Absence of self nature.pdf

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  • The Development of the Proof of the Absence of Self-Nature from India to Tibet

    Seiji KUMAGAI JSPS Research Fellow, Kyoto University

    0. Introduction

    As Ejima [1980] explains, after Ngrjuna (ca. 150-250), Mdhyamika thinkers demonstrated the

    absence of self-nature in various ways. From the period of Kamalala (ca. 740-795), they had a

    tendency to merely gather together traditional arguments. Kamalala enumerated "five" traditional

    proofs in his Madhyamakloka (M). Contrary to Kamalala, Atia (982-1054) gave "four" proofs.

    According to Kumagai [2007b], Tibetan thinkers generally admitted "five" such acceptable proofs,

    basing themselves on Kamalala's M. In my recent study I found that in both Tibetan Buddhism

    and in the Bon religion, there was also a tradition which accepted only "four" such proofs.

    Here we have a question how they have classified the proofs. In this paper we outline the general

    history and characteristics of the classification of acceptable proofs for the absence of self-nature in

    Indian Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism, and Bon religion.

    1. Classification of the acceptable proofs for the absence of self-nature in Indian Buddhism

    1-1. Those who accept five such proofs

    In his Madhyamakloka (M), Kamalala (ca. 740-795) shows the following "five" acceptable

    ways of proving the absence of self-nature in the Mdhyamika school.1

    [Proof 1] That which is absolutely separated from the production from itself, another, and

    both, and the production without causes has no self-nature as true. For example, a

    1 Moriyama [1991] states that the origin of these five proofs is attested in the composed by (Paramrtha, 499-569) so there is a possibility that Kamalala was influenced by .

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  • sky flower.2

    Kamalala calls this proof "four non-obstructive vajra particles" (rdo rje gzegs ma thogs pa med

    pa'i bzhi po).

    3

    [Proof 2] The result, which has already existed, will not be produced again because its

    production is non-sense. [The result], which has not existed yet, will not be

    produced too, because horns of rabit would also be produced if it were the case.

    Later in Tibet it is called "reasoning of vajra particle" (rdo rje gzegs ma'i gtan tshigs,

    vajrakaahetu*).

    4

    Kamalala does not give the name of this proof. But later Tibetan thinkers call it "reasoning

    which negates production from existence and non-existence" (yod med skye 'gog gi gtan tshigs,

    sadasadutpdapratiedhahetu*).

    [Proof 3] It is not logical that multiple results are produced from one cause. Neither is it

    logical that one result is produced from multiple causes Multiple [results] are

    not produced from [multiple] causes Neither is one [result] produced from [one]

    cause.5

    Kamalala calls this proof "that which is separated from four extremes of production" (mu bzhi

    pa'i skye ba dang bral ba nyid).

    6

    [Proof 4] Whatever is produced dependently is naturally peaceful.

    Later in Tibet it is called "reasoning which negates four extremes

    of production" (mu bzhi skye 'gog gi gtan tshigs, catukoyutpdapratiedhahetu*). 7

    Kamalala does not give the name of this proof. But later Tibetan thinkers call it "reasoning of

    interdependence" (rten 'brel gyi gtan tshigs, prattyasamutpdahetu*).

    [Proof 5] All things are separated from the self-nature of singularity and multiplicity, so they

    have no self-nature.8

    Kamalala calls this proof "reasoning which is separated from the self-nature of singularity and

    multiplicity" (gcig dang du ma'i rang bzhin dang bral ba'i gtan tshigs).

    9

    2 M [D 190a3, P 208a6-7]: gang dag don dam par rang dang / gzhan dang / gnyi ga las skye ba dang / rgyu med pa las skye ba dang / bral ba de dag ni yang dag par na ngo bo nyid med pa yin te / dper na nam mkha'i padma la sogs pa lta bu'o //

    Later in Tibet it is called

    "reasoning which is separated from singularity and multiplicity" (gcig dang du bral gyi gtan tshigs,

    3 M [D 202a6, P 223a2]. 4 M [D 137b5-6, P 148a8]: gang yang 'bras bu yod pa yang mi skye ste / skye ba don med pa'i

    phyir ro // med pa yang ma yin te / ri bong gi rva la sogs pa yang skye bar thal bar 'gyur ba'i phyir ro.

