THE TREATISE IN TWENTY VERSES ON CONSCIOUSNESS ONLY
By Vasubandhu 世親
唯識二十論The Weishi ershi lun; Viṃśatikā vijñapti-mātratā-siddhiḥ, Vimsatikā-vṛtti (Twenty Verses on Consciousness-only).
Translated into Chinese by the Dharma Teacher of the Tripitaka,
Hsüan -tsang of the Great T’ang Dynasty, in 661
Translated from the Chinese (Taisho Volume 31, Number 1590 or T 1590.31.74-77.)
by Francis H. Cook
If consciousness is without real objects of perception,
The restriction (niyama) of place and time,
The nonrestriction of mental continuity (samtána),
And function would not be established. (1)
Time and place are restricted as in dreams.
The body is not restricted, just as [hungry] ghosts (preta)
All alike see pus rivers, etc.,
And just as in dreams loss [of semen] has a function. (2)
All [four concepts | are like | beings in | hell
Who alike see infernal guardians, etc.,
And are made to be injured.
Therefore the four concepts are all demonstrated. (3)
What is true of animals in the celestial realm
Is not true for those [beings in the] hells,
Because the animals and ghosts you assert
Do not experience that suffering. (4)
If you admit that as a result of the power of action
Unusual great elements are born
And they produce such changes,
Why not admit [that they occur] in consciousness? (5)
Perfuming (vásaná) of action is in one place,
And you assert that the result exists elsewhere.
That the result exists in the perfumed consciousness
You do not admit; why is that? (6)
For those beings to be instructed (vineya),
The World- Honored One, with a hidden motive,
Spoke of the existence of the sense bases (ayatana) of form, etc.
In the same way [he spoke of] beings born spontaneously (upapaduka). (7)
Consciousness is born from its own seeds
And transforms to resemble characteristics of objects of perception.
In order to establish internal and external sense bases,
The Buddha spoke of them as being ten. (8)
On the basis of this teaching one can enter
The [teaching of the] absence of self (anatman) of the person (pudgala).
Later, through other teachings, one enters
The [teaching of the] absence of self of the dharmas
that are asserted. (9)
That object of perception is not one thing,
Nor is it many atoms.
Also, it is not a compound, etc.,
Because atoms are not demonstrated [as real]. (10)
If an atom is united with six [other atoms],
The one must consist of six parts.
If’ it is in the same place with the six,
Then the combination must be like [a single] atom. (11)
Since atoms do not unite,
To what does the union of [larger] combinations belong?
Or else, the uniting [of atoms] is not demonstrated;
It is not because they are devoid of parts. (12)
If an atom has parts,
It logically would not form a unity.
Without [parts], there would be no shadow or concealment,
And a combination not being different [from
atoms,] it is devoid of the two. (13)
In the case of unity, there would be no piecemeal going;
One could arrive and not yet arrive at all times.
[Nor) would there be intervals between many I things I,
[Or] tiny things that are difficult to see. (14)
Direct awareness is as in dreams, etc.
At the time direct awareness has occurred,
The seeing and the object of perception are already nonexistent.
How can you admit the existence of direct perception? (15)
As we have said, there is consciousness that resembles
an external object of perception,
And from this is born a memory. (16a,b)
When not awake, one cannot know
That what is seen in a dream does not exist. (16c,d)
By means of the interchange of dominant power,
Two [individual] consciousnesses achieve restriction (niyama). (17a,b)
The mind is weakened by sleep,
So the results [of acts] in sleep and wakefulness are not the same. (17c,d)
As a result of the transformation of another’s consciousness,
There are acts of injury and killing,
Just as the mental power of anger of sage- immortals (aranyaka),
Causes others to lose their memory, etc. (18)
The emptiness of the Dandaka [Forest], etc.
How could it result from the anger of sage immortals?
Mental harm is a great offense;
How, again, can this be demonstrated? (19)
How does knowledge of others’ minds
Not know the object of perception according to reality?
In the same way that knowledge in knowing one’s own mind
Does not know it in accordance with the object of perception of a Buddha. (20)
According to my ability, I
Have briefly demonstrated the principles of consciousness only.
Of these, the entirety (sarvathá)
Is difficult to consider and is reached [only] by Buddhas. (21)