5 – Aryadeva: 400 Verse

Aryadeva: The Buddhas never said that particles are static and permanent.

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.

(3) There is no such thing as a functional phenomenon without a cause, and no such thing as something static having a cause. Therefore, concerning (a static functional phenomenon) established from no cause, it is said that such indeed cannot be established (as an object of valid cognition even) by the Omniscient One.

(4) (Suppose you Vaisheshikas say the criterion for knowing something to be) nonstatic is from seeing that it has been produced, while if (you can) not (see it) has been produced, (that makes it) static. (Well then,) from seeing that it has been produced, (you merely know something to be) existent. (Therefore, not seeing an atman or “soul” as having been produced) makes (such a so-called) static object nonexistent.

(5) Space and so forth are understood to be static (and substantially existent, because they perform the function of serving as objects of the cognition of them, only) by ordinary folk (such as you Vaibhashikas, who do not correctly understand Buddha’s texts). The wise do not see such things as objects (of valid cognition), even on a worldly (conventionallevel).

(6) Directional (space), such as (that of the eastern) direction, does not abide everywhere. Because of that, it’s extremely clear that directional (space) indeed has directions and other (divisions such as parts. Thus, it cannot be a static functional phenomenon in the way you Vaisheshikas define it as being both all-pervasive and partless).

(7) And any (type of time) that exists, allowing either the occurrence or prevention of a functional phenomenon to be seen (at its proper time) must, (in order to function as a cause), come under the influence of other (factors). Therefore, it itself becomes a result (and thus cannot be static as you Vaidantikas claim).

(8) Any cause that does not have a result cannot exist as a cause. Because of that, you are forced to conclude that every cause must itself be a result, (for its ability to produce its result is itself the result of other conditions).

(9) If a cause transforms, it becomes the cause of something else. Whatever has transformation cannot be called static.

(10) (Further,) a functional phenomenon that has something static (such as time) as its cause should arise (at its proper time even) from (other supporting conditions) not coming about. Thus, it becomes something arising independently, in which case such (a functional phenomenon) would become the opposite of (something that relies on) causes.

(11) (After all), how can a functional phenomenon that arises from something static be nonstatic? A cause and effect that have dissimilar characteristics can never be seen.

(12) (Consider the ultimately smallest particles, which you Vaisheshikas say are static and partless. How can they form an object?) Any (such particles) that had certain sides, (which when they met) were the cause (for an object’s forming, and certain sides, which were not the cause), would (therefore) have various (parts). How is it logical for that which has various (parts) to be static (by your definitions)?

(13) (The objects that would be) the result of (the meeting of such static particles, which as) a cause are round, do not have (this same round shape and size). Therefore, it is (also) unreasonable for (such) particles to join with their entire natures (merging on all sides all at once to form an object).

(14) (Suppose you said that they do not actually merge on all sides, since) you do not accept that the place occupied by one particle can also be (occupied) by another. Well then, because of that, (you are forced to say that in order to build up a gross, visible object, they must meet with at least some sides not joining, since) it cannot be accepted that (each of) the causal (particles) and the resultant (objects they form) are both equal in size. (But, then, if some sides join and some do not, these particles cannot be partless).

(15) Any (ultimately smallest particle) that has an eastern side also has an eastern part. (Therefore) any particles that have directional sides cannot be asserted as particles that are the ultimately smallest (partless) particles.

(16) Any (ultimately smallest particle) that, (when moving), has both (a space) before it that it takes and one behind it that it gives up cannot be (partless, since it has a front and a back). Or (else you would have to say that such particles) cannot be something that moves (to form an object).

(17) And any (ultimately smallest particle) that has no first (part in front), that has no middle, and any that has no end (in the rear) cannot be (situated) before (any mind). As this is so, by what kind (of valid yogic cognition) could it be seen?

(18) (With the production) of its result, a cause disintegrates. Therefore, (particles as) a cause must be nonstatic and impermanent. Otherwise, whatever had (static eternal particles) as its cause would have its cause and effect existing (simultaneously).

