Synonyms of the Absolute

Friedmann’s translation:

A synonym makes clear that there are different names for the same-thing.
Because it defines the meaning of [the word of which it is] a synonym, it is called synonym…
Summarily the synonyms of the Absolute are:
Tathatā: The Absolute Essence; Suchness.
Bhūtakoṭi: The Limit of Reality; The Absolute Point of Existence.
Animitta: Deprived of Characteristics; The Formless.
Paramārthā: the Absolute, the Ultimate Reality.
Dharmadhātu: The Unique Absolute; the Ultimate cause of
the elements; Realm of Ideas.

*Other names can be supplemented from scripture:

Advayatā: The Real Unique Principle of Non-Duality.
Avikalpadhātu: The Sphere of Non-Constructive-Thought.
Dharmatā: The Ultimate Essence of the Elements of Existence.
Anabhilāpyatā: The Inexpressible.
Anirodha: The Everlasting.
Asaṃskṛtam: The Unconditioned.
Nirvāṇa.
And of course, The Unborn.

Tathatā (Suchness) Stcherbatsky:

(Vasubandhu explains), it is (Reality) Self-same (or Suchness) in the sense of (never) being “other”, i.e. of (never) changing. This means that being the expression of the core of the reality (in everything), it remains “eternally” self-same. Eternally means in all times. It does not change, because it is not produced by causes, (it is eternally the same).

Bhūtakoṭi Friedmann:

For bhuta, “real” means “unperverted” and “true”; koti, the “highest point” means ” the extreme limit” beyond which there is nothing which can be known. Bhūtakoti therefore is called bhūtaparyanta, “The Extreme Limit of Reality”.

Animitta Friedmann:

The Non-Substantiality {Absolute} [itself] is non-substantial [in so far as it is cognized] by means of the characteristics of the conditioned  as well as of the unconditioned. Therefore it is called “without characteristics” [Animitta]. And because [in the light of ‘the Monistic Essence of the Absolute] there is no characteristic whatsoever, [even conditioned as well as non-conditioned existence] are exempt from them.

Paramārthā Friedmann:

It is Paramārthatā, Ultimate Reality because it is the object-sphere of the wisdom of the Ārya . For, paramam, “supreme” [stands for] lokottarañāna, transcendental wisdom. The object thereof is the supreme object, the Ultimate Reality. Explaining this [Vasubandhu] says: For it is the object-sphere of the Supreme Wisdom.

Dharmadhātu Stcherbatsky:

(The term dharmadhātu is here used in a special sense). The term dharma “attribute” refers to the special attributes (or powers) of the Ārya, beginning with his powers of rightly intuiting (the Buddhist theory of the Elements of existence) and other attributes up to his eight degrees of Liberation.

* Buddhist theory of the Elements of existence: [trilakṣaṇa]. (P. tilakkhaṇa; T. mtshan nyid gsum/ phyag rgya gsum; C. sanxiang; J. sansō; K. samsang 三 相). In Sanskrit, the “three marks”; three characteristics of all conditioned phenomena in SAṂSĀRA: impermanence (ANITYA), suffering (DUḤKHA), and nonself [Skandhic elements] (ANĀTMAN). Buswell  Jr., Robert E.; Donald S., Jr. Lopez. The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism (Kindle Locations 69623-69629). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.

The Dharmadhātu also signifies the “Dharma-Realm”; the true reality of the Dharma, or as the Dhammapada in Light of the Unborn teaches, “The True nature of Reality.”

THE VARIETIES OF THE ABSOLUTE:

Stcherbatsky:

Since the essence of the Absolute consists in this that there Is no difference between the apprehended object and the apprehending subject, it is impossible to imagine how indeed can a division (of that unique Absolute be produced)? Therefore no question about this is raised. It has also been stated above that after the synonyms the varieties must be indicated. That is (also) the reason why (Vasubandhu) asks “How is the possibility of varieties in the Absolute to be understood?” (The answer is the following one). The Constructor of phenomenal Appearance, (the Thing-in-ltself, represents the Absolute) as manifested in the phenomenal world. When it is removed remains the pure Absolute. In both these conditions, of phenomenal impurity and purification, there is nothing but the Absolute itself which is being either phenomenalized or purified.

Friedmann’s take:

It has been established that the [Non-Substantiality] is subject to defilement and free from defilement by means of its relation to the *”Non-Revulsion” and *”Revulsion” of the “Personality”. The Non-Substantiality does not manifest itself to those ignorant persons who are attached to [the separate reality of] subjects and objects and whose minds are “stained” by such defiling faculties as raga, passion and so forth, because they do not understand it or misunderstand it, and it is with regard to them that it has been said that the Non-Substantiality is defiled, stained.

*āśrayāparāvtti: the inherent “Buddha-nature” once Mind is freed from adventitious impurities (Oxford Dictionary of Buddhism)

defiling faculties as raga, passion and so forth: this is in reference to the three gunas: sattwa: striving for perfection; rajas: restless activity; tamas: dullness or inertia. As was stated in the series on the The Yogasūtras of Patañjali, the “gunas automatically occur in nature and have a life of their own, so to speak, and they can continually wreak havoc on the clouded, discriminatory mind.”

Stcherbatsky:

This means that when a Bodhisattva has attained Omniscience a complete revulsion in the foundations of his personality has taken place, he is another being, a Superman {Advanced Yogin-Yogini}. In accord with this Fundamental Transubstantiation, (in accord with) whether it has not yet taken place or already taken place, the Absolute is distinguished as being either impure or pure.

(Ordinary men) are bereft of (transcendent) knowledge, they are in the grips of the habit, of distinguishing object from subject, their mentality is infected by emotional and (intellectual) blemishes, they fail to understand or they misunderstand (the problem of the Absolute). To them the Absolute is not revealed. For them it is distinguished as being impure.

But in respect of the Noble Ārya who have attained Omniscience, whose intellect is infallible, the Absolute Reality appears (eternally) without any interruption as pure, as dustless pure ether; for them it is declared to be free from all (phenomenal) impurity.

Stcherbatsky’s translation speaks volumes. As the Lankavatarian-Mystical “Turn-About” in the deepest seat of consciousness occurs, one is then on the spiritual path to becoming an advanced Yogin (yea, like a spiritual-superman in the eyes of the unanointed—puthujjana). It is indeed an inner-transubstantiation—a complete change in substance from defiled-garbha into yoking with the Supreme and Absolute Unborn Buddha Mind.

This entry was posted in Vasubandhu and the Absolute and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*