The Buddha as Absolute Refuge

When we consider the “three refuges” one can do so in a conventional sense, an empirical sense, and an absolute sense. This blog will reveal the ultimate realization of the three refuges. The Absolute Buddha is the Dharmakaya, or the Source-Principle that Illuminates the Buddhadharma. Absolute Dharma is the Doctrine of Illumination itself. The Absolute Sangha are those Self-realized Ones (Noble Ariyans) who partake in the mystical-union of the One That Illuminates and the Doctrine that is Read more [...]
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The Jewel of the Sangha

The Third Vajra-point pays homage to the Noble (Ārya) Bodhisattvas. There are two types of sangha—one bearing the features of ordinary beings the other bearing the auspicious mark of the Tathagatas—or self-realized beings. Ordinary beings, i.e., worldlings or the puthujjana are blinded by obscurations that prevent them from entering the path of the Self-realized Noble Ones. The Ratna in this Vajra-point is describing the latter whose mind is blessed with discerning the true import of the Read more [...]
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The Jewel of the Dharma

We next turn to the Dharma as the Second Vajra-point. “From the Jewel of the Buddha comes the Jewel of the Doctrine.” This is presented with the same structure: a direct homage to the Blessed Teaching of the Tathagata by highlighting its prominent aspects. Then it enumerates the eight qualities of the Dharma. Takasaki: (Kārikā 2). I bow before the sun of-the Doctrine, Which is neither non-being nor being, Nor both being and non-being together, And neither different from being Read more [...]
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The Jewel of the Buddha

The Ratna next turns to a comprehensive overview of the Three Jewels. First up: The Buddha as the First Vajra-point. The segment on the Buddha begins with a direct homage to the Tathāgata by highlighting prominent aspects of Buddhahood. Then it enumerates the eight qualities of a Buddha. Takasaki: (Kārikā 1) I bow to the one, who has realized the Buddhahood Which has neither beginning, middle nor end, and is quiescent, And who, having realized himself, taught the Path, Fearless Read more [...]
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The Matrix of the Tathāgata

 danita clark The text of the Ratnagotravibhāga consists essentially of 430 Sanskrit verses with an accompanying prose commentary (vyākhyā) that incorporates extensive quotations from Tathāgata-garbha orientated sutras. The first chapter is indeed the longest and initiates the śāstra with an exposition on the Three-Jewels and establishing the Tathāgata-garbha as the definitive refuge for sentient beings.  Jikido Takasaki refers to the garbha as “matrix” when it is usually signified Read more [...]
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Gotra: The Transformative Principle

As mentioned in the introduction to this series, the Ratnagotravibhāga principally covers seven vajrapadas (adamantine topics); vajrapada is Sanskrit for “Vajra-Base”. The seven [Three Jewels (Buddha, Dharma, and Saṃgha), the element (dhātu, which is equivalent to tathāgatagarbha), awakening (bodhi), the Buddha qualities (guṇa), and activity (kriyā--karma)] are comprised of an impenetrable Vajra Nature, each likened unto a “teaching-device” that acts like Indra’s weapon (Vajra) Read more [...]
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The Ratnagotravibhāgaśāstra

The Ratnagotravibhāgaśāstra (Uttaratantra) is the premier śāstra, combined with its [embedded] commentary (the vyākhyā), dealing with the Tathāgatagarbha. It is the earliest systematic portrayal of the Doctrine composed circa the end of the 5th century, and it draws upon a variety of sources. According to the Chinese tradition it is attributed to Sāramati: As will be made clear afterwards, the Ratna takes the theory of the tathāgatagarbha as its basic standpoint and is highly estimated Read more [...]
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Isaac of Nineveh (c. 613 – c. 700)

Also known as Saint Isaac the Syrian, Isaac of Nineveh was a Middle-Eastern Christian monk and spiritual-writer who commanded the way of Eastern Orthodox Monasticism. The references to his life and work in this blog are largely from the magnificent two-volume hard-bound series, Encyclopedia of Monasticism (Vol 1 A-L) edited and compiled by William M. Johnston, published in 2000. It seems really hard to fathom, but today’s hellish war–ravaged Syria in Classical Times was a seedbed for truly Read more [...]
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Gnostikos—The Text

The full title of Evagrius’ Gnostikos is The Gnostic: To the One Made Worthy of Gnosis. In this context, a “Gnostikos” is a form of exegete and teacher who empowers others on the contemplative path to add as one of their resources for inner-growth and development pertinent scriptural passages. In a comparative context, for example, a Gnostikos within Unborn Mind Lankavatarian Zen  searches Buddhist sutras and other pertinent texts for sharing Buddhagnosis. The intent for both paths is Read more [...]
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Acedia: The Noonday Demon

Acedia is best defined as relaxing one’s ascetical discipline to the point of dosing off into a sort of anemic haze, totally abandoning one’s commitment to the Recollective Resolve and surrendering to the subtle attacks of the demon: The demon of acedia will attack either by overwhelming the monk with laziness when he is about to rise for the synaxis or he will introduce the agitation of thoughts during the time of prayer if the monk has not prepared his soul in advance with more sublime Read more [...]
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