BuddhaSasana Home Page
Unicode VU-Times font
and Śūnyatā in the Early and Developed
Vietnamese translation: Bồ tát và Tánh không trong kinh tạng Pāli và Đại thừa
Please note: VU-Times font (for English and Pali texts) and Arial Unicode MS font (for Chinese texts) are used in this document.
THE CONDUCT OF BODHISATTVA-CARYĀ
After a discussion on the development of the concepts of Bodhisattva (菩 薩) and Śūnyatā (空 性), the next point that merits a thorough discussion is the question of the Bodhisatta path (Bodhisattvā-cāryā, 菩 薩 行) in Mahāyāna Sūtras.
In Encyclopedia of Religion458 it is stated that the English term Bodhisattva path translates the Sanskrit Bodhisattva, ‘Vehicle of the Bodhisattva’ or, more frequently, Bodhisattvā-cāryā ‘The Practice of the Bodhisattva’ terms widely employed in Mahāyāna Buddhist texts.
There is not one kind of cause and condition which is used in seeking the Buddha way. The Bodhisattvas either cultivate Dharma through belief and understanding of the twelve causes and conditions, the Middle Way or through belief and understanding of the six Perfections (Pāramitās, 波 羅 密). When one talks of the Bodhisattvas or their effort to become an Enlightened One (Buddha, 佛 陀), the role of these perfections becomes much more significant. When one discusses various appearances of their practice of the Bodhisattva way, this does not refer to the physical appearances of the Bodhisattvas, but to the various practices and Dharmas they cultivated.
The Bodhisattva path (菩 薩 行) consists of three main stages. These are as under:
1. The Preliminary Devotional Practices (起
The Preliminary Devotional Practices
To begin with, one starts with doing obeisance and worship to the Buddha (佛), Dhamma (法) and Saṅgha (僧). Confession of sins (Pāpādeśanā, 懺 悔) assumes an important place in the Bodhisattva path and therefore he confesses his sins to the Buddha and Bodhisattvas and begs for their help and protection.
In Mahāyāna, confession came to be regarded as an atonement for absolving sin and this forms the very essence of denunciation by oneself of one’s own past sins (vidūsaṇa-samudācāva: atonement). The confessors entreated the Buddhas to wash them clean with their water of mercy and to absolve their sin. In this way the confessors invoked the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to absolve even the sin acquired by the five grave offences (pañcānantaryakarma, 五 無 間 業). Repentance over one’s sin became an important feature in these confessional services.
In Sanskrit Buddhist literature confession of sin came to be referred to as pāpādeśanā and this was regarded as one of the prerequisites to the awakening of the Thought of Enlightenment (Bodhicitta, 菩 提 心). In this context it is worthwhile to quote from the Bodhicaryāvatāra (菩 薩 行) of Śāntideva (寂 天), who is flourished in the 7th centery A.D.) which explains the process of confession as under:
"Whatever harmful acts of body, speech and mind
The Mahāvastu (佛 本 行 集 經 異 本) places the would-be Bodhisattva developing this requirement under the stage known to it by the name Natural Career (本 行). It is the courses of conduct of Bodhisattvas, and the person passing through this stage is called at the beginning an ordinary being. The first part of the first bhūmi (地), speaking in terms of bhūmi (stages), can be included in this career. Bodhisattvas or rather future Bodhisattvas abiding in this stage of novitiate are to respectfully regard their parents, religious persons and elders. It is their nature (prakṛiti, 性) to practice ten right ways of behavior (daśa-kuśala-karma-patha, 十 善 業 道) and to exhort others to give alms and acquire merit.
But as their spiritual faculty is not yet absolutely purified and developed to the standard required for the aspiration, they do not produce the thought of Enlightenment. Notwithstanding, they are fully ripe for promotion to the rank of Bodhisattva and as soon as the necessary conditions are fulfilled, they will advance to the next stage representing the second course of conduct, which is known to the Mahāvastu by the name of Resolving Career (praṇidhāna-caryā, 解 行).