(19) A functional phenomenon that can (have its motion) obstructed (which implies a change of state) and yet is static cannot be seen anywhere. Therefore, the Buddhas never said that particles are static and permanent.

(20) (Now) liberation (as the noble truth of true stoppings, in being static and permanent,) is different from the binding (truth of true origins of suffering), the bound (truth of true sufferings) and the method (truth of true pathway minds). If, (however,) it had (substantial) existence (because of performing the function of serving as a cause for the cognition of it, as you Vaibhashikas claim, it should produce an effect). But nothing at all arises from it. Therefore, such (a substantially existent stopping) cannot be said to be liberation.

(21) (You also incorrectly think that) in the nirvana state beyond sorrow (without any residue), aggregates do not exist at all and a person (or conventional “me” relying on them) does not exist either. But, as (only a truly existent “person”) who has passed beyond sorrow cannot be seen anywhere, how can nirvana (itself be substantially existent)?

(22) At the time of liberation, when there is parting fromcraving, if (the atman or “self”) had (a nature of) consciousness(as you Samkhyas assert), what point would there be (to this, since according to you there would be no objects for it to perceive). And if it were to exist then and not be conscious, this amounts to what is clearly not so (according to your system, since you assert that the “self” with the nature of consciousness is static and permanent).

(23) If a “self” that was liberated had (true) existence, then (even if) it existed (in this condition) as having (only) the potential for consciousness, (this would still be unreasonable, since by not actually being conscious, it contradicts your definitions). And if (a truly existent “self”) did not exist (with consciousness when liberated), it wouldn’t be (reasonable) for it ever to have thought about (becoming released from) recurring samsaric existence, (since being truly existent and static, it could never have been conscious at all).

(24) (Thus,) it is definite that people who are liberated from suffering do not have (an independently existing “self”) different from (that which can merely be labeled on the basis of their aggregate factors of experience). Because of that, it is said that it is best to eliminate (grasping at a truly existent) “self” in all respects.

(25) (But you may object that) worldly ones easily (accept the conventional existence) of these (ordinary things), while not (doctrinally asserting) at all their ultimate (true existence; so why bother trying to refute true existence. After all,) for worldly ones, the slightest (things) have existence, but do not have ultimate (true) existence. (Well then, just because they do not have doctrinally based grasping at things to have true existence, this does not negate or eliminate their having automatically arising grasping).

Ten: Indicating the Meditations for Refuting a (Static, Impossible) “ Self” or “Soul”

(1) A (static, truly existent) internal “self” (or atman as asserted by you Vaisheshikas) can be neither female, nor male, nor hermaphroditic, (otherwise you would always have to be reborn as the same gender). When this is so, then it is only out of unknowing (naivety) that you can think in terms of being a (truly existent) male “self” (and so on).

(2) And when it is so that none of the elements (constituting the body) exist as male, female, or hermaphroditic, then how can (an external “self”) that relies on these be (truly existently) male or female or hermaphroditic?

(3) That which is your “self” is not my “self.” Therefore, this (object of your self-preoccupation) cannot be a (truly existent) “self,” because (if it were, it would also have to be the object of my self-preoccupation and this) cannot be ascertained (to be so). Doesn’t the thought (of a “self”) arise (merely as an imputation) on the nonstatic functional phenomena (of one’s own aggregate factors of experience)?

(4) A “person” (or “self”) would have to change aspects from rebirth to rebirth in accordance with (the change in) body (and life form). Therefore, it is unreasonable for you (to maintain) that (the “self”) is a different (substantial) entity from the body and static.

(5) It can never happen that something that cannot have contact (with anything) can be said to incite a functional phenomenon (into action). Because of that, the “living one” (or “self”) cannot become the agent for (causing) the body’s motion.

(6) (If) it cannot be harmed, how can you think there is any use in causal (actions to prevent suffering) for a static “self”? In no respect, would you ever need to protect a diamond-hard scepter from wood-worms!

(7) If your “self” is static and permanent because it has memories of (past) lives (in which it also considered itself “me,” well then) from seeing a mole (on your body similar to one you) had in a previous (life), why would your body itself not be static and permanent?

