Tsong Kapa is one of the major writers from Tibetan Buddhism. He is said to have single handedly transformed the Tibetan Buddhist landscape. This long essay is quite difficult to understand, but once on gets used to the terminology it offers a depth of insight into the concepts of Sunyata and the way to attain insight into it.
Benefits of Meditating on Quiescence and Insight
The Buddha stated in the Elucidation of Intention Sutra that all mundane and transcendent excellencies of Individual and Universal Vehicles are the effects of mental quiescence and transcendent insight.
One might object, “Well, aren’t quiescence and insight themselves excellencies of character of one who has already attained the fruits of meditation? In that case, how is it correct for all those ecellencies to be the effects of those two?”
Since actual quiescence and insight, as will be explained, are indeed excellencies of character of one accomplished in the fruits of meditation, it is granted that all excellencies of Individual and Universal Vehicles are not their effects. However, there is no contradiction, since all samadhis beyond one-pointedness toward virtuous objectives are classified under the heading of “insight.” With this in mind, the Lord said that all excellencies of the three vehicles are the effects of quiescence and insight.
He further states in the Elucidation of the Intention Sutra: “If a person practices quiescence and insight, he will become liberated from the bondages of bad conditioning and signification.” Ratnakarashanti explains in the Instruction in Transcendent Wisdom that this means that “bad conditioning” bondages, which are the instincts lying in the mental processes capable of generating ever-increasing distorted subjectivities, and “signification” bondages, which create those instincts in the form of prior and posterior attachment to distorted objects, are abandoned by insight and quiescence, respectively. Now those are the benefits of what are designated as “quiescence” and “insight,” and the meaning is the same even if you do not so designate them, as when you designate them the benefits of “meditation” and “wisdom.” They still are to be known as the benefits of these two, quiescence and insight.
How the Two Contain All Samadhis
The Buddha also stated in the Elucidation that all samadhis of Individual and Universal Vehicles that he ever mentioned are included in quiescence and insight. Therefore, since those eager for samadhi cannot possibly explore all separate categories of samadhis, they should explore thorougly the method of cultivation of quiescence and insight, which provide a general framework for all samadhis.
The Identification of Mental Quiescence
Buddha states in the Elucidation: “One sits alone in isolation, one absorbs oneself within, one impresses in the mind the well-considered teachings, and one goes on impressing this within the mind continuously, the very mind that is doing the impressing. Entering in this way and repeatedly abiding therein, when physical and mental fluency emerge, it is called ‘mental quiescence.’ This means that when the mind no longer vacillates but works continuously, naturally abiding with its chosen object, and when the joyous ease of mental and physical fluency is produced, then that samadhi becomes (actual) mental quiescence. This is produced just from holding the mind within without wavering from its chosen object and does not require any realization of the thatness of things.
The Identification of Transcendent Insight
The Buddha said in the Elucidation, “Then, after attaining the physical and mental fluency, one abandons the mode of keeping the mind focused on one thing, and one individually investigates the well-considered things arising as internal images in the realm of the samadhi; one confronts each one of them. Thus, with regard to those objects of knowledge that arise as images in the objective sphere of samadhi, their discernment, investigation, examination, thorough analysis, tolerance, acceptance, differentiation, viewing, and discrimination; all these are called ‘transcendent insight.’ And in this way, the Bodhisattva becomes expert in transcendent insight.”
According to Ratnakarashanti and Asanga, quiescence and insight are not differentiated according to their chosen objects, since each of them can take either ultimate or relative as their object. There is such a thing as an insight that does not realize voidness. Therefore one is called “quiescent stability” because it is a quieting of the mind’s attraction toward external objects and a stabilizing of the mind on the inner object. And the other is called “transcendent insight” because there is an “intensifying” or “excelling” experience.
Now there are some who assert that quiescence is the lack of the sharp clarity of the intellect through keeping the mind thought-free, and insight is the presence of such sharp clarity. But they are mistaken, since such contradicts all of the above explanations, and since that difference is merely the difference between samadhi afflicted by depression and samadhi without depression. All quiescence samadhis must definitely be cleared of depression, and all samadhis free of depression definitely arrive at sharp clarity of mind. Therefore we must recognize whether or not a samadhi or wisdom is oriented toward voidness by whether or not the intellect involved understands either of the two selflessnesses, since there are innumerable samadhis that have bliss, clarity, and thoughtfulness without having any interest in the objective ultimate reality. It is established by experience that to generate insight it is not enough to hold the mind completely free of thought and not discover the view that understands the real situation. Failure to understand voidness in no way precludes the development of nondiscursive samadhi. By the power of holding the mind thought-free for a long time, one develops fitness of neural energies. This is marked by the arisal of joy and bliss in body and mind; so lack of realization of voidness does not preclude the creation of bliss. Once that has been created, by the power of the vividness of the feeling of bliss, clarity dawns in the mind. Therefore one cannot represent all blissful, clear, and thought-free samadhis as realizing thatness. Thus, while it does happen that nondiscursive bliss and clarity occur in samadhis realizing voidness, it also often happens in samadhis not at all oriented toward voidness. So it is necessary to distinguish the difference between the two.
Reason for the Necessity to Meditate on Both
Why is it not sufficient to meditate on quiescence and insight one by one but rather to meditate upon both together?
For example, if one is in a temple at night and wishes to view the wall paintings and so lights a lamp, one can see the painted deities quite clearly if one has both a bright lamp and it is undisturbed by the wind. If the lamp is not bright, or if its brightness is too agitated by the breeze, one cannot see the deities clearly. Similarly, to view the impact of the profound, one can see thatness clearly if one has both the wisdom that ascertains unerringly the import thatness and also the unwavering concentration that stays focused on its chosen object. Even though you might have the nondiscursive samadhi, which stays put without being distracted elsewhere, if you do not have the wisdom to be aware of the real situation, however much you may cultivate that samadhi, it will be impossible for you to realize the real situation. And, even if you have the view that understands selflessness, if you do not have the stable samadhi where the mind stays put on one point, it will be impossible for you to see clearly the impact of the real situation. Therefore both quiescence and insight are necessary.
Then what is the way in which quiescence must precede insight? Here the generation of insight is in the context of the common individual who has not previously generated meditative realization and must newly do so. In that context, except for the exceptional way, to be explained below, in which a distinctive subjectivity for the realization of voidness meditates on selflessness, in the usual context of the Transcendence Vehicle and the three lower Tantra divisions, analytic meditation is necessary, since without practicing analytic meditation, which cultivates wisdom’s analysis of the import of selflessness, meditating realization will not emerge. Now in that case, one seeks the understanding of selflessness, repeatedly analyzing its meaning, before one has achieved quiescence, and if quiescence has not been achieved already, it is impossible to achieve based on that sort of analytic meditation. Further, while quiescence is achieved by the practice of focusing meditation apart from analysis, there is no method to practice insight apart from the practice of quiescence. Therefore insight must be sought subsequently; and therefore, ultimately, you cannot get around the order that quiescence is first sought and then insight is meditated based on the achieved quiescence.
