Nāgārjuna: the Heart of Dependent Origination

Verses on the Heart of Dependent Origination

by Ārya Nāgārjuna

In the language of India: pratītyasamutpāda hṛdaya kārikā

In the language of Tibet: རྟེན་ཅིང་འབྲེལ་པར་འབྱུང་བའི་སྙིང་པོའི་ཚིག་ལེའུར་བྱས་པ།,(rten cing ‘brel par ‘byung ba’i snying po tshig le’ur byas pa)

Homage to Mañjuśrī, the Youthful!

  1. These different links, twelve in number,
    Which Buddha taught as dependent origination,
    Can be summarized in three categories:
    Mental afflictions, karma and suffering.

  2. The first, eighth and ninth are afflictions,
    The second and tenth are karma,
    The remaining seven are suffering.
    Thus the twelve links are grouped in three.

  3. From the three the two originate,
    And from the two the seven come,
    From seven the three come once again—
    Thus the wheel of existence turns and turns.

  4. All beings consist of causes and effects,
    In which there is no ‘sentient being’ at all.
    From phenomena which are exclusively empty,
    There arise only empty phenomena.
    All things are devoid of any ‘I’ or ‘mine’.

  5. Like a recitation, a candle, a mirror, a seal,
    A magnifying glass, a seed, sourness, or a sound,
    So also with the continuation of the aggregates—
    The wise should know they are not transferred.

  6. Then, as for extremely subtle entities,
    Those who regard them with nihilism,
    Lacking precise and thorough knowledge,
    Will not see the actuality of conditioned arising.

  7. In this, there is not a thing to be removed,
    Nor the slightest thing to be added.
    It is looking perfectly into reality itself,
    And when reality is seen, complete liberation.

This concludes the verses on ‘The Heart of Dependent Origination’ composed by the teacher Ārya Nāgārjuna.

Translated by Adam Pearcey, Rigpa Translations, 2008. http://www.lotsawahouse.org/indian-masters/nagarjuna/heart-dependent-origination