Chapter Three of the Ratnagotra involves the Buddha-Guṇa (sixth vajra-point), or the properties and/or characteristics of Buddhahood. This is based on the term Guṇādhikāra—or the make-up of the favorable qualities of the Buddhakāya.


(Kārikā 1)

The aim of one’s own and that of others,
[Consists in] the Body of the Highest Truth
And the Worldly Emanations based upon it;
Representing the state of Liberation and Maturation,
The result is endowed with Properties,
Which appear in 64 varieties.

What is told by this śloka?

The Body which represents the Highest Truth
Is the support for the completion of one’s own [aim]
And the support for the fulfilment of others’ [aim]
Is the Emanational Body of the Buddha.
The first Body is endowed with properties,
[10] Powers and so forth, as [the result of] Liberation,
And the second one, with [32] marks of superman,
As the properties [obtained by] the Maturation [which follows after Liberation].

This first verse in the chapter is the essence of the remaining 38 verses. It describes the nature of two [kayās]. The transcendent aim of the welfare for oneself is the Paramārtha-kāya, or the Ultimate Truth Body: Dharmakaya. The visible-kayās, Samvṛtikāya (Body of Worldly Emanations) is the ground for [actions] that benefit others.

Of these, the dharmakaya, which is the first to reveal itself, possesses the ten powers, the four kinds of fearlessness, and so forth, in such a way that they are completely inseparable from it. These qualities fully unfold their different types exclusively due to freedom from the veils, which has come about through gathering the accumulation of primordial wisdom. The second kaya, which is the [division of the] visible kayas, possesses the thirty-two signs of a great being and so forth. These are the qualities that emerge due to the accumulation of merit through which the power of the essence was gradually matured to its full extent.

(From The Mahayana Uttaratantra Shastra, by Arya Maitreya, translated by Rosemarie Fuchs)


(Kārikā 2)

The Powers [of the Buddha] are like a thunderbolt,
In [breaking] the hindrance caused by ignorance,
His Intrepidity in the assemblage is like that of a lion,
The Buddha’s exclusive properties are like space,
And the two kinds of corporeal forms of the Lord are
Like the moon and its reflection in the water.

We see that the Powers of the Buddha are likened unto a [Vajra]. The forthcoming [ten powers] in our next blog are as strong and resilient as the Vajra which cannot be destroyed and at the same time defeats any unsound dharmata by “cutting-through” the barriers of ignorance (avidya). The Lion is representative of the Buddha’s fearlessness since he knows the “true-nature” behind all phenomenonalizations. The 18 distinctive qualities of the Buddha are compared to space—boundless and beyond all the other elements. The visible kayās are compared to the moon in the sky and its reflection upon the face of water. This concerns the nature of the Sambhogakāya which is perceived by Bodhisattvas in an advanced state with heightened Bodhipower, vs. the mere reflection of THAT being observed (nirmanakaya) by the pṛthagjanas (ordinary worldlings) who are very far and removed from Bodhi.

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