Of course this order of quiescence and insight is in terms of their initial development. Once attained, there is no fixed order, since sometimes one will first meditate insight and later quiescence.
Tsong Khapa’s Medium-Length
Transcendent Insight (Part II)
Conditions Necessary for Transcendent Insight
(Kamalashila), in his Second Stages of Meditation, states that the three conditions for transcendent insight to be reliance on a holy person, eagerness to hear the teachings, and suitable reflection upon them. More explicitly, the reliance on an expert who knows unerringly the essentials of the Buddha’s Scriptures, the study of the flawless scientific treatises, and the development of the view that realizes thatness by the wisdoms of learning and reflection – these constitute the indispensable preconditions for transcendent insight. If there is no penetrating certainty about the import of actual reality, it is impossible to generate that realization which is the transcendent insight into the nature of reality.
One must seek such a view by relying on teachings of definitive meaning, and not on those of interpretative meaning. And one comes to understand the impact of the definitive discourses by knowing the difference between interpretable and definitive discourses. Further, if one does not rely on the philosophical treatises that elucidate the Buddha’s inner thought, written by one of the great champions who personified living reason itself, one is like a blind person wandering in a dangerous wilderness without any guide. Thus one should rely upon the flawless scientific treatises.
On what sort of person should one rely?
The holy Nagarjuna was renowned through the three realms and was quite clearly predicted by the Lord himself in many Sutras and Tantras as the elucidator of the essence of the teaching, the profound import free of all extremes of being and nothingness. So, one should seek the view that realizes voidness by relying on his treatises. Aryadeva also was taken as equal in authority to the Master by the great centrists such as Masters Buddha-palita, Bhavaviveka, Chandrakirti, and Shantarakshita. Hence, since both Father Nagarjuna and Son Aryadeva were the sources for the other centrists, the old-time scholars called these two the “grandmother treatise centrists” and the others, the “partisan centrists.”
Which one of these masters should one follow to seek the ultimate intention of Nagarjuna and Aryadeva, the Holy Father and Son?
The eminent former mentors in the line of my oral tradition followed the practice of the Lord Masters Atisha in holding the system of Chandrakirti as the supreme one. Master Chandrakirti perceived that, among the commentators on the Wisdom, it was Master Buddhapalita who most completely elucidated the intention of the noble ones. He took the latter’s system as his basis, and, when he worked out his own elucidation of the noble intention, while he used many of the good statements, he refuted points that seemed slightly incorrect in the work of Master Bhavaviveka. Therefore, since I see the explanations of these two masters, Buddhapalita and Chandrakirti, as very much superior in explaining the treatises of the Noble Father and Son, I will follow them here in determining their intention.
The Method of Determining the View: Identification of Addictive Misknowledge
Misknowledge is the basis of all ills and faults since all the Victor’s teachings to counter other addictions such as attachment are only partial remedies and only his teachings against misknowledge is a comprehensive medicine. As Chandrakirti says in the Lucid Exposition: “Buddhas are renowned in this world as regulating the activities of people by their nine modes of teaching such as Sutras, based on the two realities. Therein, teachings dispelling lust will not bring hatred to an end. Teachings dispelling hatred will not bring lust to an end. Teachings dispelling pride and so on will not conquer the other taints. Thus, those teachings are not all-pervasive and do not bear the great import. But teachings dispelling delusion conquer all addictions, for Victors declare that all addictions truly depend on delusion.”
That being so, the meditation on thatness is necessary as the medicine for misknowledge and since one does not know how to cultivate the medicine without identifying misknowledge itself, it is very important to identify misknowledge.
Misknowledge is the opposite of knowledge, and knowledge here should be taken not as whatever type of common knowledge but as the wisdom of the knowledge of the thatness of selflessness. The opposite of that, again, is not properly understood as the mere absence of that wisdom, as merely something else than that, but as its very antithesis. That is precisely the reification of a self, and, as there are two reifications of selves, of persons, and of things, the subjective self-habit and the objective self-habit together constitute misknowledge. As for the manner of that reification, it is the habitual sense that things have intrinsically objective, intrinsically indentifiable, or intrinsically real status.
These reasons bring out the mode of the habitual sense of truth status, the negatee which is the habitual notion that the apparent intrinsic reality of things is not merely imposed by force of beginningless mental construction but is established within objects as their own objectivity. The presumed conceptual object of that habit patern is called “self” or “intrinsic reality.” Its absence in the designated “person” is called “personal” or “subjective selflessness,” and its absence in things such as eyes, ears, and so forth is called “selflessness of things” or “objective selflessness.” It is thus understandable by implication that the habitual sense of the existence of that intrinsic reality in persons and things is the two “self-habits.” As Chandrakirti says in his Four Hundred Commentary: “The ‘self’ is the ‘intrinsic reality’ which is that objectivity in things independent of anything else. Its absence is selflessness. It is understood as twofold by division into persons and things, called ‘personal selflessness’ and ‘objective selflessness.’ ”
With regard to the innate egoistic view that also is the self-habit, in the Introduction, Chandra refutes the position that its object is the dependency designated self. He also states that the conventional self not the mere conglomerate of the aggregates. Thus, as its object is neither the conglomerate of the aggregates at any one time nor the conglomerate of the temporal continuum of the aggregates, one must take the mere “person” and the mere “I” as the objective basis of the mere thought “I.” Thus one should not put either the separate or the conglomerate aggregates as the substance of that “I.” This is the unexcelled distinctive specialty of this dialecticist centrist system, which I have explained extensively elsewhere.
The object of the innate egoistic view that is the porperty habit is the actual “mine,” object of the innate cognition that thinks “mine,” and is not held to be objects such as one’s eye and so on. The manner of this habit is the habitual holding of the objects perceived as “mine” as if they were intrinsically identifiably property.
As for the innate objective self-habit, its objects are the form aggregate and so on, the eyes, ears, and so forth of both self and others and impersonal inanimate objects and so on. Its mode is as explained above.
In the Introductory Commentary, Chandra affirms that “delusion is misknowledge, which functions as the reification of the intrinsic objectivity of nonobjectively existent things. It is superficial, with a nature of obscuration, seeing intrinsic realities in things.” Further, in saying “thus, by the force of the addictive misknowledge included in the ‘existence’ member,” he equates that misknowledge which is the truth habit about objects with addictive misknowledge. Thus, while there are two systems of classification of objective self-habits either as addictive or as cognitive obscurations, this system chooses the former way.
This is also the statement of the Noble Father and Son, as in the Voidness Seventy: “Reification of the reality in things born of conditions, the Teacher called it ‘misknowledge’; therefrom the twelve members arise. Seeing truly and knowing well the voidness of things, misknowledge does not occur, is ceased; thereby the twelve members cease.” Here “reification of the reality of things” indicates the habitual perception of “truth” or “reality status” in those things.
In the Jewel Rosary, Nagarjuna also states in the same vein that “as long as there is the aggregate habit, so long will there be the ‘I’ habit.” That is, that egoistic views will not be reversed als long as the truth habit about the aggregates is not.
