Saturday, February 13, 2021

Things Do Not Shift - Sengzhao - 083

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Things Do Not Shift (changing without changing) - Sengzhao

(From the Translator’s Introduction:
The Text: … “Sengzhao’s next lun-essay, “Things Do Not Shift,” has a noticeably more technical ring, perhaps a reflection of his exposure to the Zhonglun (Nāgārjuna’s Madhyamaka-kārikā, T. 1564) translated by Kumārajīva in 408–409. In this essay Sengzhao attempts to argue against a “common person’s perception” of time. Usually people perceive that things arise, endure for some time, and then gradually cease to exist, but in reality the arising and ceasing of things are both empty. This position, far from leading Sengzhao into nihilism, allows him to assert in the closing sections of the essay that the “actions of the Tathāgata,” and perhaps by extension those of the sage, do not “wither away” but instead “abide forever, unmoving.”)

(Résumé: Although, conventionally, things appear to exist and move / change, ultimately things do not really exist and change / move, do not really come and go. Opposites like existence & non-existence, movement & stillness, coming & going, are merely labelled / imputed / conceptualised by the mind, conventionally dependently co-arisen relatively functional impermanent appearances (1st truth) <==> thus/because they are empty of inherent existence (2nd truth). One aspect / truth implies the other (<==>). So there is no real permanence / continuity / eternity, nor impermanence / discontinuity / annihilation of any dharma. 

So, to reflect those two inseparable aspects / truths (their ‘Union’), we talk about ‘being without being’, ‘acting without acting’ ‘coming without coming’, ‘changing without changing’, ‘going without going’, ‘teaching / learning without teaching / learning’, etc.

Teaching / learning without teaching / learning is using imperfect impermanent adapted skillful means, temporary antidotes, conventional truths methods & goals -- like the two truths and their ‘Union’, duality & non-duality, movement / change & stillness, impermanence & permanence, impurity & purity, difference & identity, existence & non-existence -- depending on each case / situation here & now, without grasping at any truths methods & goals, without getting attached to them, without becoming slaves to them, while being fully aware of the true nature & dynamic of Reality / Ground. Clearing the way for a possible spontaneous personal non-conceptual non-dualistic direct perception / realisation / abiding in the inconceivable true nature & dynamic of our mind, the inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is here & now, the Ground / Suchness / Buddha-nature / Genuine-emptiness, as pointed by concepts like: the inconceivable Union of the Two Truths beyond all extremes & middle, the Union of opposites, the Union of the three spheres, the Middle Way, the equality / purity / perfection / divinity of everything here & now.

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(Note: ‘Union’ or ‘<==>’ means that the apparent opposites (of any duality / triad / quad / etc, including the two truths) are not really in opposition, but are more like a Union of being empty of inherent existence (2nd truth) <==> because/thus inseparable, interdependent, co-defined, co-relative, co-dependent (1st truth), co-emergent, co-evolving, co-ceasing / co-transcended, in harmony, equal / non-dual / one -- in the non-dual sense of those terms: ex. Not existent, not non-existent, not both together, not neither; not different / separate / multiple / dual, not identical / united / one / non-dual, not both together, not neither; not permanent / continuous / eternal, not impermanent / discontinuous / annihilated, not both together, not neither; not good / pure / perfect / divine, not bad / impure / imperfect / ordinary, not both together, not neither; not dependent / conditioned, not independent / unconditioned, not both together, not neither; not empty, not non-empty, not both together, not neither; not dependently arisen (1st truth), not empty of inherent existence (2nd truth), not both together (two truth together), not neither (neither of the two truths); not this, not non-this, not both together, not neither. Meaning the true nature of the opposites and of their co-relation is inconceivable for our flawed conceptual dualistic mind, beyond all conceptual proliferations, beyond all extremes & middle, beyond all conditioning / karma.)


Life and death alternate, seasons come and go, all things are in flux: this is the common view (1st truth).
I say it is erroneous (2nd truth). Here is why.

[Union of the Two Truths. Union movement <==> stillness:] It is said in the Radiance, “Dharmas neither come nor go, they do not move in any way.”

  • Is their motionless activity to be sought by discarding motion and instead pursuing stillness

  • No, it is within all movements that stillness is to be sought. 