The second element, Adhimukti, signifies the being’s aspiration for attaining Enlightenment. This aspect is not separately discussed in the text. The treatises on the Bodhisattva’s career refer to this aspiration as occurring immediately before the Bodhicitta (菩 提 心).
The word Adhimukti or Atimukti (善 思 惟)462 occurs in the sense of inclination, zeal or fondness, but this does not seem to be connected with the term Adhimukti which technically means strong inclination attachment or earnest and zealous application. In Encyclopedia of Buddhism463 the term derived from the intensifying directive ‘adhi’ and the root ‘muc’ (muñcati), to release, signifies an ‘abandoning’ of the present position with a ‘going forth’ in a new direction. Such resolve, therefore, has in it a liberating force, which leads to emancipation (vimokkha, 解 脫), although with this specific connotation it would rather be considered as a perfection of determination (adhiṭṭhāna-pāramī, 願 波 羅 密).
The compilers, at least the authors of the Daśa-bhūmika Sūtra (十 地 經) section, probably included this element in the preliminary stage. And According to the Daśa-bhūmika Sūtra, the future Bodhisattva (菩 薩) prepares himself to undertake a long and strenuous journey for the realisation of Bodhisattvahood (菩 薩 果). He concentrates on his spiritual edification. On the eve of his departure, the thought of Enlightenment is awakened in his mind due to his immaculate dispositions and transparency of his inward resolution.
The Thought of Enlightenment (菩 提 心)
Bodhicitta, or the ‘Thought of Enlightenment’ (菩 提 心), is an important concept common to Theravāda (原 始 佛 教), and Mahāyāna Buddhism (大 乘 佛 教). Though not directly mentioned, the idea is explicit in Theravāda Buddhism. It was in Mahāyāna, however, that the Bodhicitta concept developed along both ethical and metaphysical lines and this development is found in Tantrism (密 教), too, wherein it also came to be regarded as a state of great bliss (mahāsukha, 大 樂). In Mahāyāna it developed along pantheistic lines, for it was held that Bodhicitta is latent in all beings and that it is merely a manifestation of the Dharmakāya (法 身 , Body of Law) or Bhūtatathatā (一 如 , 如 如 , 真 如 , suchness of existence, i.e., the Universal Spirit) in the human heart. Though the term Bodhicitta does not occur in Pāli, traces of this concept are found in Pāli canonical literature where, for example, we are told how Gotama after renouncing household life resolved to strive to put an end to all the ills of existence by comprehending fully the causes of all ill.464 It is this comprehension that came to be known as the Enlightenment (bodhi), and Gautama came to be known as the Enlightened One—the Buddha. The earliest canonical references do not say that Gautama, when he first resolved to attain Enlightenment, did so in pursuit of the welfare of others. It was after attaining Enlightenment that he decided to preach the doctrine to others for their welfare.
The early Buddhist Sanskrit texts such as the Mahāvastu (佛 本 幸 集 經 異 本) and the Lalitavistara (神 通 遊 戲 經) clearly state that though altruism is a main motive, the Bodhisattva should first set himself free and then commence to release the others from the bonds of saṁsara (輪 迴), for a person who is already in bondage cannot set free another just as a blind man cannot show the way to others. But, in later Mahāyāna, altruism became the sole motive for the development of the Bodhicitta and this change is well represented by the character of Avalokiteśvara (觀 世 音 菩 薩), the great compassionate being who abandoned his own emancipation for the sake of others.
