“Fundamental of the Middle Way” & “Averting the Arguments” (MulamadhyamakaKarikas & Vigrahavyavartani) by Nagarjuna – Part 1

“Fundamental of the Middle Way” & “Averting the Arguments” (MulamadhyamakaKarikas & Vigrahavyavartani) by Nagarjuna – Part 1

[CHAPTER Introductory Verses]
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“I salute him, the fully-enlightened, the best of speakers,
who preached the non-ceasing and the non-arising,
the non-annihilation and the non-permanence,
the non-identity and the non-difference,
the non-appearance and the non-disappearance,
the dependent arising,
the appeasement of obsessions and the auspicious.”
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[CHAPTER 1 – An Analysis of Conditioning Causes (pratyaya) (conditions) – 14 verses – Causality, dependent origination, determinism, control]
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#1.
Never are any existing things found to originate
From themselves, from something else, from both, or from no cause.
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#2.
There are four conditioning causes
A cause (hetu) (1), objects of sensations (2), “immediately preceding condition,” (3) and of course the predominant influence (4) there is no fifth.
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#3.
Certainly there is no self-existence (svabhava) of existing things in conditioning causes, etc;
And if no self-existence exists, neither does “other-existence” (parabhava).
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#4.
The efficient cause (kriya – primary condition, root cause, motive) does not exist possessing a conditioning cause,
Nor does the efficient cause exist without possessing a conditioning cause.
Conditioning causes are not without efficient causes,
Nor are there [conditioning causes] which possess efficient causes.
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#5.
Certainly those things are called “conditioning causes” whereby something originates after having come upon them;
As long as something has not originated, why are they not so long (i.e. during that time) “non-conditioning-causes”?
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#6.
There can be a conditioning cause neither of a non-real thing (1) nor of a real thing (2).
Of what non-real thing is there a conditioning cause? And if it is [already] real, what use is a cause?
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#7.
If an element (dharma) occurs which is neither real nor non-real (4) nor both real- and-non- real (3),
How can there be a cause which is effective in this situation?
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#8.
Just that which is without an object of sensation is accepted as a real element;
Then if there is an element having no object of sensation, how is it possible to have an object of sensation?
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#9.
When no elements have originated, [their] disappearance is not possible.
Therefore it is not proper to speak of an ”immediately preceding condition”; for if something has already ceased, what cause is there for it.
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#10.
Since existing things which have no self-existence are not real,
It is not possible at all that: “This thing ‘becomes’ upon the existence of that other one.”
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#11.
The product does not reside in the conditioning causes, individually or collectively,
So how can that which does not reside in the conditioning cause result from conditioning causes?
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#12.
Then the “non-real” would result from those conditioning-causes.
Why then would a product not proceed also from non-causes?
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#13.
On the one hand, the product [consists in its] conditioning causes;
on the other hand, the causes do not consist of themselves.
How can a product [resulting] from [conditioning causes] not consisting of themselves be consisting of those causes?
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#14.
Therefore, that product does not consist in those causes; [yet] it is agreed that a product does not consist of non-causes.
How [can there be] a conditioning cause or non-cause when a product is not produced?
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[CHAPTER 2 – An Analysis of “Going to” (change or movement) – 25 verses – The illusion of continuity through change or movement]
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#1.
[Nagarjuna:] That which is already gone to (gatam – goer after the going – iii)
is not that which is “being gone to” (gamyate);
more so, “that which is not yet gone to” (agatam – goer before the going – i)
is certainly not that “being gone to.” (gamyate)
Also, the “present going to” (gamyamana – actual goer – ii)
without “that which is already gone to” and “that which is not yet gone to”
is not “being gone to”.
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#2.
[An opponent objects:]
Where there is activity (cesta – visible activity) there is a “process of going” (gatis – real going process), and that activity (visible activity) is in the “present going to” (gamyamane – ii).
Then “process of going” (gatis – real going process) is inherent in the “present going to” (gamyamane – ii) [since] the activity (visible activity) is not in “that which is already gone to” (iii) nor in “that which is not yet gone to.” (i)
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#3.