(8) And if (you say it is) a “self” that possesses (the quality of) having consciousness that indeed is the knower (of previous lives and so on), well then such a “ person” (or “self”) that is not conscious (on its own, but then comes to) have consciousness (as its quality) could not be static.

(9) You can see that the “living one” (or “self”) when it possesses (qualities) such as happiness and so on (takes on) varied (aspects) in accordance with whether (it is experiencing) happiness and so on. Because of that, it is improper for (the “self”) to be static indeed while (it can experience being) happy and so on.

(10) But if, (according to you Samkhyas, the “self” or “person,” which) has (a nature) of consciousness, is static and permanent, then (its needing to rely on cognitive sensors for) the action (of cognizing objects) becomes contrary (to this). If fire were static and permanent, (its reliance on) fuel (in order to burn) would not be meaningful.

(11) As long as there is a substantially existent (potential forawareness, which is not different from the static “person” or “self” and which has) the function (of causing the “person” to have cognitions), it will never fluctuate (from doing this) until (the “ person”) disintegrates. But, as (you assert that) the “person” exists (staticly, forever), it is unreasonable to say its cognitions ever cease to exist.

(12) You see (the “person” or “self”) as sometimes in the sphere (of having the potential) for having cognitions and at others (actually) having cognitions. Because this is like iron (sometimes being) in a molten state (and at other times not), the “person” becomes something that changes in aspect.

(13) (Now Suppose as you Nyaiyikas say, that the “person” or “self”’s) having consciousness (is due to its relying) on merely (one of its atoms being conjoined with) mind and (also that) the “person” is vast (and as all-pervasive) as space. Well then, because (the vast majority of the infinite “self” is not conjoined with mind), it would appear as though its nature could not be one (that would allow for) having consciousness.

(14) If the “self” existed (as static, partless, and pervasive) to everyone, why shouldn’t you, through (the “self” in) someone else, conceive of him as “me”? It is unreasonable to say (it is because your) very (“self,” although present in someone else,) is obscured by (his) very (“self,” since then the “self” would have parts and not be single).

(15) Any (views, such as those of the Samkhyas, that assert primal matter with an equal proportion of the three constituent) qualities (namely the principles of happiness, suffering, and indifference) as being the creator (of all manifestations of these) and yet not having consciousness of any of these aspects, have no difference whatsoever from those of madmen.

(16) What could be more unreasonable than for (primal matter, as a balance of these three constituent) qualities, to create all aspects, such as houses and so on, and yet not be conscious (of them) as the conscious experiencer (of the fruits of its actions)?

(17) (A “self,” as asserted by you Vaisheshikas, that) has actions cannot (also) be static. And (also), one that extends to all (times and places) cannot have actions (such as coming and going. Thus, your assertions about it are self-contradictory). Further, (a “self”) that did not have actions would be tantamount to its being nonexistent. (Therefore,) why not rejoice in (the fact that there is) no (truly existent) “self”?

(18) Some (such as you Vaisheshikas and Samkhyas) see (the “self”) as extending in everyone. Some, (such as you Jains, observe) the “person” to be merely (the same size as each individual’s) body. While some, (such as you Nyaiyikas, perceive) the “person” to be merely an atom. But those withdiscriminating awareness see it as non(-truly) existent, (since if it truly existed, everyone should validly see it the same).

(19) Where can there be harm for (a “self” that is) static and permanent, and where can there be liberation for what cannot be harmed? Therefore, liberation is unreasonable for anyone whose “self” is static and permanent.

(20) If there (actually) existed what is known as a (truly existent) “ self,” it would be unreasonable to think there was no (such) “self,” and it would indeed be a lie to say that you could pass beyond sorrow (into nirvana) from a definite understanding of the facts of reality (namely, the voidness of the “self”).

(21) But suppose (you say that although there is no truly existent “self” in recurring samsaric existence, yet the liberated “self” has truly established existence. Well then,) the liberated (“self”) must be non-truly existent, as it previously also was non-truly existent. (This is because) whatever is seen concerning (the voidness of a “self”) that does not possess (any relation with anything else) is explained as being its nature (whether liberated or not).

