Buddhist philosophy and psychology · Buddhist Texts · lingua tibetica

♦ Madhyamakaratnapradīpa: an untraced quotation debating cittamātra from a Candrakīrtipāda’s work

In the 7th chapter of the Madhyamakaratnapradīpa, a work traditionally attributed to Bhāviveka, while discussing some fundamental concepts of the cittamātra doctrine, the author inserts an interesting quotation which is attributed to (the tantric?) Candrakīrtipāda (zLa-ba-grags-pa’i-źal-sṅa-na). Unfortunately, the original text from which the citation was taken remains still untraced. Nevertheless, what is interesting here, is the fact that in this excerpt it seems that at least five sub-quotations from other texts are referred to. Of these, for the moment I have been able to indentify the possible source for only the stanza beginning with the pāda: autpala rtsa ba mū la las (number [4], see below), which is indeed very similar – but not identical – to Bhāviveka’s Madhyamakahṛdayakārikā 5.48 (see Eckel 2008: 414), whose Tibetan version runs as follows: autpala rtsa ba mū la las | | lo ma la sogs rgyun ’byuṅ ltar | | de bźin sems rdzas med pa las | | rgyun rnams sna tshogs ’byuṅ bar ’gyur | |; Sanskrit: yathā parṇādisantānaḥ śālūkabahuśaktitaḥ | tathādravyasataś cittāc citrāḥ saṃtativṛttayaḥ ||. Also the explanation of this stanza seems to barely coincide in both the excerpt from Candrakīrtipāda’s text and Bhāviveka’s Tarkajvālā (on account of which see Eckel 2008: 258, 414).

The following is the Tibetan text and English translation of the Madhyamakaratnapradīpa passage under concern. In square brackets I have inserted the progressive numbers of the citations contained in Candrakīrtipāda’s text. The sub-citations have been underlined for the sake of better clarity.

(sDe-dge bsTan-’gyur, dBu-ma, vol. 97: TSHa, fol. 280b2-7) slob dpon zla ba grags pa’i źal sṅa nas kyaṅ | ji skad du | [1] de bas na phyi rol gyi dṅos po lta bu dmigs su med ciṅ yod pa ma yin te | sems kyi raṅ bźin yin pa’i phyir ro źes pa daṅ | yaṅ [2] chos thams cad sems las phyi rol na mi gnas te | mig yor tsam du snaṅ ba gaṅ yin pa de thams cad ni raṅ gi sems te | raṅ gi sems ñid las gźan ni ci yaṅ med do źes pa daṅ | yaṅ gsuṅs pa | [3] sems las dṅos po tha dad pa yod do źe na | chos med ces bya’o źes rgyas par gsuṅs so | | ’dir tshigs su bcad pa ni | [4] autpala rtsa ba mū la las | | lo ma la sogs rgyun ’byuṅ ltar | | de bźin sems rdzas med pa yaṅ | | chos rnams kun gyi ṅo bor gnas | | de yi don ni ’di yin te | | autpala’i tsa ba gźan daṅ ma ’brel źiṅ chu ñid la gnas śiṅ rtsa ba der gar yaṅ zug pa med kyaṅ | mtsho śin tu rgya che ba dag lo ma daṅ me tog la sogs pas khyab par nus pa bźin du sems rdzas su med pa ñid yin yaṅ kun rdzob tu phyi naṅ gi chos thams cad kyi ṅo bor gnas so | | yaṅ smras pa | [5] ji ltar lu ma’i sā lu ka | | rtsa ba med kyaṅ thams cad khyab | | rtsa ba med pa’i sems ñid kyaṅ | | nam mkha’i mthas gtugs khyab par gnas | | ’di’i don ni ’di yin te | | mtshe’u daṅ | lu ma dag ba sā lu ka źes bya ba’i sṅo źig phan tshun ’brel pas | me tog ser po źig gis lu ma’i kha chod par skye la de la rtsa ba ni zug pa med do | | de bźin du sems rtsa ba med pa bźin du nam mkhas ji tsam khyab ba de tsam du chos thams cad kyi ṅo bor gnas so | |


Moreover, ācārya Candrakīrtipāda [wrote]: «As has been said: [1] “Therefore, the external events are similarly unperceivable and inexistent because there is [only] the nature of mind”; and again [2] “All the dharmas do not dwell outside the mind, what does merely appear [without existing in itself] is [nothing but] a mirage, [thus,] all those [dharmas] are one’s own very mind, [and what is] other than one’s own very mind is something inexistent”; and it is explained also: [3] “If one says ‘the various dharmas exist out of the mind’, [accordingly] it is declared ‘the dharmas are inexistent [in themselves]’”, thus it is explained at length. Here there is a stanza: [4] “Just as the stream of leaves and so on derives from the princial root of a lotus, similarly the nature of all the dharmas, although unreal, dwells in the mind”. The meaning of that [stanza] is this: the root of the lotus is not connected with anything else, it dwells only in the water and, although the root does not thrust everywhere into that [place where it grows], it has the power to cover with leaves and flowers the great surface of a large lake; similarly, the nature of all the external and internal dharmas, [which are] related to saṃvṛti, albeit its absence of reality, dwells in the mind. It is also said: [5] “As the śāluka [lotus sprout] of a pool, although having no root, covers all [the surface of that pool, similarly] the very mind, that has no root, dwells by covering [all] up to the limit of the space”. The meaning of this [stanza] is this: in lakelets and pools, some sprouts called śāluka, being mutually connected, bud by covering the [entire surface of the] pool with yellow flowers, and [nonetheless] the[ir] root does not thrust into that [place]; similarly, as the mind without root covers as much space [as there is], in so much [place] the nature of all the dharmas does dwell».


Eckel, Malcolm D. 2008. Bhāviveka and His Buddhist Opponents, Harvard University Press, Cambridge-London.

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