ORIGIN OF MAN
REFUTATION OF INCOMPLETE AND SUPERFICIAL (DOCTRINE)
THERE are in the Buddhist doctrines, to state briefly, the five grades (of development), beginning with the most superficial, and ending with the most profound teachings. (They are as follows:) (1) The Doctrine for Men and Devas; (2) the Doctrine of the Hinayanists; (3) the Mahayana Doctrine of Dharma-laksana; (4) the Mahayana Doctrine of the Nihilists ; (5) the Ekaydna Doctrine that teaches the Ultimate Reality.
1. The Doctrine for Men and Devas.--The Buddha, to meet temporarily the spiritual needs of the uninitiated, preached a doctrine concerning good or bad Karma as the cause, and its retribution as the effect, in the three existences (of the past, the present, and the future). That is, one who commits the tenfold sin must be reborn after death in hell, when these sins are of the highest grade; among Pretas, when of the middle grade; and among
[1. A. 'The imperfect doctrines taught by the Buddha.'
2. A. 'These first four doctrines are treated of in this chapter.'
3. A. 'This is mentioned in the third chapter.'
4. (1) Taking life, (2) theft, (3) adultery, (4) lying, (5) exaggeration, (6) abuse, (7) ambiguous talk, (8) coveting, (9) malice, (10) unbelief.
5. There are three grades in each of the tenfold sin. For instance, the taking of the life of a Buddha, or of a sage, or of a parent, etc., is of the highest grade; while to kill fellow-men is of the middle; and to kill beasts and birds, etc., is of the lowest. Again, to kill any being with pleasure is of the highest grade; while to repent after killing is of the middle; and killing by mistake is of the lowest.
6. Hungry spirits.]
animals, when of the lowest grade. Therefore the Buddha for a temporary purpose made these (uninitiated) observe the Five Precepts similar to the Five Virtues of the outside doctrine, in order to enable them to escape the three (worst) States of Existence, and to be reborn among men. (He also taught that) those who cultivate the tenfold virtue of the highest grade, and who give alms, and keep the precepts, and so forth, are to be born in the Six Celestial Realms of Kama while those who practise the Four
[1. The five cardinal virtues of Confucianism are quite similar to the five precepts of Buddhism, as we see by this table:
VIRTUES. PRECEPTS. 1. Humanity. 1. Not to take life. 2. Uprightness. 2. Not to steal. 3. Propriety. 3. Not to be adulterous. 4. Wisdom. 4. Not to get drunk. 5. Sincerity. 5. Not to lie.
2. (1) Hell, (2) Pretas, (3) Beasts.
3. A. 'The Buddhist precepts are different from the Confucian teachings in the form of expression, but they agree in their warning against the evil and in encouraging the good. The moral conduct of the Buddhist can be secured by the cultivation of the five virtues of humanity, uprightness, etc., as though people in this country hold up their hands joined in the respectable salutation, while the same object is attained by those of The Fan, who stand with their bands hanging down. Not to kill is humanity. Not to steal is uprightness. Not to be adulterous is propriety. Not to lie is sincerity. Not to drink spirits nor eat meat is to increase wisdom, keeping mind pure.'
4. (1) Not to take life, (2) not to steal, (3) not to be adulterous, (4) not to lie, (5) not to exaggerate, (6) not to abuse, (7) not to talk ambiguously, (8) not to covet, (9) not to be malicious, (10) not to unbelieve.
5 Kama-loka, the world of desire, is the first of the Three Worlds. It consists of the earth and the six heavenly worlds, all the inhabitants of which are subject to sensual desires.
6 The Buddhists taught the four Dhyanas, or the four different
degrees of abstract contemplation, by which the mind could free itself from all subjective and objective trammels, until it reached a state of absolute absence of unconcentrated thought. The practiser of the four Dhyanas would be born in the four re.-ions of the Rupa-lokas in accordance with his spiritual state.]
Dhyanas, the Eight Samadhis, are to be reborn in the heavenly worlds of Rupa and Arupa. For this reason this doctrine is called the doctrine for men and Devas. According to this doctrine Karma is the origin of life.
