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Buddhism A to Z: "D" Entries

Daosheng (Venerable) (360-434)

One of the foremost disciples of the Venerable Hwei Ywan (see entry), the Venerable Dau Sheng was a great enlightened master who is best known for his propagation of the teachings of the Mahayana and particularly the doctrine of the universality of Buddha-nature, even in ['those of insufficient faith'].

"At the time when only the first part of [the ] . . . had been translated into Chinese, Dharma Master Dau Sheng was lecturing on it in Soochow Province in JungGwo. When he came to the passage that said that lack the Buddha-nature, he didn't explain it that way, but he said instead that they have the Buddha-nature. His reasoning went like this:

"'Why is it that have the Buddha-nature? It is because all living beings have the Buddha-nature, and although have insufficient faith, they are living beings. Therefore, how can one say they lack the Buddha-nature?'

"He lectured on the question in a way opposite to the reading in the first half of the Sutra, which outraged the other Dharma Masters of his time. They protested, 'That's the talk of demonÄ kings! The Sutra which the Buddha spoke plainly says that don't have the Buddha-nature, yet he says they do. That's really messed up.' No one would have anything to do with him after that, and when he lectured on the sutras, no one came. The Dharma Masters ganged up and told all the disciples and good people of faith, 'If Dau Sheng lectures, don't go. Anyone who listens to his Sutra lectures will fall into the hells.'

Since the whole reason the good men and women of faith were studying the Buddhadharma was to avoid falling into the hells, when they heard they would fall into the hells if they went to Dharma Master Dau Sheng's Sutra lectures, they didn't dare go to listen.

"Dharma Master Dau Sheng was not one to remain silent, but was determined to deliver Sutra lectures. He said, 'Okay, you won't come to listen? Then I'll go lecture to the rocks and see what they do.' And so he went of to Hu Ch'iu Mountain and collected several hundred rocks from all over the area. He set them up in front of him and said, 'I invite you to a Sutra lecture. Be good rocks and sit there nice and still.' It turned out that the rocks were very obedient. They didn't run off or roll away, but stayed right where he put them. When he got to the passage about not having the Buddha-nature, he said, 'That isn't correct. have the Buddha-nature too. "Those with and without sentience identically perfect the wisdom of all modes." will become Buddhas too. I SAID DO HAVE THE BUDDHA NATURE! DO YOU AGREE?'

"What do you think the rocks did then? Probably, although they were supposed to enter , they had not quite gotten into it and had not yet had a chance to fall asleep. When the rocks heard the Dharma Master ask that question, they all jumped to attention and started moving. This dull rock nodded its head, and that dull stone nodded its head. They all nodded in agreement, bumping into each other, because each would hit the rock in front of it.

"Someone might wonder who verified that really happened. It is not something that the venerable Dau-sheng said himself. It was said by those who opposed him. How did they end up saying such a thing? The reason people were against him in the first place was that he lectured too well. His eloquence was unobstructed, as if lotuses were blooming on his tongue. Almost everyone was jealous of the way he could come up with explanations that never occurred to anyone else, and of how he could make the sutras come alive, as it were. That is the way people are. If someone is better than they are, they get jealous, and if they are better than someone else, they look down on that person. Living beings have that kind of knowledge and outlook. And so the people of his time formed a faction in opposition to Dharma Master Dau Sheng. When he went to the mountains to lecture to the rocks, some of them followed him on the sly to see what he was doing. Then, when he lectured there and all the rocks began to move, nodding their heads--without being blown by the wind or splashed by the rain--the Dharma Masters who were spying on him, those who believed in him and even those who were against him, all saw what occurred. That is the origin of the saying,

When the Venerable Dau Sheng spoke the Dharma,
Dull rocks nodded their heads.

"Afterwards, when the had been completely translated, it turned out that the Sutra itself says that also have the Buddha-nature. That proved that Dharma Master Dau Sheng had completely understood the doctrine without having seen the entire Sutra; it showed the extent of his wisdom and insight. Afterward this incident even those who had opposed him no longer did so and came to bow to him.

"The meaning of the dull rocks nodding their heads is that those who had no faith in him were the dull rocks--otherwise how could they have failed to believe in him? Yet in the end even those who had been jealous and opposed him prostrated themselves before him." (WM 71-73)

1) Ch. .

