Home » Excerpts » The Butter & Lamp Analogies For Buddha-Nature

Full enlightenment is attained
by fully realising Buddha-Nature
and fully renouncing all other ‘natures’.

— Shilashanti

I bow to you, the Dharmadhātu
[i.e. Dharma-nature, or Buddha-nature,
the bright essential potential for Buddhahood],
Who resides in every sentient being.
But if they aren’t aware of you,
They circle [i.e. are reborn] through this triple being
[or three realms of desire, form and formlessness].

Due to just that being purified
What is such circling’s cause [i.e. greed, hatred and delusion],
This purity is then Nirvāṇa [i.e. Buddhahood].
Likewise, Dharmakāya [i.e. universal body of all Buddhas] is just this.

While it’s blended with the milk,
Butter’s essence appears not.
Likewise, in the afflictions’ mix,
Dharmadhātu is not seen.

Once you’ve cleansed it from the milk,
Butter’s essence is without a stain.
Just so, with the afflictions purified,
The Dharmadhātu lacks all stain.

Just as a lamp that’s sitting in a vase
Does not illuminate at all,
While dwelling in the vase of afflictions,
The Dharmadhātu is not seen.

From whichever of its sides
You punch some holes into this vase,
From just these various places then,
Its light rays will beam forth.

Once the vajra of Samādhi [i.e. concentration]
Has completely smashed this vase,
To the limits of all space,
It will shine just everywhere.

In Praise Of Dharmadhātu
[Dharmadhātustava] Verse 1-7
Nāgārjuna

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