[Nagarjuna answers:]
How will the “act of going” (gamanam – visible activity & displacement) of “present going to” (gamyamana – ii) be produced,
Since both kinds of the “act of going” (visible activity & displacement) [as applied to an active process and to the activity of going through space] simply are not produced (i.e. originating) in the “present going to” (ii)?
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#4.
Having the “act of going” (gamanam – visible activity & displacement) of “present going to” (gamyamanasya – ii) has necessarily resulted in a lack of “the present going to” (ii) of the “process of going” (gati – real going process),
For the “present going to” (gamyamana – ii) is the “being gone to” (gamyate).
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#5.
[Recognizing] the “act of going” (visible activity & displacement) of “present going to” (ii) results in two [kinds of] “acts of going” (gamanadvaya – visible activity & displacement):
One by which there is “present going to” (gamyamana – ii), the other which is the “act of going” (gamana – visible activity & displacement).
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#6.
Two “goers” (gantarau) would fallaciously follow as a consequence of two “acts of going,” (visible activity & displacement)
Since certainly the “act of going” (visible activity & displacement) is not produced without a “goer”.
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#7.
If there is no going (gamana) (i.e. gamana = “act of going”) without a “goer” (gantara),
How will the “goer” (ganta / self-existing subject) come into being when there is no “going” (gamana) (i.e. gamana = “act of going”)?
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#8.
The “goer” does not go (move);
consequently a “non-goer” certainly does not go (move).
What third [possibility] goes (moves) other than the “goer” and “non-goer”?
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#9.
It is said: “The ‘goer’ goes” (moves) How is that possible,
When without the “act of going” (gamana – visible movement) no “goer” is produced?
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#10.
Those who hold the view that the “goer” “goes” (moves) must [falsely] conclude
That there is a “goer” without the “act of going” (visible activity & displacement) since the “act of going” (visible activity & displacement) is obtained (icchata) by a “goer.”
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#11.
If the “goer” “goes” (moves), then two acts of going (visible activity & displacement) [erroneously] follow;
[One is] that by which the “going on” (ganta) is designated, and [the second is] the real “goer” (ganta / self-existing subject) who “goes”(moves).
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#12.
The “state of going to” (gatum) is not begun in “that which is already gone to” (gatam – iii), nor in “that which is not yet gone to” (agatam – i);
Nor is the “state of going to” begun in “present going to” (gamyamana – ii).
Where then is it begun?
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#13.
“Present going to” (ii) does not exist previous to the beginning of the “act of going,” (visible activity & displacement)
nor does “that which is already gone to” (iii) exist where the “act of going” (visible activity & displacement) should begin.
How can the “act of going” (visible activity & displacement) [begin] in “that which is not yet gone to” (i)?
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#14.
It is mentally fabricated what is “that which is already gone to” (gatam – iii), “present going to” (gamyamana – ii) and “that which is not yet gone to” (agatam – i);
Therefore, the beginning of the “act of going” (visible activity & displacement) is not seen in any way.
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#15.
A “goer” does not remain unmoved (na tistati); then certainly the “non-goer” does not remain unmoved.
What third [possibility] other than “goer” and “non-goer” can thus remain unmoved?
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#16.
It is said that a “goer” continues to be [a “goer”].
But how can that be possible,
Since a “goer”(ganta / self-existing subject) lacking the “act of going” (gamanam – visible activity & displacement) is simply not produced?
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#17.
[The “goer”] does not continue to be [a goer] as a result of “present going to” (ii) or “that which is already gone to” (iii) or “that which is not yet gone to,”(i)
For then the act of going (gamana – visible activity & displacement) [would be] origination while the “process of going” (gati – real going process) would be the same as cessation.
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#19.
And if the “act of going” (visible movement) and the “goer” are identical,
The fallacy logically follows that the “person acting” (kartus) and the action (karma) are identical.
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#20.
