Mutually Dependent Origination of Dharmadhatu

Yutang Lin

Human experiences gained through sense organs are limited to a certain sphere. Likewise, theoretical constructions are limited by linguistic tools, logic and human imagination. Therefore, even though human knowledge is reliable to certain extent, it could also be misleading at times. If we relied solely on current knowledge, then many phenomena could only be labeled as insubstantial but not understood. All sorts of problems in the world are beyond human manipulations; therefore, it would seem that human lives are just sequences of incessant and insurmountable problems, and that there is no hope of ultimate peace and joy.

The notion of Dharmadhatu as taught in Buddhism indicates directly that all are mutually dependent and are in limitless oneness. Dharmadhatu transcends boundaries of space or time, includes any space and any time, and even includes all kinds of phenomena or spiritual states that are not within the framework of space-time coordinates. All of the past, all of the present and all of the future are concurrently in Dharmadhatu. All artificial discriminations based on grasping to appearances are meaningless to Dharmadhatu as a whole. (For more detail explanation please read my article, "Dharmadhatu.")

In Dharmadhatu there is nothing that exists independently. All are mutually dependent as causes and conditions, and jointly form what there is. All views are relative. According to human perceptions there are clear evidences of differences in things and matters, of causal relations in certain temporal sequences, and of various distances in time or space. From the view point of Dharmadhatu as a whole, in addition to distinctions discernable by human perceptions, there is indistinguishable oneness unifying all there is and, going beyond human understanding or imagination, including all three times (past, present and future) concurrently. The view of mutually dependent origination of Dharmadhatu does not exclude or go contrary to distinctions based on human perceptions. And yet it is not confined by artificially made distinctions. It guides us to the spiritual state of harmonious oneness of all. Furthermore, it could help us to learn to make use of all sorts of distinctions to catalyze the attainment of oneness. (For more detail explanation please read my article, "Right View of the Ten Mystic Gates.")

Only when we follow the Buddhist teachings on mutually dependent origination of Dharmadhatu could the limited and biased confine of human perceptions be transcended, and significant progress on the peaceful path toward liberation from human sufferings be made. Causal relations as extending over past, present and future lives, gods and ghosts, transmigration and reincarnation, all phenomena that are related to such topics are readily labeled as imaginary or incredulous. Based only on human knowledge, that is no wonder the cases; viewed from mutually dependent origination of Dharmadhatu, it would then be easy to understand the reasons for all those ups and downs. Events as causal consequences of personal or common karmas, when viewed by persons in a limited time-space sphere would seem imprecise or even dubious, and yet when examined from the view of Dharmadhatu would turn out to be exactly as due. Effects of Buddhist practices may go unnoticeable to worldly eyes; from the view of Dharmadhatu they are immediately apparent just as setting up a pole would show its shadow. Visualization practices in Buddhism when viewed by worldly people would seem to be mere imagination or self-hypnosis, or even delusions and illusions; and yet when viewed from Dharmadhatu they could exert functions no less than reality. Based on this understanding Buddhist tantric teachings emphasize the visualization of Dharmadhatu as the Mandala of Buddhas, and thereby thoroughly transcend the bondage of limited and limiting human perceptions.

Human lives that are trapped within human perceptions have no exit from sufferings and sorrows. Once the teaching of mutually dependent origination of Dharmadhatu is comprehended, followed and put into practice until realization, such a human life becomes an opportunity to escape from suffering and to reach peace and tranquility. Human lives are transient; senility, illness and death would soon arrive, each with its ramifying sufferings. May people who are on the Buddhist path to enlightenment soon comprehend the mutually dependent origination of Dharmadhatu and realize oneness of the whole Dharmadhatu! Consequently, they would remain peaceful and joyful in spite of the inevitable ups and downs in life, and be forever free from delusions and pains derived from grasping to sensory experiences.

Based on the Chinese article with the same title, "Fa Jie Yuan Qi," that was written on September 22, written on September 24, 2001
El Cerrito, California

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