Nagarjuna: In Praise of the Transcendental
HYMN TO [THE BUDDHA,] THE WORLD TRANSCENDENT by Nagarjuna
Sanskrit title: LokatistavaTibetan title: ‘jig rten las ‘das par bstod pa (jigten ley depar toepa)
Homage to Manjushri!
1 I bow to you, the world transcendent,
You who’re versed in the gnosis of absence.
For the benefit of the world
You’ve suffered long with great compassion.
That apart from the mere aggregates
No sentient being exists, you uphold.
Yet, great sage, you continue to remain
Perfectly immersed in the welfare of beings.
Wise one, you’ve declared to the intelligent ones
That aggregates too are comparable
To an illusion, a mirage,
A city of Gandharva and a dream.
Those which originate from a cause,
Without that [cause], they do no exist;
So why would you not uphold
That clearly they’re just like reflections!
The [four great] elements are not perceptible to the eye,
So how can entities be perceptible to the eye?
Clearly rejecting the apprehension of matter itself,
You speak of matter in this manner.
Since without the felt there is no feeling;
Feeling itself is devoid of self;
So you uphold that what is felt too
Is devoid of intrinsic existence.
If a word and its referent are not different,
[The word] fire would burn one’s mouth;
If they’re different there’ll be no comprehension.
This you, the speaker of truth, have stated.
8 An agent is autonomous and his action too;
This you’ve expressed conventionally.
You uphold that they’re established
Only in terms of mutual dependence.
There exists no agent, no subject too;
No merit [exists], they arise through dependence.
“Though dependently arisen they’re unborn”;
So you’ve proclaimed, O master of words.
Without being known it’s not an object of knowledge;
Without that there is no consciousness as well.
Therefore the knower and the known
Possess no intrinsic reality, you’ve said.
If the characteritic is different from the characterized,
The characterized would exist without the characteristic;
You’ve clearly stated [also] that neither exists
If they’re [conceived of as] non-different.
Devoid of characteristic and the characterized,
And free from utterances of words,
With your eyes of [perfect] gnosis,
You bring tranquility to the beings.
An existent thing does not arise;
Nor does a non-existent as well, nor does both;
Neither from itself nor from another,
Nor from both; how can there be arising?
It’s logical for an existent to endure;
Not so for [such a thing] to disintegrate.
Since it’s logical for a nonexistent not to endure,
It cannot come to disintegrate.
First of all it’s illogical for an effect to emerge
From a cause that is itself destructed;
[It] does not [arise] from an undestructed [too].
You accept a dream-like arising.
The emergence of effects from a cause
Through destruction or non-destruction,
This origination is like the occurrence of an illusion;
You taught that everything is likewise as well.
Therefore you fully understood
This world to have emerged from ideation,
And even when emerging, you’ve declared,
“There is no arising and no disintegration.”
In permanence there is no samsara;
In impermanence too there is no samsara.
You, supreme among those who’ve realized suchness,
You’ve declared samsara to be like a dream.
Dialectians assert that suffering is created by itself;
Created by another, by both self and another,
Or that they have no cause [at all].
You’ve stated it to be dependent origination.
That which originates through dependence,
This you maintain to be empty;
That no independent entity exists,
You, the peerless, [proclaimed] in a lion’s roar.
Since you teach the ambrosia of emptiness
To help abandon all conceptualizations,
He who clings to this [i.e. emptiness].
This you’ve strongly condemned.
Since they’re inert, dependent, empty,
Like an illusion, and arisen out of conditions,
You’ve made it familiar [to the world]
That all phenomena lack reality.
23. There is nothing that you’ve brought forth;
There is nothing that you have negated;
You’ve comprehended that suchness,
As it was before, so it is afterwards.
24. Without entering the meditation
As shown by the Noble Ones
Can consciousness ever become signless?
Without entering signlessness
There is no liberation, you’ve declared;
So you presented this [signlessness]
In its entirety in the Great Vehicle [sutras].
By praising you, a vessel worthy of praise,
Whatever merits I may have obtained,
Through this may all beings without exception
Become free from the bondage to signs.
This concludes Hymn to [the Buddha,] the World Transcendent composed by master Noble Nagarjuna.
English translation. Geshe Thupten Jinpa, 2007.