2.a) Scripture, the causal Dharma:
There are twelve divisions of the sutra teachings
General teachings, hymns and praises, and prophecies.
Verses and aphorisms, and pragmatic narratives.
Biographical stories, and former events as examples.
Stories of former births, and the extensive teachings.
Narratives of marvels, and doctrines that are profound.
The Noble Moon Lamp Sutra (‘phags pa zla ba sgron me’i mdo) says:
“There are the following:
- Sutras or general teachings.
- Verse summaries.
- Biographical tales of realization.
- Narratives of former examples.
- Declarations with conditions.
- Extensive teachings.
- Narratives of former births, jataka tales.
- Resolution teachings.
- Narratives of miraculous events.”
- All that is part of these various divisions taken together is known as the sutras.
- A final summary in verse of what has first been taught in full is called verse summary.
- The prophecies of the Buddha and others are the prophecy-teachings.
- Verses that occur alone are called verse-teachings.
- Teachings that exhort those who are listening to the Dharma are known as exhortations.
- Blessings by particular persons’ auto-biographical accounts of their own realization are called biographical tales of realization.
- Teachings about former generations are called narratives of former examples.
- When some topic is associated with its conditions, that is called declarations with conditions.
- When a topic is presented very extensively that is called extensive teachings.
- Tales of how the Buddha was faithful and so forth in previous births are called jataka
- When, after a subject is briefly taught, a commentary on that is taught, that is called resolution-teachings.
- Wondrous teachings of the heart essence are called miraculous teachings.
2.a.2) The fruition Dharma, tantra.
Moreover, aside from the sutras:
Kriya, charya, and yoga are the external tantras
Within the mahayoga of the inner mantra
Are included the father, mother, and non-dual tantras.
These have non-duality of prajña and upaya.
The volumes where these are written are also known as tantras.
The chief, powerful, or external tantras establish enlightenment in dependence on external purification. Belonging to this class are kriya yoga tantra, upa or charya yoga tantra, and yoga tantra.
The inner tantras are the three in which buddhahood is established by being beyond accepting and rejecting, and upaya and prajña are non-dual. All six of the above are called tantras, as are their literary manifestations.
2.b) The Dharma of Realization
2.b.1) The general teaching of the stages of development and completion As for the nature of the meaning:
In the Dharma of realization are the paths and bhumis.
There are also the stages of developing and fulfillment.
Dharani and samadhi having the essence of wisdom,
And the nature of compassion, their upaya is without limit.
2.b.2) The teaching of the ten bodhisattva levels or bhumis
The support of these is the bhumis:
The bhumis are Supremely Joyful, and the Spotless,
Illumining, Radiant, and the Difficult to Conquer,
The Manifest, the Far-going, Immovable, and Good Intellect.
The highest of these ten is known as Clouds of Dharma.
The Great Commentary on the Prajñaparamita in Eight Thousand Lines says:
It is explained that these are called bhumis or “grounds” from their being the ground or support of the virtuous qualities. There are eight bhumis of the shravakas and pratyekabuddhas, and ten of the bodhisattvas.
As for the first, the Middle Length Prajñaparamita says:
The level of the family,
The level of eight,
The level of seeing,
The level of restraint,
The level of desirelessness,
The level of realization of what must be done
The shravaka level
The pratyekabuddha level.
These are the levels of shravakas and pratyekabuddhas.
The Jewel Garland says:
Just as within the shravaka vehicle
Shravaka bhumis have been listed as eight
Similarly, in the greater vehicle,
There are ten bhumis of the bodhisattvas.
First, the path of preparation is called the family level, since it is individually described in each of these three vehicles. The Prajñaparamita in Twenty Thousand Lines says:
The explanation of the bhumi of seeing the white aspect is that on it dharmas are seen as white.
As for entering the stream and entering the fruition, since there are eight levels up to arhatship, this is called the level of eight. Here, by being liberated from the many defilements of the one bhumi of desire, the four dhyanas of form, and the four formless attainments, one becomes an arhat.
The first fruition of spiritual practice includes entering the stream of seeing and resting within the fruition. These two are the bhumi of seeing.
Renouncing familiar relationships with the desire realm for the most part, one becomes restrained in the bhumi of a once returner. These two are called entering into and resting in the bhumi of restraint.
