Dr. Art Engle gave a presentation on his work at the recent Tsadra Foundation Fellows and Grantees Conference entitled “Observations on Asanga’s Bodhisattvabhūmi.” During his talk he discussed the translation of rigs pa as “application” instead of “reason” in the context of “The Four Applications” (Wyl: rigs pa bzhi; Tib: རིགས་པ་བཞི་ ; Skt: catasro yuktayaḥ). Here he provides us with his notes, translations, and the associated text citations:

 

The Four Applications

[Note: The following passage is an excerpt from Ārya Asaṅga’s The Listener’s Stage (S: Śrāvakabhūmiḥ, T: Nyan thos kyi sa). It forms part of a larger discussion on what are referred to as thirteen “requisites” (S: sambhāraḥ, T: tshogs) for attaining freedom from attachment. The two activities of listening to and reflecting upon the true Dharma taken together represent the tenth of these qualities. Asaṅga’s description of the four applications (S: catasro yuktayaḥ, T: rigs pa bzhi) appears in his explanation of the second of two methods for engaging in the practice of reflection. It is here that we find Asaṅga stating that the term yukti is synonymous with yoga (T: sbyor ba) and upāya (T: thabs), any of which could be rendered in this context as an “application,” a “means,” or an “expedient.” It is for this reason that I have translated the term as “application,” rather than the more commonly seen rendering “reason.” The Sanskrit of the text that appears below is not well edited and contains a number of corruptions; nevertheless, it is helpful in the effort of attempting to render an accurate English translation. Another important primary source for the four applications is a passage that appears in Chapter Ten of the Saṃdhinirmocana Sūtra.]

 

cintanā katamā | yathāpīhaikatyas tān eva yathā śrutān dharmān ekākī rahogataḥ | ṣaḍ acintyāni sthānāni tad yathā, (1) ātmacintāṁ, (2) sattvacintāṁ, (3) lokacintāṁ, (4) satvā(ttvā)nāṁ karmavipākacintāṁ, (5) dhyāyināṁ dhyāyiviṣayaṁ (6) buddhānāṁ buddhaviṣayaṁ varjayitvā (viśodhayitvā ?) svalakṣaṇataḥ | sāmānyalakṣaṇataś ca cintayati |

SEMS PA GANG ZHE NA, ‘DI LTAR ‘DI NA LA LA GCIG PU DBEN PAR SONG STE, BSAM GYIS MI KHYAB PA’I GNAS DRUG PO ‘DI LTA STE, BDAG LA SEMS PA DANG, SEMS CAN LA SEMS PA DANG, ‘JIG RTEN PA LA SEMS PA DANG, SEMS CAN RNAMS KYI LAS KYI RNAM PAR SMIN PA LA SEMS PA DANG, BSAM GTAN PA RNAMS KYI BSAM GTAN GYI YUL DANG, SANGS RGYAS RNAMS KYI SANGS RGYAS KYI YUL RNAM PAR SBYANGS NAS, JI LTAR THOS PA’I CHOS DE DAG NYID RANG GI MTSAN NYID DANG, SPYI’I MTSAN NYID KYI SGO NAS SEMS PAR BYED PA YIN NO, ,

What is reflection (S: cintanā, T: sems pa)?
It is [described] as follows: Here a person goes alone to a solitary place and, after having cultivated the six inconceivable topics—that is, reflection upon the self, reflection upon beings, reflection upon the world, reflection upon the ripening of beings’ deeds, the objects of meditation that pertain to those who practice meditation, and the objects of a Buddha that are possessed by Buddhas—he [or she] reflects upon the individual and general characteristics of those teachings [that have been heard] in the same manner that he [or she] heard them.