Alternatively, if the “goer” is different from the “process of going” (gati – – real going process),
The “act of going” (gamana – visible activity & displacement) would exist without the “goer” and the “goer” would exist without the “act of going.” (visible activity & displacement)
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#21.
Neither the identity nor the essential difference is established (siddhi) regarding the two [conceptions “goer” and “act of going” (visible activity & displacement)].
If these two [alternatives] are not established, in what way is [this problem] to be understood?
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#22.
The “goer” is defined by that which is in the “process of going” (real going process);
he does not go to that [destination] which is determined by the “process of going” (real going process)
because there is no prior “process of going”. (gati – real going process)
Indeed someone goes somewhere.
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#23.
The “goer” does not go to that [destination] other than that “process of going” (real going process)- by which he is defined as “goer”,
Because when one goes [somewhere] (i.e. else) two “processes of going” (real going processes) cannot be produced.
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#24.
A real “goer” does not motivate three kinds of “acts of going”: [real, non-real, and real-and-non-real];
Nor does a non-real [“goer”] motivate three kinds of motion.
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#25.
Also, a real-non-real [“goer”] does not motivate three kinds of motion.
Therefore,
the “process of going” (gati – real going process),
the “goer” (ganta / self-existing subject)
and “a destination to be gone to” (gantavyam)
do not exist (inherently).
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[CHAPTER 3 – An Analysis of “Vision” and Other Sense-Faculties (the sense-fields) – 9 verses – The six senses, direct perception, the six objects / world]
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#1.
Vision, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching and thought
Are the six sense faculties.
The area of their concern is that which is seen [heard, smelled] and so forth.
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#2.
Certainly vision does not in any way see its own self.
Now if it does not see its own self, how can it possibly see something else?
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#3.
An understanding of vision is not attained through the example of fire [which, itself, burns].
On the contrary, that [example of fire] together with vision is refuted by [the analysis of] “present going to,” “that which is already gone to,” and “that which is not yet gone to.” (in Chapter 2)
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#4.
When no vision occurs, nothing whatsoever is being seen.
How, then, is it possible to say: Vision sees?
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#5.
Therefore, vision does not see, and “no-vision” does not see.
Nevertheless, it is explained that also the “seer” is to be known only by his vision.
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#6.
There is no “seer” with vision or without vision;
Therefore, if there is no “seer,” how can there be vision and the object seen?
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#7.
As the birth of a son is said to occur presupposing the mother and the father,
Knowledge is said to occur presupposing the eye being dependent on the visible forms.
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#8.
Since the “object seen” and the vision do not exist (independently, on their own),
there is no four-fold [consequence]: knowledge, etc. [cognitive sensation, affective sensation, and “desire”].
Also, then, how will the acquisition (upadana) [of karma] and its consequences [i.e., existence, birth, aging, and death] be produced?
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#9.
[Likewise] hearing, smelling, tasting, touching and thought are explained as vision.
Indeed one should not apprehend the “hearer,” “what is heard,” etc. [as self-existent entities].
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[CHAPTER 4 – An Analysis of the “Groups of Universal Elements” (skandhas) (the aggregates) – 9 verses – The five aggregates, explained/caused by their basic underlying causes; emptiness of emptiness]
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#1.
Visible form (rupa) is not perceived without the basic cause of visible form (rupakarana);
Likewise the basic cause of visible form does not appear without the visible form.
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#2.
If the visible form existed apart from its basic cause, it would logically follow that visible form is without cause;
But there is nothing anywhere [arising] without cause.
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#3.
On the other hand, if there would be a basic cause apart from visible form,
The basic cause would be without any product; but there is no basic cause without a product.
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#4.
Just as when there is visible form no basic cause of form obtains,
So when there is no visible form no basic cause of form obtains.
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#5.
Furthermore, it does not obtain that no visible form exists without a basic cause,
One should not construe any constructs concerning the form.
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#6.
Just as it does not obtain that the product is the same as the cause,
So it does not obtain that product is not the same as the cause.
