Madhyamika Teachings

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  • 7/28/2019 Madhyamika Teachings


    Madhyamika TeachingsBy Nargarjuna And Gyalwa

    GtsangpaEverything in it is merely inseparable appearance and emptiness the unionof the two truths.

    Analysis of verses from Shenpen sel

    the clear light of the Buddha's teachings which benefits allbeings

    I prostrate to the mighty onewho has taught about dependent arising,the principle by whicharising and disintegration are abandoned.(homage)

    (i.e. Praise - transcending origination andcessation by seeing dependent origination: in thefirst verse, Nargarjuna prostrates to the Buddha,

    because the Buddha is the one who taught thetruth of dependent arising. If we can understandwhat dependent arising means, if we canunderstand the truth of dependent arising andhow it is that all phenomena are dependentlyarisen, then we can abandon our attachment toarising and disintegration, and be free from all ofthose illusions. And since that is true, thenNargarjuna prostrates to the Buddha, because theBuddha is the one who taught this most importanttruth. The Buddha is the one who taught us this

    method by which we can give up this type ofattachment.I think it means that the path is to try tounderstand dependent origination, to try tounderstand how our own mind works, creatingthose illusions, how karma conditions the next setof the five aggregates, how the cycle of samsaraworks. Once we understand dependent


  • 7/28/2019 Madhyamika Teachings


    origination, once we see the real nature of themind, we then see the real nature of everything,emptiness. We see them both together. That is thegoal of the path. We then have the union of thetwo truths, the union of dependent origination and

    emptiness.So what is called "the truth of dependentorigination" is not the simple theory of dependentorigination but the perfection of it, the real natureof dependent origination, its inseparability withemptiness. And that is beyond description. And itis the same thing for the expression "the truth ofemptiness".)

    Those whose intelligence has gone beyondexistence and nonexistence

    and who do not abide in any extremeshave realized the meaning of dependent arising,the profound and unobservable truth ofemptiness.

    (i.e. Transcending existence and non-existence /the inseparability of appearance and emptiness /the union of the two truths: when one reallyunderstands dependent origination, then onetranscends all extremes, like existence and non-existence. Because, the true nature of everything,

    including the mind, is beyond the four extremesof existence / realism, non-existence / nihilism /idealism, dualism and monism. It is inconceivable,beyond all description / conceptualization,beyond causality space and time, beyond alldualities, beyond all karma formation. It is evenbeyond the conventional truths of dependentorigination and of emptiness, beyond this duality.It is called the union of the two truths, theinseparability of appearances and emptiness. Ittranscends all. -- the two truths, like dependentorigination and emptiness, are not different, notthe same.)

    Those who see with their intelligencethat existence is like a mirage and an illusionare not corrupted by believing inthe extremes of earlier and later.


  • 7/28/2019 Madhyamika Teachings


    (i.e. Transcending Eternalism and nihilism: whenone really understands the real nature ofeverything, then one transcends the extremes ofEternalism and nihilism. Earlier and later refers tohow you view past and future lives. The two

    extremes are: thinking those lives are truly real, ortruly non-existent.)

    By understanding arising, disintegration isunderstood.By understanding disintegration, impermanenceis understood.By understanding impermanencethe truth of the genuine dharma is realized.

    (i.e. A gradual way to understand emptiness: first

    studying the dependent arising of things, then thenecessary consequence of death for everythingthat is born, then the universality ofimpermanence, then the subtle impermanence,the ever changing nature of everything, then theemptiness of everything, then the union of the twotruths.)

    Without a stable focus or location,not remaining and without root,arisen totally as a result of ignorance,

    without beginning, middle, or end . . .(i.e. No substantiality / the real root cause ofcyclic existence is ignorance: cyclic existencehas no fixed location. No solid absolute space. Nouniversal frame of reference. Everything iscontinually changing, empty. Without root. Nosolid foundation. No primary causes, noelementary elements that would explaineverything. So cyclic existence has no root butthis ignorance. The root cause of cyclic existenceis ignorance. There is no beginning to this. Sowhat is the real root of cyclic existence? It isignorance, and it is clinging to a belief in a selfin a truly existent self of the individual, and insome substantial existence to phenomena. Butthese two also have no true existence; if weanalyze them, they are not substantial, trulyexistent things. And since we can see that the


  • 7/28/2019 Madhyamika Teachings


    cycle of existence springs from the erroneousbelief in a truly existent self and truly existentphenomena, then it follows that cyclic existenceis also not a substantially existent thing. So cyclicexistence has no root.

