5.4 Nagarjuna Verses on the Middle Way (Mulamadhyamakakarika) - June 4, 2020
Verses on the Middle Way
I pay homage to the Fully Awakened One
The supreme teacher, who has taught
The doctrine of relational origination
The blissful cessation of all phenomenal thought constructions
Therein, every event is marked by:
Non-origination, non-extinction into destruction,
Non-permanence, non-identity, non-differentiation
Non-coming into being
Non-going out of being
Chapter 1: Relational Condition
At nowhere and at no time can entities ever exist by originating out of themselves, from others, from both self-other, or from the lack of causes.
There are four and only four relational conditions: namely primary causal, appropriating or objectively extending, sequential or contiguous and dominantly extending conditions. There is no fifth.
In these relational conditions, the self-nature of the entities cannot exist. From the non-existence of self-nature, other-nature too cannot exist.
The functional force does not inhere relational conditions, nor does it not inhere them. The relational conditions, vice versa, do not inhere the functional force, nor do they not inhere it.
Only as entities are uniquely related and originated can they be described in terms of relational conditions. For, how can non-relational conditions be asserted of entities which have not come into being?
Relational condition does not validly belong to either being or non-being. If it belongs to being, for what use is it? And if to non-being, for whose use is it?
When a factor of experience does not evolve from being, non-being, nor from both being and non-being, how can there be an effectuating cause? Thus such a cause is not permissible.
It is said that a true factor of experience does not have an appropriating or objectively extending relational condition,. If it does not exist, then again, wherein is this type of relational condition?
It is not possible to have extinction where factors of experience have not yet arisen. In an extinguished state, for what use is a relational condition. Thus the sequential or contiguous relational condition is not applicable.
As entities without self-nature have no real status of existence, the statement “from the existence of that this becomes” is not possible.
The effect (i.e, arisen entity) does not exist separated from relational condition nor together in relational condition. If it does not exist in either situation, how could it arise out of relational conditions?
Now the, if non-entity arises from these relational conditions, why is it not possible that the effect (i.e. arisen entity) cannot arise from non-relational conditions?
The effect, i.e., arisen entity has the relational condition but the relational conditions have no self possessing nature. How can an effect, arising from no self-possessing nature have the relational condition?
Consequently, the effect, i.e., arisen entity is neither with relational nor without non-relational condition. Since the effect has no existing status, wherein are the relational and non-relational conditions?
Translation by Kenneth K. Inada