400 verses | Āryadeva | 8


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

Part 8 | of 16

Training Disciples


Just as dissimilar people will not
stay close friends for long (when their attachment is gone);
likewise, desire will not stay for a long time
in those who realize the faults of all (things).


Some have attachment for a certain (object or person);
some have repulsion for that very same (thing);
and some are insensitive toward it.
Therefore, an object of desire is not (truly existent as such).


There are no such things as (truly) existent desire and so forth
without conceptual thought (incorrectly considering them to be so).
Who among those with intelligence would hold (both
the existence of) things being fully established (by their own self-natures)
and (their existence being established by merely) the concepts (for them)?


There’s no such thing as any (male) being
(inherently) bound together with any (female).
If you were (truly existently) bound together to someone else,
it would be illogical for you ever to become separated.


Those with little positive force
won’t even entertain doubts about this teaching (on voidness).
But merely by entertaining doubts (about it),
your compulsive existence will become threadbare.


Those having no respect for the teachings (of voidness),
which the Able Sage (Buddha) has said (once realized
will bring) an increase (of your positive force) up to liberation,
- they clearly have no intelligence.


(You might say,) “I shall pass beyond sorrow (with Nirvāṇa),”
but, without seeing void (phenomena) to be devoid (of true existence),
the Thusly Gone (Buddha) has said
that you cannot pass beyond sorrow with a distorted view.


It’s from (the Buddha’s scriptures),
from which the teachings derive on the (Saṁsāra) world,
that (you get) the discussions about
(how you) enter (it because of unawareness);
and it’s from (the Buddha’s scriptures),
from which the explications of deepest (voidness) derive,
that (you get) the discussions about (how to) turn away (from it).


If you are brought to generate fear by thinking,
(If things were devoid of true existence)
everything would be (totally) non-existent,
and so what is the use (to make effort to gain liberation)?

Well, if actions (actually) had truly established existence,
(realization of) this teaching (of voidness)
could not bring the action about of reversing (Saṁsāra).


If you have attachment to your own position (of voidness)
and dislike for the other position (of truly established existence),
you’ll be unable to pass beyond sorrow (to Nirvāṇa.
This is because) peace will not come to those
who act with (grasping for a truly existent) duality
(of what’s to be accepted and what’s to be rejected).


(When you realize) that there are no (truly existent actions) to do,
you pass beyond sorrow (into Nirvāṇa),
but by doing (actions you think are truly existent),
you become reborn (in Saṁsāra) over and again.
Therefore, as it’s no tax to your mind,
the state beyond sorrow is easy to attain,
which is not the case with the other alternative.


How can anyone who has no disgust with this (Saṁsāra existence)
have respect for (the state of) peace?
Like from their homes, renouncing themselves
from this compulsive existence (they imagine to be pleasant)
will indeed be difficult (for them) to do.


It can be seen that some (people),
overwhelmed with suffering, wish to kill themselves.
But because of their naivety at such times,
it ends up that they don’t pass to a topmost pure state (beyond sorrow).


(Buddha) spoke about generosity for those of least (capacity),
he spoke about ethical discipline for those who are middling
and, for those who are of supreme (capacity),
he spoke about (voidness, the method) to pacify (all suffering).
Therefore, always (aspire to) make yourself supreme.


First, you turn away from de-meritorious (actions);
intermediately, you turn away from (grasping at a gross) "self";
and, finally, you turn away from all views (of true existence).
Anyone who knows (these stages for leading a disciple) is wise.


(Buddha) has explained that anyone
who’s the seer of (the voidness of) one phenomenon,
that (person) is the seer of (the voidness of) everything.
That which is the voidness of one (thing)
is, by nature, (the same as) the voidness of all (things).


The Thusly Gone (Buddhas) spoke about
(generating) attachment to (constructive) Dharma practices
to those desiring higher rebirth.
But if this very (attachment to constructive practice)
will spoil (the chances) of those who would wish for liberation,
what need to mention the other (alternative – attachment to destructive ones)?


Those who wish (to bring about) positive force (in others)
don’t teach (them) voidness every time.
Wouldn’t medicine prescribed at the wrong occasion become a poison?


Just as barbarians will be unable to comprehend (teachings
in) languages other (than their own);
likewise, worldly ones will be unable to comprehend (voidness)
without (first) understanding (the conventional truth) about the world.


(Buddha) indeed taught (true) existence, non-(true) existence,
both (true) existence and non-(true) existence, and neither of the two.
In accordance with the sickness, can’t anything be called a medicine?


If you (fully) see the pure (view of voidness,
you go) to a supreme abode (of liberation),
and if you see it a little, (you go) to an excellent rebirth state.
Therefore, those who are wise should always enhance their intelligence
to reflect on the inner (void) nature (of all things).


Having realized the facts of reality,
even if you do not achieve a (Nirvāṇa) state beyond sorrow in this (lifetime),
it is certain that you’ll achieve it with no effort in your next rebirth,
just like (what happens with the type of) karma (that ripens in your next life).


It’s extremely rare for all actions
to bring about (their results) as intended.
Yet, it’s not that in these (teachings) there can be no Nirvāṇa release.
(It’s just that) meeting (the conducive conditions) and thus Liberation
- are difficult to find.


By hearing that the body has no good qualities,
desire and attachment (for one) will not remain long.
(Thus) by this very pathway
of mind (of meditating on dependent arising)
won’t (your disturbing emotions) all be depleted?


Just as you can see the end of a seed (when it gets burned),
although (the line it has come from) has no beginning;
likewise, (when you’ve eliminated unawareness,)
rebirth will indeed never happen (again),
because its causes will not be complete.