    5 M [D 138a4-6, P 148b7-149a2]: gang dag rgyu gcig las kyang 'bras bu du ma skye bar rigs pa ma yin la / du ma las kyang gcig (P. cig) skye bar rigs pa ma yin no // ...... du ma las kyang 'bras bu du ma mi skye ste / ...... gcig las gcig skye ba yang ma yin te /

    6 M [D 210b2, P 232b2]. 7 M [D 138b3, P 149a7-149a8]: rten cing 'brel par 'byung ba gang yin pa de ni ngo bo nyid kyis

    zhi ba'o. 8 M [D 138b6, P 149b4]: dngos po thams cad ni gcig dang du ma'i rang bzhin dang bral ba'i phyir

    rang bzhin med pa'o. 9 M [D 139a7-b1, P 150a8].

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  • eknekaviyogahetu*).

  • number 5 of the M)

    [Proof (iv)] "reasoning of interdependence" (rten cing 'brel par 'byung ba'i gtan tshigs)

    [Ngrjuna] said in the logical reasoning of his nyatsaptati and

    Mlamadhyamakaklik, etc.: "Self-natures of things are empty."14

    (proof number 4 of

    the M)

    Atia calls the proof number (i) the "reasoning which negates four extremes of production" (mu

    bzhi skye ba 'gog pa'i gtan tshigs). But the content of this proof corresponds to the proof number 2 of

    the M, which is called later in Tibet the "reasoning which negates existence and non-existence"

    (yod med skye 'gog gi gtan tshigs). On the other hand, Atia does not give the proof which

    corresponds to the proof number 3 of the M, which is called later in Tibet the "reasoning which

    negates four extremes of production" (mu bzhi skye 'gog gi gtan tshigs). That is to say Atia gives the

    name "mu bzhi skye 'gog gi gtan tshigs" to the proof of the "yod med skye 'gog gi gtan tshigs." We

    must also notice that Atia's four proofs are different from the four proofs of the MRP as we see later.

    1-2-2. Four proofs of the Madhyamakrthasagraha (MAS)15

    In the MAS there is an expression: "logic of four reasonings such as negation of four extremes of

    production" (mu bzhi skye 'gog la sogs pa'i gtan tshigs bzhi yi rigs pa).16

    So there was also a

    tradition of four proofs before Atia. But it is not sure if the "four proofs" of the MAS are the same or

    different from those of Atia, because the MAS only names one of them, the reasoning which negates

    four extremes of production (mu bzhi skye 'gog gi gtan tshigs).

    1-2-3. Four proofs of the Madhyamakaratnapradpa (MRP)17

    The MRP enumerates following four proofs.

    [Proof (I)] Thing is not produced from itself, another, both [itself and another], nor

    non-cause.18

    14 BPP [D 240a7, P 276b7-8]: sTong nyid bdun cu'i rigs pa dang // dBu ma rtsa ba sogs las kyang // dngos po rnams kyi rang bzhin gyi // stong pa nyid ni grub bshad pa //

    15 The MAS is regarded to be composed by Bhavya but he seems to be different from Bhviveka (ca. 500-570) who wrote the Madhyamakahdayaklik. According to Ejima [1980: 33] it was composed by one who existed after Jnagarbha (ca. 8th cen.) before Atia, that is to say between the late of eighth century and the beginning of eleventh century.

    16 Ejima [1980: 19], D 329b6-7; P 381a2. 17 The MRP is regarded to be composed by Bhavya but he seems to be different from Bhviveka (ca.

    500-570). According to Yamaguchi [1972: 267], he is one who is after ntarakita. 18 MRP [P 332b6-332b7]: bdag las mi skye gzhan las min // gnyis las mi skye rgyu med min //

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  • This proof corresponds to the "reasoning of vajra particle" (rdo rje gzegs ma'i gtan tshigs).

    [Proof (II)] Multiple things are never produced from one thing, neither is one thing

    produced from multiple things. One thing is not produced from one thing too,

    neither are multiple things produced from multiple things.19

    This proof corresponds to the "reasoning which negates four extremes of production" (mu bzhi

    skye 'gog gi gtan tshigs).

