Eight freedoms

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Eight freedoms (Skt. aṣṭakṣaṇa; Wyl. dal ba brgyad) — Freedom from the eight states where there is no opportunity to practise the Dharma:

  1. hells
  2. preta realms
  3. animals
  4. long-living gods
  5. uncivilized lands
  6. incomplete faculties
  7. with wrong views
  8. a buddha has not come

Commentary

Chökyi Drakpa says:

"Firstly, if you were born in the hell, preta or animal realms, you would suffer from intense heat and cold, from hunger and thirst, or from enslavement, and it would be impossible for you to practise the Dharma. If you were born amongst the long-living gods, it would also be impossible because you would not have any thought of practising the Dharma. The Buddha’s teachings are not found in uncivilized lands of the border regions, so living there is also an impossible state. Those with wrong views do not have any possibility of practising the Dharma because their minds are contaminated by false beliefs, and they are just like Devadatta or Lekpé Karma. If you were born in a world where a buddha had not come, or during a dark kalpa, it would be impossible because even the words “Three Jewels” would be unknown. If you were born incapable of understanding, it would be impossible to practise the Dharma because you would not be able to understand the meaning of the teachings. When you have a physical body that is free from these 'eight states where there is no chance for Dharma practice', it is known as possessing a support for Dharma practice complete with the eight freedoms."

Alternative Translations

  • Eight liberties

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