See also: Nirvana Sutra, Buddha-nature.

BTTS References: WM 71-73; VBS ; VS 151-152; FAS-PII(2) 145-149.


If one loses the resolve to cultivate all good roots, one is still engaging in demonic deeds. (FAS )

Deviant views and the three 'poisons' are the demon king. (PS 307)

When one's inner fire departs, a demon takes possession. (Chinese saying)

In Buddhism the word translated as 'demon' is the Sanskrit , which means 'bringer of death'. The Chinese translation is often explained as meaning , another character with the same sound which means to rub or polish. Therefore, it has been said:

Demons come to polish the Way,
Those on the True Way have to endure demons.
The more you get polished, the brighter you get;
You'll be polished until you're like the autumn moon,
Which illumines all the demon hordes in empty space.
When the demon hordes are scattered,
Then the original Buddha manifests. (TT 66)

There are Four Kinds of Demons: 1) demons which are afflictions, 2) demons which are illnesses, 3) the demon of death, and 4) heavenly demons. The first three can be said to be internal demons and the fourth, external demons.

The head of the heavenly demons is Mara the Evil One, who rules over the Sixth Desire Heaven (see Six Desire Heavens). The demons of that heaven derive their bliss from preying on the energies of other beings. They are particularly threatened by those who practice on the spiritual pathways that reach beyond their realms and finally lead to genuine enlightenment.

Mara, the king of demons, is the principal enemy of the Buddha and his Dharma. Buddha Shakyamuni himself related:

On one occasion Ananda, I was resting under the goat herd's Nigrodha tree on the bank of the river Neranjara immediately after having reached the great enlightenment. Then Mara, the Evil One, came, Ananda, to the place were I was, and standing beside me he addressed me in the words: 'Pass away now, Lord, from existence! Let the Exalted One now die! Now is the time for the Exalted One to pass away!'

And when he had thus spoken, Ananda, I addressed Mara, the Evil One, and said: ' I shall not pass away, O Evil One! until not only the brethren and sisters of the Order, but also the lay disciples of either sex shall have become true hearers, wise and well-trained, ready and learned, carrying the doctrinal books in their memory, masters of the lesser corollaries that follow from the larger doctrine, correct in life, walking according to the precepts--until they, having thus themselves learned the doctrine, shall be able to tell others of it, preach it, make it known, establish it, open it, minutely explain it and make it clear--until they, when others start vain doctrine, easy to be refuted by the truth, shall be able in refuting it to spread the wonder working truth abroad! I shall not die until this pure Dharma of mine shall have become successful, prosperous, wide-spread, and popular in all its full extent--until in a word, it shall have been well proclaimed among men!' ( II, 120-121)

At another time, this encounter took place:

And Mara the wicked One went to the place where the Blessed One was; having approached him, he addressed the Blessed One in the following stanza: 'Thou art bound by all fetters, human and divine. Thou art bound by strong fetters. Thou wilt not be delivered from me, O Samana.'

Buddha replied: `I am delivered from all fetters, human and divine. I am delivered from the strong fetters. Thou art struck down, O Death.'

(Mara said): 'The fetter which pervades the sky, with which mind is bound, with that fetter I will bind thee. Thou wilt not be delivered from me, O Samana.'

(Buddha replied): 'Whatever forms, sounds, odours, flavours, or contacts there are which please the senses, in me desire for them has ceased. Thou art struck down, O Death.'

Then Mara the wicked one understood: 'The Blessed One knows me, the perfect One knows me,' and, sad and afflicted, he vanished away. ( I, 11, 2)

This gives a detailed explanation of the relation between failure to follow the fundamental Buddhist moral precepts and entrance into the realms of demonic experience and, subsequently, rebirth in those realms. The Sutra also indicates that the following are fundamental ways people become susceptible to demonic influence: 1) by mistaking that which is not enlightenment for enlightenment; 2) by mistaking one who is not enlightened for one who is enlightened; 3) by being overcome by one's own 'demonic' habits of mind; and 4) by being overcome by external demonic forces that are attracted to one's own demonic tendencies.

