A Dose of Emptiness ; An Annotated Translation of the sTong by Jose Ingacio Cabezon

By Jose Ingacio Cabezon

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Characteristic naturelessness, causal naturelessness, and ultimate naturelessness. lgrahiini also says: "With what intention did the Lord teach that all phenomena are natureless? " 70 In view of this, those who claim that when the Prajfuipiiramitii Sutras teach all phenomena to be natureless, they are referring only to all conventional phenomena, fall outside of both the scriptural system [24] of the Sa,dhinirmocana Sutra and outside of that of Asanga and his brother as well. 71 The Prajfuiparamitii Sutras state that [every phenomenon] from matter up to and including the reality of matter, from omniscience up to and including the reality of omniscience 72 is natureless, and that applies to all other phenomena in the list of permutations (' dres khang) as well.

Because it is the ultimate and also because it lacks the nature of the two kinds of self, [that is, the self of persons and that of phenomena,] the real is said to be ultimately natureless. Uihinirmocana Sutra says: So then what is the characteristic naturelessness of phenomena? It is the characteristic of the imputed. And why is that? It is like this. Because it has the characteristic of being established by name and sign and because it does not exist by virtue of its own characteristic, that is why it is called characteristically natureless.

I bow down to you, my incomparable Master, who are the eye of beings in the three worlds. lsiira that binds them. Because the [3] tree of their ego grasping (bdag tu 'dzin pa) expands and once again spreads, I 24 A Dose of Emptiness see (their various religious efforts) as purposeless hardships. Out of compassion for them, and due to the kindness of my master, I will here explain the profound path. [The Buddha's Doctrine as the Ultimate Source of Salvation] When the wise begin to analyze what the state of greatest fulfillment for themselves and others is, they will not be satisfied with methods that eliminate suffering and bring about a form of happiness that lasts only the length of this life.

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