The context here is the identification of that “delusion” which is one of the three poisons and hence equivalent to addictive misknowledge. To get rid of that misknowledge, he declares it necessary to understand the import of the profound relativity, which happens when the import of voidness arises as the import of relativity. Therefore one must interpret addictive delusion according to Chandrakirti’s explanation in the Four Hundred Commentary as the reification of reality of things.
This system was lucidly proclaimed by Chandrakirti, following Buddhapalita’s elucidation of the intention of the noble ones.
Now that just-explained misknowledge which is thus habituated to the two selves is not the conscious holding of persons and things hypostatized by the distinctive beliefs of Buddhist and Non-Budddhist philosophers, such as unique, permanent, and independent person; objects that are external yet are the aggregates of indivisible atoms without eastern and so on directional facets; subjects that are internal cognitions yet that are consciousness-continua composed of indivisible instantaneous consciousnesses without any temporal prior and posterior components; and such as a true nondual apperception devoid of any such subjects and objects. It rather consists of the two unconscious self-habits, which exist commonly both for those affected by theories and for those unaffected by theories and which have persisted from time immemorial without having depended on any theoretical seduction of the intellect. Therefore it is that same unconscious self-habit which is held as the root of the egocentric life-cycle.
This reason reveals that all living beings are bound in the life-cycle by the unconscious misknowledge. Further, since intellectual misknowledge exists only for those philosophers, it is not properly considered the root of the egoistic life-cycle.
It is extremely important to come to an exceptional certitude about this point. If one does not know this at the time of determining the view, one will not know how to hold as principal the determination of the nonexistence of the hypothetical object held by unconscious misknowledge, while keeping the negation of the intellectualy held objects subordinate. And if one refutes the two selves and neglects the negation of the habit patern of unconscious misknowledge, then one will have determined a selflessness that is merely a rejection of those “selves” hypothesized by the philosopers, as explained above. Even at the time of meditation, one’s meditation will be just the same, since the “determination of the view” involves meditation as well. Thus even in meditation only the manifest habits will be involved in the final analysis, and one will experience only the absence of the two selves that are merely those hypthesized by the intellectual habits. To think that this will eliminate the unconscious addictions is a great exaggeration.
One should also understand according to the statement of Dharmakirti in the Commentary on Validating Cognition: “Who sees a self always reifies an ‘I’ there; supposing one identifies with that; identifying, one becomes obscured with faults. Seeing qualities, one desires them, one grasps their attainment as ‘mine.’ Thus, as long as one is attached to the self, so long will one revolve in the life-cycle.”
First, once one holds to intrinsic identifiability in the objective basis of the thought “I,” attachment to the self arises. Therefrom craving for the happiness of the self arises. Then, since the self’s happiness cannot arise without dependence on one’s property, craving arises for property, the “mine.” Then, being obscured by such faults, one begins to see the qualities in those things. Then one grasps onto the property as the means of accomplishing the happiness of the self. Through the addictions thus produced, conceptually motivated action occurs, and from such action, the life-cycle itself is constantly held together. As Nagarjuna says in the Voidness Seventy, “Action has its cause in addictions; construction’s nature is from addictions; the body has its cause in actions; and all three are empty of intrinsic reality.” In such a way one must practice finding certainty in the sequence involved in te evolution of the egoistic life-cycle.
Tsong Khapa’s Medium-Length
Transcendent Insight (Part III)
Reason for the Need to Seek the View That Understands Selflessness, Wishing to Abandon Such Misknowledge
It appears extremely necessary to will to abandon utterly the above misknowledge, the twofold self-habit, so one should intensely cultivate such a will. Even so, having such a desire, not to strive to understand how self-habits become the root of the life-cycle, and, having seen a part of that, not to strive to develop in mind a pure view of selflessness, having properly negated the objects held by self-habits with the help of the definitive scriptures and sound reasoning, such a person has to have extremely dull faculties, since he thinks nothing at all of completely losing the life of the path leading to liberation and omniscience.
Thus Chandrakirti teaches that the truth habit positing things is the cause of all addictive views. And all other addictions are abandoned by the realization of the real condition of things as not intrinsically really produced, by reason of their relativity. For the vision of their intrinsic realitylessness will not arise without negation of the object held as the intrinsically real status of things.
That is, he states that by cultivating the understanding of voidness, as voidness of the intrinsically real status of things, the egoistic views are eliminated, and by eliminating them all other addictions are eliminated, since it is impossible to understand selflessness without negating the object of the personal self-habit.
In short, the many supreme experts in elucidating the meaning of the profound discourses investigate with many references and reasonings when they determine the import of thatness. And, seeing that selflessness and voidness cannot be understood without seeing that the self, as held by the false habits, is not existent and is void, they spoke thus as above; because it is crucially important to find certitude about this.
If one does not meditate on the import of this negating of the object of the error fundamental to cyclic bondage, even if one meditates on any other would-be-profound import, it will not disturb the self-habit at all; because it is impossible to eliminate self-habits without applying the intelligence to the thatness of selflessness and voidness; and because even though without negating the object of self-habits one can at least withdraw the mental gravitation toward that object, that is not acceptable as applying the mind to selflessness.
The reason for this is that when the mind is applied to an object, there are three habits: one holding that object in truth, one holding it as truthless, and one holding it without either qualification. So just as the nonholding of truthlessness is not necessarily the truth habit, so the disconnection from the two selves is not necessarily the application to the two selflessnesses; because there are limitless states of mind included in the third option.
The two self-habits, further, function through perceiving things chiefly as persons and objects, and therefore it is necessary to determine right on the very basis of error the nonexistence of that thereon so held; otherwise it is like searching for footprints in the house of a thief already gone into the forest.
Therefore, since errors will be terminated by meditating on the import thus determined, such a voidness is the supreme import of thatness. And if some other false import of thatness is determined, it is no more than wishful thinking, and you should consider it outside the meaning of the scriptures.
Thus the misknowledge in truth habits about fabrications of persons such as males and females and things such as forms and sensations is eliminated by finding and meditating upon the view that understands the voidness that is selflessness. When misknowledge is eliminated, eliminated too are the conceptual thoughts that are improper attitudes reifying the signs of beauty and ugliness and so on by perceiving the objects of truth habits. When they are eliminated, all other addictions, desire and so on, which have egoistic views as their root, are eliminated. When they are eliminated, involuntary birth in cyclic life as propelled by actions is eliminated.
Considering this process, the firm determination “I will attain liberation!” is generated, and thence one seeks the utterly incisive view of thatness.
In regard to the sequence of generation of the two self-habits, it is the objective self-habit that generates the personal self-habit. Nevertheless, in entering the truth of selflessness, it is by first generating the view of personal selflessness that one must later generate the view of objective selflessness. As Nagarjuna states in the Jewel Rosary: “A creature is not earth, water, fire, wind, space, or consciousness; if it is none of these things, what else might a creature be? Since the creature as collation of elements is not real in itself, so each element, itself a collation, is not really real either.” Thus he first declares the nonreality of the person and then the nonreality of its designative bases, the elements earth and so on.
