67. Hua Yen Sect (III)
- Hua Yen Sect (III)
67.1 'Li' and 'Shih'
In Hua-yen's doctrine, it is used to interpret all Dharmas in two
different aspects: one is 'Li' ( 理 ) and the other is 'Shih' (
事 ), which are two important words in the vocabulary of this sect.
'Li' is transliterated from a Chinese word, which means ' principle'
and 'law'. It refers to Absolute, Noumenon, Suchness, Self-nature,
Buddha Mind, Universal Truth, Abstract, etc.
'Shih' is transliterated from a Chinese word, which means 'matter'
and 'event'. It refers to phenomenon, form and matter, functions,
the particular and concrete things and ideas, etc
It is also important to note that 'Li' and 'Shih' are not duality,
as they exist simultaneously. It means that every event or matter
in the phenomenal world represents the noumenon completely and perfectly.
That is why it is always said to be 'the one is the all, and the
all is in the one'.
67.2 Relationship between 'Li' and 'Shih'
The relationship between 'Li' and 'Shih' is explained in detail
by Master Tu-shun ( 杜順 )in his writing 'Meditation on the Dharmadhatu'.
- The principle that 'Li' must embrace 'Shih'
- The principle that 'Shih' must embrace 'Li'
- The production of 'Shih' must rely on 'Li'
- Through 'Shih', the 'Li' is illustrated.
- Through 'Li', the 'Shih' is annulled.
- 'Shih' can hide the 'Li'.
- The true 'Li' is 'Shih' itself.
- Matters and events themselves are 'Li'.
- The true 'Li' is not 'Shih'.
- Matters and events are not 'Li'.
67.3 The Four Dharmadhatu
The doctrine of Hua-yen is based on the theory of causation by
the universal principle, or called Dharmadhatu in Sanskrit, i.e.
Dharma Realm ( 法界 ).
For the two aspects of all Dharmas, both 'Li' and 'Shih' are interpenetrated
with each other, and all phenomena are mutually identified. All
phenomena are the manifestations of noumenon, and each individual
phenomenon embraces every other phenomenon. Thus, the Four Dharmadhatu
- The Dharmadhatu of 'Shih' ( 事法界 ) - This is a realm of phenomena,
in which all things are seen as distinct, discrete and different
objects, matter, events and Dharmas occur in the empirical worlds.
- The Dharmadhatu of 'Li' ( 理法界 ) - This is a realm, in which
the principles underlying all phenomena and the immanent reality
upholding all Dharmas are seen. It is a realm beyond the perceptions
of human beings, but can be visualized by the enlightened ones
- The Dharmadhatu of Non-obstruction of 'Li' against 'Shih' (
理事無礙法界 ) - This is a realm, in which 'Li' and 'Shih' are
regarded as the inseparable unity. That means, without one, the
other would be meaningless. They are mutually interpenetrating
and completely identical, i.e. they are non-dual. The relationship
between 'Li' and 'Shih' has been discussed in section 67.2. It
complies with the Principle of Non-obstruction of 'Li' against
- The Dharmadhatu of Non-obstruction of 'Shih' against Shih' (
事事無礙法界 ) - This is the ultimate and the only Dharmadhatu
that truly exists, as the first three Dharmadhatu are merely explanatory
expediencies to approach this realm. In this realm, each and every
individual 'Shih' enters into and merges with all other 'Shih'
in perfect freedom, without the aid of 'Li'.
67.4 Four Kinds of Dependent Arising
In Buddhism, it is the universal truth that everything arises from
conditions, and it has no independent nature on its own. According
to Hua-yen's doctrine, there are four kinds of arising from the
- Arising from Karmic influence ( 業感緣起 ) -- that expounded
by Hinayana. The conditions of reincarnation arise under the influence
- Arising from Alaya consciousness ( 阿賴那緣起 ) -- that expounded
by the primitive Mahayana, such as Fa-hsiang sect or Yogacara.
Everything arises from Alaya consciousness.
- Arising from True Suchness / Tathagata-garbha ( 真如緣起 ) --
that expounded by the advanced Mahayana. Everything arises from
True Suchness or Tathagata-garbha.
- Arising from Dharmadhatu ( 法界緣起 ) -- that expounded by the
complete Mahayana, such as Hua-yen sect. All things arise simultaneously
without any mutual obstruction.
67.5 The Three Points of View of Dharmadhatu<
According to the doctrine of Dharmadhatu, the founder of Hua-yen
sect, Tu-shun ( 杜順 ),, established the Three Points of Views of
Dharmadhatu ( 法界三觀 ):
- The View of True Emptiness and Absolute Mark ( 真空絕相觀 )
- 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' ( 理事無礙觀
) - to view that the real nature of matters and phenomena is so-called
'True Suchness' ( 真如 ) or 'Li' ( 理 ), which has twofold meanings,
one is the 'Unchanged' ( 不變 ) and the other the 'Accord with
Conditions' ( 隨緣 ). 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'
- The View of Universal Inclusion ( 周偏含容觀 ) - 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.