400 verses | Āryadeva | 15

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400 Verses on the Middle Path
by Āryadeva c. 3rd century

Part 15 | of 16

Indicating the Meditations
for Refuting Collected Phenomena
as Ultimately (Truly Arising)

 (1) If at the last (moment of the cause, the result is truly) non-existent and then it comes to arise (as truly existent, this is unreasonable, because then even a rabbit’s horn could arise).

Therefore, how can something truly non-existent arise?

And if you accept that (the result truly) exists (at the time of the cause) and then comes to arise, (this is also unreasonable, because it would already have arisen and thus have no need to arise again).

Therefore, how can something truly existently arise?

(2) With the (generation of the) result, the cause disintegrates. Therefore, it is not that something (truly) non-existent (at the time of the cause) comes to arise.

And because there is no (necessity) for something (already) established (at the time of the cause) to be established (again, something truly) existent does not arise either.

(3) At that time (when the result already truly exists), it cannot have an arising (because it already exists).

Moreover, at the other time (when it is truly non-existent), it cannot have an arising (either, because then anything could arise).

If it does not arise at either that time or the other time, when can it come to have an arising?

(4) Just as there is no arising in which something (truly existent produces) the phenomenon of itself (because there is no need),

likewise there is no arising in which something (truly existent produces) another phenomenon, (because the two would be truly different and unrelated).

(5) (An arising) at the beginning, (an abiding) in the middle, and (a ceasing) at the end do not exist before something arises.

And at (the time of each), the other 2 do not exist, (but yet they are not truly independent of each other).

Just as each comes to begin (and thus there is no abiding or ceasing without an arising, likewise each comes to abide and to cease).

(6) Without other phenomena (as its causes, a result) is not produced as its own phenomenon (from itself, since functional phenomena rely on causes.

Moreover, these causal functional phenomena that are other than the result they produce also lack true existence, since they too rely on their causes.

Therefore,) because of that, there is no production from either of the 2, (truly existent) self or others.

(7) You cannot say that that which is before (the result, namely a truly existing arising), and that which is after (the cause, namely a truly existing result), exist simultaneously (since then the result would already exist at the time of its arising and there would be no need for it to arise).

Because of that, a vase and its arising do not occur simultaneously.

(8) As it is the case that (when something) first arises (it is not old) because (it is new), then (if it were truly existent as new), what first arises could not become old.

Later, even after it has completely arisen, (it would not be old), and still afterwards what arose (as truly new) could never have become (old).

(9) (Further, because cause and effect happen at different times), a functional phenomenon of the presently happening (moment) is not produced out of its own (truly existent presently happening moment); it is not produced out of a (truly existent) not yet happening (time); nor is it (produced) out of a (truly existent) no longer happening (time).

(10) Something that has (truly existently) arisen can have no coming and likewise no going to a ceasing. As this is the case, for what reason is (conventional) existence not like an illusion?

(11) As a (truly existent) arising, abiding, and ceasing cannot occur simultaneously and cannot occur in stages, when can they come to occur?

(12) (If) arising and so on (had true existence), they would all have to occur each of them over again, (as they each would already be existing before they had actually occurred).

Because of that, a ceasing would become like an arising (when it actually came to occur), and an abiding would appear like a ceasing (before it actually began to occur).

(13) If you said that the (3) modes (of arising, abiding, and ceasing) and the basis of the modes (for example the functional phenomenon of a vase, were truly existent and) different (from each other),

then the basis of the modes would be anything but non-static, (since being truly separate from an arising and so forth, it would have to be static).

Or else, (if they were truly existently one with each other), there should not exist any clear (distinction) in the (truly) existent natures of all four (and that would destroy the relationship of a mode and the basis of a mode).

(14) A (truly existent) functional phenomenon cannot arise from a (truly existent) functional phenomenon (because it would already exist).

Moreover, (such) a functional phenomenon cannot arise from a (truly existent) non-functional phenomenon (because like a burnt seed it would lack the power to produce a result).

A non-functional phenomenon cannot arise from a non-functional phenomenon (because like a rabbit’s horn, such cannot arise from anything).