Now lot me raise some questions by way of objection. Granting that one has to be born in the Five States of Existences by virtue of Karma produced (in previous lives), is it not doubtful who is the author of Karma, and who the recipient of its consequences? If it might be said that the eyes, ears, hands, and feet produce Karma, then the eyes, ears, hands, and feet of a newly-dead person are
[1. Namely, the above-mentioned four degrees of contemplation, and other four deeper ecstatic meditations. The practiser of the latter would be born in the four spiritual regions of Arupa-loka in accordance with his state of abstraction.
2 Rupa-loka, the world of form, is the second of the 'three Worlds. It consists of eighteen heavens, which were divided into four regions. The first Dhyana region comprised the first three of the eighteen heavens, the second Dhyana region the next three, the third Dhyana region the following three, and the fourth Dhyana region the remaining nine.
Arupa-loka, the world of formlessness, is the third of the Three Worlds. It consists of four heavens. The first is called I the heaven of unlimited space,' the second 'the heaven of unlimited knowledge,' the third 'the heaven of absolute non-existence,' the fourth 'the heaven of neither consciousness' nor unconsciousness.,
A. I None of heavens, or of hells, or of the worlds of spirits, is mentioned in the title of this book, because these worlds are entirely different from ours, and absolutely beyond the sight and hearing. Ordinary people know not even the phenomena actually occurring before them; how could they understand the unseen? So I entitled it simply, "The Origin of Man " in agreement with the worldly teachings. Now that I treat, however, of the Buddhist doctrine, it is reasonable to enumerate these worlds in full.'
3 A. 'But there are three sorts of Karmas: (1) The bad, (2) the good, (3) the immovable. There are the three periods for retribution: (1) In this life, (2) in the next life, (3) in some remote future life.'
4 The states of--(1) heavenly beings, (2) men, (3) beings in hell, (4) hungry spirits, (5) beasts.]
still as they were. So why do they not see and hear and thus produce Karma?
If it be said that it is the mind that produces Karma (I ask), what is the mind? If you mean the heart, the heart is a material thing, and is located within the body. How can it, by coming quickly into the eyes and ears, distinguish the pleasing from the disgusting in external objects? If there be no distinction between the pleasing and the disgusting, why does it accept the one or reject the other?
Besides, the heart is as much material and impenetrable as the eyes, ears, hands, and feet. How, then, can the heart within freely pass to the organs of sense without? How can this one put the others in motion, or communicate with them, in order to co-operate in producing Karma?
If it be said that only such passions as joy, anger, love, and hatred act through the body and the mouth and enable them to produce Karma, (I should say) those passions--joy, anger, and the rest--are too transitory, and come and go in a moment. They have no Substance (behind their appearances). What, then, is the chief agent that produces Karma?
It might be said that we should not seek after (the author of Karma) by taking mind and body separately (as we have just done), because body and mind, as a whole, conjointly produce Karma. Who, then, after the destruction of body by death, would receive the retribution (in the form) of pain or of pleasure?
If it be assumed that another body is to come into existence after death, then the body and mind of the present life, committing sins or cultivating virtues, would cause another body and mind in the future which would suffer from the pains or enjoy the pleasures. Accordingly, those who cultivate virtues would be extremely unlucky, while those who commit sins very lucky. How can the divine law of causality be so unreasonable? Therefore we (must) acknowledge that those who merely follow this doctrine are far from a thorough understanding of the origin of life, though they believe in the theory of Karma.
2. The Doctrine of the Hinayanists.--This doctrine tells us that (both) the body, that is formed of matter, and the mind, that thinks and reflects, continually exist from eternity to eternity, being destroyed and recreated by means of direct or indirect causes, just as the water of a river glides continually, or the flame of a lamp keeps burning constantly. Mind and body unite themselves temporarily, and seem to be one and changeless. The common people, ignorant of all this, are attached to (the two combined) as being Atman.
