Under the rose-apple tree

Under the rose-apple tree

Thursday, 12 April 2018

MMK Chapter One: Exploration of Causes

pratyaya-parīkṣā nāma prathamaṁ prakaraṇam |
Chapter One: Exploration of Causes

na svato nāpi parato na dvābhyāṁ nāpy ahetutaḥ |
utpannā jātu vidyante bhāvāḥ kva-cana ke-cana ||1.1||
Neither from self nor from another, nor from both, nor also from no cause, have any things at all ever arisen, anywhere.

na hi svabhāvo bhāvānāṁ pratyayādiṣu vidyate |
avidyamāne svabhāve parabhāvo na vidyate ||1.2||
For, among causes et cetera, the self-existence of things is not found. Where intrinsic existence of a thing unto itself is not found, extrinsic existence of a thing unto others is not found.

catvāraḥ pratyayā hetur ārambaṇam anantaram |
tathaivādhipateyaṁ ca pratyayo nāsti pañcamaḥ ||1.3||
The four cornerstones of causation are: the primary cause, the objective support, the gapless and this -- it being exactly so -- predominance.There is no fifth cornerstone.

kriyā na pratyayavatī nāpratyayavatī kriyā |
pratyayā nākriyāvantaḥ kriyāvantaś ca santy uta ||1.4||
Action does not have a cause. Nor is action without causes. Nor are the causes dispossessed of action. Possessed of action, indeed, they very much are.

utpadyate pratītyemān itīme pratyayāḥ kila |
yāvan notpadyata ime tāvan nāpratyayāḥ katham ||1.5||
It is said that these are causes, because depending on them [action] arises. Insofar as [action] does not arise, how can they not be non-causes?

naivāsato naiva sataḥ pratyayo 'rthasya yujyate |
asataḥ pratyayaḥ kasya sataś ca pratyayena kim ||1.6||
A cause is not workable for an object, either a real and present one or a non-existent one. Of what non-existent [object] is there a cause? And to a real and present [object], what use would a cause be?

na san nāsan na sad-asan dharmo nirvartate yadā |
kathaṁ nirvartako hetur evaṁ sati hi yujyate ||1.7||
When, beyond the existent, beyond the non-existent, beyond existence and non-existence, the Dharma is unfolding, how is it workable that a primary cause is causing it – when it is just like this – to unfold?

anārambaṇa evāyaṁ san dharma upadiśyate |
athānārambaṇe dharme kuta ārambaṇaṁ punaḥ ||1.8||
This real and present Dharma, here and now, one is taught, is utterly beyond objective support. What purpose then, when the Dharma is beyond objective support, does objective support serve?

anutpanneṣu dharmeṣu nirodho nopapadyate |
nānantaram ato yuktaṁ niruddhe pratyayaś ca kaḥ ||1.9||
Where dharmas are unborn, destruction is not possible, and so the gapless is not workable. And what, when destroyed, is a cause?

bhāvānāṁ niḥsvabhāvānāṁ na sattā vidyate yataḥ |
satīdam asmin bhavatīty etan naivopapadyate ||1.10||
If not for the real and present reality of freedom of things from self-existence, it would never be possible [to say]: “That being so, this is.”

na ca vyasta-samasteṣu pratyayeṣv asti tat phalam |
pratyayebhyaḥ kathaṁ tac ca bhaven na pratyayeṣu yat  ||1.11||
Again, when the effect does not exist in separate causes or in combinations of causes, how can that which is not in causes come to exist from causes?

athāsad api tat tebhyaḥ pratyayebhyaḥ pravartate |
phalam apratyayebhyo 'pi kasmān nābhipravartate ||1.12||
Or if, even without existing, it emerges from those causes, why does that effect not manifest itself even from non-causes?

phalaṁ ca pratyaya-mayaṁ pratyayāś cāsvayaṁ-mayāḥ |
phalam a-sva-mayebhyo yat tat pratyaya-mayaṁ katham  ||1.13|| 
[Or if] the effect is made from causes, while the causes are not self-made, how, from the [causes that are] not self-made, can there be that effect which is made from causes?

tasmān na pratyaya-mayaṁ nāpratyaya-mayaṁ phalam |
saṁvidyate phalābhāvāt pratyayāpratyayāḥ kutaḥ  ||1.14||
On these grounds, an effect made from causes or from non-causes is not found. In the absence of an effect, how are there causes and non-causes?

Monday, 9 April 2018

Dedicatory Verses

a-nirodham an-utpādam an-ucchedam a-śāśvatam  |
an-ekārtham a-nānārtham an-āgamam a-nirgamam ||
Beyond death, beyond birth; beyond annihilation, beyond eternity; 
beyond identity, beyond difference; beyond coming, beyond going away,

yaḥ pratītya-samutpādaṁ prapañcopaśamaṁ śivam |
deśayām āsa saṁbuddhas taṁ vande vadatāṁ varam ||

He the fully awakened Buddha taught dependent arising, the cessation of spin, happiness. 
I praise him, the best of speakers. 

