Question about Nagarjuna's Heart of Dependent Origination

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Seeker12
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Question about Nagarjuna's Heart of Dependent Origination

Post by Seeker12 »

Link Here : http://www.lotsawahouse.org/indian-mast ... rigination

In verse 6, he says,

"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."

Can anyone explain this a bit? What is being referred to as extremely subtle entities that may be regarded with nihilism, lacking precise and thorough knowledge?

Thank you for input.
I heard this story about a fish. He swims up to an older fish and says: “I’m trying to find this thing they call the ocean.” “The ocean?” the older fish says, “that’s what you’re in right now.” “This”, says the young fish, “this is water. What I want is the ocean!”
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Re: Question about Nagarjuna's Heart of Dependent Origination

Post by takso »

Seeker12 wrote: Thu Dec 13, 2018 8:54 pm Link Here : http://www.lotsawahouse.org/indian-mast ... rigination

In verse 6, he says,

"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."

Can anyone explain this a bit? What is being referred to as extremely subtle entities that may be regarded with nihilism, lacking precise and thorough knowledge?

Thank you for input.
It's referring to emptiness. Emptiness is regarded as extremely subtle entities. For someone, emptiness is regarded as nihilism. Coupled with lacking precise and thorough knowledge, the blinded ones will not see the actuality of conditioned arising.
~ Ignorance triumphs when wise men do nothing ~
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Re: Question about Nagarjuna's Heart of Dependent Origination

Post by Bristollad »

I haven't received teachings on this text, but it seems to me that extremely subtle entities is referring to the directionally partless particles of the Abhidharma. There are other translations of this text which seem quite different, e.g. by Peter Della Santina,

VI. Those who impute origination even in regard to very subtle
entities, being unwise, have not seen the meaning of conditioned
origination.

but which translation is more accurate I couldn't say. Have a look here for Della Santina's translation of these 7 verses along with a translation of the auto-commentary, p.58 - 64:

https://dharmanet.org/DellaNagarjuna.pdf
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Re: Question about Nagarjuna's Heart of Dependent Origination

Post by Wayfarer »

No, not ‘emptiness’. Emptiness is not any kind of entity whatever.

Recall the saying you find all throughout ancient teachings of ‘the triple world’. That is the desire realm, form realm and formless realm. I think it’s a reference to those subtle realms which are inconceivable to the mind which only thinks in terms of the gross realm of desire or the ‘desire realm’. Such a mind cannot fathom other, very subtle modes of reality so it ‘regards them with nihilism’ i.e. says that they are non-existent, when in fact their existence is ‘subtle’.
'Only practice with no gaining idea' ~ Suzuki Roshi
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Re: Question about Nagarjuna's Heart of Dependent Origination

Post by takso »

Another definition for the extremely subtle entities is energy. Energy is a quality that is universal i.e. it is inherent existing and dependent arising concurrently. And the alternate expression for energy is emptiness.

When one sees into energy, one sees into emptiness; when one sees into emptiness, one sees into energy.

This is the rationale for the saying, ‘Form is Emptiness, Emptiness is Form.’ The principle in effect: seeing into form is seeing into matter, seeing into matter is seeing into energy and seeing into energy is seeing into emptiness. And emptiness is a necessary prerequisite for any objects to exist; without it, the object would be impossible.

Energy is described as the ability to cause change or do work, while emptiness is understood as absence in the static entity and devoid of inherent existence for all created objects or things.
~ Ignorance triumphs when wise men do nothing ~
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Re: Question about Nagarjuna's Heart of Dependent Origination

Post by Astus »

Seeker12 wrote: Thu Dec 13, 2018 8:54 pmWhat is being referred to as extremely subtle entities that may be regarded with nihilism, lacking precise and thorough knowledge?
Entities is a general term here (vastu / 事), so it can be taken to refer to the aggregates, to name and form, to the basic constituents of a being. The first half of the sixth stanza is the continuation of the second half of the fifth discussing causal relation between lives, where there is nothing transferred nor anything annihilated.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"
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Re: Question about Nagarjuna's Heart of Dependent Origination

