The 8th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia Illustrations
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The Greatness of the Influences of Dharmadhatu
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The Buddha-Tathagatas, while in the stages of Bodhisattvahood, exercised great compassion, practiced paramitas, and accepted and transformed sentient beings. They took great vows, desiring to liberate all sentient beings through countless aeons until the end of future time, for they regarded all sentient beings as they regarded themselves. And yet, they never regarded them as separate sentient beings.
Why? Because they truly knew that all sentient beings and they themselves were identical in Dharma Nature and that there could be no distinction between them. Because they possessed such great wisdom and compassion which could be applied to expedient means in quest of enlightenment, they extinguished their ignorance and perceived the original Dharmakaya. Spontaneously performing incomprehensible activities, exercising manifold influences, they pervade everywhere in their identity with Dharmadhatu. Nevertheless, they reveal no attributes of their influences that can be traced as such.
The Buddha-Tathagatas are no other than the Dharmakaya itself, and the embodiment of wisdom. They belong to the realm of the attained truth, which transcends the world where the relative truth operates. They are free from any conventional activities. And yet, because of the fact that sentient beings receive benefit through seeing or hearing them, their influences can be spoken of in relative terms. The influences of Dharmadhatu are of two kinds. The first is that which is conceived by the mind of ordinary men [i.e., the influence of Dharmadhatu as reflected] in the “object-discriminating consciousness”.
This is called the influence of Dharmadhatu in the form of the “Transformation-body” (Nirmanakaya). Because they do not know that it is projected by the “evolving mind”, they regard it as coming from without; they assume that it has a corporeal limitation because their understanding is limited. The second is that which is conceived by the mind of the Bodhisattvas, from the first stage of aspiration to the highest stage, [i.e., the influence of Dharmadhatu as reflected] in the mentality which regards external objects as unreal.
This is called the influence of Dharmadhatu in the form of the “Bliss-body” (Sambhogakaya). It has an infinite number of corporeal forms, each form has an infinite number of Bodhisattvas, and has an infinite number of Dharma Realms. The land where it has its abode has innumerable adornments. It manifests itself without any bounds; its manifestations are inexhaustible and free from any limitations. It manifests itself in accordance with the needs of sentient beings; and yet it always remains firm without destroying or losing itself. These excellent qualities were perfected by the pure penetration acquired by the practice of paramitas and the sagacious penetration of Dharmadhatu.
Since the influence is endowed with infinite attributes of bliss, it is spoken of as the “Bliss-body”. What is seen by ordinary men is only the coarse corporeal forms of the manifestation of Dharmadhatu. Depending upon where one is in the transmigratory states, his vision of it will differ. The visions of it conceived by the unenlightened beings are not in a form of Bliss; this is the reason why it is called the “Transformation-body” [i.e., the body appearing in the likeness of the conceiver]. The Bodhisattvas in their first stage of aspiration and the others, because of their deep faith in Dharmadhatu, have a partial insight into the nature of the influence of Dharmadhatu.
They know that the things of the Bliss-body, such as its corporeal forms, major attributes, adornments, etc., do not come from without or go away, that they are free from limitations, and that they are envisioned by mind alone and are not independent of Dharmadhatu. These Bodhisattvas, however, are not free from dualistic thinking, since they have yet to enter into the stage where they gain complete realization of the Dharmakaya. When they leave the last stage of Bodhisattvahood, they will perfect their insight into Dharmadhatu. When they become free from the “activating mind” they will be free from the perceiving of duality. The Dharmakaya of the Buddhas knows no such thing as distinguishing this from that. Question: If the Dharmakaya of the Buddhas is free from the manifestation of corporeal form
How can it appear in corporeal form? Since the Dharmakaya is the essence of corporeal form, it is capable of appearing in corporeal form. The reason this is said is that from the beginning corporeal form and Mind have been nondual. Since the essential nature of corporeal form is identical with wisdom, the essence of corporeal form which has yet to be divided into tangible forms is called the “wisdom-body”. Since the essential nature of wisdom is identical with corporeal form, the essence of corporeal form which has yet to be divided into tangible forms is called Dharmakaya pervading everywhere. Its manifested corporeal forms have no limitations.
It can be freely manifested as an infinite number of Bodhisattvas, Buddhas of Bliss-body, and adornments in the ten quarters of the universe. Each of them has neither limitation nor interference. All of these are incomprehensible to the dualistic thinking of the deluded mind and consciousness, for they result from the free influence of Dharmadhatu.
All Buddha’s are human beings. There life on earth is shared with everyone’s life on earth. Shinran Shonin was asked if his enlightenment was nay different from his Master Honen. He said no, it is not. Shrinran’s wife, Eshinni dreamed that he was the Kwan Um Bodhisattva. Shinran and all hman being can take on these attributes because expedient means is symbolic means and Dharma Realms and Boddhisattvas are expedient representations of reality. Reality itself manifests Buddhist Cosmology, yet in life itself the symbolic attributes fall away when reality reality is manifested.