Dharmatā jumpstarts Bodhicitta

In continuance of our blog from yesterday, Dorji Wangchuk utilizes an article published in 1965 (in German) by the Japanese scholar, Kumatarō Kawada, based on the transcendent and immanent nature of bodhicitta. Our interest is on the article’s discussion of the relationship between bodhicitta and dharmatā. It [rightly] argues that the highest truth—the dharmatā, or the Absolute Essence that is realized inwardly by oneself—is always [the master] over such appellations as Buddha, bodhisattva, bodhicitta, ect:

Under the second point, he discusses three matters: (a) the notion that the highest truth or reality (dharmatā) is the ‘master,’ (b) the idea that one becomes awakened by gaining insight into the eternal dharmatā, and (c) the Buddhist claim of the absoluteness of truth. Under the first subpoint, he explains that a buddha, a bodhisattva, and bodhicitta are all dependent on the dharmatā, whereas the dharmatā is eternal and is independent of them. In other words, to use my typologies, ‘gnoseological’ bodhicitta and the beings who possess it are dependent on the ‘ontological’ one. Under the second subpoint, he argues that it is by gaining cognitive insight into the enduring dharmatā that one obtains bodhicitta (in its ‘gnoseological’ sense) and becomes awakened, and it is at this juncture that both the transcendent and immanent nature of bodhicitta can unfold. Under the third subpoint, he notes that Buddhism, like other religions and philosophies, lays claim to the absoluteness of truth.

Kawada also points out that the Lankavatara Sutra concurs with this assessment, that the dharmatā is the master in the real sense by which all other appellations are influenced and dependent upon. This is why the Lanka places such a high significance upon the Dharmatā Buddha—yea, the one who, in the Bardo of Dharmatā, reveals the salvific Light of the Dharmakaya. Hence, this particular Bardo is the only REAL One, since all subsequent bardo experiences are illusional in nature and will only lead to further rebirth in samsaric realms. This [Truth] Buddha reigns supreme over all others and over all Bodhisattvas, who acquire bodhicitta in the gnosis-sense and thereby become awakened exclusively by this Lord of all Lights.

13 Responses to “Dharmatā jumpstarts Bodhicitta”

  • n. yeti:

    Could it not be argued that the Bardo of Dharmata is not ever really absent as such, therefore there really only is that and no other truth (despite the variegated experiences of the sentient which appear to be continuously in flux)? This follows from the logic that the highest truth is all-encompassing even of falsehood.

    • Vajragoni:

      Your reasoning is very sound but it must be understood that the Bardo stages are “sequential”, this occurs in fact all along the life-cycle from daily experiences, dreams, meditations and contemplation’s (these stages are also not necessarily linear in nature as one can drift between them) right up to the crossing over from this plane of existence into the Bardo of the Dharmatā and then other stages that can occur right up to 49 days. The Bardo of the Dharmatā is ultimate in that if one enters into it successfully the Real Face of the Absolute will be conjoined with one’s own as recognition of Ultimate Selfhood in the Dharmakaya, thus no need for any of the other stages. If one fails in this recognition, there are other supernal lights that can bring one back to the Dharmatā, such as the Five Lights of the Five Dhyani Buddhas. Yet, if that is unsuccessful then the choosing of a womb for re-entrance into samsaric-realms will commence; so, yes, the Absolute as you say is always there, but one must first have the necessary gnosis to recognize and embrace it because it can indeed be lost.

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