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#7.
Also, sensation, thought, mental conception, conditioned elements (samskara) and
All “things” (bhava) are to be dealt with in the same way as visible form.
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#8.
Whoever argues against “emptiness” in order to refute an argument,
For him everything, including the point of contention (sadhya) is known to be unrefuted.
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#9.
Whoever argues by means of “emptiness” in order to explain an understanding,
For him, everything including the point to be proved (sadhya) is known to be misunderstood.
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[CHAPTER 5 – An Analysis of the “Irreductible Elements” (dhatus) (the elements) – 8 verses – The irreducible elements defined by their basic characteristics]
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#1.
Space does not exist at all before the defining characteristic of space (akasalaksana).
If it would exist before the defining characteristic, then one must falsely conclude that there would be something without a defining characteristic.
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#2.
In no case has anything existed without a defining characteristic.
If an entity without a defining characteristic does not exist, to what does the defining characteristic apply?
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#3.
There is no functioning of a defining characteristic in a case where there is [already] a defining characteristic or where there is not a defining characteristic.
And it can function in nothing except where there is a defining characteristic or where there is not a defining characteristic.
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#4.
When there is no related function (sampravrtti) (i.e. defining process), it is not possible to have “that to which a defining characteristic applies.”
And if “that to which a defining characteristic applies” is not possible, then a defining characteristic cannot come into existence.
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#5.
Therefore, “that to which a defining characteristic applies” does not exist (i.e independently); and certainly a defining characteristic itself does not exist (i.e independently).
Now, something does not exist without “that to which a defining characteristic applies” and the defining characteristic.
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#6.
If the existing thing (1) (bhava) does not exist, how then would the non-existing thing (2) (abhava) come into existence?
And who holds: the existing-and-non-existing (3) thing which does not have the properties of an existing-and-non-existing thing (4)?
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#7.
Therefore space is
neither an existing thing
nor a non-existing thing,
neither something to which a defining characteristic applies (i.e. separate from a defining characteristic)
nor a defining characteristic. (i.e. the same as a defining characteristic)
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Also, the other five irreducible elements can be considered in the same way as space.
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#8.
But those unenlightened people who either affirm reality or non-reality
Do not perceive the blessed cessation-of-appearance of existing things.
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[CHAPTER 6 – An Analysis of Desire (raga) and One Who Desires (rakta) –in the Context of Their Separateness and Concomitance] (affection and the person affected) – 10 verses – Concomitance, a person and his acquired strong habits, the concomitant factors of consciousness]
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#1.
If the “one who desires” would exist before desire itself, then desire may be regarded.
When desire becomes related to “one who desires,” then desire comes into existence.
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#2.
If there is no one who desires, how then will desire come into being?
[And the question] whether desire exists or does not exist likewise holds true for the one who desires.
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#3.
Further, it is not possible for both desire and the one who desires to be produced concomitantly.
Indeed, desire and the one who desires come into being independent of each other.
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#4.
Concomitance does not exist in that which is only one thing, [for] certainly something which is only one thing cannot be concomitant.
But yet, how will concomitance come into being if there are separate (prthak) things?
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#5.
If concomitance applied to that which is only one thing, then that one “with concomitance” would be that one “without [concomitance].”
If concomitance applied to separate things, then that one “with concomitance” would be that one “without [concomitance].”
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# 6.
And if concomitance applied to separate things, what is the proof for the separation of both desire and the one who desires,
[Since] that which is non-separate is concomitant.
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#7.
Or, if the separateness of desire and the one who desires really were proved,
Why do you imagine the concomitance of them both?
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#8.
You postulate concomitance by saying: neither is proved separate from [the other].
[And] you postulate separateness even more to prove concomitance.
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#9.
Because separateness is not proved, concomitance is not proved.
What kind of separateness must exist for you to establish concomitance?
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#10.
Thus there is no proof that the desire is concomitant with or not concomitant with one who desires.
