Nagarjuna’s Quadruple Theory ModelJune 27, 2021
Nagarjuna revealed this quadrilateral model, also called the “Buddhist Tetralamma”, inspired by the Chain of Four in the Digha-Nikaya of the Pali Canon. They are similar to each other in terms of features. Below is an excerpt from Samyutta Nikaya, a dialogue between the Buddha and Kassapa, who was first a dervish and later a disciple of Buddha. The speech contains the Buddha’s explanation of the genesis of suffering:
Kassapa: Saint Gotama, is the suffering self-inflicted?
Buddha: You shouldn’t talk like that, Kassapa.
Kassapa: Or should I ask: Does the pain consist of other things?
Buddha: You shouldn’t talk like that, Butcher.
Kassapa: Or does it consist of itself and other things?
Buddha: You shouldn’t ask like that, Butcher.
Kassapa: Okay, neither by itself nor by other things, so it is by chance?
Buddha: No, Kassapa, you shouldn’t say that either.
Kassapa: Well, Saint Gotama, can we say that there is no such thing as pain then?
Buddha: Presumably there is pain, Kassapa.
Kassapa: So pain is something unknown and invisible?
Buddha: I know and see pain very well, Butcher.
Kassapa: Great Gotama, then can you explain the pain to me please?
On top of that, Buddha explains in detail to Kassapa that suffering is not caused by itself or by the effect of other things. He finally tells him to stay away from these two views and explains the core teaching at the heart of the Tathagata: “Form is constructed by ignorance, while awareness is constructed by form.”
Buddha is discussing the Chain of Four (Urteilsvierkant) with this example. According to Buddhist thought, Buddha questioned the extreme views of the belief in eternity and the doctrine of destruction, which should be avoided.
Nagarjuna’s Four Chain model is basically applied as a theory. This chain is listed as follows:
1. Objects are the same.
2. Objects are different.
3. Objects are both the same and different.
4. Objects are neither the same nor different.
According to Buddhist logic, the teaching of “Not Being Yourself” means: A and A are not equivalent. This process distinguishes the process of constant change of existence with the self-image, which regularly comes together and disappears again. This change is strengthened through commitment. This means that the basic prerequisites of stylistic logic are rejected, and it turns out that A and A have little resemblance. Thus, within the factors of existence, there may be a state of not being yourself.
It is valid to prove this by certain realities and not by means of the Four Chains according to the following varieties. This means proving a claim false or substituting a false truth for true truth. It also means pointing out weak points in forms of discussion and lines of thought that oppose a piece of information. Therefore, the only valid criterion that can be judged last, therefore, is whether what is said is sacred and whether it is suitable for in-depth understanding. These expression forms are mandatory if the expression forms belong to a relative plane. But these must be proved to be “sacred practice” in order to mediate and convey the doctrinal content, and accordingly the truthfulness of these statements must be related to usability.
This state of true and full understanding is valid in nonverbal understanding. This nonverbal understanding is an expression known as “Unthinking Thought” in the understanding of “Zen”. Thus, the application of the four points of evaluation has two aspects: The first expresses a non-constructive thought, here the non-constructive state; it is to express the dead ends and a task of limited, restricted and unholy thought. The second is to demonstrate a constructive thought. That is, it proves the state of ignorance in wisdom. It also proves the departure from this thought. The elements of the Quadruple Chain find themselves again in some Zen masters and the tradition of the problems that Zen masters have given to solve to this day.