 

sā punaḥ cintā dvividhā gaṇanākārāsahagaṇanāyogena dharmeṇa | tulanākārama(rā), yuktyā guṇadoṣaparīkṣaṇākārā [ca][|] sa cet skandhapratisaṁyuktāṁ deśanāṁ cintayati | sa ced anyatamānyatamāṁ pūrvvaniviṣṭāṁ deśanāṁ cintayaty ābhyāṁ cintayati |

SEMS PA DE YANG RNAM PA GNYIS TE, BGRANG BA’I RNAM PAS CHOS RNAMS LA BGRANG BA’I TSUL GYIS SEMS PAR BYED PA DANG, GZHAL BA’I RNAM PAS RIG PAS YON TAN DANG SKYON NYE BAR BRTAG PA’I TSUL GYIS SEMS PAR BYED PA YIN NO, ,GAL TE PHUNG PO DANG LDAN PA BSTAN PA LA SEMS PAR BYED DAM, GAL TE DE LAS GZHAN PA SNGAR BSTAN PA GANG YANG RUNG BA BSTAN PA LA SEMS PAR BYED NA YANG RNAM PA DE GNYIS KYIS SEMS PAR BYED PA YIN TE,

Moreover, this reflection is of two types: (1) [reflection] upon teachings using a method that is a form of counting and (2) [reflection upon teaching] by means of a form of deliberation that consists of examining the good and bad qualities [of a particular topic]. If [someone] reflects upon a teaching that relates to the aggregates, or reflects upon any other teaching that was previously given, he [or she] reflects upon it using [either of] these two [methods].

yathā punaḥ katham iti rūpam ucyate | daśa rūpīṇy āyatanānīti | yac ca dharmāyatanaparyāpannaṁ rūpaṁ sa ca rūpaskandhaḥ, tisro vedanā vedanāskandhaḥ | ṣaṭ saṁjñākāyāḥ saṁjñāskandhaḥ | ṣaṭ cetanākāyāḥ cetanāskandhaḥ | ṣaḍ vijñānakāyā vijñānaskandha ity evaṁ gaṇanāsaṁkhyākārāṁ skandha [gaṇanāṁ] cintayaty uttarottaraprabhedena yena vā punar asyāḥ saṁkhyāgaṇanākārāyāś cintāyā apramāṇaḥ praveśanayo veditavyaḥ |

DE YANG JI LTAR ZHE NA, GZUGS ZHES BYA BA NI SKYE MCHED GZUGS CAN BCU DANG, CHOS KYI SKYE MCHED DU GTOGS PA’I GZUGS GANG YIN PA STE, DE NI GZUGS KYI PHUNG PO YIN NO, ,TSOR BA RNAM PA GSUM NI TSOR BA’I PHUNG PO YIN NO, ,’DU SHES KYI TSOGS DRUG NI ‘DU SHES KYI PHUNG PO YIN, ‘DU BYED KYI TSOGS DRUG NI ‘DU BYED KYI PHUNG PO YIN, RNAM PAR SHES PA’I TSOGS DRUG NI RNAM PAR SHES PA’I PHUNG PO YIN TE, DE LTAR NA BGRANG BA DANG, GRANGS KYI RNAM PAR PHUNG PO BSTAN PA LA SEMS PAR BYED PA DANG, GONG NAS GONG DU RAB TU DBYE BA’I TSUL GYIS GRANGS DANG, BGRANG BA’I RNAM PA SEMS PA DE LA TSAD MED PA’I SGO NAS ‘JUG PA’I TSUL DU RIG PAR BYA’O, ,

How, then, [are these two methods carried out]?
The term “form” refers to the ten bases that have the nature of form, as well as the form that is included in the entity basis. This is what makes up the form aggregate. The feeling aggregate is made up of three types of feeling. The conception aggregate is made up of six collections of conceptions. The formations aggregate is made up of six collections of formations. The consciousness aggregate is made up of six collections of [various forms of] consciousness. It should be understood that this is how one reflects upon a teaching about the aggregates in a manner that consists of a form of counting and enumeration. Moreover, [it should also be understood] that this method of reflection that is based on a form of enumeration and counting can be applied to an immeasurable degree by [further] distinguishing [the aggregates] using ever more detailed types of classification.

