Averting The Arguments

(Vigrahavyavartani by Nargarjuna)

Part 1

The Arguments of the Opponents

If self-existence (svabhava) does not exist anywhere in any existing thing,
Your statement, itself being without self-existence, is not able to discard self-existence.

But if that statement has its own self-existence, then your initial proposition is refuted;
There is a logical inconsistency in this, and you ought to explain the grounds of the difference between the principle of validity in your statement and others.

Should your opinion be that your statement is like "Do not make a sound," this is not possible;
For in this case by a present sound there will be a future prevention of that sound.

If your statement were that: "This is a denial of a denial," that is not true;
Thus your thesis, as to a defining mark (laksanata) - not mine - is in error.

If you deny existing things while being seen by direct perception,
Then that direct perception, by which things are seen, also does not exist.

By denying direct perception inference is denied, as also Scripture and analogy.
As well as the points to be proved by inference and Scripture and those points to be proved by a similar instance (drstanta).

The people who know the modes of the dharmas know there is a good self-existence of good dharmas.
As to the others, the application is the same.

There is a self-existence of liberation in those dharmas mentioned as liberative modes of dharmas.
Likewise, there is that which is non-liberative, etc.

And, if there would be no self-existence of dharmas, then that would be "non-self existence";
In that case the name (nama) would not exist, for certainly there is nothing without substance to which it refers.

If one asserts: That which is self-existent exists, but the self-existence of the dharmas does not exist,
One should give the explanation concerning that of which there is self-existence without dharmas.

As there must be a denial of something that exists, as in in the statement: "There is not a pot in the house,"
That denial of yours which is seen must be a denial of self-existence that exists.

Or if that self-existence does not exist, what do you deny by that statement?
Certainly, the denial of what does not exist is proved without a word!

Just as children erroneously apprehend that there is "non-water" in a mirage,
So you would erroneously apprehend a non-existing thing as deniable.

If this is so, then there is the apprehensions "what is apprehended" and the one who apprehends,
Also the denial, "what is denied" and the one who denies-- six-all together.

However, if the apprehension, "what is apprehended" and the one who apprehends do not exist.
Then is it not true that denial, "what is denied," and the one who denies do not exist?

If denial, "what is denied," ant the one who denies do not exist,
Then all existing things as well as the self-existence of them are proved since you have eliminated their denial.

Because of non-self-existence there is no proof of any grounds of knowledge; whence are your grounds?
There is no proof of a "point" possible for you if it has no grounds.

If the proof of your denial of a self-existent thing is not a result of grounds of knowledge,
Then my affirmation of the existence of a self-existent thing is proved without grounds.

Or if you maintain: "The real existence of grounds is such that it is a non-self-existent thing (asvabhava) this is not justified;
Because no thing whatever in the world exists lacking it own nature (nishvabhava).

When it is mid: The denial precedes "what is denied," this is not justified.
Denial is not justified either later or simultaneously. Therefore self-existence is real.


Part II

Nargarjuna's Reply to the Arguments of the Opponents

If any thesis does not bear on the totality of causes and conditions, or on them separately,
Is not emptiness proved because of the fact that there is no self-existence in existing things (1)?

The "being dependent nature" of existing things: that is called "emptiness."
That which has a nature of "being dependent"--of that there is a non-self-existent nature.

Just as a magically formed phantom could deny a phantom created by its own magic,
Just so would be that negation.

This statement regarding emptiness is not "that which is self-existent"; therefore, there is no refutation of my assertion.
There is no inconsistency and thus the grounds for the difference need not be explained.

Regarding "Do not make a sound"--this example introduced by you is not pertinent,
Since there is a negation of sound by sound. That is not like my denial of self -existence .

For, if there is prevention of that which lacks self-existence by that which lacks self-existence,
Then that which lacks self-existence would cease, and self-existence would be proved.

Or, as a phantom could destroy the erroneous apprehension concerning a phantom woman that:
"There is a woman," just so this is true in our case.

Or else the grounds of proof are that which is to be proved; certainly sound does not exist as real.
For we do not speak without accepting, for practical purposes, the work-a-day world.

If I would make any proposition whatever, then by that I would have a logical error;
But I do not make a proposition; therefore I am not in error.

If there is something, while being seen by means of the objects of direct perceptions, etc.,
It is affirmed or denied. That denial of mine is a non-apprehension of non-things.

And if, for you, there is a source of knowledge of each every object of proof,
Then tell how, in turn, for you there is proof of those sources.

If by other sources of knowledge there would be the proof of a source -- that would be an "infinite regress";
In that case neither a beginning, middle, nor an end is proved.

Or if there is proof of those objects without sources, your argument is refuted.
There is a logical inconsistency in this, and you ought to explain the cause of the difference between the principles of validity in your statement and others.

That reconciliation of difficulty is not realized in the claim: "Fire illumines itself."
Certainly it is not like the non-manifest appearance of a pot in the dark.