Alongside with the development of the ethical aspect, Bodhicitta also developed on the metaphysical side. This development is seen in the works of such Buddhist philosophers as Nāgārjuna (龍 樹), Vasubandhu (世 親 , 天 親) and Sthiramati (天 意). D.T. Suzuki quotes Nāgārjuna, who explains this concept thus:
"Bodhicitta is free from all determination, i.e., it is not included in the categories of five skandhas (factors of existence), twelve āyatanas (elements of sense-perception), eighteen dhātus (physical elements), it is not particular existence which is palpable. It is non-atmanic, universal. It is uncreated and its self-essence is void." 465
With the further development of the metaphysical aspect, the concept of Bodhicitta (菩 偍 心) became indefinable so that ultimately Buddhist teachers either had to describe it by comparison, or be content with saying that it is immeasurable (aprameya, 無 量), infinite (aparyanta, 無 限) and indestructible (akṣaya, 永 久 : e.g., Bodhicittatpāda-sūtra-śāstra).466 However, it should be noted that with the lapse of time these two aspects of the Bodhicitta, namely the ethical and the meta-physical aspects, blended together and Bodhicitta came to be regarded as consisting of both void (Śūnyatā, 空 性) which is identical with prajñā (智 慧) and therefore representing the metaphysical aspect) and compassion (karuṇā, 慈 悲 , representing the ethical aspect).467
Bodhicitta (菩 偍 心) is the same as Bhūtatathatā (如 如), Tathatā (真 如) or Buddhatvā (佛 性) and as such it is universal, being latent in all beings. This latent Bodhicitta has to be awakened and cultivated. But, Bodhicitta cannot be successfully cultivated if one resolves to do so merely for the sake of cultivating it. One should resolve to save oneself and, above all, to save others. If a person resolves to attain it merely for the sake of attaining it, it should be known that such a person will not overcome birth and death; nor will he attain Enlightenment, for the very thought of attainment then becomes an attachment. Attachment of the mind itself is called a false-belief. Thus, only a person with a proper predisposition could resolve to awaken successfully the Bodhicitta in him. One may set one’s heart on awakening the Bodhicitta by seeing a miracle performed by the Buddha or a Bodhisattva, or by studying the doctrine and scriptures or by being encouraged by the Buddhas.
The Bodhicittotapādasūtra-Śāstra (經 論 菩 提 心) enumerates ten qualities that should be cultivated by an aspirant. Thus, one who aspires to awaken the Bodhicitta should:
1. Gather friends (paricinoti kalyānamitrāṇi),
Four other qualities, too, are mentioned in the same text. They are:
1. Reflecting on the Buddhas (anuvicintayan buddhān),
In the Bodhisattva path, the most momentous moment is the generation of the thought of Enlightenment (Bodhicitta). The Bodhicitta is a combined result of wisdom and compassion and the Bodhisattva-bhūmi (菩 薩 地 經) formulates it as follows: "All beings should I lead to Nirvāṇa, by means of the three vehicles. And even when I have led all beings to Nirvāṇa, no being at all has been led to Nirvāṇa".469There is at the same time a popular tradition which formulates it as "For the sake of each single being I will experience for hundreds of thousands of niyutas of koṭis of aeons the pains of the hells, of the animal world, of the worlds of Yama, until those beings have won Nirvāṇa in the realm of Nirvāṇa which leaves nothing behind."470
Long ago in the distant past Kṣtigarbha Bodhisattva (Earth Stove Bodhisattva, 地 藏 菩 薩) vowed:
"If the hells are not empty I will not become a Buddha, when living beings have all been saved, I will attain to Bodhi".471
This is the vow of the Bodhisattvas.
The Bodhisattva is recorded to identify himself with all beings (i.e., the rest of beings). The technique of practising this caryā is explained by Śāntideva as follows:
First of all, I should make an effort
There is yet another equally important aspect of the Bodhisattva path which a Bodhisattva develops after a long and strenuous endeavor and that happens to be the guarding of the Bodhicitta (Consciousness for Enlightenment). This act requires total awareness. Ācārya Śāntideva (寂 天) in his well-read work Bodhicaryāvatāra (菩 薩 道) mentioned to this respect as follows:
"Those who wish to destroy the many sorrows of (their)
Ācārya Śāntideva further explains how the general behaviour of the Bodhisattva should be:
The stock, the cat and the thief,
Also, one can say that the Bodhisattva concept is the most logical Buddhist ideal which conforms to the principles expounded by the Buddha himself in the Kālāma Sūtta,476 where he says that no one should follow another blindly, but everyone should try to attain one’s own perfection without depending on another.