 

kathaṁ yuktyupaparīkṣākārayā cintayā skandhadeśanāṁ cintayati | catasṛbhir yuktibhir upaparīkṣate | katamābhiś catasṛbhir yad utāpekṣāyuktyā, kāryakāraṇayuktyā, upapattisādhanayuktyā | dharmatāyuktyā ||

JI LTAR NA RIGS PAS NYE BAR BRTAGS PA’I SEMS PAS PHUNG PO BSTAN PA LA SEMS PAR BYED PA YIN ZHE NA, RIGS PA BZHIS NYE BAR RTOG PAR BYED DE, BZHI GANG ZHE NA, ‘DI LTA STE, LTOS PA’I RIGS PA DANG, BYA BA BYED PA’I RIGS PA DANG, ‘THAD PA SGRUB PA’I RIGS PA DANG, CHOS NYID KYI RIGS PAS SO, ,

How does one reflect upon a teaching about the aggregates using a form of investigation that applies various types of expedient means (S: yuktyupaparīkṣā, T: rigs pas nye bar brtags pa)?
[Such a teaching] is investigated by means of the four applications.
What are the four applications?
They are (1) the application that relates to dependence (S: apekṣāyuktiḥ, T: ltos pa’i rigs pa), (2) the application that relates to performance of an action (S: kāryakāraṇayuktiḥ, T: bya ba byed pa’i rigs pa), (3) the application that relates to demonstration of a proof (S: upapattisādhana-yuktiḥ, T: ’thad pas grub pa’i rigs pa), and (4) the application that relates to the nature of things (S: dharmatāyuktiḥ, T: chos nyid kyi rigs pa).

 

apekṣāyuktiḥ katamā | dvividhā apekṣā utpatyapekṣā prajñaptyapekṣā ca | tatrotpattyapekṣā yair hetupratyayaiḥ skandhānāṁ prādur bhāvo bhavati | tasyāṁ skandhotpattau te hetavas te pratyayā apekṣyante | yair nāmakāyapadakāyavyaṁjanakāyaiḥ skandhānāṁ prajñaptir bhavati | tasyāṁ skandhaprajñaptau te nāmapadakāyavyaṁjanakāyā apekṣyante | iyam ucyate skandheṣūtpattyapekṣā | prajñaptyapekṣatā (kṣā)ca | yā cotpattyapekṣā | yā ca prajñaptyapekṣā sā yuktir yoga upāyaḥ | skandhotpattaye | skandhaprajñaptaye tasmād apekṣāyuktir ity ucyate |

DE LA LTOS PA’I RIGS PA GANG ZHE NA, LTOS PA NI RNAM PA GNYIS TE, SKYE BA’I LTOS PA DANG, GDAGS PA’I LTOS PA’O, ,DE LA SKYE BA’I LTOS PA NI RGYU GANG DAG DANG, RKYEN GANG DAG GIS PHUNG PO RNAMS SKYE BAR ‘GYUR BA’I PHUNG PO’I SKYE BA DE NI RGYU DE DAG DANG, RKYEN DANG DE DAG LAS LTOS PA YIN NO, ,MING GI CHOGS DANG, TSIG GI TSOGS DANG, YI GE’I TSOGS GANG DAG GI PHUNG PO RNAMS GDAGS PAR ‘GYUR BA’I PHUNG PO GDAGS PA DE NI MING GI TSOGS DANG, TSIG GI TSOGS DANG, YI GE’I CHOGS DE DAG LA LTOS PA YIN TE, DE NI PHUNG PO RNAMS KYI SKYE BA’I LTOS PA DANG, GDAGS PA’I LTOS PA ZHES BYA’O, ,SKYE BA’I LTOS PA GANG YIN PA DANG, GDAGS PA’I LTOS PA GANG YIN PA DE NI PHUNG PO SKYE BA DANG, PHUNG POR GDAGS PA’I RIGS PA DANG, SBYOR BA DANG THABS YIN PAS NA DE’I PHYIR LTOS PA’I RIGS PA ZHES BYA’O, ,