    [Proof (III)] Existence is not produced, neither is it logical that non-existence produced. Both

    existence and non-existence are not produced, neither is produced that which is

    not both.20

    This proof corresponds to the "reasoning which negates production from existence and

    non-existence" (yod med skye 'gog gi gtan tshigs).

    [Proof (IV)] It is not logical that thing exists as single, nor is it logical that thing exists as

    multiple. How could thing be found other than single or plural?21

    This proof corresponds to the "reasoning which is separated from singularity and multipicity"

    (gcig dang du bral gyi gtan tshigs).

    These four proofs correspond to those of the M, but lack number 4, the "reasoning of

    interdependence" (rten 'brel gyi gtan tshigs). These four proofs are therefore different from the four

    of Atia, who instead omitted the "reasoning which negates four extremes of production" (mu bzhi

    skye 'gog gi gtan tshigs).

    1-3. Summary

    In Indian Mdhyamika, Kamalala adopted the position of five proofs of the absence of self-nature.

    After Kamalala, the tradition of four proofs seems to have become more general than that of five

    proofs. However, each thinker did not adopt the same four.

    2. Classification of the proofs of the absence of self-nature in Tibetan Buddhism

    In Indian Mdhyamika, Kamalala gave five proofs, but the position of four proofs seems to have

    been more general than that of five proofs. In Tibetan Buddhism there were both positions of four

    19 MRP [P 332b7-332b8]: don dam par ni / gcig las du ma'i dngos mi skye // du mas gcig gi dngos mi skye // gcig las gcig (P. cig) kyang mi skye zhing // du ma las kyang du ma min //

    20 MRP [P 332b8-333a1]: yod pa nam yamg mi skye ste // med pa'ang skye bar rigs ma yin // yod dam med pa'ang gnyi ga min // gnyi ga min pa'ang mi skye 'o //

    21 MRP [P 333a1-333a2]: dngos po gcig tu mi rigs te // du ma dag tu'ang rigs pa min // gcig dang du ma ma gtogs pa'i // dngos gang rnyed par ga la 'gyur //

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  • and five proofs in the beginning of phyi dar. However, the position of five proofs seems to have

    become more general through time.22

    Type (A)

    In later periods the five proofs were further classified into

    three types as follows:

    gcig dang du bral, rten 'brel

    rdo rje gzegs ma, yod med skye 'gog, mu bzhi skye 'gog

    Type (B)

    rten 'brel

    gcig dang du bral, rdo rje gzegs ma, yod med skye 'gog, mu bzhi skye 'gog

    Type (C): synthesis of Type (A) and Type (B)

    rten 'brel (first)

    gcig dang du bral (second)

    rdo rje gzegs ma, yod med skye 'gog, mu bzhi skye 'gog (third)

    2-1. Position which accepts five traditional proofs 2-1-1. Classification of Gro lung pa Blo gros 'byung gnas (ca. 1100, bKa' gdams pa)

    In his Lam rim rnam bshad Gro lung pa gives "five great reasons" (gtan tshigs chen po lnga)

    according to Kamalala.23 Gro lung pa classifies the five proofs in two ways as follows:24

    - Classification of Gro lung pa (a): Type (A)

    gcig dang du bral, rten 'brel: proof analyzing from the point of view of the self-nature of

    things

    rdo rje gzegs ma, yod med skye 'gog, mu bzhi skye 'gog: proof analyzing from the point of

    view of causes and results.

    - Classification of Gro lung pa (b): Type (B)

    rten 'brel: proof which is the "recognition of pervasion by contradiction" ('gal bas khyab pa

    dmigs pa)

    gcig dang du bral, rdo rje gzegs ma, yod med skye 'gog, mu bzhi skye 'gog: proof which is the

    22 Concerning the history of the position of five syllogisms in Tibetan Buddhism, see Kumagai [2007b].

    23 Lam rim rnam bshad [408a3]: 'dir slob dpon Ka ma la shi las spros pa'i dra ba ma lus pa 'gog pa'i gtan tshigs chen po lnga gsungs pa ltar phyogs tsam dbye bas rnam par bzhag par bya'o //