    Nothing last even for an infinitesimal moment; noreal origination, no real duration, no realcessation.Everything is empty of inherent existence: space,time, causality, objects, phenomena, beings,samsara, nirvana.)

    Without core, like a banana tree.Like an unreal city in the sky,the suffering worldthe lands of confusionmanifests in this waylike an illusion.

    (i.e. No substantiality / just a cascade of illusionscausing attachment and suffering: cyclicexistence has no core, no essence. We sufferbecause we think those things are really existent,but they are empty of inherent existence: notexistent, not non-existent. And yet all the beingsin this world and everything in cyclic existence ismerely inseparable appearance and emptiness. Itis appearance that has no substantial nature.)

    To those students in search of such-nessat first teachers should say, "everything exists."Then after they realize the meaning of this andabandon desire,they will gain perfect transcendence.

    (i.e. Transcending the path - a stage by stageapproach to gaining an understanding ofemptiness, or true nature: first that things exist,real causality, rebirths, real consequences ofkarma formation, ..., real three jewels, realsamsara and nirvana, real six realms, - desire toescape the cycle of samsara, renunciation, ...,then emptiness... Then transcendence.So it is not through rejecting everything right fromthe start, but by first understanding dukkha (thefirst noble truth), it cause, then creating the desireto abandon these causes and to get liberate.)


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    Those who realize that all entities are dependentlyarisen,and just like a moon that appears in a pool ofwater,are neither true nor false,

    are not carried away by philosophical dogmas.

    (i.e. Transcending all appearances, all dualities,all views: when one really understands dependentorigination, then one transcends all oppositions,all views. By understanding dependentorigination, or the real nature of the mind, oneunderstand the real nature of everything, theiremptiness of inherent existence, the absence ofreal characteristics, the relativity of alldiscrimination, the flaw-ness of all views. Nothing

    is absolute. There is no real opposition, no realdualities. The two poles are interdependent; theycannot exist without the other.That does not mean that all things are non-existent completely. Not accepting, not rejecting;the middle way. Not discriminating thinking interms of absolute characteristics, not non-discrimination either, because everything can bea skilful means. The inseparability of appearanceand emptiness.)

    Children are tricked by reflectionsbecause they take them to be real.In the very same way, because of their ignorance,beings are imprisoned in the cages of theirconceptual objects.

    (i.e. Because of ignorance we get trapped by ourown created illusions: because of ignorance, weare imprisoned in a cage made up of all of theobjects which we conceptualize to be real...Conceptualizing things is one way to see theproblem. But the real problem is not justconceptualization but karma formation. Evensentient beings without any capacity forconceptualization, as we usually define it, dobuild karma and are stuck in the cycle of samsara.The elementary unit of karma seems to be theelementary "this-that", the elementaryassociation. It is the building of karma based on


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    this that is the cause of suffering, because noassociation, not even the most elementary one, isever absolute.)

    The great ones, who with the eyes of primordial

    awarenesssee that entities are just like reflections,do not get caught in the mireof so-called "objects."

    (i.e. Transcending the traps of those objects bybeing self-aware / Mahamudra: but we have thepotential, like the great bodhisattvas, to transcendall of those illusions and be free from them.Purification of the mind, perceiving bothsimultaneously the conventional truths and their

    ultimate nature, is possible using the potential,the primordial awareness, the constant selfawareness, the knowing of the real nature of themind and, thus, the real nature of everything. Byseeing the real nature of the mind and thus ofeverything, one does not get attached to thoseillusions, knowing that they are originating independence of the mind and thus empty ofinherent existence.

    "seeing with the eyes