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Anacker Madhyantavibhaga Summary

Anacker Madhyantavibhaga Summary

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This work is usually ascribed to Asaºga, or we are told it was given to Asaºga by Maitreya while Asaºga was studying with him in the Tu˝ita heaven. It seems unlikely that it is by the same author as the other works said to be Asaºga’s. Ronald Davidson writes: “I find it difficult to assume that the authors of the Mah›y›nasÒtr›la˙k›ra and the Madhy›ntavibh›ga were one and the same person. The MSA is a compilation of material, and it shows, in its final form, the use of multiple verse forms and literary devices (upam›, etc.). The MAV is a relatively straightforward versified Ÿ›stra, obsessed with the doctrines surrounding abhÒtavparikalpa, the trisvabh›va, and the path, with similes occurring in only three verses. Conversely, for the MSA, the cardinal system is that of the gotra, a term occurring once in an insignificant context in MAV I.19a. The longest chapter of the MAV is the final one, concerned with the anuttaray›na a term which does not occur in the MSA. Furthermore, the relative discussions of path structure are ordered quite differently. Examples could, of course, be extended ad infinitum, but this should be sufficient.”1 We are on <375> safer ground, then, if we assume that the work is by an unknown author who preceded Asaºga by a few years at least. This work has been edited a number of times (see Bibliography, #174.6). To the translations listed there add those contained among the references to translations of Vasubandhus commentary in the Bibliography of Indian Philosophies under SWV and BDE in the Abbreviation List. “ET” references are to the edition and translation by Stefan Anacker.2

This is one of the several commentaries Vasubandhu wrote on

works by

Maitreyan›tha/Asaºga. It is a striking example of what can be called Yog›c›ra ⁄Ònyav›da: it delimits a path and uses the theory of the store-consciousness and of the three natures, and at the same time the only fundamental reality for it is emptiness (ŸÒnyat›).


Ronald Davidson’s unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of California at Bekeley 1985, pp. 144-

2 3

Stefan Anacker, Seven Works of Vasubandhu, the Buddhist Psychological Doctor (Delhi 1984), pp. 211-273. It should be noted that Vasubandhu in this work distinguishes the “author”, Maitreyan›tha, from “the

expounder of the text to us and others”.


The Madhy›ntavibh›ga : a Summary by Stefan Anacker “E” references are to the edition by Gadjin M. Nagao.4 “T” refers to the translation by Stefan Anacker.5
A. CHAPTER ONE: The characteristic mark (lak˝a˚a): 22 stanzas...............................................................................2 AA. The ‘construction of what was not’ (abhÒtasvikalpa) .......................................................................................2 AB. The ‘construction of what was not’ in relation to the three natures..............................................................5 AC. The store-consciousness and the active consciousness .......................................................................................7 AD. Emptiness ............................................................................................................................................................................8 B. CHAPTER TWO: The obstructions (hi-›v¸tis): 17 stanzas ........................................................................................1 0 BA. Obstructions which are defilements (II, 2) ............................................................................................................1 1 BB. C. Obstructions of the knowable (from II, 3 to II, 16). ............................................................................................1 1

CHAPTER THREE: reality (Tattva): 22 stanzas.............................................................................................................1 5 and the attainment of fruition (phala-praptir): 18 stanzas........................................................................................2 2

D. CHAPTER FOUR: Cultivation of the antidotes (pratipak˝asya bh›van›), situations there (tatra-avasth›) E. CHAPTER FIVE: superiority of the vehicle/path (y›na-›nuttaryam): 30 stanzas ............................................2 5


Introduction (E424; T211) The following should be calculated: (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) (v) (vi) (vii) the characteristic mark (lak˝a˚am), (chapter I) its obstruction (hi-›v¸tis), (chapter II) its nature (tattvam), (chapter III) its antidote (pratipak˝asya): spiritual practice (bh›van›), (chapter IV) its states (tatra-avasth›), (chapter IV) the acquisition of its result (phala-pr›ptir), (chapter IV) the superiority of the path (y›na-›nuttaryam), (chapter V). (E3-9; T11-37) Sthiramati explains each word in the Introduction at length.


1.(E424; T211) ‘construction of what was not’ (abhÒtaparikalpa) exists. There is no duality in it. However, emptiness does exist there, and it (construction) is found there (in emptiness) also.

4 5

Tokyo 1964. Seven Works of Vasubandhu, op. cit., pp. 211-273.


The Madhy›ntavibh›ga : a Summary by Stefan Anacker

1. (E17; T211-212) The ‘construction of what was not’ (abhÒtaparikalpa) exists. It is the construction of object apprehended and subject apprehender (gr›hyagr›hakavikalpa). But when this construction vanishes, then there is only emptiness. “Emptiness” can in fact be defined as the separation of the ‘construction of what was not’ from the (apprehended) being of object apprehended and subject apprehender. Fundamentally, only emptiness exists in the ‘construction of what was not’, and the ‘construction of what was not’ exists in emptiness. 1 (E9-12; T38-54) Some (Madhyamakas) say that all factors are without essential natures like the horns of a hare. To repudiate this k›rik› 1 says “‘construction of what was not’ exists”. This does not contradict (Buddhist) Ÿ›stra since he adds “There is no duality in it”, i.e., the construction is not divided into object apprehended and subject apprehender. Objection: Then why aren’t we liberated? Answer: That is why Asaºga says “Emptiness does exist there”. I.e., since emptiness exists in the ‘construction of what was not’, you are not liberated, you do not understand it. Others (Abhidharmists) claim that not only consciousness and mental concomitants exist but matter, etc., as well. To refute them it is said: “‘construction of what was not’ exists”, i.e. it really exists, and there are not such things as matter, etc., since “There is no duality in it”, i.e., it is neither grasper nor grasped. Objection: But if so there can be no liberation, since there is no supporting object (of the liberating awareness). Answer: No, since “Emptiness does not exist there”, i.e., emptiness itself is the pure supporting object itself. Again, “ ‘Construction of what was’ not exists” and “emptiness does exist there” refute the extreme skeptic; “there is no duality in it” refutes the extreme realist. Or yet again, this verse indicates that the nature of the ‘construction of what was not’ is defilement but illusory because “there is no duality in it”, but that because “emptiness does exist there” the path and the liberation that result are available, though this liberation is nothing different, involving a mistaken construction of grasper and grasped. This ‘construction of what was not’, which includes past, present and future, causes and effects, is beginningless, issues in liberation and constitutes ordinary life, is divided into two, (i) what is grasped, i.e., matter etc., and (ii) the grasper, i.e., visual consciousness, etc. Although these things, e.g., grasper and grasped, do not exist one shouldn’t conclude that the ‘construction of what was 3

The Madhy›ntavibh›ga : a Summary by Stefan Anacker not’ doesn’t exist. emptiness exists in it and it in emptiness). 7 This term is being used in Asaºga’s new sense of a witness consciousness connected with the illusion of self. beings.(E424. what is real (the ‘construction of what was not’) is empty (i.. T212) Consciousness puts itself forward as the appearance of objects.7 ( 4 ) It is the six consciousnesses themselves which make the appearance of manifestations arise. because of nonexistence. any more than one should suppose that because a rope is not a snake the rope doesn’t exist. this would be characterizing everything by a single characteristic.. the construction of what was not exists. T212) Everything can be designated as neither empty nor nonempty. “again because of existence” of the construction of what was not. and again because of existence.e. But there is no real object for consciousness.. T212) Nothing is empty or nonempty. 3. This is the middle way (madhyam› pratipad). therefore everything is accounted for because of existence. selves.6 2 (E13-14. the grasper-grasped relation does not exist. These do not exist. 4 . Thus two things are actual—the ‘construction of what was not’ and emptiness. Both emptiness and the ‘construction of what was not’ can render everything nonempty—emptiness because it is itself the flow <<611>> of all factors. But everything is empty because there is the appearance of separate objects and subjects in the latter case. 2.(E18-19. etc. and manifestations. i. that the appearance of objects separate from consciousness arises. “Because of nonexistence”. that would be denying the possibility of emptying out all constructions from the flow.(E18.. it one simply says “It is nonempty”.e. The nonexistence of duality is emptiness. (3) The appearance of self or ego arises only with a defiled mind. T212-213) How do the dualities which come from the ‘construction of what was not’ first arise? (1) It is because of the existence of visibles. the ‘construction of what was not’ because it constructs the flow into discrete entities. (2) it is because of the five sense-faculties in “one’s own” and “others” series of psychophysical events that the appearance of sentient beings arises. T56-60) “Because of existence”.(E425. 3.e. Rather. i. which constructions are seen to be empty. which would be a construction of that which was not. 2. because there 6 If one simply said “Everthing is empty”.