  • Since stillness is to be sought within all movements, though moving, dharmas are constantly still. 

  • Since stillness is to be sought without discarding motion, though still, their motion never ceases. 

  • Indeed, motion and stillness are in no way distinct. 

  • (i.e. Union of opposites: Apparent opposites, like stillness & movement / change, are like empty of inherent existence (2nd truth) <==> because/thus co-dependent, or conventionally dependently co-arisen relatively functional impermanent appearances (1st truth). Apparent opposites are not really in opposition, but are more like inseparable, interdependent, co-defined, co-relative, co-dependent, co-emergent, co-evolving, co-ceasing / co-transcended, in harmony, equal / non-dual / one -- in the non-dual sense of those terms: ex. Not different / separate / multiple / dual, not identical / united / one / non-dual, not both together, not neither; etc. So, we say they are ‘one’ simply as an antidote to our usual position. But if one grasps at any of those extremes, or both together, or neither, then one is missing the point.)

This unity (i.e. Union of opposites) eludes doubters, however. As a result, the true teaching becomes mired in disputations, and the road to understanding is distorted by their fixation on distinctions.

Truly, this ultimate (Ground), wherein stillness and movement are one (Union of opposites), is not easy to capture in words. Why? Talk of the ultimate contradicts conventional beliefs, while conformity with the conventional does injustice to the ultimate. Words that oppose the ultimate lose sight of Nature and are powerless to convert beings. Words that disregard the conventional are bland, flavorless: hearing them, people of average faculties cannot tell what is real and what is not, while inferior types clap their hands in amusement and turn away. 2

So close, yet unknowable—is this not the very nature of things (Ground)?
Yet I cannot remain silent.
Once again I will vest my mind where motion and stillness meet (Ground as the Union of opposites) and venture an imperfect intimation.

(i.e. The Madhyamaka logic is like this:

  • Because everything is 𝗱𝗲𝗽𝗲𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗹𝘆 𝗰𝗼-𝗮𝗿𝗶𝘀𝗲𝗻 (co-dependent with something else, ex, with its parts, with its causes & conditions, with its conceptual opposite(s), and 𝗰𝗼-𝗱𝗲𝗽𝗲𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝘁𝗵𝗲 subject / 𝗺𝗶𝗻𝗱 𝗺𝗲𝗿𝗲𝗹𝘆 𝗹𝗮𝗯𝗲𝗹𝗹𝗶𝗻𝗴 / 𝗶𝗺𝗽𝘂𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 / 𝗰𝗼𝗻𝗰𝗲𝗽𝘁𝘂𝗮𝗹𝗶𝘀𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗶𝘁 in dependence of its past / conditioning / karma)

  • <==> then everything is 𝗲𝗺𝗽𝘁𝘆 𝗼𝗳 𝗶𝗻𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗲𝘅𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲;

  • <==> then there is 𝗻𝗼 𝗿𝗲𝗮𝗹 𝘁𝗵𝗿𝗲𝗲 𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗴𝗲𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝗯𝗲𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗶𝗻𝗴 -- origination / beginning / birth / coming, duration / middle / life, cessation / ending / death / going -- for anything;

  • <==> then there is 𝗻𝗼 𝗿𝗲𝗮𝗹 𝗽𝗲𝗿𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲 / 𝗰𝗼𝗻𝘁𝗶𝗻𝘂𝗶𝘁𝘆 / 𝗲𝘁𝗲𝗿𝗻𝗶𝘁𝘆, 𝗻𝗼 𝗿𝗲𝗮𝗹 𝗶𝗺𝗽𝗲𝗿𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲 / 𝗱𝗶𝘀𝗰𝗼𝗻𝘁𝗶𝗻𝘂𝗶𝘁𝘆 / 𝗮𝗻𝗻𝗶𝗵𝗶𝗹𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 either for anything; nothing exist and change (movement), or remain the same (stillness);

  • <==> then 𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘆𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗶𝘀 𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝗲𝘅𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗻𝘁, 𝗻𝗼𝗻-𝗲𝘅𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗻𝘁, 𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝗯𝗼𝘁𝗵 𝘁𝗼𝗴𝗲𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿, 𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝗻𝗲𝗶𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿;

