Refuting the Conditioned

Refuting the Conditioned: The Saṃskṛtārthapratiṣedha of Candrakīrti’s Catuḥśatakaṭīkā – Introduction, Translation and Summary
Master thesis. Vienna University, 2012

Abstract: The ‚Commentary to the Four Hundred [Verses] on the Bodhisattva’s Practice of Yoga‘ (Bodhisattvayogacāracatuḥśatakaṭīkā, CŚṬ) is the only extant Indian commentary to Āryadeva’s famous Madhyamaka treatise in verse in its entirety, known as the ‚Treatise in Four Hundred [Verses]‘ (Catuḥśatakaśāstra, CŚ). The treatise is structured around the Bodhisattva’s accumulation of the prerequisites of merit (puṇyasambhāra, chapters I-VIII) and wisdom (jñānasambhāra, chapters IX-XVI). Chapter XV specifically concerns the concept of conditioned things (saṃskṛtārtha) and presents the Madhyamaka’s refutation of the existence of the conditioned and its characteristic marks (saṃskṛtalakṣana, i.e. arising, abiding and ceasing), a position strongly advocated by the Sarvāstivāda, amongst others. In the commentary, this polemic takes the form of a dispute with a fictional opponent, in which the verse text is cited to provide arguments and counterarguments.

The original Sanskrit text of CŚṬ is available only in form of fragments that cover about one third of the work, and there is a critical edition of these, based on a single manuscript (Suzuki 1994). A complete Tibetan translation by Sūkṣmajñāna and Nyi ma grags is contained in the bsTan ‚gyur (P. vol. 96, 5266 ya 33b4-273b6; D. ya 30b6-239a7; C. ya 29a6-236a7; N. ya 34b2-246a6).Furthermore, there is an English translation of the verse text (Lang 1986), but not of the commentary, for which there are but translations of single chapters into different languages (Lang 1976 and 2003; Tillemans 1990 are the English ones).

The thesis further contributes to this work by presenting a translation and summary of the hitherto unaddressed chapter of CŚṬ XV, on the basis of the remaining Sanskrit text (in this case CŚṬ XV.18-25) and a critical edition of the Tibetan translation. An introduction gives an overview of relevant material and the current state of research concerning CŚ/CŚṬ and their authors, together with a short summary of the work, focussing especially on the content of chapter XV. It also includes an introductory presentation of the concept of the conditioned, focussing on Sarvāstivāda and early Madhyamaka thought. The critical edition of the Tibetan text contains readings of the Derge, Peking, Cone, Narthang and Ganden bsTan ‚gyur, together with a paracanonical manuscript, as well as text critical notes with reference to the available Sanskrit material, and is followed by the annotated translation and summary of CŚṬ XV, which refers to relevant parallel passages in the Saṃskṛtārthapratiṣedha of Candrakīrti’s Prasannapadā (LaVallée Poussin 1992; May 1959). A concluding summary will revisit the main points of the thesis and give future perspectives.