Post by Caoimhghín »

Astus wrote: Fri Dec 14, 2018 11:25 am
Seeker12 wrote: Thu Dec 13, 2018 8:54 pmWhat is being referred to as extremely subtle entities that may be regarded with nihilism, lacking precise and thorough knowledge?
Entities is a general term here (vastu / 事), so it can be taken to refer to the aggregates, to name and form, to the basic constituents of a being. The first half of the sixth stanza is the continuation of the second half of the fifth discussing causal relation between lives, where there is nothing transferred nor anything annihilated.
Does the Chinese text have Ven Nāgārjuna, in the terminology of the translation, relate 事 to 理? Do you know where the text is in the Taishō Canon?
Then, the monks sang this gāthā:

These bodies are like foam.
Them being frail, who can rejoice in them?
The Buddha attained the vajra-body.
Still, it becomes inconstant and rots.
The many Buddhas are vajra-entities.
All are also subject to inconstancy.
Quickly ended, like melting snow --
how could things be different?

The Buddha passed into parinirvāṇa afterward.
(T1.27b10 Mahāparinirvāṇasūtra DĀ 2)
zerwe
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Re: Question about Nagarjuna's Heart of Dependent Origination

Post by zerwe »

I might be wrong, but I am pretty sure that this stanza points to the following--
If one refutes the aggregates, if one refutes their conventional existence, thus perceiving them as non-existent--this is nihilism,
then you will be unable to see Nagarjuna's final intention that emptiness and dependent arising are co-dependent and non-contradictory.

Shaun :namaste:
TrimePema
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Re: Question about Nagarjuna's Heart of Dependent Origination

Post by TrimePema »

zerwe wrote: Fri Dec 14, 2018 10:17 pm I might be wrong, but I am pretty sure that this stanza points to the following--
If one refutes the aggregates, if one refutes their conventional existence, thus perceiving them as non-existent--this is nihilism,
then you will be unable to see Nagarjuna's final intention that emptiness and dependent arising are co-dependent and non-contradictory.

Shaun :namaste:
Maybe the 4th stanza describes the valid way to see them? Is that nominal existence/designation?
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Re: Question about Nagarjuna's Heart of Dependent Origination

Post by zerwe »

TrimePema wrote: Fri Dec 14, 2018 11:15 pm
zerwe wrote: Fri Dec 14, 2018 10:17 pm I might be wrong, but I am pretty sure that this stanza points to the following--
If one refutes the aggregates, if one refutes their conventional existence, thus perceiving them as non-existent--this is nihilism,
then you will be unable to see Nagarjuna's final intention that emptiness and dependent arising are co-dependent and non-contradictory.

Shaun :namaste:
Maybe the 4th stanza describes the valid way to see them? Is that nominal existence/designation?
Yes, I believe that is correct. However, I am not sure that the 4th stanza is necessarily explicit in the sense that it says
that they exist as a "mere designation," "merely labeled by mind," or "in mere name", etc...Those were likely added as the Madhyamika interpretation, debate and vocabulary continued to develop.

Shaun :namaste:
Malcolm
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Re: Question about Nagarjuna's Heart of Dependent Origination

Post by Malcolm »

zerwe wrote: Fri Dec 14, 2018 11:40 pm
TrimePema wrote: Fri Dec 14, 2018 11:15 pm
zerwe wrote: Fri Dec 14, 2018 10:17 pm I might be wrong, but I am pretty sure that this stanza points to the following--
If one refutes the aggregates, if one refutes their conventional existence, thus perceiving them as non-existent--this is nihilism,
then you will be unable to see Nagarjuna's final intention that emptiness and dependent arising are co-dependent and non-contradictory.