As for the reason why one must understand it that way, while there is no variation of degree of subtlety in the selflessness to be ascertained in the basic person or in the basic thing, because of the essentiality of the subject of concern, it is easier to ascertain selflessness in the person and harder to ascertain it in the thing. For example, it is difficult to ascertain objective selflessness in the eye, ear, and so on but easy to ascertain it in things such as images, and this can be used as an example of the varying cases in determining selflessness with regard to things and persons above.
If one knows well the condition of the “I” anchoring the concept of self that thinks “I,” and one applies the reason about it to internal things such as eye and nose and external things such as vases, one should come to understand them in just the same way. Then, knowing the nature and seeing the reality of one thing, one can be able to know and see the natures of all other things.
“Person” is a term used in context such as the six species of persons such as gods, or the types of persons such as individual persons or holy persons, and in referring to the accumulator of evil and good action, the experiencer of their effects, the traveler in cyclic life, the practicer of the path for the sake of liberation, and the attainer of liberation. Chandrakirti in his Introduction Commentary quotes a standard Scripture: “The demon-mind ‘self,’ it forces you to adopt its view; this aggregate of emotions is void, therein no sentient being. Just as one says ‘chariot,’ depending on its aggregate of components, so depending on the aggregates, one says ‘superficial sentient being.’”
The first centence teaches the personal selflessness that is the ultimate absense of “person”; the first phase calls the personal self-habit the “demon-mind”; the second phase shows the holder of that habit to be the victim of evil views; and the third and fourth phases state that the aggregates are devoid of any personal self. The second verse teaches the conventional existence of the self, the first two phrases giving the example and the last two applying it to the meaning. It teaches that the “person” is a mere designation based on the aggregates, because this Scripture states the conglomerate of aggregates or their sequential conglomerate. Thus neither the spatial conglomerate nor the temporal continuum of the aggregates can be posited as the “person.” When the conglomerate is posited as designative base, that which is conglomerated is also posited as a designative base; so it is illogical for either to be the “person” itself.
Here one uses the first of the four key procedures for determining self-lessness, analyzing one’s own mental process in order to identify one’s own mode of habitual adherence to a personal self. This has been already explained.
The second key procedure (is as follows): if that person has intrinsically real status, it must be established as actually the same or actually different from the aggregates of body and mind, and thus one decides that there is no way for it to be established in any other way. In general, in regard to such things as pots and pillars, if one determines them on one side as matching, one excludes them on the other side from differing, or such a thing as a pot, if determined here as differing, is excluded on the other side from matching – as this is established by experience, there is no third option other than sameness or difference. Therefore one must become certain that it is impossible for a self to exist and to be neither the same as nor different from the aggregates.
The third key procedure is to see the faults in the hypothesis that the person and the aggregates are intrinsically really the same.
The fourth key procedure is to see well the faults in the hypothesis that the person and the aggregates are really different. Thus, when these four keys are complete, the pure view realizing the thatness of personal selflessness is developed.
To rehearse the third key procedure, if self and aggregates were the same entity with intrinsic real status, three faults would accrue. The first is that there would be no point in asserting a self, since if the two were intrinsically really established as a single entity they would never be at all differentiable, since the two being absolutely established as a single entity could necessarily never appear as different to a cognition that perceived them. The reason for this is that, while there is no contradiction for a superficial thing’s appearance being different from its real mode of existence, such a difference does preclude any truth status in that thing, since a true thing must really exist in just the way it appears to any cognition.
Thus the postulation of an intrinsically objective self is (only) for the sake of establishing an agent for the approbation and discarding of the aggregates, and this is not plausible when the self and the aggregates have become the same. As Nagarjuna states in the Wisdom, “When it is asserted that there is no self but for approbation, then that the approbation itself is the self; and then that self of yours is nonexistent.” The second fault is that the self would become a plurality. If the self and the aggregates were really the same, then just as one person has many aggregates, so one would come to have many selves; or, as the self is no more than one, the aggregates would become one. Chandrakirti says in the Introduction: “If the aggregates were the self, as they are many so the self would become many.”
The third fault is that the self would become endowed with production and destruction. As Nagarjuna says in the Wisdom: “If the aggregates were the self, then it would become endowed with production and destruction.” That is, just as the aggregates are endowed with production and destruction, so the self would become endowed with production and destruction, since the two are a single entity.
Now, if one thinks this is merely an acceptance of the momentary production and destruction of the self or the person each instant, while it is admitted that there is no fault in accepting this merely conventionally, the opposition here asserts the intrinsic identifiability of the person and so must assert the intrinsically objective production and destruction of that person, which assertion has three faults, as Chandrakirti states in the Introduction.
First, “Things intrinsically identifiably separate are not rationally included in a single continuum”; that is, it is illogical for things that are objectively established as different, in being former and later, to relate with the later depending on the former; because the former and later things are self-sufficiently and independently established and cannot properly relate to one another. Thus, since it is incorrect to include them in one continuum, the “I” cannot rightly remember its former life, “At that time I was like that,” just as two different persons such as Devadatta and Yajna cannot remember each other’s lives. In our system, though things are destroyed in every instant, conventionally there is no contradiction for former and later instants to be included in a single continuum, so it is possible for former lives to be remembered. Those who do not understand this point generate the first of the wrong views mentioned in the Scripture as relating to a former limit. When the Buddha often says, “I was this former person,” they think that the person at the time of Buddhahood and the person of this former life are the same, or that, since created things are instantaneously destroyed, they cannot be the same, so both of them must be permanent, and so forth. In order not to fall into such (views), one must understand properly the way – at the time of remembering former lives – in which the general “I” is remembered without specifically qualifying it as to country, time, and nature.
The second fault is the fault of the effect of action commited becoming lost, when, if the person were intrinsically identifiable, it would be impossible to bring the agent of the action and the experience of the evolutionary effect together on a single basis, the mere “I.”
The third fault is that of receiving the evolutionary effect of actions not performed; if such could happen, there would be the extreme absurdity that a single personal continuum would experience all the evolutionary effects of all the actions performed and accumulated by other different personal continua. These two faults, as explained above in the Introduction, accrue through the key point that if the person has objectively real status, it is impossible for his former and later instants to be included in a single continuum. As Nagarjuna says in the Wisdom, “If the god and the man are different, they cannot logically belong to one continuum.”
Here you may wonder, “Granting these faults if persona and aggregates are the same, what is the fault if you assert the intrinsically real difference of person and aggregates?”
Nagarjuna gives the fault in the Wisdom: “If the self were different from the aggregates, it would be devoid of the nature of the aggregates.” If the self were objectively different from the aggregates, it would have to lack the created nature of the aggregates; it would have no production, no duration, and no destruction, just as a horse lacks the nature of an ox, being a different creature. Our opponent here thinks, “Well, isn’t that just how it is, after all?” However, if the personal self were utterly different from all relational things, it would not be logical for the instinctive mental self-habit to perceive it as the object that supports the conventional designation “self,” because it is not a created thing, subject to ordinary contacts and relations, just like a skyflower or a state of Nirvana. Further, if it were really different from the nature of such as the aggregates, which is material and so on, it should be perceived as such, just as matter and mind are perceived as different things. But since the self is not perceived in such a manner, the self is not something different from the aggregates. As Nagarjuna says in the Wisdom: “It is not correct for the self to be something different from the process of approbation; if it were, logically it should be perceived apart from approbation; but it is not.” And Chandrakirti says in the Introduction, “Thus the self does not exist apart from the aggragative processes since its perception beyond them is not established.”
By means of such reasons, one should cultivate a firm certainty that sees the faults of the self being objectively different from those of the aggregates. If you do not derive a correct certainty about the faults of these two positions in sameness and difference, your decision that the person is intrinsically realityless will merely be a premise, and you will not discover the authentic view.
Tsong Khapa’s Medium-Length
Transcendent Insight (Part IV)
Determining of the Nonreality of “Mine”
Thus having inquired rationally into the existence of absence of intrinsically real status in the self, when you negate its intrinsic reality by not finding any self either the same or different from the aggregates, that same rationality analytic of thatness will not discover any intrinsic reality in one’s property. If you cannot perceive the son of a barren woman, his property such as eyes and so on will also not be perceived. Thus that rationality which determines the lack of intrinsically objective status of one’s own “I” or “self” or “person” should realize the entire import of the thatness of personal selflessness, that all persons and their property, from hell beings up to Buddhas, have no intrinsic reality as the same or as different from their designative bases, whether they be contaminated or uncontaminated aggregates. And thereby one should also understand the method of establishing the lack of intrinsic reality of all those beings’ property. . . . .
Arising as Illusion
The method of understanding other things as like the example of illusion is as follows: For example, when a magician manifests an illusion, though there never was any horse or ox there, the appearance of horse and ox undeniably arises. In the same way, things such as persons, although they were always empty of any objectively established intrinsic reality as objects, are understood as undeniably appearing to have that status. Thus the appearances of gods and humans are represented as persons, and the appearances of forms and sounds and so on are represented as objects, and although not even an atom in persons and objects has intrinsically identifiable intrinsic reality, all the functions of relativities such as accumulation of evolutionary actions and seeing and hearing are viable. Voidness is not nihilistic, since all functions are viable because of it. Since one simply becomes aware of that voidness, things having always and ever been void, neither is it just a mentally made-up voidness. Since all things knowable are accepted in that way, it is not a partial voidness, and when one meditates upon it, it serves as the remedy for all the automatic reifications of the truth habits.
That profound import is not at all objectively inaccessible to any sort of cognition but can be determined by the authentic view and can be taken as object by meditation on the meaning of reality; so it is not a voidness that cannot be cultivated in the context of the path, that cannot be known, and cannot be realized, a sort of utter nothingness. . . . .
Thus, to the perception of one experienced in meditating in samadhi, there is an understanding that apparent things such as pots and cloths are void of what they appear to have; but this is not the same as the understanding of their illusoriness and dream-likeness, which is their lack of intrinsically real status. Therefore one must investigate thoroughly the distinctive mode of arisal as illusory stated in the definitive meaning scriptures and the scientific treatises in order to generate realization of illusoriness and dream-likeness.
False mode of Arising as Illusory
When one has not properly identified the measure of the negatee as explained above, when one’s analysis of the object cools down, one first begins to imagine that the object does not exist, then one comes to experience the analyzer also as likewise (nonexistent), then even that ascertained as nonexistence ceases to have existence, and one comes into a state wherein there is no ground of ascertaining anything at all as “this is it” or “this is not it.” There then arises perception of a fuzzy, foggy appearance, occurring from the failure to distinguish between intrinsically real existence and nonexistence and mere existence and nonexistence. Such a voidness is the kind of voidness that destroys relativity, and therefore the arisal of such a fuzzy, foggy perception derived from such a realization is definitely not the meaning of illusoriness.
Therefore when one analyzes rationally and one comes to consider that such a “person” is not present even in the slightest upon any intrinsically established object, sustaining that consideration one might have perceptions that arise in a fuzzy, foggy manner; just this is not very difficult. Such experiences occur for all those who admire the centrist philosophies and have a casual learning of the teachings that demonstrate intrinsic realitylessness. But the real difficulty is to negate completely any objectively established intrinsic reality and yet develop a deep certainty about the representation of how that intrinsically unreal person itself is the accumulator of evolutionary actions and the experiencer of evolutionary effects and so on. When the combination of those two facts – realitylessness and the ability to represent those things – is carried to the extreme limit of existence, that is the view of the central way, so extremely difficult to discover. . . . .
When one investigates with the rationality analytic of ultimate reality, nothing whatever is discovered that can withstand analysis such as a person who is born, does actions, and transmigrates. Nevertheless, illusory things occur as the evolutionary effects of good and bad actions. One must develop one’s understanding according to this statement of the Buddha.
Furthermore, when one does not practice in equipose by concentrating upon the view that has decisively penetrated into reality, but merely finds stability in one-pointedness on not holding anything at all in one’s mind, then, when one arises from the power of that samadhi, appearances such as mountains no longer appear solid and substantial but appear indistinct like fine smoke or like a rainbow. But this is not the arisal of illusoriness explained in the Scriptures, because this is an appearance within a voidness of coarse substantiality and is not an appearance within the voidness of the intrinsically real status of thos apparent things; and because the absence of solid substantiality is definitely not the meaning of voidness that is intrinsic realitylessness. Otherwise there would be the fault that it would be impossible for the truth habit to arise when perceiving a rainbow as a qualified object, and it would be impossible to develop the wisdom-realizing truthlessness when considering substantiality as the qualified object.
Correct Arisal in Illusoriness
For example, when the visual consciousness sees an illusory horse or ox, one depends on the certainty in mental consciousness that the apparent horse or ox does not exist, and one generates a certainty that the horse or ox appearance does not exist as it seems. In the same way, one depends on both the undeniable appearance of person and object in conventional cognition and the certainty through rational cognition that that very thing is empty of an objectively established intrinsic reality, and thereby one generates the certainty that that person is an illusory or false appearance. By that key one reaches the essence of the meditation on voidness as like space wherein one’s concentration allows not even an iota of mental orientations that are substantivistic sign-habits. When one arises from that concentration, and one regards the arisal of apparent objects, the aftermath illusory voidness arises. In that manner when one investigates repeatedly with the rationality analytic of the presence or absence of intrinsically objective status in things, after one has generated an intense certitude about intrinsic realitylessness, one’s observation of the arisal of appearances is the arisal in illusoriness, and there is not seperate method of determining the voidness that is illlusoriness. Thereupon, when one engages in activities such as prostrations and circumambulations, the certitude from the above analysis is taken into account, and the engagement in those activities becomes the education in the arisal of illusoriness. One should perform those activities from within the actuality of that awareness. When one purifies that, the mere remembrance of the view causes those things to arise in illusoriness.
To express the method of seeking that certainty in an easily understandable way: Having initiated the proper arisal in general of the above-explained rational negatee, one should identify it by considering thoroughly how one’s own misknowledge reifies intrinsic realities. Then, considering specifically the pattern wherein if such intrinsic reality exists it will not go beyond sameness or difference with its basis of designation, and the process wherein devastating negations accrue to the acceptance of either alternative, one should derive the certainty that is aware of the negations. Finally, one should confirm the certitude that considers that there is not even the slightest intrinsically real status in the person. And one should cultivate repeatedly such certainty-derivation in the voidness orientation. Then one should become involved in the appearance of the convention “person” undeniably arising as object of cognition, and one should cultivate the attitude oriented toward relativity wherein that conventional person is represented as the accumulator of evolutionary action and the experiencer of evolutionary effects, and one should discover the certitude about the systems wherein relativity is viable without any intrinsic reality.
When those two facts – that is, the viability of relativity and the absence of intrinsic reality – seem contradictory, one should consider the pattern of their noncontradiction by using examples of mirror images and so forth. Thus the mirror image of an object, such as a face, although it is void of the reality of the eyes and ears and the like that appear in it, is still produced depending on the object and the mirror, and it is destroyed when either of those conditions is removed. Those two facts – its voidness of the objects and its being produced depending on them – are undeniably coincident in the same phenomenon.
Like that, there is not even an atom of intrinsic reality status in the person, and yet this does not contradict its being the accumulator of evolutionary actions, the experiencer of evolutionary effects, and its being produced depending on the actions and addictions of previous lives. One should cultivate this consideration. Thus one should understand illusoriness in this way on every such occasion . . . .
Tsong Khapa’s Medium-Length
Transcendent Insight (part V)
“Objects” are the five aggregates that are the person’s designative base, the six elements such as earth, and the six media such as eye and so forth. Their voidness of objectively established intrinsic reality is the selflessness of those things. There are two parts to the way of determining this: one negating objective self by the reasonings mentioned above, and the other negating it by other reasonings previously unmentioned . . . . .
The Royal Reason of Relativity
The reason of relativity is clearly stated in the Dialogue with Sagaramati Sutra as logically negating the intrinsic reality-status of things: “Things that occur relativistically do not exist with intrinsic objectivity.” In the Dialogue with Anavatapta Sutra, Buddha also clearly states, “What is produced from conditions is unproduced, it is not produced through any intrinsic objectivity. I declare that everything produced from conditions is void. Who knows voidness, he is consciously aware.” This kind of statement is extremely common in the precious Scriptures.
In the latter quotation, the “unproduced” in the first line is explained by the “not produced through any intrinsic objectivity,” which thus qualifies the negatee in the negation of production. Chandra, in the Lucid Exposition, cites the Visit to Lanka, “Intending the lack of intrinsically real production, I say all things are unproduced!” Thus the Teacher himself explicates his own inner intent in the discourses, explaining for those who worry that perhaps the unqualified statements of productionlessness mean that all things produced do not exist at all, that it rather means that there is no production through any intrinsic reality.
In the third line, the Buddha states that conditionality of dependence on conditions is equivalent to voidness of intrinsic objectivity, which is tantamount to the equation of voidness of intrinsic reality with relativity. This shows that the Buddha does not intend a voidness of functional efficacy, which would be the negation of mere production.
Nagarjuna also, in the Wisdom, states, “Whatever is relatively occurrent is peace in its objectivity.” That is, things are peaceful, or void, with respect to intrinsic objectivity, by the reason of their relativity. Thus one should understand that these statements clear away the darkness of erroneous opinions such as that the central way system must advocate nonproduction wiht respect to even relative production.
Such a reason of relativity is extremely praiseworthy. The Buddha states in the Questions of Anavatapta Sutra, “Wise persons will realize the relativity of things and wil no longer entertain any extremist views.” That is, one no longer entertains extremist views once one realizes relativity. Furthermore, Chandra declares in the Introduction, “Since things are occurent in relativity, such reifications cannot be attached to them. Hence this reasoning of relativity cuts open the whole network of bad ideas.” This is the unexcelled distinctive specialty of the eminent beings Nagarjuna and his son. Therefore here, among all reasonings, we should celebrate the reason of relativity.
Hence there are two chief points of resistance that obstruct the realistic view. One is the reificatory view or absolutist view that has a fixed orientation toward truth habits that hold to the truth status in things. The other is the repudiative view or nihilistic view that goes to far by not appreciating the measure of the negatee and becomes unable to incorporate in its system the certitude about cause and effect within relativity, losing all ground of recognition about anything such as “this is it” and “this isn’t it.” These two views are completely eliminated by the negation of intrinsic reality based on the reason that brings certitude that from such and such a causal condition such and such an effect occurs. For the ascertainment of the import of the thesis radically refutes absolutism, and the ascertainment of the reason radically refutes nihilism.
Therefore all things – inner, such as emotions, and outer, such as sprouts – that occur in dependence on misknowledge and so forth and seeds and so forth, respectively, being thus relative are not correctly established as intrinsically identifiable. For if they were to be intrinsically objectively established, it would be necessary for each to have an independent, self-sufficient reality status, which would preclude their dependence causes and conditions. As Aryadeva says in the Four Hundred, “What exists relativistically will never become independent. All this is without independence; hence the self does not exist.”
By this one should realize that persons and things such as pots have no intrinsically real status, since they are designated in dependence on their own aggregation of components; this is the second formulation of the reason of relativity. Since things are dependently produced and dependently designated, they are not objectively the same as what they depend upon; for if they were the same, all actions and agents would become the same. Neither are those two objectively different; for if they were, any connection could be refuted and that would preclude any dependence.
Thus having derived certitude about the voidness that is the voidness of all the objectifying attitudes of substantivism, it is extremely praiseworthy to assume responsibility for ethical choice by not abandoning the certitude about the relevance of the evolutionary effects of actions. As Nagarjuna states in the Discourse of the Spirit of Enlightenment, “Knowing this voidness of things, the one who still takes responsibility for evolutionary actions and effects, this one is even more wondrous than wonders, even more miraculous than miracles!”
To achieve this, one must distinguish between intrinsically real existence and mere existence, and between lack of intrinsically indentifiable existence and nonexistence.
If you do not distinguish these kinds of existences and nonexistences, you will not get beyond the two extremisms of reification and repudiation, since as soon as something exists it will have objective existence, and once something lacks objective existence it will become utterly nonexistent.
Therefore, in our system, we are free from all absolutisms by the absence of intrinsic objectivity, and we are freed from all nihilisms by our ability to present an intrinsically unreal causality in that very actuality of voidness of objectivity.
Nagarjuna, thinking that the truthlessness of uncreated things such as space, calculated cessation, uncalculated cessation, and thatness could be easily proved once the truthlessness of persons and created things was proved by the above-explained reasonings, stated in the Wisdom, “If created things are utterly unestablished, how can uncreated things be established?”
As for the way in which it is easy to prove: Once intrinsic reality in created things is negated as above, their nonreality is established as sufficient for the presentation of all functions such as bondage and liberation, cause and effect, and objects and means of knowledge. That being established, then uncreated things also, such as reality and calculated cessation, even though also lacking truth status, can still be well represented as the goals of the paths, objects of knowledge, and as the Dharma jewel, refuge of disciples. It is never said that “if one does not maintain these things as truths, the systems that must present those things are invalid.” Therefore there is no point in maintaining the truth status of these (uncreated) things, since truth status is not required for conventional viability.
Even if one did claim their truth status, one would still be required to maintain their presentability as characterized by such and such characteristics, as their being disconnected causes and disconnected effects, and as their being cognized by such and such validating cognitions. And in that case, if they are claimed to be not connected with their own means of attainment, characteristics, and means of cognition, then one cannot avoid the fault of all unconnected things being characteristic and characterized in relation to each other and so forth. And if it is claimed that they are connected, then, since it is impossible for a true, intrinsically real thing to depend on anything else, the claim of connection cannot be sustained.
Thus one should negate truth status through the analysis of sameness and difference. If this rational analysis cannot refute the truth status of these uncreated things, then one cannot refute even in the slightest the truth status of anything, since created things are completely similar.
Former scholars held many opinions about the grounds of differentiation into the two realities. Here, knowable objects are the ground of differentiation, following Shantideva’s statement in the Education Manual. “Knowable objects are comprised by the superficial and ultimate realities.”
They are divided into the two realities, superficial and ultimate, according to Nagarjuna’s statement in the Wisdom: “The reality of the social superficial and the reality of the ultimate object.”
In the Lucid Exposition, Chandrakirti explains “superficial” in three ways, as “a covering over reality,” as “mutual dependence,” and as “social convention.” The latter of these is explained as having the nature of the expressed and its expression, the knowable and its knowledge, and so forth, but by this the superficial reality is not to be understood either as including all expressibles and knowables whatsoever, or as merely the expression and cognition of subjective conventions. Now, the first of the above three is the superficial represented as reality in superficial cognitions of forms and so on. This is also the misknowledge that reifies existence of intrinsic reality in things lacking any intrinsically real objective status. For, truth status being objectively impossible, truth is (merely) represented in cognition, and there is no representation of truth in a cognition free of truth habits.
Tsong Khapa’s Medium-Length
Transcendent Insight (part VI)
Actual Transcendent Insight
When you discover the view that realizes the two selflessnesses from the above teaching of the necessary conditions for transcendent insight, you should meditate on transcendent insight.
How many transcendent insights are there?
Here I have not mainly taught the high stages of transcendent insight but have emphasized the transcendent insight to be meditated by common individuals. To completely analyze that type of transcendent insight, there are the insights of the four realities, the insights of the three doors, and the insights of the six investigations.
The insights of the four realities are stated in the Elucidation of the Intention as the four, “discernment” and so forth. Among them, “discernment” takes the contents of the reality as its object, and “investigation” takes the nature of reality as its object. The first contains examination and analysis, since they respectively discern coarse and subtle objects. The identification of these four is stated in the Stages of the Disciple and in the Instruction in Transcendent Wisdom.
The insights of the three doors are stated in the Elucidation of the Intention as the insights arisen from signs, arisen from thorough investigation, and arisen from individual discrimination. As for the description of these three, taking the import of selflessness as an example, first, selflessness is identified, then it is taken as object, and then its significance is imprinted in the mind without engaging in repeated determinations. The second stage of insight consists of determinations in order to ascertain what was not previously certain. The third stage of insight is the analysis as above of the identified import.
The insights of the six investigations are the thorough investigations and individual discriminations of meaning, object, nature, orientation, time, and reason. Insight investigating meaning investigates whether “the meaning of this expression is this”‘ investigating objects considers “this is internal” or “this is external,” and so forth; investigating nature, it investigates whether “this is a particular nature or a general nature,” or “this is a common nature or an uncommon nature”; investigating orientation, it investigates “such happened in the past, such happens in the present, and such will happen in the future.” Insight investigating reason, investigates through the four types of reasoning; it investigates relational reasoning by viewing how effects occur depending on causes and conditions, considering specifically the objects of superficial and ultimate realities; it investigates functional reasoning by investigating how things perform their specific functions, such as fire by burning, considering “this is the phenomenon, this is the activity, and this is the function it accomplishes”; it investigates logical reasoning by investigating how things are established without contradicting validating cognitions, considering whether “this is supported by perceptual, inferential, or scripturally testimonial validating cognitions or not”; and it investigates natural reasoning by investigating the commonsensical natures, the inconceivable natures, and the ultimate natures of things such as heat of fire and the wetness of water, respecting those natures and not considering other possibilities. The presentation of these investigative insights as sixfold is to be understood by the yogin, but they can definitely be included in three categories, as concerned with verbal meanings, with phenomenal objects, and with ultimate natures. The first investigative insight is in terms of the first concern, objective investigation and particular nature investigation are concerned with the second, and general nature investigative insight and the other three are concerned with the third. The first-explained four insights operate through three doors and manifest six modes of investigation, and therefore the insights of the three doors and the insights of the six investigations are included in the insights of the four realities.
The four conscious attitudes explained above in the quiescence section, such as the “balancing” attitude, are explained in the Stages of Disciples as being common to both quiescence and insight, and thus there are also four conscious attitudes in insight.
As for the way of practice, it is the procedure of first seeking quiescence and then, based on that, subsequently practicing insight, and that is the reason why quiescence and insight are differentiated by their different procedures in practice, even though they may both take the same object, such as selflessness. Especially, since the meditation of the two transcendent insights – that concerned with the levels of peace through specific discernment of the faults and virtues of the higher and lower realms, and that concerned with selflessness cultivated through analysis with the wisdom of the specific discrimination of the meaning of selflessness – is indispensably necessary to generate a firm and intense certainty, it has the greater power to abandon specific abandonees, defilements, and obscurations. As for the phenomenologically concerned transcendent insight, it is not only the meditation concerned with levels of peace that abandons the manifest addictions, but it is also stated by Ratnakarashanti in the Instruction to be the analytic meditation that discerns the nature of the eighteen elements, by which illustration one can understand the other insights meditated by distinguishing phenomenal objects.
Although Ratnakarashanti explains in the Instruction than one must generate quiescence and insight on the stage of yoga oriented toward the phenomenological before generating quiescence and insight oriented toward the ontological, here, following the view of Shantideva and Kamalashila and others, insight is generated after first generating whatever sort of quiescence, and I mean here the transcendent insight oriented ontologically toward ultimate reality.