But it seems that there are. AB. T213) The mental ‘construction of what was not’ is established. and (4) of the six consciousnesses which cognize. distinguished as objects. (E19.(E425. If either were true there would be neither bondage nor liberation. and because of the false state of appearances of the appearances of self and perceptions. T77-81) That is why it is as wrong to say that nothing exists as to say that everything does.8 In these four ways there is absence (1) of objects. 4.(E425. T213) The ‘construction of what was not’ does not exist as it appears. there is the possibility of speaking of three essential natures—three different kinds of reality. The constructed nature is an “object of sense and understanding. the perceiving and the perceived. and the passage says that there are no actual entities having the form of which these are the experiences. Since there are no objects there are not really ideas of objects. THE ‘CONSTRUCTION OF WHAT WAS NOT’ IN RELATION TO THE THREE NATURES 5. T213) There are just constructed. and the absence of both. 4 (E17-18. and since it is what is grasped (and not the grasping) it can have no form. since it does not exist as such. The four comprise all experiences. T213) Even though this is only ‘construction of what was not’. 3 (E14-17. And having no form it doesn’t exist. liberation is sought in the destruction of the ‘construction of what was not’—thus it can’t be just nonexistent. is also nonexistent. Nor is it that an awareness has two parts. Others say that since objects appear to have a form (›k›ra) the mistake is rather in our attributing external reality to these forms. But in their absence. T60-76) “These do not exist” includes consciousness as well as the objects that appear among “these”. 5. fundamental consciousness. 5 . (3) of mind. dependent and perfected ways of being. and because the perceptions appear with divisions which do not exist. 4. (2) of sense-faculties. the subject apprehender. Yet it is not totally nonexistent.” The capacity for this construction lies in the dependent nature.The Madhy›ntavibh›ga : a Summary by Stefan Anacker is no fixed aspect to the appearances of objects and sentient beings. The nonexistence of object apprehended and subject apprehender is the perfected nature 8 The appearances are false because a self does not exist. But it is not altogether absent either. But a “form” is only the chief qualifier (prak›ra) by which a momentary supporting object is grasped. because so much confusion does arise! Also. constructed things.(E19.

(E426. since it has a new characteristic. <<611>> 6 . Answer: If so one can have perception without any object. and so what should be understood is the apprehension of nonapprehension. But a nonapprehension of consciousness-only comes about dependent upon this nonapprehension of objects. 7. T214) So the essential nature of apprehension is nonapprehension. e. Where does the image come from. being a nominal existent. at any moment the representation (vijñapti) is either already produced or not yet produced. T214) So these “apprehensions” just mentioned are really nonapprehensions. then? Sarv›stiv›da: We don’t accept that past and future entities cannot be objects of perception. T214) Apprehending this. T214) There is a characteristic within the ‘construction of what was not’ which allows it to penetrate its own nonexistent character. cannot be a cause of awareness. so that when the object is disproved it easily follows that awareness is unreal.(E20. T88-102) Some (Mım›˙sakas) say: At the moment when it is grasped the object takes on a new property of knownness. nonapprehension arises. In this way. and if the former it’s too late to do anything! Question: If both subject and object are unreal why don’t you first show the unreality of awareness (prajñapti) alone? Answer: Because the reality of awareness depends on the actuality of the external objects it supposedly cognizes. and it is unnecessary to postulate independent entities as the causes. <376> 7. since that occurs in dreams. Furthermore. and a collection of atoms.—that is disappearing causes our perception of it at the next moment by creating its image and projecting it into the external world. the nonexistent character of object apprehended and subject apprehender can be seen.. because there is nothing to be apprehended.The Madhy›ntavibh›ga : a Summary by Stefan Anacker 6. 6 (E19-22. based on this non-apprehension. if the latter it cannot grasp an object since it’s not there to do it.(E20. There is no more apprehension of objects of sense or understanding when there is the apprehension that everything is only manifestation. 6. Sautr›ntika: The object—an atom of color. etc. nonapprehension arises.g. Answer: But perception never is of a single atom. The reverse procedure would land us in nihilism. Answer: But if so a different entity is grasped than the one that was initially grasped.(E426.

9. Otherwise one thing could also be many.. and then (ii) there are the functioning consciousnesses (prav¸ttivijñ›na) which relate to experience on the other. i. i.(E20-21. “observing” in terms of special qualities are the accompanying factors . on the other experiencing.g. Answer: That might be all right if factors were real entities. T215) The ‘construction of what was not’ may also be divided into two according to its functioning: (i) there is the storehouse-consciousness. But we have shown that factors are illusory. or the class to which we ascribe them. 9 (E16-18. In the latter are the accompanying factors of experiencing. Vaibh›sika: No. but not other mental activities. but basically in order to enable one to recognize different types of beings inhabiting the universe with their differing requirements. distinct particulars (viŸe˝a). 8. the feelings they produce. initial and sustained thought constitute it.(E20. T214-215) Awarenesses and accompanying factors are different divisions in the ‘construction of what was not’. e.The Madhy›ntavibh›ga : a Summary by Stefan Anacker 8. So there cannot really be distinctions between causes and effects. 7 . the conditioned ground for all other consciousnesses. particular awareness.. He says “the three realms”. AC. T120-128) The only real thing is the ‘construction of what was not’. 23.e.(E426. T107-117) Objection: The ‘construction of what was not’ is just thinking. they are distinguished in various ways. These three realms comprise the realm of sensual desire.(E426. Observing an object is awareness. “Causality” is 9 See AbhidharmakoŸa II. The distinctions between them is abstracted from reality. Consciousness perceives things. So there is no problem for us. T215) On the one hand there is the conditioning consciousness. “Consciousness perceives things” alone. the material and the immaterial realms. discrimination and motivation.e. “Mental factors (perceive) their specific qualities”. meaning to include both mind and all accompanying mental factors. T214-215) The ‘construction of what was not’ involves awareness and accompanying mental factors comprising the three realms.9 8 (E 14-16. each distinct consciousness and each distinct mental factor comprise a separate. Answer: No. on the one hand. THE STORE-CONSCIOUSNESS AND THE ACTIVE CONSCIOUSNESS 9.. mental factors their specific qualities.

It is the projection of the appearance of beings and their world. But this can be viewed in two ways. T217) These topics need to be understood: (1) the defining characteristic of emptiness. T217) (i) The absence of two things. (3) its purpose.(E22. the immediate cause is the functioning consciousness. leading. T217-218) Emptiness is the nonexistence of duality and the being of this nonbeing. is the defining characteristic of emptiness. our experiences are produced through maturation of karmic seeds. the afflictions proper are ignorance. not by external objects. motivating dispositions and being (which depends on volition) are the afflictions which are karmic action. (E22-23. since emptiness is the nature of the 8 . completing. and (ii) the existence of this absence. but not their immediate causes. 12-13. T215-216) All of the limbs of dependent origination are the ‘construction of what was not’s characteristic of involving afflictions. AD. establishing. craving and clinging. triple determination. The Storehouse consciousness is the causal condition of all other consciousnesses. T216-217) Among the limbs of dependent origination. The storehouse consciousness is the dominant condition of all functioning consciousnesses. The world is afflicted in three. 10-11. neither different nor the same—that is its mark. (4) its distinctions and its proof. Though itself karmically neutral. 11b. 10-11a.The Madhy›ntavibh›ga : a Summary by Stefan Anacker another word for the ‘construction of what was not’. frustration. 13. Thus it can be called neither being nor nonbeing. T215-216) Covering. and the afflictions which come about by birth itself are the remaining limbs of dependent origination. binding. or two.(E427. (2) the synonymous expressions for “emptiness”. the resultant ones are the rest. turning toward. (E21. as a series of momentary occurrences or as the stages that one passes through during a lifetime. It is neither the same nor different from the ‘construction of what was not’. experiencing. the nature of a factor would be different from the factor itself. It is not existent nor is it nonexistent. If it were different. or seven ways. Its mark is activity (pravrtti). it contains all the seeds of experiences.(E427-428. The causal limbs are those of action and affliction. embracing.(E427. This is what is described in the chain of dependent origination. drawing out. EMPTINESS 12.

