Articles by alphabetic order
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 Ā Ī Ñ Ś Ū Ö Ō
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0


Dharma - Spirituality

From Tibetan Buddhist Encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
12 3STnL69.jpg
111.jpg
One-300.jpg
Shakyam.jpg
Timth.jpg

Dharma, a Sanskrit word that literally means Law, is better translated in the context of Buddhism as Spiritual Reality or Spirituality. The Buddha awakened to this Realm of Dharma or Spiritual Reality when He first attained enlightenment seated in meditation under the Bodhi tree in Gaya some 2500 years ago. He spent the rest of his life teaching of the Dharma to his disciples. In fact the teachings of the Buddha are themselves called the Dharma.

The Dharma is not something that is alien to our normal human experience. This Spiritual Realm (Dharma Dhatu) is the reality of one’s very own mind. It is also the mind of the Buddha and the mind of all living beings. It is all three of these, but it is but in fact a single reality.

Chih-I’s The Hidden Meaning of the Lotus Sutra says:

The Lotus Sutra says:

“Making living beings open up, reveal, awaken and enter into the knowledge and vision of enlightenment.”

How could the Sutra discuss opening up the knowledge and vision of enlightenment if living beings did not already have it in themselves? One must know that this knowledge and vision abides in all living beings.

The Lotus Sutra says:

“No more, no more, it is not necessary to teach. The Dharma is wonderful and inconceivable.”

This is the wonderful wisdom of enlightenment that is both real and provisional and is only fathomed between the Buddhas.

The Lotus Sutra says:

“In cultivating their mindsy observed the true spiritual aspect of reality in all things without being shaken and without regressing, accepting and embracing it in each single thought

Thus it is cultivated in one’s own mind.

The Sutra on the Observation of the Bodhisattva Universal Virtue says: “With the mind empty of self, sin and blessedness are without an owner.”

The Flower Garland Sutra says: “The mind, the Buddha, and all living beings are an inseparable trinity.”

  1. When we discuss the spirituality (Dharma) of all living beings, it is in reference to cause and effect generally and to all things spiritual (dharmas).
  2. When we discuss the spirituality of the Buddha, it is in reference to the effect.
  3. When we discuss the spirituality of one’s own mind, it is in reference to the cause.

This table explains these three aspects of the mind in various terms, ancient and modern:

Aspect of Dharma

Component of Spiritual Path

Cause & Effect of Spiritual Cultivation

Modern Analogy

The Buddha

Enlightenment

Effect of Cultivation

Superego

One's Own Mind

One's Own Spiritual Journey

Cause of Cultivation

Ego

All Living Beings

Basic Human Nature

Cause & Effect Generally

Id


The Buddha explained this Dharma or spiritual reality in many different ways, through such teachings as the four truths, the twelve-fold wheel of causality and conditions (dependence upon origination), the two truths, the three truths, the one truth, etc. Each teaching was made in accordance with the capacity of those being taught. All of these teachings were different ways of analyzing and explaining the Dharma so that others could grasp its reality and its all-embracing totality.

In The Lotus Sutra the Dharma is explained as being the conditions of the ten spiritual realms (Dharma-dhatu) with their ten aspects of causality, and by extension the three thousand spiritual realms inherent in a single thought. This explanation charts the causality and conditions of the human heart from the depths of hell up to supreme enlightenment.

To explain it, we will first examine the ten spiritual realms (Dharma Dhatu).

The Ten Spiritual Realms:

Sanskrit

English

Vehicles & Path

The Spiritual Realm

Buddha-yana

Total Enlightenment
Beyond Self and Other

The Enlightenment of
The One Vehicle

The Pure Land

Nirvana & The Noble Path
The Spiritual Journey

The Vehicle of Enlightenment

Bodhisattva-yana

Attaining Enlightenment
For Oneself & Others

The Engagement of
The Great Vehicle

Pratyekabuddha-yana

Spiritual Self-Awakening

The Detachment of
The Two Vehicles

Sravaka-yana

Spiritual Discipleship

Deva-gati

Heaven - The Realm of the Gods

The Three Good Paths

The Saha (Endured) World

Suffering & Origination
Life & Death (Samsara)

The Threefold Realm

Manusya-gati

The Human Realm - Personality

Asura-gati

The Realm of Personal Demons

Preta-gati

The Realm of Hunger

The Three Evil Roads

Tiragyoni-gati

The Animal Realm - Brutality

Naraka-gati

Hell - The Realm of Suffering

In discussing the ten spiritual realms, we will first explore the six lower realms.

Source

tientai.net