RECOGNITION OF THE MOTHER
A Philosophical Song, by Lean skya Rol Pai Rdo Rje, translated from Tibetan with commentary by Dkon Mchog 'Jigs Med Dban Po. translated into English by Paul Nietupski and Upasaka Robert Thurman.
continued from issue #60
II. Detailed Elucidation
i. The Great Middle Way, adorned by the union of appearance and voidness.
A. Mundane and Transcendent Both Depend on Voidness.
a. Phenomena Are Changes of Voidness.10
THIS HODGE PODGE OF SUBJECTS AND OBJECTS
IS JUST THE SMILING FACE OF THE MOTHER!
THESE BIRTHS, DEATH-MIGRATIONS,11 AND
CHANGES ARE JUST THAT MOTHER'S LIES!
THE DECEPTIONLESS MOTHER HAS DECEIVED ME!
YET THERE IS STILL HOPE FOR REFUGE
IN MY ELDER BROTHER, RELATIVITY!
Take the case of knowable (i.e., existent) things; all are the changes of voidness, because this "variety" of relativity, which consists of internal "subjects" and external "objects" is the "smiling face of the mother" voidness, and because this variety of things influenced by actions and afflictions such as "births," "death-migrations," and the changes of pleasure and pain appear as the "mother's lies." This indicates that birth and death etc., are false, just as in common parlance, a false statement is called a "lie."
Thus, although this voidness with respect to intrinsic reality, which is the "mother" who is "deceptionless," since her mode of appearance and her mode of existence correspond, is explained in the Madhyamika treatises as free of deceptions, (the author still) thought he had been deceived, because of the actions and afflictions causing samsaric bondage, as if by an apparition. Such deception applies (only) to common individuals, and not to holy persons,12 because these latter have a direct understanding of voidness, and do not accumulate the action that creates samsaric existence. Therefore, depending on the older brother relativity, who is (here) the correct way of abandoning evil actions and undertaking good actions, there is "hope for refuge" from the terrors of samsara and this insightful statement bears profound reflection.13
The (main) point to be understood here, that all things are the changes of voidness, may be illustrated by the example of a "pot"; if we are not satisfied with its being a mere name, symbol, or conventional expression, we seek the referent of the designation. And, when we analyze it, we can find nothing more than a voidness with respect to an intrinsic reality. And thus, by reason that it is not objectively established, we accept it merely conventionally, as a manifestation of relativity, having its function (and qualities), such as holding water and having a round belly. As (Candrakirti) states in the Madhyamakavatara ;14 "Thus all things, though void, are produced from (other) voidnesses;" and in his Pradipoddyotana;15
Therefore, when we determine that all isolable things have that pure nature which is voidness with respect to intrinsic indentifiability, we (simultaneously) ascertain that this very same intrinsic unreality is manifest as those things (themselves) which we have considered; and this means that all things are the changes of voidness.
b. The Transcendent Depends (also) on Voidness. 16
i. Liberation from Samsara Depends on Voidness.
THERE IS HOPE FOR LIBERATION IN ONLY ONE WAY--
BY THE KINDNESS OF THE OLD MOTHER ALONE.
IF THIS SUBJECT-OBJECT SITUATION WERE REALLY JUST THAT
EVEN BUDDHAS OF THREE TIMES17 COULD FIND NO WAY TO SAVE (US).
This means that, "in only one way," "by the kindness of the old mother" who is voidness with respect to intrinsic reality "alone," is there any hope for deliverance from the samsara. Fro, if these things which consist of "subjects" and "objects" were (really) established, as they appear (to be) to us, they would necessarily be established objectively, they would necessarily be established without any dependence on anything (else). And since it would then be impossible to terminate faults or to increase virtues, the attainment of the exaltation of liberation and omniscience would be impossible. This is stated in the Wisdom-Root;18 "Where voidness is appropriate, there all is appropriate. Where voidness is inappropriate, nothing is appropriate."
ii. The Reason For Liberation
LIBERATION IS POSSIBLE, BECAUSE THESE VARIOUS CHANGES ARE THE CHANGES OF THE CHANGELESS MOTHER!
This means that, while it is true that liberation from samsara would be impossible if this very subject-object situation were established by an intrinsic reality in the way it appears (to be) to us, nevertheless, "these various changes," with respect to an intrinsic reality, which is the "mother," who is ever "changeless." Therefore, this variety is not objectively established, and therefore, depending on that wisdom which directly realizes that intrinsic reality lessness, ignorance, the root of the samsara, is cut off and there is liberation from the samsara.
B. Description of the Union of Appearance and Voidness
a. Actual Import.
THE MUTUAL INTERDEPENDENCE
OF THE INEXPRESSIBLE MOTHER, WHEREIN, NOTHING EXISTS,
AND OF (CONVENTIONAL RELATIVITY), WHEREIN EVERYTHING IS MANIFEST--
THIS IS JUST EXACTLY WHAT I MUST UNDERSTAND!
THE NOT FINDING OF ANYTHING,
WHEN I SOUGHT MY OLD FATHER,19
JUST THAT IS THE ACTUAL FINDING
OF MY OLD MOTHER!