The Madhy›ntavibh›ga : a Summary by Stefan Anacker ‘construction of what was not’. 16. and space is not changed by disturbances in space. just as the fundamentally clear nature of water is not changed by its becoming turbid. and the dharmadh›tu. like elementary water.ŸÒnyat›). 17. impure or pure. (2) the emptiness of external (bahirdh›-ŸÒnyat›).ŸÒnyat›). (3) the emptiness of personal and external (adhy›tma-bahirdh›. (5) the emptiness of emptiness (ŸÒnyat›-ŸÒnyat›).ŸÒnyat›). 14. T219) Sixteen kinds of emptiness can be spoken of: (1) the emptiness of the personal (adhy›tma-ŸÒnyat›).ŸÒnyat›). Fundamentally it is clear. 15. [emptiness of the unforsaken (anavak›ra. the signless. having to do with the noble realm—these are the meanings of the synonyms for those of good dharma. his experiencing. 17. are actually empty. (8) the emptiness of the unconditioned (asa˙sk¸ta-ŸÒnyat›) (9) the extended emptiness (atyanta. nonerroneous cessation.(E429. the emptiness of nonbeing (abh›va. (6) the emptiness of highest truth (param›rtha.ŸÒnyat›).(E23. his body. T218-219) Emptiness can be defiled or clear. gold or space. the reality-limit. 14. T218-219) Emptiness may be either afflicted or alleviated.ŸÒnyat›). “the reality-limit”. the emptiness of characteristic marks (lak˝a˚a.ŸÒnyat›).ŸÒnyat›). “the ground of all factors”—these are the synonyms of “emptiness”. “signless”. the emptiness of all <<613>> factors (sarva-dharma. T218) “Suchness”.ŸÒnyat›) 9 .(E25. the world around him.(E428. T218) Suchness. (10) (11) (12) (13) (14) (15) the emptiness of “inferior” and “superior” (anavar›gra. “the highest”.(E428. there could be no alleviating knowledge. But it is adventitious flaws that make it afflicted. because if they were. 16. are the ways they are apprehended and their purpose. (4) the great emptiness (mah›. the nature of gold is not changed by its being hidden in the earth. T218) Nondifference. T219) The experiencer. the emptiness of nature (prak¸ti.ŸÒnyat›).(E24. (7) the emptiness of the conditioned (samsk¸ta. are all synonyms for emptiness.ŸÒnyat›). But they cannot be totally the same either. the highest.(E428-429.

T222-223) The pervading and the limited. T220) The nonbeing of persons and factors is emptiness. assisting living beings. and it is also the existing being (sadbh›va) of this nonbeing.(E430. dismay. everyone would <377> be liberated. the nondestruction of what is good. since awareness is luminous and the afflictions of it are adventitious.(E431. being the 9 fetters that obstruct (1-2) commitment.(E429-430. 18-19. idleness and perplexity are brought to rest by understanding emptiness. accepting and abandoning—these are called obstructions of the two. T220) Emptiness’ purpose is attaining two good ends. B. (E27. as well as the denial (apav›da) of emptiness. (5) about 10 . 19. (4) the emptiness of the insentient universe—this is the emptiness referred to as “the great emptiness’.(E430. 20. neither clear nor unclear. (3) the emptiness of the body—the body being the seat of both personal and external. (5) the emptiness of the emptiness through which it is seen that all is empty. Their defining marks are ninefold. T220) The absence of persons and factors is one emptiness. 22. can be removed.The Madhy›ntavibh›ga : a Summary by Stefan Anacker (16) the emptiness of the essential nature of nonbeing (abh›va-svabh›va.(E430. CHAPTER TWO: THE OBSTRUCTIONS (HI-fiV¿TIS): 17 STANZAS 1-3. the excessive and the equal. (2) the emptiness of whatever is experienced.ŸÒnyat›) These can be known in brief as (1) the emptiness of the personal.(E432-433. This is said so that the superimposition of “persons” and “factors”. equanimity. (4) obstructing insights about the self and about objects. 22. and the vision of reality by encouraging (3) belief in a self. T221) But it is neither afflicted nor unafflicted. T221) If emptiness were not afflicted. T219-220) The only reasons Bodhisattvas resort to an object of understanding is to aid other beings and to gain Buddha-knowledge. if it were clear all effort would be fruitless. 20.(E25-26. and the existence of this absence is another emptiness. 18. and (6) the emptiness of any object of understanding which may he resorted to. T220) The Bodhisattva cognizes so as to clear the lineage and the Buddha’s factors and to receive the marks of a great person. not forsaking those in sa˙s›ra. 21. (E26. T221-222) Constructions.

which is an obstruction to satisfaction in others attainments. T222) There are two kinds of obstructions. and (8) the attainments of others. 3-10a. 16).(E28-29. the “equal” obstruction which is that of “those who make everything alike” and are governed by apathy. Obstructions arise for each of goodness. holding fast to views. In addition there are obstructions to the limbs of enlightenment. T222-223) The obstructions which are defilements are equivalent to the fetters: (1) attraction. Ten corresponding kinds of causes of good results are listed.(E29-31. (6) about the path. (2) (3) (4) (5) repugnance. which is again an obstruction peculiar to Mah›y›nists. (8) (9) envy. fearlessness. but the Mah›y›na accepts both kinds as being obstructions. which is an obstruction to equanimity. pride. which is an obstruction to the knowledge of the truth of cessation of frustration. (7) the jewels. which is an obstacle to knowledge about external objects. 3 TO II. 4-10. which is an obstruction to the knowledge of the qualities of Buddha. OBSTRUCTIONS OF THE KNOWABLE (FROM II. are 11 .(E28. Still other things obstruct goodness. etc. Aside from these. in ten ways. or confusion. dharma and the order. which leads to the view of self. because of the anxieties caused by false views. ignorance. BA. which are obstructions specifically to the activist path of the Mah›y›na.. which is an obstruction to agitation (agitation is desirable in Mah›y›na if it is of the kind that urges people to be active in the alleviation of frustration). and the obstruction of completely accepting or abandoning sa˙s›ra. OBSTRUCTIONS WHICH ARE DEFILEMENTS (II. 2) 2. etc. hostility. not being ready. (7) perplexity. (a long list). unselfishness and power. insight. carelessness. and selfishness. not doing good.(E433-435. nonuse of one’s senses. which is an obstruction to the truth of the path. (i) the obstructions which are defilements and (ii) the obstructions of the knowable.The Madhy›ntavibh›ga : a Summary by Stefan Anacker frustration. T224-227) These obstructions include lack of ability to rouse oneself from inactivity. lack of confusion. and (9) by leading to one’s being satisfied with little. nonobstruction. which is an obstruction to the knowledge of satisfaction with little. 1. (6) addiction to moral precepts and vows. ability to develop. T223-225) The obstructions of the knowable. The first kind is the only type accepted by the Hınay›na. BB. enlightenment. there are the “excessive” obstructions of those who act with attachment. good attitude. to the perfections and to the sages.

