"Shugchang" <> Date:  Fri Jul 6, 2001 7:05 pm Subject:  Vajra Point l: The Buddha

He cuts the seedling of suffering and destroys the wall of doubts

-from the root text of the Uttaratantra Shastra, Buddha Nature, Snowlion, p. 102

    According to Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche, this includes "...doubts about the fact that the practice of virtue acts as a cause giving rise to the fruit of happiness, the fact that suffering will arise on the basis of unvirtuous action, and so on."

-BN/Annotation 4, p. 303

    Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche comments - "There is the full understanding of the nature of all phenomena which is the full blossoming of jñana. When this happens, a Buddha has the power to help others and shows other beings the fearless path. To do this he or she has a quality of knowledge which comes from complete realization of the nature of everything and the quality of compassionate love which creates a desire to share this knowledge with others."
-The Uttara Tantra: A Treatise on Buddha Nature, p. 23

Of course this includes a deep insight into all such important topics as the Four Noble Truths, Interdependence, karma and rebirth.

re: doubt // Most of us have considered situations involving those who commit seriously negative actions, who never seem to suffer much if at all in consequence of their deeds. Others, like Hitler and Stalin are responsible for such massive suffering that there does not seem to be enough time in one life to hardly begin the necessary purification of such atrocities. On the other hand, we are probably familiar with people who seem to be subject to intense suffering fairly regularly through no obvious fault of their own. Without an understanding of part played by past and future lives, we will have difficulty understanding the deeper context (and past/future history) of such phenomena.

Bikkhu Bodhi writes "..the Dhammapada shows that morality does not exhaust its significance in its contribution to human felicity here and now, but exercises a far more critical influence in molding personal destiny. This level begins with the recognition that, to reflective thought, the human situation demands a more satisfactory context for ethics than mere appeals to altruism can provide. On the one hand our innate sense of moral justice requires that goodness be recompensed with happiness and evil with suffering; on the other our typical experience shows us virtuous people beset with hardships and afflictions and thoroughly bad people riding the waves of fortune. Moral intuition tells us that if there is any long-range value to righteousness, the imbalance must somehow be redressed. The visible order does not yield an evident solution, but the Buddha's teaching reveals the factor needed to vindicate our cry for moral justice in an impersonal universal law which reigns over all sentient existence. This is the law of kamma (Sanskrit: karma), of action and its fruit, which ensures that morally determinate action does not disappear into nothingness but eventually meets its due retribution, the good with happiness, the bad with suffering.

"Shugchang" <> Date:  Sat Jul 7, 2001 9:17 pm Subject:  Re: Vajra Point I: The Buddha


In considering the ultimate meaning of the Buddha, three qualities bring perfect benefit to oneself and relate to the dharmakaya.

1. Uncreated (du ma che) unborn (mi skyed pa)

The Buddha-body is ungraspable;
Unborn, uncreated,
It appears in accord with beings,
Equanimous as empty space.
-Avatamsaka Sutra, p. 175

    "There is, monks, an unborn -- unbecome -- unmade -- unfabricated. If there were not that unborn -- unbecome -- unmade -- unfabricated, there would not be the case that emancipation from the born -- become - - made -- fabricated would be discerned. But precisely because there is an unborn -- unbecome -- unmade -- unfabricated, emancipation from the born -- become -- made -- fabricated is discerned."

-- Ud VIII.3

    Dharma-body has the characteristic of eternity because it has pure suchness as its characteristic, because it is under the impulse of former vows, and because its activity is unending.
-Asanga, Mahayanasangraha p.89

    This is Mahamudra: it is unblemished by contaminations, it is without negation or affirmation, and no path or antidotes are to be found. This is the embodiment of all the buddhas. This is the basis of all excellent qualities. This is spontaneously present. It mentally engages with nothing and it is without duality of any kind. This is free of superimpositions and mistaken denial, present as the great dharmakaya. If birth, abiding, nature, and cessation are observed, in this none are to be seen. This is the great vision of thatness.

- The Tantra of Non-abiding (Naked Awareness, p. 104)

2. Peace and the spontaneous (lhun drub) presence of everything beneficial

    This true nature is the mahashunyata, the great emptiness, the profound meaning beyond words, speech and mental conceptualization. Within this clear, profound samadhi, Lord Buddha was also able to secure the ultimate benefit of others. The beams of pure light pouring forth from his body to every direction and realm, then returning to be reabsorbed, then radiating out again, were pacifying the sufferings and removing the obscurations of all sentient beings. At the ultimate level of realization of the true nature, we do not just blend into everything and become inactive. In fact, at that level we become actively beneficial, and such realization makes it possible for us to reach millions of sentient beings and dissolve the obstacles to their liberation. That is the profound illumination.

