commentary on it in the best of all treatises,
That incomparable explanation, as famous as the sun,
Known as the magnificent 《Fundamental Treatise》.
The treatise by the conqueror's child Buddhapālita
Explains it well; and what he explained well
Was well understood by Candrakirti, whose fine treatise
Comments on it extensively, clarifying its words and its meaning.
Using words that are easy to understand, I have explained
Their stainless system—how it is that dependently arisen objects and agents
Of cyclic existence and nirvâna are possible
Among things that, like illusions, lack intrinsic existence.
My friends who study the profound Madhyamaka texts,
Although it is hard for you to posit the dependent-arising
Of cause and effect within the absence of intrinsic existence,
It is better to take the approach of saying,
"Such is the Madhyamaka system."
Otherwise, you will not be able to escape the fallacies
That you have stated to others, and will find yourself drawn
To a non-system. In that case, you must continue to study.
The treatises of the noble Nāgārjuna and his followers
Give good explanations of the way to search out the correct view
And are for the sake of the Conqueror's teaching
Remaining for a long time.
2. Classifications of insight
Kamalaśīla's 《second Stages of Meditation》 sets forth three requisites for insight: (1) reliance on an excellent being, (2) genuinely pursuing extensive study of explanations of reality, and (3) appropriate reflection. By relying upon these three, you will discover the view— the understanding of the two selflessnesses. Then cultivate insight.
What insights should you cultivate? Here, our immediate and primary concern is not the insights of the elevated stages; we are mainly setting forth the insights that you cultivate while you are an ordinary being. For an ordinary being, complete insight is the cultivation of the fourfold, the threefold, and the sixfold insight.
The fourfold insight refers to differentiation and so forth, as stated in the 《Sūtra Unravelling the Intended Meaning》.
Differentiation observes the diversity of conventional phenomena. Full differentiation observes the real nature of phenomena.
The first [differentiation] is of two types—thorough examination and thorough analysis;
and the second [full differentiation] is of two types—examination and analysis. Examination and analysis are distinguished according to whether the object is coarse or subtle.
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Asanga's 《Sravaka Levels》 says:
What is the fourfold insight? It is thus. Using the serenity within his mind, a monk differentiates, fully differentiates, fully examines, and fully analyzes phenomena. How does he differentiate? He differentiates by way of their diversity the objects of meditation that purify analysis, the objects of meditation of the learned, and the objects of meditation that purify the afflictions. He fully differentiates through analyzing the real nature of those three types of object. Full examination occurs when he uses conceptual attention endowed with those two kinds of wisdom to apprehend the distinguishing signs of those three types of object. When he analyzes them correctly, it is full analysis.
The same four paths of insight are set forth in Asanga's Compendium of Knowledge. The identification of them in Ratnākaraśānti's Instructions for the Perfection of Wisdom also agrees with the 《Sravaka Levels》.
Regarding the threefold insight, the 《Sūtra Unravelling the Intended Meaning》 says:
Bhagavan, how many types of insight are there?
Maitreya, there are three types: that which arises from signs, that which arises from thorough searching, and that which arises from analytical discrimination. What is insight which arises from signs? It is insight that attends only to a conceptual image within the sphere of concentration. What is insight which arises from thorough searching? It is insight that attends to features which were not well understood by previous wisdom consciousnesses bearing upon the given object, so that those features may be well understood. What is insight which arises from analytical discrimination? It is insight that attends to features that were well understood by earlier wisdom consciousnesses bearing upon the given object, so that you may feel the genuine bliss of liberation.
Regarding this, Asanga's 《Sravaka Levels》 says that those at the stage of equipoise may attend to a teaching they have studied and memorized, or to personal instructions. This is attention but it is not contemplation; nor is it consideration, evaluation, or examination. It is involved only in the signs. As you move from contemplation through to examination, you are engaged in thorough searching. To have exact analytical discrimination of what has been thus determined constitutes engaging in analytical discrimination of that for which you have thoroughly searched. Those three are the three doors of insight.
