Nagarjuna's Vibhasa

Discuss and learn about the traditional Mahayana scriptures, without assuming that any one school ‘owns’ the only correct interpretation.
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Nicholas Weeks
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Nagarjuna's Vibhasa

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Tue Apr 22, 2014 1:37 am

Nagarjuna bodhisattva only commented on one or two of the 10 Bodhisattva Grounds in this Ten Grounds Sutra (ch. 26).

Not that most cultivators could make use of any written teachings beyond ground one, but I wonder. Since I recall N. was only :smile: a First Ground bodhisattva, maybe that is why??
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Re: Nagarjuna's Vibhasa

Post by cdpatton » Wed Apr 23, 2014 5:52 pm

Some mundane possibilities occur to me:

1. The text was intended to be an introduction to a Mahayana student. No need to go on.
2. The text was once larger, but only the beginning survived by the time Kumarajiva brought it to China. (Texts got lost back then too.)
3. The text was intended to be larger, but was never completed.
(4. I was talking beyond my knowledge of the text, so I deleted this one. Oops!)

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Re: Nagarjuna's Vibhasa

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Wed Apr 23, 2014 8:27 pm

Have not read the entire text Charlie, maybe there is a clue within.

Anyway, here a bit from an early draft by Bhikshu Dharmamitra:
The bodhisattva possesses eight dharmas through which he is able to accumulate all forms of meritorious qualities:

The first is the great compassion.
The second is the solid mind.
The third is wisdom.
The fourth is skillful means.
The fifth is non-negligence.
The sixth is diligently applied vigor.
The seventh is the constant focusing of the mind.
The eighth is the good spiritual guide.

Knowing this, one who has only initially generated the [bodhi] resolve therefore swiftly takes up these eight dharmas, doing so with the same urgency as felt by one whose turban has caught on fire.
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Re: Nagarjuna's Vibhasa

Post by Leo Rivers » Thu Apr 24, 2014 5:05 am

Anyway, here a bit from an early draft by Bhikshu Dharmamitra:

Maybe I'll live to see this? :woohoo:

By the way, the Ten Grouds sutra - he's doing 2 1/2 versions, right? (I think there will be one of those 2 versions both on BDK and that version also on his lable with full notes and table-settings. :coffee:

Whatver you get pass along please. Such bits are like trailers for NEXT summer's Blockbuster. A little Gossip is good too, a minor mischief to give one something to apply the 4 powers to. I'm just so amazed and glad he's well and working. :applause:

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Re: Nagarjuna's Vibhasa

Post by cdpatton » Thu Apr 24, 2014 6:29 pm

Leo Rivers wrote:
Anyway, here a bit from an early draft by Bhikshu Dharmamitra:

Maybe I'll live to see this? :woohoo:

By the way, the Ten Grouds sutra - he's doing 2 1/2 versions, right? (I think there will be one of those 2 versions both on BDK and that version also on his lable with full notes and table-settings. :coffee:

Whatver you get pass along please. Such bits are like trailers for NEXT summer's Blockbuster. A little Gossip is good too, a minor mischief to give one something to apply the 4 powers to. I'm just so amazed and glad he's well and working. :applause:
I'll actually start being productive this summer. I solved some issues by going back to school. So I will shortly have a nice long four months to do whatever I want with. I've been plugging away at the Dazhidulun with Bodhiyana still (we're on fascicle 5 now) and I'm going to start translating other things on the side. This summer I'll probably spend putting together a translation of Kumarajiva's Aṣṭasāhasrikā, and re-releasing some of my old translations from the last time I was in college (18 years ago now! Wow!).

Charlie.

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Re: Nagarjuna's Vibhasa

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Thu Apr 24, 2014 8:29 pm

cdpatton wrote:
Leo Rivers wrote:
Anyway, here a bit from an early draft by Bhikshu Dharmamitra:

Maybe I'll live to see this? :woohoo:

By the way, the Ten Grouds sutra - he's doing 2 1/2 versions, right? (I think there will be one of those 2 versions both on BDK and that version also on his lable with full notes and table-settings. :coffee:

Whatver you get pass along please. Such bits are like trailers for NEXT summer's Blockbuster. A little Gossip is good too, a minor mischief to give one something to apply the 4 powers to. I'm just so amazed and glad he's well and working. :applause:
I'll actually start being productive this summer. I solved some issues by going back to school. So I will shortly have a nice long four months to do whatever I want with. I've been plugging away at the Dazhidulun with Bodhiyana still (we're on fascicle 5 now) and I'm going to start translating other things on the side. This summer I'll probably spend putting together a translation of Kumarajiva's Aṣṭasāhasrikā, and re-releasing some of my old translations from the last time I was in college (18 years ago now! Wow!).

