Dharmadhātu

In Buddhism, this makes perfect sense because: All things existing at once – there is no time.

Season Two begins by bringing back some characters we have met before. In Episode 6 we met “The Stranger,” who introduced us to the Charges d’ affairs. The, in Episode 9, we met the daoist Wei Boyang. Both of these characters return in Episode 1 of Season Two.

As Wei Boyang is one of the nine immortals, it is appropriate for our characters to occasionally cross paths with him. In the first episode of the new season, Wei Boyang speaks about the Dharmadhatu (Chinese: 法界). Here is a bit of background information.

In Mahayana Buddhism, dharmadhātu means “realm of phenomena”, “realm of Truth”, and of the noumenon. It is referred to by several synonymous terms from Mahayana Buddhist philosophy, such as Tathata (Reality “as-it-is”), emptiness, dependent co-arising and eternal Buddha. Dharmadhātu is the “deepest nature, or essence” of Buddhism.

The Four Dharmadhatu (Chinese: 四法界), is a philosophical concept propagated by Master Tu-shun (Chinese: 杜順; 557-640 CE), the founder of Hua-yan (Chinese: 華嚴) school. It builds upon and is a variant of the Dharmadhatu doctrine.

The Four Dharmadhatu were outlined in Tu-shun’s treatise which has been rendered into English as ‘On the Meditation of Dharmadhātu’. The Four Dharmadhatu are:

  • The Dharmadhātu of ‘Shih’. ‘Shih’ is a rendering of the character 事 which holds the semantic field: “matter”, “phenomenon”, “event”. It may be understood as the ‘realm’ (Sanskrit: dhātu) of all matters and phenomena.
  • The Dharmadhātu of ‘Li’. ‘Li’ is a rendering of the character 理 which holds the semantic field: “principle”, “law”, “noumenon”. This ‘realm’ (Sanskrit: dhātu) may be understood as that of principles. It has been referred to as “the realm of the one principle”. The “one principle” being qualified as śūnyatā (Sanskrit).
  • The Dharmadhātu of Non-obstruction of ‘Li’ against ‘Shih’. This ‘realm’ (Sanskrit: dhātu) has been rendered into English as “the realm of non-obstruction between principle and phenomena”.
  • The Dharmadhātu of the Non-obstruction of ‘Shih’ and ‘Shih’. This ‘realm’ (Sanskrit: dhātu) has been rendered into English as “the realm of non-obstruction between phenomena”.

The Three Points of View of Dharmadhatu

  • The View of True Emptiness and Absolute Mark – to view that all matters and phenomena in Dharmadhatu arise either by causal conditions or dependent conditions. They have no self-nature. They ‘return’ to the equal and true Emptiness eventually. Their existence with respect to the senses and consciousness of beings is an illusion, just like the flowers in the sky.
  • The View of Non-obstruction between ‘Li’ and ‘Shih’ – to view that the real nature of matters and phenomena is so-called ‘True Suchness’ or ‘Li’, which has twofold meanings, one is the ‘Unchanged’ and the other the ‘Accord with Conditions’. The former is its body while the latter is its manifestation / functions. As the True Suchness is unchanged in nature, it can manifest in accordance with conditions and produce all Dharmas or ‘Shih’. Thus, there is no obstruction between ‘Li’ and ‘Shih’.
  • The View of Universal Inclusion – to view that all Dharmas are manifestations of the True Suchness, which is the indivisible nature of all Dharmas. In other words, each Dharma consists of the complete and perfect nature of True Suchness. Thus all Dharmas are mutually inter-penetrated and mutually identical. Each Dharma has non-obstruction to all other Dharma indefinitely. They are universally inclusive to each other. You are part of me and I am part of you.