What Is the Three Dharma-Seals About? (7)


© Anonymous, July 10, 2013 at 10:10 PM (http://tantrismuskritik.blogspot.tw/2013/07/what-is-three-dharma-seals-about-6.html?showComment=1373465409065#c7260266772636397242")

In the Buddha dharma, the mirror is also called the “Mani jewel or Diamond true mind, etc.” which every sentient being innately possesses. This Mani jewel manifests one’s physical body and one’s seeing, hearing, perceiving and knowing mind. Then one’s physical body and the seeing, hearing, perceiving and knowing mind arise and vanish, arise again and vanish again life after life relying on this everlasting Mani jewel that remains unstirred, the same way as that of a mirror purely reflecting the images on its surface. 

For this reason, we say that the five aggregates (name-and-form) are the ones experienced births and deaths.

When we said that we are attached to self-belongings 我所, which includes our physical body, wealth, families, career, and what we enjoy, etc., these self-belongings (the existent belongings rely on our existence thus is named) also go through the cycle of arising and ceasing on the surface of the Mani jewel.

In other words, our five aggregates, our seeing, hearing, perceiving and knowing mind, as well as all those wealth and families we possess are nothing but those which arise and cease on the surface of the neither arising nor ceasing “Mani Jewel.”

While our five aggregates, wealth, health, families are arising and ceasing, the “Mani jewel” is permanent and changeless. It is always pure, clean and bright like an imperishable diamond.

Once you recognize this reality, would it not be easier for you to liberate yourself from births-and-deaths and vexations? You would be set free from the fear of losing those images on the surface of the Mani jewel at any moment, since they are of an inherently arising-and-ceasing nature. Meanwhile, there is another part of us, eternally exists behind all these arising and ceasing. In terms of the Buddha dharma, when you have personally realized this, we would say that you have found the Mani jewel.

This is how the interactions between the five aggregates and the Buddha nature; also, the Buddhist perspective towards births and deaths.

Every individual is able to read and understand the basic Buddha dharma by several readings, but true Buddhism should be able to let its practitioners personally realize its content stage by stage. That is to say, apart from gaining the knowledge of the Buddha dharma, Buddhist practitioners have to practice the observation 觀行of the five aggregates in extremely details with a zoom lens mind, or there will be no benefit or wisdom generated through the teachings.

Those are the focus on the Agama Sutras, the first round of dharma transmission by Buddha Sakyamuni. (Part 7)


  1. We have gone over the basics of the Three Dharma-Seals, and the Buddha dharma has to be examined from every possible facet.

    Some people would wonder, among the Three Dharma-Seals (all formations are impermanent, all dharmas are of no-self, and nirvana is tranquil), can one of them subsume the rest such that the Three Dharma-Seals can be condensed into one overarching principle? They would wonder whether it is possible to use “all formations are impermanent” to subsume the other two dharma-seals? Or using “all dharmas are no-self.” Or using “nirvana is tranquil.”

    However, subsuming the other dharma-seals under “all formations are impermanent” and “all dharmas are no-self” would be erroneous. For one, it would be correct to subsume “all dharmas are no-self” under “all formations are impermanent,” but it would be problematic to use an impermanent dharma-seal to subsume the dharma seal of nirvana. Why so? Because nirvana is a permanent dharma that is neither arising nor ceasing. It is the state of ultimate liberation and cannot be subsumed under an impermanent dharma-seal. This is the fault of subsuming the Three Dharma-Seals under an impermanent dharma-seal.

    Alternatively, some may consider subsuming the Three Dharma-Seals under the dharma-seal of the no-self dharma. This too is faulty. Why? When we talk about the “self,” what this “self” means is one that can control and master oneself. Only a dharma that is capable to master and exert control over oneself can be called the “self.”

    However, we can observe that “all formations are impermanent” and “all dharmas are no-self” refer to the no-self nature of these dharmas. Only the nirvana in the dharma-seal of “nirvana is tranquil” is the master of everything in the three realms, for the firm and indestructible law of causality is its dharma-nature. Because of this nature, it can exert control over everything within the three realms.

    All sentient beings’ transmigration within the six paths of rebirth in the three realms, their liberation from births-and-deaths or achieving Buddhahood are all circumscribed by the dharma-natures of Tathagatagarbha. Thus, anyone wishes to liberate themselves from births-and-deaths or attain the ultimate Buddhahood must rely on and abide by the dharma-natures of Tathagatagarbha. Therefore, we can see that the Tathagatagarbha is actually the master of the dharma-realm. To subsume the Three Dharma-Seals under a no-self dharma would be inappropriate for the dharma-seal of nirvana, or Tathagatagarbha. In conclusion, neither the impermanent or no-self dharma can subsume all Three Dharma-Seals. (Part 8)

  2. Then can we use the dharma-seal of “nirvana being tranquil” to subsume all dharma-seals?

    Well, let us first take a closer look of the content of the Three Samadhis.
    Like what we have done before, we will group the Three Samadhis into two types for the sake of our discussion. How are we going to divide them?

    The dharma-seal of nirvana corresponds to Emptiness whereas “all formations being impermanent” corresponds to that of No-Appearance and Wishlessness (or, No-Appearance and No-Fabrication, Part 2).

    But why would we characterize nirvana as emptiness? This is actually a very crucial point for the understanding of the Three Dharma-Seals, Three Samadhis, or Three Liberation Ways. Some people say that the sound-hearer dharmas refer to “emptiness due to impermanence.” So, to them, the Emptiness Samadhi in the Three Samadhis means “emptiness due to impermanence.”

    Owing to this understanding, they believe that once they have thoroughly observed the emptiness in all dharmas they would have realized the Emptiness Samadhi. Yet, this view is fallacious.

    When a non-Buddhist practitioner who believes in nihilism observes and confirms that all dharmas in the aggregates [skandhās], sense-fields [ayatanās] and sense-realms [dhātavas] are indeed “emptiness due to impermanence” and will eventually become extinguished, he would come to the conclusion that no dharma exists in the three realms and that the No-Appearance and Wishlessness Samadhis in the Three Samadhis refer to the elimination of appearances and wishes.

    In this case, would all of the Three Samadhis not be rendered as empty, nothing, and impermanent? Wouldn’t all of them have to be eliminated? If that were correct though, this dharma would be no different from that of those non-Buddhist nihilists. If Emptiness Samadhi is explained in terms of “emptiness due to impermanence,” then non-Buddhist nihilists should be regarded as enlightened saints in the Buddha dharma. Yet obviously, this is not the case.

    It is perfectly normal if you have to do repeat readings, as I wrote earlier, this sujbect is a bit advanced Buddha dharma.
    Try to connect and weave all info you have gained from this thread, as these basics will enhance your Buddhist knowledge even till future lifetimes. (Part 9)