So there are three definitions given here for the size of a dharmaskandha. The first is the eponymous text, the Dharma-skandha-sastra, which has six thousand gathas. The second definition is from Buddhaghosa, which is that each explanation – e.g. of the ayatanas, the dhatus, the skandhas, etc. – is a dharmaskandha. The third is that there are eighty thousand different categories of beings and that the Buddha taught a different dharmaskandha for each of them.26a. According to some, a dharmaskandha is of the dimension of the Treatise.
26b. The exposition of the skandhas, etc. constitutes so many dharmaskandhas.
26c-d. In fact, each dharmaskandha has been preached in order to heal a certain category of believer.
I’m not yet sure why the text needs to introduce this definition. But let’s continue as I’m sure it will become clear.
The commentary elaborates that there are other skandhas, ayatanas and dhatus mentioned in other texts can be mapped into this system. I’m not sure this is particularly important to us if we’re trying to understand this text as a standalone entity rather than trying to relate it to others, but:(Commentary) In the same way that the dharmaskandhas are included within rupaskandha or samskaraskandha:
27. In this same way the other skandhas, ayatanas and dhatus should be suitably arranged with the skandhas, ayatanas and dhatus as described above, by taking into account the characteristics that have been attributed to them.
These are the five lokottaraskandha (super-mundane components) from the Dharmasamgraha: virtue, concentration, wisdom, freedom and knowledge/insight into freedom. Vasubandhu says that sila is in rupaskandha, the rest are in samskaraskandha. (Would that be because only the first is not solely limited to the mind?)(Commentary) There are five pure skandhas, sila, samadhi, prajna, vimukti and vimuktijnanadarsana.
The text continues, but I’m not completely familiar with all these definitions:
So the krtsnayatanas are defined in the Mahaprajnaparamitasastra as the totalities of earth, water, fire, wind, blue, yellow, red, white, space and consciousness. (These are also the ten kasinas from the forty objects of meditation in the Vishudhimagga, but we’re not doing Theraveda here.) So the first eight are obviously included in dharmayatana.The first eight krtsnayatanas, being by their nature absence of desire, form part of the dharmayatana. If one considers them along with their following, they are by their nature five skandhas, and they are included within the mana-ayatana and the dharmayatana.
The abhibhvayatanas are eight stages of control over perceptions. So clearly also dharmayatana.(Commentary) The same holds for the abhibhvayatanas.
So the last two krtsnayatanas are space and consciousness. The arupayatanas are space, consciousness, nothingness, neither-perception-nor-nonperception. Clearly these are included in the objects of consciousness.The last two krtsnayatanas and the four arupayatanas are, by their nature, four skandhas, with the exclusion of rupa. They are included within the mana-ayatana and the dharmayatana.
I don’t know the definition of the vimuktyayatana – I know, I’m a bad Buddhist. Google doesn’t seem to know either.(Commentary) The five “gates of entry into deliverance” (vimuktyayatana) are, by their nature, speculative knowledge (prajna); they are thus included within the dharmayatana. If one considers their following, they are included within the sabdaytana, the mana-ayatana, and the dharmayatana.
OK, he totally made that up. I do not believe that is a real word.(Commentary) Two other ayatanas are left: the Asamhjnisattvas, which are included within the ten ayatanas, with the exception of smell and taste; and the Naivasamjnanasamjnayatanopagas…
No footnote? That doesn’t merit an explanation? I can’t find either of those on the internet.…which are included within the mana-ayatana and the dharmayatana.
I’m hoping that one doesn’t need to really understand the mapping of these from one text’s system to another in order to understand the simpler of the two systems. I suspect the text will in time prove this to be overly optimistic.(Commentary) In this way the sixty-two dhatus enumerated in the Bahudhatuka should be arranged within the eighteen dhatus by taking their nature into consideration.