Free of the desire of the desire realm, one becomes a non-returner. These two are called entering into and resting in the bhumi of freedom from desire.
By doing what one has to, we become arhats These two are called entering into and resting in the bhumi of realizing what has to be done.
The levels preceding entering into being an arhat are known as the shravaka-bhumis. Their purpose is differently understood within the different vehicles. By the pratyekabuddhas, these same bhumis are called the four fruitions of pratyekabuddhas.
In this case, the explanation of the bodhisattva bhumis is that by the abandonments occurring in the paths of seeing and meditation we are protected from fear of the innumerable evil spirits of the kleshas.
They are called levels or bhumis because we go successively higher and higher. The Ornament of the Mahayana Sutras says:
Since we are without any fear of numberless evil spirits,
And since we travel ever farther and ever higher,
These are therefore designated levels or bhumis.
Moreover, we are established within the ten bhumis in dependence on eliminating miserliness and so forth, the ten inappropriate partialities,. The Avatamsaka Sutra says:
Kye, sons of the Victorious One, for these ten bhumis to arise, the ten inappropriate partialities must be cleared away. Therefore, they are revealed by the ten perfections.
On the first bhumi, we chiefly practice the perfection of generosity, but if the others too are not practiced insofar as we can, that is not it...
Up to the tenth perfection, wisdom, the corresponding point is taught. Moreover, regarding the ten perfections, the Center and Limit says:
Generosity, discipline, patience and energy,
Meditation and also perfection of prajña or knowledge.
Skilful means and power, aspiration and wisdom
These are what are said to be the ten perfections.
The ten to be abandoned by these are miserliness, broken discipline, aggression, laziness, distractedness, confused prajña, unskillful means, diminished power, unsuccessful aspiration, and the obscuration of knowables.
As for the ten bhumis whose revelation depends on these being cleared away:
2.b.2.1) Regarding the first bhumi, Supremely Joyful, the Ornament of the Mahayana Sutras says:
We see how to benefit beings.
As supreme joy rises from this,
It is known as Supremely Joyful.
The Jewel Garland says:
The first of these is called Supremely Joyful.
Since the bodhisattva produces joy,
Thereafter the three fetters are abandoned.
We are born within the tathagata family.
By its ripening, generosity is supreme.
We are able to move a hundred world realms.
We become great lords in Jambuling.
We view the faces of a hundred buddhas in an instant, know how to be blessed by a hundred buddhas, send forth a hundred emanations, teach for a hundred kalpas, enter into a hundred visions of wisdom, arouse and stabilize a hundred samadhis, ripen a hundred sentient beings, move a hundred buddha fields, open a hundred gates of Dharma, and multiply our bodies a hundred times, with each of these bodies teaching surrounded by a perfect retinue of a hundred.
We are able to take birth as a lord within Jambuling.
2.b.2.2) As for the second bhumi, the former text says:
Since stains of the erroneous style of effort are absent
This is designated the level of spotlessness
The Precious Garland says:
As for the second, it is called the Spotless,
Because the actions of body speech and mind
Are undefiled in terms of the ten aspects.
They stay that way entirely by themselves.
The ripening of that is perfection of discipline.
We have the seven glorious royal possessions
We turn the wheel of benefit for beings.
Because of being without the ten bad actions, we practice the ten virtues. We attain in an instant twelve thousand of the good qualities described above. We take birth as a universal monarch ruling a world system of four continents.
2.b.2.3) As for the third bhumi, the Ornament of the Mahayana Sutras says:
Because the great light of Dharma is produced,
It is called the Producer of Radiance.
The Jewel Garland says:
As for the third bhumi, Producer of Radiance,
Since the light of wisdom arises on this level,
Meditation and higher perceptions will arise.
Since all greed and aggression are completely exhausted,
As for the perfect ripening of the exhaustion of these,
We practice with the highest patience and energy.
We become great and skilful lords among the gods.
The greed and lust of desire is totally reversed.
We have twelve hundred thousand good qualities. We take birth as the king of the gods, Indra
2.b.2.4) As for the fourth bhumi, the Ornament of the Mahayana Sutras says:
Thus the Dharma that accords with enlightenment,
Is like a torch that burns with fiercely blazing light.