The Bodhisattva undergoes this suffering willingly in order to help others and, therefore, he performs the unique feat of voluntarily coming back to Saṁsāra again and again, thus willingly postponing his final entering into Nirvāṇa.477
Growing and popularizing doctrines of Bodhisattva included another group of performances in the preliminary functions that precede the production of the Thought of Enlightenment. This particular group of rituals and formalities is known by the name ‘Anuttara Pūjā’ (無 上 供 養) which mainly consists of the worship and adoration of the Buddha (佛 陀), the Dhamma (法) and the Saṅgha (僧).
This Thought of Enlightenment seems to bear two aspects: (1) Lokārhitaṁ, (利 他) concern over the welfare of others, and (2) Ātmahitaṁ (自 利) 478 desire for his own salvation. First, he would obtain the Supreme Enlightenment and get himself delivered and then he would show the path of emancipation to others. The Bodhisattva-bhūmi (菩 薩 地) is more eloquent in this context as it explains the two objects of the Thought of Enlightenment.479
This self-surrender is a central point in the Bodhisattva path and the spirit of this surrender is vividly portrayed by Ācārya Śāntideva:
"May I be the doctor, the medicine
This thought is known to the Mahāvastu (佛 本 行 集 經 異 本) as citta (心), manasa (末 那 識), manoratha or saṁkalpa (思 惟). A recurrent passage repeatedly found in the Mahāvastu relates how this thought and resolve come into effect. Bodhisattva expresses his enthusiastic wish to become a Perfect Buddha endowed with all characteristics for the benefit of the world:
"I, having crossed (the transmigratory existence), may help the living beings to cross. I, being liberated may liberate others. I, being comforted, may comfort others. I, being finally released, may release others."
Making one’s mind for that greatest goal is, according to vivid elaboration of that moment, really an unparalleled event which surpasses all other meritorious acts. Nature exhibits its unusual phenomena (Adbhuta Dharma) on such rare occasions. Earthquakes take place and a light appears in the world. The entire Universe becomes happy on such occasions.481
A Bodhisattva-to-be who abides in this stage makes the following ten great praṇidhānas (十 種 大 願):
1. Mahāpūjopasthānāya Prathamaṁ Mahāpraṇidhānam Abhinirharati. To pay homage to all Buddhas, (一 者 禮 敬 諸 佛).
2. Sarvatathāgatabhāṣitadharmanetrisaṁdhāraṇāya...Saddharmapari-grahāyadvitīyaṁ. To preserve the teachings of the good Doctrine of all Buddhas, (二 者 稱 讚 如 來).
3. Tuṣitabhavanavāsaṁ ādim kṛtvā... yāvan mahāparinirvāṇo- pasamkramaṇāya tṛtīyam. To approach the great nirvāṇa after accomplishing all the deeds of Buddha — beginning from his residence in the heavenly abode of the Tuṣita down to his attainment of great Nirvāṇa, (三 者 廣 修 供 養).
4. Sarvabhūmipariśodhanaṁ... cittotpādābhinirhārāya... caturthaṁ. To render all the stages immaculate in order to produce resolution or thought. (四 者 懺 悔 業 章).
5. Sarvasattvadhātuparipācanāya, Sarvabuddhadharmāvatāraṇāya, Sarvajñajñāna-pratisthāpanāya... pañcamam. To bring about the spiritual maturity of all creatures, to enable them to comprehend the Doctrine of all Buddhas and to establish the knowledge of the Omniscient, (五 者 隨 喜 功 德).
6. Lokadhātuvaimātryāvatānāya, sastham. To make knowable the diversity of the world-system (Lokadhātu) (六 者 請 轉 法 輪)
7. Sarvabuddhaksetrapariśodhanāya saptamam. To bring about the purification of all the lands of the Buddha, (七 者 請 佛 住 世).
