The Madhyānta-vibhāga-kārikā consists of verses (kārikā) which delineate the distinctions (vibhāga) and relationship between the middle (madhya) view. This edition of the Madhyanta-vibhaga-sastra contains the Karika-s of Maitreya, Bhasya of Vasubandhu and Tika of Sthirmati brought out together for the first. Madhyānta-vibhāga-śāstra: containing the Kārikā-s of Maitreya, Bhāṣya of Vasubandhu and Ṭīkā by Sthiramati. by Ram Chandra Pandeya;. Print book.

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Pages Come to think of it Monday, August 9, Reading Vasubandhu: As usual, don’t believe a word of what I’m saying and check it out for yourself instead, if you’re really interested. It’s teaching me a whole new way to read.

Normally, I wolf down books; it’s not uncommon for me to finish a page volume in one or two sittings. With this Commentary, that just doesn’t fly.

It’s like every sentence is a little puzzle-box that starts out looking completely nonsensical, but when you pick madhyana it a bit, it eventually unfolds and reveals a thought, clear as a little dewdrop.

Some of those thoughts evoke an “Okay, I get it;” others are more like “Hey, that’s pretty neat,” and yet others are “Whoa, dude, that’s deep. Speaking of That whereof one cannot speak The Separation of the Middle from the Extremes is an interesting text to start with.

However, when I tried to find out who that guy is, I ran straight into mythology. Yet madhyqnta speak of him as Maitreya, the Future Buddha that dwells in Tushita Heaven madhyantx for the day when the Buddhadharma has been lost so he can be born on Earth to restore it.

Make up your own mind; the text, in any case, is interesting.

Madhyanta-vibhaga-karika – WikiVisually

The Commentary is also on the long side, as these things go. It’s divided into five parts, each of which builds upon the previous. There’s no way I can do the text justice in any case, but I would totally butcher it if I tried to vubhaga it in one post, so I’m going to take it one section at a time. Today’s topic is Part I. He does it well, too, by using language in a whole new way, and one that’s plumb near impossible to re-tell. It’s those puzzle-boxes that unfold when you pick at them, and create little “a-ha!


Each of those little dewdrops inside relates to the next one, which usually creates a paradox or a flat-out contradiction. The upshot is that once you add all those little thoughts together and try to summarize them, the whole text boils down to almost nothing. Or, perhaps, something like this: Any statement you can make about Emptiness is self-contradictory. Not very exciting, you might think. And, as such, it isn’t. The process of getting there, however, is: It’s a very weird feeling, and I think the madhhyanta I’ve gotten thus far to understanding nonduality i.

Unfortunately, there’s absolutely no way I can communicate this strange sequence of states. The construction of that which was not In his previous works, Vasubandhu had already introduced the concepts of the three own-beings of the mind: The constructed own-being is the phenomenal universe in which we live.

You know, the world of “you” and “me” and “the cat” and “America” and “human rights” and “anthropogenic climate change. It is the continuous process of constantly re creating this constructed own-being of the mind. It is the process of discriminating subject-apprehender and object-apprehended, from which the constructed, phenomenal universe arises. This happens simply from perceptions in sense-fields: The appearance of sentient beings is that madhyabta appears because of there being sense-faculties in “one’s own” and “others'” madhyxnta.

Vasubandhu lists a bevy of synonyms for it, including the Ground of all events, Suchness, the signless, the ultimate, and the reality-limit.

I could add “that whereof you cannot speak,” “God,” “Mu,” “Omega,” “Nothing,” “Everything,” “One Bright Pearl,” or any of a mass of similar symbols we have created to signify the unsignifiable.


The crucial point Vasubandhu makes about Emptiness is that while it is indeed transcendent, it is also present. It is not something that’s “out there,” it is here, in everything, including the everyday mind we use all the time without even vibaga it.


Puzzle-boxes, I tell you. Hey, I’ll nadhyanta Vasubandhu speak for himself: There is a further division: Transcending the mind with vibnaga mind The funkiest mind-trick Vasubandhu pulls in the Commentary is describing how the discriminating mind can transcend itself—how it can apprehend the fulfilled own-being of the mind. The first key, he says, is the idea of perception-only—that the phenomenal world we live in has no independent existence; that it is a “construction of that which was not.

This is pretty wild—if I’m parsing him correctly, he’s describing a state where objects are and are not simultaneously; a kind of quantum superposition of states of the mind. It’s yet another tantalizing glimpse of something that’s clearly mxdhyanta, if I can only break through to it.

He goes on about it a quite a bit, drilling that what we call “afflictions” and “antidotes” are all empty as well—useful concepts, but ultimately provisional, rafts to be discarded once across whichever river we’re crossing on them. Part II of the Commentary deals with obstructions—all the stuff preventing us from breaking through those barriers vibhagaa apprehending Suchness. That, we will get to in the next installment of this series. Posted by Petteri Sulonen at Newer Post Older Post Home.

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