The Middle Length Transcendent Insight by Je Tsong Khapa

The Middle Length Transcendent Insight
by Je Tsong Khapa
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from his Middle Stages of the Path of Enlightenment

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L1: [CONTENTS]
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L1: [CONTENTS]
L1: [We need both Shamatha and Insight Meditations together]
L2: [Benefits of Meditating on Quiescence and Insight]
L2: [How the two Contain all Samadhis]
L2: [The Identification of Mental Quiescence]
L2: [The Identification of Transcendent Insight]
L2: [Reason for the Necessity to Meditate on both]
L2: [Determination of their Proper Order]
L2: [ (skipping from Tashi Lhunpo, pha, 137b2 to 164b5) ]
L1: [Conditions Necessary For Transcendent Insight]
L2: [General Set-Up of Conditions (APS) ]
L1: [The Method of Determining the View:]
L2: [Identification of Afflictional Misknowledge [the unique object of negation]]
L3: [Misknowledge is the two reifications of selves, of person and phenomena]
L3: [The root: the same “innate” belief in inherent existence, of self or phenomena]
L3: [This conditioning / self-habit is present even in beings that do not have any conceptual capacity]
L3: [All afflictions and suffering come from this unique innate misknowledge]
L1: [Reason for the Need to Seek the View that Understands Selflessness: Wishing to Abandon such.]
L2: [Misknowledge]
L3: [All conditioning and suffering come from this self-conditioning; so it is important to see through it.]
L3: [The real nature of our own self / mind should be realized first]
L2: [Method to Generate the View Realizing Selflessness]
L3: [Sequence of Generating the Two Views of Selflessness]
L4: [The real nature of our own self / mind should be realized first, because it is easier]]
L3: [The Actual Generation of the Two Views in Order]
L4: [Determination of Personal Selflessness]
L5: [Identification of the Person [the object of refutation]]
L5: [Determination of Non-reality of that (Personal Self) ]
L6: [Determination of Non-reality of ‘I’ [Reasoning showing that the self is not different, nor the same as the aggregates, and that there is no other possibility]]
L7: [NOT THE SAME as the simultaneous conglomerate of aggregates]
L7: [Not the same as the sequential conglomerate.]
L7: [NOT DIFFERENT than the aggregates]
L6: [Determination of the Non-reality of “Mine” [of possessions]]
L5: [How the Person Arises as Illusion [the Middle Way: not existent, but still not completely non-existent either]]
L6: [Meaning of the Statement of Illusoriness — Unerring Meaning of Arising as Illusion [“like illusion, but not illusion” means dependent on the mind, but not from the mind only; empty but still dependently arisen and functional]]
L7: [Everything is not existing, but still not completely non-existing either.]
L7: [Emptiness itself is not existing, not non-existing; empty but still functional.]
L7: [But understanding illusion like that is not enough. One has to understand the real nature of his own mind; how it creates the illusion of inherently existing things; how conditioning / karma is accumulated]
L6: [False Mode or Arising as Illusory]
L7: [The danger of falling into nihilism]
L7: [After going beyond realism, one has to go beyond the extreme of idealism / nihilism; the Middle Way: not accepting, not rejecting.]
L7: [The inseparability of appearances and emptiness, of dependent origination and emptiness.]
L7: [Emptiness doesn’t deny dependent origination, karma, the path …]
L6: [The Method Employed for the Arisal of Illusoriness]
L7: [Using the arisal of appearances as the path]
L7: [Resume of the method]
L4: [Determination of the Phenomenal Selflessness]
L5: [Negating the Self Using the above Reasonings [same vs different]]
L5: [Refuting the Phenomenal Self with Other New Reasons]
L6: [Showing the Reason of Relativity [the King of Reasonings, that permits to stay away from all extreme views]
L7: [The King of reasonings implies all the other reasonings]
L7: [What staying away from extremes means.]
L5: [How the above Reasonings Prove the Truthlessness of the Uncreated [like space, the two cessations, Suchness]]
L7: [They are still dependent on their causes and conditions, mind knowing them … or at least to their characteristics]
L7: [Their inherent existence can be refuted by the usual reasonings]
L7: [The danger of reifying emptiness]
L7: [Thinking emptiness is an essential characteristic of something real]
L7: [Emptiness of the Ultimate Realm; no absolute, only adapted skillful means]
L1: [Presentation of the Two Realities]
L2: [ Another illusory duality.]
L2: [The Number into Which They are Differentiated [Everything work in pair, in apparent duality.]
L2: [The Purpose of Such Differentiation [Each one is the antidote to one extreme, but they are really inseparable, so they are pointing toward transcending the duality]]
L2: [Explaining the Meaning of Each Type]
L3: [The Superficial Reality]
L4: [Verbal Meaning of “Superficial” and “Reality” [it is not about vs absolute truth, but about being “deceptive” according to some logic process, based on misknowledge]]
L4: [The Nature of Superficial Reality [the two types of cognition]
L4: [Categories of the Superficial [Everything is either conventional truths or not accepted conventionally; not absolute basis for any absolute truth – the Buddha is jut not fooled by appearances]]
L3: [Ultimate Reality]
L4: [The Meaning of “Ultimate” and “Reality” [it is not about vs absolute truth, but about being “non-deceptive” according to some logic process]]
L4: [The Nature of Ultimate Reality Actual Meaning [not-deceptive; but emptiness is not an absolute truth; it is still only a tool, the antidote to the inherent existence sickness]]
L4: [Rebuttal of Debates [This final realm is not existent, not non-existent, not both, not neither – it is beyond any conceptualization, any perception or non-perception]]
L6: [ [It is not about seeing something]
L6: [It is not about understanding something, nor about rejecting everything]
L6: [It is not existent, not non-existent]
L6: [It is beyond the duality knower and knowledge]
L6: [It has to be directly seen by directly seeing the real nature of our own mind in the present, without using any conceptualization]
L6: [Buddha still sees appearances as seen by ordinary beings, but He is not fooled by them; he also simultaneously knows their Ultimate nature]
L6: [The Buddha abides in non-duality: he sees both truth simultaneously for the benefits of all sentient beings. That is called the realization of the Union of The Two Truths.]
L4: [The Categories of the Ultimate [The ultimate is beyond duality and non-duality, conceptualization and non-conceptualization, production and non-production, emptiness and non-emptiness]]
L2: [The Number of the Two Realities [On the path, we still need to differentiate between deceptive and non-deceptive, between the Two Truths; and not reject this apparent duality.]]
L1: [The Categories of Transcendent Insight]
L1: [How to Meditate on Transcendent Insight]
L2: [Meaning of Meditating on Insight Based on Quiescence]
L2: [Vehicles in terms of which this System applies]
L2: [Actual way to Meditate on Insight based on Quiescence [not by rejecting thoughts]]
L6: [First discover the view of selflessness]
L6: [You should use both Quiescence and Insight together in balanced proportion]
L6: [Not rejecting all thoughts as if “bad”]
L6: [Not rejecting all discrimination as if “bad”]
L6: [Going beyond discrimination and non-discrimination]
L6: [Going beyond self and selflessness]
L6: [Not grasping at emptiness, not rejecting emptiness]
L6: [The real meaning of “no-thought” or “beyond conceptualization”]
L6: [Conclusion: transcendence is gained only through investigation by discriminating wisdom; not by stopping all thoughts or dropping all]
L2: [Criterion for Attainment of Insight through Meditation [the Union of Quiescence and Insight]
L2: [Way of Integration of Quiescence and Insight]
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L1: [We need both Shamatha and Insight Meditations together]
L2: [Benefits of Meditating on Quiescence and Insight]
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The Buddha stated in the Elucidation of Intent that all mundane and transcendent excellences of Individual and Universal Vehicles, are the effects of MENTAL QUIESCENCE AND TRANSCENDENT INSIGHT.
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One might object that,
~ “well, aren’t quiescence and insight themselves excellences of the character of one who has already attained the fruits of meditation? In that case, how is it correct for all those excellences to be the effects of those two?”
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Since actual quiescence and insight, as will be explained, are indeed excellences of the character of one accomplished, in the fruits of meditation, it is granted that all excellences of Individual and Universal Vehicles are not their effects. However, there is no contradiction, since all samadhis beyond one-pointedness towards virtuous objectives are classified under the heading of ‘quiescence,’ and all virtuous wisdoms that analytically discriminate phenomenal and neomenal objects are classified under the heading of ‘insight.’ With this in mind, the Lord said that all excellences of the three vehicles are the effects of quiescence and insight.
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He further states in the Elucidation of the Intent;
~ ”’If a person practices quiescence and insight, he will become liberated from bad-conditioning—and signifying—bondages.”
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Ratnakarashanti explains in the Instruction in Transcendent Wisdom that this means that “bad conditioning” (bondages), which are the instincts lying in the mental processes capable of generating ever-increasing distorted subjectivities, and “signifying” (bondages), which create those instincts in the form of prior and posterior attachment to distorted objects, are abandoned by insight and quiescence, respectively. Now those are the benefits of what are designated as “quiescence” and “insight,” and the meaning is the same even if you do not so designate them, as when you designate them the benefits of “meditation” and “wisdom.” They still are to be known as the benefits of these two, quiescence and insight.
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L2: [How the two Contain all Samadhis]
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The Buddha also stated in the Elucidation that all samadhis of Individual and Universal Vehicles that he ever mentioned are included in quiescence and insight. Therefore, since those eager for samadhi cannot possibly explore all separate categories of samadhis, they should explore thoroughly the method of cultivation of quiescence and insight, which provide a general framework for all samadhis.
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L2: [The Identification of Mental Quiescence]
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Buddha states in the Elucidation,
~ “One sits alone in isolation, one absorbs oneself within, one impresses in the mind the well-considered teachings, and one goes on impressing this within the mind continuously, the very mind which is doing the impressing. Entering in this way and repeatedly abiding therein, when physical and mental adeptness emerge, it is called “mental quiescence.”
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This means that when the mind no longer vacillates but works continuously, naturally abiding with its chosen object, and when the joyous ease of mental and physical adeptness is produced, then that samadhi becomes (actual) mental quiescence. This is produced just from holding the mind within without wavering from its chosen object, and does not require any realization of the thatness of things.
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L2: [The Identification of Transcendent Insight]
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The Buddha said in the Elucidation,
~ “Then, after attaining the physical and mental adeptness, one abandons the mode of keeping the mind focused on one thing, and one individually investigates the well-considered things arising as internal images in the realm of the samadhi; one confronts each one of them. Thus, with regard to those objects of knowledge which arise as images in the objective sphere of samadhi, their discernment, investigation, examination, thorough analysis, tolerance, acceptance, differentiation, viewing, and discrimination; all these are called “transcendent insight.” And in this way, the Bodhisattva becomes expert in transcendent insight.”
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Here, “discernment” refers to differentiation of the phenomenological content of reality and “investigation” to penetrating its onto-logical condition. “Examination” refers to a crude consideration, and “thorough analysis” refers to a fine analysis.
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Buddha also states in the Jewel-Cloud Sutra,
~ “Quiescence is one-pointed mind. Insight is individual consideration.”
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And Maitreya states both
~ “This concentration of all named teachings should be recognized as the path of quiescence. And the path of insight should be recognized as the analysis of those imports;”
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and also,
~ “Quiescence and insight are so called because, respectively, the one is a focus of mind in mind based on authentic stability, and the other is the analytic discrimination of phenomena.”
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Thus quiescence is said to be the focus of the mind based on authentic samadhi, and insight is said to be the wisdom that analytically discerns all things. Asanga agrees with this in his Bodhisattva Stages, while Kamalashila adds from the second Meditation Stages, “It is called “quiescent stability” because all distractions of external objects are quieted, and then one stabilizes the mind itself, endowed with joy in continuous focus on the inner object, as well as special adeptness. And “insight” is the analysis of ultimate reality while staying in that very quiescence.” Ratnakarashanti explains in the same way in his Instruction in Transcendent Wisdom.
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So according to Ratnakarashanti and Asanga, quiescence and insight are not differentiated according to their chosen objects, since each of them can take either ultimate or relative as their object. There is such a thing as a quiescence that realizes emptiness, and there is such a thing as an insight that does not realize emptiness.
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Therefore, one is called “quiescent stability” because it is a quieting of the mind’s attraction towards external objects and a stabilizing of the mind on the inner object. And the other is called “transcendent insight” because there is an “excessive” or “distinctive” experience.
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Now there are some who assert that quiescence is the lack of the sharp clarity of the intellect through keeping the mind thought-free, and insight is the presence of such sharp clarity. But they are mistaken, since such contradicts all the above explanations, and since that difference is merely the difference between samadhi afflicted by depression and samadhi without depression. All quiescence samadhis must definitely be cleared of depression, and all samadhis free of depression definitely arrive at sharp clarity of mind. Therefore, we must recognize whether a samadhi or wisdom is or is not oriented toward emptiness by whether or not the intellect involved understands either of the two selflessnesses or not, since there are innumerable samadhis which have bliss, clarity, and thoughtfulness, without having any interest in the objective ultimate reality. It is established by experience that it is enough (to generate quiescence) to hold the mind completely free of thought, without discovering the view that understands the real situation. Failure to understand emptiness in no way precludes the generation of non-discursive samadhi. By the power of holding the mind (thought-free) for a long time, one produces fitness of neural wind-energies. This production is marked as the arisal of joy and bliss in body and mind, so (lack of realization of emptiness) does not preclude the generation of bliss. Once that has been generated, by the power of the vividness of feeling of bliss, clarity dawns in the mind. Therefore, one cannot represent all blissful, clear, thought-free samadhis as realizing Thatness. Thus, while it does happen that non-discursive bliss and clarity occur in samadhi realizing emptiness, it also often happens in samadhis not at all oriented toward emptiness. So it is necessary to distinguish the difference between the two.
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L2: [Reason for the Necessity to Meditate on both]
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Why is it not sufficient to meditate on quiescence and insight one by one, but rather both must be meditated upon?
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For example, if one is in a temple at night and wishes to view the wall-paintings and so lights a lamp, one can see the painted deities quite clearly if one has both a bright lamp and it is undisturbed by the wind. If the lamp is not bright, or if its brightness is too agitated by the breeze, one cannot see them clearly. Similarly, to view the impact of the profound, one can see Thatness clearly if one has both the wisdom which ascertains unerringly the import of Thatness and also the unwavering concentration that stays focused on its chosen object. Even though you might have the non-discursive samadhi which stays put without being distracted elsewhere, if you do not have the wisdom to be aware of the real situation, however much you may cultivate that samadhi, it will be impossible for you to realize the real situation. And, even if you have the view that understands selflessness, if you do not have the stable samadhi where the mind stays put on one point, it will be impossible for you to see clearly the impact of the real situation. Therefore, both quiescence and insight are necessary.
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Kamalashila supports this from the second Stages of Meditation,
~ “Practicing insight exclusively apart from quiescence, the yogi’s mind will be distracted soon by external objects, and will not achieve stability, like a lamp caught in the wind. And then the clear illumination of intuition will not occur. Thus, both must be equally practiced.”
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And further, he states,
~ “By the strength of quiescence the mind will not be disturbed by the winds of discursive thought, like a lamp protected from the wind. Then insight can abandon the whole network of wrong views, which cannot be opened up by anything else.
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As the Buddha stated in the Moon Lamp Sutra,
~ “One becomes unmoved on the strength of quiescence. Through insight, one becomes like a mountain.”
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Thus intending that one can come to understand the import of reality by investigating with wisdom combined with the equipoise of quiescence wherein the mind is not imbalanced through excitement or depression, it is stated in the Dharma Encyclopedia,
~ “When the mind is equipoised, you will correctly understand reality.”
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And Kamalashila adds in the first Stages of Meditation,
~ “Since the mind moves just like so much water, it cannot stay put without the ground of quiescence. And the imbalanced mind cannot understand reality correctly. The Lord proclaimed that “Through equipoise, reality is correctly understood!”
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If you achieve quiescent stability, not only will you get rid of the faults of distraction of wisdom that correctly analyzes selflessness, but all meditation practices using individually discriminating wisdom, such as cultivations of impermanence, effects of evolution. the evils of the life-cycle, love, compassion, and the spirit of enlightenment; all these will eliminate the fault of distraction from their objects, and will engage their objects without wandering away to anything else. Then all your virtuous actions will become very powerful. Before attaining quiescence, all virtuous practices are weak in impact because usually you become distracted to other objects.
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As Shantideva says in the Entrance to the Bodhisattva Career,
~ “The person of wavering mind is caught between the fangs of passions;”
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and
~ “The Reality-Knower said that if your mind still gets distracted, even if you practice for a long time reciting mantras, austerities, etc., it is all to no avail.”
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L2: [Determination of their Proper Order]
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According to Shantideva, in his Entrance,
~ “it is acknowledged that the transcendent insight combined with firm quiescence conquers the passions. So first seek quiescent stability.”
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Thus, you should first achieve quiescence and then practice insight on that basis.
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Here one may wonder,
~ “why should I first seek quiescence and only then practice insight? Kamalashila says in his first Stages that there is no fixed object, that the object of quiescence is not determined. Further it was already explained that the object of quiescence has both objectivity and character. So, if I first understand the impact of selflessness and then meditate taking that as my object, then the quiescence without mental wavering to other objects and the insight oriented toward emptiness would be generated simultaneously, so that would seem to be perfectly alright.”
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Now, as for the way in which quiescence must precede insight, it is not that quiescence must precede the generation of understanding of the view that realizes selflessness, since it does happen that some generate the view without having quiescence. It is also not that quiescence must precede the generation of transformative experience regarding the view, since the lack of quiescence does not preclude the arisal of spiritual transformation through the repeated practice of critical analysis by means of individually discriminative wisdom. If it did preclude such transformation, then the absurd consequence would follow that spiritual transformation through the practice of impermanence, revulsion from the life-cycle, and spirit of enlightenment and so forth would depend also on quiescence; for the reasons are the same (in all these cases). Then what is the way in which quiescence must precede insight?
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Here, the generation of insight is in the context of the common individual who has not previously generated meditative realization and must newly do so. In that context, except for the exceptional way, to be explained below, in which a distinctive subjectivity for the realization of emptiness meditates on selflessness, in the (usual) context of the Transcendence Vehicle and the three lower Tantra divisions, analytic meditation is necessary, since without practicing analytic meditation which cultivates the discriminating wisdom’s analysis of the import of selflessness, meditative realization will not emerge. Now in that case, before one has achieved quiescence, one seeks the understanding of selflessness, repeatedly analyzing its meaning. Now, if quiescence has not been achieved already, it is impossible to achieve it based on that (sort of analytic meditation). And while quiescence is achieved by the practice of focusing meditation apart from analysis, there is no method of practice of insight apart from the method of practice of quiescence. Therefore, insight must be sought subsequently. And therefore, ultimately, you cannot get around the order that quiescence is first sought, and then insight is meditated based on the achieved quiescence.
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Therefore, on this interpretation, if the process of generating insight is not understood as being the generation of adeptness by means of discriminating analytic meditation, there is no genuine reason why the meditation of insight must be based on the prior quest of quiescence. And it is extremely wrong not to meditate according to that order.
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The Buddha said in the Elucidation that one meditates insight relying on the attainment of quiescence, as mentioned already. And the order of the “meditation” and “wisdom” in the six transcendences, as well as the order of the generation of the exceptional wisdom training based on the exceptional samadhi training, namely that “the latter is generated based on the former;” these are the very same as the order of meditating insight after already having meditated quiescence. Asanga affirms in the Bodhisattva Stages and in the Disciple Stages that insight is meditated based on quiescence. And Bhavaviveka, in his Madhyamika Essence, Shantideva, in his Entrance, Kamalashila in all three Stages of Meditation, Jnanakirti, and Ratnakarashanti, all of them affirm that first you seek quiescence and then you meditate transcendent insight. Therefore, just because some Indian masters prescribe that you should not seek quiescence separately, but should generate insight by analyzing with discriminating wisdom from the beginning, intelligent persons should not rely on that, since it contradicts the treatises of the Great Champions.
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Of course, this order of quiescence and insight is in terms of their initial generation. Once attained, there is no fixed order, since sometimes one will first meditate insight and later quiescence.
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Here one objects,
~ “Well, what about Asanga’s statement in the Compendium of Abhidharma, that “Some achieve insight, and do not achieve quiescence, so they should strive to achieve quiescence relying on their insight?”
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This statement does not refer to a failure to attain the quiescence included in the threshold state of the first realm of meditative trance, but only to the failure to attain the quiescences from the actual state of the first realm of meditative trance on up. And in that case, one achieves the quiescences from the actual first realm of meditative trance on up by relying on one’s direct realization of the four holy truths.
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As Asanga says in the Actuality of the Stages,
~ “Further, while one understands thoroughly and correctly from the truth of suffering to the truth of the path, one has not attained the first meditative trance and beyond. Immediately, one should focus the mind, and refrain from investigating the mind. Then, depending on that very same exceptional wisdom one applies oneself to the exceptional mind.”
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In general, in loose usage of the terms, there are statements wherein the nine stations of the mind are referred to as “quiescence,” and the four mental functions “discernment,” “investigation,” “appraisal,” and “thorough examination,” are referred to as “insight.” Nevertheless, actual quiescent stability and transcendent insight can only be presented beyond the generation of the special (mental and physical) adeptness, as will be explained below.
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L2: [ (skipping from Tashi Lhunpo, pha, 137b2 to 164b5) ]
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L1: [Conditions Necessary For Transcendent Insight]
L2: [General Set-Up of Conditions (APS) ]
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(Kamalashila), in his Second Stages of Meditation, states THE THREE CONDITIONS FOR TRANSCENDENT INSIGHT to be reliance on a holy person, eagerness to hear the teachings from him, and suitable reflection upon them.