(22) If nonstaticness (or impermanence meant that things) discontinue completely (after their first moment, then) how could there still be grass and so on? If this (absurd position) were true, there wouldn’t be any naivety occurring in anyone (since, being nonstatic, it too would have disappeared after its first moment).

(23) Even if a (static, truly existent) “self” existed, (it should produce things all by itself. But,) as its bodily form can be seen to arise from (numerous) other (conditions being assembled), can be seen to abide from others (continuing to support it), and can be seen to disintegrate from others (no longer being present, therefore) it can be seen (that such a static and permanent “self” does not exist at all).

(24) Just as a functional sprout arises from a functional seed, likewise all nonstatic (phenomena) are produced from nonstatic (causes, not from a static “self”).

(25) (In short,) because functional phenomena come about ( from them, causes) do not become discontinuous, (as you nihilists would assert). And because functional phenomena become annulled (once they have produced an effect, causes) do not become static and permanent, (as you eternalists would assert).

Eleven: Indicating the Meditations for Refuting (Truly Existent) Time

(1) When the vase has not yet come about, the vase that will be present does not exist, nor does (the vase) that will later have passed away. (Otherwise, if the past, present, and future were static and truly existent as you Vaidantikas claim, then) since both (the vase that will be present and the one that will have passed would already be existing when they had) not yet come about, then (in fact) there would be no (time when they had) not yet come.

(2) (Even) if (only a portion of the vase that) will have disintegrated (existed) in the nature of (the vase that) has not yet come about, it would (in fact) not yet have come about. How can that which (truly) exists in the nature of having not yet come ever become what has already passed away?

(3) If (time) not yet come were a (substantially existent, static) functional phenomenon, (then time) not yet come would have to abide truly existently (and forever). Therefore, because of that, (as such a time would have arisen, but never ceased to be,) it would become the present and would not exist at all as what had not yet come.

(4) (If, as you Vaisheshikas, Vaibhashikas, and so forth claim, time) not yet come were (truly) existent, and (time) already passed were (truly) existent, and (time) presently happeningwere (truly) existent, when would (any of them ever) not exist? From what (grounds then), would any (debater who asserted the substantial) existence of all (three) times (also be able to assert) nonstaticness (or impermanence)?

(5) If a (truly existent time) already passed were to pass away, then for what reason would it have been a time passed, (if it need pass again)? And if a (truly existent time) already passed were not to pass away, then for what reason would it be a time passed (since it would always be the case)?

(6) (If the three times were substantially existent, nonstatic functional phenomena, as you Vaibhashikas claim, and the past and future of an object were the same as that object itself, then) if the (vase) not yet come has (already) arisen, how could it not become (equivalent to) a present (vase that is here and now, since it has arisen and not yet ceased)? Either that (would be so), or if it has no arising, would the (vase) not yet come become eternal or what? (It would have to be eternal, since what is eternal and static has no arising.)

(7) Suppose (you say that) the (vase) not yet come is nonstatic (and impermanent) due to (the fact that) it disintegrates (when the vase of the present comes about from causes and circumstances), although (it itself) has no arising. Well then, as the (vase) already passed does not have a disintegration, why do you not consider it as static (and eternal, with no arising)?

(8) As for the (vase) already passed away and the (vase) of the present, since these could not become impermanent (if they had substantial existence, because what has truly passed cannot disintegrate and what is truly present cannot be associated with a process of disintegration), then the third (time, namely that not yet come), which in aspect is different from these (two), cannot exist (as both substantially existent and impermanent either, since then it would be independent of the other two times).

(9) If (you accept that) functional phenomena that will arise later exist (substantially) before (they have arisen, well because of that, don’t you fall to the distorted position of those propounders of chance (the Charvakas who assert that everything exists without a cause)?

(10) It is unreasonable to say that whatever is to come about (later already) exists beforehand (as the substantially existent future). If what already existed were to arise (later), it would amount to what has already arisen (needing to) come about again.

