Here are the notes relating to our latest Mindfulness Exercise, "Loving Eyes".
THE FIVE EYES
1) heavenly eye, 2) flesh-eye, 3) Dharma-eye, 4) wisdom-eye, 5) Buddha-eye.
Those five non-corporeal 'eyes' are possessed by Buddhas and other enlightened beings. They can also begin to function to varying degrees in people who are not enlightened but are cultivating or who have cultivated in past lives.
The heavenly eye penetrates what is without obstruction;
The flesh-eye sees obstacles and does not penetrate.
The Dharma-eye can contemplate only the relative truth;
The wisdom-eye an contemplate and know true emptiness,
While the Buddha-eye blazes forth like a thousand suns.
Although the Five Eyes' functions differ, their substance is of one source. (SPV 69)
"Even though one may be able to use these powers, it is better not to do so; for whenever things are looked at, a thought is spent, and adding a thought is not as good as diminishing one. To use the Five Eyes is to indulge in thought, and although such thoughts differ from ordinary ones, they are still not beneficial. It is always better to have one false thought less than to have one more." (SPV 69)
I. Heavenly Eye
"With the Heavenly Eyes you see without obstruction. You can see the Buddhas, spirits, ghosts, and gods in the heavens. You can see everything that they are doing. That is even better than the closed circuit TV that the international spies use. It's not as much trouble either, and the best part is, it's all internal. You don't need any external help to know what's going on." (SM II 89)
A Bodhisattva wisely knows the Heavenly Eye of the gods, beginning with the Four Great Kings; but the gods do not wisely know a Bodhisattva's Heavenly Eye. With his perfectly pure Heavenly Eye he wisely knows, as it really is, the decease and rebirth of all beings in the world systems numerous as the sands of the river Ganges, in each of the ten directions...
"The Flesh Eye sees obstructions and doesn't penetrate. The Flesh Eyes sees things that have form. The Heavenly Eye can't see things with form. The Flesh eye does not refer to the regular eyes in our physical body. It is another, different eye. The Heavenly Eye can't see physical things, but it can see ghosts, gods, and so forth. The Flesh Eye can see things with physical form and also things without physical form. If you open your Flesh Eye you can see the people in the room with you, and you can also see the people outside the room. Walls present no obstacle to your vision." (SM II 90)
There is the fleshly eye of a Bodhisattva which sees for one hundred miles, for two hundred miles, across Jambudvipa, a Four-Continent world-system, a world-system consisting of 1,000 worlds, world-system consisting of 1,000,000 worlds, a world system consisting of 1,000,000,000 worlds.
"The Dharma Eye contemplates the common truth, which is also called the conventional, relative truth, or wonderful existence. If this eye is opened, there is no need to use books in order to read sutras, since the entire extent of space is seen to be full of limitless Dharma treasures." (SPV 69)
Here a Bodhisattva knows, by means of the Dharma-eye, that "this person is a Faith-follower, that person a Dharma-follower. This person is a dweller in Emptiness, that person a dweller in the Signless, that person a dweller in the Wishless. The five cardinal virtues will arise in this person by means of the emptiness-door to deliverance, in that person by means of the signless door to deliverance, in that person by means of the wishless door to deliverance. By means of the five cardinal virtues this one gazes upon the unimpeded concentration. By means of the unimpeded concentration he will produce the vision and cognition of emancipation. By means of the vision and cognition of emancipation he will forsake three fetters, i.e., the view of individuality, the contagion of mere rule and ritual, and doubt. He then is a person who is called a Streamwinner. After he has acquired the path of development, he attenuates sensuous greed and ill-will. He is then the person who is called a Once-Returner. Through making just this path of development preponderant and developing it, he will come to the forsaking of sensuous greed and of ill-will. He is then the person who is called a Never-Returner. Through making just this path of development preponderant and developing it, he will forsake greed for the world of form, greed for the formless world, ignorance, conceit, and excitedness. He then is the person who is called an Arhat." This is the perfectly pure Dharma-Eye of the Bodhisattva, the great being. Moreover, a Bodhisattva knows wisely that "whatever is doomed to originate, all that is also doomed to stop." Coursing in perfect wisdom, he attains the five cardinal virtues...
"The Wisdom Eye contemplates true emptiness; one understands and certifies to the principle of true emptiness and is filled with the Dharma bliss of true emptiness." (SM II 90)
A Bodhisattva who is endowed with that Wisdom-Eye does not wisely know any Dharma--be it conditioned or unconditioned, wholesome or unwholesome, faulty or faultless, with or without outflows, defiled or undefiled, worldly or supramundane. With the Wisdom Eye he does not see any dharma, or hear, know or discern one.
"The Buddha Eye is like a thousand suns, shining everywhere, illuminating the one substance underlying all diversity. It shines on different things, but underneath, they are all one substance. The Buddha Eye is the most perfect of the Five Eyes. It surpasses the other four. With it one can see people and ghosts, spirits, and everything else, both physical and non-physical." (SM II 90)
The Bodhisattva, when immediately after the thought of enlightenment he has, with a wisdom conjoined with one single thought-moment, entered on the adamantine concentration, reaches the knowledge of all modes. He is endowed with the ten powers of a Tathagata, the four grounds of self-confidence, the four analytical knowledges, the 18 special Buddhadharmas, the great friendliness, the great compassion, the great sympathetic joy, the great evenmindedness, and the unhindered deliverance of a Buddha. And that Eye of the Bodhisattva does not meet with anything that is not seen, heard, known or discerned--in all its modes.
1) Ch. wu yan , 2) Skt. panca-caksus, 3) Pali panca-cakkhuni, 4) Alternate Translations: five superior qualities of vision.