-KPSR, Ceaseless Echoes of the Great Silence, p. 46

"This is peace, this is exquisite -- the resolution of all fabrications, the relinquishment of all acquisitions, the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Nirvana."
-- AN III.32

For those who practice the great expedients, Passions become factors of awakening,
And transmigration is identified with tranquility. Therefore, the Tathagata is inconceivable.

-Asanga, Mahayanasangraha p.195

    The essential nature of your own mind is the sugatagarbha. A sugata is one who has gone to bliss, and garbha is an embryo, womb, or essence. Where is this essential nature present? You can say it is present within yourself, but it is more accurate to say simply that it is you. By identifying your own nature, you cut through all conceptual elaborations and simply settle in the nature of your own awareness. This essential nature has no shape or color. It's not adventitious, nor does it occur at some later time; rather, it is originally, perfectly free by its own nature, naked and fresh. By gradually becoming familiar with this nature, actual insight is gained which culminates in gaining confidence. Once this confidence is attained you simply remain in that state and sustain that confidence without further elaboration.

-Gyatrul Rinpoche, Naked Awareness, p. 121

3. Not realized through external causes

The Buddhas have the same reality-body --
It depends on nothing, is without distinction;
It causes beings to see Buddha in physical form
According to their intellects
-Avatamsaka Sutra p.163

Buddha has a supreme self
And a supreme dwelling in unholy conditions,
In human and evil destinies,
And in unchaste conditions.

-Asanga, Mahayanasangraha p.89

Turning away from oneself,
And seeking everywhere in the realms of the universe,
No buddha is found elsewhere.

- The Tantra of Sambhuta (NA p.135)

"Shugchang" <> Date:  Sat Jul 7, 2001 9:23 pm Subject:  Re: Vajra Point I: The Buddha

In considering the ultimate meaning of the Buddha, three qualities bring perfect benefit to others and relate to the rupakaya.

4. Perfect Knowledge

a. knowing how it is

All the Buddhas
Are beyond all forms;
Who can understand this truth
Sees the Guide of the World.
-Avatamsaka p.169

Your actions are never without omniscience everywhere,
Whether setting out or at rest;
Your omniscience always corresponds to reality -- homage to you!

-Asanga, Mahayanasangraha p.159
b. knowing variety

All lands, wide and vast,
Billions of ages, inconceivable,
Can be shown in a moment’s span
In the enlightening being's concentration.
-Avatamsaka p.166

Truly Maitreya, this Wheel of the Dharma is the Wheel of the World,
Revealing completely its essence and the nature of all dharmas.
-Lalitavistara Sutra- p.637
5. Compassionate Love

The ocean of sentient beings minds varies from moment to moment;
The Buddha's knowledge is so broad it comprehends all this,
Expounding the truth for them all, making them glad:
This is the liberation of Subtle Light

-Avatamsaka p. 84

Buddha of yore for the sake of all beings
Cultivated an ocean of boundless compassion,
Entering birth and death along with all beings,
Teaching the masses, making them pure.

-Avatamsaka p.133

Buddha practice for boundless eons
Purifying and mastering transcendent vows;
Therefore he appears throughout the world
Saving beings forever and ever.
-Avatamsaka p.145

The Buddha-body, without distinction,
Fills the cosmos,
Able to manifest physical forms,
Teaching according to potentials.
-Avatamsaka p.168

You behold the entire world six times each day and night;
You are endowed with great compassion;
You have the aspiration for well-being -- homage to you!

-Asanga, Mahayanasangraha p.162

    This great compassion is the conventional wisdom whereby the Blessed One closely examines the entire world six times, day and night, to see who is making progress and who is backsliding, who is to be matured and who is to be liberated and so forth. Great compassion is active in closely examining the world; it consists essentially in an aspiration for the well-being of sentient beings. This compassion is great because it embodies Buddha's accumulations of merit and wisdom; because it is characterized by the severance of the three sufferings; because it bears upon all sentient beings in the triple world; because it functions equally for all sentient beings; and because there is nothing better.

- Asvabhava, Mahayanasangrahopanibandhana, Realm of Awakening, p. 163

Sariputra, Bodhisattva Mahasattvas are endowed with one dharma: the Buddhadharma.
Moreover, they grasp it perfectly and inconceivably.
What is this one dharma?
It is the mind of enlightenment: perfect caring.