From [this analysis of] desire [it can be shown that for] every fundamental element (dharma) there is no proof of concomitance or non-concomitance.
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[CHAPTER 7 – An Analysis of Composite Products (samskrta) (origination, duration, and decay) – 34 – verses – The three stages of becoming: origination, duration / transformation, cessation; impermanence of all products and moments of consciousness]
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#1.
If origination (utpada) is a composite product, then the three characteristics [of existence: “origination,” “duration,” and “dissolution”] are appropriate.
But if origination is a non-composite (asamstrta), then how [could there be] characteristics of a composite product?
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#2.
When the three are separate, origination of either of the other two characteristics does not suffice to function as a characteristic.
If united in a composite product, how could they all be at one place at one time?
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#3.
If origination, duration, and dissolution are other [secondary] characteristics of composite products,
It is an infinite regress. If this is not so, they are not composite products.
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#4.
The “originating origination” (utpadotpada) (i.e. the beginning of the origination) is only the origination of the basic origination (mulotpada) (i.e. the beginning of the product);
Also the origination of the basic [origination] (i.e. the beginning of the beginning of the product) produces the “originating origination.” (i.e. the beginning of the origination)
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#5.
But if, according to you, the originating origination (i.e. self-originating origination) produces basic origination, (i.e. also causes the beginning of the product)
How, according to you, will this [originating origination] (i.e. self-originating origination) produce that [basic origination] (i.e. the beginning of the product) if [it itself] is not produced by basic origination (i.e. the beginning of the product)?
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#6.
If, according to you, that which has originated through basic [origination] (i.e. referring to the dependent originating origination) produces basic [origination], (i.e. like affirming that the effect exist before the cause)
How does the basic [origination], which is yet unproduced by that [originating origination] (i.e. self-originating origination), cause that [originating origination] (i.e. self-originating origination) to be originated?
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#7.
According to you, this, while originating, would certainly cause that to originate—
If this, not being produced, would be able to cause origination.
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#8.
[The opponent claim:]
As a light is the illuminator of both itself and that which is other than itself,
So origination would originate both itself and that which is other than itself.
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#9.
[Nagarjuna answers:]
There is no darkness in the light and there where the light is placed.
What could the light illumine? Indeed illumination is the getting rid of darkness.
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#10.
How is darkness destroyed by the light being originated,
When the light, being originated, does not come in contact with darkness?
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#11.
But then, if darkness is destroyed by a light having no contact with [darkness],
[A light] placed here will destroy the darkness of the entire world.
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#12.
If the light illuminated both itself and that which is other than itself,
Then, without a doubt, darkness will cover both itself and that which is other than itself.
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#13.
If it has not yet originated, how does origination produce itself?
And if it has already originated, when it is being produced, what is produced after that which is already produced?
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#14.
In no way does anything originate
by what is being originated (ii),
by what is already originated (iii),
or by what is not yet originated (i)—
Just as it has been said in [the analysis of] “presently going to (ii),” “that which is already gone to (i)” and “that which is not yet gone to (iii).”
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#15.
When, in that-which-is-originated (iii), there is nothing which activates that which is being originated (ii),
How can one say: That which is being originated (ii) [exists] presupposing that which is produced?
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#16.
Whatever comes into existence presupposing something else is without self-existence (stabhava).
[As there is] an allayment of “being originated,” so [also] of that which is originated (iii).
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#17.
If some particular thing which is not yet originated (i) is indeed known to exist,
That thing will be originated. What originates if it does not exist?
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#18.
And if the origination originates that which is being originated (ii),
What origination, in turn, would originate that origination? (i.e. infinite regress)
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#19.
If another origination originates that [origination], there will be an infinite regress of originations.
But if non-origination is that which is origination, then everything [without qualification] would originate.
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#20.
It is not possible that what has originated either exists or does not exist,
Nor that what has not originated either exists or does not exist; this has been demonstrated earlier.
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#21.
The origination of something being destroyed is not possible;
And whatever is not being destroyed, that entity is not possible.
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#22.