  • 𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝗱𝗶𝗳𝗳𝗲𝗿𝗲𝗻𝘁 / 𝘀𝗲𝗽𝗮𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗲 / 𝗺𝘂𝗹𝘁𝗶𝗽𝗹𝗲 / 𝗱𝘂𝗮𝗹, 𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝗶𝗱𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗶𝗰𝗮𝗹 / 𝘂𝗻𝗶𝘁𝗲𝗱 / 𝗼𝗻𝗲 / 𝗻𝗼𝗻-𝗱𝘂𝗮𝗹, 𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝗯𝗼𝘁𝗵 𝘁𝗼𝗴𝗲𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿, 𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝗻𝗲𝗶𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿;

  • not permanent / continuous / eternal, not impermanent / discontinuous / annihilated, not both together, not neither;

  • not unequal / impure / imperfect / ordinary, not equal / pure / perfect / divine, not both together, not neither;

  • not this, non-this, not both together, not neither;

  • meaning 𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘆𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗶𝘀 𝗶𝗻𝗰𝗼𝗻𝗰𝗲𝗶𝘃𝗮𝗯𝗹𝗲 , 𝗯𝗲𝘆𝗼𝗻𝗱 𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝗰𝗼𝗻𝗰𝗲𝗽𝘁𝘂𝗮𝗹 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗹𝗶𝗳𝗲𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀, 𝗯𝗲𝘆𝗼𝗻𝗱 𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝗲𝘅𝘁𝗿𝗲𝗺𝗲𝘀 & 𝗺𝗶𝗱𝗱𝗹𝗲;

  • <==> then there is 𝗻𝗼 𝗿𝗲𝗮𝗹 𝗱𝗶𝗳𝗳𝗲𝗿𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲 / 𝘀𝗲𝗽𝗮𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 / 𝗼𝗽𝗽𝗼𝘀𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 / 𝗿𝗲𝗹𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 / 𝗱𝗲𝗽𝗲𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲 / 𝗱𝘂𝗮𝗹𝗶𝘁𝘆, 𝗻𝗼 𝗿𝗲𝗮𝗹 𝗶𝗱𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗶𝘁𝘆 / 𝘀𝗮𝗺𝗲𝗻𝗲𝘀𝘀 / 𝘂𝗻𝗶𝘁𝘆 / 𝗲𝗾𝘂𝗮𝗹𝗶𝘁𝘆 / 𝗻𝗼𝗻-𝗱𝘂𝗮𝗹𝗶𝘁𝘆 / 𝗼𝗻𝗲𝗻𝗲𝘀𝘀 / 𝗶𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗽𝗲𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲 either;

  • <==> then 𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘆𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗶𝘀 𝗯𝗲𝘆𝗼𝗻𝗱 𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝗼𝗽𝗽𝗼𝘀𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 / 𝗱𝗶𝘀𝗰𝗿𝗶𝗺𝗶𝗻𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 / 𝗱𝘂𝗮𝗹𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗲𝘀;

  • <==> so 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲 𝗶𝘀 𝗻𝗼𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗼 𝗮𝗰𝗰𝗲𝗽𝘁 / 𝗮𝗳𝗳𝗶𝗿𝗺 / 𝘀𝗲𝗲𝗸 / 𝗱𝗼 / 𝗮𝗱𝗱 in absolute terms, 𝗻𝗼𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗼 𝗿𝗲𝗷𝗲𝗰𝘁 / 𝗻𝗲𝗴𝗮𝘁𝗲 / 𝗮𝗯𝗮𝗻𝗱𝗼𝗻 / 𝗻𝗼t-𝗱𝗼 / 𝘀𝘂𝗯𝘁𝗿𝗮𝗰𝘁 in absolute terms, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively;

  • <==> so, we say that 𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘆𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗶𝘀 𝗮𝗹𝗿𝗲𝗮𝗱𝘆 𝗲𝗾𝘂𝗮𝗹, 𝗽𝘂𝗿𝗲, 𝗽𝗲𝗿𝗳𝗲𝗰𝘁, 𝗱𝗶𝘃𝗶𝗻𝗲, 𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲 & 𝗻𝗼𝘄.

  • Ex. Purity is in the eye of the beholder. What purifies / transmutes samsara into nirvana is the direct wisdom of being fully aware of the true nature & dynamic of everything, of Reality / Mind. Fabrications (physical, conceptual, mental) in themselves are not bad / impure, not good / pure, not both together, not neither.

  • So, Just relax! Let it be! Enjoy the magical show of Reality / Mind!