Chapter Titles

pratyaya-parīkṣā nāma prathamaṁ prakaraṇam |
Chapter 1: Exploration of Causes (Pratyaya)

gatāgata-gamyamāna-parīkṣā nāma dvitīyaṁ prakaraṇam |
Chapter 2: Exploration of the Visited, the Not Yet Visited, and the Now Being Visited

āyatana-parīkṣā nāma tṛtīyaṁ prakaraṇam 
Chapter 3: Exploration of the Sense Spheres (Āyatana)

skandha-parīkṣā nāma caturthaṁ prakaraṇam |
Chapter 4: Exploration of the Constituents (Skandha  

dhātu-parīkṣā nāma pañcamaṁ prakaraṇam |
Chapter 5: Exploration of the Elements (Dhātu)

rāga-rakta-parīkṣā nāma ṣaṣṭhaṁ prakaraṇam 
Chapter 6: Exploration of Redness & the Reddened One 

utpāda-sthiti-bhaṅga-parīkṣā nāma saptamaṁ prakaraṇam|
Chapter 7: Exploration of Arising, Stillness, Cessation

karma-kāraka-parīkṣā nāma aṣṭamaṁ prakaraṇam |
Chapter 8: Exploration of Action and Actor

Upādātrupādāna-parīkṣā nāma navamaṁ prakaraṇam |
Chapter 9: Exploration of One that Clings and Clinging  

agnīndhana-parīkṣā nāma daśamaṁ prakaraṇam |
Chapter 10: Exploration of Fire and Fuel  

saṁsāra-parīkṣā nāma ekādaśamaṁ prakaraṇam |
Chapter 11: Exploration of Saṁsāra

duḥkha-parīkṣā nāma dvādaśamaṁ prakaraṇam|
Chapter 12: Exploration of Suffering 

tattva-parīkṣā nāma trayodaśamaṁ prakaraṇam |
Chapter 13: Exploration of Reality

saṁsarga-parīkṣā nāma caturdaśamaṁ prakaraṇam |
Chapter 14: Exploration of Interconnectedness 

bhāvābhāva parīkṣā nāma pañcadaśamaṁ prakaraṇam |
Chapter 15: Exploration of Thing and Absence

bandha-mokṣa-parīkṣā nāma ṣoḍaśamaṁ prakaraṇam |
Chapter 16: Exploration of Bondage and Release

karma-phala-parīkṣā nāma saptadaśamaṁ prakaraṇam |
Chapter 17: Exploration of the Fruit of Action

ātma-dharma-parīkṣā nāma aṣṭādaśamaṁ prakaraṇam |
Chapter 18: Exploration of Self and Reality

kāla-parīkṣā nāma ekonaviṁśatitamaṁ prakaraṇam |
Chapter 19: Exploration of Time 

hetu-phala-parīkṣā nāma viṁśatitamaṁ prakaraṇam |
Chapter 20: Exploration of Cause and Effect 

saṁbhava-vibhava-parīkṣā nāma eka-viṁśatitamaṁ prakaraṇam |
Chapter 21: Exploration of Appearance & Disappearance 

tathāgata-parīkṣā nāma dvā-viṁśatitamaṁ prakaraṇam |
Chapter 22: Exploration of One Thus Come

viparyāsa-parīkṣā nāma trayo-viṁśatitamaṁ prakaraṇam |
Chapter 23: Exploration of Mistakes

ārya-satya-parīkṣā nāma catur-viṁśatitamaṁ prakaraṇam |
Chapter 24: Exploration of the Noble Truths

nirvāṇa-parīkṣā nāma pañca-viṁśatitamaṁ prakaraṇam |
Chapter 25: Exploration of Nirvāṇa   

dvādaśāṅga-parīkṣā nāma ṣaḍ-viṁśatitamaṁ prakaraṇam |
Chapter 26: Exploration of the Twelve Links 

dṛṣṭi-parīkṣā nāma sapta-viṁśatitamaṁ prakaraṇam |
Chapter 27: Exploration of Views



The Middle, In Root Verses


Verse from the Rootsy Interior

Verse for Opening the Sutras

Verse for Opening the Sutras

The supreme, profound, subtle and fine Dharma,

In hundred thousand myriad kalpas is hard to meet.

Now that I see and hear it and am able to receive and retain it,

I desire to understand the real meaning of the Tathagata's teaching.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

All Things Come to Those Who Wait...

On 24th March 2017 Christian Bennet published on Facebook the post copied below, with a link to bodhisvara.com.

I had been waiting for that announcement, somehow knowing that the next step forward for the MMK translation would follow from it 
Since then I have been parroting on a daily basis Kashinath Nyaupane's recitation of Nāgārjuna's Sanskrit -- but with emendations to the text as proposed by Anne Macdonald -- beginning with chapter 24, Investigation of the Noble Truths.
Having by now committed the forty verses of that chapter to memory (at least to short and medium term memory) and given them a chance of translating themselves into English, I will shortly post a work-in-progrress version of the text and translation of that chapter on this blog.

