Tag Archives: Bhutatathata

A Matter of the Philosophers

  1. As long as those philosophers who get confused in their reasonings and who are unable to go beyond the realm of words, distinguish the discriminating from the discriminated – so long they do not see [the truth] of suchness.

A recurring motif throughout the Lanka concerns the Philosophers. Who are they? Are they members of a particular branch of philosophy, or are they part of a larger spectrum? Suzuki in one of his footnotes to his Studies in the Lanka asserts they are as follows: read more

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The Nature of Dhyana

18. Q: What does it mean when The Mahaparinirvana Sutra states, “Excessive Dhyana over and above Wisdom issues in more ignorance (avidya), yet at the same time excessive wisdom canceling-out quality time spent in Dhyana leads to the issuance of wrong-views; however when Dhyana and Wisdom are equally observed best procures liberation?
A: Right Wisdom best discerns between good and evil, while Dhyana demonstrates that in marking these discernments one remains wholeheartedly unattached and undefiled, untempted by the allures of either love or hate. Thus Right Wisdom and Dhyana function on an equal footing.
Q: That Sutra also says “wordlessness with nothing to discuss, this is the nature of Dhyana.” Yet, are we not able to be in Dhyana whether being silent or speaking?
A: In referencing Dhyana just now I was referring to the manner of “perpetual-Dhyana”, which is the same whether keeping silent or during occasions of speech. What is the reason for this? The nature of Dhyana does not change from its efficacious functionality whether engaged in speaking or being non-engaged in times of silence. In the same fashion, when we contemplate the nature of voidness when in relationship with forms, this voidness is unaffected whether these forms are mentioned in passing speech or during times of deep-samadhis. This same rationale holds firm when considering the nature of skandhic functions, like seeing, hearing, touching, and smelling. Since our Self-Nature remains void to any ramifications of skandhic consciousness and its many forms, IT maintains ITS natural voidness under all circumstances. Thus, being void, IT is free from all attachments and this freedom empowers the synchronized function of Right Wisdom and Dhyana whatever the state of natural affairs. Bodhisattvas employ this Dharma of Voidness when entering into conjunctional alliance with the Absolute. It is written that when Dhyana and Right Wisdom function in this manner it is known as Right Deliverance. In helping to clarify this I give you the following prime example: Consider the semblance of a ‘Bright Mirror’. When its light reflects an object is its brightness diminished? And during the times when it is not reflecting something is its brightness ever weakened? Why is this the case? The Bright Mirror has neither feeling nor any other kind of sensation. When sensation is absent neither movement nor absence of movement is effectively present. Another vivid illustration is sunlight. Its light illuminates the world and when not in position it does not, but is its vivifying light ever absent? In the same manner sunlight is itself devoid of sensation. Now that same principle of being able “to shine” is instilled in Right Gnosis—it has an illuminative effect—while that perfect one-pointedness of non-wavering is reflective of Dhyana. When the diligent Bodhisattva employs an equal measure of Dhyana and Right Wisdom, it creates the opportunity for the reception of Sambodhi, or the one-pointedness of Mind that leads to Supreme Enlightenment. Let it also be known, though, that this spiritual enterprise is not void of a holy ambience.
Q: What then is the manner of this holy ambience?
A: It never gives rise to duality, it is rather in perpetual union and holy alliance with the Unborn, which institutes the fragrance of an omnipresent holy ambience. read more

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The Immutability Factor

Hui Hai (720-814) 

Q: What does it mean when the sutra says: “The sound of discussion has ceased, and the role of thought is done”?  read more

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Three Blind Mice

3. The Disciples’ Reluctance to Visit Vimalakirti

One perhaps asks the question, why do such noble personages—like Sariputra, Subhuti, and later the Bodhisattvas themselves—have such a reluctance to go and visit the ailing Vimalakirti? They are not, says Thurman, “pretending” but rather through their previous encounters with Vimalakirti, are indeed unwilling to make a return visit. My sense is that their lack of enthusiasm in this enterprise is, in effect, a literary device to quicken Vimalakirti’s resolve to heighten the adept’s determination to break-free from all dichotomies. One needs to have a steady resolve in avoiding all extremes—the dualistic quagmire of falling into all frames of attachment, from sense-gratification, to self-mortification and even Absolute categories of existence and non-existence. Vimalakirti is emphatic that these extremes are not just meant to be avoided…but unequivocally transmuted, through Buddha-gnosis into Bhutatathata—Deathless Suchness. read more

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