Charlie.

Good you are translating Dharma, but it would be nicer to have something that is not in English or French already. Granted Nagarjuna's Upadesha has never been completely done, but much of it has.
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Re: Nagarjuna's Vibhasa

Post by cdpatton » Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:55 pm

Will wrote:
cdpatton wrote: I'll actually start being productive this summer. I solved some issues by going back to school. So I will shortly have a nice long four months to do whatever I want with. I've been plugging away at the Dazhidulun with Bodhiyana still (we're on fascicle 5 now) and I'm going to start translating other things on the side. This summer I'll probably spend putting together a translation of Kumarajiva's Aṣṭasāhasrikā, and re-releasing some of my old translations from the last time I was in college (18 years ago now! Wow!).

Charlie.

Good you are translating Dharma, but it would be nicer to have something that is not in English or French already. Granted Nagarjuna's Upadesha has never been completely done, but much of it has.
These things do take time, despite my own impatience. With the Upadesa work I'm doing, I'm getting to know Kumarajiva very well. I will probably stick to his works and begin working my way through all 48 of them--regardless of whether they've been translated before or not. Each text adds knowledge of the person I'm translating. The Aṣṭasāhasrikā project this summer is mainly a glossary building exercise--comparing Kumarajiva to the Sanskrit--but an English translation will result. Has an English translation of that text been done? All I know of is Conze's translation, which is from the Sanskrit. They are different in some ways--they aren't identical texts.

Charlie.

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Re: Nagarjuna's Vibhasa

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Mon Apr 28, 2014 5:19 am

A tad more from Ven. Dharmamitra's early draft:
As the bodhisattva at the station of the first ground begins to gain the flavor of good dharmas, his mind delights in abundant joyfulness. It is on account of this that it is referred to as “the Ground of Joyfulness” (pramudita).

On the second ground, as one cultivates the path of the ten good karmic deeds, one leaves behind all forms of defilement. It is on account of this that it is referred to as “the Ground of Stainlessness” (vimala).

On the third ground, as one engages in vastly comprehensive learning and speaks Dharma for beings, one provides radiant illumination. It is on account of this that it is referred to as “the Ground of Shining Light” (prabhākara).
May all seek, find and follow the Path of Bodhicitta.

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Re: Nagarjuna's Vibhasa

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Sun Dec 15, 2019 3:33 pm

Now that this vast & wonderful Nagarjuna's Treatise on the Ten Bodhisattva Grounds is out in two versions, from Kalavinka Press, here are some snips from Bhikshu Dharmamitra's Introduction. (The two versions are a tri-lingual version Chi-Skt-Eng in two volumes and a one volume English only.)
As the latest in my series of translations of bodhisattva path texts
important in the history of Classic Indian and Chinese Mahāyana
Buddhism, I present here my English translation of Tripiṭaka
Master Kumārajīva’s rendering from Sanskrit of Nāgārjuna’s Treatise
on the Ten Grounds (Daśabhūmika-vibhāṣā)
. This is a text devoted
to explaining in great detail the aspects of practice involved in
ascending through the ten “grounds,” “planes,” or “levels” of
bodhisattva path cultivation that are described in the Ten Grounds
Sutra (Daśabhūmika-sūtra)
and in the nearly identical “Ten Grounds”
chapter of the Flower Adornment Sutra (Avataṃsaka-sūtra). (In order
to encourage and facilitate deeper study of this topic, I have translated
both of these closely related texts which are available under
separate cover from Kalavinka Press.)
May all seek, find and follow the Path of Bodhicitta.