  • Note: <==> means one implies the other.

  • https://www.gilehtblog.com/2021/01/madhyamaka-logic-is-like-this.html )

[Being without being; changing / moving without changing / moving:] It is said in the Dao Practice, “Originally there is no ‘where’ from which dharmas come; when they go, there is no ‘where’ that they reach.”3 And in the Middle Way Treatise, “Seeing the place [of departure] we see the going (relation / action), but the goer (subject) does not reach a place (destination / object).”4 These passages assert that stillness is to be sought in identity (Union) with motion, from which it follows that
things do not shift. (i.e. ultimately things do not exist and change; so we talk about ‘being without being’, ‘acting without acting’, ‘moving without moving’, ‘changing without changing’, ‘movement in Union with stillness’, ‘discontinuity in Union with continuity’ ... because, although the three spheres are conventionally / relatively existing and functional, they are, ultimately, not.)

Now, that past things do not reach the present is what is commonly thought of as movement. People say, “things move, they are not still.” But the same fact that past things do not reach the present is what I call stillness.
I say, “things are still, not in motion”. (i.e. ultimately things do not exist and change; things are not moving / changing, not still, not both together, not neither; So, we say they are ‘still’ simply as an antidote to our usual position. But if one grasps at any of those extremes, or both together, or neither, then one is missing the point. This is the Middle Way free from all extremes & middle: extremes like movement / change, stillness, both together, neither.)

  1. [Others claim that] since things do not come [from the past to the present],
    they move and are not still.
    (1st extreme / antidote / 1st truth - conventional truths: dependent origination & relative functionality)
    (i.e. teaching without teaching using adapted skillful means, the 1st truth, movement / change / duality) 

  2. [I claim that] since things do not depart [from the present to the past],
    they are still and do not move.
    (2nd extreme / antidote / 2nd truth - emptiness of inherent existence)
    (i.e. teaching without teaching using adapted skillful means, the 2nd truth / stillness / non-duality)

  3. (Final teaching without teaching / Reality / Ground: Union of opposites: Union movement / change <==> stillness. Moving / changing without moving / changing. Union of the Two Truths: Union conventional / relative reality <==> ultimate reality. And Union of the Two Truths about the two truths themselves.) 

What we speak of are not two realities but one, though we view it differently. Oppose this reality—you will be bogged down; align yourself with it—you will penetrate its depths. Once you understand, nothing will obstruct you.

Alas, for so long people have been trapped in delusion (i.e. slaves to their ignorance of the true nature & dynamic of Reality). Even though they are face to face with the ultimate (Ground - Union of the Two Truths), they do not wake up to it. They know that past things do not come [from the past to the present], yet they insist that present things can pass away [from the present to the past]. But since past things do not come [to the present], how could present things pass away [to the past]?

Allow me to explain. For a past thing, do you search in the past? In the past [such a thing] does not not exist. Do you search for it in the present? In the present it does not exist. That past things do not exist in the present shows that they do not come [to it from the past]; that they do not not exist in the past shows that they do not depart [from it to the present]. Now, as for present things: when in the present, they do not pass away. Hence, past things are by nature in the past—they do not do not reach it from the present; and present things are by nature in the present—they do not reach it from the past.

Confucius said, “Behold, Yan Hui, how swiftly things become new; in the twinkling of an eye they are no longer as before! (1st truth)”5

[Union of the Two Truths: Origination / coming without originating / coming, existing / being without existing / being; changing / moving without changing / moving; ceasing / going without ceasing / going:] 

All this shows that things do not come or go (i.e. 2nd truth: ultimately things do not exist and change, arise / come and cease / go) [between moments in time]. Since there is not even the slightest trace of departing or returning, how could one assert “movement” of anything at all?

  • With this mind, why still doubt that while the whirlwind 6 uproots the mountains 7 it stays constantly still

  • while the great rivers roar crashing into the sea they do not flow

  • while the wild horses 8 flutter in the sky they remain unmoving; and 

  • while the sun and moon travel the skies they are never in rotation?

But wait! The Sage said, “The passage of life is swift, swifter than the gushing torrents.”9 Thus one might object that through insight into impermanence do śrāvakas realize the Dao, and on awakening to the state free of conditions do pratyekabuddhas join with the ultimate. If indeed, as you say,
the movement of things (1st truth) does not involve real change (2nd truth),
how could it be claimed that by responding to change these two groups attain progress on the Dao?