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More (explicitly),
— the reliance on an expert who knows unerringly the essentials of the (Buddha’s) Scriptures,
— the study of the flawless scientific treatises,
— and the generation of the view of awareness of reality by the wisdoms of learning and reflection—these constitute the indispensable preconditions for transcendent insight.
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If there is no penetrating certainty about the import of actual reality, it is impossible to generate that realization which is the transcendent insight into the nature of reality.
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ONE MUST SEEK SUCH A VIEW BY RELYING ON (TEACHINGS) OF DEFINITIVE MEANING, and not on (those of) interpretable meaning. And one comes to understand the impact of the definitive discourses by knowing the difference between interpretable and definitive (discourses). Further, if one does not rely on the philosophical treatises which elucidate the (Buddha’s) inner thought, written by one of the great champions who personified living reason itself, one is like a blind person wandering in a dangerous wilderness without any guide. Thus, one should rely upon the flawless scientific treatises.
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On what sort of person should one rely? The Holy Nagarjuna was renowned throughout the three realms and was very clearly predicted by the Lord himself in many Sutras and Tantras as the elucidator of the essence of the Doctrine, the profound import free of all extremes of being and nothingness. So, one should seek the view which realizes emptiness by relying on his treatises. Aryadeva also was taken as equal in authority to the Master by the great Madhyamikas such as Masters Buddhapalita, Bhavaviveka, Chandrakirti, and Shantarakshita. Hence, since both Father (Nagarjuna) and Son (Aryadeva) were the sources for the other Madhyamikas, the old-time scholars called these two the “Grand-mother-Treatise-Madhyamikas” and the others, the “Partisan Madhyamikas.”
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A certain old-time Geshe maintained that there are two types of Madhyamikas, when designated according to their presentation of conventional reality; namely, the Traditionist-Madhyamikas, who assert the conventional existence of external objects, and the Idealist-Madhyamikas, who assert the conventional lack of external objects. (He) also (maintained that) there are two types, when designated according to their acceptance of ultimate reality; namely, the Illusionists, who assert that ultimate reality is the coincidence of truthless appearance and things such as sprouts, and the Dissolutionists, who assert that ultimate reality is that isolated by the exclusion of all fabrications regarding appearance. He maintained that Masters Shantarakshita and Kamalashila were exemplars of the former class. (He was supported by the fact that) certain Indian scholars also accept the names “Illusionist” and “Dissolutionist.” However, the great Translator (Ngog Lo) said that the twofold classification according to position on the ultimate is foolish, an astonishing idea.
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Concerning this, Master Jnanasena said that the Holy Father and Son were not explicit in their Middle Way treatises about the existence and nonexistence of external things, but subsequently Master Bhavaviveka refuted the Idealistic school and founded the school that held external things to be conventionally existent. Later, Master Shantarakshita founded still another distinctive Middle Way methodology, teaching the conventional nonexistence of external things and the ultimate realitylessness of the mind. Thus, two kinds of Madhyamikas arose, the former called Traditionist Madhyamika and the latter, Idealist Madhyamika. Thus, (Jnanasena) was quite clear about the historical sequence in which the great treatises elucidated (the profound meaning).
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WHICH ONE OF THESE MASTERS should one follow to seek the ultimate intention of the Holy Father and Son?
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The eminent former Gurus in the line of (my) oral tradition followed the practice of the Great Lord (Atisha) in holding the system of Chandrakirti as the supreme one. Master Chandrakirti perceived that, among the commentators on the Wisdom, it was Master Buddhapalita who most completely elucidated the intention of the Holy Ones. He took the latter’s system as his basis, and while he used many of the good statements, he refuted points that seemed slightly incorrect in the work of Master Bhavaviveka, when he worked out his own elucidation of the holy intention. Therefore, since I see the explanations of these two Masters. (BUDDHAPALITA AND CHANDRAKIRTI), as extremely superior in explaining the treatises of the holy Father and Son, I will follow them here in determining the intention of the holy Father and Son.
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Now, while Master Chandrakirti asserts the conventional existence of external objects, his system does not agree with any other philosophers, it not being proper to call him a Traditionist and incorrect to assert him to agree with the Analysts. (Thus), the expert of the later dissemination in the Land of Snows used the appellations “Dialectical” and “Dogmatic” for the Madhyamikas, following the Clear Words, Thus, while there are two kinds of Madhyamikas according to their position on the conventional existence of external objects (namely, Traditionist and Idealist), it is also certain that there are two kinds if one classifies them according to their respective methods of generating in awareness the view definite about emptiness, namely the DIALECTICAL and the DOGMATIC.
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L1: [The Method of Determining the View:]
L2: [Identification of Afflictional Misknowledge [the unique object of negation]]
L3: [Misknowledge is the two reifications of selves, of person and phenomena]
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Misknowledge is the basis of all ills and faults since all the Victor’s teachings against other afflictions such as attachment are only partial medicine and only His teaching against misknowledge is a comprehensive medicine.
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As Chandrakirti says in the Clear Words:
~ “Buddhas are renowned in this world as regulating the activities of people, by their nine modes of teaching such as Sutras, based on the two realities. Therein, teachings dispelling lust will not bring hatred to an end. Teachings dispelling hatred will not bring lust to an end. Teachings dispelling pride etc. will not conquer the other taints. Thus, those teachings are not all-pervasive and do not bear the great import. But teachings dispelling delusion conquer all afflictions—for Victors declare that all afflictions truly depend on delusion.”
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That being so, the meditation on Suchness is necessary as the medicine for misknowledge and since one does not know how to cultivate the medicine without identifying the misknowledge itself, IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO IDENTIFY MISKNOWLEDGE.
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MISKNOWLEDGE is the opposite of knowledge, and knowledge here should not be taken as whatever type (of common knowledge), but as the wisdom of the knowledge of the Suchness of selflessness. The opposite of that, again, is not properly (understood) as the mere absence of that wisdom or as merely something else than that, but as its very antithesis.
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That is (precisely) the reification of a self, and, as there are two reifications of selves, of things and of persons,
— THE PERSONAL SELF-HABIT AND
— THE PHENOMENAL SELF-HABIT
together constitute misknowledge.
.
¢(i.e. Habits, self-conditioning about our self and phenomena)
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As for the manner of that reification, it is the habitual sense that things have intrinsically objective, intrinsically identifiable, or intrinsically real status.
.
(The Buddha) states that things are established by force of mental construction, in the Question of Upali,
~ “The varied delights of blossoming flowers, the pleasure of the glitter of a golden palace— these (things) have no (intrinsic) function, but are there on the strength of our constructs; the whole cosmos is constructed by force of thought….”
.
(Nagarjuna) states in his Philosophical Sixty,
~ “The perfect Buddhas do declare misknowledge is the condition for the world; so why should it be wrong to say, ‘This world is a mental construct’ ?”
.
And (Chandrakirti) comments that this means that the worlds are not objectively established, but are merely constructed by conceptual thought.
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(Again, Aryadeva) states in his Four Hundred,
~ “Since there is nothing existent in desires etc. without mental constructs, what intelligent person adheres to ‘true objects’ and ‘constructs’?”
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(Chandrakirti) comments in explanation that desires etc. are like a snake imagined in a rope insofar as they are mentally constructed while not existing objectively, as existence itself goes only with mental construction, and not without it, hence it is doubtless sure that there is no objective status (in things) just like a snake imagined in a striped rope; he does not mean that that (rope-snake) and desires etc. have the same conventional existential status.
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L3: [The root: the same “innate” belief in inherent existence, of self or phenomena]
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These reasons (bring out) the mode of the habitual sense of truth-status, THE NEGATES, which is the habitual notion that it is not merely imposed by force of beginningless mental construction, but is established upon objects as their own objectivity. The presumed conceptual object of that (habit-pattern) is called “self” or “intrinsic reality.”
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Its absence in the designated “person” is called “PERSONAL SELFLESSNESS,”
and its absence in things such as eyes, ears, etc. is called “SELFLESSNESS OF THINGS” (or “phenomenal selflessness”).
.
It is thus understandable by implication that the habitual notions of the existence of that intrinsic reality in persons and things are THE TWO “SELF-HABITS.” (i.e. The two types of conditioning)
.
As (Chandrakirti says) in his Four Hundred Commentary:
~ “The ‘self is the ‘intrinsic reality’ which is that objectivity in things independent of anything else. Its absence is selflessness. It is understood as twofold by division into persons and things, called ‘personal selflessness’ and ‘phenomenal selflessness’.”
.
As for the objective condition of personal self-habits, (Chandra) explains in the Introduction to the Middle Way that certain Sammitiyas assert all five aggregates, and certain others only the mind, to be the objective condition or support of self-convictions. As for that mind, the Idealists and certain Idealistic Madhyamikas assert it to be the fundamental consciousness; other Dogmatic Madhyamikas such as Bhavaviveka and the majority of the Individual Vehicle scholars do not accept that, but assert it to be the mental consciousness. In regard to the systems of all of these schools, it is both necessary to know that the referent for the designation “person” is merely the “I,” and necessary to be familiar with the methods of positing a substantive basis for that “I” such as the fundamental consciousness etc.
.
With regard to THE INNATE EGOISTIC VIEW WHICH IS THE SELF-HABIT, in the Introduction (Chandra) refutes (the position) that its object is the aggregates and comments that its object is the dependency designated self. He also states that the conventional self is not the mere conglomerate of the aggregates. Thus, as its object is neither the conglomerate of the aggregates at any one time nor the conglomerate of the temporal continuum of the aggregates, one must take the mere “person” and the mere “I” as the objective basis of the mere thought “I”. Thus one should not put either the separate or the conglomerate aggregates as the substance of that “I”. This is the unexcelled distinctive specialty of this Dialectical system, and has been, explained extensively elsewhere.
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In regard to the objective basis of innate egoistic views, it must generate internally the cognition that thinks “I” and therefore the innate habit that holds other persons to be intrinsically identifiable is innate personal self-habit but is not the innate egoistic view of that (same person).
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THE OBJECT OF THE INNATE EGOISTIC VIEW WHICH IS THE PROPERTY-HABIT IS THE ACTUAL “MINE,” object of the innate cognition that thinks “mine,” and is not held to be objects such as one’s eye, etc. The mode (of this habit) is the habitual holding of the objects perceived as “mine” as if they were intrinsically identifiably so.
.
As for the innate phenomenal self-habit, its objects are the form aggregate etc., the eyes, ears, etc. of both self and others, and the impersonal inanimate objects etc.; and its mode is as explained above.
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In the Introduction Commentary, (Chandra) affirms that
~ “delusion is misknowledge, which functions as the reification of the intrinsic objectivity of non-objectively existent things. It is superficial, with a nature of obscuration—seeing intrinsic realities in things.”
.
He states further that
~ “… thus, by the force of the afflictive misknowledge included in the ‘existence’ member….”
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He thus accepts that misknowledge which is the truth-habit about objects is the same as afflictive misknowledge. Thus, while there are two systems of classification of phenomenal self-habits either as afflictive or as cognitive obscurations, this system chooses the former way.
.
This is also the statement of the Holy Father and Son, as in the Emptiness Seventy,
~ “Reification of the reality in things born of conditions—the Teacher called it ‘misknowledge’; therefrom twelve members arise. Seeing truly and knowing well the emptiness of phenomena, misknowledge does not occur, is ceased; thereby the twelve members cease.”
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Here, “reification of the reality in things” indicates the habitual perception of “truth” or “reality-status” in those things.
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In the Jewel Rosary, (Nagarjuna) also states in the same vein, that “as long as there is the aggregate-habit, so long will there be the “I”-habit—-” That is, that egoistic views will not be reversed as long as the truth-habit about the aggregates is not.
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In the Four Hundred, (Aryadeva) states,
~ “Just as the body-sense is to the body so delusion adheres to everything—and thus, when delusion is conquered, all afflictions will be conquered. Seeing relativistic origination delusion will not occur. Thus, here, with all one’s efforts, one should teach just that message.”
.
The context here is the identification of that “delusion” which is one of the three poisons and hence equivalent to afflictive misknowledge. To get rid of that misknowledge, he declares it necessary to understand the import of the profound relativity, which happens when the import of emptiness arises as the import of relativity. Therefore, ONE MUST INTERPRET AFFLICTIVE DELUSION according to (“Chandra’s) explanation in the Four Hundred Commentary AS THE [I.E. SAME] REIFICATION OF REALITY IN THINGS.
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This system was lucidly proclaimed by Chandrapada, following Buddhapalita’s elucidation of the intention of the Holy Ones.
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Now that just explained misknowledge which is thus habituated to the two selves is not a holding of persons and things hypothesized by the distinctive beliefs of Buddhist and non-Buddhist philosophers, such as unique, permanent, and independent person; objects which are external yet are the aggregates of indivisible atoms without east etc. directional facets; subjects which are internal cognitions yet which are consciousness-continua composed of indivisible instantaneous consciousnesses without any temporal prior and posterior components; and such as a true nondual apperception devoid of any such subjects and objects. It rather consists of THE TWO UNCONSCIOUS [i.e. INNATE] SELF-HABITS, which exist commonly both for those affected by theories and for those unaffected by theories and which has persisted from time immemorial without having depended on any theoretical seduction of the intellect. Therefore, it is that very (unconscious self-habit) that is here held as the root of the samsaric life-cycle.
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L3: [This conditioning / self-habit is present even in beings that do not have any conceptual capacity]
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Chandrakirti states in the Introduction that
~ “.. .those who fall into bestial existence for many aeons do not see this thus unproduced, permanent (self) and yet the “I”-habit is seen to function in them.”
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This reason (reveals) that ALL LIVING BEINGS ARE BOUND IN THE LIFE-CYCLE BY THE UNCONSCIOUS [I.E. INNATE] MISKNOWLEDGE [i.e. that is the same for self, things or being]. Further, since the intellectual misknowledge only exists for those philosophers, it is not properly considered to be the root of the samsaric life-cycle.
.
¢(i.e. The problem is not only the concept of self, not only a conceptual problem, but a problem that occurs even with beings that do not have what we call conceptual capacity. Refuting the conceptually fabricated self is not enough. The problem is “self-conditioning”, the acquisition of physical and mental habits, memories stored in the body through evolution, in the mind through learning, in things through constructing, in social custom through socializing, etc. The problem is choosing, acting and expecting planned results. The problem is investing and expecting results; either consciously or unconsciously.)
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It is extremely important to come to an exceptional certitude” about this point. If one does not know this, at the time of determining the view, one will not know how to hold as principal the determination of the nonexistence of the hypothetical object held by unconscious misknowledge, while keeping the refuting of the intellectually held objects subordinate. And if one refutes the two selves and neglects the negation of the habit-pattern of unconscious misknowledge, then one will have determined a selflessness which is merely a rejection of those “selves” hypothesized by the philosophers, as explained above. And even at the time of meditation, one’s meditation will only be the same, since the “determination of the view” means also meditation. Thus, even in meditation only the manifest habits will be involved in the final analysis, and one will experience (only) the absence of two selves which are merely those hypothesized by the intellectual habits. To think this will eliminate the unconscious afflictions is a great exaggeration. (i.e. So a conceptual understanding of selflessness is not enough to get rid of this innate misknowledge.)
.
(Chandrakirti) states in the Introduction, that
~ “When selflessness is understood, the ‘permanent self is eliminated, but this is not acceptable, even as the support of the ‘I’-habit. Therefore, to say ‘by knowing selflessness the self-conviction is totally wiped out’—this is extremely amazing.”
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In the commentary, he adds,
~ “… .in order to illustrate this point of mutual unconnectedness with an example, it is like when one sees a snake-hole in the wall of one’s house and one removes one’s worry by saying, ‘There is no elephant here!’ and if this were to remove the fear of the snake, alas, how ridiculous it would seem to others!”
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This was stated in connection with personal selflessness, but is similarly applied to phenomenal selflessness. Again, he states in the Introduction,
~ “When one understands selflessness, and abandons the intellectual self, this is not accepted as even the support of misknowledge. Thus, it is very strange to say that knowing selflessness will totally wipe out misknowledge.”
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Some may object that there is a contradiction in the fact that (Nagarjuna) states, in the Jewel Rosary, that the phenomenal self-habit, the truth habit about the aggregates, is the root of the life-cycle:
~ “As long as there is the aggregate-habit so long will there be the “I”-habit; when there is the “I”-habit, there is action, and from actions there is birth;”
while (Chandrakirti) states in the Introduction that the egoistic views are the root of the life-cycle:
~ “The intelligent see absolutely all of the faults of the afflictions as coming from the egoistic views;”
.
because it is incorrect for there to be two different roots of the samsaric life-cycle.
.
There is no problem here. According to this Dialectical system, THE TWO SELF-HABITS ARE DIFFERENTIATED ACCORDING TO THEIR OBJECTS, AND NOT ACCORDING TO ANY DIFFERENT ASPECTS OF THEIR HABIT-PATTERNS (i.e. THE UNIQUE PROBLEM IS THE INNATE BELIEF IN INHERENT EXISTENCE); because both of them have the mode of adhering to intrinsic identifiability, and because for there to be two contradictory roots of the life-cycle, these roots of cyclic existence would have to be taken as two different habit-patterns applied to objects. Thus, when phenomenal selflessness is shown to be the cause of the egoistic views, these two different categories of misknowledge are shown to be cause and effect, and when both are shown to be the root of afflictions, they are shown to be the root of all other afflictions that have different habit-patterns from them. Since such a process exists in both of them, there is no contradiction between them, just as there is no contradiction in former and later instants of homogeneous misknowledge being equally roots of the Samsaric life-cycle.
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Although Chandrapada did not explicitly explain the egoistic views as misknowledge, without distinguishing between person and phenomenon, he declared in general that the truth-habit about things is afflictive misknowledge, and he asserted that the personal self-habit is the adherence to the intrinsic identifiability of the person. Thus, since he often states that the innate egoistic views are the root of the life-cycle, if he thought them to be something other than the misknowledge of the truth-habits, he would be contradicting himself by setting up two different habit-patterns as the root of the life-cycle. (Since this is not the case) one must construe both as misknowledge.
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L3: [All afflictions and suffering come from this unique innate misknowledge]
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Since it is upon the very object projected by the above-explained unconscious misknowledge that all the other innate and intellectual afflictions function, each holding that object in its own special way, it is like the eye etc. and the other faculties depending on the body faculty, and not adhering independently to any objects. SO, ALL OTHER AFFLICTIONS FUNCTION DEPENDING ON INNATE MISKNOWLEDGE, AND HENCE IT IS STATED THAT DELUSION IS THE PRINCIPAL AFFLICTION, (as here by Aryadeva):
~ “Just as the body-sense adheres to the body, so delusion adheres to everything…”
.
And (Chandrakirti) comments in the Four Hundred Commentary:
~ “Desires etc. function through projecting qualities such as beauty and ugliness upon precisely the objective nature constructed in things by delusion; hence they cannot function apart from delusion, and become dependent upon it, since delusion is the principal (affliction).”
.
Therefore, once delusion holds on to intrinsic identifiability in objects, if the held object is agreeable to the mind, it is perceived with desire, and if it is disagreeable to the mind, then aversion arises toward it. And if it appears neither agreeable nor disagreeable, and ordinary indifference remains in regard to it, then it is perceived without other afflictions but with a homogeneous continuation of delusion. As (Nagarjuna) states in the Philosophical Sixty,
~ “Why should not the great poison of affliction arise for those whose minds have room for it? Even those who remain at ease (temporarily) will eventually be seized by the snake of afflictions.” And the commentary here explains as above.
.
It also seems necessary, from the Jewel Rosary statement, that the egoistic views (be considered to) arise from the truth-habit about the aggregates. As for the mode of arisal of the other afflictions, this should be understood by extrapolation from the explanations given in the context of the mediocre person.
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One should also understand according to the statement (of Dharmakirti) in the Commentary on Validating Cognition,
~ “Who sees a self always reifies an “I” there; supposing, he identifies with that; identifying, he becomes obscured with faults. Seeing qualities, he desires them, he grasps their attainment as “mine.” Thus, as long as one is attached to the self, so long will he revolve in the life-cycle.”
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Although the system explained above and this system (Dharmakirti) are different in interpretation, they both can be understood using this sequence in the process of arisal of afflictions.
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First, once one holds to intrinsic identifiability in the objective basis of the thought “I,” attachment to the self arises. Therefrom, craving for the happiness of the self arises. Then, since the self’s happiness cannot arise without dependence on one’s property, craving arises for property (the “mine”). Then, being obscured by such faults, one begins to see the qualities in those things. Then, one grasps onto the property (the “mines”) as the means of accomplishing the happiness of the self. Through the afflictions thus produced, conceptually motivated action occurs, and from such action, the life-cycle itself is constantly held together.
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As (Nagarjuna says) in the Emptiness Seventy,
~ “Action has its cause in afflictions; construction’s nature is from afflictions; the body has its cause in actions; and all three are empty of intrinsic reality.”
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By such a method, one must practice finding certainty in the sequence involved in the evolution of the Samsaric life-cycle.
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L1: [Reason for the Need to Seek the View that Understands Selflessness: Wishing to Abandon such.]
L2: [Misknowledge]
L3: [All conditioning and suffering come from this self-conditioning; so it is important to see through it.]
.
— IT APPEARS EXTREMELY NECESSARY TO WILL TO ABANDON UTTERLY THE ABOVE MISKNOWLEDGE, THE TWOFOLD SELF HABIT, so one should intensely cultivate such a will. Even so, having such a desire, not to
.
— STRIVE TO UNDERSTAND HOW SELF-HABITS BECOME THE ROOT OF THE LIFE-CYCLE, and, having seen a part of that, not to
.
— STRIVE TO GENERATE IN MIND A PURE VIEW OF SELFLESSNESS, HAVING PROPERLY NEGATED THE OBJECTS HELD BY SELF-HABITS WITH THE HELP OF THE DEFINITIVE SCRIPTURES AND REASONING; such a person has to have extremely dull faculties, since he thinks nothing at all of completely losing the life of the path leading to liberation and omniscience.
