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The Stages of Entry into Reality: Selections from “The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, Volume 3,” Part 2 of 2

2021-10-02
Lingua:English

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“Because they do not observe the self, they also do not at all observe the aggregates (impermanent qualities) which belong to the self - the basis on which the self is designated. When a chariot is burned, its parts also are burned and thus are not observed; similarly, when yogis know that the self does not exist, they will know that what belongs to the self, the things that are the aggregates, are also devoid of self. Thus Candrakirti says that when you know that the self lacks intrinsic nature, you also know that the self's aggregates (impermanent qualities) lack self - that is to say, they lack intrinsic nature.”

“[Nagarjuna's Precious Garland (Ratnavali)] says: As long as you conceive of the aggregates (impermanent qualities) You will conceive of them as ‘I.’ Thus he says that if you do not know that the aggregates lack intrinsic nature, you do not know the selflessness of the person.”

“The awareness that knows that the person lacks intrinsic existence does not think, ‘The aggregates (impermanent qualities) do not intrinsically exist.’ However, without relying on anything else, that very awareness can induce certain knowledge that the aggregates lack intrinsic existence, thereby eliminating the reification of intrinsic existence that has been superimposed upon the aggregates. Therefore, Candrakirti says that when you know that the person lacks intrinsic existence, you also know that the aggregates lack intrinsic existence. Also, Buddhapalita's Commentary on the ‘Fundamental Treatise’ says: What the so-called self-possesses is called ‘that which belongs to the self.’ That self does not exist; if it does not exist, how can it be right to speak of what belongs to it?”

“For, Candrakirti maintains that these Buddhist essentialists do not have the view which is the knowledge of the selflessness of the person. This is because he asserts that if you have not known the selflessness of objects, then you have not known the selflessness of the person. Therefore, Candrakirti asserts that they will continue to apprehend the person as substantially existent as long as they do not give up the tenet that the aggregates (impermanent qualities) are substantially existent. Hence essentialists do not know that the person does not ultimately exist.”
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