lack of compassion. lack of mental attention to what lies around one. (1) There is a cause as one thing’s being the direct condition for the arising of another. (4) to inisght. such as when the eye gives rise to a visual consciousness. muddle-headedness. T225-227) There are ten kinds of causes. and lack of engagement in meditation. careless activity. lack of complete use of “one’s” sense-fields. (2) to enlightenment. as the action of looking causes the visible. deliberating on things according to words only. by threes. being ill-versed in the dharma. lack of control. 12 . sloth and carelessness. (2) There is a cause as one thing’s maintaining another. lack of maturation of insight. (3) [3 obstructions to the full taking up of Sa˙s›ra:] separation from people in the same spiritual lineage.(E31-33. (8) [3 obstructions to fearlessness:] lack of confidence. distress and agitation of awareness.The Madhy›ntavibh›ga : a Summary by Stefan Anacker (1) [3 obstructions to welfare:] lack of means to rouse “oneself” from inactivity. (4) There is a cause as one thing’s manifesting another. as the inhabited world does for sentient beings. (5) to lack of confusion. lack of faith. (9) [3 obstructions to lack of selfishenss:] lack of reverence for the dharma. (3) to the full taking up of Sa˙s›ra. failure to make the necessary preparation. (9) to lack of selfishness. (10) [3 obstructions to potency:] to casting away what’s been learned regarding the dharma. (8) to fearlessness. (7) [obstructions to the ability to evolve:] becoming something particular. respect for gain. (6) to the lack of obstructions. These are. obstructions to (1) the welfare of others. (4) [3 obstructions to insight:] lack of opportunity to practise the Mahay›na. 10b. (2) [3 obstructions to enlightenment:] nonproduction of good. and (10) to control. longing for enjoyment. (5) [3 obstructions to lack of confusion:] natural susceptibility to harm. (7) to the ability to evolve. such as the food’s maintaining sentient beings. (3) There is a cause as one thing’s providing a support for others. (6) [3 obstructions to the lack of obstructions:] attachment to harm. being forced to live with people who are counteractive to the practice of Mahay›na.

(10) There is a cause as one thing’s leading to the attainment of another. can be 13 . (10) an obstruction to its attainment is an obstruction to control.The Madhy›ntavibh›ga : a Summary by Stefan Anacker (5) There is a cause as one thing’s transforming another. (5) an obstruction to transformation is an obstruction to lack of confusion. This means that the first awareness of enlightenment (bodhicitta) is necessary for the good in a Mah›y›na sense. Once there is some potency in the good roots. (4) an obstruction to manifesting it to others is an obstruction to insight. such as the path leading to nirv›˚a. (7) There is a cause as one thing’s evolving another gradually. (9) There is a cause as one thing’s making for the deduction of another. (6) an obstruction to becoming disjoined from obstrutions are all the obstructions themselves. (8) an obstruction giving rise to the idea of Mah›y›na is an obstruction to fearlessness. as fire does to that which is being cooked. (6) There is a cause as one thing’s disjoining another—this is the relation of a cutting instrument to that which is being cut. such as a justification in an inference-schema does for a thesis. (3) an obstruction to the sustension of alleviation is an obstruction to the full taking up of sa˙s›ra. ( 2 ) an obstruction to the maintenance of alleviation is an obstruction to enlightenment. such as the action of a goldsmith. perversions. who makes bracelets out of masses of gold. (9) an obstruction to causing the idea of Mah›y›na to arise in others is an obstruction to lack of selfishness. It is because of the desire to obtain enlightenment that the good roots are first made to arise. (1) an obstruction to the arising of alleviation is an obstruction to welfare of others. Thus. such as the perception of smoke giving rise to the idea of fire. meaning such mental habits as lead invariably to frustration. because this idea does not arise where there is any fear. (8) There is a cause as one thing’s giving rise to the idea of another. (7) an obstruction to alleviation’s gradually evolving is an obstruction to awareness’ ability to evolve towards enlightenment.

faulty views are an obstruction because they obstruct the path of vision. any obstruction to the similarity of motivation in all the stages. and the present work IV. 14 . 12b. sloth.(E435. to inexhaustibility. to enjoyment and to maturation of dharma. distractedness. 14-16. which is an obstruction to the establishments of mindfulness. 12-13. (7) to the seventh. 12-13. essentially the path of meditation. to liberation.The Madhy›ntavibh›ga : a Summary by Stefan Anacker removed. any obstruction to courage. energy. two obstructions to concentration since they obstruct the faculties of interest. T228) Further obstructions to particular parts of practice are: lack of skill in regarding the meditational object. 10 See AbhidharmakoŸa VI. T228) The obstructions to the limbs of enlightenment include lack of skill. an obstruction to the right exertions. (5) to the fifth. any obstruction of grasping. two destructors of concentration. to happy states. and deliberation. After perversions are removed in the path of vision. because in this stage it should be realized that no factor can be defiled or alleviated since no moment-event has any fixed nature or can be said to really arise at all.(E34. (2) to the second. 11. 11. mindfulness. energy.(E436. all obstructions are eradicated in the spiritual path. anything which obstructs the undertaking of special practices for the removal of defilements.(E234-36. T228) Obstructions to the perfections include obstructions to lordliness. noncultivation of the aids to liberation (faith in the basic direction of Mah›y›na practice. weakness. T229-230) Obstructions to the stages in the career of a Bodhisattva: (1) to the first stage. meditational concentration. T229) The stages are themselves the antidotes to their obstructions. (E33. fixed views and susceptibility to harm. natural susceptibility to harm (depravity. to ascertainment. which are listed. to the elimination of faults and the growth of virtues.10 sloth. anything which obstructs the knowledge of the similarity of “self’ and “others”.(E435. 14-16. (4) to the fourth. (6) to the sixth the idea of defilement and alleviation itself is an obstruction. to remaining well. to nonforsaking of beings.6). and insight) is an obstruction to the limbs of enlightenment. T228-229) Enumeration of obstructions to the perfections (see V. 14-18.) is an obstruction. slackness and excitedness. (3) to the third. awareness. To the limbs of the path. etc. preoccupation with misleading diversities in the sÒtras is an obstruction.

(8) comprising reality.(E437. (10) the reality of skill in means. C. T231) Obstructions maybe divided into those that are defilements and those that obstruct what we can know. (6) the reality as that which is accepted. (ii) potency in total alleviation of one’s “Buddha-field’. achieved in the eighth stage.The Madhy›ntavibh›ga : a Summary by Stefan Anacker (8) to the eight. T231) The aspects of reality (tattva) to be discussed here include: (1) basic reality (mÒlatattva). 2) and the obstructions of the knowable (all obstructions enumerated from II. 3 to II. which is the state of being able to do actions for the sake of sentient beings through various transformations of will in the tenth or Buddha-stage. 17. (5) subtler and grosser realities. (4) the reality that is result and cause. any belief in “inferior” or ‘superior” is an obstruction.(E438. T231) All of these obstructions may be enumerated in brief as the obstructions which are defilements (II. and (iv) potency of action. (9) the aspect of difference. (7) the reality of the aspect of clearing. (3) the reality that is nonerroneous. CHAPTER THREE: REALITY (TATTVA): 22 STANZAS 1-2. 15 . The reality of skill in means is to be known as the tenfold aspect of skill. (iii) potency in the particular knowledges needed for sustaining this alleviating action in the ninth stage. (9-10) Four potencies arise in the last two states: (i) potency in the absence of discriminations.(E36. antidotes to belief in a self. (2) the reality of characteristic marks. <378> 17. also attained in the same stage. 16).