For the sake of this Atman, which they hold to be the most precious thing (in the world), they are subject to the Three Poisons Of lust, anger. and folly, which (in their turn) give impulse to the will and bring forth Karma of all kinds through speech and action. Karma being thus produced, no one can evade its effects. Consequently all must be born in the Five States of Existence either to suffer pain or to enjoy pleasure; some are born in the higher places, while others in the lower of the Three Worlds.
When born (in the future lives) they are attached again to the body (and mind) as Atman, and become subject to lust and the other two passions. Karma is again produced
[1. Atman means ego, or self, on which individuality is based.
2 A. 'The passion that covets fame and gain to keep oneself in prosperity.'
3 A. 'The passion against disagreeable things, for fear of their inflicting injuries on oneself.'
4 A. 'Wrong thoughts and inferences.'
5 A. Different sorts of beings are born by virtue of the individualizing Karma.'
6 A. 'Worlds are produced by virtue of the Karma common to all beings that live in them.']
by them, and they have to receive its inevitable results. (Thus) body undergoes birth, old age, disease, death, and is reborn after death; while the world passes through the stages of formation, existence, destruction, and emptiness, and is re-formed again after emptiness. Kalpa after Kalpa
[1. Kalpa, a mundane cycle, is not reckoned by months and years. lt is a period during which a physical universe is formed to the moment when another is put into its place.
A. "The following verses describe how the world was first created in the period of emptiness: A strong wind began to blow through empty space. Its length and breadth were infinite. It was 16 lakhs thick, and so strong that it could not be cut even with a diamond. Its name was the world-supporting-wind. The golden clouds of Abhasvara heaven (the sixth of eighteen heavens of the Rupa-loka) covered all the skies of the Three Thousand Worlds. Down came the heavy rain, each drop being as large as the axle of a waggon. The water stood on the wind that checked its running down. It was 11 lakhs deep. The first layer was made of adamant (by the congealing water). Gradually the cloud poured down the rain and filled it. First the Brahma-raja worlds, next the Yama-heaven (the third of six heavens of the Kama loka), were made. The pure water rose up, driven by the wind, and Sumeru. (the central mountain, or axis of the universe) and the seven concentric circles of mountains, and so on, were formed. Out of dirty sediments the mountains, the four continents, the hells, oceans, and outer ring of mountains, were made. This is called the formation of the universe. The time of one Increase and one Decrease (human life is increased from 10 to 84,000 years, increasing by one year at every one hundred years; then it is decreased from 84,000 to 10 years, decreasing by one year at every one hundred years) elapsed. In short, those beings in the second region of Rupa-loka, whose good Karma had spent its force, came down on the earth. At first there were the 'earth bread' and the wild vine for them. Afterwards they could not completely digest rice, and began to excrete and to urinate. Thus men were differentiated from women. They divided the cultivated land among them. Chiefs were elected; assistants and subjects were sought out; hence different classes of people. A period of nineteen Increases and Decreases elapsed. Added to the above-mentioned period, it amounted to twenty Increases and Decreases. This is called the Kalpa of the formation of the universe.
"Now let us discuss this point. The Kalpa of Emptiness is what the Taoist calls the Path of Emptiness. The Path or the Reality, however, is not empty, but bright, transcendental, spiritual, and omnipresent. Lao Tsz, led by his mistaken idea, called the Kalpa of Emptiness the Path; otherwise he did so for the temporary purpose of denouncing worldly desires. The wind in the empty space is what the Taoist calls the undefinable Gas in the state of Chaos. Therefore Lao Tsz said, 'The Path brings forth one.' The golden clouds, the first of all physical objects, is (what the Confucianist calls) the First Principle. The rain-water standing (on the wind) is the production of the Negative Principle. The Positive, united with the Negative, brought forth the phenomenal universe. The Brahma-raja-loka, the Sumeru, and others, are what they call the Heaven. The dirty waters and sediment are the Earth. So Lao Tsz said, 'One produces two.' Those in the second region of the Rupra-loka, whose good Karma had spent its force, came down upon the earth and became human beings. Therefore Lao Tsz said, 'The two produce three.' Thus the Three Powers were completed. The earth-bread and different classes of people, and so on, are the so-called 'production of thousands of things by the Three.' This was the time when people lived in eaves or wandered. in the wilderness, and knew not the use of fire. As it belongs to the remote past of the prehistoric age, previous to the reigns of the first three Emperors, the traditions handed down to us are neither clear nor certain. Many errors crept into them one generation after another, and consequently no one of the statements given in the various works of scholars agrees with another. Besides, when the Buddhist books explain the formation of the Three Thousand Worlds, they do not confine themselves merely within the limits of this country. Hence their records are entirely different from those of the outsiders (which are confined to China).
