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On Dharmakāya as Ultimate Reality: Prolegomenon for a Buddhist-Christian Dialogue Ruben L. F. Habito.pdf

On Dharmakāya as Ultimate Reality: Prolegomenon for a Buddhist-Christian Dialogue Ruben L. F. Habito.pdf

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Published by Dharma Library
On Dharmakāya as Ultimate Reality: Prolegomenon for a Buddhist-Christian Dialogue
Ruben L. F. Habito
On Dharmakāya as Ultimate Reality: Prolegomenon for a Buddhist-Christian Dialogue
Ruben L. F. Habito

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Published by: Dharma Library on Jun 03, 2013
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01/20/2014

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Nanzan University
On Dharmakāya as Ultimate Reality: Prolegomenon for a Buddhist-Christian DialogueAuthor(s): Ruben L. F. HabitoSource:
Japanese Journal of Religious Studies,
Vol. 12, No. 2/3, A Tribute to HeinrichDumoulin (Jun. - Sep., 1985), pp. 233-252Published by:
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This content downloaded from 196.21.233.64 on Mon, 3 Jun 2013 17:13:07 PMAll use subject toJSTOR Terms and Conditions
 
JapaneseJournalofReligiousStudies12/2-3ONDHARMAKAYAASULTIMATEREALITYPROLEGOMENON ORABUDDHIST-CHRISTIANIALOGUERubenL.F.HABITOIn hisbookChristianityMeets Buddhism Father HeinrichDumoulindevotes achapterto"UltimateRealityand thePersonal,"andconsidersaspectsof theBuddhistabsoluteincomparisonwiththeChristiannotion ofGod.Thechapterissuggestiveofconcreteareasforfurther mutualunderstanding,andinthispaperIshouldlike to followupon oneof thembyconsideringakeyterm inBuddhism used todesignateultimatereality,as aprolegomenonforfurtherdialogue.BACKGROUNDOFTHETERMDHARMAKAYAInPilitexts,theinseparableconnection betweenthedhamma(Sk.,dharma,thetruth,teaching,way)anditsexpounder,theBuddhaisthekeyforunderstandingthe basicmeaningofdhammakdya.Therefore,OVakkali,whosoever sees thedhamma seesme;whosoeverseesme sees thedhamma.Indeed,OVakkali,oneseeingthedhammaseesme,oneseeingmeseesthedhamma(SamyuttaNikaya3:120).InreadingPili texts one can discern theprofound respectandesteemthediscipleshad for theirTeacher,aswellastheir abso-luteallegianceto the truth hetaught:thewaytodeliverance setoutbeforetheminthe formof hisveryownperson.Thesetwopolesofallegiance,theBuddhaandthedhamma,remaincorollariesthroughoutthehistoryofBuddhism,andthequestionofpriority
This content downloaded from 196.21.233.64 on Mon, 3 Jun 2013 17:13:07 PMAll use subject toJSTOR Terms and Conditions
 
234HABITO:Dharmaklyabetweenthe two willkeeponarisingas adecisivefactor inunderstandingultimatereality.1On the onehand,thedhammaishanded downand reveredasthewaytodeliverance,theexpressionoftheultimate truth ofexistence whose realization leadslivingbeingsfrom theirstate ofsufferingto thestateofperfect peace(Pilinibbana,Sanskritnirvana).2Onthe otherhand,theprofoundesteem and reverenceshownto the Teacherwhile hewas aliveturned into adistinct kind ofveneration afterhisdemise.Thisworshipfulveneration issuedinatendencytodivinizetheimageoftheBuddha.Forinstance,theBuddhaisportrayedasasuper-beingwho hasconquered death,asonewho,throughhisenlightenment,haspenetratedthe truth ofallexistence and whothereforepossessesaknowledgeofallthings.Becauseof thisomniscience,heisevenreveredassupe-riorto thegods-averitablesupremebeing.3TheBuddha thus becomes anobjectofworshipandveneration,justasthetruth whichhetaughtisworthyofabsoluteallegiance.Later on thesamgha,orCommunity,dedicatedfullytothepursuitofthistruth becamethethirdjewelinBuddhism'straditionalobjectsofveneration.4With the rise oftheMahiydnathe divinization ofthe Buddhawascarriedstillfurthertonewlevels.Inthe Saddharma-pundarikasuitra knownpopularlyas theLotusSitra),forexample,theBuddhaisportrayedasexistingsincetimeimmemorial,castinghismercifulglanceuponalllivingbeingssufferinginthetripleworld,possessedofvariouspowers,andemployingallsortsofsubtlemeansto deliver thesebeingsfrom their state ofsuffering(Kern1909).Mahiyinaspeculationlikewisebroughtnew levels ofunder-standingtodharma.ThePrajftlparamitaor WisdomSutrasexpoundthe truth(dharma)that underlies allthings(sarvadharmandmdharmata)asemptiness(uinyata)(SeeNakamura1960).Thedeline-ation of thefundamentaltruthofBuddhismasSiinyataisinevi-tablytiedupwithspeculationconcerningthe essential nature ofthe Buddha: he comes to beidentified with thisfundamental truthitself,asoneessentiallypossessedof the nature ofemptiness
This content downloaded from 196.21.233.64 on Mon, 3 Jun 2013 17:13:07 PMAll use subject toJSTOR Terms and Conditions

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