The True Liberation of the Tathāgatas


At that time, the Bhagavān spoke to Mañjuśrī, saying, “When you say I am the Tathāgata, do you mean that I have come from suchness?” Mañjuśrī said, “No, Bhagavān, I would not say that the Tathāgata is the one who has come from suchness. Why? There is no appearance of suchness which may be called suchness, and no Tathāgata wisdom which is able to know suchness. Why? The Tathāgata and wisdom are without characteristics of duality. Emptiness is the Tathāgata, only existing as a name, so what should I say is the meaning of Tathāgata?” The Buddha spoke to Mañjuśrī, saying, “Do you doubt the Tathāgata?” Mañjuśrī said, “No, Bhagavān. I contemplate the Tathāgata as being without fixed nature, without birth and without death, and for this reason there is no doubt.” 

The Tathagata is not birthed by Suchness nor is the Tathagatas’ Wisdom able to know the Nature of Bhutatathata (Absolute Suchness). Suchness does not make an appearance on any apparent field of existence nor non-existence and as such is not a means of supporting any nominally-conceived notions of what constitutes the Tathagatas’ Wisdom. The ‘Tathagatas’ Wisdom’ is a mind construct and does not constitute the imageless-nature of Tathagatahood. As such, the Tathagatas’ Wisdom (not-two) is Self-Empty of all fixed-attributes As It is birthless and deathless and hence divorced from all cycles of the composed.

The Buddha spoke to Mañjuśrī, saying, “Would you say that the Tathāgata manifests in the world?” Mañjuśrī said, “If the Tathāgata manifests in the world, then the realm of all dharmas should also manifest.” The Buddha spoke to Mañjuśrī, saying, “Would you say that as many buddhas enter Nirvāa as there are sand grains in the Ganges River?” Mañjuśrī said, “All buddhas have one characteristic: inconceivability.” The Buddha said to Mañjuśrī, “Thusly, thusly! The buddhas are of one appearance, the inconceivable appearance.”  

The Tathagatas’ Bodhi-field is uncomposed and unarisen and thus does not manifest on the samsaric-plane. The Tathagatas’ Bodhi-field is an inconceivable plane of no artificial substratum.

Mañjuśrī addressed the Buddha, saying, “Bhagavān, does the Buddha now abide in the world?” The Buddha said to Mañjuśrī, “Thusly, thusly.” Mañjuśrī said, “If the Buddha abides in the world, then buddhas as many as sand grains of the Ganges River should also abide in the world. Why? All buddhas are of the same appearance, the inconceivable appearance, and the inconceivable appearance is without birth and without death. If future buddhas manifest in the world, then all buddhas would manifest in the world. Why? In the inconceivable, there are no characteristics of the past, future, or present. However, sentient beings grasp and suffer, saying that there is manifestation in the world, or that the Buddha is in Nirvāa.” The Buddha said to Mañjuśrī, “This is the true liberation of the tathāgatas, the arhats, and the avinivartanīya bodhisattvas. Why? If these three types of people hear the extremely profound Dharma, they are neither able to slander nor praise it.” Mañjuśrī addressed the Buddha, saying, “Bhagavān, regarding such an inconceivable Dharma, who could slander it, and who could praise it?”  

avinivartanīya bodhisattvas: the spiritual level in which the bodhisattvas never regress in their constitution of faith in the Buddhadharma. 

A Nirmanakaya-Buddha manifests in samsara, yet its Bodhi-field remains inconceivable on the Dharmakayaic-plane. The true liberation of the Tathagatas occurs on a Sambhogakayic-plane wherein the inconceivable truths of the Tathagata are revealed in the sutras and in the Samādhi of Suchness; as such, in THAT Inconceivable Light no-thing is grasped and thus cannot be slandered nor praised, but only Self-Realized.

The Buddha said to Mañjuśrī, “Just as the Tathāgata is inconceivable, ordinary beings are also inconceivable.” Mañjuśrī addressed the Buddha, saying, “Bhagavān, ordinary beings are also inconceivable?” The Buddha said, “They are also inconceivable. Why? All  characteristics of the mind are inconceivable.” Mañjuśrī said, “If it is as you say and the Tathāgata is inconceivable, then innumerable disciples fatigue themselves in seeking the Nirvāa of the buddhas. Why? The inconceivable Dharma is itself Nirvāa, and they the same without any difference.” Mañjuśrī continued, “As such, ordinary beings are inconceivable, and the buddhas are inconceivable. If a good man or good woman with good roots practices diligently, and with a good teacher, then he or she is able to know this.” 

The inconceivable Bodhi-mind is the Self-same Mind in the Buddhas as well as ordinary folk. Only a diligent one, who has faithfully practiced the Buddhadharma with good spiritual friends as well as in company with an authentic spiritual teacher, is able to discern and place faith in this inconceivable truth of no-duality.

The Buddha spoke to Mañjuśrī, saying, “Do you wish to establish the Tathāgata as foremost among sentient beings?” Mañjuśrī said, “I wish to establish the Tathāgata as foremost among sentient beings; however, the appearance of sentient beings also cannot be grasped.” The Buddha said, “Do you wish to establish the Tathāgata’s attainment of the inconceivable Dharma?” Mañjuśrī said, “I wish to establish the Tathāgata’s attainment of the inconceivable Dharma, yet regarding this there is no attainer.” The Buddha said to Mañjuśrī, “Do you wish to establish the Tathāgata’s Dharma teaching of transformation?” Mañjuśrī addressed the Buddha, saying, “I wish to establish the Tathāgata’s Dharma teaching of transformation, yet the speaker and the listener are both unable to be grasped. Why? These abide in the Dharma Realm, and the Dharma Realm and sentient beings are without characteristics of distinction.”  