To summarize, in the first you might, for example, observe the meaning of selflessness and attend to its signs, but you do not do much to come to a conclusion.
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In the second, you come to a conclusion in order to determine what you had not previously determined. In the third, you analyze, as before, a meaning that you have already determined.
The sixfold insight refers to the observation of six bases; it is a search procedure for the insight of thorough searching.
You thoroughly search for—and, after you have sought, analytically discriminate—meanings, things, characteristics, categories, times, and reasonings.
Searching for meanings refers to seeking the meaning of a given term.
Searching for things refers to seeking [to determine] whether something is an internal thing or an external thing.
Searching for characteristics is of two types: seeking to determine whether something is a general characteristic or a specific characteristic, and seeking to determine whether a characteristic is shared or unique.
Searching for categories is seeking to determine what is in the negative category based on its faults and defects and seeking to determine what is in the positive category based on its good qualities and benefits.
Searching for times is seeking to determine how something could have occurred in the past, how it could occur in the future, and how it might be occurring in the present.
Searching for reasoning is of four types: (1) the reasoning of dependence is that effects arise in dependence on causes and conditions. You search from the distinctive perspectives of the conventional, the ultimate, and their bases.
(2) The reasoning of performance of function is that phenomena perform their own functions, as in the case of fire performing the function of burning. You search, thinking, "This is the phenomenon, this is the function, this phenomenon performs this function."
(3) The reasoning of tenable proof is that something is proven without being contradicted by valid knowledge. You search, thinking, "Is this supported by any of the three forms of valid knowledge—perception, inference, and reliable scripture?"
(4) The reasoning of reality gives you confidence in the reality of things as known in the world—e.g., the reality that fire is hot and water is wet—or confidence about inconceivable realities, or confidence about the abiding reality;
it does not consider any further reason as to why these things are that way.
A yogi's understanding of the six just presented is of three types: the meaning of the terms expressed, the diversity of objects of knowledge, and the actual nature of objects of knowledge.
The first of the six kinds of searching, searching for meanings, falls within the first type, the meaning of the terms expressed.
Searching for things and searching for specific characteristics fall within the second type, the diversity of objects of knowledge.
Searching for general characteristics and searching for the remaining three of those six fall within the third type, the actual nature of objects of knowledge.
Asanga's 《Sravaka Levels》 says:
This is the observation of the three doors of insight and the six categories within the basis. In brief, these fully encompass all types of insight.
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This means those that are explained there in the Śrāvaka Levels encompass all types of insight.
Furthermore, the doorways to the four insights that we explained first are the three types of insight—that which is arisen from just the signs, etc.
It is said that you enter them through searching with the six ways of searching from the point of view of those three doorways, so it seems that the three doorways and the six ways of searching are included within the previous fourfold division. Asanga's 《Sravaka Levels》 states that the attention of tight focus, etc.— a set of four explained above—are common to both serenity and insight; hence, insight also has these four attentions.
Therefore, Ratnākaraśānti's 《Instructions for the Perfection of Wisdom》 says:
Thus, completing the cultivation of the fourfold insight frees you from the bondage of rebirth in the miserable realms. Completing the cultivation of the ninefold serenity frees you from the bondage of signs.
There are a great many texts that say the same thing; hence, insight is cultivated via the four—differentiation and so forth—as they are indicated in the 《Sūtra Unravelling the Intended Meaning》.
Serenity is cultivated via the nine states of mind which stabilize your attention without any discursive movement from object to object.
第三修觀之法分二﹕一 破他宗， 二 立自宗。
3. How to cultivate insight in meditation
This section has two parts:
3.1 the refutation of other systems
3.2 the presentation of our own system.
3.1 the refutation of other systems. This section has four parts:
3.1.1 The first refutation
Opponent's position: One does not find any view, any understanding of selflessness; rather, one meditates on the meaning of how things exist by holding the mind in a state that lacks any thought.