”12 The <<617>> dependent is existent.(E439. etc. The perfected is both existent and nonexistent. is an antidote to perverted views of permanence.’11 3. (ii) When it is similarly realized for the assumption of “objects apprehended” and “subjects apprehending”. impermanent. so it cannot be “reversed” or defiled by frustration-inducing mental habits. only “realities” from different viewpoints. etc. are in basic reality with or without impurities. ‘the dependent”. is the constructed. 16 . which may be called “the reality of the characteristic marks” (lak˝a˚a-tattva). (i) When it is realized that there is a false superimposition and denial involved in assuming “persons” and “factors”. T231-232) Enumeration of the different kinds of reality (tattva) to be discussed in this chapter. 4-5a. arising and ceasing. and “the perfected”. this relates to the perfected. but this again is no unified reality. 4. (See also I.The Madhy›ntavibh›ga : a Summary by Stefan Anacker 1-2. (E38. etc. 5) The constructed is always really nonexistent. 5-6a.(E38-39. but by the same token it is nonexistent. 5b-6.. T233) The existence of impermanence. yet it always exists. It is ultimately nonexistent in the sense that it can be utterly removed. This extremely difficult passage seems to be a kind of a joke: The constructed does not change.(E38.(E438-439. 11 12 Characteristically. but is rather the three kinds of reality called “the constructed”. But as long as it isn’t. The perfected is existent as it is the removal of the “nonexistent” constructed. 3. since there is a state of confusion in its appearance as long as the transformation to the perfected has not been made. because it is nonexistent. T232) Each of these three kinds of realities may be related to a special realization. and thus has reality. and perfected.(E438. since it is simply the nonexistence of the constructed. (iii) being and nonbeing. but not in a real way. T232-233) The reality of characteristic marks includes (i) the superimposition and denial of factors and persons. (iii) When it is realizedthat there is a false superimposition and denial involvedin assunung anything’s being or nonbeing. this relates to the dependent. since the notion of “perfected” is constructed. “the perfected” is nonexistent.. and thus the reality of impermanence. “and thus there is reality in the constructed. it has an effect. because of its unreversedness. (ii) things grasped and their graspers. but not really. T232) A basic kind of reality may be signalled. called “the reality of nonperversion’. T233) Objects are nonexistent. (E38. this relates to the constructed. T232) The threefold essential nature is nonexistent. there is no “reality” in this work. dependent. When the fulfilled is realized. The nonexistent has a reality if it is so constructed..

T234) Emptiness (i) as nonbeing. T234-235) Selflessness exists in each of the three: o o o the constructed because it has no characteristic mark. the dependent because it has a characteristic mark apart from the constructed. And • the perfected has the nature of emptiness itself. (ii) having a different characteristic. and o the emptiness of the perfected is its fundamental nature. 7a. and (iii) as nature. 17 . o the emptiness of the dependent is the nonbeing of any definite thing. <<618>> the emptiness of the constructed is its nonexistence. T233-234) Frustration exists in each of the three kinds of reality. • The dependent is impermanent because it is objects of sense and understanding which are fluxional. the perfected because it is selflessness by nature. or (iii) having itself as characteristic. (E40. T234) Emptiness exists in each of the three also.(E440. 7b-8. • And the perfected is impermanent because it goes through the phases of defilement and alleviation. (E39. The dependent is empty because it is not as it is constructed and yet is not totally nonexistent. 6b.The Madhy›ntavibh›ga : a Summary by Stefan Anacker • The constructed is impermanent because it is objects of sense and understanding which are seen to be nonexistent. and • the perfected is associated with frustration because of voluntary connection with frustration. T234) Selflessness means (i) being without a characteristic mark. • • The constructed is empty because it is not finally existent. 7b-8a.(E439-440. • the dependent is associated with frustration because of the basic characteristics of the world itself. T235) The truth of frustration is said to arise (i) from proclivities. The truth of the origination of frustration exists in all three also: o by means of the proclivities which cause insistence on the constructed. (E439. 7a. (ii) from increase and (iii) from lack of separation. also: • the constructed is associated with that grasping that comes through intentness upon views concerning “persons” and “factors”. o Thus.(E39-40. (ii) as the absence of this or that. 8b.

T237) This highest is thought of in three ways—as regards (i) object. progress and spiritual practice—but the highest pertains only to one. in the comprehension and abandoning of the dependent as constructed. 10c.(E441. 18 .The Madhy›ntavibh›ga : a Summary by Stefan Anacker actions causing frustration are dependent.(E41. It is of two sorts as (1) changeless and (2) errorfree. o o 9b-10a. which relates to the dependent. T236) The truth of the path involves (i) comprehension. the conventionality of perceptual understanding. 9a. (iii) attainment and (iv) immediate awareness. 10b. which relates to the constructed. T235-236) The truth of the cessation of suffering exists in all three: o o nonarising by nature in the constructed. 9a. 11b.(E440. 10b.(E41. because of o o the conventionality of designations. (ii) attainment and (iii) practice. 11. and the nonseparation of suchness from the obstructions is the origination of frustration in the perfected.(E440. nonarising of object apprehended and subject apprehender as things apart in the dependent. T236) Nominal designation. acquisition and direct realization of the perfected. in the comprehension.(E41. 9b-10a. T236) The truth of the path leading to the cessation of frustration exists in all three also: o o o in the comprehension of the constructed. which are perfected in the sense that they consummated a lack of the reverse. (ii) abandoning. and o the process from affliction to alleviation in the perfected. (i) conditioned as all the things comprised in the path. T236) Conventional truth may belong to any of the three kinds of reality. and o the conventionality of words used in religious practice. which relates to the perfected. (E40. T235) Nonarising of the double essential nature is considered as two kinds: (i) impurity and (ii) peace.(E4L420 T237) The perfected can be called both (i) conditioned and (ii) unconditioned: (ii) unconditioned because it consummates a lack of transformation hack into what was before.(E441. T236) The highest truth relates only to the perfected.

which occurs through the dependent. The aggregates are among the three natures as constructed.(E442. there is a certain sameness of views among all worldly people because their intellects have adapted <<619>> themselves through acquaintance with certain conventional symbols. 12. which is due only to the constructed—where. T239-240) The reality of skill is an antidote to fixed views. 13.(E442.(E441-442. (5) one in control of all its movements.(E44. T237-238) What is commonly accepted is due to one. There is a view of a self whenever there is the idea of one entity underlying a living being. which occurs through the constructed. as objects of dharma-ness. T238-239) There are three kinds of comprising reality: ( i ) that through apprehending objects of sense of five varieties and the discrimination of their sensory characteristics. (6) one possessor. The clearing through the perception of characteristics comes about through the perfected. From it there evolves intentness and becoming disturbed. of being bound or free. T239) The aspects of positive activity are two—(i) as intent and (ii) as disturbed. while what is right involves three. (4) one doer. (3) one experiencer. (8) 19 .(E42. (iii) that through suchness and right knowledge. (iii) reliance on reliable authority. 13. (7) one entity lasting through time. T239) The reality of positive activity is the constructed and dependent. One is correct devotion to purity in the awareness of defining marks. as conceptions.(E42-43. regarding a range of events. (1) a oneness comprising it. The twofold field of purity is only attained through one of them. (2) one cause. <379> 14. and (ii) that of naming. a single locus of defilement and of purification. There is that accepted by the world at large. 15-16a. T239-240) There is self-view when there is the idea of single cause. 14.(E43-44. Then there is that accepted by right reasoning. which is whatever is established by logical rules which depend on the three instruments of knowledge: (i) perception.(E441.The Madhy›ntavibh›ga : a Summary by Stefan Anacker 12. skill in the concept of the aggregates. (ii) inference. T238) There are two ways of comprising—(i) that of the sign and its constructions. (ii) that through naming. which serves as an antidote to the view of a self. of yogihood. T237238) There are two kinds of reality which are commonly called “accepted reality” (prasiddhatattva). which occurs through the perfected. 15-16. for instance. a single enjoyer or agent persisting through time.