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Re: Nagarjuna's Vibhasa

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Sun Dec 15, 2019 3:36 pm

Although Dharmarakṣa was the first one to translate this text
into Chinese, his 265 ce translation of this treatise has been lost. The
edition of Nāgārjuna’s Treatise on the Ten Grounds that I have translated
here is the only one that exists in any language, namely the
17-fascicle Shizu piposha lun (十住毘婆沙論) or Daśabhūmika-vibhāṣā
that is preserved in the Taisho edition of the Buddhist canon
(T no. 1521). It was translated from Sanskrit into English by Tripiṭaka
Master Kumārājīva as dictated to him from memory by Tripiṭaka
Master Buddhayaśas sometime between the latter’s arrival in
Chang’an in 408 and his return to Kashmir four years later.
Although, having studied it closely, I find this 35-chapter treatise
to be beautifully and awesomely complete in itself as a close
description of the principles and practices necessary for entering
and mastering the first two of the ten bodhisattva grounds, it is
probable that this text as translated by Kumārajīva was originally
part of a much larger work. Fortunately, the edition that we have is,
in and of itself, a wonderfully thorough training manual for moving
from the life of a common unenlightened person to that of an
irreversible bodhisattva well along on the path to buddhahood.
May all seek, find and follow the Path of Bodhicitta.

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Re: Nagarjuna's Vibhasa

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Mon Dec 16, 2019 5:44 pm

This text consists of 35 chapters in 17 fascicles that
describe in great detail the principles and practices involved in
entering the bodhisattva path and in perfecting in correct sequence
the practices of the first and second grounds, “The Ground of
Joyfulness,” and “The Ground of Stainlessness.”
Chapter 1, “The Introduction,” discusses the author’s motivations
and aims in composing this treatise. Chapter 2 through 27
explain the first ground’s practices. Chapter 28 through 35 explain
the second ground’s practices.
Chapter 2, “Entering the First Ground” through Chapter 17,
“On Entering the Temple,” focus on the practice methods of the lay
bodhisattva. Chapter 18, “The Jointly Shared Practices,” through
Chapter 27, “Summarizing the Practice [of the First Ground],”
focus more on the bodhisattva practices that are common to both
the lay bodhisattva and the monastic bodhisattva. Chapter 28,
“Distinctions in Courses of Karmic Action on the Second Ground,”
through Chapter 35,” focus somewhat more strongly on the practices
of the monastic bodhisattva or very advanced lay practitioner.
May all seek, find and follow the Path of Bodhicitta.

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Re: Nagarjuna's Vibhasa

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Thu Dec 19, 2019 8:04 pm

This vital Mahayana teaching by Bodhisattva Nagarjuna deserves study, so I hope everyone will get a copy.

I will start posting little snips from the 650pp of the English only volume. Here is how it begins:
I. Chapter One: The Introduction
A. Verses Declaring the Three Refuges and the Treatise’s Intent

I bow down in reverence to all buddhas,
to their unsurpassable great path,
to those in the bodhisattva sangha
who, equipped with solid resolve, abide on the ten grounds,
to the śrāvaka disciples, to the pratyekabuddhas,
and to those free of a self and anything belonging to a self.
I shall now explain the meaning of the ten grounds,
doing so in accordance with the utterances of the Buddha.
May all seek, find and follow the Path of Bodhicitta.

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Re: Nagarjuna's Vibhasa

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Thu Dec 19, 2019 8:10 pm

Here is an example of Bhikshu Dharmamitra's detailed outline of contents for just the first 10 pages - great help to have.
I. Chapter One: The Introduction 43
A. Verses Declaring the Three Refuges and the Treatise’s Intent 43
1. Q: Why Explain the Ten Grounds? 43
2. A: The Plight of Beings and the Availability of Saviors 43
3. Q: Can Non-Bodhisattvas Also Transcend Saṃsāra? 44
4. A: Yes, But the Great Vehicle Requires the Ten Grounds 44
5. Q: How Long for Two Vehicles to Achieve Transcendence? 44
6. A: Two Vehicles are Rapid; Bodhisattvas Require Many Lives 44
7. Q: Is There Any Difference in the Quality of Liberation? 45
8. A: Nirvāṇa Does Not Differ; Levels of Awakening Are Very Different 45
9. Q: If Nirvāṇa Is Identical, Why Not Quickly Depart? 45
10. A: This is a Weak and Inferior Statement Devoid of Compassion 45
a. Without Bodhisattvas, How Could The Two Vehicles Exist? 45
b. This Would Put an End to the Three Vehicles and the Three Jewels 46
1) The Four Types of People 46
2) The Immense Superiority of One Who Perfects the Ten Grounds 47
11. Q: I Am Convinced, So Please Continue To Explain the Verses 47
B. Nāgārjuna Continues Explaining His Introductory Verses: 47
1. Q: Is Generating the Resolve Sufficient To Become a Bodhisattva? 48
2. A: Of Course Not, But Perhaps Yes. 48
3. Q: Why only praise the Bodhisattva’s Solid Resolve? 49
4. A: It Is Essential For Success and Those Without It Would Turn Back 49
a. Why, Absent Solid Resolve, One Abandons the Bodhisattva Path 49
1) Fear of Continued Existence in Saṃsāra 49
2) Fear of the Hells 49
3) Fear of Rebirth in the Animal Realm 51
4) Fear of Rebirth in the Hungry Ghost Realm 52
5) Fear of Rebirth in the Human Realm 52
6) Fear of Rebirth in the Deva or Asura Realms 53
b. The Contrasting Response of One with Solid Resolve 53
1) The Bodhisattva’s Vow 53
2) The Bodhisattvas Compassion, Vigor, and Success 53
3) Eight Bodhisattva Dharmas 53
May all seek, find and follow the Path of Bodhicitta.