Spiritual powers only become demonic when one becomes attached to them or when one takes them for a sign of enlightenment. They occur naturally on the meditational path as a by-product of cultivation. However, they also can occur as a sign of demonic possession. In the latter case the power is that of a demon and not that generated by the person's own mind.

The also contains a most powerful mantra (see Shurangama Mantra) for subduing all types of demonic forces.

1) Ch. , , ; 2) Skt. , 3) Pali , 4) Alternate Translations: killing, destroying, bringing death, the Evil One, the adversary and tempter, Death.

See also: Devadatta, ignorance.

BTTS References: SS I 175; SS VIII; UW 122-123, 206-207; TT 66. Unpublished lecture by Ven.Master Hua, July 29, 1985. Lethcoe, Nancy. "Mara, Buddhas, and Bodhisattvas." VBS #14 (May, 1971) 22-25; #16 (July, 1971) 36-38; #18 (Sept., 1971) 23-26.


Devadatta is usually presented as the archetypical earthly enemy of the Buddha, in much the same fashion that Mara (see demons) is portrayed as the Buddha's heavenly opponent. A cousin of the Buddha, Devadatta became a disciple shortly after the Buddha's enlightenment and eventually became one of the Buddha's foremost disciples, possessing great spiritual powers.

About eight years prior to the Buddha's nirvana, Devadatta succumbed to the demon of jealousy and turned against the Buddha. To that end he used his spiritual powers to impress Ajatasatru, with whom he formed an alliance. Ajatasatru would kill his father Bimbisara and become king himself and Devadatta would kill the Buddha. He made three attempts on the Buddha's life: sending archer-assassins, setting an avalanche, and loosing a drunken elephant. All failed. Afterwards Devadatta attempted to create a schism in the Sangha and set up his own sangha with slightly different monastic rules.

At the end of his life Devadatta again wished to draw near to the Buddha, but on the journey the earth is said to have opened up and swallowed him. At the moment of being swallowed up he tried to declare his taking refuge with the Buddha, but before he could finish, he died and was reborn in the deepest of the hells, where he began to undergo one hundred thousand aeons of the most painful suffering because of the karma he had created.

"Devadatta was the Buddha's cousin, but he opposed everything the Buddha ever did. Some people say that he was the Buddha's enemy, but that is not the case. Devadatta actually helped the Buddha become a Buddha. Not only did he help him in one life, but in life after life. However, he did so in a back-handed way. He 'helped' Shakyamuni Buddha by 'opposing' him. How does that work? Say, for instance, someone resolves to cultivate the Way, but another person gives him trouble all day long, by either scolding him or ridiculing him or generally giving him a hard time. The opposition serves as a test to the cultivator's resolve. One of my disciples once asked, 'Is it okay to give people tests to help them out?' I said, 'No. If your attainment of the fruition has been certified and you know that your testing will help them realize the Way, then it is okay. If you haven't certified to the fruition, then don't test other people. If you test others, others will test you. If you test people and they fail, then they will fall. If people test you and you fail, then you will fall.'

"The situation with Devadatta was different, however. Devadatta's state was inconceivable. His spiritual powers were as great as those of the Buddha, and it was Devadatta's opposition that spurred the Buddha on to his attainment of the Way. . . . In the past Devadatta lectured on the to Shakyamuni Buddha, helping him to become a Buddha." (DFS X 1)

"How did Devadatta come to aid Shakyamuni Buddha in his realizing the Way? Let us look into the way it happened. Long ago there was a wealthy elder named Hsu-t'an whose fortune of the seven gems was impressively abundant. His eldest son was called Hsu-mo-t'i. When his wife died, Hsu-t'an, although advanced in years, remarried and had another son named Hsiu-p'i-ye. The elder passed away when his younger son was only about eighteen or twenty. The two sons proceeded to divide their father's riches, but HsuÄ mo-t'i, the elder brother, decided he didn't want to give his younger brother half. And so he took him up to Vulture Peak for a holiday barbecue, and when they got near the top, Hsu-mo-t'i pushed his younger brother right off the edge! Then he threw rocks on top of him to bury him. And then he went home and took possession of all of his father's wealth.

