Dharma Atma wrote:
Jikan wrote:Evolution in the sense of changes of traits over time, in response to local conditions? I think that makes some sense.
Yes, that's what I meant.
Jikan wrote:I think Upaya may be a good place to begin thinking about this one. Enlightened ones do what they need to do to teach beings, appearing in the form most appropriate to the needs of those beings.
According to this, what Dharma looks like
depends on epoch, historical situation, place, species of creatures, and even planet at all. But what Dharma is like
, stays the same, because the meaning of Dharma, its purpose and direct target are unchangeable - leading all the creatures to the Enlightenment
gregkavarnos wrote:Is Dharma conditioned or is its exposition conditioned?
As for me I believe Dharma itself is conditioned
Personally, I see the Dharma as a PERCEPTION by human beings, so-called sentient beings, of a varied and complex entity....but that perception is conditioned by their pre-conceptions and conditioning (such as language, education, the society they live in, etc.).
It's like the old story of the blind men and the Elephant.
Because they are blind they can not see the whole entity of the Elephant.
They must use their hands to explore the nature of the Elephant. One touches the Elephant's side and says, "This Elephant is much like a wall". Another grabs the tail and declares,"This Elephant is much like a Snake". Another one grabs the Elephant's leg and he says,"No, this Elephant is like a tree."
Of course, they are all right in a sense, but they are also all wrong.....their perception is incomplete...because they can not see the total entity.
Because human beings are limited to their human senses to try and understand the Dharma, they are like those blind men. The amazing part is that even with that inherently flawed perception they can still attain some understanding of the unkowable totality.
But back to the original question...the Dharma ending age.
My belief is that the idea of that Dharma-ending age comes from the same inability of human beings to percieve the totality of that Dharma.
Because they cannot percieve the totality of the Dharma humans fear that it is limited.
They become attached to their one form of practice and understanding. Because they do not see the totality of the Dharma, only the small part they can percieve and understand, they fear that part will dissapear, and the Dharma (as percieved by them) will dissapear.
Of course, that is only an illusion, a trick of their minds and their incomplete perception.
Because of that illusion, and the fear it causes, they believe in a Dharma-ending time.
Accepting the Dharma and it's teaching and wisdom is always a leap of faith anyhow.
Shame on you Shakyamuni for setting the precedent of leaving home.
Did you think it was not there--
in your wife's lovely face
in your baby's laughter?
Did you think you had to go elsewhere (simply) to find it?
from - Judyth Collin
The Layman's Lament
From What Book, 1998, p. 52
Edited by Gary Gach