This is because the way that things exist, emptiness, cannot be identified in terms of what it is or is not. Therefore, setting the mind in that way brings it into accordance with the way that things exist. For, with no object existing at all in the face of emptiness, the mind does not apprehend anything.
Reply: Is it that these meditators for whom no objects exist at all first understand that objects do not exist, and then must set their minds accordingly, in a state of not apprehending anything at all?
Or is it that they do not think that objects do not exist, but instead think that the object's ontological status can never be established, and so consider meditation on its ontological status to occur when you go into a state of suspension in which your mind does not apprehend anything at all?
If it is the first, it contradicts your assertion that they do not find the view, because you assert that the nonexistence of everything is the definitive view.
According to us, such a position fails to restrict the object that reasoning refutes. No matter what might be asserted, you regard it as contradicted by reason, and you then take this to mean that there is nothing whatsoever that can be identified.
Since this constitutes a view that mistakenly denies what in fact does exist, stabilizing your mind on such a view is not meditation on genuine emptiness, as I have explained at length above.
If you analyze these phenomena using reasoning that analyzes the way that they exist, that reasoning will not establish the existence of any of these things and non-things.
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So perhaps, considering the fact that phenomena are ultimately free from all elaborations, you are claiming that a person who is meditating does not know that, but rather stabilizes his or her mind in that way, without identifying anything, and that this way of meditating accords with that lack of elaboration of phenomena. It is most absurd to claim that this is meditation on emptiness.
For, none of the sensory consciousnesses think, "This is this, this is not this." Hence they would also all be meditations on the ontological status of phenomena because they would be in accord with the ontological status of their objects.
As explained before, there are a great many absurd consequences of such a position, such as the consequence that the meditative serenity of non-Buddhists in which there is no thought whatsoever would be meditation on the emptiness of everything.
Furthermore, if you claim that it is enough to have some person other than the meditator recognize the concordance between the ontological status of the object and the way that the meditator's mind is set, then it would be impossible to avoid the consequence that non-Buddhists would meditate on emptiness.
Objection: This is not the case because here the person first recognizes the concordance of the two and then stabilizes the mind.
Reply: Since the recognition of such a concordance is the discovery of the view, this contradicts your assertion that one does not understand the view, but meditates on emptiness by simply stabilizing his or her mind without thinking of anything.
Objection: All conceptual thoughts, no matter what one thinks about, bind one in cyclic existence. Therefore, setting the mind in a nonconceptual state of suspension is the liberating path.
Reply: I refuted this at length earlier. If this is your position, you should not attribute even the slightest fault to the system of Ha-shang.
Kamalaśīla's 《third Stages of Meditation》 says:
Some say that virtuous and nonvirtuous karma are produced by conceptions in your mind, and through this living beings experience results such as high status in cyclic existence and continue to revolve in cyclic existence. Those who think nothing and do nothing will be fully liberated from cyclic existence.
Therefore, they do not think about anything when they meditate and they perform no virtuous deeds, such as deeds of generosity. They suppose that practices such as generosity are only taught for foolish beings. But those who say this entirely abandon the Mahāyāna. The root of all vehicles is the Mahāyāna, so if you abandon it, you abandon all vehicles.
If you say that you should not think about anything, you abandon the wisdom which has the nature of correct analytical discrimination. The root of the sublime wisdom that knows reality is correct analytical discrimination; if you abandon it, you sever the root, and thus abandon the wisdom which passes beyond the world.
By saying that one should not practice generosity and such, you utterly abandon methods such as generosity.
In brief, wisdom and method are the Mahāyāna.
As the 《Foremost of Gayā Sūtra》 says:
The path of bodhisattvas, in brief, is twofold. What are the two? Method and wisdom.
The 《Sūtra of Showing the Tathāgata's Inconceivable Secret》 says:
All the paths of bodhisattvas are included in these two: method and wisdom.
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Because of this, abandoning the Mahāyāna creates a great obstacle on the path. Therefore, they abandon the Mahāyāna, they do minimal study, they consider their own view to be supreme, they do not respect the learned, they do not know the way taught in the Tathāgata's scriptures. After they have ruined themselves, they ruin others.
