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♦ How many paramārthas? Bhāviveka’s Madhyamakaratnapradīpa (chapter 6)

This is the edition and translation of the 6th chapter of Bhāviveka’s Madhyamakaratnapradīpa. The texts consists in just 5 stanzas, of which at least three are very similar – if not identical – to as many kārikās of Bhāviveka’s Madhyamakahṛdayakārikā. This, hence, allows us to interpret the Madhyamakaratnapradīpa in the light of the Madhyamakahṛdayakārikā.

The versions used for establishing the Tibetan edition are the following ones: Co-ne (C), sDe-dge (D), dGa’-ldan (G) and sNar-thaṅ (N) versions (C, dBu-ma, vol. 97: TSHa, fol. 281b4-7; D, dBu-ma, vol. 199: TSHa, foll. 276b7-277a2; G, dBu-ma’i skor, mDo-’grel, vol. 106: TSHa, fol. 396a1-4; N, dBu-ma’i skor, mDo-’grel, vol. 106: TSHa, fol. 320b1-4).

From this chapter we derive some interesting points: (1) Bhāviveka apparently do not admit the existence of two paramārthas, otherwise we can suppose that he would have explicitly mentioned this (as the author of the Madhyamakārthasaṃgraha has done), or he probably would have devoted two chapters respectively to the two aspects of paramārtha, as he has done for the two saṃvṛtis in the first part of the Madhyamakaratnapradīpa; (2) the unique paramārtha is said to be beyond mental constructions (nirvikalpa); (3) this must be intended as referring to a state/condition that takes place not only when savikalpasaṃvṛti, but also when nirvikalpasaṃvṛti cease (we derive this from Madhyamakahṛdayakārikā 3.260-261 and 264-266, and Tarkajvālā on 266); (4) we conclude that the paramārtha described here must be what in other texts is called aparyāyaparamārtha (rnam graṅs ma yin don dam), the paryāya aspect being still confined within the range of saṃvṛti. On all this at the moment I’m preparing a paper with a more accurate philosophical introduction.

[C 281b4]-[D 276b7]-[G 396a1]-[N 320b1]|| de la don [C 281b5] dam pa’i śes rab ji lta bu źe na |

Then, in which way is there understanding of the ultimate meaning?

rtog pa’i dri [G 396a2] maa ma lus pa | |

bsal bar gyur pa gaṅ yin daṅb | |

źi daṅ so so raṅ rig daṅ | |

rnam rtog med ciṅ yi ge med | | [1]

a C, D: dri pa. b G: yin pa daṅ.

Compare with MHK 3.10: aśeṣakalpanājālapratiṣedhavidhāyinī | śāntapratyātmasaṃvedyanirvikalpanirakṣare ||

That which is completely free from the impurity of mental constructions, [which] is appeased, personally experienced, changeless, letterless, [1]

gcig [N 320b2] daṅ tha dad ñid bral baa | |

mkha’ [D 277a1] ltar dri med de ñid la | |

’jug pa med par ’jug pa ni | |

śes [C 281b6] rab don dam śes [G 396a3] par bya | | [2]

a C: bral pa.

Compare with MHK 3.11: vigataikatvanānātve tattve gagananirmale | apracārapracārā ca prajñā syāt pāramarthikī ||

without being one nor many, spotless like the sky, real, [that which] occurs without occurring, is known as the understanding of the ultimate meaning. [2]

rtog bcas rtog pa med pa yi | |

śes pa gñis las log gyur na | |

de tshe blo la yul med pas | |

spros pa ñe bar źi bar [N 320b3] ’gyur | | [3]

Compare with MHK 8.104: savikalpāvikalpā ca yadā buddhir nivartate | dhiyām aviṣaye tasmin prapañcopaśamaḥ śivaḥ ||

When there is turning away from the two [kinds of] cognition – with mental constructions and without mental constructions –, then mental proliferations cease, because there is no object for the intellect. [3]

gaṅ tshe śes daṅ śes bya dag |

chos kyi [D 277a2] dbyiṅs sua gyur pas na | |

de tshe nam mkha’b ltar gyur pas | |

[C 281b7]-[G 396a4] spros pa ñe bar źi bar gyurc | | [4]

a G: dbyiṅ-su. b G : na-mkha’. c G, N: ’gyur.

When the knowledge and the object of knowledge have became [appeased] in the dharmadhātu, then mental proliferations cease, becoming [void] like the sky. [4]

ji srid yid kyia log g.yo ba | |

de srid bdudb kyi spyodc yul yin | |

yid kyi g.yo ba źi gyur na | |

śes rab [N 320b4] gñis kyaṅ śes mi ’gyur | | [5]

a C, D: kyis. b N : bduṅ. c C : sbyod.

As far as the bad quivering of the mind [continues], so far there is the territory of the Evil-One; when the quivering of the mind is appeased, also the two [abovementioned kinds of] understanding are not observed. [5]

don dam pa’i śes rab kyi skabs rdzogs so ||

Here ends the chapter on the understanding of the ultimate meaning.

2 thoughts on “♦ How many paramārthas? Bhāviveka’s Madhyamakaratnapradīpa (chapter 6)

  1. Hi Daniel! Me too I’m a fond follower of your Granthinam 🙂
    Your suggestion sounds good. I’ll add the PDF export function as soon as possible. To say the truth, I tried time ago to do that but didn’t find a good plugin, thus many thanks for the link you refer to.


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