.
¢(i.e. It is by seeking to understand the real nature of our own mind and body, the way we self-condition ourselves and create all of these expectations and illusions, that we will become free from the influence / conditioning of all of those fabrications.)
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Therefore, the glorious Dharmakirti said,
~ “Without rejecting this object one cannot abandon that (habit). For to abandon attraction and aversion according to (an object’s) good points and faults is done by not seeing the object (itself) and not by external methods.”
.
That is, one does not abandon abandonees in the inner mind in the way that one extracts external things such as thorns by using a needle and digging them out, without having to abandon one’s way of perceiving that object, but rather one must abandon such as self-habits by seeing the non-existence of the objects they purport to hold.
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As glorious Chandra said, seeing that afflictions such as desire and faults such as birth and old age all arise from self-habits (i.e. self-conditioning), the yogi feels a desire to cease and abandon them, and he negates rationally the personal self, the object presupposed by the personal self-habit. He clearly states in the Introduction, “… .when he logically sees that afflictions and faults entirely arise from the egoistic views— and he understands the self as the object of his habit, the yogi accomplishes the negation of the self.” Here he calls “yogi” the meditator on suchness.
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This method is the holy inner thought of the Protector Nagarjuna, as in Philosophical Sixty:
~ “That is the cause of all views, without that, afflictions do not arise. Therefore, when that is truly understood, views and afflictions are completely ceased. Whereby is that understood? From the fact that dependent birth is non-birth, as the supreme Knower of Suchness says.”
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Thus, he teaches that THE TRUTH-HABIT POSITING THINGS IS THE CAUSE OF ALL AFFLICTIVE VIEWS. (i.e. The belief in inherent existence is the root cause of all conditioning and suffering. All views are flawed because based on the belief of inherent existence of something or another.) And all other afflictions are abandoned by the realization of the real condition of things as not intrinsically really produced, by reason of their relativity. For the vision of their intrinsic realitylessness will not arise without negation of the object held as the intrinsically real status of things.
.
Although we have already quoted Aryadeva in agreement with that, further, from the Four Hundred, he says,
~ “When you see selflessness in objects, the seeds of existence will be ceased.”
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That is, BY SEEING THE SELFLESSNESS OF THE OBJECT PERCEIVED AS OBJECT OF THE SELF-HABITS, MISKNOWLEDGE, THE ROOT OF CYCLIC LIFE IS CUT. (i.e. By seeing through the conditioning we can liberate ourselves from it.)
.
Reverend Shantideva also states,
~ “Thus, personal emptiness is extremely established. Therefore, by cutting the root, all afflictions will not arise. As stated in the Holy Secret of the Transcendent One: ‘Shantamati, it is like this: for example, when a tree is cut from the root, boughs, leaves and new shoots will all wither away. Shantamati, likewise, when egoistic views are eliminated, primary and subsidiary afflictions will all be removed.’ “
.

L3: [The real nature of our own self / mind should be realized first]
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That is, he states that BY CULTIVATING THE UNDERSTANDING OF EMPTINESS, AS EMPTINESS OF THE INTRINSICALLY REAL STATUS OF THINGS, (i.e. emptiness of inherent existence) THE EGOISTIC VIEWS ARE ELIMINATED, AND BY ELIMINATING THEM ALL OTHER AFFLICTIONS ARE ELIMINATED; since it is impossible to understand selflessness without negating the object of the personal self-habit. That scriptural reference SHOWS THE EGOISTIC VIEWS AS THE ROOT OF ALL OTHER AFFLICTIONS; and they should be understood to constitute misknowledge, since otherwise if they were something different, there would be two different roots of cyclic life.
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¢(i.e. By directly realizing the emptiness of inherent existence of our own mind – during the union of Samantha and Insight meditation –, and thus of everything else fabricated by it through self-conditioning, then we become free from all illusions, desire, repulsion or indifference; we become free from all afflictions and their consequential suffering.).
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In short, the many supreme experts in elucidating the meaning of the profound discourses investigate with many references and reasonings when they determine the import of Suchness. And, seeing that selflessness and emptiness cannot be understood without seeing that the self, as held by the false habits, is not existent and is empty, they spoke thus (as above); because it is crucially important to find certitude about this.
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If one does not meditate on the import of this negating of the object of the error fundamental to cyclic bondage, even if one meditates on any other would-be profound import, it will not disturb the self-habits at all; because it is impossible to eliminate self-habits without applying the intelligence to the Suchness of selflessness and emptiness; and because, even though without negating the object of self-habits one can at least withdraw the mental gravitation toward that object, that is not acceptable as applying (the mind) to selflessness.
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The reason for this is that, when the mind is applied to an object, there are three habits: one holding that object in truth, one holding it as truthless, and one holding it without either qualification. So, just as the non-holding of truthlessness is not necessarily the truth-habit, so the disconnection from the two selves is not necessarily the application to the two selflessnesses; because there are limitless states of mind included in the third option.
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The two self-habits, further, function through perceiving things chiefly as persons and phenomena, and therefore it is necessary to determine right on the very basis of error the non-existence of that thereon so held; otherwise, it is like searching for footprints in the house of a thief already gone into the forest.
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Therefore, since errors will be terminated by meditating on the import thus determined, such an emptiness is the supreme import of Suchness. And if some other false import of Suchness is determined, it is no more than wishful thinking, and you should consider it outside the meaning of the Scriptures.
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Thus, the misknowledge of truth-habits about fabrications of persons such as males and females and phenomena such as forms and sensations is eliminated by finding and meditating upon the view that understands the emptiness which is selflessness. When it is eliminated, the conceptual thoughts which are improper attitudes which reify the signs of beauty and ugliness etc. by perceiving the objects of truth-habits are eliminated. When they are eliminated, all other afflictions, desire, etc., which have egoistic views as their root are eliminated. When they are eliminated, actions motivated by them are eliminated. When they are eliminated, involuntary birth in cyclic life as propelled by actions is eliminated.
.
¢(i.e. One should not try to artificially see the emptiness of things, or artificially drop everything, and hope that this would bring Liberation. The only way to really bring total Liberation is by seeking the real subtle nature of our own mind in deep meditation, and thus realizing the emptiness of our own mind and of everything else. From this all other attachments and fears will automatically be dropped.)
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(Considering this process) the firm determination “I will attain liberation!” is generated, and thence one seeks the utterly incisive view of Suchness. As Nagarjuna said in the Wisdom:
~ “Liberation comes from terminating actions and afflictions; actions and afflictions come from imaginations. From their fabricating come fabrications, which will be ceased by emptiness.” (i.e. Thus the only way to stop the cyclic existence and its suffering is to directly realize the real non-dual nature of our own mind.)
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Thus understanding the sequence of origin and cessation of cyclic life, one must actively cherish the understanding of the import of Suchness; and this will not happen by making oneself dizzy (in meditation) without a clear discernment of the objective.
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L2: [Method to Generate the View Realizing Selflessness]
L3: [Sequence of Generating the Two Views of Selflessness]
L4: [The real nature of our own self / mind should be realized first, because it is easier]]
.
In regard to the sequence of generation of the two self-habits, IT IS THE PHENOMENAL SELF-HABIT THAT GENERATES THE PERSONAL SELF-HABIT.
.
Nevertheless, in entering the truth of selflessness, it is by first generating the view of personal selflessness that one must later generate the view of phenomenal selflessness. As (Nagarjuna states) in the Jewel Rosary:
~ “A creature is not earth, water, fire, wind, space, or consciousness—if it is none of these things, what else might a creature be? Since the creature as collocation of elements is not real in itself, so each element, itself a collocation, is not really real either.”
.
Thus, he first declares the non-reality of the person and then the non-reality of its designative bases, the elements earth etc.
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(Chandrakirti) in the Clear Words and (Buddhapalita) in his Middle Way Commentary explain that the first entrance into reality of Suchness is through personal selflessness, and Santideva also agrees. As for the reason why one must understand it that way, while there is no variation of degree of subtlety in the selflessness to be ascertained in the basic person or in the basic phenomenon, because of the essentiality of the subject of concern, IT IS EASIER TO ASCERTAIN (SELFLESSNESS) IN THE PERSON AND HARDER TO ASCERTAIN IT IN THE PHENOMENON. For example, it is difficult to ascertain phenomenal selflessness in the eye, ear, etc., but easy to ascertain it in things such as images, etc., and this can be used as an example of the varying case of determining selflessness with regard to the former objects.
.
It was with this in mind that (the Buddha said) in the King of Samadhi,
~ “Use your intellect to apply to all else your understanding of the self-concept—all things have an utterly pure nature just like the sky.
~ BY A SINGLE (INSIGHT), ALL THINGS ARE KNOWN—BY ONE (VISION), ALL THINGS ARE SEEN.”
.
That is, if one knows well the real condition of the “I” which anchors the concept of self which thinks “I”, and one applies the reasoning about it to internal things such as eye and nose and external things such as vases etc., one should come to understand them in just the same way. Then, KNOWING THE NATURE AND SEEING THE REALITY OF ONE THING, ONE CAN BE ABLE TO KNOW AND SEE THE NATURES OF ALL OTHER THINGS.
.
¢(i.e. Just by directly realizing the real nature of our own mind we also directly realize the real nature of everything else, because everything comes in dependence of the mind (but not from the mind only), everything is merely imputed by the mind.)
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L3: [The Actual Generation of the Two Views in Order]
L4: [Determination of Personal Selflessness]
L5: [Identification of the Person [the object of refutation]]
.
THE “PERSON” IS (a term used in contexts such as) the six species of persons such as gods, or the types of persons such as individual persons or holy persons, and also in referring to the accumulator of evil and good action, the experiencer of their effects, the traveler in cyclic life, the practicer of the path for the sake of liberation, and the attainer of liberation.
.
(Chandrakirti) in his Introduction Commentary quotes a standard Scripture:
~ “You come to adopt a view of the demon-mind ‘self.’
~ This heap of emotions is empty, therein no sentient being.
~ Just as one says ‘chariot’ depending on its aggregate of components, so depending on the aggregates, one says ‘superficial sentient being.'”
.
The first verse teaches the personal selflessness which is the ultimate absence of “person.” The first phrase calls the personal self-habit the “demon-mind”; the second phrase shows the holder of that habit to be the victim of evil views; and the third and fourth state that the aggregates are devoid of any personal self. The second verse teaches the conventional existence of the self, the first two phrases giving the example and the last two applying it to the meaning. It teaches that the “person” is a mere designation based on the aggregates; because this Scripture states the aggregate-conglomerate to be the designative base of the person, and the designative base cannot properly be the designation itself. The aggregate-conglomerate must be understood as either the simultaneous conglomerate of aggregates or their sequential conglomerate. Thus, neither the (spatial) conglomerate nor the temporal continuum of the aggregates can be posited as the “person.” When the conglomerate is put as designative base that conglomerated is also put as a designative base so it is illogical for either to be the “person” (itself).
.
As Chandra says in the Introduction,
~ “In the Scripture, He said it depends on the aggregates; thus the self is not the mere aggregate-collection… If you assert that the aggregates are the self because the Teacher said ‘The aggregate is the “self” ‘ (you are wrong). In fact, He (merely) refutes the self’s being other than the aggregates since in other Scriptures, He says ‘Form is not self etc.”
.
Thus, as when Buddha says, “Any ascetic or priest is viewing just these five aggregates, when he holds the views of ‘I’ and ‘mine’ “, he is refuting with the word “just” that any self other than the aggregates exists as the object of the innate “I”-habit. Such refutation (by itself) does not indicate that the aggregates are (themselves) the object of the “I”-habit. Otherwise it would contradict the statements in other Scriptures that refute the self’s being the five aggregates, since if, among the object and aspect of the “I”-habit, the aggregates were the objective object, then they would have to be put as the self.
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Therefore the meaning of the statement in the Scripture about looking to the aggregates must be explained as urging the attempt to apprehend the self that is designated upon the aggregates. Therefore, one must differentiate between statements about the conventionally existent self, intending the mere “I”, and about the intrinsically real person, not existent even conventionally, and one should not maintain that this system accepts the conventional existence of the personal self. Such an identification of the person is the unexcelled distinctive specialty of this system, and the thorough ascertainment of this is the excellent method to realize the extraordinary personal selflessness.
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L5: [Determination of Non-reality of that (Personal Self) ]
L6: [Determination of Non-reality of ‘I’ [Reasoning showing that the self is not different, nor the same as the aggregates, and that there is no other possibility]]
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¢(i.e. There are four possibilities when comparing the self with the aggregates, they are: i) the same, ii) different, iii) both the same and different, iv) neither the same nor different. This is equivalent to the following: )
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— Here, (one uses) the first of the four keys, analyzing one’s own mental process in order to identify one’s own mode of habitual adherence to a personal self. This has been previously explained. (i.e. GETTING A GOOD PERCEPTION OF THE OBJECT OF REFUTATION; “we have to identify the negatee before we can negate it”.)
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— The second key (is as follows): IF THAT PERSON HAS INTRINSICALLY REAL STATUS, IT MUST BE ESTABLISHED AS ACTUALLY THE SAME OR ACTUALLY DIFFERENT FROM THE AGGREGATES, and thus one decides that there is no way for it to be established in any other way. In general, in regard to such things as pots and pillars, if one determines them on one side as matching, one excludes them on the other side from differing, or such a thing as a pot, if determined here as differing, is excluded on the other side from matching—as this is established by experience, there is no third option other than sameness or difference. Therefore, one must become certain that it is impossible (for a self to exist and) to be neither the same nor different (from the aggregates). (i.e. Seeing that there can be only two possibilities: the same or different than the aggregates; there is no third.)
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— The third (key is to) SEE THE FAULTS IN (the hypothesis that the person and the aggregates are intrinsically really THE SAME.
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— The fourth (key is to) SEE WELL THE FAULTS IN (the hypothesis that) the person and the aggregates are really DIFFERENT.
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Thus, when these four keys are complete, then the pure view realizing the Suchness of personal selflessness is generated.
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L7: [NOT THE SAME as the simultaneous conglomerate of aggregates]
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Thus, if self and aggregates were a single entity with intrinsically real status, THREE FAULTS WOULD ACCRUE.
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— THE FIRST is that there would be no point in asserting a self, since if the two were intrinsically really established as a single entity they would never be at all differentiable, since the two being absolutely established as a single entity could necessarily never appear as different to a cognition that perceived them. The reason for this is that, while there is no contradiction for a false, superficial thing’s appearance being different from its real mode of existence, such a difference does preclude any truth-status in that thing, since a true thing must really exist in just the way it appears to any cognition. Thus, the postulation of an intrinsically objective self is (only) for the sake of establishing an agent for the appropriation and discarding of the aggregates, and this is not plausible when the self and the aggregates have become the same. As (Nagarjuna) states in the Wisdom,
~ “When it is asserted that there is no self but for appropriation, and then that the appropriation itself is the self, then that self of yours is nonexistent.”

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— THE SECOND FAULT is that the self would become a plurality. If the self and the aggregates were really the same, then just as one person has many aggregates, so he would come to have many selves. Or else, just as the self would become many, so (if self and aggregates were the same) the aggregates would become one; as (Chandrakirti) says in the Introduction,
~ “If the aggregates were the self, as they are many so the self would become many.”

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— THE THIRD FAULT is that the self would become endowed with production and destruction. As (Nagarjuna) says in the Wisdom:
~ “If the aggregates were the self, then it would become endowed with production and destruction.”
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That is, just as the aggregates are endowed with production and destruction, so the self would become endowed with production and destruction, since the two are a single entity.
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L7: [Not the same as the sequential conglomerate.]
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Now, if one thinks this is merely an acceptance of the momentary production and destruction of the self or the person each instant, while it is admitted that there is no fault in accepting this merely conventionally, the opposition here asserts the intrinsic identifiability of the person, and so must assert the intrinsically objective production and destruction of that person, which assertion has THREE FAULTS.
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— (Chandrakirti) states THE FIRST OF THESE FAULTS in the Introduction and its Commentary:
~ “It is incorrect for that which is intrinsically identifiably different to be included in a single continuum”.
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Thus it is illogical for things which are objectively established as different, in being former and later, to relate with the later depending on the former; because the former and later things are self-sufficiently and independently established and cannot properly relate to one another. Thus, since it is incorrect to include them in one continuum, the “I” cannot rightly remember its former life “At that time I was like that,” just as two different persons such as Devadatta and Yajna cannot remember each other’s lives. In our system, although things are destroyed in every instant, there is no contradiction for former and later instants to be included in a single continuum (conventionally), so it is possible for former lives to be remembered. (i.e. No continuity, no discontinuity. Nothing remain the same and change, nor change into something different.) Those who do not understand this point generate the first wrong view of the four wrong views mentioned in Scripture as relating to a former limit. When the Buddha often says, “I was this former person,” they think that the person at the time of Buddhahood and the person of this former life are the same, or that, since created things are instantaneously destroyed, they cannot be the same, so both of them must be permanent, and so forth. In order not to fall into such (views), one must understand properly the way, at the time of remembering former lives, in which the general “I” is remembered without specifically qualifying it as to country, time, and nature.
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— THE SECOND FAULT is the fault of the evolutionary effect of action being lost. For, (if they are identifiably different) it is impossible to bring the agent of the action and the experiencer of the evolutionary effect together on a single basis, the mere “I”.
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— THE (THIRD) FAULT is that of receiving the evolutionary effect of actions not performed, and it is an absurd consequence that a single personal continuum would experience all evolutionary effects of all actions performed and accumulated by other different personal continua. These two faults, as explained above in the Introduction, accrue through the key point that if the person has objectively (real) status, it is impossible for his former and later instants to be included in a single continuum. As (Nagarjuna) says in the Wisdom, “If the god and the man are different, they cannot logically belong to one continuum.”
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L7: [NOT DIFFERENT than the aggregates]
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Here one may object,
~ “What is the fault if one asserts the intrinsically real difference of person and aggregates, (this not being a problem of two different persons)?”
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— Nagarjuna gives the fault in the Wisdom,
~ “If it were different from the aggregates, it would become devoid of the nature of the aggregates.”
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If the self were objectively different from the aggregates, it would become devoid of the created nature of the aggregates and would have no production, duration, and destruction, just as a horse does not have the nature of an ox, being established as a different thing.
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But the objector here thinks,
~ “Well, isn’t that how it is after all?”
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But then it would not be logical for the innate mental habit to perceive (such an absolutely different isolated and permanent self) as the object that is the basis of conventional designation of “self”; because it is not a created thing (i.e., not subject to ordinary relations), just like a sky flower or Nirvana. Furthermore, if it were really different from the nature of the aggregates etc. which is “formful” etc., it would have to be perceived as such, just as matter and mind are perceived as different. But since it is not perceived in any such manner, the self is not a thing different (from the aggregates).
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As Nagarjuna says in the Wisdom,
~ “It is not correct for the self to be something different from appropriation; if it were different, it should be perceived apart from appropriation, logically, but it is not so perceived.”
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And Chandrakirti in the Introduction says,
~ “Thus the self does not exist apart from the aggregates since its perception beyond them is not established.”
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By means of such reasonings, one should cultivate a firm certainty that sees the faults of the self being objectively different from the aggregates, if you do not derive a correct certainty about the faults of these two positions of sameness and difference, your decision that the person is intrinsically realityless will merely be a premise, and you will not discover the authentic view.
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L6: [Determination of the Non-reality of “Mine” [of possessions]]
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Thus having inquired rationally into the existence or absence of intrinsically real status in the self, when you negate its intrinsic reality by not finding (any self) either the same or different (from the aggregates), THAT SAME RATIONALITY ANALYTIC OF THATNESS WILL NOT DISCOVER ANY INTRINSIC REALITY IN ONE’S PROPERTY.
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If you cannot perceive the son of a barren woman, his property such as eyes etc. will also not be perceived.
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Nagarjuna says in the Wisdom,
~ “If the self itself does not exist, how can its property exist?”
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And Chandrakirti says in the Introduction,
~ “When there is no agent, there is no action, and thus without the self there is no property. That yogi who sees the emptiness of self and property will reach liberation.”
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Thus, that rationality that determines the lack of intrinsically objective status of one’s own “I”, or “self”, or “person”, should realize the entire import of the Thatness of personal selflessness, that all persons and their property, from hell-beings up to Buddhas, have no intrinsic reality as the same or as different from their designative bases, whether they be contaminated or uncontaminated aggregates. And thereby one should also understand the method of establishing the lack of intrinsic reality of all those beings’ property.
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L5: [How the Person Arises as Illusion [the Middle Way: not existent, but still not completely non-existent either]]
L6: [Meaning of the Statement of Illusoriness — Unerring Meaning of Arising as Illusion [“like illusion, but not illusion” means dependent on the mind, but not from the mind only; empty but still dependently arisen and functional]]
L7: [Everything is not existing, but still not completely non-existing either.]
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The Buddha stated in the King of Samadhis,
~ “MEDITATE ALL SIGNS AS LIKE MIRAGES, FAIRY CITIES, ILLUSORY, AND DREAM-LIKE—all objectively empty; you should understand all things in the same way”;
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and in the Mother of the Victors,
~ “All things from form to omniscience are like illusions and like dreams.”
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Now there are two meanings in such statements of illusoriness, the ultimate reality’s illusoriness in that it merely exists but its truth is negated, and the appearance of an appearance that is actually empty. Here it is the latter (we are concerned with). For this two things are required, that (something) appears, and that it is empty of its apparent objectivity. The meaning of “illusory” will not arise in the mind from something’s utter non-existence and mere appearance like a rabbit’s horn and the son of a barren woman (appearing merely conceptually), and from (something’s) appearing and not turning out to be empty of its apparent objectivity.