"'Existence' means the Kalpa of Existence that lasts twenty Increases and Decreases. 'Destruction' means the Kalpa of Destruction that lasts also twenty Increases and Decreases. During the first nineteen Increases and Decreases living beings are destroyed; while in the last worlds are demolished through the three periods of distress (1) the period of water, (2) the period of fire, (3) the period of wind. 'Emptiness' means the Kalpa of Emptiness, during which no beings nor worlds exist. This Kalpa also lasts twenty Increases and Decreases."]
(passes by), life after life (comes on), and the circle of continuous rebirths knows no beginning nor end, and resembles the pulley for drawing water from the well.
[1. A. 'Taoists merely know that there was one Kalpa of Emptiness before the formation of this present universe, and point out the Emptiness, the Chaos, the primordial Gas, and the rest, naming them as the first or the beginningless. But they do not know that the universe had already gone through myriads of cycles of Kalpas of formation, existence, destruction, and emptiness. Thus even the most superficial of the Hinayana doctrines far excels the most profound of the outside doctrines.']
All this is due to Ignorance which does not understand that no bodily existence, by its very nature, can be Atman. The reason why it is not Atman is this, that its formation is, after all, due to the union of matter and mind. Now (let us) examine and analyze (mind and body). Matter consists of the four elements of earth, water, fire, and wind, while mind consists of the four aggregates of perception, consciousness, conception, and knowledge.
If all (these elements) be taken as Atman, there must be eight Atmans (for each person). More than that! There are many different things, even in the element of earth. Now, there are three hundred and sixty bones, each one distinct from the other. No one is the same as any other, either of the skin, hair, muscles, the liver, the heart, the spleen, and the kidneys. Furthermore, there are a great many mental qualities each different from the others. Sight is different from hearing. Joy is not the same as anger. If we enumerate them, in short, one after another, there are eighty thousand passions.
As things are thus so innumerable, none can tell which of these (without mistake) is to be taken as the Atman. In case all be taken as the Atman, there must be hundreds and thousands of Atmans, among which there would be as many conflicts and disturbances as there are masters living in the one (house of) body. As there exists no body nor
[1. A. 'It receives both the agreeable and the disagreeable impressions from without.' It is Yedana, the second of the five Skandhas, or aggregates.
2 A. 'It perceives the forms of external objects.' It is Samjña, name, the third of the five aggregates.
3 A. 'It acts, one idea changing after another.' It is Samskara, the fourth of the five aggregates.
4 A. 'It recognizes.' It is Vijñana, the last of the five aggregates.
5 Eighty thousand simply means a great many.]
mind separated from these things, one can never find the Atman, even if he seeks for it over and over again.
Hereupon anyone understands that this life (of ours) is no more than the temporary union of numerous elements (mental and physical). Originally there is no Atman to distinguish one being from another. For whose sake, then, should he be lustful or angry? For whose sake should he take life, or commit theft, or give alms, or keep precepts? (Thus thinking) at length he sets his mind free from the virtues and vices subjected to the passions of the Three Worlds, and abides in the discriminative insight into (the nature of) the Anatman only.