Yet, on careful investigation, the words of the Sage prove exceedingly subtle, deep, difficult to fathom.
He asserts both that things, while seemingly in motion (1st truth), are still (2nd truth);
and that while seeming to depart (1st truth) they remain unmoving (2nd truth).
(i.e. Final teaching without teaching / Reality / Ground: Union of opposites: Union movement / change <==> stillness. Moving / changing without moving / changing; teaching without teaching. Union of the Two Truths: Union conventional / relative reality <==> ultimate reality. And Union of the Two Truths about the two truths themselves.)

[This truth] can only be encountered with the spirit, it cannot be found amid ordinary affairs.

Allow me to explain. 

  1. While things are said to “depart,” (1st truth - conventionally / relatively)
    this is not to assert that they literally depart (2nd truth)
    but merely to dispel people’s attachment to the idea of permanence (as an antidote, adapted skillful means). 

  2. Though they are said to “remain,” (1st truth)
    this is not to argue that they literally remain (2nd truth)
    but merely to counter people’s clinging to “passing away.” (as an antidote, adapted skillful means)

  3. Surely, “departing” (1st truth) does not mean that things actually evanesce (2nd truth),
    nor does “remaining” (1st truth) mean that they perdure through time (2nd truth).
    (i.e. Final teaching without teaching / Reality / Ground: Union of opposites: Union movement / change <==> stillness. Moving / changing without moving / changing; teaching without teaching. Union of the Two Truths: Union conventional / relative reality <==> ultimate reality. And Union of the Two Truths about the two truths themselves.)

Accordingly, 

  1. it is said in the Complete Realization,
    “The Bodhisattva dwells among those attached to permanence and teaches them impermanence.”10
    (1st extreme / antidote / 1st truth - conventional truths: dependent origination & relative functionality)
    (i.e. teaching without teaching using adapted skillful means, the 1st truth, movement / change / duality) 

  2. And in the Mahayana Treatise,
    “All dharmas are ultimately unmoving; in them there is no trace of coming or going.”11
    (2nd extreme / antidote / 2nd truth - emptiness of inherent existence)
    (i.e. teaching without teaching using adapted skillful means, the 2nd truth / stillness / non-duality)

  3. (i.e. Final teaching without teaching / Reality / Ground: Union of opposites: Union movement / change <==> stillness. Moving / changing without moving / changing; teaching without teaching. Union of the Two Truths: Union conventional / relative reality <==> ultimate reality. And Union of the Two Truths about the two truths themselves.)

Such teachings are devised to lead beings from all quarters to liberation. The words (i.e. antidotes, adapted skillful means) may be contradictory but the reality in which they converge is one. Surely variation among descriptions does not make incongruous their object. (i.e. All teachings, including the Two Truths and their ‘Union’, including movement & stillness, etc. are mere temporary imperfect conventional adapted skillful means, antidotes to one extreme position of another. The true nature of Reality is beyond all of those adapted skillful means, concepts, views, methods, goals.)

  • [Ex.] Thus, though things may be said to be “constant” they do not remain. 

  • Though described as “departing” they do not shift [in time]. 

  • As things do not shift, while passing away they are constantly still; 

  • as things do not remain, while still they constantly pass away. 

  • In stillness things constantly pass away; thus, while passing away they never shift. 

  • In passing away things are constantly still; thus, while still, they never stay.

Zhuangzi speaks of hiding a mountain in a marsh and Confucius stands at the bank of the river [gazing at its gushing torrent]: both reflect on the inability to make passing things stay in the present. Surely they do not mean that things push away the present and pass away [into the past]. 12

Indeed, if one carefully examines the mind of the sage, one will understand that what the sage perceives differs from what the common person perceives. How so? People claim that, young or old, a human being is of one constant body and its substance perdures throughout a lifetime of a hundred years (continuity). They only know that the years pass, but do not realize that the body follows suit. Take the story of the brahmacārin who left the householder’s life [as a young man] and only returned home as a white-haired old man. When his former neighbors saw him, they said, “Could this be our former neighbor?” The brahmacārin said, “I may seem to be my former self but I am certainly not him.” The neighbors were startled. It is just like in the allegory of the strong man [who sneaks up under cover of night] and carries away [the boat] on his shoulders, [while the owner,] fast asleep, knows nothing [of the theft]. 13 (i.e. In Reality nothing really exists and changes/ moves, or remains the same. There is no real continuity / permanence / eternity, not real discontinuity / impermanence / annihilation, not real both together, not real either. That is the Middle Way free from all extremes & middle.)

