Examination for Conditions

June 16, 2009

posted by Meredith Kooi

From Nāgārjuna’s Mūlamadhyamakakārikā

Chapter I
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 essenceless?

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?

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