By means of that discriminative insight he makes himself pure from lust, and the other (two passions) puts an end to various sorts of Karma, and realizes the Bhutatathata of Anatman. In brief, he attains to the State of Arhat, has
[1. A. 'He understands the truth of misery.' The truth of Duhkha, or misery, is the first of the four Noble Satyas, or Truths, that ought to be realized by the Hinayanists. According to the Hinayana doctrine, misery is a necessary concomitant of sentient life.'
2 A. 'He destroys Samudaya.' The truth of Samudaya, or accumulation, the second of the four Satyas, means that misery is accumulated or produced by passions. This truth should be realized by the removal of passions.
3 A. 'This is the truth of Marga.' The truth of Marga, or Path, is the fourth of the four Satyas. There are the eight right Paths that lead to the extinction of passions; (1) Right view (to discern truth), (2) right thought (or purity of will and thought), (3) right speech (free from nonsense and errors), (4) right action, (5) right diligence, (6) right meditation, (7) right memory, (8) right livelihood.
4 A. 'This is the truth of Nirodha.' Nirodha, or destruction, the third of the four Satyas, means the extinction of passions. Bhutatathati of Anatman means the truth of the non existence of Atma or soul, and is the aim and end of the Hinayanist philosophy.
5 Arhat, the Killer of thieves (i.e., passions), means one who conquered his passions. It means, secondly, one who is exempted from birth, or one who is free from transmigration. Thirdly, it means one deserving worship, So the Arhat is the highest sage who has attained to Nirvana by the destruction of all passions.]
his body reduced to ashes, his intelligence annihilated, and entirely gets rid of sufferings.
According to the doctrine of this school the two aggregates, material and spiritual, together with lust, anger, and folly, are the origin of ourselves and of the world in which we live. There exists nothing else, either in the past or in the future, that can be regarded as the origin.
Now let us say (a few words) by way of refutation. That which (always) stands as the origin of life, birth after birth, generation after generation, should exist by itself without cessation. Yet the Five Vijñanas cease to perform their functions when they lack proper conditions, (while) the Mano-vijñana is lost at times (in unconsciousness). There are none of those four (material) elements in the heavenly worlds of Arupa. How, then, is life sustained there and kept up in continuous birth after birth? Therefore we know that those who devote themselves to the study of this doctrine also cannot trace life to its origin.
3. The Mahayana Doctrine of Dharmalaksana.--This doctrine tells us that from time immemorial all sentient beings naturally have eight different Vijñanas and the
[1. A. 'The conditions are the Indriyas and the Visayas, etc.' Indriyas are organs of sense, and Visayas are objects on which the sense acts. Five Vijñanas are--(1) The sense of sight, (2) the sense of hearing, (3) the sense of smell, (4) the sense of taste, (5) the sense of touch.
2. Mano-vijñana is the mind itself, and the last of the six Vijñanas of the Hinayana doctrine. A. '(For instance), in a state of trance, in deep slumber, in Nirodha-samapatti (where no thought exists), in Asamjñi-samapatti (in which no consciousness exists), and in Avrhaloka (the thirteenth of Brahmalokas).
3. This school studies in the main the nature of things (Dharma), and was so named. The doctrine is based on Avatamsaka-sutra and Samdhi-nirmocana-sutra, and was systematized by Asamga and Vasu-bandhu. The latter's book, Vidyamatra-siddhi-çastra-karika, is held to be the best authoritative work of the school.
4. (1) The sense of sight; (2) the sense of hearing; (3) the sense of smell; (4) the sense of taste; (5) the sense of touch; (6) Mano-vijñana (lit., mind-knowledge), or the perceptive faculty; (7) Klista-mano-vijñana (lit., soiled-mind-knowledge), or an introspective faculty; (8) Alaya-vijñana (lit., receptacle-knowledge), or ultimate-mind-substance.]
eighth, Alaya-vijñana,[l] is the origin of them. (That is), the Alaya suddenly brings forth the 'seeds' of living beings and of the world in which they live, and through transformation gives rise to the seven Vijñanas. Each of them causes external objects on which it acts to take form and appear. In reality there is nothing externally existent. How, then, does Alaya give rise to them through transformation? Because, as this doctrine tells us, we habitually form the erroneous idea that Atman and external objects exist in reality, and it acts upon Alaya and leaves its impressions there. Consequently, when Vijñanas are awakened, these impressions (or the seed-ideas) transform and present themselves (before the mind's eye) Atman and external objects.