effect and activity. and consciousness which are the objects of sense and understanding giving rise to the traces making for the concept of a “subject apprehender”. T240) The aggregates belong to all three kinds of reality. 17a. etc. in a given moment all the aggregates may be interreacting to such an extent that it is impossible to clearly divide them from one another. and each simultaneously-occurring materiality-moment is different from all the rest.(E443. in order to have nonsuperimposition and nondenial of causes. another concept used in the reality of skills. T240-241) In regard to the first subject discussed (the aggregates).(E45. tastes. T241) It is the sensory realms of eyes. All three are the result of traces. smells. o The concept of any aggregate is a construction.(E45. “being afflicted or cleared”. sounds. tongue. “causeness”. (ii) as heaped up. ‘being in concentration”. T240-241) The aggregates can be known in three different ways. (2) things grasped and (3) their grasping. sensate body. On the other hand. effects and effort. Every present materiality-moment is distinct from each past and future one.. and mentally cognizables. and this gives rise to the concept of “objects apprehended” which exist outside the consciousness-series. the six external sense-fields are doors to the experience of distinguishing objects of sense and understanding. which belongs to the dependent.(E45. 18b. Similarly. it belongs to the perfected. And when the aggregate in this sense takes part in realization. T241) The six internal sense-fields are the doors to felt experiences. 17b. the sensory domains of visibles. they can be viewed (i) as compressed. T241-242) Dependent origination. or (iii) as distinct. (9) one entity in meditational concentration. “being bound or being freed”. 17. consciousnesses themselves which make for the concept of “apprehension”. leave traces in the series. “possessorness”. “doerness”. or (10) one entity that is either bound or liberated. nose. Others are (1) the seeds of the grasper.(E44. 18. These views can be removed by observing the grasping involved in this supposed “oneness”. has as its aim non-superimposition and nondenial as regards cause.(E45.(E443. 16b. It is the traces of the visual. ears. 20 . and thus belongs to constructed reality. T241) Still others are doors to feelings and distinguishing of objects. tactile sensations. one may distinguish them by their separate characteristics. 18a. and the distinction between them is empty. But again. o o But this construction rests on a discrimination. “experiencerness’.The Madhy›ntavibh›ga : a Summary by Stefan Anacker one substratum for defilement and alleviation. “independent”.

20b. it can be known that all the consciousnesses. supremacy. is still another.(E444-445. The final stage operates through nominal designations. through causes. T244-246) As regards time concepts of “conditioned” and “unconditioned”. remaining. and the rest of the truths have correspondingly to do with the arising of such ensnaring factors and their removal. 19. quietude and through its objects.The Madhy›ntavibh›ga : a Summary by Stefan Anacker A superimposition arises. this is the vehicle of the disciples. (E46-47. 22. (E47. T243) Still others are feelings. 21. o If a knowledge free from discriminations arises by itself. T243) The concept of time can also be used in the reality of skills. standing. and through this knowledge there is emancipation. 21 . this is the vehicle of the self enlightened Buddhas. 22a(E48. T242-243) Grasping. their arising and removal. it is called “something in future time” And if the efficacy of the cause has been completed. 1-4. but emancipation from sa˙s›ra is sought “by <<621>> oneself”. as it also can counteract the idea of a unified self. The completed efficacy of both cause and effect is referred to as “something in past time. should be understood. which are also part of the “reality of skills”: the truth of frustration is equivalent to feelings when it has preparatory ensnaring signs constricting it.(E443. for instance. their factors. concerning simultaneous arising.(E47. which are also used in the reality of skills. T244) The three “vehicles” (y›na) of Buddhism. this is the Great Vehicle (mah›y›na). 20a. T242-243) The concept of the faculties also can serve in the reality of skills. it is called “something in present time”. T243-2l4) As regards the four noble truths. (E48-49. T244) Deliverance relying on oneself or others through awareness of merits and faults. when a self is assumed.(E444. (E444. another concept used in the reality of skills. experiencing and the two kinds of purity. 20. signs. 21. and emancipation from sa˙s›ra is striven for.” If neither the efficacy of the cause or effect has been completed. a denial occurs when it is claimed that nothing like causality takes place at all. but the efficacy of the effect has not. They are explained here in a manner identical to Vasubandhu’s emendation of Vaibh›sika explanations at 173. 22b. AbhidharmakoŸa II. attainment and proper practice is still another topic. o If nothing is heard from others regarding these flaws and merits. past or future. T242) Interdependence of what is and isn’t desired. and through knowledge free from conceptual constructions. can be defined as follows: o If through hearing from others about the so-called flaws of sa˙s›ra and merits of nirv›˚a. The use of effect and cause.

dependent. (vii) the realities seen while revealing the Great Vehicle to others. through the actual scope of what is termed “I”. and through lack of confusion in relation to the four truths. The compact meaning of realities: One may summarize all these realities as being basically of two kinds: (1) mirror-reality (›darŸatattva). (iii) (iv) the reality seen in the vehicle of the disciples. and designations. Among them. (ix) the reality seen in revealing suchness. (v) the realities seen in the flaws of others. through the causes of desire. discriminations. D. and (2) the reality of that which is seen in the minor (d¸Ÿyatattva). (vi) theories brought to light through logical investigation. and disappearance of any fear of the cessation of self occurs when it is realized that “self’ is only awarenesses. T246) Cultivation of the establishment of mindfulness comes about through susceptibility to depravity. 66). 1. 14-18) can be related to the four noble truths.The Madhy›ntavibh›ga : a Summary by Stefan Anacker including the store-consciousness. SITUATIONS THERE (TATRA-AVASTHfi) AND THE ATTAINMENT OF FRUITION (PHALA-PRAPTIR): 18 STANZAS 1. T246) The cultivation of antidotes to the obstructions is the practice of the allies of enlightenment (see KoŸa VI. since depravity is a characteristic of the body. (ii) the reality seen in antidotes to perversions. all experienced objects. all apprehensions. (viii) the reality seen when one penetrates what can be known in all its aspects. (1) Mirror-reality is the primary three-fold reality (constructed. the cause of cravings is feelings. all environmental factors. and (x) the realities seen in penetrating the motives lying behind the different manners of grasping after “self. the establishments of mindfulness (see KoŸa VI. perfected). The unconditioned is everything that goes into a putting to rest of all these. CHAPTER FOUR: CULTIVATION OF THE ANTIDOTES (PRATIPAK¡ASYA BHfiVANfi). and it is 22 . (2) the realities seen in the mirror are: (i) the reality seen in the absence of pride of self. the reality seen in the Great Vehicle.(E446. which is equivalent to suchness and the path leading to cessation. all are conditioned.(E50.

T247) The practice of the bases of supernatural power follows upon that of the right exertions. and insight is sovereign for the discernment of factors. the adverse factors are diminished. (E52. (2) forgetting instructions. (3) slackness. meditational concentration. and have to do with energy in the removal of bad factors. (3) slackness. (E53. and its results.(E251. and insight) arise after the bases of supernatural power. and (5) the presence of motivating factors which too definitely channel the flow of meditation once slackness and excitedness have been eliminated. and the threefold limb of lack of defilements. T247) These five faults are (1) sloth. (ii) support and (iii) essential nature. 2. vigor. and investigation. 3. 2. (E50. recognition of slackness and excitedness. T246-247) The right exertions follow on the establishment of mindfulness. T247) The main flaws in nieditational practice are (1) sloth. The faculties are enumerated as they are because each is the cause of the next. 5-7. T246) When one fully comprehends the problems and their antidotes a fourfold energy arises for their removal. (2) forgetting instructions. 23 . nonloss of the object of meditation.(E446.(E447-448. motivation for their removal. 3. T248-249) The five faculties (faith. 8-9. T247) Skill is steadiness to the satisfaction of all purposes. It is called threefold” because of its (i) initial cause. mindfulness is sovereign for nonloss of the meditational object. the limb of deliverance. mindfulness. excitedness. and maintenance of tranquillity: when these factors conducive to liberation have been planted through energetic application.The Madhy›ntavibh›ga : a Summary by Stefan Anacker through understanding conditioning factors that it is known which factors afflict and which alleviate. The limbs of enlightenment are the basis limb. T249) When these faculties are powerful. (4) lack of motivation. 6.(E447. following the eight motivating factors for the abandonment of the five faults. <380> 4. the essential nature limb. meditational concentration is sovereign for the non-gliding-about of awareness.(E446. what is located in it. they are called the powers” (bala).(E448. its marks.(E51. and (5) motivation. nonwavering attention. T249-250) Two each of the factors conducive to penetration are faculties and powers. Faith is sovereign in zest for further practice. excitedness. 4. and these bases are essentially skill in meditation. 7. (4) lack of motivating factors when slackness and excitedness are to be eliminated. and in the engendering of good factors. the limb of praising others. vigor is sovereign in the application of practice. T247-249) The locus.