Because we now possess that, as for this fourth bhumi,
By burning duality, it greatly illuminates.
The Jewel Garland says:
The fourth is called Possessing Emanation of Light.
Because the genuine light of wisdom now arises,
All accords with enlightenment without remainder.
In particular, because of meditation,
Due to the total ripening of this situation,
Completely freed from extremes, we are made kings of the gods.
We have a proper view of transitory collections.
We are skillful in overcoming everything.
We attain a hundred and twenty million of the above qualities and take birth as a king of the twin gods.
2.b.2.5) As for the fifth bhumi, the Ornament of the Mahayana Sutras says:
We completely ripen sentient beings,
And we are also able to guard our minds,
This, for the wise, is difficult to conquer,
Hence the name, the Difficult to Conquer.
The Jewel Garland says:
The fifth is called The One that is Difficult to Conquer,
Since the maras are difficult for all to overcome.
Because a skillful knowledge arises in our being
Of the subtle meaning of the four noble truths and such,
As for the total ripening of this situation,
We will be born as kings of the Tushita gods.
One hundred twenty billion good qualities arise, and we are made the king of the gods of the Tushita heaven.
2.b.2.6) As for the sixth bhumi, the former text says:
Because from the support of the perfection of prajña
Samsara as well as nirvana, both of the two,
Manifest at this time within experience,
This is therefore called the Bhumi of Manifestation.
The Jewel Garland says:
The sixth is given the designation Manifestation,
Because the dharmas of buddhahood manifest at this time.
By the practice of shamatha and vipashyana,
Attainment of cessation now becomes full blown.
By the total ripening of that situation,
We take birth as kings of the Nirmanarati gods.
We have ten million times twelve hundred thousand good qualities and become kings of the Nirmanarati gods, those who delight in emanation.
2.b.2.7) As for the seventh bhumi, the former text says:
Related to the path of crossing all at once,
This seventh bhumi is called, “the one that is far-going.”
The latter says:
The seventh is The Far Going. Because its numbers go far,
Why is this so? Because from instant to instant,
It rests in the equanimity of cessation.
By its ripening we are born as lords,
Of the Para-nirmita-vasavartin gods.
We have twelve times ten hundred million thousand good qualities and are made kings of the Paranirmitavasavartin gods, those who control others’ emanations.
2.b.2.8) As for the eighth bhumi, the former text says:
From not being moved by dualistic perception,
It is rightly known as the Unmoving.
The latter text says:
Similarly the eighth is called the kumara level
It is unmoving, because it is complete non-thought.
The body is immovable, and so is speech,
In a manner that is beyond the scope of thought.
As for the total ripening of that situation
We are born as Bhrama, the lord of a thousand-fold world realm.
As for good qualities, we see the faces of as many buddhas as there are particles in a hundred thousand thousand-fold world systems and so forth.
2.b.2.9) As for the ninth bhumi, the former text says:
With good understanding that knows individual things,
This ninth is called “The one with Good Understanding.”
The latter says:
The ninth bhumi, which is designated “good understanding,”
Is comparable to the regent of a royal prince.
Since it has true knowledge of individual things,
Because of attaining this level, we have good understanding.
As for its total ripening, we are Mahabrahma,
Becoming lords of a second thousand-fold realm of worlds.
In his inquiries about the wishes of sentient beings
By attaining arhatship he will not be not ravished away.
As for good qualities, those on this bhumi see as many buddhas as there are particles in a hundred thousand countless third-thousand-fold world systems and so forth.
2.b.2.10) As for the tenth bhumi, the former text says:
Pervading space like clouds that are two from it,
This, the tenth bhumi, is known as “The Cloud of Dharma.”
The latter says:
The tenth of the bhumis is known as “The Cloud of Dharma.”
Because on this level the rain of holy Dharma falls,
And because the bodhisattvas are empowered,
By the light rays of the power of buddhahood.
As for the ripening, we are lords of gods
In inconceivably countless wisdom realms
This is the realms of the excellence of Maheshvara.
As for the good qualities, every instant we see twelve times as many buddhas as there are inexpressible numbers of atoms in an inexpressible number of buddha fields, and so forth.
In the first bhumi, by realizing that the same luminous essence of mind pervades all sentient beings, we realize the equality of self and others as bodhicitta.