Then the sixth and the seventh' Vijñana veiled with Avidya, dwelling on them, mistake them for real Atman and the real external objects. This (error) may be compared with one diseased' in the eye, who imagines that
[1. The first seven Vijñanas depend on the Alaya, which is said to hold all the 'seeds' of physical and mental objects.
2 This school is an extreme form of Idealism, and maintains that nothing separated from the Alaya can exist externally. The mind-substance, from the first, holds the seed ideas of everything, and they seem to the non-enlightened mind to be the external universe, but are no other than the transformation of the seed-ideas. The five senses, and the Mano-vijñana acting on them, take them for external objects really existent, while the seventh Vijñana mistakes the eighth for Atman.
3 The non-enlightened mind, habitually thinking that Atman and external objects exist, leaves the impression of the seed-ideas on its own Alaya.
4 Avidya, or ignorance, which mistakes the illusory phenomena for realities.
5 A. 'A person with a serious disease sees the vision of strange colours, men, and things in his trance.']
he sees various things (floating in the air) on account of his illness; or with a dreamer whose fanciful thoughts assume various forms of external objects, and present themselves before him. While in the dream he fancies that there exist external objects in reality, but on awakening he finds that they are nothing other than the transformation of his dreaming thoughts.
So are our lives. They are no other than the transformation of the Vijñanas; but in consequence of illusion, we take them for the Atman and external objects existing in reality. From these erroneous ideas arise delusive thoughts that lead to the production of Karma; hence the round-of rebirth to time without end. When we understand these reasons, we can realize the fact that our lives are nothing but transformations of the Vijñanas, and that the (eighth) Vijñana is the origin.
4. Mahayana Doctrine of the Nihilists.-This doctrine disproves (both) the Mahayana and the Hinayana doctrines above mentioned that adhere to Dharma-laksana, and suggestively discloses the truth of Transcendental Reality which is to be treated later. Let me state, first of all, what it would say in the refutation of Dharma-laksana.
[1. A. 'That a dreamer fancies he sees things is well known to everybody.'
2 A. 'As it was detailed above.'
3 A. 'An imperfect doctrine, which is refuted later.'
4 A. "The nihilistic doctrine is stated not only in the various Prajña-sutras (the books having Prajña-paramita in their titles), but also in almost all Mahayana sutras. The above-mentioned three doctrines were preached (by the Buddha) in the three successive periods. But this doctrine was Dot preached at any particular period; it was intended to destroy at any time the attachment to the phenomenal objects. Therefore Nagarjuna tells us that there are two sorts of Prajñas, the Common and the Special. The Çravakas (lit., hearers) and the Pratyekabuddhas (lit., singly enlightened ones), or the Hinayanists, could hear and believe in, with the Bodhisattvas or the Mahayanists, the Common Prajña, as it was intended to destroy their attachment to the external objects. Bodhisattvas alone could understand the Special Prajña, as it secretly revealed the Buddha nature, or the Absolute. Each of the two great Indian teachers, Çilabhadra and Jñanaprabha, divided the whole teachings of the Buddha into three periods. (According to Çilabhadra, A.D. 625, teacher of Hiuen Tsang, the Buddha first preached the doctrine of 'existence' to the effect that every living being is unreal, but things are real. All the Hinayana sutras belong to this period. Next the Buddha preached the doctrine of the middle path, in Samdhi-nirmocana-sutra and others, to the effect that all the phenomenal universe is unreal, but that the mental substance is real. According to Jñanaprabha, the Buddha first preached the doctrine of existence, next that of the existence of mental substance, and lastly that of unreality.) One says the doctrine of unreality was preached before that of Dharma-laksana, while the others say it was preached after. Here I adopt the latters' opinion."]