What is the application that relates to dependence?
There are two types of dependence: the dependence that relates to arising (S: utpattyapekṣā, T: skye ba’i ltos pa) and the dependence that relates to informative statements (S: prajñaptyapekṣā, T: gdags pa’i ltos pa). Regarding these, the dependence that relates to the arising [of the heaps] means that the causes and conditions by which the heaps are made to appear are the causes and conditions upon which the arising of the heaps depends. [The dependence that relates to informative statements about the heaps] means that the collections of names, assertions, and syllables by which the informative statements regarding the heaps are made are the collections of names, assertions, and syllables upon which the informative statements regarding the heaps depend. These [two types of dependence] that occur in relation to the heaps are called “the dependence that relates to the arising” and “the dependence that relates to informative statements.”
Both the dependence that relates to the arising [of the heaps] and the dependence that relates to informative statements [about the heaps] are an application (S: yuktiḥ, T: rigs pa) or a means (S: yogaḥ, T: sbyor ba) or a method (S: upāyaḥ¸T: thabs) that is directed toward the arising of the heaps and [an application or a means or a method] that is directed toward the informative statements made in relation to the heaps. Therefore, it is called “the application that relates to dependence.”

 

kāryakāraṇayuktir yā [ta]d utpannānāṁ skandhānāṁ svena hetunā svena pratyayena tasmiṁs tasmin svakāryakaraṇe viniyogas tad yathā | cakṣuṣā rūpāṇi draṣṭavyāni | śrotreṇa śabdā[ḥ] śrotavyāḥ | yāvan manasā dharmā vijñeyā iti | rūpeṇa cakṣuṣo gocare avasthātavyaṁ | śabdena śrotrasya, evaṁ yāddharmair manasa iti | yad vā punar anyad apy evaṁ bhāgīyaṁ | tatra tatra dharmāṇām anyo[a]nyaṁ kāryakāraṇe prati yuktir yoga upāya iyam ucyate | kāryakāraṇayuktiḥ |

BYA BA BYED PA’I RIGS PA GANG ZHE NA, PHUNG PO RANG GI RGYU DANG, RANG GI RKYEN GYIS BSKYED PA GANG YIN PA RNAMS NI RANG GI BYA BA BYED PA DE DANG DE DAG LA SBYOR BAR BYED PA YIN TE, ‘DI LTA STE, DPER NA MIG GIS GZUGS RNAMS LA LTA BAR BYED PA DANG, RNA BAS SGRA RNAMS NYAN PAR BYED PA DANG, YID KYIS CHOS RNAMS SHES PAR BYED PA’I BAR LTA BU DANG, GZUGS KYIS MIG GI SPYOD YUL DU GNAS PAR BYED PA DANG, SGRAS RNA BA’I SPYOD YUL DU GNAS PAR BYED PA DANG, DE BZHIN DU CHOS RNAMS KYIS YID KYI SPYOD YUL DU GNAS PAR BYED PA’I BAR DAG LTA BU DANG, GZHAN YANG DE LTA BU DANG MTHUN PA’I CHOS RNAMS DE DANG DE DAG GCIG LA GCIG BYA BA BYED PA’I RIGS PA DANG, SBYOR BA DANG, THABS SU ‘GYUR BA GANG YIN PA DE NI BYA BA BYED PA’I RIGS PA ZHES BYA’O, ,

 

What is the application that relates to performance of an action?
It is the assigning (S: viniyogaḥ, T: sbyor bar byed pa) of the performance of this or that action to [the individual entities that make up] the heaps, each of which has arisen on the basis of its own causes and conditions. For example, the eye sees [visible] forms, the ear hears sounds, and so on, up to the mind knows entities. [Visible] form is established as the field of action for the eye, sound is established as the field of action for the ear, and so on in the same way, up to entities are established as the field of action for the mind. In addition, further descriptions of a similar kind can be made in relation to the performance of actions that occur mutually among different entities. Such an application or means or method is called “the application that relates to performing an action.”