In order to dispel people’s delusions, the Tathāgata uses words appropriate to their individual limitations (i.e. He uses various adapted skillful means, antidotes depending on each case / situation / individual)

  1. [Ex.:] he rides the vehicle of the nondual ultimate mind (2nd truth),
    (i.e. teaching without teaching using adapted skillful means, the 2nd truth / stillness / non-duality)
    (2nd extreme / antidote / 2nd truth - emptiness of inherent existence)

  2. yet elaborates nonsingular diverse teachings (1st truth).
    (i.e. teaching without teaching using adapted skillful means, the 1st truth, movement / change / duality)
    (1st extreme / antidote / 1st truth - conventional truths: dependent origination & relative functionality)

  3. Words that even though contradictory do not impute incongruity to their object—such are the words of the Sage alone.
    (i.e. Final teaching without teaching / Reality / Ground: Union of opposites: Union movement / change <==> stillness. Moving / changing without moving / changing; teaching without teaching. Union of the Two Truths: Union conventional / relative reality <==> ultimate reality. And Union of the Two Truths about the two truths themselves.)

Hence, 

  1. from the perspective of the ultimate, he teaches of “not-shifting”;
    (i.e. teaching without teaching using adapted skillful means, the 2nd truth / stillness / non-duality)
    (2nd extreme / antidote / 2nd truth - emptiness of inherent existence)

  2. in order to guide the common people, he speaks of things flowing through time.
    (i.e. teaching without teaching using adapted skillful means, the 1st truth, movement / change / duality)
    (1st extreme / antidote / 1st truth - conventional truths: dependent origination & relative functionality)

  3. Even though he charts out a thousandfold paths, they all return to a common destination.
    (i.e. Final teaching without teaching / Reality / Ground: Union of opposites: Union movement / change <==> stillness. Moving / changing without moving / changing; teaching without teaching. Union of the Two Truths: Union conventional / relative reality <==> ultimate reality. And Union of the Two Truths about the two truths themselves.)

Yet, when those who cling to the evidence of texts (i.e. grasping at the antidote / adapted skillful means used; grasping at the finger pointing at the moon) hear the teaching of “not-shifting” they say that past things do not reach the present, but when they hear of “flow and motion” they say that present things can reach the past. However, once the terms “past” and “present” have been assigned [to their respective moments], why still insist on viewing things as “shifting” [from one to the other]? After all, when it is said that things “pass away,” this is not to affirm that they literally pass away but only that things of the past and present persist constantly [in their respective moments]—they are not in motion. When it is asserted that things “depart,” this is not to claim that things literally depart but only that things do not reach the past from the present—they do not come. They do not come: they do not gallop between the past and the present. They do not move; each thing, by nature, persists in just one[—its own particular—]time.

The myriad texts differ in their formulations, the hundred schools teach divergent doctrines, but once you arrive at where they all converge, their diversity will no longer confuse you. (i.e. they are all adapted skillful means pointing at the same moon.)

Now, what others call “remaining” I refer to as “departing”; what they call “departing” I speak of as “remaining.” Yet, though “remaining” and “departing” differ in name, in reality they are one. (i.e. Union of opposites: Apparent opposites, like coming & abiding & going, are like empty of inherent existence (2nd truth) <==> because/thus co-dependent, or conventionally dependently co-arisen relatively functional impermanent appearances (1st truth). Apparent opposites are not really in opposition, but are more like inseparable, interdependent, co-defined, co-relative, co-dependent, co-emergent, co-evolving, co-ceasing / co-transcended, in harmony, equal / non-dual / one -- in the non-dual sense of those terms: ex. Not different / separate / multiple / dual, not identical / united / one / non-dual, not both together, not neither; etc. So, we say they are ‘one’ simply as an antidote to our usual position. But if one grasps at any of those extremes, or both together, or neither, then one is missing the point.)
It is not without reason that the classic says, “True words appear nonsensical.”14 Who would believe them?