In the second, realizing the excellence of those who can realize this, we work to purify defilements of the dhatu.
In the third, realizing that learning this is the cause according with Dharmadhatu, going beyond even a three thousand fold world system, becoming a single tongue of flame, we listen to the Dharma.
In the fourth, we realize that this is without ego grasping, and desire for the Dharma is abandoned.
In the fifth, realizing that this dhatu exists without difference in the being of self and others, we realize equality with all the buddhas by means of the ten pure thoughts.
In the sixth, realizing that the dhatu is naturally completely pure, we eliminate all grasping that accepts nirvana and rejects samsara.
In the seventh, by realizing that the dhatu has no differences at all, grasping of characteristics is eliminated.
In the eighth, by realizing that the garbha has no faults or virtues, no decrease and increase, the unborn patience of unborn Dharma becomes utterly and completely pure.
In the ninth realizing that within the dhatu, as its intrinsic attribute, is the peace of the four modes of genuine individual awareness we produce the empowerment of wisdom.
In the tenth, by realizing that the dhatu is the source of perfect buddha activity, we attain autonomy in four empowerments. As for these four empowerments, the Center and Limit says:
The all pervasive meaning, the highest meaning,
The excellent meaning according with the cause;
The meaning which is completely without fixation;
The meaning which is without all difference;
The meaning of non-decreasing and non-increasing;
These are the topics of the four empowerments.
If one still is asking what those four might be, the Ornament of the Mahayana Sutras says:
They are for the sake of transformation
Of mind, fixation, conception, and non-thought.
When these become fields and wisdom pure of karma,
These are then these four empowerments.
As for these, the four empowerments
In the three bhumis of motionlessness and so on,
They are oneness other than duality,
So each of these empowerments is maintained.
1 By transforming klesha-mind we attain the empowerment of complete non-thought.
2 By transforming fixation, the consciousness of the five gates, we attain the empowerment of the pure buddha fields. This second is the eighth bhumi.
3 By transforming the mind-consciousness we attain mastery of the four modes of genuine individual awareness, and by attaining the empowerment of perfect buddha activity, we ripen sentient beings. This is the ninth bhumi.
4 By transforming alayavijñana, the basis of arising of concepts and the mind consciousness, within the tenth bhumi, we attain the empowerment of the mirror-like wisdom. By the great buddha activity, buddhahood and the buddha activity existing in the sphere of action become reconcilable.
The Uttaratantra says:
As for this manner of the bodhisattvas,
With the tathagatas in post meditation,
And the true liberation of sentient beings
Within the world, they are equal in those regards.
In the eighth bhumi there are the wisdoms of equality and discriminating awareness. In the ninth there is all-accomplishing wisdom. In the tenth, having attained the mirror-like wisdom and fourth empowerment, finally the alaya of the basis of all the various habitual patterns is transformed in the empowerment of Dharmadhatu wisdom. Then we are enlightened. The tenth bhumi is empowerment in the great final light rays. The Ornament of the Mahayana Sutras says:
Having attained this final familiarity,
By the great light rays we are then empowered.
By realizing the vajra-like samadhi,
Indestructibility is gained.
That is the end of other transformations.
Undefiled by any obscurations
To benefit all beings everywhere,
We produce the supreme accomplishment.
We attain to knowledge of all phenomena,
Which is the highest unsurpassable level.
As soon as a great offering has been made to the buddhas of the ten directions by those dwelling on the ten bhumis, from the hair between the eyebrows of all the buddhas of the ten directions arise hosts of light rays. By their sinking into the foreheads of those bodhisattvas, the vajra-like samadhi
and countless hundreds of thousands of others that they have not attained before are attained. The subtle obscuration of knowables has been purified, and then they are enlightened.
2.b.3) The outer and inner divisions
Coming after these, which are the ten levels of learning,
Is the level of total illumination, prabhasvara.
For the causal vehicles this is the level of nirmanakaya.
After that, the divisions of the vajrayana
Continue in terms of the family and the qualities.
There are a twelfth and other levels beyond all measure.
For the vehicle of the perfections, at that time the former dhatus become enlightened. All dharmas are gathered into non-defilement and the wisdom of non-thought alone. The Establishment of Trikaya (sku gsum grub pa) says:
Except undefiled suchness
And the wisdom of non-thought,
For the buddhas other dharmas
Do not exist at all.