8 Mahāyānāvataranāya astamam. To cause to enter into the great vehicle, (八 者 常 隨 佛 學).
9 Sarvabodhisattvacaryācaranāya amoghasarvacestatāyai navamam. To practise all the course of conduct of the Bodhisattvas and to achieve irresistibility of the state of all efforts, (九 者 恆 順 眾 生).
10 Abhisambodhimahājñānābhijñābhinirharāya daśamam. Tāni ca Mahāpranidhānāni daśabhir nisthāpadair abhinirharati. To accomplish perfect enlightenment, great knowledge, and intuition. (十 者 普 皆 迴 向).
The Thought of Enlightenment (Bodhicitta, 菩 提 心) and Resolve (Praṇidhāna, 菩 提) are to mark the commencement of the second career of the Bodhisattva. These two components, Bodhicitta and Praṇidhāna, are closely inter-related and intermingled.
According to the Mahāyāna-sūtrālaṅkāra (大 乘 大 莊 嚴 經 論), Praṇidhāna (願) is both the cause and the result of the Thought of Enlightenment. The production of the Thought of Enlightenment is possible even through paying homage to the Buddha at a stūpa, whereas it is obligatory for one to meet a Buddha in order to make the formal Resolve.
A Bodhisatta’s career should start with his making a resolution before a Buddha (Abhīnīhārakaraṇa or Mūlapraṇidhāna, 願 菩 提) to become a Buddha for the welfare and liberation of all creatures. In later literature, this abhinīhāra (本 願) is preceded by a period during which the Bodhisattva practises mano-praṇidhi (意 願) when he resolves in his mind to desire to become a Buddha without declaring his intention to others. According to the Mahāyānist theory this would be the production of the Thought of Enlightenmment (Bodhicitta, 菩 提 心).482 Even for the abhīnīhāra (根 願) or the First Resolve to become a Buddha to be effective eight conditions (Samodāna Dhamma) have to be fulfilled. These are as follows:
1. Manussottam: The aspirant should be a human being.
Accoding to the Sarvāstivādīs (一 切 有 部 者), those who attain the Bodhisattvahood, 菩 薩 果) are qualified to gain five advantages. These are as follows:
1. They are not born in woeful states, but only among gods
In the Sutta Nipāta Commentary (經 集 之 疏 解) it is written that a Bodhisattva, during his career, escapes from being born in eighteen inauspicious states (aṭṭhārasa abhabbaṭṭhānāni, 十 八 法 不 共). These are as follows:
1. He is never born blind,
As for the Bodhisattva’s birth among the low caste people, the passage just mentioned seems to misrepresent Buddhism in general and the Jātaka texts in particular. It is because of the fact that in the Jātaka texts it is clearly mentioned that the Bodhisattva was born as a Caṇḍāla486 and among low caste people as well.487
According to one of the Jātakas488 Bodhisattvas make the five great sacrifices (Mahāpariccāga) of giving up:
1. Wife, 2. Children, 3. Kingdom, 4. Life and 5. Limb.
The Buddha, before whom the abhīnīhāra is made, looks into the future and, if satisfied, declares the fulfillment of the wish, giving all the particulars of such fulfillment. This declaration is called Veyyākaraṇa (Skt.Vyākaraṇa, 受 記) and is made also by all subsequent Buddhas whom the Bodhisatta meets during his career.489
The Praṇidhāna (願) is divided into two parts in the Pāli tradition. First, the Bodhisattva-to-be aspires for the bodhi, his intention being quite personal and unexpressed. This stage of aspiration is known as mano-panādhāna (意 願) which seems to correspond to the state of Adhimukti or Atimukti (善 思 惟), and signifies the commencement of the psychological process that finally culminates in the production of the Thought of Enlightenment. After that he declares it as the turning point in the Bodhisattva’s spiritual maturity at which juncture the strong and earnest wish to attain Enlightenment occupies his mind. The term ceto-panidhāna (願) also occurs, but it hardly suggests any particular significance as the proclamation (vivarjana)490 is seen declared on the same occasion. This may reflect a period when the whole scheme, including the terms and stages, were not yet fully defined or settled.491
The development of the Bodhicitta is the first and the most essential requirement of a person seeking recognition as a Bodhisattva and after such recognition he is permitted to take up the practices (cariyā, Skt. caryā, 行) of a Bodhisattva (菩 薩).492
D.T.Suzuki says that Bodhicitta, a form of the Dharmakāya (法 身) as it manifests itself in the human heart, is present in the heart of all sentient beings, but in ordinary mortals it is dormant and miserably crippled by its unenlightened intercourse with the world of sensuality493 as under:
‘‘Nirvāṇa (涅 槃), Dharmakāya (法 身), Tathāgata (如 來), Tathāgatagarbha (如 來 藏), Paramārtha (真 諦), Buddha (佛 陀), Bodhicitta (菩 提 心), Bhūtatathatā (真 如)—all these terms signify merely so many different aspects of one and the same reality and Bodhicitta is the name given to a form of the Dharmakāya (法 身 , Law-body) or Bhūtatathatā (真 如 , suchness of existence) as it manifests itself in the human heart, and its purification or negatively its liberation from all egoistic impurities constitutes the state of Nirvāṇa." 494
In the Bodhisattvabhūmi (菩 薩 地 經) it is given that there are four types of causes which are instrumental for the development of Bodhicitta. These may be noted as follows:
1. Four subsidiary causes (pratyayas, 緣), viz. (a) miracles shown by the Buddha; (b) teachings of the Buddha as recorded in the Bodhisattva-piṭaka (菩 薩 藏); (c) compassion for suffering beings, and (d) bad time (kaṣāya-kāla) for which beings suffer.
2. Four basic causes (hetus, 因), viz. (a) inclusion in Bodhisattva-gotra, 菩 薩 種 性 ; (b) finding a good spiritual guide (kalyāṇamitra, 善 友) who again may be of four types; (c) compassion, and (d) courage to relieve the distress of beings.
3. Four kinds of power (bala, 力), viz. (a) his own power; (b) power of recruiting others for exertion to attain Bodhi; (c) power of visualization of the Buddha or listening to his discourses and coming into contact with good persons and doing good deeds, and (d) power and desire to relieve the distress of beings, who have been suffering constantly and continuously.
4.There are four causes of retrogression from maintaining the Bodhicitta (菩 提 心). These are: (a) bad spiritual guide; (b) not enough compassion for the sufferings of beings; (c) fear and diffidence in removing the distress being suffered by beings continuously, and (d) lack of the four basic causes of the Bodhicitta.495
The Bodhisattvabhūmi (菩 薩 地 經) states that the Bodhicitta (菩 提 心) is of two kinds, that is, (1) Nairyāṇika (不 退 轉 菩 提 心) and (2) Anairyāṇika (退 轉 菩 提 心). By the former one attains Bodhi (Enlightenment) without retrogression, while the latter does not lead to Bodhi (Enlightenment). Again Anairyāṇika is of two kinds — (a) Ātyantika and (b) Anātyantika. By the former it is meant that the transgression is such that Bodhisattva loses bodhi forever, while by the latter it is meant that the transgression is temporary and that is why there is every likelihood of Bodhisattvas attaining Bodhi ultimately.496 While according to ‘A Dictionary of Chinese Buddhist Terms’(中 英 佛 學 辭 典), Avaivartika or avinivartanīya (不 退 轉) means never receding, always progressing, not backsliding, or losing ground; never retreat but going straight to Nirvāṇa; an epithet of every Buddha.497
Ācārya Śāntideva (寂 天) pointed out that the Bodhicitta (菩 提 心) is of two kinds — (1) Bodhipraṇidhicitta (菩 提 心 願 , will to win Enlightenment) and (2) Bodhiprasthānacitta (菩 提 心 行 , going through the practices for obtaining Enlightenment). The former is compared to the one who is desirous of going, while the latter is compared to the one who is actually going. Bodhipraṇidhicitta of course produces much merits like Bodhiprasthānacitta.498
The Bodhisattva exerts himself to the utmost to do good to all beings with a view to leading them to Bodhi (Enlightenment). He prefers to continue as a Bodhisattva even to the extent of deffering his own Buddhahood (佛 果). In this process he transfers his merits earned thereby to the sentient beings.