Shaun :namaste:
Maybe the 4th stanza describes the valid way to see them? Is that nominal existence/designation?
Yes, I believe that is correct. However, I am not sure that the 4th stanza is necessarily explicit in the sense that it says
that they exist as a "mere designation," "merely labeled by mind," or "in mere name", etc...Those were likely added as the Madhyamika interpretation, debate and vocabulary continued to develop.

Shaun :namaste:
No, “dependent designation” is a found in the MMK with respect to dependent origination.
"Nonduality is merely a name;
that name does not exist."
—Kotalipa
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Re: Question about Nagarjuna's Heart of Dependent Origination

Post by zerwe »

Malcolm wrote: Sat Dec 15, 2018 12:40 am
zerwe wrote: Fri Dec 14, 2018 11:40 pm
TrimePema wrote: Fri Dec 14, 2018 11:15 pm

Maybe the 4th stanza describes the valid way to see them? Is that nominal existence/designation?
Yes, I believe that is correct. However, I am not sure that the 4th stanza is necessarily explicit in the sense that it says
that they exist as a "mere designation," "merely labeled by mind," or "in mere name", etc...Those were likely added as the Madhyamika interpretation, debate and vocabulary continued to develop.

Shaun :namaste:
No, “dependent designation” is a found in the MMK with respect to dependent origination.
Thanks, Malcom. I knew at some point there would be something I was missing.

Shaun :namaste:
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Re: Question about Nagarjuna's Heart of Dependent Origination

Post by Caoimhghín »

Wayfarer wrote: Fri Dec 14, 2018 10:26 am No, not ‘emptiness’. Emptiness is not any kind of entity whatever.

Recall the saying you find all throughout ancient teachings of ‘the triple world’. That is the desire realm, form realm and formless realm. I think it’s a reference to those subtle realms which are inconceivable to the mind which only thinks in terms of the gross realm of desire or the ‘desire realm’. Such a mind cannot fathom other, very subtle modes of reality so it ‘regards them with nihilism’ i.e. says that they are non-existent, when in fact their existence is ‘subtle’.
I depends. It is an entity, or a body, in the context of entity-function (体用), the Japanese interpretative equivalent of Chinese essence-function (體用). But this entity, 体, is not the same entity that our friend Astus referred to, 事.

事用 is, incidentally, another form of essence-function (I think), but I am not sure from where/whence.

Context: viewtopic.php?f=59&t=27623&p=431813&hil ... ty#p431796
Also: viewtopic.php?f=41&p=475862#p471721
Then, the monks sang this gāthā:

These bodies are like foam.
Them being frail, who can rejoice in them?
The Buddha attained the vajra-body.
Still, it becomes inconstant and rots.
The many Buddhas are vajra-entities.
All are also subject to inconstancy.
Quickly ended, like melting snow --
how could things be different?

The Buddha passed into parinirvāṇa afterward.
(T1.27b10 Mahāparinirvāṇasūtra DĀ 2)
Malcolm
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Re: Question about Nagarjuna's Heart of Dependent Origination

Post by Malcolm »

Seeker12 wrote: Thu Dec 13, 2018 8:54 pm Link Here : http://www.lotsawahouse.org/indian-mast ... rigination

In verse 6, he says,

"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."

Can anyone explain this a bit? What is being referred to as extremely subtle entities that may be regarded with nihilism, lacking precise and thorough knowledge?

Thank you for input.

The extremely subtle existents are particles, paramanus.


A more precise translation would be:

Although the aggregates are serially connected,
the wise are to comprehend nothing transfers.
Someone, having conceived of annihilation,
even in extremely subtle existents,
is not wise,
and will never see the meaning of ‘arisen from conditions’.


The auto commentary states with respect to this:

Therein, the aggregates are the aggregates of matter, sensation, perception, formations and consciousness. Those, called ‘serially joined’, not having ceased, produce another produced from that cause; although not even the subtle particle of an existent has transmigrated from this world to the next.