    24 Lam rim rnam bshad [408a4-6]: lnga nyid du rnam par bzhag pa'i don yang [1] dngos po rnams kyi rang gi ngo bo nyid dang [2] rgyu 'bras kyi sgo nas rnam par dpyod pa'i tshul gnyis las brtsams nas / [1] dang po la don gzhan dgag pas 'gog pa khyab byed mi dmigs pa'i sbyor ba gcig dang du ma dang bral ba dang / don gzhan bsgrub pas 'gog pa 'gal bas khyab pa dmigs pa'i sbyor ba rten 'brel gyi gtan tshigs gnyis so // [2] gnyis pa la rgyu rnam par dpyod pa rdo rje gzegs ma dang / 'bras bu rnam par dpyod pa yod med skye ba dgag pa dang / rgyu 'bras gnyi ga rnam par dpyod pa mu bzhi'i skye ba dgag pa gsum ste khyab par byed pa mi dmigs pa nyid do //

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  • "non-recognition of pervasion" (khyab byed mi dmigs pa)

    2-1-2. Classification of Tsong kha pa Blo bzang grags pa (1357-1419, dGe lugs pa)

    Tsong kha pa also classifies five proofs in two ways in his Legs bshad snying po and Legs bshad

    gser phreng as follows:

    - Classification of the Legs bshad snying po:25

    rten 'brel

    Type (B)

    gcig dang du bral, rdo rje gzegs ma, yod med skye 'gog, mu bzhi skye 'gog

    - Classification of the Legs bshad gser phreng:26

    gcig dang du bral etc.: proof which examines self-nature

    Type (A)

    rdo rje gzegs ma, mu bzhi skye 'gog, etc.: that which examines causes and results

    In the latter classification, proofs included in "etc." seem to be rten 'brel and yod med skye 'gog,

    which are stated in Legs bshad snying po.

    2-1-3. Classification of Rong ston Shes bya kun rig (1367-1449, Sa skya pa)27

    In his Rigs lam kun gsal Rong ston synthesizes two classifications (Type A and B), he finally

    shows the classification into three (Type C) as follows:28

    - Classification of the Rigs lam kun gsal (a): Type (A)

    gcig dang du bral, [rten 'brel]: that which decides completely the meaning of emptiness

    rdo rje gzegs ma, yod med skye 'gog, mu bzhi skye 'gog: that which does not decide

    completely the structure of middle way

    - Classification of the Rigs lam kun gsal (b): Type (B)

    rten 'brel: that which gets rid of both exaggeration of existence and exaggerated denial of

    non-existence.

    25 Legs bshad snying po [P 140b6-7]: dBu ma snang ba las ni rdo rje gzegs (P gzigs) ma dang yod med skye 'gog dang mu bzhi skye 'gog dang gcig dang du bral yang gsungs la / rten 'brel gyi gtan tshigs kyang gsungs te de ni 'gal zla dmigs pa'i rtags so //

    26 Legs bshad gser phreng [P 23a3-4]: rigs pa gang gis she na / [1] ngo bo la dpyad nas 'gog pa gcig dang du ma'i ngo bo nyid dang bral ba'i phyir zhes bya ba la sogs pas [2] rgyu la dpyad pa rdo rje gzegs ma 'bras bu la dpyad pa mu bzhi skye 'gog la sogs pa'i tshad ma ste gtan tshigs rnams kyis so //

    27 Kumagai [2007a]. 28 Rigs lam kun gsal [13b4-14a1]: de la yod med skye 'gog sogs gsum gyis ni skye ba la bden 'dzin

    gyi spros pa tsam gcod par byed kyi / bden pa spyi ldog nas bcad pa med pas dbu ma'i lus yongs su rdzogs par gtan la phab pa min la / gcig dang du bral gyis bden pa spyi ldog nas bkag pas stong pa nyid kyi don rdzogs par gtan la phab pa yin no // 'on kyang gtan tshigs bzhi kas kyang yod pa sgro 'dogs kyi gnyen po byed kyi / med pa skur 'debs kyi gnyen po byed pa min la / rten 'brel gyi rtags kyis ni gnyis ka'i gnyen po byed pas gtan tshigs gzhan las nus pa lhag pa la dgongs nas...