Aryadeva (‘Phags-pa’i lha) was born in Sri Lanka to a royal family, and lived between the middle of the 2nd and the middle of the 3rd centuries C.E. According to some accounts, he was born from a lotus. At an early age, he became a monk and studied the Buddhist scriptures, the Tripitaka, thoroughly there before leaving to South India to study with Nagarjuna in the Shatavahana kingdom of King Udayibhadra. King Udayibhadra was the recipient of Nagarjuna’s Letter to a Friend and The Precious Garland. Aryadeva accompanied Nagarjuna and continued to study with him at Shri Parvata, the holy mountains overlooking modern-day Nagarjunakonda Valley in Andhra Pradesh, within the Shatavahana kingdom. Continue reading
1 – Aryadeva: Four Hundred Verse Treatise on the Actions of a Bodhisattva’s Yoga
(Byang-chub sems-dpa’i rnal-‘byor spyod-pa bzhi-brgya-pa’i bstan-bcos kyi tshig-le’ur byas-pa, Skt. Bodhisattva-yogacarya-catu:shataka-shastra-karika) by Aryadeva translated by Alexander Berzin, 1978 according to the commentary of Gyeltsabjey (rGyal-tshab rJe Dar-ma rin-chen)
I prostrate to the Arya Manjushri.
One: Indicating Methods for Ridding Yourself of Grasping (at the Body as) Permanent
(1) As the master over the three planes of perishable existence,
The Lord of Death, by self-nature, is without a creator,
What could be more improper than to fall asleep
While the real situation is that he will definitely come. Continue reading
2 – Aryadeva: Four Hundred Verse Treatise on the Actions of a Bodhisattva’s Yoga
Four: Indicating Methods for Ridding Yourself of Grasping (at the Body as Having) an Impossible “Self” (about Which To Feel Pride)
(1) What hallowed (arhat) in the world
would develop arrogant pride
Thinking, “I (am king and this land is exclusively) mine”?
Why, because all lands are equally (used)
By everybody (on them).
(2) As a servant of the masses, having been apportioned
one-sixth (as your wage),
What is the reason for your arrogant pride?
Whatever (is to be done), you have to do that.
This comes from your having been (appointed) under their power. Continue reading
3 – Aryadeva: Four Hundred Verse Treatise on the Actions of a Bodhisattva’s Yoga
Five: Indicating the Behavior of Bodhisattvas
(1) There are no actions of the Buddhas
That are not causes (for benefiting others).
Even their breath is issued
Only for the sake of (acting as a) medicine for limited beings.
(2) Just as the word Lord of Death
Produces terror for all the world;
Likewise, this word Omniscient One
Produces terror indeed for the Lord of Death.
(3) The Able Sage (Buddha) possesses (the foresight to know
When) to act and not to act,
What to teach and not to teach.
Therefore, what reason is there to say
that the Omniscient One is not omniscient.
(4) Because you cannot see (any action),
Such as going and so forth, (becoming) positive and so on
Except through the thought (that motivates it),
Therefore the mind is established as crucial for all karma. Continue reading
4 – Aryadeva: Four Hundred Verse Treatise on the Actions of a Bodhisattva’s Yoga
Eight: Training Disciples
(1) Just as dissimilar people
Will not stay close friends for long
(when their attachment is gone);
Likewise, desire will not stay for a long time
In those who realize the faults of all (things).
(2) Some have attachment for a certain (object or person);
Some have repulsion for that very same (thing);
And some are insensitive toward it.
Therefore, an object of desire is not (truly existent as such). Continue reading
5 – Aryadeva: Four Hundred Verse Treatise on the Actions of a Bodhisattva’s Yoga
Nine: Indicating the Meditations for Refuting Static Functional Phenomena
[Starting with this chapter, verses are written as paragraphs rather than divided into lines.]
(1) All (functional phenomena) arise as a fact of being the result (of a collection of causes and circumstances). Therefore, there’s no such thing as a static (functional phenomenon that is causeless and truly existent). Except for the Thusly Gone Able Sage (Buddhas), there isn’t anyone (who can simultaneously cognize, nonconceptually,) just how functional phenomena (are both nonstatic and devoid of true existence).
(2) Whatever (functional phenomena there are) do not exist just at any place or at any time without relying (on causes and circumstances). Therefore, there is no such thing whatsoever as a (functional phenomenon that is) static, anytime, anywhere. Continue reading
6 – Aryadeva: Four Hundred Verse Treatise on the Actions of a Bodhisattva’s Yoga
Twelve: Indicating the Meditations for Refuting (Attraction to Distorted) Views
(1) A listener who is upright and unbiased, has common sense (discrimination), and takes keen interest is described as being a proper vessel (for these voidness teachings. To the mind of such a suitable disciple,) the good qualities of the propounder (of the teachings) will not change into a different aspect (and appear as faults). Nor will (this change of good qualities into faults) happen with respect to the listener either.
(2) (Buddha) spoke of compulsive samsaric existence (as true suffering) and the method of (entering) compulsive existence(as the true origin of suffering), also the method of pacifying (both as the true pathway mind), and likewise their pacification (as a true stopping). Continue reading
7 – Aryadeva: Four Hundred Verse Treatise on the Actions of a Bodhisattva’s Yoga
Thirteen: The Meditations for Refuting (Truly Existent) Cognitive Sensors and Cognitive Objects
(1) You do not see absolutely everything about a vase at the timewhen you see (its) form. Who would state “(because) the vase (is perceived by) bare (visual) cognition” as a reason (to prove) its (truly existent) reality?
(2) By this very (same) analysis, those with superior intelligenceshould refute fragrant odors, sweet (tastes), and smooth (tactile sensations as being truly existent and establishing the true existence of physical objects by the bare sensory cognition of them) – all (of them), each one.
(3) Suppose that all (qualities of an object) were to become seen by (the visual cognition that) sees its form. Then, by (the fact that such visual cognition) does not see (that object’s odor – even if you would accept that) it sees its form – how could it not become the case that it does not see (the form either? This would absurdly follow because just as if it sees one quality, it should see all of them; likewise if it does not see one, it should not see any).
(4) It cannot be the case that you have bare (sensory) cognition only simply with respect to forms (as truly existent whole “things”). Why? Because these (forms) have a far portion, a near portion, and a middle (one, and so are only imputations on their parts). Continue reading