The Esoteric Communion also explains the orientation toward mind-only, as taught in the Visit to Lanka: “depending on mind alone, do not imagine any external objects”; the orientation toward thatness; and the teaching of the three stages of the yoga of nonappearance. It also appears to explain, as above, the procedure of practice of quiescence and insight through focused meditation and analytic meditation in the first two stages. Thus it accepts a similar procedure of developing quiescence and insight in the mental process oriented toward reality. My own interpretation is that in the context of the Unexcelled Yoga the procedure of developing the understanding of the view must be practiced according to the central way treatises. In practice, however, although sometimes there are conscious attitudes analytic of thatness during the aftermath intuitions of the creation stage and perfection stage, and although the perfection stage yogin who has achieved the ability to concentrate on the essentials in the body must definitely meditate through concentration on top of his or her view when cultivating thatness in equipoise, there is no practice of the analytic meditation of transcendent insight as explained in other treatises. Therefore in that context you should not employ one-pointed reality meditation of transcendent insight as explained in other treatises. Instead in that context you should employ one-pointed reality meditation upon your view in alternation with your employment of analytic meditation. . . .
If you do not discover the view of selflessness, no matter what method of meditation you practice, your meditation will not abide on the import of thatness. So you must discover that view. And even if you have an understanding of the view, if you do not remember the view when you meditate on thatness and focus your meditation on that, you will have no meditation on reality. Further, if after each new session of analysis of the view you focus your mind on not holding anything at all, it is not the cultivation of reality of thatness. Further, practicing by remembering that view and just focusing upon it is no more than the above practice of quiescence, and the meaning of the treatises is not just to practice insight in alteration with that. Therefore you should practice through the specific analysis by means of wisdom of the import of selflessness as explained above.
If you practice analytic meditation by itself, the quiescence you previously developed will decline, so you should practice analytic meditation mounted on the horse of quiescence, now and then blending in periods of focused meditation. Moreover, if you practice analytic meditation often, your focusing decreases, so you should often return to focused meditation, engaging in quiescence by itself. If the focused meditation is overdone, you become adverse to analysis or you ignore the functioning of your analysis, and your mind becomes obsessed with one-pointed quiescence, and so you should often return to analytic meditation. Your meditation has the greatest power if you practice quiescence and insight in balanced proportion, so that is how you should practice.
Thus it is not correct to hold that all thoughts occurring in analytic practice are substantivistic sign habits that are truth habits and therefore terminate them; because, as I have repeatedly established, truth-habit thought is only one tendency of thought. If you decide that rational negations overwhelm whatever is held by discriminating thought, this becomes the nihilistic repudiation that has overextended the rational negatee, and it is not the meaning of the scriptures, as I have established. Yet you may still think that, even if you do not assert that with regard to other subjects of concern, whatever is held in cognition regarding ultimate nature is merely the product of substantivistic sign habits that conceptualize truth status in things. In fact, those sign habits are the fault of a defective habit pattern of mind and do not function with regard to all objects cognized, because it is stated that the egocentric individual desiring liberation must investigate reality from many scriptural and rational perspectives.
Again you may think that the meditation on thatness, as it is for the purpose of generating nondiscrimination, is not produced by analytic discrimination, since cause and effect must correspond in nature. The Lord himself [Buddha] clearly answered this concern, in the Kashyapa Chapter: “Kashyapa, for example, when you rub two sticks together, they produce fire and are themselves completely consumed in the process. In the same way, Kashyapa, authentic analytic discrimination produces the faculty of holy wisdom, and, being produced, it serves to consume that authentic discrimination itself.” Here he clearly states that holy wisdom is generated by discrimination. Similarly Kamalashila states in his Middle Meditation Stages, “when the yogi analyzes with wisdom and does not cognize as ultimately certain any intrinsic objectivity of anything, he enters the samadhi free of discriminative thought, and he realizes the utter nonexistence of the intrinsic objectivity of things but merely meditates exclusively on the abandonment of all conscious attitudes; he never eliminates that particular discrimination of that absence of mental function, and he will never realize the utter nonexistence of intrinsic objectivity, since he is devoid of the illumination of wisdom. Thus, from the authentic specific discrimination arises the fire of the true wisdom of reality, like fire arisen from rubbing sticks, which then burns the sticks of discrimination. This is what the Lord stated.” Otherwise it would never happen that the uncontaminated would arise from the contaminated, the transcendental from the mundane, a Buddha from a living being, a holy person from an alienated individual, and so forth. For in all these cases the effect is dissimilar from the cause.
Nagarjuna states in the Disclosure of the Spirit of Enlightenment that “where discriminations occur, how could there be voidness? The Transcendent Lords do not perceive any mind in the form of discriminated and discrimination; where there is discrimination and discriminated, there is no enlightenment.” But here he is teaching that enlightenment will not be attained when truth status is perceived in discriminated and discrimination and does not negate discriminative wisdom or the mere function of discriminated and discrimination. Otherwise it would contradict his extensive determination of thatness through many discriminative analyzes in that text; and if mere discrimination were meant, their not being seen by Buddha means their nonexistence. Again Nagarjuna states in the same text, “Voidness, called ‘nonproduction,’ ‘voidness,’ and ‘selflessness,’ if it is contemplated as anything less, it does not serve as meditation on that.” This does not refute meditation that takes voidness and selflessness intrinsically unproduced as its object, but it refutes meditation on an inferior voidness, the lesser nature that is conceived by holding those voidnesses as having themselves truth status. As he states in the Transcendental Praise, “As you taught the nectar of voidness to cure all mental constructions, you reject those who adhere to it as true in itself.” Likewise he said in the Jewel Rosary that “thus neither self nor selflessness is apprehended in reality. Therefore the Great Sage eliminated the views of self and selflessness.” Both self and selflessness have on objective status in reality, and so the view that holds both as truly existing is eliminated. But this does not refute the view of selflessness, because, as in the previous quote from the Rebuttal of Objections, if it is not the case that there is realitylessness of intrinsically real status, then intrinsically real status would become existent.
These ways of meditation occur also in the old instructions on the stages of the path. Geshe Potowa says, in his Collected Sayings, that “some say that you should rationally determine intrinsic realitylessness at the time of study and reflection but meditate only on nondiscrimination at the time of meditation. But such leads to an irrelevant voidness, which will not serve as a remedy, since it is meditated as something else. Therefore, even at the time of meditation, one should discriminatingly investigate the absence of sameness and difference, or relativity, whatever you are used to, and also fix oneself slightly in nondiscrimination. If you meditate like that, it remedies the addictions.”
If you meditate through investigation by discriminating wisdom in that way, until you have achieved the previously explained ecstatic fluency, you have a simulated transcendent insight. Once that ecstatic fluency is generated, you have the genuine transcendent insight. The actuality and method of generating fluency through is a already explained. Further, this must occur without weakening of quiescence, and there is a fluency developed from that, so merely having fluency is not enough. Then what is? If you can develop ecstatic fluency through the power of the practice of analytic meditation itself, that then becomes transcendent insight. This is the same whether it involves the transcendent insight oriented toward the nature of reality.
Such a way of the integration of quiescence and insight must be understood according to the teachings of the original treatises, and one should not rely on other explanations that presume it to be otherwise. And you should understand from my extensive Stages of the Path the extensive details (of the teachings) of the “stages of the path of enlightenment” (tradition) on the conclusive analysis through reasoning, the supportive scriptural references, and the processes of meditation.