In the Dharmadhatu both the Tathagatas and sentient beings are without perceivable characteristics or distinctions. Thus in the Realm of the Dharmadhatu there is nothing that is obtainable or transformable. All simply abide in the Luminous Light of Suchness as All-in-One and not two or three. As Such, they don’t even ‘appear’ as one.

The Buddha said to Mañjuśrī, “Do you wish to establish the Tathāgata as the supreme field of merit?” Mañjuśrī said, “The Tathāgata is the endless field of merit, the endless appearance, and the endless appearance is itself the supreme field of merit. That which is neither the field of merit, nor different from the field of merit, is called the field of merit. That which is without the existence of characteristics such as light and darkness, and birth and death, is called the field of merit. If one is able to understand the appearance of the field of merit, then good seeds have been planted deeply that neither increase nor decrease.” The Buddha said to Mañjuśrī, “Why do you say that the seeds planted will neither increase nor decrease?” Mañjuśrī said, “The appearance of the field of merit is inconceivable. If a person cultivates well in this Dharma, it is likewise inconceivable, and as such the seeds planted neither increase nor decrease, and it is also like this for the supreme field of merit.” 

The supreme field of merit is entry and refuge into the Dharma of the Inconceivable. Herein Bodhi-seeds neither mature nor decay but are AS they are in a perfect stateless-state of Imageless Actuosity.

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10 Responses to The True Liberation of the Tathāgatas

  1. n. yeti says:

    Vajragoni, you have said in the Dharmadhatu both the Tathagatas and sentient beings are without perceivable characteristics or distinctions. As Such, they don’t even ‘appear’ as one. Do you wish to say they are self-recognized, yet this self recognition ceases to be (nibbana/cessation)in the realm of the dharmadhatu? How can this be? Does the Tathagata recognize itself as such in the Dharmadhatu? Likewise do you wish to say there is no true being in the dharmadhatu except for the dharmadhatu itself as it is, i.e. a state of reality beyond being on non-being? Perhaps you can help me to understand this.

  2. Vajragoni says:

    You need to refrain from using any normative rationality in this domain. Mañjuśrī states that the Tathagata IS the Dharmadhatu. Hence, it is absurd to state that the Dharmadhatu needs to recognize the Dharmadhatu.

    • n. yeti says:

      Is the dharmadatu _aware_ it is the dharmadatu?

      • Vajragoni says:

        Once again, you’re trying to conceive of the Dharmadhatu as some kind of objective entity. The Dharmadhatu is not an objective entity that needs to be aware of itself.

    • Mahasidhra says:

      n. yeti; in the Nirvana Sutra, too, the Buddha is identified with the Dharmadhatu: ” The Buddha knows all, is all (he is, according to the Nirvana Sutra, the “boundless dharmadhatu – the Totality itself”), yet unawakened ordinary beings cannot encompass him within their limited thought processes. ” (I’m quoting Dr. Page)

  3. n. yeti says:

    My doubt is not that of the philosophers who confuse the noumenon as a thing unto itself to be comprehended as a phenomenon, nor do I contemplate the Dharmadhatu from any fixed perspective, which must have both observer and observed. This duality of observer and observed is unreal (abhutabhinivesha = unreal duality), in other words, avidya (ignorance) itself. I can see then that the Dharmadhatu has no cause for awareness (nothing to be aware of, no one to be aware), and as Vajragoni has said, it is clear that absolute suchness is not an entity.

    Were the Dharmadhatu to have cause for awareness, this implies the causes and conditions (seed and soil) for initiation of the cycle of birth and death (samsara), whereas the cessation of this cycle is nirvana. As this cycle is not initiated/defiled by the appearance of any phenomena, with no evil thing projected, nor nothing concealed, which might be comprehended and conceived of in delusion as the nature of reality itself whereas all such phenomena are, as I have heard, like the reflection of the moon on water. As I understand it, the Dharmadhatu is pristine, whole and of a nature beyond any normative qualifier. As I understand it, it is like the ground we walk, the canvas upon which the illusion of reality is created, but of itself not attainable, graspable, nor conceivable. It is not therefore itself omniscience, neither nescience, but “prior to” or “beyond” any phenomenal mark which might be observed through false duality and mistaken for reality itself.

    And yet were the Dharmadhatu to lack the cause for awareness, I do not see how the Tathagata can realize the Dharmadhatu. As ordinary beings and the Tathagata are equal in the Dharmadhatu, and of one wholeness (not two), and as I am aware and able to hear the Dharma of the Bhagavan and Manjusri, how then can it be said that the Dharmadhatu is not aware? Thus I think the Dharmadhatu is neither aware, nor can it truly be said to be not aware.

    Is this how I should contemplate the Dharmadhatu?

  4. Tozen says:

    What is divided, cannot conceive of [have a mental image of] the Undivided, cannot comprehend the Undivided (within the purview of its divided vision) and thusly cannot enter the absolute reality and permanent body of the Undivided..

    On the other hand, what is Undivided, can review the divided, can affect the divided through a myriad expedient means, as to let that which is caught within the illusory compound of the divided, to let go and break through the habit-generated barrier of the divided, thus touching the Mind ground of the Undivided. The latter is also known as Nirvana.

  5. n. yeti says:

    It is too profound. It causes the hairs to rise upon my head.

  6. Vajragoni says:

    Would love to contribute more to this fascinating discussion, as well as posting more in this series…unfortunately my computer has caught a horrible virus: taskeng.exe virus. It’s not the usual “rocket-tab” thing. I’ve tried every malware-anti virus programs known to man and it’s not showing up. It begins with a nasty rectangular box accompanied with a pop-up saying that a client.exe can not be found. Have researched and researched and none of the suggestions works. This has been ongoing for 3 days now with no end in sight.

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