"Hsu-mo-t'i, surprisingly enough, was Shakyamuni Buddha in a former life. You shouldn't think that Shakyamuni Buddha never did anything wrong. The younger brother was Devadatta in a former life, and the elder was King Ajatasatru, the one who locked his parents in jail. Life after life, Shakyamuni Buddha was involved with these people in varying combinations of affinities, and so even after he became a Buddha, they still came and gave him trouble." (DFS X 2)

Even though Devadatta kept trying to kill the Buddha, not only did Shakyamuni Buddha not seek revenge or harbor resentment

or ill-will towards him, he expressed his gratitude toward his former teacher and bestowed upon him the prediction of Buddhahood. Of course Devadatta must first undergo the consequences of his own actions and then cultivate the proper Path to Buddhahood.

It is because of my good and wise advisor, Devadatta, that I have perfected the Six Paramitas, kindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity, as well as the Thirty-two Major Physical Characteristics and Eighty Minor Characteristics, coloring of burnished purple-gold, the Ten Powers, the Four Fearlessnesses, the Four Dharmas of Attraction, The Eighteen Unshared Dharmas, the power of the way of spiritual penetrations, the realization of equal and proper enlightenment, and the rescue of vast numbers of living beings. All this came about because of my good and wise advisor, Devadatta. (DFS X 40)

I announce to the Four Assemblies that, after limitless aeons have passed, Devadatta will become a Buddha by the name of King of Gods Thus Come One. (DFS X 50)

1) Ch. , 2) Skt. , 3) Pali .

See also: demons.

BTTS References: DFS X (Ch12 "Devadatta"); FAS-PII(3) 78-79; VBS #196, pp. 4-5; VBS #197, pp.4-5.


See Dharma/dharma.


A synonym of mantra.

" is a Sanskrit word, interpreted to mean 'unite and hold'. Dharanis, sometimes called 'mantras' unite all dharmas and hold limitless meanings. They are the chief, the head and the origin of all dharmas." (DS 1)

"A also 'unites and holds the three karmas' of body, mouth and mind, so that there is no violation." (DS 73)

1) Ch. , ; 2) Skt. , 3) Pali -----, 4) Alternate Translations: magic formula, incantation, celle qui soutient ou renferme, the all-encompassing.

See also: mantra.

BTTS References: DS 1, 73.

Dharani Sutra

The full title of the work is .

This Sutra tells of the past causes and conditions of the Bodhisattva of Great Compassion, Regarder of the World's Sounds (Avalokiteshvara), and of the various ways of practicing the Great Compassion Mantra. It is a fundamental text of the (Tantric) School of Mysteries.

1) Ch. , 2) Skt. , 3) Pali-Ä ---, 4) Alternate Translations.

See also: dharani, mantra, Great Compassion Mantra, Avalokiteshvara (Bodhisattva).

BTTS References: DS.


In Buddhism Dharma no longer has its Hindu meaning of religious duty according to one's class. Instead it has several levels of meaning including: the teachings of the Buddha, which can be understood as 1) methods (teachings) for becoming enlightened; 2) the reality that one realizes at enlightenment; and 3) the various divisions of the mental and physical world that are part of the teaching.


He turns the inconceivable, wondrous wheel of Dharma,

And makes known the conduct of the path to Bodhi,

Which destroys the suffering of all living beings forever. (FAS )

Dharma refers to all the methods of cultivation taught by the Buddha which lead to ultimate enlightenment. They are means to an end, not an end in themselves.

Monks, as a man going along a highway might see a great stretch of water, the hither bank dangerous and frightening, the further bank secure, not frightening, but if there were not a boat for crossing by or a bridge across for going from the not-beyond to the beyond, this might occur to him: `This is a great stretch of water, the hither bank dangerous and frightening, the further bank secure and not frightening, but there is not a boat for crossing by or a bridge across for going from the not-beyond to the beyond. Suppose that I, having collected grass, sticks, branches and foliage, and having tied a raft, depending on that raft, and striving with hands and feet, should cross over safely to the beyond?' Then, monks, that man, having collected grass, sticks, branches and foliage, having tied a raft, depending on that raft and striving with his hands and feet, might cross over safely to the beyond. To him, crossed over, gone beyond, this might occur: 'Now this raft has been very useful to me. I, depending on this raft, and striving with my hands and feet, crossed over safely to the beyond. Suppose now that I, having put this raft on my head, or having lifted it on to my shoulder, should proceed as I desire?' What do you think about this, monks? If that man does this, is he doing what should be done with that raft?"