Their words are contaminated by the poison of contradicting scripture and reason. The learned who seek what is good should leave them at a great distance, like poisoned food.
This refers to the position of Ha-shang. This passage clearly sets forth how it completely abandons the Mahāyāna, and while it may be that this is what Ha-shang asserts, you yourself should recognize this position.
Objection: We are not like that because we practice generosity.
Reply: If it is the case that Ha-shang and you must be distinguished only in terms of practices such as deeds of generosity, then this indicates that you and Ha-shang are alike in meditating on the definitive view.
Otherwise, it would be fitting that you also distinguish yourself from him on the issue of the concentration that does not think about anything at all. Furthermore, if all conceptual thoughts whatsoever bind one in cyclic existence, then do you seek liberation from cyclic existence? If so, then inasmuch as giving gifts and maintaining ethics must involve conceptual thought, what purpose is there in performing them? I have already explained this point at length.
Therefore, if you assert that all thoughts whatsoever serve to bind one in cyclic existence, then you might as well adopt the position of Ha shang; one who takes your position will be saddled with a load of contradictions.
Also, some who follow this line of thought entertain the following view: If one does much analysis of an object that has been conceived to have signs of the two selves and thereby stops the grasping by the subject that apprehends such an object,
this is to eliminate elaborations from the outside, like a dog chasing after a ball. But to hold the mind without distraction from the outset is to eliminate all elaborations from within. By this very act, one prevents the mind from scattering to those objects in which signs would be apprehended, like a dog grabbing the ball right from the hand that is about to throw it.
Hence, those who train in scriptures and reasonings that determine the view are devotees of mere conventional words.
This vile misconception dispenses with the scriptures of the Buddha and with all of the texts of scholars such as the 《Six Ornaments》,
for it is they who strive only to determine the import of scripture and reason.
Furthermore, after you carefully analyze how your mind conceives of signs of the two selves and what the object of ignorance is like, genuine scripture and reasoning must pulverize the deep falsehood of error by bringing about certainty that things do not exist as they are conceived by that ignorant mind.
It may be that when you merely hold your mind without finding any such certainty, it does not scatter to objects such as the two selves, but this does not constitute an understanding of the meaning of the two selflessnesses.
If it did, then it would most absurdly follow that even those who are falling asleep or passing out would understand selflessness because their minds do not scatter to those objects.
For example, if you are frightened, wondering whether there is a demon in a strange cave at night, your fear is not dispelled until you light a lamp and carefully investigate whether it is there. Their position is something like saying, "Hold the mind and do not allow it to move to the thought of a demon."
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Kamalaśīla's 《third Stages of Meditation》 says that what they say is like the cowardice of those who in battle shut their eyes when they see a powerful enemy, instead of behaving as heroic warriors who open their eyes and look well to see where the enemy is.
As the Play of Mañjuéri Sūtra says:
Daughter, how are bodhisattvas victorious in battle?
Mañjuśrī, when they analyze, they do not observe any phenomena. Thus, yogis open the eye of wisdom and defeat the enemy of the afflictions with the weapon of wisdom. They are fearless; they do not shut their eyes like cowards.
Therefore, when you are frightened upon mistaking a rope for a snake, you have to stop the suffering of fear and error by developing certain knowledge that the coiled thing is a rope rather than a snake.
Likewise, you are mistaken in thinking that the two selves exist, and this mistake creates the sufferings of cyclic existence. But decisive scripture and reasoning bring certainty that the object of the conception of the self does not exist, and you understand that the conception of self is a mistake.
Through then growing accustomed to this fact, you overcome that misconception. When you stop that misconception, you overcome all the sufferings of cyclic existence which it created.
Therefore, this is the reason that the collections of Madhyamaka arguments and other such works refute objects by analyzing them.
Aryadeva's 《Four Hundred Stanzas》 says:
When you see that objects have no self,
The seeds of cyclic existence will cease.