The purpose of this is to point out that even though nothing transfers from this life to the next, the assertion that even a subtle particle is annihilated is false. Why? Because in Madhyamaka causes and effects are neither the same nor different.
"Nonduality is merely a name;
that name does not exist."
—Kotalipa
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Re: Question about Nagarjuna's Heart of Dependent Origination

Post by Seeker12 »

Malcolm wrote: Sat Dec 15, 2018 2:23 am
Seeker12 wrote: Thu Dec 13, 2018 8:54 pm Link Here : http://www.lotsawahouse.org/indian-mast ... rigination

In verse 6, he says,

"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."

Can anyone explain this a bit? What is being referred to as extremely subtle entities that may be regarded with nihilism, lacking precise and thorough knowledge?

Thank you for input.

The extremely subtle existents are particles, paramanus.


A more precise translation would be:

Although the aggregates are serially connected,
the wise are to comprehend nothing transfers.
Someone, having conceived of annihilation,
even in extremely subtle existents,
is not wise,
and will never see the meaning of ‘arisen from conditions’.


The auto commentary states with respect to this:

Therein, the aggregates are the aggregates of matter, sensation, perception, formations and consciousness. Those, called ‘serially joined’, not having ceased, produce another produced from that cause; although not even the subtle particle of an existent has transmigrated from this world to the next.

The purpose of this is to point out that even though nothing transfers from this life to the next, the assertion that even a subtle particle is annihilated is false. Why? Because in Madhyamaka causes and effects are neither the same nor different.
Thank you.

Do you happen to have a full translation a la the verse you quoted here, or know where to find it?

Thanks.
I heard this story about a fish. He swims up to an older fish and says: “I’m trying to find this thing they call the ocean.” “The ocean?” the older fish says, “that’s what you’re in right now.” “This”, says the young fish, “this is water. What I want is the ocean!”
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Re: Question about Nagarjuna's Heart of Dependent Origination

Post by Wayfarer »

Malcolm wrote:The extremely subtle existents are particles, paramanus.
However, am I correct in believing that in Buddhism, 'particles' are of a momentary nature, i.e. rapidly arising and passing away - unlike atoms they're not of endless (or at least very great) duration?
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Re: Question about Nagarjuna's Heart of Dependent Origination

Post by Wayfarer »

Coëmgenu wrote: Sat Dec 15, 2018 2:00 am I depends. It [sunyata] is an entity, or a body, in the context of entity-function (体用), the Japanese interpretative equivalent of Chinese essence-function (體用). But this entity, 体, is not the same entity that our friend Astus referred to, 事.

事用 is, incidentally, another form of essence-function (I think), but I am not sure from where/whence.

Context: viewtopic.php?f=59&t=27623&p=431813&hil ... ty#p431796
Also: viewtopic.php?f=41&p=475862#p471721
But I didn't think sunyata is ever understood or depicted as an entity or a body, surely?
'Only practice with no gaining idea' ~ Suzuki Roshi
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Re: Question about Nagarjuna's Heart of Dependent Origination

Post by Astus »

Coëmgenu wrote: Fri Dec 14, 2018 6:51 pmDoes the Chinese text have Ven Nāgārjuna, in the terminology of the translation, relate 事 to 理?
No. That is most likely a Chinese innovation.
Do you know where the text is in the Taishō Canon?
十二因緣論
因緣心論頌因緣心論釋
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"
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Re: Question about Nagarjuna's Heart of Dependent Origination

Post by Sherab »

Therein, the aggregates are the aggregates of matter, sensation, perception, formations and consciousness. Those, called ‘serially joined’, not having ceased, produce another produced from that cause; although not even the subtle particle of an existent has transmigrated from this world to the next.

The purpose of this is to point out that even though nothing transfers from this life to the next, the assertion that even a subtle particle is annihilated is false. Why? Because in Madhyamaka causes and effects are neither the same nor different.
Off topic: It should be possible to argue in at least two ways (one more satisfactory than the other) that the parts in red are linked. (Teaser :D ) :focus:
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