The Magnificent Eight

Bodhi itself is bracketed by Eight-Points or essential-qualities. The Eight Points are: Purity (svabhāva), Cause (hetu), Result (phala), Functions (karman), Union (yoga), Manifestations (vṛtti), Permanence (nitya), and Inconceivability (acintya). These “terms” should be familiar as they mostly were covered earlier in the series. Now they are associated in terms of Pure and Immaculate qualities of the Absolute Staturehood.

  1. Svabhāva:

Obermiller:

Now, (first of all) we have a verse referring to Buddhahood
and the means for the attainment of it, that is to say, the essence
and the causes (of Enlightenment)—
“Buddhahood” [i.e., in its essence] is that which is called pure and radiant,
(Shining) like the sun and (immaculate) like the sky,
Which was darkened by the Obscurations
Of defilement and ignorance as by dense multitudes of clouds
And is now perfectly pure, possessed of all the properties of
the Buddha,
Is eternal, firm and indestructible.
It is attained on the foundation of the knowledge of the Truth,
Which is free from dialectical thought-construction,
And the knowledge analyzing (the elements of existence).

This Immaculate Nature is referred to as “the Clear-Light”—as both a deep and abiding awareness and as the Clear-Light that keeps all defiled dharmata from clouding-up this pristine awareness. This realization of [Pure-Mind] is likened unto a clear and immaculate sky that is devoid of all obscurations. Thus, the Essential-Nature of Bodhi IS the Clear and Undivided Light of the Unborn Mind.

  1. Hetu:

In direct-sequence with the purity aspect of Bodhi is the causal factor. This concerns the removal of two obscurations, kleśāvaraa and jñeyāvarana:

In Sanskrit, “afflictive obstructions,” or, more literally, the obstructions that are the afflictions. This is the first of the two categories of obstructions (ĀVARAṆA), together with the cognitive or noetic obstructions (JÑEYĀVARAṆA), that the MAHĀYĀNA holds must be overcome in order to complete the BODHISATTVA path and achieve buddhahood.

Buswell  Jr., Robert E.; Donald S., Jr. Lopez. The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism (Kindle Locations 33307-33312). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.

These obscurations, likened unto clouds, can also be removed by means of the two jñānas, non-conceptual and discriminating:

In this context [rgvv 2.1: 43b 6] the two kinds of jnana are linked to the two kinds of veil— the klesa veil, and the knowledge veil. Therefore, one deduces that they correspond to the two kinds of knowledge—precise knowledge and knowledge of the full extent [rgvv 1.17]. rgvv [2.1-7] explains the two kinds of jnana as the supra-mundane, non-conceptual jnana…

The rgvv interprets the discriminating jnana—the jnana attained afterwards [rgv 2.7]— as the knowledge associated with seeing Tathagatagarbha in all beings, thus linking it with spontaneous compassionate Activity— in the manner suggested for ‘‘mundane jnana” above. In general, ‘‘discriminating wisdom” in this context refers to the Buddha’s ability to know phenomena—as opposed to merely knowing the empty essence of all things. (Susan K. Hookham, Buddha Within, Tathagatagarbha Doctrine According to the Shentong Interpretation of the Ratnagotravibhaga, pg.236)

  1. Phala:

The third quality is phala indicating the result or “fruit” of Bodhi. There are two ways in which this fruition occurs—either through an outside agency or the removal of a defiled covering. In the text we are informed that purification occurs as the result of removing any adventitious obstructions.

Obermiller:

The purification from these occasional defiling forces is complete deliverance and the removal of all the stains, as water is purified from dust and the like. Indeed, the spiritual essence which is pure and radiant finally becomes devoid of all the accidental defilement. Now, with regard to the purification from defilement which represents the result, we have the following verse:

Like a lake full of the purest water
And covered by lotuses that have developed gradually,”
Like the full moon delivered from the jaws of Rahu,
Like the sun tree from all obscuration
Caused by the dense multitude of clouds,
It is possessed of immaculate properties,
Is radiant and illuminating.

Like the Highest of Sages, like honey, and like the kernel
(of a fruit),
Like precious gold, like a treasure and like a tree,
Like the immaculate images of the Buddha,
Like the ruler of the earth and like a golden statue—such is
Buddbahood.

The text continues in the manner of the “previous nine sheaths”.

The certain attainment of the (3) Bodies of the Buddha.
Possessed of the highest of all the forms of existence
Is demonstrated as being the result
Of the Wisdom following the transcendental contemplation.

The dharmakaya is compared to a precious jewel since it is not made up of any other elements. Also, it’s never of an illusory nature so it is comparable to a statue made of precious substances.

The sambhogakaya is compared to the king of all beings (Cakravartin) in the womb of a poor and ugly woman. The sambhogakaya here is said to be the lord of all beings on earth.

