Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Mahayana and Freedom of the Dharmakaya

"When bodhisattvas think of the Dharmakaya, how will they picture it to themselves?"
--General Treatise on Mayhayanism by Asanga and Vasubandhu
The writers of this important text as related by Suzuki in his book, Outlines of Mahayana Buddhism, answer this question-- what will they think/picture, by saying that, "They will think of the Dharmakaya by picturing its seven characteristics: free, unimpeded activity manifesting in all beings; all perfected virtues eternally in the Dharmakaya; absolute freedom from prejudice, both intellectual and emotional; spontaneous emanations from the will of the Dharmakaya; inexhaustible wealth stored in the Body of the Dharma, wealth spiritual and physical; purity without stain of onesidedness; earthly works achieved for the salvation of all beings, as reflexes of the Dharmakaya."

Asanga goes on to enumerate other characteristics of the Dharmakaya. He discusses its five forms of operation, its irresistible spiritual domination over all evil-doers, its method of destroying various unnatural and irrational methods of salvation practiced by: ascetics, hedonists, and Ishvaraism.He also mentions the ability of Dharmakaya to cure minds which believe in the reality, permanency and indivisibility of the soul-ego. Asanga ultimately seeks to inspire "those Bodhsattvas who have not yet attained to the stage of immovability, as well as those who are still in a state of vacillation."

Thus the freedom of the Dharmakaya is manifold (many-fold). According to the Buddhist view, "those spiritual powers everlastingly emanate from the Body of Dharma have no trace of human elaboration or constrained effort, but they are a spontaneous overflow from its immanent necessity, from its free will." That the Dharmakaya makes no conscious struggling gestures is to say that it is within itself, without diverse tendencies, one trying to gain ascendancy over another. It  becomes then, obvious, that any struggle becomes fertile for compulsion which is incompatible within the conception of the highest spiritual reality.

Absolute spontaneity and perfect (whole) freedom are necessary attributes when describing Dharmakaya. There can then, be no coercion, either external or internal. "Its every act of creation or salvation or love emanates from its own free will, unhampered by struggle which characterizes the activities of the every-day mind." This free will, which is divine, "stands in striking contrast to other, more earthly concepts of "free will."

As the Dharmakaya works of its own accord, "it does not seek any recompense for its deeds; its every act is for the best welfare of its creatures, for they are all its manifestations, and must know what we therefore need."

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