Emptiness in the Visuddhimagga

Here are some interesting verses on Emptiness (Suñña or Suññatā) from the 5th century meditation manual Visuddhimagga (Chapter 19:20) by Bhandanta Buddhaghosa.

He is quoting verses that were composed by the teachers in former times, so the exact date of the verses in unknown, and they are argued against the Indian philosophers, not against the Buddhist philosophers of the schools.


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Tenāhu Porāṇā:
This was said by the Ancients:

Kammassa kārako natthi, vipākassa ca vedako,
There is no doer of the deed, or one who experiences the result,

Suddhadhammā pavattanti, ev’ etaṁ sammadassanaṁ.
There are just things that roll on, this is the true insight.

Evaṁ kamme vipāke ca, vattamāne sahetuke,
Thus, while deeds and results, together with their causes exist,

Bījarukkhādikānaṁ va, pubbā koṭi na nāyati,
Like seeds and trees and so on, a beginning cannot be discovered,

Anāgate pi saṁsāre appavattaṁ na dissati.
In the future round of birth and deaths an end to the round is not seen.

Etam-atthaṁ anaññāya titthiyā asayaṁvasī,
Because of not understanding this matter, the sectarians are (still) dependent,

Sattasaññaṁ gahetvāna, Sassatucchedadassino,
Having perceived a being, seeing Eternity or Annihilation,

Dvāsaṭṭhidiṭṭhiṁ gaṇhanti, aññamaññavirodhitā.
They grasp (one of the) sixty-two views, that contradict one another.

Diṭṭhibandhanabaddhā te, taṇhāsotena vuyhare,
They are bound to the bondage of views, carried away by the stream of craving,

Taṇhāsotena vuyhantā, na te dukkhā pamuccare.
While being carried away by the stream of craving, they are not free from craving.

Evam-etaṁ abhiññāya, bhikkhu Buddhassa sāvako,
Through deep knowledge, the monk, a disciple of the Buddha,

Gambhīraṁ nipuṇaṁ suññaṁ paccayaṁ paṭivijjhati.
Penetrates for himself the deep and subtle emptiness.

Kammaṁ natthi vipākamhi, pāko kamme na vijjati,
There is no deed in the result, no maturation in the deed is found,

Aññamaññaṁ ubho suññā, na ca kammaṁ vinā phalaṁ.
They are both mutually empty, though there is no fruit without the deed.

Yathā na sūriye aggi, na maṇimhi na gomaye,
Just as there is no fire in the sun, nor in the jewel or in cow-dung,

Na tesaṁ bahi so atthi, sambhārehi ca jāyati.
Nor is it outside of them, it arises because of the right conditions.

Tathā na anto kammassa vipāko upalabbhati,
Nor can a result be found within a deed,

Bahiddhā pi na kammassa, na kammaṁ tattha vijjati.
Nor outside of a deed, nor does the deed exist in that (result).

Phalena suññaṁ taṁ kammaṁ, phalaṁ kamme na vijjati,
The deed is empty of the fruit, the fruit does not exist in the deed,

Kammañ-ca kho upādāya, tato nibbattate phalaṁ.
Though it is derived from the deed, and from that the fruit is born.

Na hettha devo brahmā vā, saṁsārassatthikārako,
There is no god or supreme being who made the round of births and deaths exist,

Suddhadhammā pavattanti, hetusambhārapaccaya.
There are just things that roll on, conditioned by an accumulation of causes.


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