Nagarjuna's Vibhasa

Discuss and learn about the traditional Mahayana scriptures, without assuming that any one school ‘owns’ the only correct interpretation.
Nicholas Weeks
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Re: Nagarjuna's Vibhasa

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If one is serious about living a Mahayana life, then this work of Nagarjuna is a solid foundation!
A Condensed Description of the 35 Chapters' Contents

1) The Introduction: This chapter consists of a general discussion
of the whole treatise, a description of Nāgārjuna’s motives in writing
the treatise, and a close explanation of the “refuge” verse that opens the treatise.
2) Entering the First Ground: This chapter lists the names and
meanings each of the ten grounds, explains how one enters the first
ground, and discusses why this ground is called “The Ground of Joyfulness.”
3) The Characteristics of the Ground: This chapter describes the
character of the first-ground bodhisattva, focusing in particular
on this bodhisattva’s distinctive features. It also explains why his
mind is for the most part joyful and explains the nature of his fearlessness.
4) Purification of the Ground: This chapter describes 27 dharmas
involved in purifying the first ground.
5) The Explanation of the Vows: This chapter describes the bodhisattva’s
ten great vows in great detail.
6) On Producing the Bodhi Resolve: This chapter describes and
explains the seven causes and conditions involved in generating
the resolve to achieve the utmost, right, and perfect enlightenment.
7) On Training the Mind: This chapter describes the many different
sorts of causes and conditions that might cause the bodhisattva
to lose his resolve to reach the enlightenment of a buddha.
8) On the Avaivartika: This chapter describes the characteristics of
the bodhisattva who has fallen into ruination and the characteristics
of the bodhisattva who has become irreversible on the path to buddhahood.
9) On the Easy Practice: This chapter describes using the path
of “the easy practice,” mindfulness of the buddhas, to succeed in
reaching the ground of the avaivartika or “irreversible” bodhisattva.
10) Getting Rid of Karma: This chapter describes the methods
for purifying past bad karma, specifically referencing repentance,
entreating, rejoicing in others’ merit, and dedication of merit.
11) Distinctions with Regard to Merit: This chapter discusses the
merit and karmic rewards of repentance, entreating, rejoicing, and
transference of merit and also explains how repentance results in
less severe retribution from grave karmic offenses.
12) Distinctions with Regard to Giving: This chapter discusses
the karmic rewards of giving and also explains what constitutes
pure giving and impure giving.
13) Distinctions with Regard to the Giving of Dharma: This chapter
explains the superiority of Dharma giving over material giving
and discusses the qualifications of someone who teaches the Dharma.
14) The Characteristics of the Refuges: This chapter discusses
how one takes refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha
as well as how one practices mindfulness of the Buddha, mindfulness
of the Dharma, and mindfulness of the Sangha.
15) The Five Moral Precepts: This chapter explains the practices
beneficial to self and beneficial to others while also explaining the
dharma of the five lay precepts.
16) On Realizing the Faults of the Householder’s Life: This chapter
details for the lay bodhisattva the faults of the household life,
thereby encouraging the layperson to consider the advantages of
becoming a monastic. It also describes the practice of the six perfections.
May all seek, find & follow the Path of Buddhas.
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Re: Nagarjuna's Vibhasa