Neither an “entity that has endured (iii)” (sthitabhava) nor an “entity that has not endured (i)” endures;
Not even something enduring (ii) endures.
And what endures if it is not originated?
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#23.
Duration is not possible of a thing that is being destroyed.
But whatever is not being destroyed, that thing (bhava) is [also] not possible.
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#24.
Because every entity always [remains in] the law of old age and death,
What entities are there which endure without old age and death?
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#25.
The enduring quality of a different duration is as impossible as of that same duration,
So the origination of origination is neither itself nor that which is other than itself.
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#26.
“That which has ceased (iii)” (niruddha) does not cease; and “that which has not ceased (i)” does not cease;
Nor even “that which is ceasing (ii).”
For, what can cease [if it is] produced? (i.e. or if it is not really produced?)
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#27.
Therefore cessation of an enduring entity is not possible.
Moreover, cessation of a non-enduring entity is not possible.
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#28.
Indeed, a state [of existence] does not cease because of this state;
And a different state [of existence] does not cease because of a different state.
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#29.
So, if the production of all dharmas is not possible,
Then neither is the cessation of all (i.e. any?) dharmas possible.
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#30.
Therefore cessation of a real existing entity is not possible;
And certainly both an existing entity and a non-existing entity cannot be possible in the same case.
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#31.
Even more, cessation of a non-real existing entity is not possible.
Just as there is no second decapitation!
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#32.
There is no cessation by means of itself; nor cessation by something other than itself;
Just as there is no origination of origination by itself nor by another.
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#33.
Because the existence of production, duration, and cessation is not proved, there is no composite product (samskrta);
And if a composite product is not proved, how can a non-composite product (asamskrta) be proved?
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#34.
As a magic trick, a dream or a fairy castle.
Just so should we consider origination, duration, and cessation.
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[CHAPTER 8 – An Analysis of the Product (Karma) and the Producer (Karaka) (action and agent) – 13 verses – Tetralemma, cycle of samsara, and Liberation]
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#1.
A real producer does not produce a real product.
Even more so, a non-real producer does not seek a non-real product.
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#2.
There is no producing action of a real thing; [if so,] there would be a product without someone producing.
Also, there is no producing by a real thing; [if so,] there would be someone producing without something produced.
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#3.
If a non-existent producer would produce a non-real product,
The product would be without a causal source and the producer would be without a causal source.
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#4.
If there is no causal source, there is nothing to be produced nor cause-in-general (karana).
Then neither do the producing action, the person producing, nor the instrument of production (karana) exist.
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#5.
If the producing action, etc. do not exist, then neither can the true reality (dharma) nor false reality (adharma) exist.
If neither the true reality nor the false reality exists, then also the product (phala) born from that does not exist.
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#6.
If there is no real product, then there also exists no path to heaven nor to ultimate release.
Thus it logically follows that all producing actions are without purpose.
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#7.
And a real-nonreal producer does not produce in a real-nonreal manner.
For, indeed, how can “real” and “non-real,” which are mutually contradictory, occur in one place?
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#8.
A real producer (kartra) does not produce what is non-real, and a non-real producer does not produce what is real.
[From that] indeed, all the mistakes must logically follow.
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#9.
The producer, who is neither real nor non-real, does not produce a product which is either real or non-real,
Because of the reasons which have been advanced earlier.
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#10.
The non-real producer does not produce a product which is not real, nor both real-and-non-real,
Because of the reasons which have been advanced earlier.
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#11.
And a real-non-real producer does not produce a product which is neither real nor non-real.
This is evident from the reasons which have been advanced earlier.
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#12.
The producer proceeds being dependent on the product, and the product proceeds being dependent on the producer.
The cause for realization (i.e. Nirvana) is seen in nothing else.
.
#13.
In the same way one should understand the “acquiring” (i.e. of karma – upadana) on the basis of the “giving up,” etc. of the producer and the product.
By means of [this analysis of] the product and the producer all other things should be dissolved.
.
*******************************************************

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