And if, according to your statement, fire illumines its own self,
Then is this not like a fire which would illumine its own self and something else?

If, according to your statement, fire would illumine both its "own self" and an "other self,"
Then also darkness, like fire, would darken itself and an "other self."

Darkness does not exist in the glow of a fire; and where the glow remains in an "other individual self,"
How could it produce light? Indeed light is the death of darkness.

If you say: "Fire illumines when it is being produced," this statement is not true;
For, when being produced, fire certainly does not touch (prapnoti) darkness.

Now if that glow can destroy the darkness again and again without touching it,
Then that glow which is located here would destroy the darkness in "every corner" of the world.

If your sources of knowledge are proved by their own strength (svatas), then, for you, the sources are proved without respect to "that which is to be proved";
Then you have a proof of a source, but no sources are proved without relation to something else.

If, according to you, the sources of knowledge are proved without being related to the objects of "that which is to be proved,"
Then these sources will not prove anything.

Or if you say: What error is there in thinking, "The relationship of these sources of knowledge to their objects is already proved"?
The answer is: This would be the proving of what is proved. Indeed "that which is not proved" is not related to something else.

Or if the sources of knowledge in every case are proved in relation to "what is to be proved,"
Then "what is to be proved" is proved without relation to the sources

And if "what is to be proved" is proved without relation to to the sources of knowledge,
What purpose is the proof of the sources for you--since that for the purpose of which those sources exist is already proved!

Or if, for you, the sources of knowledge are proved in relation to "what is to be proved,"
Then, for you, there exists an interchange between the sources and "what is to be proved."

Or if, for you, there are the sources of knowledge being proved when there is proof of "what is to be proved," and if "what is to be proved" exist when
The source is proved, then, for you, the proof of them both does not exist.

If those things which are to be proved are proved by those sources of knowledge, and those things which are proved
By "what is to be proved," how will they prove anything?

And if those sources of knowledge are proved by what is to be proved, and those things which are proved
By the sources, how will they prove anything?

If a son is produced by a father, and if that father is produced by that very son when he is born,
Then tell me, in this case, who produces whom?

You tell me! Which of the two becomes the father, and which the son-
Since they both carry characteristics of "father" and "son"? In that case there is doubt.

The proof of the sources of knowledge is not established by itself, not by each other, or not by other sources;
It does not exist by that which is to be proved and not from noting at all.

If those who know the modes of the dharmas say that there is good self-existence of good dharmas,
That self-existence must be stated in contradistinction to something else.

If a good self-existence were produced in relation to something else,
Then that self-existence of the good dharmas is an "other existence." How then, does self-existence exist?

Or if there is that self-existence of good dharmas, while not being related to something else,
There would be no state of a spiritual way of life.

There would be neither vice nor virtue, and worldly practical activities would not be possible;
Self-existent things would be eternal because that without a cause would be eternal.

Regarding your view of bad, "liberative," and undefined dharmas, there is an error;
Therefore, all composite products (samskrta) exist as non-composite elements (asamskrta).

He who would impute a really existing name to a really existing thing
Could be refuted by you; but we do not assert a name.

And that assertion: "The name is unreal"--would that relate to a real or a non-real thing?
If it were a real thing, or if it were a non-real thing--in both cases your entire proposition is refuted.

The emptiness of all existing things has been demonstrated previously;
Therefore, this attack is against that which is not my thesis.

Or if it is said: "Self-existence exists, but that self-existence of dharmas does not exist"--
That is questionable; but that which was said by me is not questionable.

If the denial concerns something real, then is not emptiness proved?
Then you would deny the non-self-existence of things.

Or if you deny emptiness, and there is no emptiness,
Then is not your assertion: "The denial concerns something real" refuted?

Since anything being denied does not exist, I do not deny anything;
Therefore, the statement: "You deny"--which was made by you--is a false accusation.

Regarding what was said concerning what does not exist: "The statement of denial is proved without a word,"
In that case the statement expresses: "That object does not exist"; the words do not destroy that object.

Regarding the great censure formerly made by you through the instance of the mirage--
Now hear the ascertainment whereby that instance is logically possible.

If that apprehension of the mirage is "something which is self-existent," it would not have originated presupposing other things;
But that apprehension which exists presupposing other things--is that not emptiness?

If that apprehension is "something which is self-existent," with what could the apprehension be negated?
This understanding applies in the remaining five factors:
"what is apprehended,"
the one who apprehends,
the denial,
"what is denied,"
and the one who denies;
therefore that is an invalid censure.

By this argument the absence of a cause for denying self-existence is refuted--on the basis of the similarity with the foregoing:
Namely, that which was already said regarding the exclusion of the instance of the mirage.

That which is the cause for the three times is refuted from what is similar to that given before;
Negation of cause for the three times affirms emptiness.

All things prevail for him for whom emptiness prevails;
Nothing whatever prevails for him for whom emptiness prevails.

(In the Chinese text there are commentaries following the above verses.)

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