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17) On Entering the Temple: This chapter describes the practices
adopted by the layperson on entering the grounds of stupas and
temples, explains how to take and maintain the eight abstinence
precepts, and compares the lay practice with monastic practice.
18) The Jointly Shared Practices: This chapter describes the practices
common to both lay and monastic bodhisattvas while also
describing a buddha’s 32 major marks and the karmic causes that
bring them about.
19) The Four-fold Dharmas: This chapter explains how wisdom is
the origin of the 32 marks while also setting forth many fourfold
lists that explain how wisdom is acquired, how wisdom is lost, how
one’s roots of goodness are devoured, how one’s roots of goodness
increase, and so forth.
20) Mindfulness of the Buddhas: This chapter describes the method
for acquiring the pratyutpanna samādhi wherein one is allowed to
see the Buddhas. It explains that one should cultivate mindfulness
and contemplation of the Buddhas’ form bodies in reliance upon
their 32 major marks and 80 subsidiary characteristics.
21) Forty Dharmas Exclusive to Buddhas (Part 1): This chapter
lists 40 dharmas exclusive to buddhas and discusses the first nine
of those 40 dharmas that serve as the basis for practicing mindfulness
of all buddhas’ Dharma body.
22) Forty Dharmas Exclusive to Buddhas (Part 2) – Challenges to the Reality of Omniscience:
This entire chapter is devoted to refuting the various challenges to the claim that buddhas are omniscient.
23) Forty Dharmas Exclusive to Buddhas (Part 3): This chapter
begins by explaining the tenth of the exclusive dharmas, that
of “thorough knowing of matters that are unfixed,” continues by
explaining the rest of the 40 exclusive dharmas, and then ends by
introducing an additional 44 exclusive dharmas.
24) Verses Offered in Praise: This chapter explains that one is to
use the 40 dharmas exclusive to the Buddhas in one’s practice of
mindfulness of the Buddha and then presents praise verses to be
used as a means for successfully entering the mindfulness-of-the-
Buddha samādhi.
25) Teachings to Aid the Mindfulness-of-the-Buddha Samādhi:
This chapter sets forth the method for acquiring the pratyutpanna
samādhi while also describing the karmic rewards derived from this samādhi.
26) The Analogy Chapter: This chapter sets forth the analogy of
the great guide leading fellow travelers across treacherous terrain
to a great city while also describing in greater detail the knowledge
essential to deeply understanding and practicing the bodhisattva path.
27) A Summarizing Discussion of the Bodhisattva Practices:
This chapter presents a general explanation of all the dharmas practiced
by the bodhisattva along with a discussion of the differences
between the practitioner who is a bodhisattva in name only and the
practitioner who truly is a genuine bodhisattva.
May all seek, find & follow the Path of Buddhas.
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Re: Nagarjuna's Vibhasa

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28) Distinctions in the Second Ground’s Courses of Karmic Action:
This chapter begins by introducing ten types of resolute
intentions that should be adopted by the first-ground bodhisattva
wishing to reach the second ground. It continues then with detailed
explanations of each of the ten courses of good karmic action and
the ten courses of bad karmic action.
29) Distinctions Pertaining to Śrāvakas and Pratyekabuddhas:
This chapter begins by asserting that the ten courses of good karmic
action enable the practitioner to access the ground of a śrāvaka-disciple,
the ground of a pratyekabuddha, and the ground of a buddha.
It then describes which sorts of beings may reach the grounds
of śrāvaka-disciples and pratyekabuddhas by relying upon the practice
of the ten courses of good karmic action.
30) Distinctions Pertaining to the Great Vehicle: This chapter
describes which sorts of beings may reach the ground of a buddha
through cultivation of the ten courses of good karmic action.
It also asserts that a bodhisattva’s cultivation of the ten courses of
good karmic action is superior to such cultivation as undertaken
by adherents of the śrāvaka-disciple and pratyekabuddha vehicles.
31) Guarding the Moral Precepts: This chapter describes the general
and specific karmic rewards resulting from cultivating the ten
courses of good karmic action. It then presents sixty-five aspects
of the perfection of moral virtue in accordance with The Jeweled Summit Sutra.
32) An Explanation of the Dhūta Austerities: This chapter
describes the correct practice of the twelve dhūta austerities, their
benefits, and the conditions under which they may be set aside.
33) Aids to Gaining the Fruits of Śīla: This chapter describes the
dharmas that enable purification of one’s practice of moral virtue.
It also describes four types of monks of which the first three are
worthy of censure and the fourth is to be emulated.
34) In Praise of the Moral Precepts: This chapter begins by asserting
that, “The bodhisattva who purifies his observance of the moral
precepts in this manner is able to gather together all sorts of meritorious
qualities and derive all manner of benefits.” It then proceeds
to quote Akṣayamati Bodhisattva’s extensive praise of the moral
precepts.
35) The Karmic Rewards of the Moral Precepts: This chapter
describes the second-ground bodhisattva’s manifestation as a
wheel-turning king who instructs beings in the practice of the ten
course of good karmic action.
May all seek, find & follow the Path of Buddhas.
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Re: Nagarjuna's Vibhasa

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It is in order to acquire a buddha’s ten powers that one
becomes able to accomplishes this endeavor and it is in order to enter
the stage of certainty that one becomes able to bring forth this vow.

Question: What then are the ten powers of a buddha?

Response: [As for the ten powers, they are as follows]:

The Buddha possesses a completely penetrating comprehension of
the causes and effects involved in all dharmas. This is the first power.

He knows in accordance with reality the past, future, and present
stations wherein one creates karma and undergoes retribution as
the effect. This is the second power.

He knows in accordance with reality the characteristic aspects of all
dhyāna absorptions and samādhis, their distinctions, their defilement
and purity, and their entry and emergence. This is the third power.

He knows in accordance with reality the relative sharpness or dullness
of all faculties possessed by beings. This is the fourth power.

He knows in accordance with reality the differences among beings
inclinations. This is the fifth power.

He knows in accordance with reality all the world’s many different
sorts of realms. This is the sixth power.

He knows in accordance with reality the paths that lead to all destinations.
This is the seventh power.

He knows in accordance with reality all the circumstances of previous
lives. This is the eighth power.

He knows in accordance with reality all circumstances involved in
all births and deaths. This is the ninth power.

He knows in accordance with reality the matter of the cessation of
the contaminants. This is the tenth power.
Page 71-2
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Re: Nagarjuna's Vibhasa

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Question: Why is it that the first ground is said to be characterized by “joyfulness”?

Response:
It is just as with one who gains the first fruit
and who is then ultimately bound to reach nirvāṇa.
When the bodhisattva gains this ground,
his mind is always abundantly joyful.

He then naturally succeeds in extending
the lineage of all the Buddhas, the Tathāgatas.
It is for this reason that a person such as this
acquires the designation as “one who is worthy and good.”

As for its being “just as with one who gains the first fruit,” this means
that it is just as when someone gains the path of a stream-enterer.
He succeeds thereby in completely shutting the gates leading to the three
wretched destinies. He has seen the Dharma, entered the Dharma,
and gained the Dharma. He abides unshakably in the dharma of stability
and is ultimately bound to reach nirvāṇa. Because he has severed
the dharmas that are severed at the point of seeing the truths,
his mind is filled with immense joyfulness, [for he realizes then that],
even if he were to fall asleep or become indolent, he could not stray
into some twenty-ninth realm of existence.*

* The point here is that, since a stream-enterer is then bound to enter
nirvāṇa within seven lifetimes, whereupon he will not be reborn into
any of the twenty-eight realms of rebirth (and there are only twentyeight
realms of rebirth), he need have no fear that he might somehow
stray into some supposed “twenty-ninth” realm of rebirth (because
no such place even exists).
Page 79
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Re: Nagarjuna's Vibhasa

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The Infinitely Vast Scope and Duration of the Ten Bodhisattva Vows
Next, we have:
For all such bodhisattvas as these,
it is the ten great vows that are foremost.
They are as vast as empty space
and exhaust even the bounds of the future.
This extends to all of their other measurelessly many vows
as well as to their distinguishing and explanation of each of them.

“Vows” is a reference to what the mind wishes for and what it is determined
to definitely achieve. “Ten” is a reference to the existence of ten such gateways.
“They are as vast as empty space” refers to the fact that the regions
taken as the objective focus of the vows are equal in their extensiveness
to all of empty space. The scope of the vows is so very vast as this.
“Exhausting even the bounds of the future” means that the length
of time during which these vows shall abide will exhaust the bounds
of the future births and deaths of all beings.
There are others who claim that anuttarasamyaksaṃbodhi itself is
what sets the bounds of future births and deaths. Or they may assert
that, when buddhas enter the nirvāṇa without residue, it is this that
constitutes the bounds of future births and death. Or they may say
that, although the bodhisattva’s vows may be endless, in fact, they end
with the realization of buddhahood.
All of the great bodhisattvas throughout the worlds of the ten directions
have made these vows. “All of their other measurelessly many
vows” refers to the fact that, because all bodhisattvas perfect measurelessly
many rare meritorious qualities, one could never exhaustively
describe all the vows that they have made.
Page 133
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Re: Nagarjuna's Vibhasa

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These ten great vows have ten ways in which they are caused to be ultimately enduring.
Question: What then are those ten ways?

Response:
They are made until the end of realms of beings, of realms of worlds,
of realms of empty space, of the Dharma realm,
of the realm of nirvāṇa, of the realms in which buddhas are born,
of the realms of all buddhas’ knowledge—

Until the end of anything taken as an object of mind,
the end of the knowledge associated with buddhas’ range of actions,
and of the permutations of their knowledge of worldly dharmas.

These are the ten ways they are ultimately enduring. [Hence these vows are made]:

First, until the end of the realms of beings;
Second, until the end of the realms of worlds;
Third, until the end of the realms of empty space;
Fourth, until the end of the Dharma realm;
Fifth, until the end of the realm of nirvāṇa;
Sixth, until the end of the realms in which buddhas are born;
Seventh, until the end of the realms of all buddhas’ knowledge;
Eighth, until the end of everything that can be taken as an object of mind;
Ninth, until the end of the knowledge associated with all buddhas’ range of actions;
And tenth, until the end of the permutations of their knowledge of worldly dharmas.

These are the ten ways they are ultimately enduring.
Page 134
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Re: Nagarjuna's Vibhasa

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Question: You speak of an ultimate “end.” What is it that constitutes
an ultimate “end”? You should distinguish what is meant by this.

Response:
If the realms of beings were to come to an end,
only then would my vows also come to an end.
Just as it is with the ending of beings and the other things,
so too it is with the ending of these vows.
The meaning of “end” is that there is no end,
hence my roots of goodness are endless.
Page 134
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Re: Nagarjuna's Vibhasa

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Question: The initial production of the resolve [to attain buddhahood]
is the root of all vows. What then is meant by this “initial production of resolve”?

Response:
The initial resolve to attain bodhi
May involve three reasons or four reasons.

When beings initially produce the resolve to attain bodhi, this may
find its origin in three reasons or else in four reasons. Thus, when one combines them,
there are a total of seven causes and conditions associated with producing
the resolve to attain anuttarasamyaksaṃbodhi.

Question: What then are those seven?

Response:
In the case of the first, a Tathāgata
may influence one to bring forth the resolve to attain bodhi.
As for the second, observing that the Dharma is about to be destroyed,
one produces the resolve in order to guard and protect it.

In the case of the third, with respect to beings,
one feels great compassion for them and thus produces the resolve.
As for the fourth, there may be a bodhisattva
who instructs one in the production of the resolve to attain bodhi.

In the case of the fifth, one may observe the conduct of a bodhisattva
and also then consequently produce the resolve.
Or, alternatively, following upon an act of giving,
one may produce the resolve to attain bodhi [based on that].

Or else, having observed the marks of a buddha’s body,
one may feel delight and then proceed to produce the resolve.
Thus it may be due to these seven causes and conditions
that one produces the resolve to attain bodhi.
The rest of this chapter Six explains further. But Nagarjuna emphasizes that only the first three are certain to result in success - full buddhahood. The other four are uncertain. I would guess that it is possible to blend 2 or 3 of the motivations, and not rely just on a single intention.
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Re: Nagarjuna's Vibhasa

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VII. Chapter Seven: On Training the Mind

What Are the Bases of Success or Failure of One’s Bodhi Resolve?

Question: According to the explanation in the previous chapter, there
are three cases where production of the resolve [to attain buddhahood]
will definitely result in success whereas, in the remaining four cases,
it is not necessarily the case that they will result in success. Why is it
that some of these result in success and why is it that some of these do not result in success?

Response: If a bodhisattva has brought forth the bodhi resolve yet
practices dharmas conducing to loss of the bodhi resolve, this will not
meet with success. If he practices the dharmas not conducing to losing
bodhi resolve, this will certainly bring success. Hence this verse says:

The bodhisattva should abandon
any dharmas conducing to loss of the bodhi resolve
and should single-mindedly cultivate
those dharmas that prevent loss of bodhi.
[...]

Question: Which sorts of dharmas result in loss of the bodhi resolve?

Response:
The first is failing to revere and esteem the Dharma.
The second is possessing an arrogant mind.
The third is false speech or being untruthful.
The fourth is failing to revere spiritual guides.

Those possessed of any of these four dharmas—whether it be at the
time of death in this present lifetime or whether it be in a subsequent
lifetime—they will forget and lose their bodhi resolve. Thus they will
become unable to realize, “I am a bodhisattva,” and so they will no
longer bring forth the vow. Thus the dharmas of bodhisattva practice
will no longer manifest before them.
Page 147-8; the rest of the chapter expands on this topic of losing bodhicitta.
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Re: Nagarjuna's Vibhasa

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Chapter Seven ends with this:
Which Dharmas Cause One to Make the Vows Again in Each Life?

Question: Through which dharmas might one cause increase and
growth in one’s vow to attain bodhi, doing so across the course of lifetimes
while also additionally causing one later on to be able to bring
forth the great vows yet again?

Response:
Even at the cost of losing one’s life
or of losing the throne of a wheel-turning king—
even in such instances as these—one still should not
commit false speech or engage in flattery or deviousness.

One is able through this to cause the entire world,
including all the beings within it,
to develop thoughts of reverence
toward the community of bodhisattvas.

If there is anyone able to practice
such good dharmas as these,
in each successive lifetime, he will succeed in increasing
[the strength of] his vows to realize the unsurpassable bodhi.
[...]
One should also do whatever is in one’s powers to influence others to abide in the Great Vehicle.
Page 156-7
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Re: Nagarjuna's Vibhasa

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In addition to the many personal failings & vices that lead to losing bodhicitta, there is also the case of maras. Here are a couple from the list of over 20:
As for “if one fails to become aware of the works of māras,” if one
remains unaware of the various works of māras, then one cannot control
and overcome them. If one fails to control and overcome them, then
one is bound to lose the resolve to attain bodhi.

Question: What all is meant by “the works of māras”?

Response:
When, in explaining how one ought to take up the pāramitās of giving,
moral virtue, patience, vigor, dhyāna, and wisdom or when
explaining profound ideas included within the Great Vehicle,
one does not readily delight in speaking about them or delights
in speaking of them, but then becomes scattered and confused in
discussing peripheral topics.

Whether one is involved in writing out, studying, setting forth
explanations, discussing points of doctrine, or listening to and
absorbing teachings, one becomes haughty, full of oneself, and
one’s mind becomes so scattered and disordered that one focuses
one’s thoughts on peripheral topics....
Page 151-2
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Re: Nagarjuna's Vibhasa

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Chapter 8 begins:
VIII. Chapter Eight: On the Avaivartika

Question: These bodhisattvas are of two kinds: First, those who are
vaivartika (reversible), and second, those who are avaivartika (irreversible).
One should explain the characteristics that determine whether
one is a vaivartika or an avaivartika.

Response:
He maintains a mind of equal regard toward beings,
does not envy the benefits and support obtained by others,
and, even at the cost of his own body and life,
does not speak of a Dharma master’s transgressions.

He has resolute faith in the profound and sublime Dharma
and does not crave to be the object of others’ reverence.
One who embodies these five dharmas
Is an avaivartika
Rest of chapter unpacks these lines and comments much on maintaining or not, progress toward buddhahood.
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Re: Nagarjuna's Vibhasa

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After much about those backsliding bodhisattvas who ruin their future as such, Nagarjuna then gives cheer to those who wish to avoid backsliding toward ruination of their bodhisattva vows:
Question: You stated that there are two kinds of bodhisattvas still on
the grounds of the vaivartika (reversible) bodhisattva:
First, the bodhisattva fallen into ruination and, second, someone who, after the
consistent application of vigor gradually becomes an avaivartika (irreversible)
bodhisattva. Having already explained what is meant by
“the bodhisattva fallen into ruination,” you could now explain what is
meant by the one who, after consistent application of vigor gradually
becomes avaivartika (irreversible).

Response:
The bodhisattva does not apprehend the existence of any self
and also does not apprehend the existence of any being.
He does not engage in discriminations as he discourses on Dharma,
nor does he apprehend the existence of bodhi.

He does not see a buddha by his signs.
It is because of these five meritorious qualities
that he can be referred to as a great bodhisattva
who is bound to become an avaivartika.

If a bodhisattva implements these five meritorious qualities, he thereby
proceeds directly to the stage of the avaivartika.
Page 163-4
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Re: Nagarjuna's Vibhasa

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The Avaivartika Has Numerous Characteristics, as Follows:

Response:
The Prajñāpāramitā has already extensively explained
the characteristic signs of the avaivartika.

If, in contemplating the ground of the common person, the grounds of
the śrāvaka disciple, the ground of the pratyekabuddha, and the ground
of a buddha, a bodhisattva does not engage in duality-based perceptions,
does not engage in discriminating thoughts, and has no doubts
or regrets, one should realize that this is an avaivartika.

Whenever an avaivartika speaks, it is beneficial in some way.
He does not contemplate others’ relative strengths and shortcomings
or good and bad aspects.
He does not long to hear the discourses of non-Buddhist śramaṇas.
What should be known, he immediately learns. Whatever should
be seen, he then sees.
He does not revere or serve others’ deities, nor does he make offerings
to them of flowers, incense, banners, or canopies. Nor does he
venerate or serve the gurus of those other traditions.
He does not fall into the wretched destinies nor, when reborn, does
he take on a female body.
He always cultivates the ten courses of good karmic action himself
while also teaching them to others, thereby causing them to practice them.
He always uses good dharmas in revealing, instructing,
benefiting, and delighting others. Even in his dreams, he never relinquishes
the ten courses of good karmic action and never engages in
any of the ten courses of bad karmic action.
The roots of goodness that he plants through physical, verbal, and
mental actions are all done in order to facilitate beings’ peace and happiness
and their liberation. He shares with other beings
the karmic rewards that result from his endeavors.
Page 170 - many other signs follow.
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Re: Nagarjuna's Vibhasa

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Chapter Nine begins with a question complaining that becoming irreversible is too hard, is there an easy practice instead. Nagarjuna says:
Response: Statements such as you have just made are symptomatic of
a weak, pusillanimous, and inferior mind devoid of the great resolve.
These are not the words of a heroic man possessed of determination and ability.

How is this so? If a person has brought forth the vow to strive for
the realization of anuttarasamyaksaṃbodhi, during that interim period
in which he has not yet gained the avaivartika stage, he must not be
sparing of even his own body or life. Rather he should strive with
vigor both day and night, acting with the same urgency to save himself
as someone whose turban has just caught fire. This is as stated in
the Bodhisambhara Śāstra:

So long as the bodhisattva has not yet succeeded in reaching
the ground of the avaivartika,
he should always diligently practice vigor,
acting with the urgency of one whose turban has caught fire.

Taking up the heavy burden
for the sake of striving to attain bodhi,
he should always act with diligent vigor,
refraining from developing an indolent mind.

Even were one to seek the śrāvaka disciples’ vehicle
or the pratyekabuddha’s vehicle,
thus seeking only to perfect one’s own benefit,
even then, one should always diligently practice vigor.

How much the more should this be so in the case of the bodhisattva,
one who strives to liberate both himself and others.
Compared to these men of the Two Vehicles,
he should be a koṭi’s number of times more vigorous than they are.