Finally, the nirmanakaya is compared to a precious statue inside its clay cast. It is compared to a very precious statue because it has a special quality of being like a wishfulfilling gem. When the Buddha appears in the world, the happiness of beings increases. So that is why it is compared here to a statue made of very precious substances, like the wish-fulfilling gem. (Venerable Khenchen Thrangu, Rinpoche, A Commentary on The Uttara Tantra Sastra of Asaga)

Significantly, the result (phala) is the nature of a twofold-purity. Prakti-viśuddhi and vaimalya-viśuddhi.

Prakṛti-viśuddhi: innate purity (Takasaki).

In Sanskrit, “intrinsic purity,” a term used to describe the inherent purity and luminosity of the mind, with the implication that all afflictions (KLEŚA) are therefore adventitious and extrinsic to the mind’s true nature.

Buswell  Jr., Robert E.; Donald S., Jr. Lopez. The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism (Kindle Locations 49878-49880). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.

Vaimalya-viśuddhi: the purity, as the result of purification (Takasaki); the realization of tathatā or undefiled purity (Jamie Hubbard, Original Purity and the arising of Delusion); Purity that is actualized on the resultant level of Buddhahood or fruit. (David Seyfort Ruegg, The Buddhist Philosophy of the Middle: Essays on Indian and Tibetan Madhyamaka.)

  1. Karman—the function of Bodhi:

There are four qualities as stated in the text which are associated with the [function] of Bodhi:  immaculate, all-pervading Wisdom, imperishable, and the [ground] of everything.

Bodhi’s function is incorporated into Vimuktikāya [the body of liberation] and Dharmakāya:

Both the vimuktikāya (the ultimate relinquishment) and the dharmakāya are to be understood furthermore in the one way that is common to them both—being unconditioned because they have the nature of being absolutely indestructible. The vimuktikàya represents one’s own welfare and the dharmakāya the welfare of others. The vimuktikāya is said to represent buddhahood’s quality of being uncontaminated (because the afflictions together with their latent tendencies have ceased) and its quality of being all-pervasive (because its wisdom is without attachment and obstruction). The dharmakāya is the unconditioned matrix of buddhahood, which is due to its absolutely indestructible nature.

(Karl Brunnhölzl, When the Clouds Part, The Uttaratantra and Its Meditative Tradition as a Bridge between Sūtra and Tantra.)

  1. Yoga:

There are fifteen qualities which manifest in the vimuktikāya and dharmakāya:

(1) It cannot be conceived by means of study and so on.
(2) Being free from birth it is permanent.
(3) Being free from aging it is steadfast.
(4) Being free from sickness it is at peace.
(5) Being free from death it is immutable.
(6) Being free from suffering it is utterly peaceful.
(7) Due to complete understanding it pervades the knowable.
(8) Due to correct understanding it is free from thought.
(9) The veil of the mental poisons having been abandoned, it is
without any attachment, like space.
(10) The veil of the obstructions to knowledge having been abandoned,
it is at all times free from any hindrance with regard to all objects [of perception].
(11) The veil of the obstructions to meditative equipoise having
been abandoned, coarse objects of contact are eliminated
(12) Being free from the features of the visible it cannot be seen.
(13) Being free from characteristics it cannot be grasped.
(14) Being by nature pure it is virtuous.
(15) Being purified from the adventitious stains it is free from
Pollution.

As has been explained already, the vimuktikāya and the dharmakāya, which embody abandonment and realization, accomplish the best possible benefits for oneself and others. This is because complete liberation from all the fetters of anything to be abandoned is the achievement of personal benefit, and the activity [unfolding] on the support of the qualities of the dharmakaya, which is equivalent to realization, accomplishes the benefit of others. These two kayas thus forming the support of this twofold benefit for oneself and others are to be known as possessing the fifteen qualities or properties of being inconceivable and so forth.

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

  1. Manifestations (vṛtti):

This sixth point literally means “going into the Mind of Bodhi”, Enlightenment. Its manifestation is that It is Unborn, Uncreated, and Boundless in execution; Its manifestation is the indivisibility of its inherent-nature (*sunya—empty of mundane characteristics) and gnosis. IT magnificently and with unceasing spontaneity manifests into the Immaculate Three: Dharmakāya, Sambhogakāya, and Nirmanakāya.

Dharmakāya:

The essential nature of Dharmakāya as revealed in the text is as the Dharmadhātu. Fuch’s translation best serves this realization:

What is the nature of dharmadhatu? It is without beginning,
middle, and end.
It is totally indivisible and far away from the two [extremes],
rid of the three [veils], unpolluted, and not an object of
thought.
Its realization is the vision of a Yogi who Dwells in Meditative
Equipoise.