 

upapattisādhanayuktiḥ katamā[|] anityā[ḥ] skandhā iti, pratītyasamutpannā, duḥkhā[ḥ], śūnyā, anātmāna iti tribhiḥ pramāṇair upaparīkṣate yad utāptāgamena, pratyakṣeṇānumānena ca[|] ebhis tribhiḥ pramāṇair ūpapattiyuktaiḥ satāṁ hṛdayagrāhakair vyavasthāpanā sādhanā kriyate | yad uta skandhānityatāyā vā, pratītyasamutpannatāyā vā, duḥkhatāyā [ḥ], śūnyatāyā, iyam ucyate upapattisādhanayuktiḥ |

‘THAD PA SGRUB PA’I RIGS PA GANG ZHE NA, PHUNG PO RNAMS MI RTAG PA’AM, RTEN CING ‘BREL PAR ‘BYUNG BA’AM, SDUG BSNGAL BA’AM, STONG PA’AM, BDAG MED PA’O ZHES TSAD MA GSUM PO ‘DI LTA STE, YID CHES PA’I LUNG DANG, MNGON SUM DU RJES SU DPAG PA DAG GIS NYE BAR RTOG PAR BYED CING ‘THAD PA’I RIGS PA DAM PA RNAMS KYI SNYING ‘PHROG PAR BYED PA’I TSAD MA GSUM PO DE DAG GIS ‘DI LTA STE, PHUNG PO RNAMS MI RTAG PA NYID DAM, RTEN CING ‘BREL BAR ‘BYUNG BA NYID DAM, SDUG BSNGAL BA NYID DAM, STONG PA NYID DAM, BDAG MED PA NYID DU RNAM PAR ‘JOG PAR BYED CING, SGRUB PAR BYED PA YIN TE; DE’I ‘THAD PA SGRUB PA’I RIGS PA ZHES BYA BA’O, ,

What is the application that relates to demonstration of a proof? The assertions that the heaps are impermanent, that they are dependently arisen, that they have a nature that consists of suffering, that they are empty [of a self that is distinct from them], and that they do not [in themselves] constitute a self are investigated using the three forms of authoritative knowledge (S: pramāṇam, T: tshad ma)—that is to say, trustworthy scripture, direct perception, and inference. These three forms of authoritative knowledge—which represent forms of application that relate to proofs (S: upapattiyuktiḥ, T: ’thad pa’i rigs pa) and which captivate the minds of the wise—establish and demonstrate the impermanence, dependently arisen nature, suffering nature, empty nature, and selflessness of the heaps. [Hence,] this [method of reflection] is called “the application that relates to demonstration of a proof.”

 

dharmatāyuktiḥ katamā| kena kāraṇena tathā bhūtā ete skandhā[ḥ], tathā bhūto lokasanniveśaḥ kena kāraṇena kharalakṣaṇā pṛthivī, dravalakṣaṇā āpaḥ, uṣṇalakṣaṇaṁ tejaḥ [ḥ], samudīraṇalakṣaṇo vāyuḥ, (|) anityāḥ, skandhā [ḥ], kena kāraṇena śāntaṁ nirvvāṇam iti| tathā rūpaṇalakṣaṇaṁ rūpaṁ | anubhavalakṣaṇā vedanā, saṁjānanalakṣaṇā saṁjñā, abhisaṁskaraṇalakṣaṇāḥ saṁskārāḥ, vijānanālakṣaṇaṁ vijñānam iti| prakṛtir eṣāṁ dharmāṇām iyaṁ svabhāva eṣa īdṛśaḥ | dharmataiṣā caiva cāsau dharmatā | saivātra yuktir yoga upāyaḥ [|] evaṁ vā etat syāt | anyathā vā, naiva vā syāt, sarvvatraiva ca dharmataiva pratiprasaraṇadharmataiva yuktiḥ | cittanidhyāyanāya, cittasaṁjñāpanāya iyam ucyate dharmatāyuktiḥ |