The undefiled kaya is dharmata-svabhavikakaya. Though it has that nature, it also has aspects of the wisdom of non-thought, the powers, and so forth, and this is called dharmakaya. That same wisdom, appearing ornamented with the major and minor marks, for the bodhisattvas of the ten bhumis, is sambhogakaya. That same wisdom, appearing to students as other, taming whatever needs to be tamed, is nirmanakaya. That same wisdom continuous and unbroken, as long as samsara lasts, spontaneously doing benefit for others is buddha activity. As for svabhavikakaya, the Ornament of Clear Realization says:
As for the svabhavikakaya of the Sage,
Whatever undefiled dharmas are attained
These will always be completely pure.
Always having the true and genuine nature.
As for dharmakaya, the same text says:
Measureless aspects come with enlightenment.
There are all the natures of the nine dhyanas,
As well as those of ultimate liberation,
The various natures of the ten exhaustions,
And the eightfold set of conquered ayatanas.
Being without kleshas and knowing one’s aspirations,
Each higher perception is truly apprehended,
Along with the four ever-present purities,
A buddha’s ten powers and his ten masteries,
Four kinds of fearlessnesses and three non-guardings
As well as the threefold pillars of mindfulness.
Awareness of dharmata is never-bewildered251
By the true enemy of habitual patterns.
There is arising of the great compassion,
The eighteen unshared dharmas of only the Sage,
And the all-pervading knowledge of omniscience.
So dharmakaya has been described.
As for the thirty-seven factors of enlightenment, there are
- the four objects of mindfulness,
- the four correct actions, abandonment etc,
- the four legs of miracle,
- the five controlling powers,
- the five powers,
- the seven branches of enlightenment,
- the eight-fold noble path.
The four objects of mindfulness are the essential recollections of
The four correct trainings, abandonment, etc. on the path of accumulation of the shravakas are
- abandoning non-virtuous actions before they occur,
- abandoning non-virtuous actions which occur to the mind,
- developing virtuous actions which have not yet occurred to the mind,
- cultivating virtuous actions that have already been developed.
The four legs of miracle or four stages of miraculous ability are the stage of miraculous ability which trains in the contemplation of
- yearning or aspiration
The five faculties are
The five powers are intensifications of these same five.
The seven branches of enlightenment are authentic or genuine
- investigation of truth
- one-pointed contemplation
The eight-fold noble path is
- right view
- right thought
- right speech
- right action
- right livelihood
- right effort
- right mindfulness
- right meditation
The four immeasurables are
The eight liberations are
- liberation of form possessing liberation that looks at form
- liberation of non-form possessing liberation that looks at form
- liberation of what is attractive
- liberation of the formless perception of space
- liberation of the formless perception of consciousness
- liberation of the formless perception of nothing whatsoever,
- liberation of the formless perception of neither perception nor non-perception
- the liberation of cessation.
The nine samapattis are
- 1-4) the four dhyanas
- 5-8) the four formless attainments
- 9) the samapatti of cessation
The ten exhaustions are of
The eight overcomings of the ayatanas are as follows:
- by those possessing inner form, viewing lesser external phenomenal forms, and overcoming these
- by those possessing inner form, viewing greater external forms, and overcoming these
- by those not possessing form, looking at lesser forms, and overcoming these
- by those not possessing form, looking at greater forms, and overcoming these;
- mere inner perception without inner form of blue, and overcoming it.
- mere inner perception without inner form of yellow, and overcoming it.
- mere inner perception without inner form of red, and overcoming it.
- mere inner perception without inner form of white, and overcoming it.
The last four are called the four seeings. By clearing away kleshas in the continuums of others, they are made non-existent, and by all that spontaneously arises from their being so made, there is knowledge of the object of aspiration.
The six higher perceptions are:
- the power to perform miracles,
- the divine ear,
- knowing the thoughts of others,
- memory of former lives,
- the divine eye arising from manifested formations,
- the higher perception of exhausting defilement.