In speaking of the practice of the Great Vehicle, the Buddha described
it thus: “As for generating the vow to attain buddhahood, it is a challenge
heavier than lifting all of the worlds in a great trichiliocosm.”

As for your saying, “This dharma of the avaivartika ground is so
extremely difficult to accomplish that one can only reach it after a long
time” and “If there were only some easily-traveled path by which one
could swiftly reach the avaivartika ground,” these are the words of
those who are weak and inferior. These are not statements of a great
man possessed of determination and ability.
Still, if you definitely do wish to hear of this skillful means,
then I shall now explain it for you.
Page 176
May all seek, find & follow the Path of Buddhas.
Nicholas Weeks
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Re: Nagarjuna's Vibhasa

Post by Nicholas Weeks »

It is my hope that these excerpts will induce many to buy this book for Mahayana cultivation purposes. It is a rare and sublime bodhisattva guide.
May all seek, find & follow the Path of Buddhas.
Nicholas Weeks
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Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2009 4:21 am
Location: California

Re: Nagarjuna's Vibhasa

Post by Nicholas Weeks »

As mentioned in other posts, Amazon has it, maybe other places too. But get the English-only volume, not the three language version in two volumes (not sure it is out yet anyway.)

The English title is Nāgārjuna’s Treatise On the Ten Bodhisattva Grounds, published by Kalavinka Press.
May all seek, find & follow the Path of Buddhas.
Nicholas Weeks
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Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2009 4:21 am
Location: California

Re: Nagarjuna's Vibhasa

Post by Nicholas Weeks »

Now begins a teaching on the easy practice:
The Dharma of the Buddha has measurelessly many gateways. This
is just as with the world’s various routes among which there are those
that are difficult and those that are easy. When taking overland routes,
the traveling may involve suffering, whereas in the case of water routes
where one boards a boat, it may instead be pleasurable.

So too it is in the case of the bodhisattva path. In some instances,
one is diligently devoted to the practice of vigor, whereas in others that
involve faith and skillful means, one adopts an easy practice by which
one swiftly arrives at the station of the avaivartika.
This is as described in the following verse:

In the East, there is Meritorious Qualities Buddha.
In the South, there is Candana Qualities Buddha.
In the West, there is Measureless Light Buddha.
In the North, there is Emblematic Qualities Buddha.

In the Southeast, there is Sorrowless Qualities Buddha.
In the Southwest, there is Giver of Jewels Buddha.
In the Northwest, there is Floral Qualities Buddha.
In the Northeast, there is Three Vehicles’ Practices Buddha.

Toward the Nadir, there is Brilliant Qualities Buddha.
Toward the Zenith, there is Vast Multitude of Qualities Buddha.

Bhagavats such as these now abide throughout the ten directions.
If a person wishes to swiftly reach the ground of irreversibility,
he should, with a reverential mind, take up and maintain
the practice of invoking these buddhas’ names.

If a bodhisattva wishes in this very body to succeed in reaching the
ground of the avaivartika and then attain anuttarasamyaksaṃbodhi, then
he should bear in mind these buddhas of the ten directions and invoke their names
Page 176-7
May all seek, find & follow the Path of Buddhas.
Nicholas Weeks
Posts: 4206
Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2009 4:21 am
Location: California

Re: Nagarjuna's Vibhasa

Post by Nicholas Weeks »

Question: Is it the case that one may only be able to reach irreversibility
with respect to anuttarasamyaksaṃbodhi through hearing these ten
buddhas’ names and bearing them in mind? Or is it the case that there
are yet other buddhas’ and other bodhisattvas’ names through which
one may succeed in reaching the station of the avaivartika?

Response:
There is Amitābha and also other such buddhas
as well as the great bodhisattvas.
If one invokes their names and single-mindedly bears them in mind,
one will also thereby attain irreversibility.
Then follows many named bodhisattvas & buddhas. Also a long verse praise of Amitābha comes next.
May all seek, find & follow the Path of Buddhas.
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