CHOS NYID KYI RIGS PA GANG ZHE NA, CI’I PHYIR PHUNG PO RNAMS DE LTA BUR GYUR BA YIN, ‘JIG RTEN GNAS PA DE LTA BUR GYUR PA YIN, CI’I PHYIR SA’I MTSAN NYID SRA BA YIN, CHU’I MTSAN NYID GSHER BA YIN, ME’I MTSAN NYID TSA BA YIN; RLUNG GI MTSAN NYID GA-YO BA YIN, CI’I PHYIR PHUNG PO RNAMS MI TIG PA YIN, CI’I PHYIR MYA NGAN LAS ‘DAS PA ZHI BA YIN, DE BZHIN DU CI’I PHYIR GZUGS KYIS MTSAN NYID GZUGS SU RUNG BA YIN, TSOR BA’I MTSAN NYID MYONG BA YIN, ‘DU SHES KYI MTSAN NYID KUN SHES PAR BYED PA YIN, ‘DU BYED RNAMS KYI MTSAN NYID MNGON PAR ‘DU BYED PA YIN, RNAM PAR SHES PA’I MTSAN NYID RNAM PAR SHES PAR BYED PA YIN ZHE NA, DE NI CHOS NYID YIN TE, CHOS DE DAG GI RANG BZHIN DE YIN ZHING, DE DAG GI NGO BO NYID DE LTA BU YIN PAS CHOS NYID DE GANG KHO NA YIN PA DE NYID ‘DIR RIGS PA DANG, SBYOR BA DANG, THABS YIN NO, ,DE BZHIN DU DE LTA BU’AM, GZHAN NAM, GZHAN DU MI ‘GYUR BA NI SEMS LA GZHAG PAR BYA BA DANG, SEMS LA GO BAR BYA BA’I PHYIR THAMS CAD DU YANG CHOS NYID KHO NA LA BRTEN PA DANG, CHOS NYID KHO NA’I RIGS PA YIN TE; DE NI CHOS NYID KYI RIGS PA ZHES BYA’O, ,

What is the application that relates to the nature of things?
In response to questions such as, “Why do the heaps have such a nature?” “[Why] does the arrangement of the world have that nature?” “Why does the earth [element] have the essential characteristic of hardness, the water [element] have the essential characteristic of wetness, the fire [element] have the essential characteristic of heat, and the air [element] have the essential characteristic of motility?” “[Why] are the heaps impermanent?” “Why is nirvana a state of peace?” and, similarly, [in answer to such questions as “Why] does form have the essential characteristic of displaying [the quality of] form?” “[Why do] feelings have the essential characteristic of experiencing?” “[Why do] conceptions have the essential characteristic of causing things to be recognized?” “[Why do] formations have the essential characteristic of shaping/forming things [in a particular way]?” and “[Why does] consciousness have the essential characteristic of awareness?” [the understanding that] this is the natural condition of those entities, that this is what their essential nature is like, that this is their very nature is here an application or a way or a means, and hence it is called “the application that relates to the nature of things.” Alternatively, the application that the relates to the nature of things and that relies upon the nature of things with the aim of fixing the mind upon and causing the mind to recognize that this is the way things are, that they are not some other way, that they do not cease to be this way, and that they are [this way] everywhere is called “the application that relates to the nature of things.”

 

evaṁ catasṛbhir yuktabhiḥ skandhadeśanā upaparīkṣyata iti | yāvat punar anyā kācid deśanā iti yā evam ābhyāṁ dvābhyām ākārābhyāṁ gaṇanāsaṁkhyākārā ca yuktyupaparīkṣaṇākārā ca samyag upanidhyāyanā tasyās tasyā deśanāyā iyam ucyate | saddharmaśravaṇacinta[nā] ||

DE LTAR NA RIGS PA BZHIS PHUNG PO B STAN PA DANG, GZHAN GANG YANG RUNG BA BSTAN PA LA NGES PAR RTOGS PAR BYED PA YIN TE, DE LTAR RNAM PA GNYIS PO BGRANG BA DANG, GRANGS KYI RNAM PA DANG, RIGS PAS NYE BAR RTOG PA’I RNAM PA DE DAG GIS BSTAN PA DE DANG, DE DAG LA YANG DAG PAR RTOG PAR BYED PA GANG YIN PA DE NI SEMS PA YIN TE, DE NI DAM PA’I CHOS NYAN PA DANG SEMS PA ZHES BYA’O, ,

This is the way in which a teaching about the aggregates is investigated by means of the four applications. Moreover, the correct and attentive consideration of any other specific teaching using [either of] these two methods that represent [either] a form of counting and enumeration or a form of examination using the applications is what is referred to as reflection. This is what is referred to as “listening to and reflection upon the true Dharma.”

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