Son of Buddha wrote:
"If the aggregates were self, it would be possessed of arising and decaying."
That is, if self (self is necessarily something permanent) were identical to the skandhas (that are impermanent), then the self would have to be impermanent, and that contradicts the very definition of self. This is what Nagarjuna says.
Here is Kalupahana's translation:
"If the self were to be identical with the aggregates, it will partake of uprising and ceasing. If it were to be different from the aggreagetes, it would have the characteristics of the non-aggregates."
As Nagarjuna writes, "If the aggregates were self, it would be possessed of arising and decaying." (MMK 18.1) [/i]
These translations are even the opposite of each other
Kalu"s translation says if the self was the aggregates it would to arising and ceasing
Kalus translation is saying the aggregates lead to arising and ceasing
The other translation says if the aggregates were the self it would lead arising and ceasing
This translation is saying the self is what leads to arising and ceasing.
Even the translations are the opposite of each other.
So which one leads to arising and ceasing the aggregates or the self?
There is another trans. in Mervyun Sprung's book, Lucid Exposition of the Middle Way (page. 166).
"If the self were identical with the factors of personal existence it would itself arise and perish; if it were other than them, it would not be characterizable in their terms.
The passage seems to be saying that if the âtmâ
were skandhic it would be endowed with the nature of arising and destruction. If, on the other hand, the âtmâ
is not skandhic it cannot be endowed with skandhic characteristics (i.e., origination and destruction).
I think Sprung's translation is the best so far.