How so? People search for past things in the present, and conclude that [things] do not remain. I seek for present [things] in the past and determine that they do not depart. If present [things] could reach the past, then the past should contain those present [things]. If past [things] could reach the present, then the present should contain those past [things]. But there are no past [things] in the present, which shows again that [things] do not come. And there are no present [things] in the past, which shows once more that [things] do not depart.

Since past [things] do not reach the present, nor do present [things] reach the past, therefore each event by nature remains in its own particular time. There is really nothing at all that can be described as either coming or going [in time].

Grasp this subtle meaning, and you will understand that even though the four seasons gallop like a windstorm and the Big Dipper whirls in the sky like thunder, in all their velocity they are forever unmoving. (i.e. Union of opposites: Apparent opposites, like stillness & movement / change, are like empty of inherent existence (2nd truth) <==> because/thus co-dependent, or conventionally dependently co-arisen relatively functional impermanent appearances (1st truth). Apparent opposites are not really in opposition, but are more like inseparable, interdependent, co-defined, co-relative, co-dependent, co-emergent, co-evolving, co-ceasing / co-transcended, in harmony, equal / non-dual / one -- in the non-dual sense of those terms: ex. Not different / separate / multiple / dual, not identical / united / one / non-dual, not both together, not neither; etc. So, we say they are ‘one’ simply as an antidote to our usual position. But if one grasps at any of those extremes, or both together, or neither, then one is missing the point.)

The acts of the Tathāgata are efficacious throughout myriad generations yet they remain always still; his Dao penetrates a hundred eons yet it is all the more unmoving. Piling up a mound is as if complete with the first basket of dirt; reaching the destination of a long journey is accomplished with the first step. 15 All this is because meritorious deeds truly do not wither away. That meritorious acts do not wither away means that the act remains in the past time and does not transform out of being. As such, it does not shift in time. It does not shift: it abides forever, unmoving. Thus it is.

Therefore it is said in scripture, “Should the triple deluge consume the world, my works will abide, unmoving.”16 True indeed.

How is this so ? The result does not contain the cause, it is brought about by the cause. Since the result is brought about by the cause, in the past moment the cause is not-extinct. Since the result does not include the cause, the cause does not come [from the past] to the present. Neither is the cause extinct [in its own past moment], nor does it come [to the present]. This is further proof of the truth of “not shifting.”

With this understanding, can one continue to oscillate between “departing” and “staying,” dither between “motion” and “stillness”? Truly, should Heaven collapse and Earth topple over, I will not say things are not still. Should a great deluge submerge the world, I will not say things move. If you can tally your spirit with things in their reality, this truth will be within reach.