The four individual true apprehensions are of
The four purities are the complete purities of
The ten masteries are power over
The ten powers are those of knowing
- What is appropriate and inappropriate
- The ripening of karma
- The interests of various beings
- Many world realms
- Whether faculties are of the highest order or not
- The path that leads everywhere
- The afflictions of the kleshas and their source
- Remembering former lives
- Death and transmigration
- That all defilements are exhausted
As for the four fearlessnesses, one can make the following proclamations without fear of successful contradiction:
- “I am enlightened;”
- “I have stopped desire and so forth;”
- “I teach with certainty the path of omniscience and so forth.”
- “I have exhausted defilement.”
By purity of one’s actions of body, speech and mind, they are rightly performed. Not having to check on these three comprises the three non-guardings.
The three objects to keep in mind are that in teaching the Dharma one should keep in mind:
- what the listeners want and do not want.
- that with these two there are attachment and aggression.
- that when these two are absent, there are equanimity and mindfulness.
The benefit of sentient beings is never forgotten. All defiled habitual patterns are conquered. The great compassion desires benefit for all beings.
There are also the eighteen unique dharmas of a buddha.
The six aspects that are not possessed are
- useless chatter
- loss of mindfulness
- non-equanimity of mind
- perception of difference
- equanimity that excludes discrimination
The six aspects that are not possessed with deterioration are
- resolve to benefit beings
- diligent effort
- complete liberation
The three aspects that are preceded and followed by wisdom are
- Buddha activity of body
- Buddha activity of speech
- Buddha activity of mind
The three enterings into wisdom without attachment or obstruction are those
- in the past
- in the future
- in the present
Besides those eighteen there are also
knowledge of the path,
This great collection of twenty-one is dharmakaya.
As for sambhogakaya, the enjoyment body, the Ornament of Clear Realization says:
The nature of the thirty-two major marks
And also of the eighty minor marks,
Since these are enjoyed in experience of the great vehicle
They are called the Sage’s enjoyment-body,
This is explained extensively below. Regarding nirmanakaya, the same text says:
When anyone, as long as samsara lasts,
Does benefits for various sentient beings,
Equally, the bodies of such beings
Are the Sage’s ongoing nirmanakaya.
The Ornament of the Mahayana Sutras says:
Of born and working and great enlightened nirmanakayas,
The nirmanakaya of the supreme enlightenment
Is the great and completely liberated Sage.
Regarding buddha activity, the same text says:
Thus it is maintained that, as long as samsara lasts,
Its action is unbroken and continuous.
As for the secret mantra teachings, in addition to the above levels there is a twelfth, padma can or padmini, a kaya that does not appear to bodhisattvas, but only to the great experience of omniscience, beyond one and many. Then it is always spontaneously present. Some also say that, in addition, there is the thirteenth level of a vajra holder whose bliss pervades to the limits the all- pervading space of dharmakaya free from all complexities. Also some texts say that great bliss, mahasukha, is a fourteenth bhumi, samadhi is a fifteenth, and wisdom, the level of the guru, is a sixteenth. These and immeasurable other levels are taught. However they all involve light rays being sent out everywhere and returning into the single essence.
The characteristics of the three kayas and five wisdoms appear with their individual divisions.
2.b.4) The paths
As for the previously taught paths:
The paths are accumulation, preparation, and seeing;
the path of meditation and that of no more learning.
By the two stages and such, the profoundest objects of mind,
Will arise the immaculate, radiant sun of holy Dharma.
The gate of entering for beginners is the path of accumulation. The path of preparation involves the four aids of release,
- heat or warmth,
- “peak experience” or spiritual exaltation
- patience, steadfastness,
- supreme worldly Dharma.
This level is practiced through strong interest. Those two are the paths of ordinary beings.
The paths of seeing and meditation are the paths of bodhisattva noble ones. All these together are the four paths of learning. Abandoning what is to be abandoned through seeing and meditation is accomplished with effort.
The final path is that of no more learning. This is the matchless umbrella, the single chief level. In those bhumis are dharani and samadhi and such profound aspects of mind, and these dharmas that are the objects of wisdom are the Dharma jewel in this case. To rephrase that, the path of no more learning is the Dharma. Associates are the Sangha. The teacher is the Buddha. So it is explained. Different things are said for people of different powers of mind. Here the different, but inseparable, ultimate and non-ultimate three jewels are all united.
Footnotes and references: