Dharmatā

It may be of interest to some of the readership as to what is the method employed when undertaking the exegesis of the Sutras in these Dharma-series. Firstly, the given Chapters are diligently read and digested in terms of its main import which is then followed by reading the different translations side-by-side, accompanied with some research on key elements. Afterwards I enter into meditation, preferably with an appropriate ambient-audio track that fine-tunes the inner recesses of my spirit. Read more [...]
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Something Rare

Chapter Three: Lamentations (Charles Patton translation): For a moment not long after Cunda had gone, the ground then shook and quaked in six ways. And on up to the Brahma realms. It was also again so. There were two earthquakes. One was an earthquake, and the other was a great earthquake. The smaller quake was called an earthquake. The greater quake was called a great earthquake. There was a smaller sound called an earthquake and there was a greater sound called a great earthquake. Where Read more [...]
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Free and Marvelous

Chapter Two: On Cunda At that time there was present among the congregation an upasaka who was the son of an artisan of this fortress town of Kusinagara. Cunda was his name. He was there with his comrades, fifteen in number. In order that the world should generate good fruit, he abandoned all bodily adornments [to indicate his respect and modesty], stood up, bared his right shoulder, placed his right knee on the ground and, folding his hands, looked up at the Buddha. Sorrowfully and tearfully, Read more [...]
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The Astounding Assembly

Our choice of translation for this series on the Mahāparinirvāṇasūtra is by Kosho Yamamoto, from Dharmakshema’s Chinese version and edited and revised by Dr. Tony Page in 2007. From time to time we will also draw-upon the translation from the Chinese by Mark L. Blum and the redacted version from the Chinese of Dharmakshema by Huiyan, Huiguan, and Xie Lingyun, translated into English by Charles Patton. Chapter One: Introductory Thus have I heard. At one time, the Buddha was staying Read more [...]
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Assessing the Setting

Our study of the Mahāparinirvāṇasūtra is not to be confused with its distant cousin, the Mahaparinibbana Sutta, which gives a more “historical account” of the Buddha’s last days. The Sutta does give a fascinating story of his having a meal at the home of a Blacksmith, Cunda, after which he fell violently ill. Scholars still debate whether or not he was poisoned, or instead had an allergic reaction to either mushrooms or what is termed “Sukara-maddavam” which in one definition refers Read more [...]
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The Mahāparinirvāṇasūtra (Nirvana Sutra)

While not as profound as the Avataṃsaka Sūtra, or philosophically erudite as, let us say, our recent series on the  Ratnagotravibhāgaśāstra, but certainly the Mahāparinirvāṇasūtra is the most intimate in terms of its exposition of the Buddha’s final days with his much-loved multitude of devotees; in particular with how he wanted his beloved Dharma to be understood. Dr. Tony Page says that “the sutra can be said to eclipse all others in its authority on the question of the Buddha-dhatu Read more [...]
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Death Be Not Final

Came across this. Food for contemplation. Imagine one’s “consciousness” being transported to “the Cloud” for all eternity? What’s to become of rebirth? Death soon may not be so final, thanks to these creepy technologies By Corey S. Powell Every day, it seems, our lives become a bit less tangible. We’ve grown accustomed to photos, music and movies as things that exist only in digital form. But death? Strange as it sounds, the human corpse could be the next physical object Read more [...]
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Having Faith in the Tathāgata-garbha

Within this series we have encountered the seven Vajra-points that essentially constitutes the main leitmotiv of the Ratnagotravibhāgaśāstra, which is the core make-up and teachings of the Tathāgata-garbha: Takasaki: § 1. The Superiority of Faith over Other Virtues in Regard to Their Merits. The Essence of Buddhahood, the Enlightenment of the Buddha, The Buddha's Properties, and the Buddha's Acts, They are inconceivable even to those of the pure mind*, Being the exclusive Read more [...]
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The Acts of the Buddha

In this fourth chapter we have arrived at the seventh and last Vajra-point—Kṛtya-kriyās, or the acts/functions of the Tathāgata. Kṛtya literally means ‘what should or ought to be done, ‘right and proper’. Kriyā means ‘performance, doing or act’. Thus Tathāgata’s Kṛtya-kriyās would mean ‘the right and proper acts of the Tathāgata (Buddha) which he performs spontaneously for the welfare of all sentient beings.’ These are the activities of the Buddha or the “active Read more [...]
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The Powers of the Buddha

The Ten Powers (daśa-balāni) of the Buddha: Sthānāsthāna: Perfect Buddhagnosis of drawing right conclusions, of what is appropriate and inappropriate. A Buddha, unlike common worldlings, makes firm resolutions that are never broken, based on former Bodhisattvic vows that are reinforced through bodhicitta. Karmavipāka: This second power is knowing the fruition of proper [actions], thus having a firm grasp of the workings of karma. Nānādhimukti: Knowing full-well Read more [...]
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