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Therefore, the method of understanding other things as like the example of illusion is as follows: for example, when a magician manifests an illusion, although there never was any horse or ox there, the appearance of horse and ox undeniably arises. In the same way, things such as persons, although they were always empty of any objectively established intrinsic reality as objects, are understood as undeniably appearing to have that status. Thus, the appearances of gods and humans are represented as persons, and the appearances of forms and sounds etc. are represented as phenomena, and although not even an atom in persons and phenomena has intrinsically identifiable intrinsic reality, ALL THE FUNCTIONS OF RELATIVITIES SUCH AS ACCUMULATION OF EVOLUTIONARY ACTIONS AND SEEING AND HEARING ETC. ARE VIABLE.
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L7: [Emptiness itself is not existing, not non-existing; empty but still functional.]
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IT IS NOT A NIHILISTIC EMPTINESS (i.e. not a real emptiness), since all functions are viable, and since one simply comes to be aware of emptiness, things having always and ever been empty, neither is it a mentally made-up emptiness (i.e. not a non-real emptiness). Since all things knowable are accepted in that way, it is not a partial emptiness, and when one meditates upon it, it serves as the remedy for all the habitual reifications of the truth-habits. (i.e. Emptiness is empty of inherent existence but still dependently arisen and functional; like everything else. It is not an absolute, but still an efficient skillful means to remove the sickness of “inherent existence”.)
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L7: [But understanding illusion like that is not enough. One has to understand the real nature of his own mind; how it creates the illusion of inherently existing things; how conditioning / karma is accumulated]
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That profound import is not at all objectively inaccessible to any sort of cognition, but can be determined by the authentic view and can be taken as object by meditation on the meaning of reality, so it is not an emptiness that cannot be cultivated in the context of the path and that cannot be known and cannot be realized, a complete nothingness.
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(i.e. It is very hard to understand that something can be not existent, not non-existent, not both, not neither. But this can be done by directly seeing the real nature of our own mind in the present, and without using any conceptualization. Our own mind is the only thing we can “directly see” like that. But that is enough to realize the emptiness of inherent existence of everything, and thus be completely Liberated.)
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Here one may object,
~ “If this certainty that reflections etc. are empty of what they appear to have is the realization of intrinsic realitylessness, it would follow that a common individual’s direct perception would realize intrinsic realitylessness, and he would become a holy person. If it is not so, then how can these examples be suitable for intrinsic realitylessness?”
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Aryadeva states in the Four Hundred,
~ “The witness of a single thing is said to be the witness of everything. The emptiness of one thing is the emptiness of everything.”
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Thus he explains that the witness or realizer of the emptiness of one thing can realize the emptiness of all other things as well. By understanding that a mirror-image of an object is empty of that object, no damage will be done to the object of the truth habit that holds the mirror-image to have objectively real status, and one does not understand the emptiness which is the mirror image’s emptiness of intrinsic reality without refuting the object (of that truth-habit). Therefore, that cognition does not understand the reality of the mirror-image. This type of cognition, although it understands that the illusion is empty of horse and ox and that the dream-appearance is empty of what appears there, does not discover the middle way view that realizes illusoriness and dream-likeness. However, these are used as examples for the reason that their intrinsic realitylessness is easier to understand than that of other things such as forms and sounds. As for their emptiness of objectively established intrinsic reality, it is established, since if an object is truly established, it is impossible for it to appear to cognition in some other way than it really is itself, by showing the contradiction between those two facts, (truth-status and false appearance). So, these examples of well-known falsities in the world first introduce one to the understanding of non-reality, but from there it is necessary to generate understanding of other things not well-known as falsities to the world. These two steps have a necessary temporal sequence, and therefore it is not intended here that when one realizes the emptiness of one thing one (simultaneously) realizes directly the emptiness of all other things; it only means that one becomes capable of understanding that, since one’s mind becomes oriented towards the lack of true existence of other things. Thus, the two statements, one, that knowing one is in a dream, one understands that appearances therein of males and females etc. are empty, and two, in the Ornament of Realization, that “even in a dream one sees all things as dreamlike,”—these two are different in meaning
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(i.e., one being the dreamer’s understanding of being in a dream, the other referring to an advanced state where one’s waking insight carries over into the dream).
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Thus, to the perception of one experienced in meditating in samadhi, there is an understanding that apparent things such as pots and cloths are empty of what they appear to have; but this is not the same as the understanding of their illusoriness and dream-likeness which is their lack of intrinsically real status. Therefore, ONE MUST INVESTIGATE THOROUGHLY THE DISTINCTIVE MODE OF ARISAL AS ILLUSORY STATED IN THE DEFINITIVE MEANING SCRIPTURES AND THE SCIENTIFIC TREATISES IN ORDER TO GENERATE REALIZATION OF ILLUSORINESS AND DREAM-LIKENESS. The cases are similar when uneducated children hold a mirror-image as the object reflected, or when an audience inexperienced in magic perceives a magical illusion as a horse or an ox, or when a person in a dream perceives as real the apparent mountains, houses, and rooms etc. And the cases are likewise similar for the older, educated person, or the magician himself, or the person who knows he is dreaming, all these know that the appearances are untrue. But none of these types of persons have discovered the view of reality.
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L6: [False Mode or Arising as Illusory]
L7: [The danger of falling into nihilism]
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When one has not properly identified the measure of the negatee as explained above, when one’s analysis of the object cools down, one first begins to imagine that the object does not exist, then one comes to experience the analyzer also as likewise (non-existent), then even the ascertainer of the non-existence ceases to have existence, and one comes into a state wherein there is no ground of ascertaining anything at all as “this is it” or “this is not it.” There then arises perception of a fuzzy, foggy appearance, occurring from the failure to distinguish between intrinsically real existence/non-existence and mere existence/non-existence. SUCH AN EMPTINESS IS THE KIND OF EMPTINESS THAT DESTROYS RELATIVITY, and therefore the arisal of such a fuzzy, foggy appearance derived from such a realization is definitely not the meaning of illusoriness.
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L7: [After going beyond realism, one has to go beyond the extreme of idealism / nihilism; the Middle Way: not accepting, not rejecting.]
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Therefore, when one analyzes rationally and one comes to consider that such a person is not present even in the slightest upon its intrinsically established object, depending on which (consideration) these appearances arise in a fuzzy, foggy manner—just this is not very difficult. Such experiences occur for all those who admire the Middle Way theories and have a casual learning of the teachings that demonstrate intrinsic realitylessness. BUT THE REAL DIFFICULTY IS TO COMPLETELY NEGATE ANY OBJECTIVELY ESTABLISHED INTRINSIC REALITY AND YET DEVELOP A DEEP CERTAINTY ABOUT THE REPRESENTATION OF HOW THAT INTRINSICALLY UNREAL PERSON HIMSELF IS THE ACCUMULATOR OF EVOLUTIONARY ACTIONS AND THE EXPERIENCER OF EVOLUTIONARY EFFECTS ETC. WHEN THE COMBINATION OF THOSE TWO FACTS (REALITYLESSNESS AND) THE ABILITY TO REPRESENT THOSE THINGS, IS CARRIED TO THE EXTREME LIMIT OF EXISTENCE, THAT IS THE VIEW OF THE MIDDLE WAY, SO EXTREMELY DIFFICULT TO DISCOVER.
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Therefore, when one investigates with the rationality analytic of reality, (one must understand that) the failure to discover any sort of production etc. negates intrinsically real production etc., and does not negate every sort of production and cessation. Otherwise, if one negates (every form of production etc.) (reality) becomes like a rabbit’s horn and the son of a barren woman, devoid of all functional efficiency, and there is the fault that in the remaining merely illusory appearance the functions of relativity are no longer viable. Chandrakirti discusses this in his Four Hundred Commentary, commenting on the words, “That being so, how is existence not like an illusion?” (as follows):
~ “When you experience relativity rightly, it is like an illusory creation, and it is not like the son of a barren woman. If you should negate all forms of production through this analytic investigation, and assert that this is what is taught as the non-production of creations, then this is not illusoriness, but rather corresponds to the son of a barren woman and so forth.
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L7: [The inseparability of appearances and emptiness, of dependent origination and emptiness.]
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~ So, from fear of getting stuck in the extreme consequence of the non-existence of relativity, do not act like that, but TREAT (REALITY) AS ILLUSORY, WITHOUT CONTRADICTING THAT (FUNCTION OF RELATIVITY)”. (i.e. The Middle Way: not accepting, not rejecting.)
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And further:
~ “Therefore, when you investigate analytically, since phenomena will fail to maintain intrinsically real status, still each individual phenomenon will remain in an illusory manner.”
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Therefore, THE HOLDING OF APPEARANCE AS PRECISELY ILLUSORY YET EXISTENT RELATIVITY is not the faulty holding of illusoriness, although if you hold illusory appearance as having objective status or truth-status, it is a fault.
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(i.e. The inseparability of appearances and emptiness, of dependent origination and emptiness. Their non-duality: not two, not one.)
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L7: [Emptiness doesn’t deny dependent origination, karma, the path …]
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Buddha stated in the King of Samadhis,
~ “The states of existence are like a dream; herein there is no birth nor any death. Living beings, humans, or even life are not discovered. These things are like foam, like a plantain tree, like an illusion, like a flash of lightning, like the reflection of the moon in water, like a mirage. Although no person dies from this world and goes through transmigration into any other (ultimately), STILL ACTIONS COMMITTED NEVER LOSE THEIR EVOLUTIONARY EFFECT, AND-GOOD AND BAD EVOLUTIONARY EFFECTS MATURE IN THIS CYCLIC LIFE.”
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When one investigates with the rationality analytic of ultimate reality, nothing whatever is discovered that can withstand analysis such as a person who is born, dies, and transmigrates. NEVERTHELESS, ILLUSORY THINGS OCCUR AS THE EVOLUTIONARY EFFECTS OF GOOD AND BAD (ACTIONS). One must develop one’s understanding according to this statement (of the Buddha).
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Furthermore, when one does not practice in equipoise by concentrating upon the view that has decisively penetrated into reality, but merely finds stability in one-pointedness on not holding anything at all in one’s mind, then, when one arises, from the power of that (samadhi), appearances such as mountains etc. no longer appear solid and substantial but appear indistinct like fine smoke or like a rainbow. But this is not the arisal of illusoriness explained in the Scriptures: because this is an appearance in emptiness with respect to a coarse substantiality, and is not an appearance in emptiness of the intrinsically real status of those apparent things; and also because the absence of solid substantiality is definitely not the meaning of emptiness which is intrinsic realitylessness. Otherwise, there would be the faults that it would be impossible for the truth-habit to arise when perceiving a rainbow as qualified object, and there would be no possibility of generating the wisdom realizing truthlessness when considering substantiality as the qualified object.
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L6: [The Method Employed for the Arisal of Illusoriness]
L7: [Using the arisal of appearances as the path]
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Well, what should be done for the unerring arisal of the meaning of illusion?
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For example, when the visual consciousness sees an illusory horse or ox, one depends on the certainty in mental consciousness that the apparent horse or ox does not exist, and one generates a certainty that that horse or ox appearance does not exist. In the same way, one depends on both the undeniable appearance of person etc. in conventional cognition68 and the certainty through rational cognition that that very thing is empty of an objectively established intrinsic reality, and thereby one generates the certainty that that person is an illusory or false appearance. (i.e. The observation of the dependent origination – in our own mind — eliminates the extreme of nihilism; the inference about the emptiness – following various reasonings — eliminates the extreme of realism. Thus this methods permits to stay on the Middle Way between all extremes.) By that key, one reaches the essence of the meditation on emptiness as like space wherein one’s concentration allows not even an iota of mental orientations which are substantivistic sign-habits. When one arises from that (concentration), and one regards the arisal of apparent objects, the aftermath illusory emptiness arises. In that manner when one investigates repeatedly with the rationality analytic of the presence or absence of intrinsically objective status in things, after one has generated an intense certitude about intrinsic realitylessness, one’s observation of the arisal of appearances is the arisal in illusoriness, and there is no separate method of determination of the emptiness that is illusoriness. (i.e. The arising of each new illusion becomes one more proof that everything is empty of inherent existence.) Thereupon, when one engages in activities such as prostrations and circumambulations etc., the certitude from the above analysis is taken into account, and the engagement in those activities becomes the training in the arisal of illusoriness. (i.e. All methods, skillful means, are perfected by combining them with the realization of the emptiness of the three: subject, object, action. They then become paramitas.) From within the actuality of that, one should perform those (activities). When one purifies that, the mere remembrance of the view causes those things to arise in illusoriness.
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L7: [Resume of the method]
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To express the method of seeking that certainty in an easily understandable way;
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— having initiated the proper arisal in general of the above explained rational negatee, one should identify it by considering thoroughly how one’s own misknowledge reifies intrinsic realities.
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— [REASONING ABOUT BEING ONE OR MANY]
—- Then, considering specifically the pattern wherein if such intrinsic reality exists it will not go beyond sameness or difference (with its basis of designation),
—- and the process wherein devastating refutations accrue to the acceptance of either alternative,
—- one should derive the certainty that is aware of the refutations.
—- Finally, one should confirm the certitude that considers that there is not even the slightest intrinsically real status in the person.
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— And one should cultivate repeatedly such (certainty-derivation) in the emptiness-orientation.
— Then one should become involved in the appearances of the conventional “person” undeniably arising as objects of cognition,
—- and one should cultivate the attitude oriented toward relativity, wherein that (conventional person) is represented as the accumulator of evolutionary actions and the experiencer of evolutionary effects,
—- and one should discover the certitude about the systems wherein relativity is viable without any intrinsic reality.
—- When those two facts (i.e., the viability of relativity and the absence of intrinsic reality) seem contradictory one should consider the pattern of their non-contradiction by using the examples of mirror-images etc. Thus, the mirror-image of an object (such as a face), although -it is empty of the eyes and ears etc. that appear in it, is still produced depending on the object and the mirror and it is destroyed when either of those conditions are removed.
—- Those two facts (its emptiness of the objects and its being produced depending on them) are undeniably coincident in the same phenomenon. Like that, there is not even an atom of intrinsic reality status in the person, and yet this does not contradict its being the accumulator of evolutionary actions, the experiencer of evolutionary effects, and its being produced depending on the actions and afflictions of previous (lives).
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— One should cultivate this consideration. And so, one should understand (illusoriness) in this way in every such occasion.
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L4: [Determination of the Phenomenal Selflessness]
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“PHENOMENA” ARE the five aggregates that are the person’s designative base, the six elements such as earth, and the six media such as eye and so forth.
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Their emptiness of objectively established intrinsic reality is the selflessness of those things.
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There are two parts to the way of determining this;
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— one negating (phenomenal self) by the reasonings mentioned above (i.e. sameness or difference of parts and wholes),

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— and the other negating it by other reasonings previously unmentioned
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¢(i.e. The other four reasonings
¢– — The King of reasoning: dependent origination
¢– — — Dependently produced: depending on causes and conditions
¢– — — Dependently designated: depending on their base / aggregation / parts
¢– — — Depending on the mind labeling them.
¢– — Not existent, not non-existent.
¢– — The four extreme modes of production: self, other, both, neither.
¢– — …)
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L5: [Negating the Self Using the above Reasonings [same vs different]]
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There are two kinds of things among the aggregates, elements, and media, (the physical and the mental). (Their selves) are refuted as above through THE ANALYSIS OF OBJECTIVELY REAL SAMENESS AND DIFFERENCE OF PARTS AND WHOLES, (the parts being) directional, eastern sector, etc., in the case of physical things, and temporal, former and later moments, etc., in the case of mental things.
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And this is the meaning of the above-cited Sutra:
~ “Just as you understand the self-concept, you should use intellect to apply it to everything.”
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L5: [Refuting the Phenomenal Self with Other New Reasons]
L6: [Showing the Reason of Relativity [the King of Reasonings, that permits to stay away from all extreme views]
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THE REASON OF RELATIVITY is clearly stated in the Questions of Sagaramati Sutra, as logically refuting the intrinsic reality status of things:
~ “THINGS WHICH OCCUR RELATIVISTICALLY DO NOT EXIST WITH INTRINSIC OBJECTIVITY.”
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In Questions of Anavatapta Sutra, Buddha also clearly states,
~ “WHAT IS PRODUCED FROM CONDITIONS IS UNPRODUCED,
~ it is not produced through any intrinsic objectivity.
~ I declare that EVERYTHING CONDITIONAL IS EMPTY.
~ Who knows emptiness, he is consciously aware.”
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This (kind of statement) is extremely common in the precious Scriptures.
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In the latter quotation, the “unproduced” in the first line is explained by the “not produced through any intrinsic objectivity,” which thus qualifies the negatee in the negation of production.
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Chandra, in the Clear Words, cites the Visit to Lanka,
~ “intending the lack of intrinsically real production, I say all things are unproduced!”
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Thus the Teacher himself explicates his own inner intent in the Discourses, explaining for those who worry that perhaps the unqualified statements of productionlessness mean that all things produced do not exist at all, that it rather means that there is no production through any intrinsic reality. (i.e. No real production, no complete non-existent production.)
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In the third line, the Buddha states that conditionality of dependence on conditions is equivalent to emptiness of intrinsic objectivity, which is tantamount to the equation of emptiness of intrinsic reality with relativity, and shows that the Buddha does not intend an emptiness of functional efficacy, which would be the negation of mere production.
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Nagarjuna also, in the Wisdom, states,
~ “Whatever is relatively occurrent is peace in its objectivity.”
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That is, (things are) peaceful, or empty, with respect to intrinsic objectivity, by the reason of the relativity. Thus, one should understand that these statements clear away the darkness of erroneous opinions such as that the Middle Way system must advocate nonproduction with respect to (even) relative production.
.
Such a reason of relativity is extremely praiseworthy. The Buddha states in the Question of Anavatapta Sutra,
~ “Wise persons will realize the relativity of things, and will no longer entertain any extremist views.”
.
That is, one no longer entertains extremist views once one realizes relativity.
.
Furthermore, Chandra declares, in the Introduction,
~ “Since things are occurrent in relativity such reifications cannot be attached to them. Hence, this reasoning of relativity cuts open the whole network of bad ideas.”
.
This is the unexcelled distinctive specialty of the eminent beings Nagarjuna and his son.
Therefore, here, AMONG (ALL) REASONINGS WE SHOULD CELEBRATE THE REASON OF RELATIVITY.
.
Here, there are two chief points of resistance that obstruct the correct view. One is the reificatory view or absolutist view that has a fixed orientation toward truth-habits that hold to the truth-status in things. The other is the repudiative view or nihilistic view which goes too far by not appraising the measure of the negatee and becomes unable to’ incorporate in its system the certitude about cause and effect within relativity, losing all ground of recognition about anything such as “this is it” and “this isn’t it.” These two views are completely eliminated by the negation of intrinsic reality based on the reason that brings certitude that from such and such a causal condition such and such an effect occurs. For, the ascertainment of the import of the thesis radically refutes absolutism, and the ascertainment of the reason radically refutes nihilism.
.
Therefore, ALL THINGS, INNER such as creations etc., AND OUTER such as sprouts etc., WHICH OCCUR IN DEPENDENCE ON MISKNOWLEDGE ETC. (and seeds etc. respectively), being thus (relative) are not correctly established as intrinsically identifiable. For if they were to be intrinsically objectively established, it would be necessary for each to have an independent, self-sufficient reality status, which would preclude their dependence on causes and conditions.
.
As Aryadeva says in the Four Hundred,
~ “What exists relativistically, will never become independent. All this is without independence; hence the self does not exist.”
.
By this, one should realize that persons and (things) such as pots HAVE NO INTRINSICALLY REAL STATUS, SINCE THEY ARE DESIGNATED IN DEPENDENCE ON THEIR OWN AGGREGATION (OF COMPONENTS); THIS IS THE SECOND FORMULATION OF THE REASON OF RELATIVITY. Since (things) are dependently produced and dependently designated, they are not objectively the same as what they depend upon; for if they were the same all actions and agents would become the same. Neither are those two objectively different; for if they were, any connection could be refuted and that would preclude any dependence.
.
L7: [The King of reasonings implies all the other reasonings]
.
As Nagarjuna said, in the Wisdom,
.
~ “When one thing depends on another,
~ they are not (objectively) the same,
~ and neither are they different;
~ therefore there is no cessation and no permanence.”
.
He also said, in the Transcendental Praise
.
~ “The sophists believe that suffering is self-created, other-created, created by both, or causelessly created);
~ you declared it is relatively occurrent!
~ Whatever occurs relativistically, you proclaim it to be empty—’things have no independence!’
~ This is your matchless lion’s roar.”
.
THAT IS, THE REASON OF RELATIVITY REFUTES THE HOLDING TO SAMENESS AND DIFFERENCE, THE ENTERTAINING OF THE ABSOLUTIST AND NIHILIST EXTREMISMS, AND THE HOLDING TO THE FOUR EXTREME MODES OF PRODUCTION.
.
L7: [What staying away from extremes means.]
.
Thus, having derived certitude about emptiness that is the emptiness of all the objectifying attitudes of substantivism, IT IS EXTREMELY PRAISEWORTHY TO ASSUME RESPONSIBILITY FOR ETHICAL CHOICE BY NOT ABANDONING THE CERTITUDE ABOUT THE RELEVANCE OF THE EVOLUTIONARY EFFECTS OF ACTIONS.
.
As Nagarjuna states in the Disclosure of the Spirit of Enlightenment,
~ “While knowing this emptiness of things, who is still responsible for evolutionary actions and effects, this one is even more wondrous than wonder, even more miraculous than miracles!”
.
TO ACHIEVE THIS, ONE MUST DISTINGUISH BETWEEN INTRINSICALLY REAL EXISTENCE AND MERE EXISTENCE, AND BETWEEN LACK OF INTRINSICALLY IDENTIFIABLE EXISTENCE AND NON-EXISTENCE.