(E448-449. supportive when unreversed. 12.(E450. unsupportive of reversals when unreversed. absence of affliction is equanimity. and the situation of completing beneficial actions is the magical body.(E448..(E54.The Madhy›ntavibh›ga : a Summary by Stefan Anacker 8. (ii) the limb which is enlightenment by nature is insight or the discernment of factors. fruition. meditational concentration. the stage where there is something left to do. T250) The limbs of the path are eightfold. 11-12. certainty. mental attention.. comprising distinguishing accurately. T251) The antidotes to defilements.(E56. The Hınay›nists concentrate only on their own bodies. and equanimity.(E53-54. The three “Buddha-bodies”. the situation of being of good effect to others is the enjoyment-body. are interpreted quite simply by Vasubandhu as follows: o o o the situation of attaining enlightenment is the body of factors. afflictions and factors opposing one’s power are favorable when reversed. sometimes mystically <<623>> explained. etc. and (iii) pure. 9a. as it works against those afflictions caused by susceptibility to harm. entry. and attainment. 15-16. confidence. The support for absence of affliction is meditational concentration. 25-26). T249-250) The limbs of enlightenment are the different factors contributing to enlightenment on the path of vision (see 173. and they do it for nonattachment. 24 . and the one where there isn’t. three kinds of cultivation. There are differences between supporting objects. 13-14. T252-253) The stages of the Bodhisattva result in complete enlightenment. Understanding by others comes through moral practice and satisfaction with little. T253) There are three kinds of ground of all factors: (i) impure. (i) The limb which is the basis of enlightenment is mindfulness. and antidotes to adverse factors. working toward attaining power. The Mah›y›nists are attentive to the bodies. From this the stage of advancement of persons is known as fitting. (iii) (iv) the limb which delivers from afflicting characteristics is vigor. T250) The initial cause of absence of affliction is tranquillity. T252) The stages on the way involve descending. and completion of all undertakings. what is higher and what is highest.(E449. AbhidharmakoŸa VI. (v-vii) the limbs which cause absence of affliction are tranquility. having good effects. prediction. 14. the distinctive situation. of both themselves and others. and do it neither for attachment nor for nonatrachment. 1O. etc. (ii) impure and pure. T251-252) The establishments of mindfulness are not the same for followers of the Hınay›na and Mah›y›na. attaining. the limb which is of good effects to others is joy. preparation. (E55. and by nature.

(4) the avoidance of extremes. 6-7. defined as all favoring of others. growing. inexhaustibility. and fulfilment. T256) The supremacy of the Mahay›na lies in (i) its path. and (iii) its full realization. It is connected with ten good acts of (1) writing. 1. (4) energy. (3) giving.(E62-63. T253-256) The quest for enlightenment is a gradual process. They are giving. defined as the nonharming of others.The Madhy›ntavibh›ga : a Summary by Stefan Anacker 17. development. (6) taking up. steady flow. obtaining merit. (3) afterdharma. and (8) resolve in bringing enlightenment to others. lack of trouble.(E60. indestructibility. defined as the pardoning of all harm done by others. the power that comes through it. outcome and fulfilment. meditation. T256-257) The supremacy of this method lies in (i) its practice. Its practice involves six things—(1) the highest. T257) The method involves generosity. (7) skill in means. patience.(E453-454. (ii) its support and (iii) its full realization. (4) hearing.(E56-59. lack of trouble. The ten perfections correspond to these. obtaining merit. 7-10. and 25 . <381> 15-18. (8) studying by oneself. T258-259) The perfections are (1) giving. T254) The order in which these results occur is described. persistence. (ii) its supporting objects. (9) power. E. (3) patience. embracing of others. defined as the twin strengths of calculation and cultivation of antidotes. CHAPTER FIVE: SUPERIORITY OF THE VEHICLE/PATH (YfiNAfiNUTTARYAM): 30 STANZAS 1-2. wisdom. power and knowledge. continuity.(E452. becoming clear. development. T259-260) Attention comes about through three kinds of insight in the Bodhisattva—through nurturing sensory domains. These ten acts involve an immeasurable heap of merit. skilful means. through entry and through success in aims. (5) distinct practice and (6) indistinct practice. (2) moral precepts. moral precepts. encompassing. 3-6. beginning undertakings. continuity. going through the stages of disciples and adepts. persistence.(E450. resolve. undertaking. delight. 18. defined as actively increasing the good qualities of (5) meditation. 3. T253) Results include maturation.(E452-453. (E61.(E451. Its highest is twelve-fold. (9) reflecting and (10) meditating. (6) wisdom. (7) explaining. (2) attending. T257-258) The practice of Mah›y›na is distinguished by its strength. (2) reverencing. energy. (5) saying.

mental attention linked with a sense of “I” is distraction due to susceptibility to harm. 15. T262) In connection with a so-called object. 11. because of the renewed impinging of the external. as it is through the force of susceptibility to harm that the pride of thinking “I exist” arises. Such a statement has meaning only because of its past familiarity.(E66. Everything is merely names.The Madhy›ntavibh›ga : a Summary by Stefan Anacker (10) knowledge needed for liberating others. and defective awareness. Distraction may arise then. T262) It is mental attention towards talk which is the basis for the discrimination between object apprehended and subject apprehender. because of mental attention. etc. in what way not to exist? The object is to be regarded like a magical creation. but is meaningless being based on error. because of time nature of things.(E456. and also avoidance of the idea of the objects absence. deliberate intentions toward experience. but is meaningless because of being a reversal. T261) Distractedness involves emergence. since it appears with the subject-object duality. 17b-18. In connection with a so-called object it may be thought “such and such is its name”.(E456-457.(E456. because of the absence of object apprehended and subject apprehender. 12. because of susceptibility to harm. <<624>> since it appears with the duality of object and subject. because of its erroneous appearance.(E65. deliberate intention in meditation is an example of distraction due to mental signs. because of mental signs. relishing. T261) Development of lack of reversals.(E455. a sense of ego in mental attention. 17. slackness and excitedness are examples of distraction due to the internal. sensory experience. 13-14. T262) A lack of perversion in regard to an “object” arises when it is observed that the “object” does not exist as it appears. Relishing the meditational state. T262-263) An object exists and does not exist like m›y›. (E64.(E455. 16-17a. T261-262) It is mental attention towards talk which is the only basis for the discrimination between object apprehended and the subject-apprehender.(E455-456. 16. slackness and excitedness. T260-261) Practice “after-dharma” involves actions which may have to be taken immediately after emerging from meditation. Distraction may arise then. T262-263) In what way can an object be said to exist. it may be thought: “Such and such is its name!”: such a statement has meaning only because of past familiarity. 11.(E65-66. This lack of perversion is avoidance of the idea of the objects existence. 15. T260) Practice after dharma is actions which may have to be taken immediately after emerging from meditation. 13-14. A magical creation does not exist 26 .(E66. T261) There is irreversibility in regard to a thing when it is observed that the thing does not exist as it appears.