"No, Lord."

"What should that man do, monks, in order to do what should be done with that raft? In this case, monks, it might occur to that man who has crossed over, gone beyond: 'Now, this raft has been very useful to me. Depending on this raft and striving with my hands and feet, I have crossed over safely to the beyond. Suppose now that I, having beached this raft on dry ground or having submerged it under the water, should proceed as I desire?' In doing this, monks, that man would be doing what should be done with that raft. Even so, monks, is the Parable of the Raft taught by me for crossing over, not for retaining. You, monks, by understanding the Parable of the Raft, should get rid even of (right) mental objects, all the more of wrong ones." ("Alagaddupamasutta," I 134-135, , I 173-174)

. . . The Dharma which I speak is like a raft. Even Dharmas should be relinquished, how much the more that which is not Dharma. (VS 49)

The raft of Dharma gives us something to hang onto as we eliminate our attachments, which cause us to suffer and to be stuck on this shore of birth and death. The raft of Dharma refers to the methods of inward illumination; it takes us across the sea of our afflictions to the other shore, Nirvana. Once there "even Dharmas should be relinquished."

"The Dharma is spoken to break people's attachments. If people had no attachments, they wouldn't need the Dharma. But people have attachments because their consciousnesses take over, and so they give rise to distinctions and attachments. If you let your wisdom be in charge, you will have no attachments. . . ." (VBS #179 3rd door)

"There are no fixed, static dharmas. Because it is not fixed, the Dharma is alive. Dharma which is alive is separate from all attachments. It is said, 'One bestows the teaching for the sake of the individual and prescribes the medicine according to the illness.' In the same way the Dharma is spoken as an antidote to an individual's specific problems." (DFS I 7-8)

II. . In this sense Dharma refers to the reality which is realized through the application of Dharma as teaching. It is the world of total enlightenment. See Dharma-realm.

III. . Another use of the word dharma is any aspect or division of the teaching. Dharma in this sense is an expedient distinction made for the sake of greater understanding. For example, the Five Skandhas, the Six Paramitas, and the Eighteen Realms are all dharmas.

1) Ch. , 2) Skt. , 3) Pali .

4) Alternate Translations: method, law, factor (of existence), characteristic, quality, idea, category, state of existence, condition of being, truth, true ideal, the Teaching.

See also: Dharma-door, Dharma-realm.

BTTS References: FAS-PII(1) 97-99; FAS-PII(2) 100; FAS Ch15 1-2; VBS #179 (3rd door); DFS I 14ff, 28, 30, 31, 7, 8; DFS II 132; DFS I 39; HS 51; HD 26.


A Dharma-door is an entrance to the Dharma, a teaching about a way or method of practice leading to enlightenment.

1) Ch. , 2) Skt. , , 3) Pali , , 4) Alternate Translations: DharmaÄ entrance/approach, device, means of teaching the doctrine, religious discourse, entrance/door to doctrine/religion, introduction or way of entering the doctrine, discourse on Dharma.

See also: Dharma/dharma, Eighty-four Thousand Dharma Doors.

Dharma-Ending Age

Alas! In the evil time
Of the Dharma-Ending Age,
Living beings' blessings are slight,
It is difficult to train them.
Far indeed from the sages of the past!
Their deviant views are deep.
Demons are strong, the Dharma is weak;
Many are the wrongs and injuries.
Hearing the door of the Thus Come One's sudden teaching,
They hate not destroying it as they would smash a tile.
The doing is in the mind;
The body suffers the calamities.
There's no need for unjust accusations that shift the blame to others.
If you don't wish to invite the karma of the unintermittent [hell],
Do not slander the Thus Come One's Proper Wheel of Dharma.
(SE 62-63)

The Dharma-Ending Age is the last of the Three Ages of Dharma, during which the understanding and practice of the Buddha-dharma gradually declines and finally disappears. The Three Ages are 1) the Orthodox Dharma Age, 2) The Dharma Image/Semblance Age, and 3) the Dharma-Ending Age.