.
As Chandrakirti states in the Introduction Commentary,
~ “while understanding how to represent the intrinsically unreal cause and effect of a mirror-image, what intelligent person, perceiving the mere existence of forms and feelings etc., things going not beyond causality, would attribute intrinsic reality to them? Therefore, while existence is perceived, there is no intrinsically real production.”
.
If you do not distinguish these (existences and non-existences), you will not get beyond the two extremisms of reification and repudiation, since as soon as something exists it will have objective existence, and once something lacks objective existence it will become utterly non-existent.
.
As Chandra says in the Four Hundred Commentary,
~ “according to those who advocate the substantial existence of things, as long as something is actually existent, it must be intrinsically objectively existent. If it ever loses its intrinsic objectivity, it becomes completely nonexistent, like the horn of a rabbit. These persons thus never get beyond dualistic positions, and hence they have a difficult time making their various claims consistent.”
.
THEREFORE, (IN OUR SYSTEM), WE ARE FREE FROM ALL ABSOLUTISMS BY THE ABSENCE OF INTRINSIC OBJECTIVITY, AND WE ARE FREED FROM ALL NIHILISMS BY OUR ABILITY TO PRESENT AN INTRINSICALLY UNREAL CAUSALITY IN THAT VERY ACTUALITY (OF EMPTINESS OF OBJECTIVITY).
.
As for “extreme,” Vasubandhu defines it in his Methodology of Elucidation, “extreme” means terminus, conclusion, proximity, direction, and contempt.” Granted that these “extremes” are even accepted in our own system, nevertheless, the “extreme” that is a resistance to the view that is called “extreme-free,” (is something different). Now Kamalashila, in his Middle Way Illumination, (criticizes an exaggerated notion of extremism), saying, “If there is some sort of existence in the ultimate of something whose objective nature is purely mental, then, just because it existed, how would adherence to its permanence or impermanence become an extremism? It is not logical to consider a proper attitude that accords with the true nature of things a downfall.” What he says here is correct, that a correct mental attitude according with reality is not a downfall, hence not extremism. Rather it is as in common parlance, where the edge of a cliff is called the “extreme”, and falling off it “falling to an extreme.”
.
Just so holding things to have truth status and holding them to have no status at all or not to exist at all; these are falling to extremes of permanence and annihilation which are the precise opposite of objective reality. (i.e. the extremes of realism and nihilism)
.
And holding things not to exist ultimately and holding evolutionary causality to exist conventionally, these are not extremisms; (i.e. The Middle Way: things are not inherently existing, but still not completely non-existent either, or both, or neither. Things are empty but still dependently arisen and functional. They exist in dependence of the mind, conventionally.) since the objects so held do in fact exist as they are held; and since Nagarjuna says in the Rebuttal of Objections, that things which are ultimately non-existent do exist there (conventionally),
~ “if you get rid of actual realitylessness, actual reality will be established,” (i.e. Things are not existent, not non-existent. If we reject the first part “things are not existent”, if we reject emptiness, then we would assume realism.)
.
and in his Emptiness Seventy,
~ “we do not negate this way of the world, that “this occurs relative to this.” (i.e. On the other hand, if we reject the second part “things are not non-existent” then we reject completely the world, dependent origination, the path, and the possibility of Liberation.)
.
Therefore, to differentiate between saying something “is not existent” and “exists” and saying it “does not exist” and “is not non-existent,” is merely to discern a difference in the mode of expression, for there is not the slightest difference in the meanings that arise in the mind, no matter how much you analyze them. So to say that such difference in expressions constitutes the difference between extremism and non-extremism is just to prattle nonsense about mere words. (i.e. Meaning that saying the second part “things are not completely non-existent either” is the same as saying that they do exist conventionally. So things exist in dependence, conventionally, but not ultimately / inherently.)
.
L5: [How the above Reasonings Prove the Truthlessness of the Uncreated [like space, the two cessations, Suchness]]
.
Nagarjuna, thinking that the truthlessness of uncreated things such as space, calculated cessation, uncalculated cessation, and Suchness could be easily proved once the truthlessness of persons and created things was proved by the above-explained reasonings, stated in the Wisdom,
~ “If created things are utterly unestablished, how can uncreated things be established?”
.
As for the way in which it is easy to prove: once intrinsic reality in created things is negated as above, their non-reality is established as sufficient for the presentation of all functions such as bondage and liberation, cause and effect, and objects and means of knowledge. That being established, then uncreated things also, such as Reality and calculated cessation, even though also lacking truth-status, can still be well represented as the goals of the paths, objects of knowledge, and as the Dharma-Jewel, refuge of disciples.
.
It is never said that
~ “if one does not maintain these things as truths, the systems which must present those things are invalid.”
.
Therefore there is no point in maintaining the truth-status of these (uncreated) things, (since truth-status is not required for conventional viability).
.
L7: [They are still dependent on their causes and conditions, mind knowing them … or at least to their characteristics]
.
Even if one did claim their truth-status, one would still be required to maintain their presentability as characterized by such and such characteristics, as (their being) disconnected causes and disconnected effects and as their being cognized by such and such VALIDATING COGNITIONS. And in that case, if they are (claimed to be) not connected with their own means of attainment, characteristics, and means of cognition, then one cannot avoid the fault of all unconnected things being characteristic and characterized (to each other) and so forth. And if it is claimed that they are connected, then, since it is impossible for a true, intrinsically real thing to depend on anything else, the claim of connection cannot be sustained.
.
L7: [Their inherent existence can be refuted by the usual reasonings]
.
Thus one should negate (truth-status) through the analysis of sameness and difference. If this rational analysis cannot refute the truth-status of these (uncreated things), then one cannot refute even in the slightest the truth-status of anything, since created things are completely similar.
.
L7: [The danger of reifying emptiness]
.
Here, some may imagine that, since the meaning of created things’ emptiness of intrinsically real intrinsic objectivity is that there is no objective reality in that kind of thing and that it has a nihilistic emptiness; whereas Suchness has its own intrinsic objectivity, and thus truly exists. This is the view that repudiates the relativity of created things, the ultimate resistance that misconceives the determination of created things’ emptiness of intrinsic reality. And the latter (idea that the uncreated absolute) has intrinsic objectivity amounts to the intolerable absolutism which reifies truth-status (in the absolute), and is a misunderstanding of the authentic import of emptiness.
.
L7: [Thinking emptiness is an essential characteristic of something real]
.
Now there are some people who insist that there must be something with truth-status, since a thing’s being empty of intrinsically real objectivity means that it does not exist in itself, and once not existent in itself it is impossible for it to exist anywhere else. They then carry on and present a theory that something must have truth-status, since if everything were truthless, the reasons and references proving that (truthlessness) themselves would be devoid of intrinsically real objectivity, and the proofs would have an unestablished subject. But these are just irresponsible statements arising from a failure of investigation.
.
If the logical implications of this are thoroughly understood, it becomes apparent that the fact that the Indian Buddhist schools, once they assert the truth status of things, definitely maintain the truth-status of all things, even calling themselves “philosophical realists,” and once they assert truthlessness, no longer assert anything at all to have truth-status; this fact is a sign of their utterly distinctive superiority to the babbling philosophers of this area around here!
.
Here, those who say two inconsistent things about Suchness, agreeing about the above pattern of emptiness of intrinsically real objectivity of superficial things, yet getting into various ways of argument about whether or not the ultimate is ultimately, established or not—these persons should be clearly recognized from the above explanations. For, the non-assertion of the truth of all phenomena and things through the logical negation of the truth in things, and the advocacy of the truthlessness of all phenomena and things based on a nihilistic emptiness from a flawed grasp of emptiness are two absolutely dissimilar positions.
.
L7: [Emptiness of the Ultimate Realm; no absolute, only adapted skillful means]
.
Here one may object, that if the meaning of Nagarjuna’s statement,
~ “If created things are utterly unestablished then how can uncreated things be established…”,
is as explained above, then how does this not contradict his statement from the Philosophical Sixty,
~ “the Victors declare that Nirvana is the only truth; thus what wise person would imagine that therein some residue is not eliminated”,
i.e., that only Nirvana is truth and others are not true; and also his statement from the Ultimate Realm Praise,
~ “all of the Victor’s Discourses wherein he teaches emptiness are for the sake of eliminating afflictions,
and not to cause the destruction of this realm”,
i.e. that the Discourses teaching emptiness which is intrinsic non-reality are for the sake of eliminating afflictions and do not show that there is no realm whose nature is purity.
.
These (assertions) actually refute the meaning of the references.
.
The meaning of the first reference is the same as that of the passage, “The Lord (said):
~ Monks! This supreme truth is unique.
~ It has a non-deceptive nature.
~ It is Nirvana.
~ All creations are deceptive and false in nature.”
.
This Sutra teaches that Nirvana is truth and all creations are false. It clearly shows that THE MEANING OF “TRUTH” HERE IS “NON-DECEPTIVE” and the meaning of “falsehood” is “deceptive.” Now, since “Nirvana” here means “ultimate reality” according to Chandra’s Philosophical Sixty Commentary, the cognition that directly experiences it is undeceived by any appearance of intrinsic objectivity where there actually is none. On the other hand, the remaining creations are deceptive in that they appear intrinsically real to cognitions perceiving them when they actually are not intrinsically real. HENCE, THE “TRUTH” HERE IS NOT A TRUTH-STATUS THAT WITHSTANDS ANALYSIS BY THE RATIONALITY ANALYZING FOR ULTIMATE TRUTH-STATUS OR ITS LACK. Still, what can one do when people do not carefully think over the meaning but merely fasten on the mere name?
.
Furthermore, since Nagarjuna explains, in his Philosophical Sixty, that
.
~ “‘Existence’ and ‘Nirvana’, these two do not exist;
~ the very knowledge of existence itself
~ is that which is called ‘Nirvana’.”
.
¢(i.e. Samsara and Nirvana are not different, not the same. Sentient beings and Buddhas are not different, not the same. They are both empty of inherent existence because dependently arisen. Liberation is merely directly realizing the real nature of our own mind, and thus of everything; the non-duality of everything; that everything is already peace.)
.
That is, NEITHER EXISTENCE NOR PEACE EXIST BY VIRTUE OF ANY INTRINSIC REALITY, AND THE VERY OBJECT OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE INTRINSIC NON-REALITY OF EXISTENCE IS ITSELF NIRVANA. So how can this be the philosophical position that claims that the emptiness that is the truthlessness of the samsaric life-cycle is a nihilistic emptiness?
.
As for the meaning of the reference from the Ultimate Realm Praise, it shows that Sutras teaching emptiness which is intrinsic non-reality, in order to get rid of the root of all other afflictions, i.e., the truth-habit about phenomena, teach the nonexistence of its reified object, and do not teach that there is no emptiness which is the naturally pure realm wherein the two selves, objects of the truth-habits, are negated.
.
Therefore, this reference becomes standard to refute ideas such as that
~ “this reference teaches there is no voidness which is the negation of the negatee, truth, since though there is emptiness it is not truly established”
and that
~ “it is not necessary to realize the emptiness which is the Suchness of the ultimate in order to exhaustively eliminate the afflictions.”
.
Therefore, Nagarjuna, from the very same Praise, says,
~ “The mind can be cultivated by the three ideas ‘impermanence, emptiness, and suffering’,
~ but the supreme cultivator of the mind is the intrinsic non-reality of things”;
and
~ “One should meditate on the very lack of intrinsic reality of things as the Ultimate Realm”,
.
i.e., that the Ultimate Realm to be contemplated is the very intrinsic non-reality of all things, and that such contemplation is the supreme cultivator of the mind.
.
Thus, how can it be proper to quote this (in support of) the position that, since the emptiness which is intrinsic realitylessness of things is a nihilistic emptiness, one must employ some different, truly established emptiness as the emptiness to be contemplated? This would be like saying that, to dispel the pain of terror from mistakenly thinking there is a snake to the east,
~ “Showing there is no snake there would not serve as remedy, so one must show that there is a tree to the west!”
.
For, what one is saying here is that the realization of the truthlessness of the objects of truth-habits is no remedy to cure beings’ suffering from truth-notions about such apparent things, and that rather one must show that some other irrelevant object truly exists.
.
¢(i.e. Even if Emptiness is not an absolute, it is still the ultimate antidote to all misknowledge which is the root of all afflictions and suffering. Even if emptiness is empty of inherent existence it is still functional, efficient as an ultimate antidote to “inherent existence”.)
.
*******************************************************
*******************************************************
*******************************************************
.

L1: [Presentation of the Two Realities]
.
The Ground Differentiated into the Two Realities
L2: [ Another illusory duality.]
.
Former scholars held many opinions about the grounds of differentiation into the two realities. Here, knowable objects are the ground of differentiation, following (Shantideva’s) statement in the Education Manual.
~ “Knowable objects are comprised by the superficial and ultimate realities.”
.
*******************************************************
.
L2: [The Number into Which They are Differentiated [Everything work in pair, in apparent duality.]
.
They are divided into the two realities, superficial and ultimate, according to Nagarjuna’s statement in the Wisdom:
~ “The reality of the social superficial
~ and the reality of the ultimate object.”
.
*******************************************************
.
L2: [The Purpose of Such Differentiation [Each one is the antidote to one extreme, but they are really inseparable, so they are pointing toward transcending the duality]]
.
Here we might wonder, since the “two” in a dual differentiation must involve difference, WHAT IS THE MODE OF DIFFERENCE?
.
Here many former scholars, out of the three types of difference—actuality-difference, where both things have different real causes, as in the case of pot and cloth; differential difference, where actualities are the same and the cause of one or the other thing is unreal, as in the case of production and impermanence; and exclusive difference, where one thing negates the other—claimed that the two realities were EXCLUSIVELY DIFFERENT, a few of them maintaining they are THE SAME in actuality but differentially different.
.
According to the correct statement of Kamalashila in the Illumination of the Middle Way, that
~ “the relation of identity is not precluded (i.e. impossible) even when (one of the relata) is unreal,”
.
the (relation of) actual sameness and differential difference is not precluded in either the case where both causes of difference are unreal or the case where one or the other is unreal. Chandrakirti states in the Introduction
.
Commentary:
~ “This indicates that the intrinsic actuality of all things has two forms-superficial and ultimate.”
.
So each thing considered has two actualities, superficial and ultimate. It would be extremely irrational for the two realities (therefore) to be two different actualities, were they not the same actuality. And if there was no actuality to those two, they would become non-existent. For being existent is concomitant with having either one actuality or many actualities.
.
Also, Nagarjuna states in the Disclosure of the Spirit of Enlightenment that
~ “THE SUPERFICIAL IS EXPLAINED AS EMPTINESS; AND EMPTINESS ITSELF IS SUPERFICIAL, BECAUSE IT IS DEFINITE THAT THEY ARE MUTUALLY INDISPENSABLE, LIKE PRODUCTION AND IMPERMANENCE.” (i.e. Inseparability of the Two Truths; they are non-dual: not two, not one. They are not different, not the same. But the author here is playing with words as if we could say more than this.)
.
If such things as sprouts were different actualities from their own ultimate realities, they would also be different actualities from their own emptiness of truth (status), and hence would possess truth-status. (i.e. Things do not exist on their own and then are empty of inherent existence, as if those two could exist separately and then be united. There is no emptiness with or without things; and no things with or without emptiness.) Thus, as the (two, sprout and its truthlessness) are not actually different, they are the same in actuality. (i.e. Being the same in actuality cannot means that they are the same.) A sprout (on the other hand), though it is its own emptiness of truth, is not its own ultimate reality. (i.e. There it is: they are not different, but still not the same. There is no need for any other concepts to say that. No ?)
.
~****************************************
~ NOW SOME TREATISES SAY THAT
~ THE TWO REALITIES ARE
~ NEITHER THE SAME NOR DIFFERENT.
~****************************************
.
¢(i.e. Bingo ! Non-dual: not two, not one.)
.
Some interpret this as intending that they lack any intrinsically real sameness or difference. Some interpret this as intending that they have neither different actualities nor identical differentials.
.
*******************************************************
.
L2: [Explaining the Meaning of Each Type]
L3: [The Superficial Reality]
L4: [Verbal Meaning of “Superficial” and “Reality” [it is not about vs absolute truth, but about being “deceptive” according to some logic process, based on misknowledge]]
.
In the Clear Words, Chandrakirti explains “superficial” in three ways, as “a covering over reality,” as “mutual dependence,” and as “social convention.” The latter of these is explained as having the nature of the expressed and its expression, the knowable and its knowledge and so forth, but by this the superficial reality is not to be understood as including all expressible and knowable whatsoever, and not merely the expression and cognition of subjective conventions. Now the first of the above three is the superficial represented as reality in superficial cognitions of forms etc. This is also the misknowledge which reifies existence of intrinsic reality in things lacking in any intrinsically real objective status. For, truth-status being objectively impossible, truth is (merely) represented in cognition, and there is no representation of truth in a cognition free of truth-habits.
.
Thus Chandrakirti states in the Introduction:
~ “It is superficial because delusion obscures its nature; and what artificially appears therein as real was termed a ‘superficial reality’ by the Sage; since an artificial phenomenon is ‘superficial.'”
.
In the Commentary, he explains that
~ “thus what is included in the branches of existence is represented as a superficial reality by the force of afflictive misknowledge. For Disciples, Self-Enlightened Sages, and Bodhisattvas who have abandoned afflictive misknowledge make no presumption of the reality of things which appear to them as existent such as creations and reflections and so on which (they know) are not real but have an artificial nature. So, while they delude the naive, others understand them as superficial, merely like illusions, through the fact of their relativity.”
.
Therefore, while things represented as existent according to the superficial reality are so presented by misknowledge, he does not indicate there is no representation of superficial reality at all for Disciples, Sages, and Bodhisattvas who have abandoned afflictive misknowledge.
.
— Now the first reason for that is as explained above-that it is because, since afflictive misknowledge is the truth-habit, its perceived object is impossible even conventionally, and superficial reality is concomitant with conventional existence. Therefore, if things are the superficial which is the basis of the presentation of superficial existence, they must not be what is taken as superficial by afflictive misknowledge.
— The second reason is that according to those who have abandoned afflictive misknowledge there is no superficial which is represented as truth by truth-presumptions, and so those creations are not established as real for them, while still they do not establish the utter lack of any superficial reality.
.
Therefore, the statement that creations are “merely superficial” for them should be understood as intending that, since among “superficial” and “reality,” “reality” does not present itself to them, the word “merely” rules out “reality” without ruling out “superficial reality”, and this is the intention behind the mention of both “merely superficial” and “superficial reality.”
.
The Clear Words’ statement,
~ “That which is real according to mundane superficialities is the mundane superficial reality”,
.
and the Introduction Commentary statement,
~ “that superficial whereby reality appears, things each appearing as intrinsically real while actually being devoid of intrinsic reality, is a reality which is superficial, constituted by the errors of the world, and so is the social superficial reality”,
.
should both be understood as clearly referring to the reality according to the superficiality of the previously explained misknowledge, and not to the reality which has conventionally real status. For otherwise it would contradict the Dialectical interpretation wherein conventionally intrinsically identifiable status is impossible, and also because both the negations of truth-status and the proofs of truthlessness are accomplished by means of conventions. Along these lines one should understand also the explanation of the status of the superficial reality given by master Jnanagarbha.
.
Here one might imagine,
~ “Well, since a true reality and a true self are real according to the superficiality maintained by the truth-habit, they become superficially real!”
.
That would certainly be the case. I grant, if something merely true according to the superficiality of the truth-habit were to be represented as a superficial reality, but that is not what I said. I was merely explaining according to what kind of “superficiality” that “superficial reality’s “reality” was a “real superficiality,” as well as the mode of its corresponding “reality!”
.
L4: [The Nature of Superficial Reality [the two types of cognition]
.
EACH OF THESE INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL PHENOMENA HAS BOTH ULTIMATE AND SUPERFICIAL ACTUALITIES.
.
(i.e. All internal and external phenomena are empty of inherent existence – Ultimate truth – because dependently arisen – conventional truth. They are all not existent, not non-existent, not both, not neither.)
.
If we illustrate this with the case of a sprout (they are respectively) the actuality of the sprout discovered by the rational cognition that sees the object which is the authentic knowable, Thatness, and the actuality of the sprout discovered by the conventional cognition that encounters the delusive objects of false knowables. The former is the actuality of the sprout’s ultimate reality, and the latter is the actuality of the sprout’s superficial reality.
.
According to Chandrakirti in the Introduction,
~ “All things are perceived as having two actualities, each discovered by authentic (i.e. non-deceptive) and spurious (i.e. deceptive) perception (respectively); the object of authentic perception is Thatness, and that of spurious perception is said to be the superficial reality.”
.
This teaches that the sprout has the two actualities of the two realities, the ultimate being encountered by the former cognition, and the superficial being encountered by the latter cognition, and does not teach that one and the same actuality of the sprout has both realities depending on whichever of the two cognitions.
.
As the Commentary states,
~ “The intrinsic actuality of all things is precisely indicated as having two forms, superficial and ultimate”;
.
so, the actuality of each thing is differentiated into two, an ultimate (actuality) which is discovered by the cognition which perceives the authentic object, and the superficial (actuality) which is discovered by the cognition which perceives the false.
.
The superficial reality is not objectively real, being real only according to the truth-habit, and so to ascertain the elimination of its objects, one must ascertain their falseness.
.
In order to ascertain the delusive status of a superficial object such as an identified “pot’, for example, one must find the view which refutes through rational cognition (i.e. through logical inference, reasonings), the conceptual object of the truth-habit concerning that object, since falsity will not be established by validating cognition without rational negation of truth. Although “pot” and “cloth” and so on are superficial realities, to establish them cognitively it is not necessary that they be established cognitively as objects belonging to the superficial reality; just as, though “pots” and “cloths” are illusory in that they appear (intrinsically real) while lacking intrinsic reality, the cognitions that establish them (as merely present) do not necessarily establish them as illusory objects.
