Archive for October, 2017

The Nine-Sheaths

Even though the Tathagata-garbha is “within” all sentient beings, it is still plagued by a series of kleśas that soil and keep it dormant until efficacious Buddha-qualities peel-away the damning-sheathes. The Ratna gives nine-examples of these defilements that are by their very nature adventitious. Once un-sheathed, the unadulterated Buddhadhātu shines through. The nine are taken directly from the Tathagata-garbha Sutra. This is a prime example of how the Ratnagotravibhāgaśāstra is compiled Read more [...]

The Top-Ten Qualities of the Ratnagotra

We have arrived at the core-teaching of the Ratna: all sentient beings are endowed with the Buddhagarbha, or the transcendent seed (gotra) of Bodhi. It is taught as Vajra-point four--the Dhātu, or the essence of the Buddha-Element—Tathagata-garbha. As essence, the Dhātu as the inner-most nature is still best serviced by the Gotra, or the [Germ] bodhi-seed enlivening one with the spirit of Bodhi. Obermiller’s translation of the forthcoming is “And the Germ of Buddhahood exists in every Read more [...]

The Family Jewels

If asked to sum-up one of the prominent qualities of the Ratnagotra-vibhāgaśāstra it would zero-in on a “family”, in particular the “Tathata-family”, and the nature of the three-jewels that constitutes the essence of this family. The Tathagata-garbha is the womb of impressions, both pure and impure, that go-into the makeup of this family and bears both soiled sensorial and immaculate transcendent qualities. This next section of the Ratna is a form of systematic analysis highlighting Read more [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]