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Re: Nagarjuna's Vibhasa

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Thu Dec 19, 2019 9:18 pm

From page 46:
People of the world are so deserving of pity:
They always turn away from what otherwise benefits them,
and, even as they single-mindedly seek wealth and happiness,
they fall on down into the net of false views.

Always haunted by the fear of death,
they flow along, turning about in the six rebirth destinies.
It is those greatly compassionate bodhisattvas
who, by their ability to rescue them, are rare.

Beings, when confronted by the arrival of death,
have no one able to rescue or protect them
from their immersion in deep darkness
wherein they are entangled in the net of afflictions.

If there are those able to bring forth and implement
the greatly compassionate resolve,
because they shoulder the burden of beings’ welfare,
they undertake a heavy responsibility to act on their behalf.

In a case where someone brings forth the resolute determination
to undergo alone all manner of suffering through their diligence
only to then take the fruits of peace and security gained
and share them as a gift to be bestowed on everyone—

These are the most supreme sorts of persons
that are praised by all buddhas.
They are also those who, rare indeed,
are great treasuries of meritorious qualities.
May all seek, find and follow the Path of Bodhicitta.

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Re: Nagarjuna's Vibhasa

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Fri Dec 20, 2019 5:14 pm

1) The Bodhisattva’s Vow
When a person with a solid resolve observes all the sufferings and
afflictions endured by those in the hells, among animals, and among
the hungry ghosts, devas, humans, and asuras, he brings forth the
mind of great compassion and has no fear. He makes this vow, saying,
“All of these beings have deeply entered into such a deteriorated and
afflicted state. They have no one to rescue or protect them and have
no place of refuge. If I myself am to realize nirvāṇa, I must also bring
about the liberation of beings such as these.”

2) The Bodhisattvas Compassion, Vigor, and Success
Relying on the mind of great compassion, he is assiduous in his practice
of vigor and, before long, achieves what he has vowed to do. It is
for this reason that I state that, among all the meritorious qualities of a
bodhisattva, solid resolve is foremost.

3) Eight Bodhisattva Dharmas
Additionally, the bodhisattva possesses eight dharmas through which
he is able to accumulate all meritorious qualities:
The first is the great compassion;
The second is the solid resolve;
The third is wisdom;
The fourth is skillful means;
The fifth is non-negligence;
The sixth is diligently applied vigor;
The seventh is constantly focused mindfulness;
And the eighth is the good spiritual guide.
Page 53; the italic lines are from Bhikshu Dharmamitra's extensive outline.
May all seek, find and follow the Path of Bodhicitta.

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Re: Nagarjuna's Vibhasa

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Fri Dec 20, 2019 5:19 pm

As for the “good person,” generally speaking, there are ten dharmas
that qualify one as such. What are the ten? They are:
First, faith;
Second, vigor;
Third, mindfulness;
Fourth, concentration;
Fifth, good physical actions;
Sixth, good verbal actions;
Seventh, good mental actions;
Eighth, an absence of greed;
Ninth, an absence of hatred;
And tenth, an absence of delusion.
Page 57.
May all seek, find and follow the Path of Bodhicitta.

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Re: Nagarjuna's Vibhasa

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Fri Dec 20, 2019 5:27 pm

The dharma of the ten grounds contained herein
has been, is now, and shall continue to be explained
by the buddhas of the past, the future, and the present
for the sake of all buddhas’ sons...