.
Therefore, to interpret this system as being that, according to the cognition of a common individual with no Middle view, the superficial reality of pots and cloths etc. is presented, and the ultimate reality is presented according to the (cognition of the) holy person, is not correct; for, it is the opposite from (Chandrakirti’s) statement in the Commentary, that “the very thing that is the ultimate for the common individual is the merely superficial for the holy person who has attained the sphere of illumined perception; for that thing’s intrinsic reality of emptiness is the ultimate reality for them.” Common individuals perceive pots etc. as real, which is the same as holding them to exist ultimately, and therefore those things, pots etc., have ultimate status according to their cognitions, and are not superficial objects (for them). But such pots etc. which according to them are ultimate in status, are superficial according to the intuitive perception of the holy persons who encounter appearances as illusory. And he mentions “MERELY SUPERFICIAL” HERE SINCE SUCH AN (EXALTED) COGNITION REPRESENTS NOTHING AS REAL(LY TRUE). That being the case, furthermore, he says “their intrinsic reality is the ultimate,” and therefore one should formulate these, differentiating between “the pots etc. are superficial” and “their intrinsic reality is the holy persons’ ultimate”; and one should not say that “pots etc. are ultimate for the holy persons”, because the rational cognition that perceives their true objectivity does not encounter any pots etc., and because the meaning of ultimate reality is stated to be that encountered by the rational cognition which perceives the authentic object.
.
L4: [Categories of the Superficial [Everything is either conventional truths or not accepted conventionally; not absolute basis for any absolute truth – the Buddha is jut not fooled by appearances]]
.
¢(i.e. Everything is as much only conventional truths, as it is Nirvana. See Ultimate Truth bellow.)
.
The Dogmatic Madhyamikas (i.e. such as Bhavaviveka) assert that cognition which perceives intrinsically identifiable status (in things) is definite about their existence as they appear, and that there are differentiations about whether objective appearances have or do not have the intrinsically identifiable status they appear to have, without their being any differentiation of subjective cognitions into authentic and spurious; according to Jnagarbha’s statement in the Two Realities,
~ “Although both appear the same, the authentic and spurious superficial (realities) are differentiated according to whether or not they have functional efficiency.”
.
(However), this (Dialectic Madhyamika) system (i.e. such as Buddhapalita, Chandrakirti, Tsong Khapa) asserts that everything that appears to have intrinsic identifiability to a person endowed with misknowledge is an appearance (only) for that cognition deluded by misknowledge, and therefore they do not differentiate superficial objects into authentic and spurious. (i.e. All appearances are conventional truths, merely imputed by the mind.)
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Chandrakirti states in the Introduction Commentary that
~ “what is spurious even superficially is not the superficial reality.”
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(But) what he means here is that a mirror-image of an object is not really that object according to the superficial (cognition) of an educated social person, and so it is not a superficial reality according to that person. Nevertheless, since it is an object encountered by perception of delusive objects which are superficial knowables, it is a superficial reality. And just as a cognition which perceives a mirror-image is mistaken in its apparent object, so the appearance of intrinsically identifiable blue etc. to one with misknowledge is also erroneous as an apparent object. If a validated object is presented as true, its being erroneous contradicts its representation, but the same (erroneousness) can accompany the presentation of that validated object as superficial. Otherwise, if there were no conventionally real status (at all), then one could not present any superficial reality, and when the superficial illusory things were presented conventionally, it would be impossible to represent them as superficial realities.
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According to the Dialectical Middle Way system, the six cognitions not deceived by any circumstantial causes of error and their six perceived objects, and the six cognitions opposite to them (circumstantially deceived) and their six perceived objects are presented (respectively) as the authentic superficial and as the false superficial, including both subjects and objects together in both cases. They are presented further as true and false superficial depending on social or conventional validating cognition itself, and not in relying on the rational cognition that corresponds’ to the perception of the holy persons. Therefore, they do not differentiate true and false superficial (as does the) Dogmatic Middle Way system, since (for the Dialecticians) there is no question of differentiating between an ignorant person’s perceptions of mirror images etc. and blue etc. by whether or not they are mistaken concerning their apparent objects. As Chandrakirti says in the Introduction,
~ “the social persons recognize what is perceived by the six sense faculties when undamaged, and they are true according to society itself; the rest are represented as false by society itself.”
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The one exception here is the opposite to the holding of the intrinsic identifiability of persons and phenomena, which are habit-patterns arising from such as the circumstantial mental deceptions caused by wrong theories regarding both things, which (opposite tendency, i.e. wisdom of selflessness) is (after all) not (usually) established by conventional validating cognition.
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FURTHER, ALTHOUGH DUALISTIC PERCEPTION ARISES IN THE PHENOMENALLY OMNISCIENT INTUITION THAT IS FREE OF ALL CAUSE OF DECEPTION BY INSTINCTUAL MISKNOWLEDGE, STILL IT IS NOT MISTAKEN WITH REGARD TO ITS PERCEPTUAL OBJECTS; THE REASONS FOR THIS HAVE ALREADY BEEN EXPLAINED ELSEWHERE.
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L3: [Ultimate Reality]
L4: [The Meaning of “Ultimate” and “Reality” [it is not about vs absolute truth, but about being “non-deceptive” according to some logic process]]
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Chandrakirti states in the Clear Words, “It is an object and it is supreme, therefore it is ‘ultimate,’ (‘supreme object’). The same thing is also ‘real’, therefore it is called ‘ultimate reality’.” Thus he asserts that both objectivity and supremacy constitute the “ultimate reality.” THE MODE OF REALITY OF ULTIMATE REALITY LIES IN ITS NON-DECEPTION, since it does not deceive people by appearing in one way while actually being another way. Chandrakirti, however, states in the Philosophical Sixty Commentary that (EVEN) THIS ULTIMATE REALITY IS MERELY PRESENTED AS EXISTENT IN TERMS OF SOCIAL CONVENTIONS. Therefore, the verbal meaning of “reality” in “superficial reality” and “ultimate reality” is different, the former being “reality” in terms of the truth habit (only).
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¢(i.e. How could “emptiness of inherent existence” be an absolute truth since there is nothing that is inherently existing in the first place. Emptiness is merely the supreme antidote to the belief of inherent existence. An empty antidote to an empty sickness. It the other side of an apparent duality; that is all.)
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L4: [The Nature of Ultimate Reality Actual Meaning [not-deceptive; but emptiness is not an absolute truth; it is still only a tool, the antidote to the inherent existence sickness]]
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¢(i.e. Everything is as much only conventional truths, as it is Nirvana. They are inseparable.)
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The nature of ultimate reality is as explained above in terms of the Introduction statement that it is what is discovered by the perception of the object which is the authentic knowable.
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(i.e. It is the direct realization of the lack of inherent existence of our own mind, and thus of everything. It is a negation without affirming anything. And it has to be complemented by the direct realization that this doesn’t mean that everything is completely non-existent, because everything is still dependently arisen and functional.)
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Chandrakirti further explains in the Commentary that “the ultimate as the very object of the special intuition of those of authentic perception is discovered as the intrinsic actuality of the self, but it (itself) is not established by its own intrinsic nature; it is a single actuality.”
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~ ************************************************
~ (i.e. EMPTINESS ITSELF IS EMPTY OF INHERENT EXISTENCE.
~ THERE IS EMPTINESS ONLY WHEN THERE IS A BELIEF IN SOMETHING AS INHERENTLY EXISTING.
~ THEY ARE INSEPARABLE.
~ THERE IS NO EMPTINESS WITH OR WITHOUT AN OBJECT; NO OBJECT WITH OR WITHOUT EMPTINESS.)
~ ************************************************
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Thus, he states that, while it is discovered by the uncontaminated intuition that encounters THATNESS, IT HAS NO INTRINSICALLY OBJECTIVE STATUS (ITSELF). Therefore the position that “since it is something discovered by the uncontaminated equipoise, it has truth-status (itself)” is refuted. He calls it “the special intuition” to indicate that it is inadequate to define it as what is discovered by whatever type of holy intuition, but that ultimate reality is what is discovered by the special intuition that is the ontologically omniscient intuition. The meaning of “discovery” here is establishment by that (special) cognition, which is similar to the usage in the case of the superficial.
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As for the process whereby that (cognition) discovers that (object), just as someone with distorted vision sees hairs falling in the sky and another without that distortion does not even see such an appearance as hairs falling, so those damaged by the distortion of misknowledge perceive an intrinsic objectivity in the aggregates etc, but those who have completely eliminated the instinct for misknowledge and those who have the intuition of the holy learner’s uncontaminated equipoise by way of their perception of Thatness, like the person with undistorted vision, do not perceive in the very same (aggregates etc.) even the slightest dualistic appearance, the reality that they perceive being the ultimate reality.
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As Chandrakirti states in the Introduction,
~ “Those construct a false actuality such as hairs etc. by the power of hallucination, while others, by the purity of their vision see the very same things as Suchness—this should be recognized.”
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Further, from the Commentary, he continues,
~ “The Lord Buddhas, free from the instincts for misknowledge, see the ultimate reality in the aggregates etc. in the same manner that the person of undistorted vision does not see hallucinated hairs.”
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Now the ultimate which is thus perceived is the ultimate actuality involved in each thing considered as having two actualities. Further, that (very actuality) is the Nirvana which is the pure intrinsic reality free of intrinsically real status of each thing under consideration, as well as the Nirvana which is the Truth of Cessation free from whatever kind of seed of defilement.
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(i.e. It is enough to directly see the real non-dual nature of our own mind, and thus of everything, to become free from all of its creations, and to feel like the so called Nirvana.)
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Therefore, Chandrakirti makes such statements as, in the Philosophical Sixty Commentary,
~ ” ‘Well then, is Nirvana just the superficial reality after all?’ ‘Yes, that’s just it’ “
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and
~ “therefore, Nirvana is construed as precisely the superficial reality.”
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As for the meaning of such statements, the presentation of Nirvana, ultimate reality, as existent is a presentation merely of existence in terms of the cognition of conventional superficial reality, but it is not that this system asserts that Nirvana is superficial reality.
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From the same Commentary, Chandrakirti explains that
~ “Three of the Holy Truths are superficial realities while Nirvana is ultimate reality.”
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Here one objects that because he states that the other three Truths are superficial reality and Cessation is ultimate reality, and because he presents Nirvana as superficially existent, his statement that there is an ultimate reality is contradicted. IN ANSWER TO THIS OBJECTION, IT IS SAID THAT ULTIMATE REALITY IS ONLY MENTIONED IN TERMS OF SOCIAL CONVENTIONS.
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Therefore, all things represented as existent are presented in term of social conventions.
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Thus, Buddha states, in the Transcendent Wisdom 100,000, that
~ “ALL THESE THINGS ARE DESIGNATED IN DEPENDENCE ON SOCIAL CONVENTIONS AND NOT IN TERMS OF THE ULTIMATE.”
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Nagarjuna states, in the Emptiness Seventy, that
~ “DURATION, PRODUCTION, AND DESTRUCTION, EXISTENCE AND NONEXISTENCE, INFERIORITY, EQUALITY, AND SUPERIORITY—THE BUDDHA MENTIONED THESE IN TERMS OF SOCIAL CONVENTIONS AND NOT IN TERMS OF THE ULTIMATE.”
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So, all statements of the Victor which present duration, production, and destruction, or existence and nonexistence, or inferiority, mediocrity, and superiority—all these are presented only in terms of social conventions, and are not presented in terms of any sort of authentic objectivity which is not just conventionally presented.
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Therefore, master Jnanagarbha’s statement that “there is ultimate reality through reality in the ultimate” means that, since he explains rational cognition itself as a kind of ultimate, it is a reality according to it, as it is NOT DECEIVED, and he does not intend any sort of truth, status that can withstand critical analysis, because in his treatise, he refutes the truth-status in all things.
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¢(i.e. The Ultimate Truth, emptiness, is “ultimate” only in the context of the accepted logical reasonings, the context of conventional rational cognition. But since there is no absolute basis for any logic, then it cannot be any kind of absolute truth. But that doesn’t mean that there is no emptiness at all, or that everything is inherently existing. It only proves that even emptiness is empty of inherent existence.)
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Thus, if one says that “if the ultimate is not ultimately real, then the superficial is not superficially real!”, we accept that. But, if one says that “if the former is not established in the former, then the latter is not established in the latter!”, it becomes tantamount to saying that “if the negation of truth (-status) is without truth-status, then the negation-ground, considered things, becomes truly established!” (and this is unacceptable), because ultimate reality itself is presented as precisely the negation of truth in considered things, the negation-ground, and because the implication that all considered things would not be superficially established implies that they would not be falsely established (even, and not that they would retain truth-status). But even that (supposed implication) becomes extremely incoherent, because by THE VERY FACT OF THE LACK OF TRUTH-STATUS OF THE LACK OF TRUTH-STATUS OF ALL APPARENT CONSIDERED THINGS, the negation-ground necessarily is established as false. Therefore, while ultimacy-analytic rational cognition need not establish something that is presented as conventionally existent, IT IS NECESSARY THAT SUCH A THING NOT BE FAULTED BY ANY SORT OF VALIDATING COGNITION, EITHER CONVENTIONAL OR RATIONAL.
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Chandrakirti states, in the Philosophical Sixty Commentary, that
~ “the four properties such as impermanence abide in the appropriative aggregates superficially, and so to hold them is not mistaken, but the four (opposite) properties such as permanence do not inhere in the aggregates even superficially, and so to hold them there is explained to be erroneous”;
and in the Introduction,
~ “The inner essence imagined by those Fundamentalists, so much troubled by the sleep of unknowing, and those things imagined as illusions and hallucinations—none of these exist even according to the social world.”
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Thus, the Self and the Principle imagined by these Fundamentalists, and those imaginary objects such as illusions and hallucinations are said not even to be conventionally existent, merely existing according to an erroneous cognition. It is therefore baseless supposition to hold that these things are presented as superficially existent in the Dialectical system; besides which none of the other great Madhyamikas accept them. As for Chandrakirti’s assertion in the Introduction of the equivalence of subject and object in terms of existing or not existing, it is not merely in terms of general existence and non-existence, but is in terms of intrinsically real existence and non-existence.
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Therefore, while things presented as conventionally existent are presented as existent in terms of verbal conventions, all things presented in terms of verbal conventions are not accepted as conventionally existent. And as for the assertion that something is “merely” presented in terms of conventions, the word “merely” definitely does not exclude there being anything other than subjective conventions, nor does it exclude a (conventionally) presented thing’s being established by a (conventional) validating cognition. Rather, this system does not present the existence (of anything) through the discovery of a referent object by investigation into the mode of being of that referent out of dissatisfaction with its being presented in terms of conventions, nor does it present (that thing) as non-existent when no (referent) is discovered. It asserts that if anything were to be discovered by investigation through such a type of inquiry it would become endowed with truth-status, and therefore does not accept even conventionally that anything is discovered to exist through such an analytic process. Since it thus formulates the criterion for what constitutes analysis and non-analysis into reality, it considers that if something were to exist by virtue of intrinsic identifiability, it would come to have intrinsically objective existence, not merely being established in subjectively conventional terms, and it does not accept therefore any intrinsically real, intrinsically identifiable, or intrinsically objective existence, even in conventional terms. But I have explained all this extensively elsewhere.
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L4: [Rebuttal of Debates [This final realm is not existent, not non-existent, not both, not neither – it is beyond any conceptualization, any perception or non-perception]]
L6: [ [It is not about seeing something]
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Here some argue that if the Buddha’s ontologically omniscient intuition discovers ultimate reality, how does it not contradict Chandrakirti’s statement in the Introduction Commentary,
~ “If one objects that, ‘Is not the experience of such an intrinsic reality utterly non-existent?
~ And so how do they perceive it?’
~ We grant that; however, THEY SEE BY THE PROCESS OF NOT SEEING.,’
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He explains that the vision of reality is not seeing at all, and he quotes in support of the explanation that ultimate reality is even beyond the sphere of omniscient intuition, the explanation that mind and mental processes do not function at the Buddha-stage. So, if the Buddha does not perceive the aggregates etc., how does this not contradict the explanation that he knows absolutely everything, given in the context of his ten powers?
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The statement about “SEEING BY THE PROCESS OF NOT SEEING” does not mean that he does not see any kind of object at all, but rather it shows that, if these objects (advanced) by the power of the veil of misknowledge were to exist in reality, the holy, uncontaminated, equipoised intuition must perceive them, and so from the perspective of not seeing them at all, it sees their ultimate reality; because it is presented that the realization of the negation of a negates comes from not perceiving that negatee when it should be perceived if it were to exist.
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The meaning of the statement that the “SUPREME SEEING IS NOT SEEING” is to be understood in the same way. As the Encyclopedia states,
~ ‘”Forms are not seen, sensations are not perceived, concepts are not experienced, and thoughts are not perceived. There is no perception of consciousness, mind, or mentality—this is the experience of the Dharma’. This is the teaching of the Transcendent One. Beings say in words ‘See the sky!’ But how do you see the sky? This you must examine. The seeing of the Dharma is taught by the Transcendent One to be like that. That experience cannot be explained by any other example,”
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Here “not seeing” refers to the five aggregates, and “seeing” to the Dharma, which here has the meaning of Thatness, as in the statement that “who sees relativity, sees the Dharma!” Here, the example is “sky,” which is the mere exclusion of tangible obstruction. To see, or to experience that is not to see any obstruction, the negatee in this case, when it could be seen if it was there. In this example, the “not seeing” refers to the obstruction, and the “seeing” refers to the space. As in this example, (the seeing of reality) is not a seeing, and the last two phrases (of the quote) negate the idea that the seeing of reality is like the seeing of blue. And the statement that the five aggregates are not seen teaches that according to the vision of Thatness by uncontaminated equipoise, considered things are not seen.
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In the Entrance into the Two Realities, it is said that
~ “GODS! THE ULTIMATE REALITY TRANSCENDS EVERYTHING INCLUDING THE SPHERE OF THE OMNISCIENT INTUITION SUPREME IN ALL ASPECTS, AND IT DOES NOT CORRESPOND TO ANY EXPRESSIONS SUCH AS ‘SUCH IS THE ULTIMATE REALITY!’ “
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Here, when one expresses “ultimate reality,” it is explained that there is no experience in the mind as when subject and object appear to be separate. Therefore, this reference is a source for (the ultimate’s being) the elimination of dualistic appearance, and not a source for (the idea that) the Buddha does not experience the ultimate.
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In the Introduction Commentary, furthermore, Chandrakirti states that
~ “He is called ‘Buddha’ because he realizes only the intrinsic reality unaffected by any created phenomenon; because he has that experience.”
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Thus, according to the vision of reality by the Buddha’s ontologically omniscient intuition, only the ultimate reality of things is experienced without any contact with relative things.
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L6: [It is not about understanding something, nor about rejecting everything]
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As for the “ELIMINATION OF THE PROCESS OF MIND AND MENTAL FUNCTIONS,” it means that the process of constructive thought is eliminated at the time of realization of Thatness, and does not show that mind and mental functions are non-existent.
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As Chandrakirti states in the Clear Words,
~ “Thatness is free of constructive thought, since it is free of those mental processes which Constitute constructive thought. As the Buddha says in a Discourse, ‘What is ultimate reality? Where there are no processes of mind, not to mention any letters.’ “
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Thus he explains the meaning of the “lack of mental processes” as the lack of the constructive thought process. And even that is said not to be definitely eliminated at the time of the holy learner’s equipoise, but only at the time of Buddhahood, according to the Introduction Commentary.
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L6: [It is not existent, not non-existent]
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Furthermore, in the Introduction Commentary, Chandrakirti proves that if that (ultimate) intrinsic reality were not to exist, the austerities of the Bodhisattvas would be pointless, and he backs this up with scriptural references.
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Thus,
~ “What is the intrinsic reality of these things? It is that which does not depend on anything else, the intrinsic actuality realized by the wisdom free of all distortions of misknowledge. Who would ask, ‘DOES THAT (ITSELF) EXIST? OR DOES IT NOT EXIST?’ If it did not exist, for what purpose would the Bodhisattvas practice the path of the Transcendences? For it is to realize that reality that the Bodhisattvas undertake their hundreds of hardships.”
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¢(i.e. Everything is empty of inherent existence, but still not completely non-existent. To say that there is absolutely nothing to see would be to jump to the extreme of nihilism. And it is the same thing for the ultimate realm. It is not existent, not non-existent, not both, not neither. It is beyond any conceptualization, any perception, beyond causality space & time.)
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To support that, (he quotes)
~ “Noble son! If the ultimate were not to exist, the pure practice would be pointless, the arisal of the Transcendent Ones would be pointless. But because the ultimate reality does exist, Bodhisattvas are said to be expert in the ultimate.’
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Thus, if the ultimate reality were not to exist, practices for the sake of the purity of ultimate Nirvana would be pointless, as the disciple would be unable to realize it, and the Buddhas’ visiting the world in order to cause them to realize that would be pointless, and the great Bodhisattvas would become inexpert in ultimate reality. Therefore, since he quotes such Scriptures to prove the existence of the ultimate reality, to hold that the interpretation of this great Master advocates that the ultimate reality is not a knowable object and that the holy equipoise has no intuition that realizes Thatness, is simply a false speculation.
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L6: [It is beyond the duality knower and knowledge]
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Further as for the meaning of his statement in the Introduction Commentary, that
~ “therefore we represent that ‘THATNESS IS REALIZED’ (ONLY) DESIGNATIVELY, and actually there is not knowing of a something by a someone, since both the knowable and the knowers are actually unproduced”;
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first of all, it is that the representation of the realization of Thatness which differentiates between the subject, intuition, and the object, Thatness, is merely according to conventional cognition, and not according to that intuition itself. “The knower is unproduced” means that it is without intrinsically real production, and so the whole process becomes like water being poured into water.