Candrakirti's 《Commentary on the "Middle Way"》 says:
There will be conceptions if you accept the existence of real things;
We have already fully analyzed how it is that real things do not exist.
He says that conceptions which are extreme views arise when such misconceptions hold that real things exist. So he gives many ways of analyzing how the objects of those misconceptions do not exist.
Candrakirti's 《Commentary on the "Middle Way"》 also says:
Having understood that the self is the object of this ignorance,
Yogis put an end to the self.
The Lord of Reasoning [Dharmakirti, in his 《Commentary on the "Compendium of Valid Cognition"》] says:
Without negating the object of this conception of self,
It is impossible to eliminate it.
In reaction to good qualities and faults
There is attachment, hostility, and so forth.
You eliminate them by not seeing their objects as real,
Rather than by purifying the external object of attachment.
There are many such statements.
Some say that all conceptual thought of any sort binds you to cyclic existence, and thus all thoughts cease when you meditate on emptiness. This has to be analyzed. For ordinary beings who meditate on emptiness, is emptiness—the meaning of selflessness— manifest or hidden?
If it is the former, then those persons would be noble beings because they perceive the meaning of selflessness.
If you say that it is not contradictory for someone to be an ordinary being and yet to perceive the meaning of selflessness, then we would say that it is not contradictory for a person for whom the meaning of selflessness is hidden to be a noble being, for the two cases are completely similar.
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Also, if such ordinary persons perceived reality, they would not understand that their object was reality. Therefore, someone else would have to identify their object for them by using scriptural evidence to prove that it was reality. To scholars, this is ridiculous
because you are claiming that the teacher uses inference to prove something that the student has established with perception.
You should not talk like this in the presence of those who understand philosophical reasoning.
You cannot argue that even though perception establishes the meaning of reality, reason establishes its conventional name.
For, Dharmakirti, the 《Lord of Reasoning》 says:
That is a point for someone who is extremely ignorant
Because it is taken for granted by women who herd cattle.
He is referring to the case of arguing with someone who is ignorant of something which even herders take for granted, that is, that when a meaning is established, one knows to use the term. So if you claim that this sort of profoundly ignorant person perceives reality, you must tell us what kind of fool does not know reality.
Even if we did allow that reality is something an ordinary person can perceive, perception alone is not tenable as the defining characteristic in terms of which reality is posited—just as a dkar-zal [a Holstein-like cow] is a cow but is not appropriate as the defining characteristic of a cow. Since to argue that this is tenable would contradict even your own assertions,
it is obvious that there is nothing left to say about your claim that perception establishes the meaning of reality, but reason is still needed to establish its conventional name. I will not elaborate.
If the meaning of emptiness—the selflessness which is the object of meditation—is hidden from the meditator, then it is ridiculous to claim that this hidden object is apprehended by a consciousness which is free from conceptual thought.
In brief, if the minds of ordinary beings who are meditating on emptiness are not directed toward selflessness as their object, then it is contradictory to claim that they are meditating on emptiness. If they are directed at that object, then it is certain that the object is either manifest or hidden.
If it were manifest to them, then they would be noble beings. Therefore, it must be held that for ordinary beings the meaning of selflessness is hidden. As this is so, they know the meaning of selflessness by way of a concept, so it is contradictory to claim that this knowledge is free from conceptual thought.
Furthermore, as it is asserted that even someone on the great level of the supreme mundane quality stage of the path of preparation knows the meaning of emptiness by way of a concept, it is most contradictory to claim that a beginner meditates on emptiness with a mind that is free from conceptual thought.
If an ordinary being's consciousness could know the meaning of selflessness without conceptual thought, this would readily prove that this consciousness is non-mistaken. It would therefore be a yogic perception because it would be a non-mistaken, nonconceptual awareness of the meaning of selflessness.