As the bodhisattva on the first ground begins to gain the flavor of
good dharmas, his mind abounds in joyfulness. It is for this reason
that it is referred to as “the Ground of Joyfulness” (pramudita).
On the second ground, as one cultivates the path of the ten good
karmic deeds, one leaves behind all stains. It is for this reason that it is
referred to as “the Ground of Stainlessness” (vimala).
On the third ground, as one engages in vastly comprehensive
learning and speaks Dharma for beings, one becomes able to provide
radiant illumination. It is for this reason that it is referred to as “the
Ground of Shining Light” (prabhākara).
On the fourth ground, one’s giving, moral virtue, and extensive
learning so increase that one’s awe-inspiring qualities blaze forth
abundantly. It is for this reason that it is referred to as “the Ground of
Blazing Brilliance” (arciṣmati).
On the fifth ground, the power of one’s meritorious qualities
becomes so completely full that none of the māras are able to bring
about one’s ruin. It is for this reason that it is referred to as “the
Difficult-to-Conquer Ground” (sudurjaya).
Pages 61 & 62.
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Re: Nagarjuna's Vibhasa

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Fri Dec 20, 2019 5:31 pm

On the sixth ground, the issue of obstruction by māras has come to
an end and all path dharmas of the bodhisattva manifest directly
before him. It is for this reason that it is referred to as “the Ground of
Direct Presence” (abhimukha).
On the seventh ground, one has gone far beyond the three realms
and has gained close proximity to the station in which one becomes
a Dharma king. It is for this reason that it is referred to as “the Far-
Reaching Ground” (dūraṃgama).
On the eighth ground, one’s vows cannot be moved even by devas,
by Māra, by Brahmā, by any śramaṇa, or by any brahmin. It is for this
reason that it is referred to as “the Ground of Immovability” (acala).
On the ninth ground, one’s wisdom becomes ever more radiant,
supple, and superior. It is for this reason that it is referred to as “the
Ground of Excellent Intelligence” (sādhumati).
On the tenth ground, the bodhisattva becomes able to simultaneously
rain down the Dharma rain in countless worlds throughout the
ten directions just as when, after the kalpa-ending blaze, there
falls a great universally drenching rain. It is for this reason that it is
referred to as “the Dharma Cloud Ground” (dharmamegha).
Page 62.
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Re: Nagarjuna's Vibhasa

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Sat Dec 21, 2019 1:00 am

Question: Now that we have heard the names of the ten grounds, how
does one enter the first ground, gain the characteristic features of that
ground, and carry forth cultivation of that ground?

Five Stanzas on First Ground Cultivation

Response:
Having densely planted one’s roots of goodness,
having thoroughly practiced the practices,
having well accumulated all the provisions,
having thoroughly made offerings to all buddhas,

having become protected by the good spiritual friend,
having completely developed the resolute intentions,
having become compassionately mindful of beings,
and having resolute faith in the unsurpassable Dharma—

Once one has become completely equipped with these eight dharmas,
at one’s own behest, one should bring forth the vow, saying,
“After I have achieved my own liberation,
I shall return and liberate other beings.”

For the sake of gaining the ten powers,
one enters the congregation of those at the stage of certainty.
Then one is born into the family of the Tathāgatas
that is free of any transgressions or faults.

One immediately turns away from the worldly path
and enters the supreme path that goes beyond the world.
It is because of this that one gains the first ground.
This ground is referred to as “the Ground of Joyfulness.”
Page 63 - for the next 15 or so pages N. comments on these verses. Then much later, in Chapter 26, at page 456, these verses are quoted again. Thus they are central to cultivating the First Ground.
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Re: Nagarjuna's Vibhasa

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Sun Dec 22, 2019 10:18 pm

Also, the fundamental practice of the good dharmas—these must
certainly have been cultivated. These also constitute “provisions.” Specifically, these include:

Giving;
Patience;
A straightforward character;
A mind that refrains from flattery;
Dwelling harmoniously with others;
Happiness free of resentment;
Being, by nature, utterly committed [to the practice];
Not concealing one’s faults;
Not cherishing one-sided attachments;
Not being perversely cruel;
Not being contentious;
Not being presumptuous;
Not being negligent;
Doing away with arrogance;
Remaining free of affectation;
Not praising oneself;
Being able to endure things as they are;
Possessing a decisive mind;
Being able to courageously accept whatever comes;
Not abandoning or changing teachers;
Finding satisfaction with but few desires;
And being fond of solitude.
Page 65-66.
May all seek, find and follow the Path of Bodhicitta.

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