30. And on account of its being unproved in every way.
Here now come forward the Mâdhyamikas who teach that there is nothing but a universal Void. This theory of a universal Nothing is the real purport of Sugata's doctrine; the theories of the momentariness of all existence, &c., which imply the acknowledgment of the reality of things, were set forth by him merely as suiting the limited intellectual capacities of his pupils.--Neither cognitions nor external objects have real existence; the Void (the 'Nothing') only constitutes Reality, and final Release means passing over into Non-being.
[paragraph continues] This is the real view of Buddha, and its truth is proved by the following considerations. As the Nothing is not to be proved by any argument, it is self-proved. For a cause has to be assigned for that only which is. But what is does not originate either from that which is or that which is not. We never observe that which is to originate from Being; for things such as jars, and so on, do not originate as long as the lump of clay, &c., is non-destroyed. Nor can Being originate from Non-being; for if the jar were supposed to originate from Non-being, i.e. that non-being which results from the destruction of the lump of clay, it would itself be of the nature of Non-being. Similarly it can be shown that nothing can originate either from itself or from anything else. For the former hypothesis would imply the vicious procedure of the explanation presupposing the thing to be explained; and moreover no motive can be assigned for a thing originating from itself. And on the hypothesis of things originating from other things, it would follow that anything might originate from anything, for all things alike are other things. And as thus there is no origination there is also no destruction. Hence the Nothing constitutes Reality: origination, destruction, Being, Non-being, and so on, are mere illusions (bhrânti). Nor must it be said that as even an illusion cannot take place without a substrate we must assume something real to serve as a substrate; for in the same way as an illusion may arise even when the defect, the abode of the defect, and the knowing subject are unreal, it also may arise even when the substrate of the illusion is unreal. Hence the Nothing is the only reality.--To this the Sûtra replies, 'And on account of its being in everyway unproved'--the theory of general Nothingness which you hold cannot stand. Do you hold that everything is being or non-being, or anything else? On none of these views the Nothingness maintained by you can be established. For the terms being and non-being and the ideas expressed l»y them are generally understood to refer to particular states of actually existing things only. If therefore you declare 'everything is nothing,' your declaration is equivalent
to the declaration, 'everything is being,' for your statement also can only mean that everything that exists is capable of abiding in a certain condition (which you call 'Nothing'). The absolute Nothingness you have in mind cannot thus be established in any way. Moreover, he who tries to establish the tenet of universal Nothingness can attempt this in so far only as,--through some means of knowledge, he has come to know Nothingness, and he must therefore acknowledge the truth of that means. For if it were not true it would follow that everything is real. The view of general Nothingness is thus altogether incapable of proof.--Here terminates the adhikarana of 'unprovedness in every way.'