There are those who claim that one meditates on the meaning of selflessness by merely holding the mind in check and not allowing it to scatter to the two selves, yet without discovering the correct view which uses reason to refute the object of the conception of self. And there are those who claim that ordinary beings meditate on selflessness with a consciousness that is free from conceptual thought. For the reasons given, those who make these claims go far astray from the path of scripture and reason.
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3.1.2 The second refutation
Opponent's position: We agree that it is not correct for meditation on emptiness to be the mere setting of the mind in a state that lacks any thought, without finding the view of emptiness which is selflessness. Therefore, the position given above is not correct.
However, once someone finds the view which is the definitive meaning of selflessness, all cases of that person placing the mind in a nonconceptual state are meditations on emptiness.
Reply: This is not correct. Your claim implies that because a person has found the view of the definitive meaning, all of his or her nonconceptual meditations are meditations on the meaning determined by the definitive view. If that is the case, then please tell us why that person's meditation on the spirit of enlightenment would not be a meditation on the view of the definitive meaning.
Opponent: The meditation on the spirit of enlightenment is the meditation of a person who has found the view of the definitive meaning. Yet it is not a meditation during which one is mindful of the view and stabilizes the mind upon it.
Reply: Indeed, I agree that when a person who has found the definitive view meditates, it may be considered meditation on emptiness if it is a meditation in which he or she is mindful of the view and then stabilizes the mind on the view. But how could this entail that all instances of that person placing the mind in a nonconceptual state are meditations sustaining the view?
Therefore, although you have found the view, when sustaining the view you must meditate on emptiness by remembering the meaning which the view previously determined. Simply placing your mind in a state of nonconceptual suspension does not constitute meditation on emptiness.
Our own system's understanding of the meaning of the phrase "without any discursive thought" has already come up several times in the sections on serenity and insight. It means to keep holding the mind on the object of meditation without engaging in a great deal of analysis which thinks, "This is that and this is not that." We do not accept the claim that it means being free from conceptual thought.
3.1.3 The thrid refutation
Opponent's position: We also do not agree with the first position which says that meditation on emptiness means setting the mind in a nonconceptual state, without finding the view. Nor do we agree with the second position which says that after one has found the view, any placement of the mind in a nonconceptual state is a meditation on emptiness.
However, one should meditate with: out any discursive thought in alternating periods, beginning with a period devoted to analysis using discriminating wisdom. Following that, any placement of the mind in a nonconceptual state is o meditation on the meaning of emptiness.
Reply: This also is not correct because, if this were the case, it would most absurdly follow that when someone analyzes the view while falling asleep, that person's subsequent nonconceptual condition during sleep would be a meditation on emptiness.
This is because the two situations are alike in that they are preceded by analysis of the view, and because apparently your position is that meditation on emptiness does not require placement of your mind on the view at that same time.
Therefore, after you have analyzed the view, you stabilize your mind on the conclusion that phenomena do not intrinsically exist. If it then moves slightly, its placement on the view is lost. At that point, keeping your mind in a generalized condition of thoughtlessness does not constitute meditation on emptiness.
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Therefore, you must train in conceptual analysis. You have to monitor whether your attention is remaining on the view, and then sustain the view in meditation.
3.1.4 The fourth refutation
Opponent's position: We do not agree with the previous three. When one meditates on emptiness, one brings about certain knowledge of the view.
Then, holding the mind on that point, one stablizes the mind without analyzing anything else.
This is genuine meditation on emptiness because unlike the first system, it is not the case that the mind is not even turned toward emptiness; unlike the second system, it is not the case that one is not mindful of the view of emptiness while sustaining a nonconceptual state; unlike the third system, it is not the case that one first analyzes the view and then stabilizes the mind in a nonconceptual condition in which the mind does not remain on the view.
Reply: What you call "analysis of the view" is simply remembering the view and then performing only stabilizing meditation on the view. To claim that this is meditation on emptiness is not correct
because, if it were, there would be only serenity which performs stabilizing meditation on emptiness; there would be no analytical meditation, which is the method for sustaining insight. Therefore, this is a one-sided practice that cannot sustain the union of serenity and insight.
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