Again, what is the nature of the dharmadhātu? It possesses five characteristics:

It is without coming into existence in a beginning, without abiding during an intermediate phase, and without ceasing at an end. Thus there is the characteristic of being uncreated (1). Spaciousness and awareness cannot be split into different things at all. Thus there is the characteristic of being indivisible (2). It does not dwell in the two extremes of assertion and denial. Thus there is the characteristic of being unperverted (3). It is free from the three veils. Thus there is the characteristic of being totally purified (4). It is by nature free from any pollution and does not constitute an object for the thoughts of a reasoner. Thus there is the characteristic of clear light (5). The direct realization of the dharmadhatu possessing these five characteristics is the realization of the dharmakaya. This is seen as it is by a tathagata. It is the vision of a Yogi who Dwells in Meditative Equipoise in such a way that he never rises from the dharmata, the true state of everything. (Fuchs)

Sambhogakāya:

The Sambhogakāya is the Supreme Blissful Body THAT has absolute-mastery over all the teachings (especially in the sutras) of the Buddhadharma (through its Enjoyment Body in which the sacred-ambiance of the discourses are revealed). It reveals Itself through various “Light Rays” and Immaculate Signs and Marks. “There is [constant] readiness to accomplish the task of totally liberating the disciples’ streams of being. Thus the flow of pure mental activity is uninterrupted. Acting without any deliberate effort, spontaneously and without thought, its deeds resemble the activity of a king of wish-fulfilling jewels. It appears to the disciples as a variety of things, and yet demonstrates at the same time that it is not of the nature or essence of these.” (Fuchs)

Nirmanakaya:

Takasaki:

[The Buddha], being the knower of the world,
Perceiving fully the world, with Great Compassion,
Manifests himself in various apparitional forms,
Without being separated from his Absolute Body.
The [various] previous births,
The birth in the Tusita-heaven, and descent from it,
The entrance into the womb, and the birth [in this world],
The skilfulness in various arts and works,
Pleasurable entertainments among ladies in the harem,
The renouncement of the world, practice of asceticism,
Passage to the Excellent Seat of Enlightenment,
The conquest over the army of Evil Demons,
The [acquisition of] Enlightenment,
Setting into motion the wheel of the Doctrine,
And the departure into Nirvana; . . . all of them
He shows in the impure worlds, as long as they exist.
[The Buddha], the knower of means, creates an aversion
To the Three Worlds among the living beings
By the words, ‘evanescent’, ‘suffering’, ‘non-substantial’;
And by the word ‘quiescent, he leads them into Nirvana.

  1. Permanence (nitya):

The permanence of Bodhi indicates the “eternal character” of the three kāyas of the Buddha as referenced through ten-points: infinite causes, endless number of living beings, the compassionate spirit, miraculous powers, wisdom, possessing all the best, governing all the elements, vanquishing the evil of death, the non-substantiality, and being the Lord of the Universe. The first seven points reference how the deeds of the Buddha in Rūpakāya are continuous and endless in the manner it appears to beings in the world. The last three points explain how the Buddha in Dharmakāya is changeless, because it is non-conceptual and spontaneous.

Obermiller:

Called forth by causes that are infinite,
Having an endless number of living beings to convert,’
Possessed of mercy, miraculous power, wisdom and of the
complement of Bliss,

Governing all the elements, vanquishing the demon of Death,
And transcendental by natures—the Lord of the World is
eternal.

Giving up his body, his life and his property,
He has preserved the Highest of Doctrines;
He administers help to all living beings,
And fully accomplishes his previous vows.

The Buddha thus makes manifest
His Commiseration, pure and immaculate,
And shows his miraculous activity,
Which he applies in his acts, abiding eternally.

Owing to his Wisdom, he is free from the conception
Of Samsara and Nirvana (as 2 separate entities);
As he constantly partakes of the complement of bliss
Of the inconceivable concentrated trance,

He, whilst acting in this world,
Is unaffected by the worldly elements.
He has attained the state of immortality and quiescence,
Leaving no room for the activity of the Demon of Death;
Therefore, the Lord, being of an immutable nature,
Is perfectly quiescent from the outset.

Thus, eternal, he is fit to be
A refuge for the helpless and the like.—
The first 7 of these motives show
The eternal character of the corporeal forms,
And subsequent 3 demonstrate
The Eternity of the Cosmical [Absolute] Body.

  1. Inconceivability (acintya):

The 8th point refers to the nature of Bodhi as being beyond all conceptual frameworks and imagination. Bodhi-nature is Svayambhu, meaning “self-manifested”, “self-existing”, or “that is created by its own accord”. (wiki)

As such, it cannot even be cognized even by Bodhisattvas in the highest-bhūmis.

(Takasaki) Therefore, this final stage of the Buddha
Is unknown even to the Great Sages
Who have attained the stage of Initiation. * abhisekatā (10th and Highest Stage)

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