If the external objects which are transformed are unreal, how can the Vijñana, the transformer, be real? If you say the latter is really existent, but not the former, then (you assume that) the dreaming mind (which is compared with Alaya-vijñana) is entirely different from the objects seen in the dream (which are compared with external objects). If they are entirely different, you ought not to identify the dream with the things dreamed, nor to identify the things dreamed with the dream itself. In other words, they ought to have separate existences. (And) when you awake your dream may disappear, but the things dreamed would remain.
Again, if (you say) that the things dreamed are not identical with the dream, then they would be really existent things. If the dream is not the same as the things dreamed, in what other form does it appear to you? Therefore you must acknowledge that there is every reason to believe that both the dreaming mind and the things dreamed are equally unreal, and that nothing exists in reality, though it seems to you as if there were a seer, and a seen, in a dream.
[1. A. 'In the following sentences I refute it, making use of the simile of the dream.']
Thus those Vijñanas also would be unreal, because all of them are not self-existent realities, their existence being temporary, and dependent upon various conditions.
"There is nothing," (the author of) Madhyamika-çastra says, "that ever came into existence without direct and indirect causes. Therefore there is anything that is not unreal in the world." He says again: "Things produced through direct and indirect causes I declare to be the very things which are unreal." (The author of) Craddhotdada-çastra says: "All things in the universe present themselves in different forms only on account of false ideas. If separated from the (false) ideas and thoughts, no forms of those external objects exist." "All the physical forms (ascribed to Buddha)," says (the author of) a sutra, "are false and unreal. The beings that transcend all forms are called Buddhas." Consequently you must acknowledge that mind as well as external objects are unreal. This is the eternal truth of the Mahayana doctrine. We are driven to the conclusion that unreality is the origin of life, if we trace it back according to this doctrine.
Now let us say (a few words) to refute this doctrine also. If mind as well as external objects be unreal, who is it that knows they are so? Again, if there be nothing real in the universe, what is it that causes unreal objects to appear? We stand witness to the fact there is no one of the unreal things on earth that is not made to appear by something
[1. The principal textbook of the Madhyamika School, by Nagarjuna and Nilanetra, translated into Chinese (A.D. 409) by Kumarajiva.
2. A well-known Mahayana book ascribed to Açvaghosa, translated into Chinese by Paramartha. There exists an English translation by D. Suzuki.
3. Vajracchedha-prajña-paramita-sutra, of which there exist three Chinese translations.
4. A. 'Similar passages are found in every book of the Mahayana Tripitaka.']
real. If there be no water of unchanging fluidity, how can there be the unreal and temporary forms of waves? If there be no unchanging mirror, bright and clean, how can there be various images, unreal and temporary, reflected in it? It is true in sooth that the dreaming mind as well as the things dreamed, as said above, are equally unreal, but does not that unreal dream necessarily presuppose the existence of some (real) sleepers?
Now, if both mind and external objects, as declared above, be nothing at all, no- one can tell what it is that causes these unreal appearances. Therefore this doctrine, we know, simply serves to refute the erroneous theory held by those who are passionately attached to Dharma-laksana, but never clearly discloses spiritual Reality. So that Mahabheri-harakaparivarta-sutra says as follows: "All the sutras that teach the unreality of things belong to an imperfect doctrine (of the Buddha). Mahaprajña-paramita-sutra says: "The doctrine of unreality is the first entrance-gate to Mahayanism."
When the above-mentioned four doctrines are compared with one another in the order of succession, each is more profound than the preceding. They are called the superficial, provided that the follower, learning them a short while, knows them by himself to be imperfect; (but) if he adheres to them as perfect, these same (doctrines) are called incomplete. They are (thus) said to be superficial and incomplete with regard to the follower.
[1. The Absolute is compared with the ocean, and the phenomenal universe with the waves.
2 The book was translated into Chinese by Gunabhadra, A.D. 420-479.
3 This is not the direct quotation from the sutra translated by Hiuen Tsang. The words are found in Mahaprajña-paramita-sutra, the commentary on the sutra by Nagarjuna.]