Metaphysics

11

Nāgārjuna

Examination of Conditions

  1. Neither from itself nor from another,
    Nor from both,
    Nor without a cause,
    Does anything whatever, anywhere arise.
  2. There are four conditions: efficient condition;
    Percept-object condition; immediate condition;
    Dominant condition, just so. |
    There is no fifth condition.
  3. The essence of entities
    Is not present in the conditions, etc. … .
    If there is no essence,
    There can be no otherness-essence.
  4. Power to act does not have conditions.
    There is no power to act without conditions.
    There are no conditions without power to act.
    Nor do any have the power to act.
  5. These give rise to those,
    So these are called conditions.
    As long as those do not come from these,
    Why are these not non-conditions?
  6. For neither an existent nor a non-existent thing
    Is a condition appropriate.
    If a thing is non-existent, how could it have a condition?
    If a thing is already existent, what would a condition do?
  7. When neither existents nor
    Non-existents nor existent non-existents are established,
    How could one propose a “productive cause?’*
    If there were one, it would be pointless.
  8. An existent entity (mental episode)
    Has no object.
    Since a mental episode is without an object,
    How could there be any percept-condition?
  9. Since things are not arisen,
    Cessation is not acceptable.
    Therefore, an immediate condition is not reasonable.
    If something has ceased, how could it be a condition?
  10. If things did not exist
    Without essence,
    The phrase, “When this exists so this will be,”
    Would not be acceptable.
  11. In the several or united conditions
    The effect cannot be found.
    How could something not in the conditions
    Come from the conditions?
  12. However, if a nonexistent effect
    Arises from these conditions,
    Why does it not arise
    From non-conditions?
  13. If the effect’s essence is the conditions,
    But the conditions don’t have their own essence,
    How could an effect whose essence is the conditions
    Come from something that is essence-less?
  14. Therefore, neither with conditions as their essence,
    Nor with non-conditions as their essence are there any effects.
    If there are no such effects,
    How could conditions or non-conditions be evident?

Examination of Motion

  1. What has been moved is not moving.
    What has not been moved is not moving.
    Apart from what has been moved and what has not been moved,
    Movement cannot be conceived.
  2. Where there is change, there is motion.
    Since there is change in the moving,
    And not in the moved or not-moved,
    Motion is in that which is moving.
  3. How would it be acceptable
    For motion to be in the mover?
    When it is not moving, it is not acceptable
    To call it a mover.
  4. For whomever there is motion in the mover,
    There could be non-motion
    Evident in the mover.
    But having motion follows from being a mover.
  5. If motion is in the mover,
    There would have to be a twofold motion:
    One in virtue of which it is a mover,
    And one in virtue of which it moves.
  6. If there were a twofold motion,
    The subject of that motion would be twofold.
    For without a subject of motion,
    There cannot be motion.
  7. If without a mover
    It would not be correct to say that there is motion,
    Then if there were no motion,
    How could there be a mover?
  8. Inasmuch as a real mover does not move,
    And a non-mover does not move,
    Apart from a mover and a non-mover,
    What third thing could move?
  9. When without motion,
    It is unacceptable to call something a mover,
    How will it be acceptable
    To say that a mover moves?
  10. For him from whose perspective a mover moves,
    There would be the consequence that
    Without motion there could be a mover.
    Because a mover moves.
  11. If a mover were to move,
    There would be a twofold motion:
    One in virtue of which he is a mover,
    And one in virtue of which the mover moves.
  12. Motion does not begin in what has moved,
    Nor does it begin in what has not moved,
    Nor does it begin in what is moving.
    In what, then, does motion begin?
  13. Prior to the beginning of motion,
    There is no beginning of motion in
    The going or in the gone.
    How could there be motion in the not-gone?
  14. Since the beginning of motion
    Cannot be conceived in any way,
    What gone thing, what going thing,
    And what non-going thing can be posited?
  15. Just as a moving thing is not stationary,
    A non-moving thing is not stationary.
    Apart from the moving and the non-moving,
    What third thing is stationary?
  16. If without motion
    It is not appropriate to posit a mover,
    How could it be appropriate to say
    That a moving thing is stationary?
  17. One does not halt from moving,
    Nor from having moved or not having moved.
    Motion and coming to rest
    And starting to move are similar.
  18. That motion just is the mover itself
    Is not correct.
    Nor is it correct that
    They are completely different.
  19. It would follow from
    The identity of mover and motion
    That agent and action
    Are identical.
  20. It would follow from
    A real distinction between motion and mover
    That there could be a mover without motion
    And motion without a mover.
  21. When neither in identity
    Nor in difference
    Can they be established,
    How can these two be established at all?
  22. The motion by means of which a mover is manifest
    Cannot be the motion by means of which he moves.
    He does not exist before that motion.
    So what and where is the thing that moves?
  23. A mover does not carry out a different motion
    From that by means of which he is manifest as a mover.
    Moreover, in one mover
    A twofold motion is unacceptable.
  24. A really existent mover
    Doesn’t move in any of the three ways.
    A non-existent mover
    Doesn’t move in any of the three ways.
  25. Neither an entity nor a non-entity
    Moves in any of the three ways.
    So motion, mover and
    And route are non-existent.

Examination of Elements

  1. Prior to a characteristic of space
    There is not the slightest space.
    If it arose prior to the characteristic
    Then it would, absurdly, arise without a characteristic.
  2. A thing without a characteristic
    Has never existed.
    If nothing lacks a characteristic,
    Where do characteristics come to be?
  3. Neither in the uncharacterized nor in the characterized
    Does a characteristic arise.
    Nor does it arise
    In something different from these two.
  4. If characteristics do not appear,
    Then it is not tenable to posit the characterized object.
    If the characterized object is not posited,
    There will be no characteristic either.
  5. From this it follows that there is no characterized
    And no existing characteristic.
    Nor is there any entity
    Other than the characterized and the characteristic.
  6. If there is no existent thing.
    Of what will there be nonexistence?
    Apart from existent and nonexistent things
    Who knows existence and nonexistence?
  7. Therefore, space is not an entity.
    It is not a nonentity.
    Not characterized, not without character.
    The same is true of the other five elements.
  8. Fools and reificationists who perceive
    The existence and nonexistence
    Of objects
    Do not see the pacification of objectification.

Citation and Use

The text was taken from the following work.

Jay L Garfield, “Nagarjuna’s Fundamental Verses of the Middle Way,” in Buddhist Philosophy: Essential Readings, ed. William Edelglass and Jay Garfield (Oxford University Press, USA, 2009), 26–34.

The use of this work is governed by the Fair Use Doctrine.

License

Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

Sapientia by Nāgārjuna is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.