from visibles seen by the eyes to cognizables grasped by the mind. (5) lack of discriminations. emptiness is the universal characteristic of all factors. 21. T263) Everything. Therefore. (8) their likeness to space. (In other words.(E457. produced in the spectator’s visual field in a magic show. T263-264) Nonclarity in emptiness is only the nonabandonnient of perverted mental attention.(E457. T264-265) Because there are neither persons nor factors. 18. So how can there be fear? How can there be pride? The Ten Thunderous Words (vajrapad›ni): (1) The existence of the perfected. T2630 The knowledge that the nonclarity of this ground consists only in the nonabandonment of reversed mental attention. a universal characteristic arises: this is <382> a further lack of reversal. (3) the dependent being the locus of both. there can be a removal of the very concepts of “being” and “nonbeing”. So there is no detriment and no excellence. (6) luminousness of nature. and yet is apprehended. which is perfectly pure by nature. and that clarity is its abandonment. Objection: If the constructed does not exist. (9) lack of detriment. Objection: If the afflictions of limitless beings have been brought to rest with the arising of limitless Buddhas. 22. how can there be afflictions? Answer: Space. and because of this nonexistence there can be neither fear nor pride. the universal characteristic of all factors is that they have no characteristic!) 20. 22. wily is it apprehended? If it does exist. (4) its likeness to a magical creation.(E67. 20. 19. why has there been no eradication of sa˙s›ra? 27 . etc.The Madhy›ntavibh›ga : a Summary by Stefan Anacker with the true being of elephant. Objection: If there is luminousness of nature. There is total adventitiousness of duality and this is an additional lack of reversal.. is only names. T263) Being freed from the ground of all factors because no factor is found.(E457-458. 19. (7) affliction and alleviation. T264) The ground is clear like the sky. may yet be disturbed. and yet it doesn’t not exist. luminousness of nature is not logical. In this way. T263) Not a single factor is found without the absence of self. because of the existence of the illusion itself. and this is an additional lack of reversal.(E67.(E68-69. is nonreversal in regard to nonclarity and clarity respectively.(E457. Answer: That which is magically created does not exist. T264) There is no affliction or thorough clearing either for factors or persons. and (10) lack of excellence. there can be neither afflictions nor alleviations for them. (2) the nonexistence of the constructed.(E67.

volition. and the self. it is an extreme to say that they cease to exist. if one says “All is without a self”.The Madhy›ntavibh›ga : a Summary by Stefan Anacker Answer: There is no detriment in sa˙s›ra. the extreme of the Hinay›na Buddhists is to say that it is not eternal. which regards it as neither eternal nor noneternal. which says that ignorance and wisdom are not separate. An avoidance of extremes comes by not making factors empty by calling them “empty”. 23-26. to say that it didn’t exist is an extreme of denial. hostility and confusion are (i) the emptiness in knowledge. which has nothing to do with dualities. attachment.(E459. because of the nonbeing of the notions of ignorance. there is a middle path. where there is no consideration of “self or of humanity”. and to say that there is an identity between them is also an extreme. T266) The practice of avoidance of extremes is explained.(E70-73. the antidote to views. Practically. To unafflicted and afflicted motivating dispositions the antidote is the lack of motivating dispositions in knowledge. to the afflictions of birth. is an extreme. and (iii) aimlessness in knowledge.. But all this can be said only by way of expedience. this is the extreme of superimposing a fixed personality. objects apprehended. T266-270) The practice of the avoidance of extremes: To say that there is a difference between materiality. the antidote is the lack of arising in knowledge. To avoid these extremes there is a middle path free from discriminations. (ii) the signlessness of knowledge. wisdom. because there are no afflictions or alleviations by nature. to assume antidotes is an extreme. 28 . To assume bad factors is an extreme. To avoid these extremes there is the middle path. 23-26. To say that there is no life-force except the body is another view. etc. amid lack of essential nature in knowledge. If it is said “There is a self’. It is an extreme to say that factors continue to exist. there is the middle path. To avoid these extremes there is the middle path. and no excellence in nirv›˚a. Any duality of gnorance and wisdom is equally an extreme. To avoid these extremes there is a middle path. which neither maintains nor denies “self’. To avoid it. To avoid these extremes. and yet seeing all factors as empty. where there is no awareness. mind. The extreme of the Jains is to say that this materiality is eternal. To say “A consciousness-moment just existed” is an extreme of superimposition. apprehenders. etc. this is the extreme of denial. and assuming dualities of this kind is an extreme. or consciousness.

Because this knowledge is nondiscriminatory. there is the example of the painter. With the knowledge of manifesting-only. it has nothing to do with any effort. for instance. makes that which has the characteristic of rightness. A discrimination in regard to nonbeing is. the faculty of insight. hence no longer existent. there is the example of the magician (see V. 17).e. For there is no practice leading to enlightenment or non-practice not leading to enlightenment. For avoiding it.. the emptiness of the extreme of assuming “anything subsequent”.13 A discrimination of “objects apprehended” or “subject apprehender” is an extreme. there is the example of two sticks of wood. 15 The discrimination arises. A discrimination of “practice” and “non-practice” is an extreme.14 A discrimination of nonarising or simultaneity is an extreme. just so knowledxge can suddenly arise in a consicousness-stream and cause all non-knowledge to disappear. there is the example of space (see comments on Ten Thunderbolt Words. which has the characteristic of wrongness. causes darkness to disappear.16 13 The example is that of the painter who himself paints the painting of a demon. or “Afflictions have sure been going on for a long time!” 29 . But with the knowledge that there is no object. To avoid this extreme there is the example of the oil-lamp. exists. rather. For avoiding this extreme. A discrimination of “rightness” or “wrongness’ is an extreme. and the emptiness of the present.15 To avoid this extreme there is the second example of the oil-lamp. i. any practice. A discrimination as to “something to be abandoned” is an extreme because of the fear that arises with such conceptions. one as follows: the person must exist because it is through its destruction that emptiness. So there is not really “anything to be done”. as soon as it is lit. A discrimination of “something to be feared’ is an extreme. when it is said “The antidotes aren’t arising the way they should”. by the emptiness of the extremes of assuming “anything previous”. For there is no rightness without an investigation of what already was. which has no rightness. an absence of self. there is no separate object.The Madhy›ntavibh›ga : a Summary by Stefan Anacker Discriminations in regard to being and nonbeing are extreme. To avoid this extreme: Emptiness doesn’t occur because of the destruction of person. And when it has arisen. To avoid it. emptiness is already empty. 14 Just as an oil-lamp. and then becomes frightened by what he has himself painted. Just as from the friction of two sticks of wood a fire suddenly arises and burns up the two sticks. it causes the same investigation to disappear. For all investigations are investigations of what is already past. just so an examination of how factors were. above). for instance. arise. For avoiding this extreme. there is no “manifesting-only”.

(E74-77. and our “T” is the translation in Th. 16 The example goes as follows: There may be a house where nobody has lit an oil-lamp for a thousand years. being non-based in either sa˙s›ra and nirv›˚a. remaining in a tranquil state. 29-30. Potter This text has been edited several times. And then suddenly somebody comes there and lights one. T2700) The similarities and differences among the ten stages is to be studied. arising. perseverance. 29-30. and the ways of avoiding extremes. ≥ÊKfi BY STHIRAMATI Summary by Karl H. the state of no-basis. skill. nurturing. 31. This treatise is so named because it separates the Middle Path from extremes. nondistractedness. consequently numbers each section one higher than our numbering indicates. T271) Not remaining tranquil in the state of complete nonobstrucrion is one of the full realizations of activist Mah›y›na. For the purpose of this summary by the Editor “E” references are to the edition by Ramchandra Pandeya. reflection. In numbering the k›rik›s we follow the numbering used in the earlier summaries. extensiveness.(E461. going forth to meet others. and its first chapter has been translated twice. Moscow-Leningrad 1936. Determination. Delhi 1971. sustenance. T272) This work is called Madhy›ntavibh›ga because it separates the Middle Path from extremes and explains them. We have provided materials from the commentary on the first few verses to give an impression of its style and complexity. which originally appeared as Volume 30 of the Bibliotheca Buddhica. and pre-eminence.(E462. 30 . bringing it about. fulfilment. T271) Nondeficiency.The Madhy›ntavibh›ga : a Summary by Stefan Anacker 27-28. fulfillment of the perfections. In summarizing the first Chapter David Friedman’s translation (Utrecht 1937) has also been consulted. Soviet Indology Series No. In the same way. the ground. E’s numbering. explains the Middle and extremes. and not remaining tranquil in that state of no obstructions: that is full realization. penetration. so that the Introductory section does not constitute a numbered section. Others rest in the skills in aiding others. The summary tries to bring out only those points which mark fresh ground beyond what is found in the summaries of Asaºga’s and Vasubandhu’s works in Volume Eight of this Encyclopedia. 5. Stcherbatsky. there may be afflictionseries which have lasted thousands of years which disappear in one moment of insight. what is to be brought about.(E463. the state of no obstructions. non-turning-away. which counts the Introduction as the first verse.

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