AND THEN FROM MY MOTHER'S LAP
I FOUND MY OLD FATHER--
I, THE CHILD OF SUCH KIND PARENTS,
CRIED OUT FOR REFUGE.
This means that there is a great and beneficial import in the very fact of the mutually interdependent establishment of voidness with respect to intrinsic reality, the "inexpressible mother, wherein nothing" ultimately "exists," and of relativity, "wherein everything, "the entire variety of conventional relativity "is manifest" or arises.
This import to realize is called "voidness arising as relativity," and "relativity, arising as voidness." The cognition that realizes that internal and external relativities are free of intrinsic realities ascertains, without need of a further cognition, the viability of all systems such as causality and communication in (a world consisting of) mere verbal designations. (This is) the meaning of "voidness arising as relativity." (Again), the cognition that ascertains relativity as dependent designation in all internal and external things, not needing a further cognition, is able to generate the intense conviction of voidness by intrinsic reality. This is the meaning of arisal of relativity as voidness.
Such arisal occurs beyond the stage of wavering from the precise identification of the authentic view, and not elsewhere. (Furthermore) such arisal of voidness as meaning of relativity is called the "perfection of the analysis of the (authentic) view As the Precious Master (Tson Khapa) expressed it;20 "Whenever (the two cognitions) are not separated, but are united, when the mere seeing in inexorable relativity (is) a sure conviction that destroys the habit-patterns (that presuppose real) objects'-then the analysis of the (authentic) view is indeed accomplished."
As Mkhas Grub Nor Bzan Rgya Mtsho expressed it;"21 "When the analysis of the authentic view is perfectly accomplished, the mere arisal of the appropriate objects in mental or sensory consciousness brings forth a conviction sure of those objects' voidnesses, without needing any further reason or proof. For example, a person whose visual sense is distorted derives certainty that two moons do not exist from the actual appearance of two moons in his vision - on the strength of his prior knowledge of no two moons. Thus, when certainty in voidness is generated, and one thinks about the mode of being of all conventional things such as causality, one leaves them as designatively existent, pure nominalities." Finally, as our best Leader, the Great Seventh Dalai Lama expressed it in his Philosophical Song;22 (1) see this wonder arising everywhere aimlessly in rainbows of clusters of myriad causal arid conditional relativities, though there is no self-sufficient truth--status in the sky of the clear void; and I see this magic of the viability of all functions in the purely nominal designative existence with its many causal and conditional parts, though upon analysis there is absolutely nothing which can be identified as "this." Thus it is imperative to find certainty in this technique of placing voidness and relativity as method and result upon a single basis, by relying upon the eloquent elucidations such as the above. For those who say that a casual encounter with the authentic view is tantamount to an accomplishment of the analysis of that authentic view appear as merely exhibiting their stubbornness coming from not understanding this essential teaching.
(To return to the verses), the "old father" should be taken as the 'natured' thing rendered void by a voidness. Thus, when the investigation of the referent of the designation of such (a thing) finds nothing, that very "not finding" is "the finding of the old mother"--i.e. voidness with respect to intrinsic reality. This is the technique of "finding the nature from the 'natured' (thing)." And, the "finding of the old father," the 'natured' thing that is rendered void, from out of the "lap" or realm of "the mother" voidness by intrinsic reality, this is the technique of "finding the 'natured' thing from the nature."23 Thus, depending on the non-mutually exclusive arisal of the old father relativity and the old mother voidness, "I the child" find a "refuge from the extremism of absolutism and nihilism.
b. Identification of the Nature of Voidness
THE FACE OF THE MOTHER, NEITHER SAME NOR DIFFERENT,
SEEMS TO APPEAR IN AN UNGRASPABLE WAY
IN THE MIRROR OF ELDER BROTHER RELATIVITY--
I SO CRAZY, I HAD NOT BEGUN THE ANALYSIS.
This means that the absolute negation, which just rules, out intrinsically real status, which is the "face of the mother" voidness, who is "not the same" as her basis (things rendered void), as they are conceptually dissimilar,24 and is "not different" having the same nature (as her basic de-void things), "appears to exist" by way of "ultimate unidentifiability or "ungraspability" in "the mirror" of the inference based on the reason of "older brother relativity." (Here, the author) bends his pride, saying "I am so crazy" previously "I had not begun" even "the analytic" investigation.
In the next issue read about "How to Look for the Mother Voidness."
10In order to account for the subsequent structural headings in the
text, we had to assume a lacuna at this point in our edition (Indian edition, printed at
Sarnath by Choir je Lama, in 1964) p.l5, 1.3, which we reconstructed from the later headings and subject-matters of the divisions as follows: dan po la gsum/ 'kor 'das kyichos thams cad ston
nid la rag las par bstan pa/snan ston zun 'jug
tu no sprod pa/dbu ma chen poi gzun lung gan yin bstan pao/dan po la gnis/ses bya thams cad ston nid kyi
rnam 'gyur yin pa bstan padan/ frol ba ston nid la rag las par bstan pao/ /dan po