If I was tempted to ask myself, looking at the visitor numbers to this blog, "what is the bleeding point?," that question answered itself for me between 3 and 5 o'clock this Sunday morning, when I reviewed every post and realized that I, for one, am glad to be able to read the blog, even if nobody else appreciates it. 
The past year, as I look back on it, aided by the timeline of this blog, has been punctuated by three DIY disasters. 
In the second week of May 2016, I stupidly lopped down with an electric chain saw a tree that took down part of a power line, with the result that a massive surge of electricity blew up much of the electrical equipment at my bolt-hole in France, including my PC. I suppose I was lucky that the electricity didn't also surge through the chainsaw i was holding. The consequent lack of computer / internet connection then prompted me to return earlier than pllanned to England (where on 16 May I published the Ratnavali translation which, fortunately, had been saved to Dropbox). 
After I got back to England, my wife and I decided to move house to Norwich, where our younger son had won a place to study medicine... as a post-graduate, with what I feared might be dire financial consequences, for him and for us. 
While my wife attended to re-decorating the inside of the new house, I set to work building an out-building, which I initially conceived as a shed for storage, but which gradually evolved into an Alexander studio with v. small zendo. I never seem to work to any kind of a master plan. Rather, I tend to start, sit and look at what I have just done, and take it from there. The process of building the studio was one mistake after another, but the result is surprisingly good. 
On December 15th, however, after a long day in the garden, I foolishly got involved with shopping for an electrical wall light for the living room, and trying to wire the bloody thing up. The fitting was very badly designed. I was tired. The job was fiddly. I was no longer in my element, outside, alone in the garden, lugging things about. Suddenly unduly excited fear reflexes and emotions kicked in and, as if throwing toys out of a pram, I hurled the old light fitting down onto the floor, and generally behaved like a big baby....
No major damage was done to the new light fitting, for which Wickes gave me a refund. But emotionally it felt like another DIY disaster. 
The most recent DIY disaster took place yesterday, in process of tiling a small shower room. Confined in the small space, I got into a muck sweat and, knocking over one thing after another,  generally made a mess of the job. Again, no lasting damage was done on the outside -- it will just be a question of re-doing a few tiles. But on the inside it felt like another disaster, especially since in my blind end-gaining I exacerbated the pain in my right knee that has been bothering me recently. I felt a twinge there while laying paving slabs in the garden a couple of months ago, and sitting in full lotus probably prevented the knee from healing. 
So the pain in the knee might have been one thing that contributed to my insomnia, but the more likely cause was the emotional disturbance of the DIY faiil, compounded by an unduly large intake of sugar in its aftermath. 
I could do with a spell of solitude by the forest.

Having done the groundwork for a big crop of winter radishes, I wasn't able to get to France this winter to harvest them. By the time I do get back to France, hopefully in June, the grass will be waist-high and brambles and stinging nettles will be running riot. 
I like the relative lack of noise pollution in this part of Norwich (not so many light aircraft buzzing around). Air pollution is more of an issue -- due to too many people, like us, driving diesel cars. But I will happily choose Norwich's air pollution over the home counties' noise pollution any day, even if it kills me. 
Anyway, I am looking forward to a spell by the forest in France. Maybe my knee will heal there, as has happened before. Healing of the heart, of course, is another question.  And I suppose that that -- a heart and mind free from emotional pollutants -- is the ultimate criterion for whether the teaching of emptiness has truly been understood or not....

Dear friends,
We are very happy to announce the publication of our latest Bodhisvara project for the preservation of the tradition of reciting Classical Sanskrit Buddhist Literature.Please visit our Bodhisvara Website to listen to and read Nāgārjuna's Mūlamadhyamakakārikā in Sanskrit.
http://www.bodhisvara.com/The Mūlamadhyamakakārikā (‘Root Verses on the Middle Way’) is the magnum opus of the Indian master Nāgārjuna (c. 150 – 250 CE). Generally regarded as one of the most influential works in the history of Mahayana Buddhism, this text delves into a thorough investigation of ultimate reality that revolutionized Indian Buddhist thought.
As with our previous project, the entire text is recited by Prof. Kashinath Nyaupane from Nepal Sanskrit University.
We thank the International Buddhist Academy, and the Khenchen Appey Foundation along with its IT team for the support in realizing this project.
Please kindly share these news with your friends and colleagues.
With our best wishes,
Christian Bernert

Sunday, 16 April 2017

MMK24.14, Owning Everything, Making Everything Work

sarvaṃ ca yujyate tasya śūnyatā yasya yujyate |
sarvaṃ na yujyate tasya śūnyaṃ yasya na yujyate ||MMK24.14||

Everything belongs to whom emptiness belongs. 
Nothing belongs to whom emptiness does not belong. 

Everything works for whom emptiness works. 
Nothing works for whom emptiness does not work. 

Which translation is closer to hitting the target depends on how one understands in this context the passive verb yujyate:
[MW:]  to be yoked or harnessed or joined &c; belong to or suit any one (loc. or gen.). 

Either way, the most powerful teaching in the world, and a brilliant verse.