"The era when the Buddha dwelled in the world was called the Orthodox Dharma Age. At that time the Buddha taught the Dharma, and there were genuine Arhats and great Bodhisattvas; the sages were dwelling in the world. The Orthodox Dharma Age lasted for one thousand years. The Dharma-Image Age followed--after the Buddha entered nirvana. During this period, people who cultivated the Way were few; those who were attached to external appearances were many. People stressed the creation of Buddha-images and many were made, but genuine cultivators were few.

"After the Dharma-Image Age came the Dharma-Ending age. The Orthodox Dharma Age lasted for one thousand years. The DharmaÄ Image Age lasted another one thousand years. That is two thousand years in all. The Dharma-Ending age continues for ten thousand years. We are now living in the Dharma-Ending Age. What does the phrase 'Dharma-ending' mean? It means that the Dharma has nearly come to an end and is about to disappear. The 'disappearance' of the Buddhadharma involves disappearance of faith in the Buddha. In the Dharma-Ending Age living beings' faith in the Buddha is not firm. When the Buddha dwelled in the world,peoples' faith was so firm that if you held a person at knife-point and threatened his life saying, 'Renounce your belief in the Buddha or I'll murder you,' he would rather die than surrender his belief. . . .

"In the Dharma-Image Age things were different. If a person believed in the Buddha and someone said, 'If you believe in the Buddha, I'll kill you,' he would say, 'Fine, I won't believe in the Buddha.' People would change their minds because their faith was not firm.

"Now, in the Dharma-Ending Age, you don't even have to threaten a person with death. You merely have to say, 'Don't believe in the Buddha,' and they quickly reply, 'Fine'. . . . It is very difficult to promote faith. Figure it out for yourself. How many people are there in the world? Among the entire human race, how many believe in the Buddha? You can lecture the Sutras to those believers every day and they will still waver between doubt and faith. You can conduct a small experiment. Try this. Invite a person out to a movie. He'll accept on the spot and away you go. Then try asking him to a Sutra lecture. He will say, 'Ohhh . . . sitting there for two hours is nothing but suffering and tedium. It's not half as much fun as a movie!' That is the Dharma-Ending Age for you." (BRF 17-18)

Thus I have heard. At one time the Buddha was in the state of Kushinagara. The Tathagata was to enter Nirvana within three months and the bhikshus and Bodhisattvas as well as the great multitude of beings had come to the Buddha to pay homage to the Buddha and to bow in reverence. The World Honored One was tranquil and silent. He spoke not a word and his light did not appear. Worthy Ananda bowed and asked the Buddha, "O Bhagavan, heretofore whenever you spoke the Dharma, awesome light would naturally appear. Yet today among this great assembly there is no such radiance. There must be a good cause for this, and we wish to hear the Bhagavan's explanation."

The Buddha remained silent and did not answer until the request had been repeated three times. He then told Ananda, "After I enter Nirvana, when the Dharma is about to perish, during the Evil Age of the Five Turbidities (see Five Turbidities), the way of demons will flourish. Demonic beings will become Shramanas (see entry); they will pervert and destroy my teachings. Wearing the garb of lay persons, they will prefer handsome clothes and their precept sashes will be made of multi-colored cloth. They will use intoxicants, eat meat, kill other beings, and they will indulge their desire for flavorful food. They will lack compassion and they will bear hatred and jealousy even among themselves.

"At that time there will be Bodhisattvas, Pratyekabuddhas, and Arhats who will reverently and diligently cultivate immaculate virtue. They will be respected by all people and their teachings will be fair and egalitarian. These cultivators of the Way will take pity on the poor, they will be mindful of the aged, and they will save and give counsel to those people they find in difficult circumstances. They will at all times exhort others to worship and to protect the sutras and images of the Buddha. They will do meritorious deeds, be resolute and kind and never harm others. They will forsake their bodies for others' benefit. They will hold no great regard for themselves but will be patient, yielding, humane, and peaceful.

"If such people exist, the hordes of demonic bhikshus will be jealous of them. The demons will harass them, slander and defame them, expel them from their midst and degrade them. They will ostracize the good monks from the monastic community. Thereafter these demons will not cultivate the Way-virtue. Their temples and monastic buildings will be vacant and overgrown with weeds. For want of care and maintenance their Way-places will drift into ruin and oblivion. The demonic bhikshus will only be greedy for wealth and will amass great heaps of goods. They will refuse to distribute any of it or to use it to gain blessings and virtue.