-Bodhisattva-pitaka, as quoted in Path of Heroes p 261

6. Power to Remedy

In each mental moment
They observe all things
Abiding in the state of true thusness;
They comprehend the ocean of all phenomena.
In every Buddha-body For billions of ages, inconceivable,
They practiced ways of transcendence
And purified all the lands.
-The Avatamsaka Sutra (Flower Ornament Scripture) p.168

Shugchang" <> Date:  Sun Jul 8, 2001 6:59 pm Subject:  Re: #5

More on the 3rd turning of the wheel-

    The bodhisattva Paramarthasamudgata said to the Buddha: "In Benares, at Rsipatana in the Deer Park, the Blessed One first turned the wheel of doctrine, demonstrating the four noble truths for the followers of the hearers' vehicle. This turning of the wheel was marvelous and wonderful; it was such as nobody in the world, neither gods nor men, has turned before. Nevertheless, there were superior doctrines. The first turning gave rise to criticism, needed interpretation, and became an object of controversy.

    So then the Blessed One, with an implicit intention, turned the wheel for the second time for the sake of the followers of the great vehicle, explaining that all things are without essence, do not arise, are not destroyed, are quiescent from the beginning, and are originally in cessation. Nevertheless, there were teachings superior to this, for this also gave rise to criticism, needed interpretation, and became an object of controversy.

    So then the Blessed One, with an explicit intention, turned the wheel a third time for the sake of the followers of all vehicles, explaining that all things are without essence, do not arise, are not destroyed, are quiescent from the beginning, and are originally in cessation. This turning of the wheel is absolutely marvellous and wonderful. It is unsurpassed and does not give rise to criticism; it is explicit and does not become an object of controversy.

-Samdhinirmocana Sutra

    This passage highlights the Yogacara understanding of meanings and its interpretation. The first turning of the wheel includes the teachings of early Buddhists and of the Abhidharmikas, both of whom focused upon the four truths. These teachings are characterized as imperfect and in need of the Prajnaparamita negation, which ends in the position that all things are without essence (nihsvabhava) and empty (sunya). The Abhidharmika perspective (the first turning of the wheel), while not exactly false, thus needs to have its meaning (artha) interpreted or drawn out (neya). But even the second turning of the wheel, the Prajnaparamita perspective which issued in Nagarjuna's Madhyamaka, does not, from the Yogacara perspective, make explicit the ground upon which its meaning is established, and so it too stands in need of interpretation. It is only the third turning of the wheel of the doctrine, Yogacara itself, that is beyond the need for such interpretation and its attendant controversies, for it does explicate the ground within conscious interiority for the meanings affirmed in its teachings. Yogacara is critically explicit (nitartha), since the ground for its meaning (artha) has been drawn out (nita) and made evident in the Yogacara critical evaluation of consciousness. It is important to note that the third turning of the wheel of doctrine does not differ from the second in terms of content, for exactly the same doctrinal themes are present in both. Emptiness is not rejected. Rather, Yogacara intends to critically ground the insights of the Prajnaparamita and the Madhyamaka. Yogacara is thus not a higher teaching, but an explanation or revealing (nirmocana) of meaning which had been previously hidden (samdhi).

-The Realm of Awakening, Griffiths, Hakamaya, Keenan, Swanson, Oxford, 1989 p. 5-6

You tame all the passions of all sentient beings without remainder
You crush the passions
You take pity on the passionate -- homage to you!

-Asanga, Mahayanasangraha p.137

    O Maitreya, such is the Wheel of the Dharma turned by the Tathagata, and because of this turning, he is called the Tathagata; he is called the perfect and complete Buddha; Svayambhu, self-arising; Lord of the Dharma; the Guide and the Leader; Guide in all things; Driver of the caravan; Master of all dharmas; Master of the Dharma.

-Lalitavistara Sutra- p. 639 Date:  Sat Jul 14, 2001  9:04 pm Subject:  Re: Vajra Point I

from Asanga's commentary on the root verses about Buddha:

"What is shown by this sloka? Being immutable, free from efforts And not being dependent upon the others, [Also] Being endowed with Wisdom, Compassion and [supernatural] Power [imparted by both], The Buddhahood has two kinds of benefit.

By this verse there has been briefly explained the Buddhahood as being contracted by eight qualities. Which are the 8 qualities? Namely,

1) Immutability (asamskrtatva),
2) being free from any effort (anabhogata),
3) Enlightenment, not dependent on others (aparapratyayabhisambodhi),
4) Wisdom (jnana),
5) Compassion (karuna),
6) supernatural power (shakti),
7) fulfillment of self-benefit (svarthasampad), and
8) fulfillment of benefit for others (parathasampad)."