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L6: [It has to be directly seen by directly seeing the real nature of our own mind in the present, without using any conceptualization]
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As for the statement that
~ “since mind and mental functions do not penetrate into Thatness, the object of intuition, it is realized only by the Body,”
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it means that the objective to be realized is Thatness, the subjective means of realizing that is the subjective intuition, and the realizer, or knower, is the Body of Perfect Beatitude. As for the way in which that Body realizes that Thatness it is by the process of elimination of the constructive thoughts constituting mind and mental functions, as explained above, which can be known by his statement in the Commentary that explains that the Body which realizes Thatness is free of all mind and mental functions, having the intrinsic reality of peace.
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L6: [Buddha still sees appearances as seen by ordinary beings, but He is not fooled by them; he also simultaneously knows their Ultimate nature]
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(The idea that) the Buddhas does not see the aggregates etc. is a repudiation of phenomenological omniscience and of all phenomenal objects, since “existent” and “not known by the Buddha” are mutually exclusive statements. Therefore, phenomenal objects necessarily appear to phenomenological omniscience, and they do so by arising in that (ultimate) cognition, since the system of this master does not advocate aspectless cognition.
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Among the apparent phenomenal objects there are two kinds:
— one kind, such as the Buddha’s signs and marks, which is not a deception by the instinctual misknowledge;
— and a second kind, such as the impure animate and inanimate things, which is a deception by instinctual misknowledge.
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The first of these kinds is not eliminated on the stage of Buddhahood; the second kind is eliminated, since its cause is eliminated.
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— As for the way in which they appear, when the Buddha’s signs and marks appear to a person who has not abandoned misknowledge, they appear to have intrinsic identifiability when they actually do not, but not for the reason that the objects themselves arise by the power of instinctual misknowledge, but they appear so by the power of the subject’s being deceived by instinctual misknowledge. And in that case, they do not appear so (intrinsically identifiable) to that subjectivity merely according to the fact that they appear that way to some other person, but from that person’s very own point of view.
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— On the other hand, in the phenomenologically omniscient intuition of the Buddha, things appear (also) according to (the cognition of persons) who have not abandoned misknowledge, where forms and sounds etc. appear to be intrinsically identifiable when they are not, but they appear so to the Buddha only from the point of view of their appearance to such persons deceived by misknowledge, and do not appear to the Buddha from his own point of view without depending on their appearing so to other persons. Therefore, the appearance of unreal forms etc. as intrinsically real also arises in the Buddha’s omniscience according to their appearance for those subject to misknowledge, but without depending on such an appearance to such a person, they are not cognized as appearing in that way from a Buddha’s own point of view. Therefore, there is no fault here that the Buddha’s omniscience becomes erroneous by being aware of such appearances, for, even though such intuition does not arise from deception, their awareness is there by the key point of his intuition’s necessarily having awareness of all objective knowables. Therefore, according to phenomenal omniscience’s own point of view all phenomena appear as selfless and realityless, like false illusions, and do not appear as real; and their appearance in that intuition with the aspect of their appearance to persons subject to misknowledge is merely due to their arisal with a true appearance to other persons.
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L6: [The Buddha abides in non-duality: he sees both truth simultaneously for the benefits of all sentient beings. That is called the realization of the Union of The Two Truths.]
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Nagarjuna states, in the Philosophical Sixty, that
~ “Those who are expert in phenomena perceive impermanent phenomena as collections of deceptive things, selfless, empty, and isolated,”
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and Chandrakirti comments that
~ “they see them in such a way since they have accomplished the ultimate.”
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Likewise, Jnanagarbha states, in the Two Realities, that
~ “The Omniscient One directly sees all relative productions just the way they appear, devoid of any imagined objectivity.”
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Thus, the phenomenological omniscience directly sees things in reality; and again,
~ “When he does not experience subject, object, and essence, because of his firm abiding in the non-arisal of any signs, he does not arise.”
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Thus, (the Buddha) never again arises from the samadhi wherein dualistic appearance is eradicated. Thus he speaks in both ways in these two explanations.
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However, although it must appear contradictory to assert both (that he sees only non-dually and that he sees things individually) and not one or the other, as long as one does not understand, they are not in fact contradictory. For, although the vision of Thatness and the intuition aware of all phenomena are one actuality, depending on their respective objects, they can function as rational cognition and as conventional cognition without the slightest contradiction. Understanding this point depends on properly understanding how, although at the time of the elementary view, rational cognition and conventional validating cognition occur with different modes of discovering when operating on a single considered thing, they have not the slightest contradiction to one another. At the time of fruition (in Buddhahood), when the two intuitions encounter their objects, if you understand well not only just that (they are not contradictory), but also how each validating cognition applies to the object, you can also understand how even though the two objects are not separately ascertained, the two subjectivities do not operate on a single basis. And this should be understood as an extremely fine point concerning the identification of the two realities.
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L4: [The Categories of the Ultimate [The ultimate is beyond duality and non-duality, conceptualization and non-conceptualization, production and non-production, emptiness and non-emptiness]]
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The ultimate reality is differentiated according to the Introduction Commentary’s statement,
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~ “If emptiness is extensively differentiated, there are the sixteen emptinesses.
~ Its medium differentiation is into thing-emptiness, nothing-emptiness, self-emptiness, and other-emptiness.
~ And most briefly, (it is differentiated into) the two-personal selflessness, and phenomenal selflessness.”
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Other treatises mention two categories, the actual ultimate and the corresponding ultimate.
— For example, Kamalashila in the Middle Way Illumination states that “this non-production is termed ‘ultimate’ and ‘corresponding ultimate” but it is actually not so, since actually the ultimate transcends all fabrications.”
— And Shantarakshita states in the Ornament of the Middle Way that “the ultimate reality is called ‘ultimate’ and ‘corresponding’ but really it is free from the whole mass of fabrications.”
— Jnanagarbha also speaks the same way in the Two Realities. Further, the Two Realities Commentary and the Ornament explain the negation of production etc. in the ultimate as the superficial reality.
In regard to the meaning of this, many old-time scholars considered this to refer to two ultimate realities, one verbal and one not verbal,
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— the former being the emptiness that is the negation of the production etc. of form etc. ultimately, which is a designative ultimate reality with the nature of the superficial reality; (i.e. One side of an apparent duality.)
— and the latter being not an object of knowledge, since it could not be the object of any sort of cognition whatsoever. (i.e. What is realized by going beyond the duality.)
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But that is not the meaning of these statements; it is rather explained as follows: while it is necessary that the objective reality should be called “ultimate” there are many explanations in which the subjective rational conviction is so termed.
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— For example, in the Two Realities, “reason is ultimate, since it is not deceived ” (i.e. “ultimate” means “non-deceptive” according to some logic process approved conventionally)
— and in the Illumination of the Middle Way, “those statements that things are utterly unproduced ultimately,” have the following meaning; the wisdoms arising from authentic learning, reflection, and meditation, since they are non-erroneous subjectivities are called ‘ultimate’ because they are the ultimate of this.” (i.e. “ultimate” in this context only)
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There are two kinds of rational cognitions
— the non-conceptual intuition of the holy equipoise, without conceptual thought,
— and the rational cognition that encounters Thatness depending on a reason, with conceptual thought, and so forth.
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Bhavaviveka’s explanation in Blaze of Reason of “ultimate” as both non-conceptual intuition and as the wisdom that corresponds to that, and Kamalashila’s explanation, in the Illumination, of the two ultimates, have the same intention. Therefore, the meaning of these treatises is not a differentiation of the objective ultimate only without differentiating the subjectivities (involved).
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— Now, the first (of the two kinds) is the penetration into Thatness, and is the actual ultimate, as it can cut off instantaneously with regard to its object mental fabrications both of truth and of dualistic appearance; it is what is meant by “transcending all fabrications.” (i.e. That is the result of the direct perception of the real non-dual nature of our own mind in the present.)
— The second one, while it can terminate fabrications of truth with regard to its object, cannot terminate fabrications of dualistic appearance, and it is called “corresponding ultimate” since it corresponds in form to the transcendental ultimate.
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Similarly, the two modes should be explained with regard to the ultimate which is the object for the negation of ultimate production etc. of form etc.
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— The objective emptiness according to the non-conceptual rational cognition is the actual ultimate free of both kinds of fabrications
— while (the same thing) according to the conceptual rational cognition being free of only one kind of fabrication, is not the actual ultimate free of both kinds of fabrication, yet it is not said in general not to be the actual ultimate reality.
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Therefore, except that it is free of all fabrications of dualism according to a certain type of cognition, it is not possible for that truth-emptiness to be free of all fabrications of appearance, and THEREFORE IT IS NOT THE MEANING OF THE TREATISES THAT FOR IT TO BE ULTIMATE REALITY IT MUST BE FREE OF ALL FABRICATIONS OF DUALISTIC APPEARANCE.
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¢(i.e. The Middle Way is: not accepting any duality as absolute, not rejecting all dualities as completely non-existent, useless, or from the mind-only. To go beyond dualities doesn’t mean to reject dualities, but to see through them, to see their real nature.)
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Therefore, the Illusionists claim that the coordination of the ground aggregates etc. and the truth-devoid-appearance, just the object achieved by inferential rational cognition, is the ultimate reality, refers to the corresponding ultimate and not the (actual) ultimate reality. Although the perception of freedom from true sameness and difference establishes the perception of truthlessness of sprouts etc., that is not the object for such achievement for a thoughtful person who has not (yet) ceased his doubts as to whether that object exists or not in truth, and that reason does not serve as a genuine reason for the termination of his doubts. The Illumination states that both reason and probandum of freedom from (true) sameness and difference are merely exclusions, stating that it is the same whatever is taken as reason, either non-sameness, non-difference, or not both of them. This is not interpreting them as implicative negations, as one can understand from the examples used therein, and as that is certainly not the position of Shantarakshita , Kamalashila, and Haribhadra. In regard to the exclusion of fabrications of the negatee in appearance, taking it as the latter of the two possibilities, exclusion or determination, and asserting that ultimate reality is merely the object encompassed by inference— none of the great Madhyamikas take this position. You should understand in this way the detailed explanation of the systems of these masters, as I have given it in the extensive Path of Enlightenment.
.
Jnanagarbha, in the Two Realities Commentary, after explaining the negation of production etc. as corresponding ultimate, continues,
~ “When others hold only the ‘perfect,’ it should be etymologized as ‘also pure,’ (meaning that THIS EXPRESSION FOR THE ULTIMATE IS ITSELF BUT AN ANALOGY). IF WE ANALYZE THIS, IT IS MERELY SUPERFICIAL. WHY? SINCE THE NEGATEE (TRUTH-STATUS) IS NOT EXISTENT, IT IS CLEAR THAT THERE IS NO NEGATION ULTIMATELY.”
.
Here, the “others,” that is the Idealists, assert that they have truly established emptiness which is the negation that negates the phenomenal self in the negation ground. But his own system does not consider that the phenomenal self is present as the negatee, and so he says that the negation which negates that is not really achieved. Therefore, his statement that the negation of ultimate production etc. is superficial, means that it is superficially existent, and does not show that it is (itself) the superficial reality.
.
Further, from the same text, he answers the objection that
~ “true production should actually be perceived, but it is not, and so it is like the false superficial, and so the negation of true production etc. is also the false superficial, since the phenomenon that is the negation ground should be perceived but it is not,”
.
by saying that
~ “it is not that it is not perceived, since it is not different from the actuality of the phenomenon.”
.
Here, when blue etc. is perceived, its truth-emptiness is explained as being apparent; for, although the mere negative exclusion which is truthlessness does not appear to the visual consciousness etc., he intends it to be an implicative negation, such a thing being superficial by definition, and so it is not prevented from being the ultimate reality which is the emptiness that is the mere exclusion of truth. Shantarakshita, in the Ornament, says that the negation of ultimate production etc. is included in the genuine superficial, being explained as there through its correspondence with the ultimate reality. He also mentions that the ultimate is the abandonment of the entire network of fabrications concerning being and nothingness.
.
In regard to this network of fabrications, Jnanagarbha states in his Two Realities, that
~ “THEREFORE, ‘IT IS NOT EMPTY, IT IS NOT NONEMPTY, IT NEITHER EXISTS NOR DOES NOT EXIST; IT IS NOT NON-PRODUCED AND IT IS NOT PRODUCED,’ such things and so forth the Lord proclaimed.”
.
And furthermore,
~ “WHY? THAT IS FREE OF FABRICATIONS. JUST THAT IS FREE OF THE WHOLE NETWORK OF CONSTRUCTIVE THOUGHTS.”
.
Here he explains the “network of fabrications” as the network of conceptual thoughts. That is abandoned according to the direct realization of Thatness. That is the actual ultimate. And what is not like that, rational cognition with its object, is the former corresponding (ultimate), as previously explained. Further, in regard to the negation of true production etc., there are both the rational cognition that negates it and the inferential object both, and one should understand the method of including it in the genuine superficial on that basis. And that method of explaining the freedom from the network of assertive fabrications about the two realities is very useful in many contexts.
.
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L2: [The Number of the Two Realities [On the path, we still need to differentiate between deceptive and non-deceptive, between the Two Truths; and not reject this apparent duality.]]
.
Of necessity, when one determines that something is a false and deceptive thing, one has excluded that thing from being non-deceptive. DECEPTIVE AND NON-DECEPTIVE are therefore mutually exclusive contradictories. Thus they apply to all knowables pervasively through their mutual exclusion, and there is no third option. Thereby one should understand the certification of the number of the two realities.
.
(The Buddha) stated in the Meeting of Father and Son,
~ “Thus the Transcendent One realizes the two realities, the superficial and the ultimate. Knowable objects are all included in these superficial and ultimate realities.”
.
He states that all knowable objects comprise the two realities. He also states in the Holy Thatness-Teaching Samadhi,
~ “other than the superficial and the ultimate, there is no third reality.”
.
This is a clear statement of the certification of the number of the two realities. If you understand the differentiation of the two realities, you will not become confused about the Sage’s teachings, and if you do not understand them, you will not understand the reality of the Doctrine. Further, you must understand it according to the determinations of the Protector Nagarjuna. Chandrakirti says in the Introduction that it is very important for those seeking liberation to be expert in the two realities:
~ “there is no method for (attaining) peace for those who stray from the path of Master Nagarjunapada. They fail in both the superficial and ultimate realities, and failing there, there is no attainment of liberation. Conventional reality serves as the technique, and ultimate reality is the result of that technique. Who does not understand the differentiation between them gets involved in false paths, under the influence of wrong notions.”
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L1: [The Categories of Transcendent Insight]
.
When you discover the view that realizes the two selflessnesses from the above teaching of the necessary conditions for transcendent insight,
.
~ YOU SHOULD MEDITATE ON TRANSCENDENT INSIGHT.
.
HOW MANY TRANSCENDENT INSIGHTS ARE THERE?
.
Here, I have not mainly taught the high stages of transcendent insight, but have emphasized the transcendent insight to be meditated by common individuals. To completely analyze that type of transcendent insight,
— there are the insights of the four realities,
— the insights of the three doors,
— and the insights of the six investigations.
.
¢(i.e. See section “The Identification of Transcendent Insight” above.)
.
THE INSIGHTS OF THE FOUR REALITIES are stated in the Elucidation of the Intent as the four, “discernment” and so forth. Among them, “discernment” takes the contents of reality as its object, and “investigation” takes the nature of reality as its object. The first contains thorough examination and thorough analysis, and the second contains examination and analysis, since they (respectively) discern coarse and subtle objects. The identification of these four is stated in the Stages of the Disciples and in the Instruction in Transcendent Wisdom.
.
¢(i.e. From above: The Buddha said in the Elucidation, “Then, after attaining the physical and mental adeptness, one abandons the mode of keeping the mind focused on one thing, and one individually investigates the well-considered things arising as internal images in the realm of the samadhi; one confronts each one of them. Thus, with regard to those objects of knowledge which arise as images in the objective sphere of samadhi, their discernment, investigation, examination, thorough analysis, tolerance, acceptance, differentiation, viewing, and discrimination; all these are called “transcendent insight.” And in this way, the Bodhisattva becomes expert in transcendent insight.”
¢– Here, “DISCERNMENT” refers to differentiation of the phenomenological content of reality
¢– and “INVESTIGATION” to penetrating its onto-logical condition.
¢– “EXAMINATION” refers to a crude consideration,
¢– and “THOROUGH ANALYSIS” refers to a fine analysis. …
¢“In general, in loose usage of the terms, there are statements wherein the nine stations of the mind are referred to as “quiescence,” and the four mental functions “discernment,” “investigation,” “appraisal,” and “thorough examination,” are referred to as “insight.” Nevertheless, actual quiescent stability and transcendent insight can only be presented beyond the generation of the special (mental and physical) adeptness, as will be explained below.”)
.
The insights of the three doors are stated in the Elucidation of the Intent as
— (the insights) arisen from signs,
— arisen from thorough investigation,
— and arisen from individual discrimination.
.
As for the description of these three taking the import of selflessness as an example,
— first selflessness is identified, then taken as object, and then its significance is imprinted in the mind without engaging in repeated determinations.
— The second (stage of insight) consists of determinations in order to ascertain what was not previously certain.
— The third (stage of insight) is the analysis as above of the identified import.
.
The (insights of the) six investigations are the thorough investigations and individual discriminations of meaning, phenomenon, nature, orientation, time, and reason.
— (Insight) investigating meaning investigates (whether) ‘the meaning of this expression is this’;
— investigating phenomena considers ‘this is internal’ or ‘this is external,’ etc.;
— investigating nature, it investigates whether ‘this is a particular nature or a general nature,’ or ‘this is a common nature or an uncommon nature’;
— investigating orientation, it investigates the faults and disadvantages of negative orientations and the virtues and benefits of positive orientations;
— investigating time, it investigates “such happened in the past, such happens in the present, and such will happen in the future.”
— (Insight) investigating reason, investigates through the four types of reasoning;
— — it investigates relational reasoning by viewing how effects occur depending on causes and conditions, considering specifically the objects of superficial and ultimate realities;
— — it investigates functional reasoning by investigating how things perform their specific functions, such as fire by burning, considering “this is the phenomenon, this is the activity, and this is the function it accomplishes”;
— — it investigates logical reasoning by investigating how things are established without contradicting validating cognitions, considering whether “this is supported by perceptual, inferential, or scripturally testimonial validating cognitions or not”;
— — and it investigates natural reasoning by investigating the commonsensical natures, the inconceivable natures, and the ultimate natures of things such as the heat of fire and the wetness of water, respecting those natures and not considering other (possibilities).
.
The presentation of these (investigative insights) as sixfold is to be understood by the yogi, but they can definitely be included in three categories, as concerned with verbal meanings, with phenomenal objects, and with ultimate natures.
— The first investigative (insight) is in terms of the first (concern),
— phenomenal investigation and particular nature investigation are concerned with the second,
— and general nature investigative (insight) and the other three are concerned with the third.
.
The first-explained four insights operate through three doors, and manifest six modes of investigation, and therefore the (insights of the) three doors and the (insights of the) six investigations are included in the (insights of the) four realities.
.
The four attitudes explained above (in the quiescence section – i.e. that is not included in this book) such as the ‘balancing’ attitude, are explained in the Stages of Disciples as being common to both quiescence and insight, and thus there are also four conscious attitudes in insight.
.
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L1: [How to Meditate on Transcendent Insight]
L2: [Meaning of Meditating on Insight Based on Quiescence]
.
Just as (the Buddha) states in the Elucidation of the Intent that having first achieved quiescence one meditates on insight, the treatises of the Holy Maitreya, Asanga in his Bodhisattva Stages and Disciple Stages, Bhavaviveka, Shantideva, Kamalashila in his three Stage of Meditation, and Ratnakarashanti in his Instruction in Transcendent Wisdom, and so on, many treatises also state this.
.
The intention of these statements is not that first of all one should generate a quiescence that perceives any kind of object, not oriented to the meaning of selflessness, and then subsequently one’s practice oriented toward selflessness becomes transcendent insight; because quiescence and insight are not differentiated by the objects they take up; because Ratnakarashanti explains in the Instruction that one first generates quiescence oriented toward the reality of emptiness of subject-object-duality and subsequently one generates insight through analytic meditation on the same object; and because Aryasanga, when he explains insight concerned with the contents of reality, states that after generating quiescence there is a meditation of insight based on it concerned with the levels of peace which moreover is said to be a path common to non-Buddhists and Buddhists as well as to common individuals and holy persons.
.
Therefore, when one newly achieves quiescence, not having achieved it previously, it is precisely achieved by placing the mind in one point toward any object whatsoever, and is not properly practiced through repeated analysis of its chosen object. It will be achieved if practiced in the former way, and it is impossible to achieve if practiced in the latter way. However, one who has already achieved quiescence in the former way can certainly continue to practice merely his focused meditation as before, but if he practices an analytic meditation through the specific discrimination of wisdom whether in the context of phenomenological or ontological concerns, he can derive ultimately a distinctive one-pointed samadhi. Thus, since that (practice) seems to achieve a specially powerful one-pointed samadhi which the former (practice) cannot, analytic meditation is recommended.
.
As for the way of practice, it is the procedure of first seeking quiescence and then, based on that, subsequently practicing insight, and that is the reason why quiescence and insight are differentiated by their different procedures in practice, even though they may both take the same object such as selflessness. Especially, since the meditation of the two transcendent insights, that concerned with, the levels of peace through specific discernment of the faults and virtues of the higher and lower realms, and that concerned with selflessness cultivated through analysis with the wisdom of the specific discrimination of the meaning of selflessness, is (indispensably) necessary to generate a firm and intense certainty, it has the greater power to abandon specific abandonees, (defilements and obscurations). As for the phenomenologically concerned transcendent insight, it is not only the meditation concerned with levels of peace which abandons the manifest afflictions, but is also stated by Ratnakarashanti in the Instruction to be the analytic meditation which discerns the nature of the eighteen elements, by which illustration one can understand the other insights which are meditated by distinguishing phenomenal objects.
