āveṇika-buddha-dharma [alt. āveṇika-dharma] (T. chos ma 'dres pa ཆོས་མ་འདྲེས་པ་; C. bugong fa) refers to special qualities that are unique to the buddhas and not shared by other arhats. This term is translated as "unshared factors," "unshared attributes," "unshared qualities," etc.
The unshared qualities are typically enumerated in a list of eighteen, known as the "eighteen unshared qualities of a buddha" (Skt. ạṣtādaśāveṇika-buddha-dharma; T. sangs rgyas kyi chos ma 'dres pa bco brgyad སངས་རྒྱས་ཀྱི་ཆོས་མ་འདྲེས་པ་བཅོ་བརྒྱད་; C. bugong fo fa). This list of eighteen factors appears in both the Pali tradition (in later commentaries) and the Sanskrit tradition (in the Prajnaparamita sutras).
Presentation in One Teacher, Many Traditions
The eighteen unshared qualities are presented in One Teacher, Many Traditions as follows:
- Six unshared behaviors
- 1. Due to mindfulness and conscientiousness, a buddha has no mistaken physical actions, whether he is walking, standing, sitting, or lying down. He acts in accordance with what he says, and his speech satisfies what each sentient being who is listening needs to understand in that moment.
- 2. Always speaking appropriately, truthfully, and kindly, he is free from mistaken speech and idle chatter. A buddha does not dispute with the world, nor does he complain about what others have done.
- 3. He is free from any kind of forgetfulness interfering with the jhānas and exalted wisdom, or with viewing all sentient beings and teaching them appropriately.
- 4. His mind always abides in meditative equipoise on emptiness, and simultaneously he teaches sentient beings the Dharma.
- 5. He does not perceive any discordant appearances of a self and of inherent existence and thus recognizes all phenomena as sharing the one taste of emptiness. He also does not treat sentient beings with bias.
- 6. He abides in perfect equanimity, knowing the individual characteristics of each phenomenon.
- Six unshared realizations
- 1. Due to his all-encompassing love and compassion, a buddha never experiences any decline of his aspiration and intention to benefit all sentient beings and to increase their virtuous qualities.
- 2. He never loses joyous effort to lead others to awakening. A buddha experiences no physical, verbal, or mental fatigue and continuously cares for the welfare of sentient beings without getting tired, lazy, or despondent.
- 3. A buddha’s mindfulness effortlessly remains constant and uninterrupted. He is mindful also of the situations each sentient being encounters in the past, present, and future and the methods to subdue and help them.
- 4. He continuously remains in samādhi, free from all obscurations and focused on the ultimate reality.
- 5. His wisdom is inexhaustible and never declines. He perfectly knows the 84,000 Dharma teachings and the doctrines of the three vehicles, as well as how and when to express them to sentient beings.
- 6. It is impossible for him to lose the state of full awakening free from all obscurations. He knows the mind to be naturally luminous, and he lacks any dualistic appearance or grasping at duality.
- Three unshared awakening activities
- 1. Imbued with exalted wisdom, a buddha’s physical actions are always done for the benefit of others. He emanates many bodies that appear wherever sentient beings have the karma to be led on the path to awakening. Whatever a buddha does has a positive effect on sentient beings, subduing their minds.
- 2. Knowing the dispositions and interests of each sentient being, he teaches the Dharma in a manner appropriate for that person. His speech flows smoothly, is accurate and lovely to listen to. It does not deceive or lead others astray but is clear, knowledgeable, and kind.
- 3. Filled with undeclining love and compassion, his mind encompasses all beings with the intention to do only what is of the highest benefit. He is effortlessly and continuously cognizant of all phenomena.
- Three unshared exalted wisdoms
- A buddha’s exalted wisdom knows everything in the three times—past, present, and future—without any obscuration or error. His knowledge of the future does not mean that things are predetermined. Rather, a buddha knows that if a sentient being does a particular action, this particular result will follow, and if another course of action is taken, a different result will come. He knows all buddhafields and realms of sentient beings as well as all the beings and their activities there.
Presentation in the Khenjuk
The eighteen unshared qualities are presented in the Khenjuk as follows:
- Their physical conduct is without error (sku las 'khrul ba mi mnga' ba)
- Their speech is without impediment or imprecision (gsung la ca co mi mnga' ba)
- Their minds are never lacking mindfulness (thugs la nyams pa mi mnga' ba)
- Their minds are only ever resting in meditative equipoise (mnyam par ma bzhag pa'i thugs mi mnga' ba)
- They do not entertain varied ideas about their perceptions ('du shes sna tshogs mi mnga' ba)
- They never experience neutral states lacking full discernment (ma brtags pa'i btang snyoms mi mnga' ba)
- They never lack the willingness to upohold the lineage of the Three Jewels and to benefit beings (dkon mchog gi gdung 'dzin cing sems can la phan par byed pa'i 'dun pa nyams pa mi mnga' ba)
- They never lack the enthusiastic diligence to work for others' welfare (gzhan don la spro ba'i brtson 'grus nyams pa mi mnga' ba)
- They are never without the mindfulness that ensures they never forget to see all things and events exactly as they are (chos kun ji bzhin gzigs pa mi brjed pa'i dran pa nyams pa mi mnga' ba)
- They are never without the wisdom that discerns precisely all things and events (chos rab rnam par 'byed pa'i shes rab nyams pa mi mnga' ba)
- They never lack total freedom from the two obscurations (sgrib gnyis las rnam par grol ba nyams pa mi mnga' ba)
- They never lack the wisdom of complete liberation (rnam par grolba' ye shes gzigs pa nyams pa mi mnga' ba)
- All the actions of their body are preceded by and undertaken with wisdom (sku'i las thams cad ye shes sngon du 'gro zhing ye shes kyi rjes su 'brang ba'am 'jug pa)
- All the actions of their speech are preceded by and undertaken with wisdom (gsung gi las thams cad ye shes sngon du 'gro zhing ye shes kyi rjes su 'brang ba'am 'jug pa)
- All the actions of their mind are preceded by and undertaken with wisdom (thugs kyi las thams cad ye shes sngon du 'gro zhing ye shes kyi rjes su 'brang ba'am 'jug pa)
- They see into the past with wisdom vision that is without attachment and without impediment ('das pa'i dus la ma chags ma thogs pa'i ye shes kyi gzigs pa 'jug pa)
- They see into the present with wisdom vision that is without attachment and without impediment (da lta'i dus la ma chags ma thogs pa'i ye shes kyi gzigs pa 'jug pa)
- They see into the future with wisdom vision that is without attachment and without impediment (ma 'ongs pa'i dus la ma chags ma thogs pa'i ye shes kyi gzigs pa 'jug pa)
An expanded list of 140 factors is presented in the Yogacarabhumi-sastra.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Buswell & Lopez 2014, s.v. āveṇika[buddha]dharma.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Dalai Lama & Thubten Chodron 2014, s.v. Chapter 2, section "The Tathagata's qualities.
- ↑ Eighteen unshared attributes
- Buswell, Robert E.; Lopez, Donald S. (2014), The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism, Princeton University
- Dalai Lama; Thubten Chodron (2014), Buddhism: One Teacher, Many Traditions, Wisdom Publications