"At this time, the evil monks will buy and sell slaves to till their fields and to slash and burn the mountain forests. They will do harm to living creatures and they will feel not the least bit of compassion. These slaves will themselves become bhikshus and maidservants will become bhikshunis. Totally lacking in any Way-virtue, these people will run amok, indulging in licentious behavior. In their turbid confusion they will fail to separate the men from the women in the monastic communities. From this generation on, the Way will be weakened. Fugitives from the law will seek refuge in my Way, wishing to become Shramanas but failing to observe the moral regulations. The precepts will continue to be recited twice a month, but in name alone. Being lazy and lax, no one will want to listen any longer. These evil Shramanas will be unwilling to recite the sutras in their entirety and they will make abbreviations at the beginning and at the end of the texts as they please. Soon the practice of reciting sutras will stop altogether. Even if there are people who recite texts, they will be unlettered, unqualified people who will insist, nonetheless, that they are correct. Bumptious, arrogant and vain, these people will seek fame and glory. They will display elegant airs in the hope of attracting offerings from other people.

"When the lives of these demonic bhikshus come to an end their essential spirits will fall into the avici hells. Having committed the five evil sins, they will suffer successive rebirths as hungry ghosts and as animals. They will know all such states of woe as they pass on through aeons as numerous as sands on the banks of the Ganges River. When their offenses are accounted for they will be reborn in a border land where the Triple Jewel is unknown.

"When the Dharma is about to disappear, women will become vigorous and will at all times do deeds of virtue. Men will grow lax and will no longer speak the Dharma. Those genuine Shramanas they see will be looked upon as dung and no one will have faith in them. When the Dharma is about to perish, all the gods will begin to weep. Rivers will dry up and the five grains will not ripen. Epidemic diseases will frequently take the lives of multitudes of people. The masses will toil and suffer while the local officials will plot and scheme. No one will adhere to principles. Instead, all people will be ever more numerous like the sands of the ocean-bed. Good persons will be hard to find; at most there will be one or two. As the aeon comes to a close, the revolution of the sun and the moon will grow short and the lifespan of people will decrease. Their hair will turn white at the age of forty years. Because of excessive licentious behavior they will quickly exhaust their seminal fluids and will die at a young age, usually before sixty years. As the life-span of males decreases, that of females will increase to seventy, eighty, ninety, or one hundred years.

"The great rivers will rise up in disharmony with their natural cycles, yet people will not take notice or feel concern. Extremes of climate will soon be taken for granted. . . .

"Then there will be Bodhisattvas, Pratyekabuddhas, and Arhats who will gather together in an unprecedented assembly because they will have all been harried and pursued by hordes of demons. They will no longer dwell in the assemblies, but the Three Vehicles will retreat to the wilderness. In a tranquil place, they will find shelter, happiness, and long life. Gods will protect them and the moon will shine down upon them. The Three Vehicles will have an opportunity to meet together and the way will flourish. However, within fifty-two years the and the , the Standing Buddha Samadhi, will be the first to change and then disappear. The twelve divisions of the canon will gradually follow until they vanish completely, never to appear again. Its words and texts will be totally unknown ever after. The precept sashes of Shramanas will turn white of themselves. When my Dharma disappears, it will be just like an oil lamp which flares brightly for an instant just before it goes out. So too, will the Dharma flare and die. After this time it is difficult to speak with certainty of what will follow.

"So it will remain for the next ten million years. When Maitreya is about to appear in the world to become the next Buddha, the planet will be entirely peaceful. Evil vapors will have dissipated, rain will be ample and regular, the crops will grow abundantly. Trees will grow to a great height and people will grow to be eighty feet tall. The average lifespan will extend to 84,000 years. It will be impossible to count all the beings who will be taken across to liberation."

Worthy Ananda addressed the Buddha, "What should we call this Sutra and how shall we uphold it?"

The Buddha said, "Ananda, this Sutra is called . Tell everyone to propagate it widely; the merit of your actions will be measureless, beyond reckoning."

When the fourfold assembly of disciples heard this Sutra, they grieved and wept. Each of them resolved to attain the true Path of the Supreme Sage. Then bowing to the Buddha, they withdrew. (SS I xiv-xvi)

1) Ch. , 2) Skt. , 3) Pali .