(11) If (substantially existent) functional phenomena not yet come about could be seen (by the yogis), then why couldn’t totally nonexistent phenomena (like rabbit’s horns also) be seen? Anyone who accepts time not yet come as (substantially) existent cannot have far-distant (occurrences happen) to him (since these would always remain truly in the future).

(13) If your Dharma (vows of the time not yet come already had substantial) existence without need to have done (any practice to develop an interest in taking them), then definitely to restrain (yourself by taking them) would become pointless. Why make even a little (effort)? A result (of your effort) would be impossible, as (your vows of the time not yet come would already be substantially) existent.

(14) (If disturbing emotions and suffering not yet come did not exist as nonstatic, functional, objective phenomena, but only as static, nonfunctional, metaphysical ones, as you Sautrantikasbelieve, then) you would already be liberated without need to tighten (your effort to develop true pathway minds that cognize voidness). Like (arhats) who were freed, (disturbing emotions and suffering) not yet come would not exist (objectively at all for you and therefore could never come to affect you). And if that were so, then when desire indeed came about in (yourmental continuum, which should have been) without (any future) attachment, (it would come about without cause, as if in the mental continuum of an arhat).

(15) For (you Samkhyas and Vaibhashikas) who assert the true existence of the result (simultaneous with the cause) and (you Sautrantikas) who assert the nonexistence (as functional phenomena) of results (not yet come about), adorning (supports) such as pillars and so forth become pointless in order (to produce) a house (as their result).

(16) Suppose (as you Samkhyas assert) that functional phenomena (of the time present truly exist, since they are) transformations (of truly existent, static primal matter in which they existed unmanifestly during the time when they had not yet come about. But even this is incorrect, since such unmanifest existence of the present) is not cognitively taken (as an object) even by the mind. As this is seen to be so, it is (only) the unlearned who conceive of the time present to be (truly) existent.

(17) As they have no (truly) existent abiding, how can functional phenomena be (the cause for imputing the true existence of time)? As they are nonstatic, how can they have an abiding? If (something) were to abide (as it was) at first, it could never become old in the end.

(18) (Moreover,) just as one (moment of) consciousness cannot be conscious of two (moments of an) object, likewise two (moments of) consciousness cannot be conscious of the same (moment of an) object.

(19) If (on the basis of true existence) time had an abiding (as something currently happening), it would never change (from being) the abiding time. (On the other hand, on the basis of true existence) how could (time) have no abiding, for then there could be no end to its not abiding (and nothing would ever occur)?

(20) If impermanence and functional phenomena were (truly existent and) different, functional phenomena could not become impermanent (and perish). And if (they were truly existent and) the same, how could what was impermanent (and nonstatic) ever abide (for even an instant) as a functional phenomenon?

(21) (Truly existent phenomena) that have less strength impermanence (while they abide) cannot have less strength abiding (later, which they would need in order to perish. For if they were truly existent in their former condition of abiding with weak impermanence), by whom could their later turning away (from the state of abiding) be seen? (Their impermanence would never have enough strength to overcome their abiding.)

(22) But if (on the basis of true existence) they had not less strength impermanence (while they abide – in other words, their impermanence was stronger then than their ability to abide), then all functional phenomena that existed at all (times) would (truly existently) have no abiding (because their abiding would never have enough strength to overcome their impermanence and so they would instantly change). Or, the whole lot (of them) could not (actually) be impermanent, (because none of them would ever abide long enough to perform a function and nonfunctional phenomena are static and permanent).

(23) If (functional phenomena truly existently abided, which means they would be) static (while abiding) and then they came to exist with impermanence (in order for them to perish), then their permanence would have no abiding. Furthermore, what had already become static would later have become nonstatic, (which is self-contradictory).

(24) If (on the other hand) functional phenomena (truly) existed simultaneously as (both) abiding and nonstatic, then either their impermanence would have to reverse (while they were abiding) or their abiding would become false (when they perished).

(25) As it is certain that functional phenomena already seen cannot appear (again) and that a consciousness (with an actual past event as its object) cannot (arise) once more, then what is known as “remembering” (is a deceptive cognition that) arises in but a distorted (manner) toward a distorted object.