.
Although Ratnakarashanti explains in the Instruction that one must generate quiescence and insight on the stage of yoga oriented toward the phenomenological before generating quiescence and insight oriented toward the ontological, here, following the view of Shantideva and Kamalashila etc., insight is generated after first generating whatever sort of quiescence, and I mean here the transcendent insight oriented ontologically (toward ultimate reality).
.
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L2: [Vehicles in terms of which this System applies]
.
Well, that gradual procedure of generating such quiescence and insight, is it in terms of Individual Vehicle or Universal Vehicle, or in terms of Sutra or Tantra?
.
This system is common both to the Individual Vehicle of the Disciples and Self-Enlightened Sages and the Universal Vehicle of the Transcendences, also being common to all four of the (main) theoretical schools) It also holds likewise for the three (lower) divisions of Tantra Vehicle; I have explained already the positions of the different Tantras and their great elucidators in the Stages of the Tantric Path.
.
AS FOR THE UNEXCELLED YOGA (TANTRAS), the Secret Union also uses Ratnakarashanti’s statement in the Instruction,
~ “if you EXAMINE YOUR OWN MIND, all things abide within it. This teaching resides in the Vajra of Space; there is no phenomenon and no reality.”
.
The Union also explains the orientation toward mind-only, as taught in the Visit to Lanka:
~ “DEPENDING ON MIND ALONE, do not imagine any external objects”;
.
the orientation toward Suchness, and the teaching of the three stages of the yoga of non-appearance. It also appears to explain as above the procedure of practice of quiescence and insight through focused meditation and analytic meditation in the first two stages. Thus it accepts a similar procedure of generating (quiescence and insight) in the mental process oriented toward reality. My own interpretation is that in the context of the Unexcelled Yoga the procedure of generating the understanding of the view must be practiced according to the Middle Way treatises. In practice, however, although there are conscious attitudes analytic of Thatness sometimes during the aftermath (intuitions) of the creation stage and the perfection stage, and although the perfection stage yogi who has achieved the ability to concentrate on the essentials in the body must definitely meditate through concentration on top of his view, when cultivating Thatness in equipoise, there is no practice of the analytic meditation of transcendent insight as explained in other treatises. Therefore, in that context you should not employ one-pointed reality-meditation upon one’s view in alternation with employment of analytic meditation. But this is not the context to clearly teach the reasons as to why it is enough to practice in that way (placing one-pointedness upon a correct view), so I have only explained the reasons why one should do the opposite in other paths.
.
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L2: [Actual way to Meditate on Insight based on Quiescence [not by rejecting thoughts]]
L6: [First discover the view of selflessness]
.
If you do not discover the view of selflessness, no matter what method of meditation you practice, your meditation will not abide on the import of Thatness. So, you must discover that view. And even if you have an understanding of the view, if you do not remember the view when you meditate on Thatness and focus your meditation upon that, you will have no meditation on reality. Further, if after each new session of analysis of the view you focus your mind on not holding anything at all, it is not the cultivation of reality of Thatness. Further, practicing by remembering that view and just focusing upon it is no more than the above practice of quiescence and the meaning of the treatises is not just to practice insight in alternation with that. Therefore, YOU SHOULD PRACTICE THROUGH THE SPECIFIC ANALYSIS BY MEANS OF WISDOM OF THE IMPORT OF SELFLESSNESS, AS EXPLAINED ABOVE.
.
L6: [You should use both Quiescence and Insight together in balanced proportion]
.
— If you practice analytic meditation by itself, the quiescence you previously generated will decline, so you should practice analytic meditation mounted on the horse of quiescence, now and then blending in periods of focused meditation.
— Moreover, if you practice analytic meditation often, your focusing decreases, so you should often return to focused meditation, engaging in abiding by itself.
— If the focused meditation is overdone you, become averse to analysis or you ignore the functioning of your analysis, and your mind becomes obsessed with one-pointed abiding, and so you should often return to analytic meditation.
— Your meditation has the greatest power if you PRACTICE QUIESCENCE AND INSIGHT IN BALANCED PROPORTION, so that is how you should practice.
.
Kamalashila says in the last Meditation Stages,
~ “When you meditate on insight and wisdom comes very strongly, quiescence becomes weaker, and the mind becomes agitated like a candle flame in the wind, so reality will not be experienced very clearly. At that time, you should meditate on quiescence. If quiescence becomes too strong, then, like a man who has fallen asleep, you will not experience reality very clearly; therefore, you should then meditate on insight.”
.
L6: [Not rejecting all thoughts as if “bad”]
.
Thus, it is not correct to hold that all thoughts occurring in analytic practice are substantivistic sign-habits which are truth-habits, and therefore terminate them; because, as I have repeatedly established, truth-habit-thought is only one tendency of thought. If you decide that rational refutations overwhelm whatever is held by discriminating thought, this becomes the nihilistic repudiation that has overextended the rational negatee, and it is not the meaning of the Scriptures, as I have established. Yet you may still think that, even if you do not assert that with regard to other subjects of concern, whatever is held in cognition regarding ultimate nature is (merely the product of) substantivistic sign-habits which conceptualize truth(-status) in things. In fact, those (sign-habits) are the fault of a defective habit pattern (of mind), and do not (function) with regard to all objects cognized; because it is stated that the egocentric individual desiring liberation must investigate reality from many scriptural and rational perspectives.
.
L6: [Not rejecting all discrimination as if “bad”]
.
Again, you may think that the meditation on Thatness, as it is for the purpose of generating non-discrimination, is not produced by analytic discrimination, since cause and effect must correspond (in their natures).
.
The Lord himself clearly answered this (qualm), in the Kashyapa Chapter:
~ “Kashyapa, for example, when you rub two sticks together, they produce fire and are themselves completely consumed in the process. In the same way, Kashyapa, authentic analytic discrimination produces the faculty of holy wisdom, and, being produced, it serves to consume that authentic discrimination itself.”
.
Here he clearly states that THE HOLY WISDOM IS GENERATED BY DISCRIMINATION.
.
Similarly, Kamalashila states in his middle Meditation Stages,
~ “when the yogi analyzes with wisdom and does not cognize as ultimately certain any intrinsic objectivity of anything, he enters the samadhi free of discriminative thought, and he realizes the utter non-existence of the intrinsic objectivity of anything.
~ When someone does not meditate with wisdom by means of specific discrimination concerning the intrinsic objectivity of things, but merely meditates exclusively on the abandonment of all conscious attitudes, he never eliminates that (particular) discrimination of that (absence of mental function), and he will never realize the utter non-existence of intrinsic objectivity, since he is devoid of the illumination of wisdom.
~ Thus, from the authentic specific discrimination arises the fire of the true wisdom of reality, like fire arisen from rubbing-sticks, which then burns the sticks of discrimination. This is what the Lord stated.”
.
Otherwise, it would never happen that the un-contaminated would arise from the contaminated, the transcendental from the mundane, a Buddha from, a living being, a holy person from an alienated individual and so forth. For in all these cases the effect is dissimilar from the cause.
.
L6: [Going beyond discrimination and non-discrimination]
.
Nagarjuna states in the Disclosure of the Spirit of Enlightenment, that
~ “where discriminations occur, how could there be emptiness? THE TRANSCENDENT LORDS DO NOT PERCEIVE ANY MIND IN THE FORM OF DISCRIMINATED AND DISCRIMINATION; where there is discrimination and discriminated, there is no enlightenment.”
.
But here he is teaching that enlightenment will not be attained when truth-status is perceived in discriminated and discrimination, and DOES NOT NEGATE DISCRIMINATIVE WISDOM NOR THE MERE FUNCTION OF DISCRIMINATED AND DISCRIMINATION. Otherwise, it would contradict his extensive determination of Thatness through many discriminative analyzes in that text, and also (if mere discrimination were meant) their not being seen by Buddha means their nonexistence. Again Nagarjuna states in the same text,
~ “Emptiness, called ‘non-production,’ ’emptiness,’ and ‘selflessness,’ if it is contemplated as anything less, it does not serve as meditation on that.”
.
This does not refute meditation that takes emptiness and selflessness intrinsically unproduced as its object, but refutes meditation on an inferior emptiness, the lesser nature that is conceived by holding those (emptinesses) as having themselves truth-status. As he states in the Transcendental Praise,
~ “As you taught the nectar of emptiness to cure all mental constructions, you put down those who adhere to it (as true in itself).”
.
L6: [Going beyond self and selflessness]
.
Likewise, he said in the Jewel Rosary that
~ “THUS NEITHER SELF NOR SELFLESSNESS IS APPREHENDED IN REALITY. Therefore the Great Sage eliminated the views of self and selflessness.”
.
Both self and selflessness have no objective status in reality, and so the view that holds both as truly existing is eliminated. But this does not refute the view of selflessness; because, as in the previous quote from the Rebuttal of Objections, if it is not the case that there is realitylessness of intrinsically real status, then intrinsically real status would become existent.
.
L6: [Not grasping at emptiness, not rejecting emptiness]
.
Likewise, the Buddha’s statements in the Encyclopedia that
~ “If the Bodhisattva presumes that ‘this aggregate is empty,’ then he is involved with sign and has no faith in the unproduced condition,”
.
and in the Great Mother that
~ “If you treat form as ’empty’ and ‘selfless,’ then you are involved in signs and are not involved in the transcendence of wisdom,”
.
are referring to the holding of truth-status in emptiness etc. Otherwise, it would have been illogical to say “no faith in the unproduced condition,” because faith also would become involvement in signs, and also because it would contradict the statements in the same Scripture that
~ “things should be understood as lacking intrinsic reality, and this is the engagement in the transcendent wisdom”;
.
and
~ “when wisdom ceases the created, the uncreated, and good and evil, when not even an atom is apprehended, that is considered the transcendence of wisdom throughout the universes”;
.
and from the King of Samadhis as well:
~ “Who discerns selflessness in things and meditates on that discernment, that serves as cause for the attainment of the fruit of Nirvana; no other cause will bring forth peace”;
.
and from the Heart of Transcendent Wisdom, when Shariputra asks,
~ “when a Bodhisattva wants to engage in the profound transcendent wisdom, how should he educate himself?”
.
Avalokiteshvara replies that
~ “he should truly regard these five aggregates as empty with respect to any intrinsic reality.”
.
Therefore, according to Nagarjuna’s statement in the Ultimate Realm Praise,
~ “The principle that serves to cultivate the supreme mind is intrinsic realitylessness,”
.
and
.
~ “while the habits of ‘I’ and ‘mine’ are constructing the external world, the experiencing of the two forms of selflessness will exterminate the seeds of existence”;
.
and Chandrakirti’s statement in the Introduction,
~ “thus by the view of the emptiness of self and property, the yogi will become liberated”;
.
so one should understand (the question). And one should cultivate the continuum of the certainty about selflessness and realitylessness.
.
L6: [The real meaning of “no-thought” or “beyond conceptualization”]
.
Kamalashila explains in the first Meditation Stages that
~ “the meaning of the statement of the Spell for Entering Non-Discrimination, ‘through the lack of any thoughtful attitude, the signs of “form” etc. are abandoned,’ is intended as being that ‘lack of thoughtful attitude’ means the non-apprehension through analytic wisdom, and not just the mere absence of any thoughtful attitude, since the substantivist adherence to form etc. from beginningless time has not been abandoned by mere lack of thoughtful attitudes, as in the case of one absorbed in the trance of unconsciousness.”
.
THEREFORE, THE SCRIPTURAL STATEMENTS ABOUT ABANDONING SUBSTANTIVISTIC SIGN-HABITS THROUGH MEDITATING ON THE ABSENCE OF THOUGHTFUL ATTITUDES ARE EXPLAINED AS INTENDING THE REALIZATION THROUGH INVESTIGATION BY PROPER ANALYTIC WISDOM THAT NOT EVEN AN ATOM IS APPREHENDED BY THE OBJECTIVE ORIENTATION OF THE TRUTH-HABITS.
.
He further explains in the middle Meditation Stages,
~ “IF ONE SEEKS WHAT IS THE MIND, ONE REALIZES EMPTINESS. IF ONE INVESTIGATES THOROUGHLY WHAT IS THAT MIND THAT REALIZES, ONE REALIZES ITS OBJECTIVE REALITY IS ALSO EMPTINESS. THROUGH SUCH REALIZATION, ONE EATERS THE YOGA OF SIGNLESSNESS.”
.
This teaches that ONE ENTERS THE REALITY OF SIGNLESSNESS BY FIRST EMPLOYING ANALYTIC INVESTIGATION, which very clearly demonstrates that it is impossible to enter the reality of non-discrimination by mere emptiness of thoughtful attitudes and by not analyzing the objectivity of phenomena through wisdom.
.
Thus that statement from the Jewel Cloud (that Kamalashila quoted) explains in that way, and he continues by saying that if the view of Thatness is not found through proper analysis, it is impossible to enter non-discrimination concerning the import of Thatness. He further explains in the final Stages of Meditation that
~ “The statements of inconceivability and transcendentality etc. are in order to refute claims of realization of the profound meaning through mere learning and reflection, showing that those (profound imports) are for the discriminating inner realization of holy persons and are inconceivable etc. for others, and also to refute the improper thinking that holds the import of the profound as (itself) having truth-status. They do not refute the proper analytic investigation by discriminating wisdom, since such refutation would contradict a great many references and reasonings. Although that (analysis) is constructive thought in actuality, it is also a proper conscious attitude, and it causes non-discriminating intuition to arise. Thus if you want that intuition, you should rely on that (analytic process).”
.
These statements of his all refute the claim of the Chinese Master that you cannot discover the view that determines Thatness by relying on scriptural references and reasonings, but you will realize Thatness by absorbing yourself in the utter lack of thoughtful attitudes. IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND THESE WELL.
.
These ways of meditation occur also in the old instructions on the stages of the path. Potoba says, in his Collected Sayings, that
~ “Some say that you should rationally determine intrinsic realitylessness at the time of study and reflection, but meditate only on non-discrimination at the time of meditation. But such leads to an irrelevant emptiness, which will not serve as a remedy, since it is meditated as something else. Therefore, EVEN AT THE TIME OF MEDITATION, ONE SHOULD DISCRIMINATINGLY INVESTIGATE THE ABSENCE OF SAMENESS AND DIFFERENCE, OR RELATIVITY, WHATEVER YOU ARE USED TO, AND ALSO FIX YOURSELF SLIGHTLY IN NON-DISCRIMINATION. If you meditate like that, it remedies the afflictions. If you want to follow the unique Lord (Atisha) and if you want to engage in transcendent wisdom’s method, (you should know) that is the method of meditating on wisdom. Further, if you practice personal selflessness, you should penetrate it by that way.”
.
And Atisha said,
~ “Who understood emptiness? Chandrakirti is the disciple of Nagarjuna, who saw the truth of reality, as predicted by the Transcendent Lord. The special instruction descended through him brings one to the realization of the truth of ultimate reality.”
.
The way of that teaching was explained by Atisha in the Instruction in the Middle Way and, as Master Kamalashila’s intention seems similar, this (view) seems widespread.
.
L6: [Conclusion: transcendence is gained only through investigation by discriminating wisdom; not by stopping all thoughts or dropping all]
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THUS, FOR THE PRACTICE OF TRANSCENDENT INSIGHT, YOU SHOULD UNDERSTAND FROM THE ABOVE THE RELIANCE ON THE SIX PREPARATORY PRACTICES, AND THE METHODS OF PRACTICE IN THE ACTUAL SESSIONS, AFTER THE SESSIONS, BETWEEN THE SESSIONS, AND ESPECIALLY HOW TO PRACTICE FREE OF DEPRESSION AND EXCITEMENT.
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L2: [Criterion for Attainment of Insight through Meditation [the Union of Quiescence and Insight]
.
— If you meditate through investigation by discriminating wisdom in that way, until you have achieved the above explained ecstatic adeptness (i.e. a bliss with mental quiescence), you have a simulated transcendent insight.
— Once that ecstatic adeptness is generated, you have the genuine transcendent insight.
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The actuality and method of generating adeptness is as already explained. Further, this must occur without weakening of quiescence and there is an adeptness developed from that, so merely having adeptness is not enough. Then what is? IF YOU CAN DEVELOP ECSTATIC ADEPTNESS THROUGH THE POWER OF THE PRACTICE OF ANALYTIC MEDITATION ITSELF, THAT THEN BECOMES TRANSCENDENT INSIGHT. This is the same whether it involves the transcendent insight oriented toward the contents of reality or the transcendent insight oriented toward the nature of reality.
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¢(i.e. By artificially concentrating on Emptiness, like on any other subject, one can generate bliss; but that is not it. When one truly understand emptiness, then concentration and bliss are generated automatically; that is it. But to get to this point one has to have already enough concentration.)
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As Maitreya stated in the Elucidation of the Intent,
~ ” ‘Lord! Until the Bodhisattva has attained the physical and mental adeptness, what is his thoughtful attitude that focuses thought on those well considered things taken as inner images for his object of samadhi?’
~ ‘Maitreya! It is not transcendent insight. It should be called a coordinated attitude that simulates transcendent insight.’ “
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And as Ratnakarashanti says in the Instruction in Transcendent Wisdom,
~ “Who has attained that physical and mental adeptness should focus on reality, and should analyze with willed attention on the considered meaning of reality as the object of samadhi (held) as an inner image. As long as physical and mental adeptness has not been generated, it is a thoughtful attitude that simulates transcendent insight, but once they are generated, it becomes transcendent insight.”
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IF (INSIGHT) CAN BY ITS OWN POWER DEVELOP ADEPTNESS, IT CAN ALSO DEVELOP ONE-POINTEDNESS OF MIND. But this development of quiescence by the power of discriminating analytic meditation itself is a virtue of having previously achieved quiescence. Thus when one who has (already) thoroughly achieved quiescence practices analytic meditation, his quiescence becomes even more consummately intense, and so you should not think that the practice of analytic meditation through fine discrimination will lead to a lessened share of concentration.
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L2: [Way of Integration of Quiescence and Insight]
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As explained in the contexts of the criteria for the achievement of both of them, you cannot integrate quiescence and insight if you have not attained both of them, so both must definitely be attained in order to integrate them.
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Sometimes it happens that integration is attained from the beginning of the attainment of transcendent insight. The pattern of that is, by the power of practicing analytic meditation relying on previous quiescence, it becomes integration (of quiescence and insight) if one has attained the thoughtful attitude which naturally applies itself without conscious motivation, as explained above in the quiescence section.
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As Asanga explains in the Stages of Disciples,
~ “Just how are quiescence and insight mingled in equal integration and what is the path of the integration of quiescence and insight? To explain, when the nine calm states of mind are attained through equanimity, one strives to discriminate between phenomena with the higher wisdom, stabilizing oneself in that achievement of samadhi. At that time, one enters the path of discrimination between phenomena spontaneously without any effort, and one’s transcendent insight becomes like the path of quiescence, without any conscious motivation perfectly pure, and it becomes completely purified, harmonious with quiescence, and combined with blissful experience.”
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Therefore, it is called “entrance into the balanced mingling of quiescence and insight,” and the “path penetrating the integration of quiescence and insight.”
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Kamalashila also states in the final Stages of Meditation,
~ “when depression and excitement are eliminated, and one is naturally engaged in balanced absorption, the mind emerges with extreme clarity in focus on Thatness — then one relaxes one’s effort and stabilizes oneself in equanimity. You should recognize that this is the attainment of the path of integration of quiescence and insight.”
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According to these statements, this (integration) occurs after achieving the actual transcendent insight.
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Ratnakarashanti adds from the Instruction in Transcendent Wisdom,
~ “after that, one perceives reality as an image occurring in reflective thought. In that very mind, when both (quiescence and insight) are experienced through the continuation of uninterrupted and unobstructed conscious attention, that is called the path of integrated quiescence and insight. Therein, quiescence and insight are combined and connected, mutually embracing each other in function.”
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Here, “unobstructed” indicates that, without needing to concentrate on non-discrimination, that very analytic meditation itself leaves the fabrications of analysis and enters the freedom from discriminative thought by its own force. “Both are experienced” means that one experiences both a quiescence which is the perception of the image of non-discrimination and an insight which is a perception of the images of discriminative thought. “Through the continuation” means that analytic insight and quiescence which focuses on the conclusion of the analysis are not simultaneous, but, at the time of the quiescence, the actual quiescence derived by the force of analysis, both transcendent insight which discerns phenomena apprehended in their real nature, and quiescence which is the samadhi which stays stably in one point on that reality, function in coordination.
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At such a time, quiescence and insight function in a balanced combination. FOR THAT, ONE MUST ATTAIN MEDITATIVE REALIZATION, SO, FROM WITHIN A STATE OF UNDISTURBED FLOW OF THOUGHTLESSNESS OF FIRM STABILITY ONE CAN GENTLY ANALYZE THE IMPORT OF SELFLESSNESS, like a minnow parting about on the surface of unruffled still waters. Now, this combination is considered a simulated integration of quiescence and insight, and not the actual integration.
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Such a way of the integration of quiescence and insight must be understood according to the teachings of the original treatises, and one should not rely on other explanations that presume it to be otherwise. And you should understand from my extensive Stages of the Path the extensive details (of the teachings) of the “stages of the path of enlightenment” (tradition) on the conclusive analyzes through reasoning, the supportive scriptural references, and the processes of meditation.
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Written by the Easterner Tsong Khapa Lo Sang Drag-pay Pal at Ganden Mountain Monastery.
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[End]

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