Understanding Fa Hsiang Sect (Part 3/4)

Understanding Fa Hsiang Sect (Part 3/4)

Four Functional Portions

With respect to the relationship between the subjective consciousness and the object phenomena, there are four mental functional portions in each of the eight consciousnesses. They are interdependent in nature.

  1. The objective or the seen portion [相分], ie. Laksana-bhaga — all phenomena presented and revealed in mind. The seen portions of the first five mental faculties (eye, ear, nose, tongue and body) are the five ‘dusts’ (form, sound, smell, taste and touch). The seen portion of the Manas consciousness is the seeing portion of the Alaya consciousness, while the seen portion of the Alaya consciousness is the seed of all mental faculties and all matters and phenomena.
  2. The subjective or the seeing portion [見分], ie. Darsana-bhaga — the illumining or seeing effect of the ‘dust’, which is transformed to its seen portion.
  3. The self-realizing or the self-assuring portion [自証分]– the portion that knows the seeing portion has seen the ‘dusts’. This function of cognition is called ‘self-realization’, or ‘self-assurance’ or ‘self-certification’, without which no knowledge can be attained.
  4. The re-assuring portion [証自証分]– the portion that realizes the third portion upon internal reflection. It concludes all the effects taken from the mental faculties.

For example, a piece of paper presented in mind is the seen portion, while the seeing portion is the measuring instrument to see its length and width. The self-assuring portion cognizes how long and how wide it is, according to the measurements. The re-assuring portion recognizes the accuracy of the measurements.

Five Categories of Dharmas [五法]

In Lankavatara Sutra, all Dharmas are classified into five categories:

  1. Form [相]– all matters, whether sentient or non-sentient, has different forms, shapes, states, marks, or the like.
  2. Name [名]– A name is given to each Dharma in accordance with its form, functions, characteristic, etc
  3. Differentiation [分別]– The relative standard for big or small, good or bad, etc. is established for our reference, differentiation, and recognition.
  4. Right Wisdom [正智]– It refers to the wisdom of the mental functions with non-outflow mind/consciousness [無漏心]. All false forms and names of Dharmas are regarded as provisional and impermanent. It is also the wisdom that contemplates the ultimate truth — Middle Path.
  5. Thusness [如如]– the state of mind attained by Right Wisdom. As the mind is in the state of Nirvana, not even one single Dharma is attained. This is so called Thusness, which is the true nature of Dharma, the true noumenon, or the Absolute.

The first three are Conditioned Dharmas [有為法], while the last two are Unconditioned Dharmas [無為法].

The Threefold Nature of Dharmas [三性]

The threefold nature of Dharmas are as follows:

  1. Dharma of sole imagination (Parikalpita-laksana in Sanskrit) [偏計執性]– just like to see the shadow of a flax rope, and falsely believe it to be a snake. All Dharmas regarding good and evil, existence and emptiness, happiness and suffering, etc. have such characteristics.
  2. Dharma of dependence upon others (Paratanra-laksana in Sanskrit) [依他起性]– just like to see the flax rope, but understand it is just a name given to the thing that it serves the function of a ‘rope’. When the flax is used to make other thing, another name is given. A flax rope exists only in causal combination or under the designated conditions. It has no self-nature in existence, as it is not permanent and depends on other factors.
  3. Dharma of ultimate and perfect reality (Parinispanna-laksana in Sanskrit) [圓成實性]– just like a flax rope. Flax is the raw material of the rope, so the nature of the rope is actually flax. Whatever you make with flax, the nature of the thing remains unchanged — it is the flax. It is the substratum (so to speak) of all, and regarded as the real nature of Dharma, which is unconditioned.

63.4   Five Kinds of Dharmas [五位]

According to the doctrines of Fa-hsiang sect, there are five kinds of Dharmas, which is further subdivided into one hundred Dharmas. The five kinds are:

  1. Mind/Consciousness (Citta/Vijnana in Sanskrit) [心法]– 8 Dharmas
  2. Concomitant Mental Faculties (Caitasika or Citta-samprayukta-sanskara in Sanskrit) [心所法]– 51 Dharmas
  3. Form (Rupa in Sanskrit) [色法]– 11 Dharmas
  4. Dharmas neither form nor mental functions (Citta-viprayukta-sanskara in Sanskrit) [心不相應法]– 24 Dharmas
  5. Unconditioned Dharmas (Asamkrta) [無為法]- 6 Dharmas

The first four are Conditioned Dharmas, while the last one is Unconditioned Dharma.

One Hundred Dharmas [百法]

Mind Dharma [心法]

They are Dharmas regarding all spiritual and mental activities. There are eight kinds:

  1. Eye-consciousness [眼識]
  2. Ear-consciousness [耳識]
  3. Nose-consciousness [鼻識]
  4. Tongue-consciousness [舌識]
  5. Body-consciousness [身識]
  6. Mind-consciousness [意識]
  7. Manas consciousness [末那識]
  8. Alaya consciousness [阿賴耶識]

Mental Functions [心所有法]

The establishment of these Dharmas is based on the Mind Dharmas. Thus, the Dharmas are the mental functions or phenomena due to or in association with mind / consciousness. There are fifty-one Dharmas in this group, which can be subdivided into six, as follows:

  1.   General (5 nos.) [遍行]– existent and functional universally regardless of time and space
  2. Touch [觸]– in touch with all objects
  3. Sensation [受]– feeling
  4. Thought [想]– image and impression for recognition
  5. Idea [思]– initiative to act
  6. Volition [作意]– alertness
  7.   Special (5 nos.) [別境]– recognition and discrimination of external objects and phenomena
  8. Desire [欲]– pursuit
  9. Resolve [勝解]– thorough and ultimate understanding
  10. Remembrance [念]– memory
  11. Concentration [定]– focusing
  12. Wisdom [慧]
  13.   Good (11 nos.) [善]– the abilities and actions for wellness and kindness
  14. Belief [信]– faith
  15. Shame [慚]– shame that is inferior to others
  16. Bashfulness [愧]– regret for one’s own wrong deed
  17. Absence of covetousness [無貪]
  18. Absence of hatred [無瞋]
  19. Absence of ignorance [無癡]
  20. Energy [精進]– making effort to progress
  21. Repose of mind [輕安]– liberation and ease of mind
  22. Vigilance [不放逸]
  23. Equanimity [行捨]– renunciation of defiled behavior
  24. Non-injury [不害]– no injury to self and others
  25.   Evil (6 nos.) [煩惱]– also known as fundamental affliction, which leads us to suffering, illusion and depression.
  26. Covetousness [貪]
  27. Hatred [瞋]
  28. Ignorance [癡]
  29. Arrogance [慢]– both self and others
  30. Doubt [疑]
  31. False View [惡見]
  32.   Minor Evil (20 nos.) [隨煩惱]– minor afflictions as they are derived from the fundamental afflictions
  33. Anger [忿]
  34. Enmity [恨]
  35. Concealment [覆]– to hide one’s own evil deed
  36. Affliction [惱]
  37. Envy [嫉]
  38. Parsimony [慳]
  39. Deception [誑]
  40. Fraudulence [諂]
  41. Injury [害]
  42. Pride [憍]
  43. Shamelessness [無慚]
  44. Non-bashfulness [無愧]
  45. Restlessness [放逸]
  46. Low spirit [昏沉]
  47. Unbelief [不信]
  48. Sloth [懈怠]
  49. Negligence [掉舉]– loss in peace of mind because of fear and hot temper
  50. Forgetfulness [失念]
  51. Distraction [散亂]
  52. Non-discernment [不正知]– stupidity and naivete
  53.   Indeterminate (4 nos.) [不定]– indeterminate whether it is good or evil, depending upon the mental state during the act
  54. Repentance [惡作 / 懺悔]
  55. Drowsiness [睡眠]
  56. Reflection [伺]– observation and monitoring
  57. Investigation [尋]

Form [色法]

They are Dharmas related to all matters and substances. They are regarded as the outward manifestation of mind / consciousness. There are 11 Dharmas, as follows:

  1. Eye [眼]
  2. Ear [耳]
  3. Nose [鼻]
  4. Tongue [舌]
  5. Body [身]
  6. Form [色]
  7. Sound [聲]
  8. Smell [香]
  9. Taste [味]
  10. Touch [觸]
  11. Forms included in Dharma-ayatana [法處所攝色]

There are five kinds of Dharmas of form included in Dharma-ayatana:

  1. a substantial form analyzed to the utmost, the smallest atom [極略色]
  2. an unsubstantial form aerial space or color analyzed to utmost, the remotest atom [極迴色]
  3. a perceptive form conceived at ordination, the innermost impression [受所引色]
  4. a momentary illusive form [偏計所執色]
  5. a form produced by meditation [定果色]

Things not associated with Mind [心不相應法]

They are neither mental phenomena nor functions, though they are originated from mind. They are alternative Dharmas that are not associated with Mind Dharmas nor Form Dharmas. They are regarded as the partial process of the manifestation of mind / consciousness. There are 24 Dharmas, as follows:

  1. Acquisition [得]
  2. Life [命根]
  3. Nature of sharing similar species [眾同分]
  4. Nature of making different [異生性]
  5. Meditative concentration in the thoughtless heaven [無想定]
  6. Meditative concentration in extinction [滅盡定]
  7. Facts obtained by thoughtless meditation [無想報]
  8. Name [名身]
  9. Word [句身]
  10. Letter [文身]
  11. Birth [生]
  12. Stability [住]
  13. Age [老]
  14. Impermanence [無常]
  15. Becoming [流轉]
  16. Distinction (of Karma) [定異]
  17. Union [相應]
  18. Speed [勢速]
  19. Succession [次第]
  20. Region [方]
  21. Time [時]
  22. Number [數]
  23. Totality [和合性]
  24. Differentiation [不和合性]

Unconditioned/ Non-created [無為法]

The above four groups of Dharmas are conditioned, i.e. their existence and extinction are dependent on the other factors or conditions. They have no independent entity in reality, so they are called Conditioned Dharmas. However, there are Dharmas that are independent of conditions, called Unconditioned Dharmas. They can be taken as the static nature of mind / consciousness. There are 6 Dharmas in this group.

  1. Space [虛空無為]
  2. Extinction obtained by knowledge [擇滅無為]
  3. Extinction not by knowledge but by nature [非擇滅無為]
  4. Extinction by a motionless state of heavenly meditation [不動滅無為]
  5. Extinction by the stoppage of idea and sensation by an Arhat [想受無為]
  6. True Suchness [真如無為]
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