The Tattvasangraha [with commentary]

by Ganganatha Jha | 1937 | 699,812 words | ISBN-10: 8120800583 | ISBN-13: 9788120800588

This page contains verse 151 of the 8th-century Tattvasangraha (English translation) by Shantarakshita, including the commentary (Panjika) by Kamalashila: dealing with Indian philosophy from a Buddhist and non-Buddhist perspective. The Tattvasangraha (Tattvasamgraha) consists of 3646 Sanskrit verses; this is verse 151.

Sanskrit text, Unicode transliteration and English translation by Ganganath Jha:

विशुद्धज्ञानसन्ताना योगिनोऽपि ततो न तत् ।
विदन्ति ब्रह्मणो रूपं ज्ञाने व्यापृत्य सङ्गतेः ॥ १५१ ॥

viśuddhajñānasantānā yogino'pi tato na tat |
vidanti brahmaṇo rūpaṃ jñāne vyāpṛtya saṅgateḥ || 151 ||

For the same reason even mystics with their ‘chain of pure consciousness’ do not know that form of brahman; as the necessary connection could be possible only after an action of the cognition itself.—(151)


Kamalaśīla’s commentary (tattvasaṃgrahapañjikā):

The following might be urged:—“The said essence of Supreme Brahman is perceived only by such Yogins (Mystics) as have their mind aided by Merit leading to Prosperity and Highest Good”.

This also is not possible;—this is what is shown by the following Text:—[ see verse 151 above]

If the Mystic had operated upon the cognition born of mystic communion, then it might be admitted that Mystics perceive that form of Brahman. As it is, however, in the manner shown above, no such operation is possible; hence this view cannot be right.

The following might be urged;—“When Mystics perceive that form of Brahman, it is not through the appearance of cognition relating to it; as apart from that, neither the Mystic nor the mystic cognition has any existence; what happens is that during the mystic state, Mystics perceive It as their own self, in the form of Light effulgent”,

The answer to this is as follows:—If it is so, then it has to be explained what the Brahman’s form is prior to the mystic state. If It is always of the form of Light effulgent, then there can be no state which is not-mystic; as ex hypothesi, Brahman is ever of the nature of the effulgent light of Self; so that the Liberation of all beings would be accomplished without effort.

It is possible that the following might be urged:—“Just as for you, Buddhists, during the state of Dream and the like, the Cognition, though one, appears in a variegated form,—so the Brahman also, even though one, appears diverse to persons whose chain of cognitions is not pure, through Ignorance.”

That cannot be right; because as a matter of fact, apart from Brahman, there are none whose ‘Chain’ is not pure, to whom the said form could appear as stated.

Brahman appears, by Itself, in that form.”

In that ease, no Liberation would be possible; because Brahman is always of the nature of one single Cognition. As for us (Buddhists), Liberation is quite possible, as at that stage, there appears a distinct pure Cognition.

Further, for you, apart from Brahman, there can be no Ignorance or Illusion under whose influence the Brahman would appear in the said form. And on account of Illusion being non-separate from It, it would be well-said that ‘under the influence of that Illusion, Brahman appears as Itself in that form’!

It might be said that—“When it is said that ‘It becomes cognised under the influence of Ignorance’, what is meant is that It is of the nature of Ignorance (or Illusion).”

If so, then the implication is all the clearer that there can be no Liberation: when the Eternal One Brahman has the nature of Ignorance, there can be no cessation of that Ignorance, which forms the essence of Brahman,—by virtue of which cessation there could be Liberation.

If then, Ignorance is admitted to be something apart from Brahman,—even so, it could not produce any effect upon Brahman, which is eternal and hence not susceptible to any addition to Its qualities. So that it cannot be right to assert that Its appearance (in Cognition) is due to the influence of Ignorance; and thus there being no connection between Ignorance and Brahman, there can be no Birth and Rebirth.—Nor can it be right to assert that “It could be described as being neither real nor unreal”; because all things must fall within one or the other of these two; otherwise it would not be a Thing (Entity) at all. Nor will it be right to say that “it is because of its being a Non-entity that it is cognised in that form”;—as such an explanation would lead to absurdities.—If, even in that state, it is called a ‘State’ or ‘Condition’, in the sense that its nature is capable of fruitful action,—we have nothing to say against that.

As for us (Buddhists), Ignorance (or Illusion) is only the Disposition of wrongful Attachment (or Yearning); and this Disposition is called a ‘Faculty’; and this Faculty is only of the Essence of Cognition in the form of a ‘Cause’, Hence what happens is that each preceding Cognition,—which is of the nature of Ignorance and serves as a Cause,—is followed by a succeeding Cognition, which is of the nature of its Effect and has within itself the traces of wrongful attachment; and under such circumstances, it is. only right that there should appear a Cognition in the form under discussion, due to the influence of Ignorance.—This Ignorance is duly removed by Mystic Practices,—through the process of succeeding moments endowed with gradually increasing degrees of inefficiency (in the Ignorance),—and there appears a series of pure Cognitions and consequent Liberation; so that the process of ‘Bondage and Liberation’ becomes duly established on a reasonable basis.

This is not possible under your theory; as Brahman, being Eternal and One, cannot have two ‘states’ (of Ignorance and Liberation),—and because the said Brahman is one, the Liberation of one man would mean the Liberation of all men; and the non-liberation (Bondage) of one would mean the Bondage of all.

Nor is there any proof for the fact of Brahman being of the nature of ‘the Light of Self’, during the non-mystic state. The Cognition that proves anything is of the nature of ‘Light’ and hence recognised as ‘self-cognised’, The ‘Sound-self’ however is never found to be cognised in all cognitions,—as has been already mentioned before.—Thus then, df it is admitted that during the ‘non-mystic’ state, Brahman is not of the nature of the ‘Light of Self’,—even so, it will have to be explained how the ‘Light of Self’ which, thus, would not be previously existent, comes about subsequently during the ‘mystic state’, in the Brahman, without this latter having abandoned Its previous form and character.

From all this it follows that your doctrine of ‘Sound-Brahman’ is absolutely wrong. We desist from further expatiation on this point.—(151)

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