(15) A (truly existent) functional phenomenon cannot become a functional phenomenon (that arises, because it will already have arisen)

and a (truly existent) non-functional phenomenon cannot become a functional phenomenon (that arises, otherwise the son of a barren woman could be born).

A non-functional phenomenon cannot become a non-functional phenomenon (that has ceased, otherwise the son of a barren woman could die)

and a functional phenomenon cannot become a non-functional phenomenon (that has ceased, because the two truly existent categories must be mutually exclusive).

(16) While (something) is arising, because it is half (already) arisen (and half not yet arisen) the process of arising cannot be a (truly existent) arising (apart from these portions).

Or else there would be the absurd conclusion that all (three times, namely the portion of not yet having arisen, the portion of arising now and the portion of already having arisen) would be the (truly existently) arising.

(17) (In terms of true existence, if) what is in the process of arising were the thing itself that it was going to be, it would make it not what is in the process of arising (because being in the process of arising would imply that the thing itself had not yet been established).

Even if what is in the process of arising were not the thing itself that it was going to be, it would still make it not be what is in the process of arising (because it would then be truly different from and thus totally unrelated to what it would be and would not be arising as anything).

(18) Any (tradition that asserts that) the 2 (namely the not-yet-happening time and the no-longer-happening time) cannot exist without something in between, (namely a presently-happening moment, must also assert that) the process of arising lacks true existence.

Why, because it too (namely that presently happening moment) would have something in between (its first and last portions, and so on with infinite regress).

(19) (Suppose you say that) because the process of arising is (the time when the cause) has ceased and what is to have arisen (namely the result) is about to arise,

therefore the process of arising is seen in the nature of being something (truly) existent that is in fact different (from a portion of being halfway already arisen and one of being halfway not yet arisen).

(20) (Well, if as you claim, the process of arising had true existence separately from and before what is to have arisen, then) when what is to have arisen (truly exists), at such a time there cannot exist the process of its arising (because the arising will have already ceased.

Thus, you cannot establish that what has arisen was produced from this process of arising that you inferred to truly exist separately and before it. The 2 would be unrelated.

And if you grant this, but say that on the basis of true existence what is to have arisen is in the process of arising,

well then) when what is to have arisen is in the process of arising, at such a time what reason is there for it to have to be made to arise (again – it would already have arisen, being truly existent)?

(21) (Suppose you claim that) the process of arising is merely when what has not yet arisen (is progressing toward the state when it) will be proclaimed as what has arisen.

(Well then,) because (this assertion made in terms of true existence amounts to) there being no difference (between what has not yet arisen and what has already arisen),

why at the time when (there is something functioning as) a vase could it not be (also) conceived of as not (a vase or something functional,

because likewise there should be no difference between a vase that has arisen and the non-functional state when it has not yet arisen)?

(22) (Suppose you retort that there is a difference between the process of arising and when something has not yet arisen, namely the former is connected with the action of arising while the latter is not necessarily so connected.

Well then,) when something is in the process of arising, it is in fact not yet complete (and thus has a portion of being not yet arisen.

Therefore, by being connected with the action of arising,) what has not yet arisen would pass beyond (the category of being something not yet happening, for it would be presently happening).

And if that were indeed so, then by the very fact that the process of arising is beyond the limits of when something has already arisen (and thus has a portion of being not yet arisen), then because of that, what has not yet arisen would be arising.

(23) (And suppose you further assert that) the process of arising, even before it has occurred, can be proclaimed to be (truly) existent (as a functional phenomenon), because later (it will come to be connected with the action of arising.

Well then,) by that, (you would) in fact (be forced to conclude that only) what has not yet arisen arises (and that is unreasonable on the basis of true existence.

After all,) what has not yet arisen is said to have not occurred (and therefore has not acquired the status of being the functional phenomenon of itself.

Thus, it could not enter into the action of arising and) could not arise.

(24) To say that (when the action of arising is) completed, (a functional phenomenon) exists and to say that (when the action of arising) has not been enacted, (a functional phenomenon) does not yet exist (is irrelevant).

When there is no such thing as a (truly existent) process of arising, what can be said about one?

(25) (In short), when there can exist no result without a cause that can be understood, then a (truly existing result) entering into (a process of arising) and a (truly existing cause) reversing (and ceasing) are illogical.