(i.e. Logic: This résumé of all Madhyamaka reasonings will be useful to analyse this text:
-
Union of the Two Truths about any & all dharmas [U2T]:
-
{All dharmas are not really different / separate / multiple / dual / in opposition or relation, but are more like an inconceivable Union of being empty of inherent existence (2nd truth - not real existence) <==> because of being inseparable (one cannot exists without the other), interdependent (one implies the other), co-defined (the definition of one defines the other), co-relative, co-dependent, co-emergent (they arise together), co-evolving, co-ceasing / co-transcended (they cease together), in harmony (not in real opposition), equal / non-dual / one (1st truth - not complete non-existence);
they are like illusions / dreams / reflections / rainbows / like the displays of a magical show or cosmic dance of luminosity; in other words, they are appearing but still empty, empty but still appearing; one aspect / truth implies the other (<==>), one aspect / truth proves the other (<==>). This is the King of reasoning; the Union of the Two Truths. [U2T]}
-
<==> {because of that then they have no real three stages of existence: i. origination / beginning / birth / before / past, ii. duration / middle / life / change / during / present, iii. cessation / ending / death / after / future; they have no real parts, or defining characteristics, or three marks, or functional properties, or qualities;
and so they have no permanence / continuity / eternity, no impermanence / discontinuity / annihilation, or any combination of the two, or neither, between one infinitesimal moment and the next one (valid for any thing, any being, any relation / action), or between two consecutive rebirths for beings, or between samsara and nirvana}
-
<==> {because of these then they are merely labelled / imputed / conceptualised / categorised / classified by the mind / subject (after the fact) in co-dependence with its conditioning / karma (physical, conceptual, mental; individual, collective, cosmic); in other words, as objects they are inseparable, interdependent, co-dependent, co-emergent, co-evolving, co-ceasing, non-dual with the subject / mind -- in the non-dual sense of those terms; ex. subject & object are not different / separate / two / dual / independent, not identical / united / one / non-dual / dependent, not both together, not neither [U3S]}
-
<==> {because of these then there is no real difference, separation, opposition, relation, dependence, duality between them…, and no real identity / sameness, unity, equality, non-duality, oneness, independence either; there is no inherent / universal / absolute basis for any discrimination between them (acceptation or rejection) or non-discrimination, action or non-action; ex. it is not about accepting one or few opposite(s) while rejecting the other(s), not about accepting all opposites, not about rejecting all opposites [Uopp]}
-
<==> {because of these then they are not 'this', not 'non-this', not both together, not neither (tetralemma) -- and there is no other possibility -- for whatever dualistic concept ‘this’ is --; meaning their true nature is indescribable, inconceivable, beyond all conceptual proliferations, beyond all extremes & middle; examples, they are
- not different / separate / multiple / dual, not identical / united / one / non-dual, not both together, not neither;
- not inherently existent, not completely non-existent, not both together, not neither;
- not permanent / continuous / eternal, not impermanent / discontinuous / annihilated, not both together, not neither;
- not purely objective / physical / body, not purely subjective / mental / mind, not purely relational / process / conceptual / speech, not two or three of them together, not none of them;
- not dependent / caused / produced / functional, not independent / uncaused/spontaneous / unproduced / non-functional, not both together, not neither;
- not other-caused / other-arisen, not self-caused / self-arisen / spontaneous, not both together, not neither;
- not empty, not non-empty, not both together, not neither;
- not dependently co-arisen / interdependent (1st truth), not empty of inherent existence (2nd truth), not both truths together, not neither truth;
- not good / pure / perfect / equal / divine, not bad / impure / imperfect / unequal / ordinary, not both together, not neither;
- not conventional / relative / false, not absolute / universal / true, not both together, not neither;
- not this/that, not non-this/non-that, not both together, not neither.}
-
<==> {because of these then we say that they are like transparent, uncompounded, self-arisen, unborn, uncreated, unfabricated, unchanging, unceasing, spontaneous displays of the Ground, unobstructed, infinite, timeless, one in naturelessness, primordially equal, pure, perfect, divine, Buddha-nature, Buddhaverse, Dharmata, Suchness, Trikaya … That is the inconceivable indivisible self-arisen Ground / Dharmata. With direct wisdom, everything is transcended / purified / self-liberated into this self-arisen timeless equal pure perfect Ground / the inconceivable true nature of Reality as it is in the three times.}
-
<==> {because of these then the best attitude toward them is the Middle Way free from all extremes & middle;
Extremes like: i) existence / realism, ii) non-existence / nihilism, iii) both together / dualism, iv) neither / monism; or extremes like v) subject-only / mind-only / idealism / subjectivism, vi) object-only / naïve realism / objectivism, vii) relation-only / process-only / action-only / relationism / processism, viii) two or three of them together / pluralism, ix) none to them / monism;
so there is nothing to accept / affirm / seek / do / perceive / know in absolute terms, nothing to reject / negate / abandon / not-do / not-perceive / not-know in absolute terms, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively if it helps someone to get closer to the truth about the true nature of Reality as it is here & now;
so the best attitude is just to let them be, and transcend / purify / self-liberate them by directly perceiving / realising / abiding in their true nature (the Ground); to use them as possible temporary imperfect adapted skillful means while being fully aware of their true essence nature & dynamic, without any fixation / reification, without any illusion about them, without being fooled by them, without any grasping, without any attachment, without any di-vision between subject action & object, without becoming slave to them, while being totally free from them not without them}
-
All dharmas are like that. Everything in all Madhyamaka teachings comes down to these reasonings. Together they are like a self-arisen indestructible vajra; one facet supported by the others. Together they point to the Ground, and generate 'certainty' about the view, path and fruition.)




Quotes

Titre 3

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