See also: time.

BTTS References: BRF 17-19; SE 62-64; UW 135; SS I xiv-xvi; VBS #152 (Jan. 1983) "Buddha Speaks the Sutra of Changes to Come" (T. 395).

Dharma Flower (Lotus) Sutra

Should I leave this burning house
of ceaseless thought
and taste the pure rain's
single truth
falling upon my skin?
(, 84)


----------------------------------------------------------------Ä Chinese wood-block depicting a scene from the : the meeting of the Buddha Shakyamuni with the Buddha Prabhutaratna.

The complete title of the Sutra is the . It is one of the foremost Mahayana Sutras, for it explains clearly and directly the central message of the Buddhadharma:

Shariputra, what is meant by 'All Buddhas, the World-Honored Ones, appear in the world only because of the causes and conditions of the one great matter?' The Buddhas, the World-Honored Ones, appear in the world because they wish to lead living beings to realize the knowledge and vision of the Buddhas and gain purity. (DFS Ch2)

In this Sutra the Buddha proclaims the ultimate principles of the Dharma that unite all previous teachings into one.

The Sutra is the major text studied by the Tyan-Tai School of Buddhism in Junggwo (China) and the Tendai and Nichiren-shoshu sects in Nippon (Japan).

1) Ch. , T. 262.

2) Skt.

See also: Tyan-tai School, Jr-yi (Venerable), Three Vehicles.

BTTS References: DFS.

Dharma Master

Dharma Master is a title of respect used to address a Buddhist Bhikshu (monk) or Bhikshuni (nun). It implies that the person so addressed has mastered the Dharma and is qualified to teach it.

1) Ch. , 2) Skt. , 3) , 4) (lit.) Dharma-teacher, a preacher of the doctrine.

See also: Good and Wise Advisor, Dharma/dharma, Tripitaka Master, Sangha.

BTTS References: DFS I 66.


The term Dharma-protector has two meanings: 1) it refers to those gods, spirits, and ghosts who protect the Dharma and those who cultivate it; 2) it refers to human lay supporters of the Buddhist monastic establishment.

1) Ch. , 2) Skt. , , 3) Pali , , 4) Alternate Translations: guardian of the dharma/law.

See also: Dharma/dharma.

Dharma Realm

The term Dharma Realm has at least three distinct meanings: 1) the enlightened world, that is, the totality or infinity of the realm of the Buddhas, 2) a particular plane of existence, as in the Ten Dharma Realms, and 3) the eighteenth of the Eighteen Sense-fields.

I. The Enlightened World

The Dharma Realm is just the One Mind. The Buddhas certify to this and accomplish their Dharma Bodies... 'Inexhaustible, level, and equal is the Dharma Realm, in which the bodies of all Thus Come Ones pervade...

Going and returning without border,
Movement and stillness have one source;
Embracing multitudes of words, more remains,
Overstepping words and thoughts by far:
This can only be the Dharma Realm!
(EDR I 218)

II. A Particular Plane of Existence

"Dharma Realms pervade empty space to the bounds of the universe, but in general there are ten (see Ten Dharma Realms). There are four sagely Dharma Realms and six ordinary Dharma Realms... These Ten Dharma Realms do not go beyond the current thought you are thinking." (TD 57)

III. The Eighteenth Sense-field

In this technical sense of the term, Dharma Realm, or the field of dharmas, refers to `object of mind` (see Eighteen Realms).

1) Ch. , 2) Skt. , 3) Pali , 4) Alternate Translations: dharma field, dharma element, the ultimate principle of the Dharma, mental object considered as irreducible element, sphere of religion.

See also: Ten Dharma Realms, Eighteen Realms (sense-fields).

BTTS References: TD 57-61; EDR I 218.


The term Dharma-transmission has two meanings: 1) It refers to authentic transmission of a certain teaching or Dharma from master to student or from master to master. 2) It can also refer to the transmission of the responsibility for the life of the Buddhadharma from one enlightened master to another in a particular school or lineage of enlightened masters. The receivers of such transmissions are often called "patriarchs".

1) Ch. , 2) Skt. , 3) Pali .

See also: Dharma, lineage.


See the entries meditation and Four Dhyanas.


See Six Paramitas.

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