From the time an aspirant sets his heart on the awakening of Bodhicitta up to his declaration of these great aspirations, it forms the preparatory stage and is called bodhi-praṇidhi-citta (菩 提 心 願). The merits of Bodhicitta is so great and wonderful and is ‘Bodhisattva-maker’, so that Vasubandhu (世 親 , 天 親) in his Bodhicittotpāda-sūtra-śāstra (經 論 菩 提 心) compares Bodhicitta to the ocean:
"In the beginning when the great ocean manifests itself, it should be known that it is the store of all kinds of jewels, inferior, medium and superior, valuable and invaluable wish- yielding gems. Just so, at the beginning, bodhicitta, too, should be thought of as the store of gods, men, disciples, Pratyekabuddhas, Bodhisattvas, merits, meditation and wisdom."
(Mahāsamudro yadādau sanudeti jñātavyaḥ so’ dhamamadhyammottanmāṁ cintāmaṇiratnamuktāphalānāmākaro bhavati. Bodhisattvasya cittotpāda apyenvaṁ... tad devamanuṣyāṇāṁ śrāvakapratyeka-buddhabodhisattvānaṁ dhyānasya prajñāyaścopaptallerrāharab).499
Moral Perfections (Pāramīs / pāramitās, 波 羅 密)
With the development of Bodhicitta, a Bodhisattva must practise the pāramitās. This is the second stage of the development of Bodhicitta and is called Bodhi-prasthāna-citta.500 In other words, the germination of the Bodhicitta produces a Bodhisattva out of an individual, and to realize the complete fulfillment of this pledge, the Bodhisattva makes an entry into the most arduous and strenuous stage of the path, viz., the practice of the pāramitās.501
A Bodhisattva must practise the six / ten Pāramitās (波 羅 密 , Perfections). The term pāramitā has been very significantly interpreted by various scholars. T.W. Rhys Davids and W. Stede give the meanings: ‘Completeness, perfection, highest state.’502 Pāramitā has also been translated as transcendental virtue, perfect virtue, highest perfection, complete attainment, etc.503 and H.C. Warren translates it as perfection.504 J.S. Speyar,505 M.S. Bhat, M.V. Talim,506 P.V. Bapat leave the word untranslated.507
Pāramitā is derived from parama (and not from pāra with the root ‘i’ to go), as the Bodhisattva Bhūmi (菩 薩 地 經) clearly explains. The pāramitās are so called because they are acquired during a long period of time (parameṇa kālena samudāgatāḥ), and are supremely pure in their nature (paramayā svabhāva-viśuddhyā viśuddhāḥ). They also transcend the virtues or qualities of the Śrāvakās (聲 聞) and the Pratyeka-buddhas (辟 支 佛), and lead to the highest result (paramaṁ ca phalam anuprāyacchanti). The derivation of the term from parama is placed beyond the possibility of doubt. It simply means ‘highest condition, highest point, best state, perfection.’508 The Tibetan equivalent is pha-rol-tu-phyin-pa. The Bodhisattva Bhūmi connects it with Pāramitā.509
The earlier and alternative form pāramī also points to the derivation from ‘parama’. The suffix – ‘tā’ was probably added to it on the analogy of the abstract substantives ending in – ‘tā’. It has been suggested that a compound like dāna-pāramitā may be explained as "the quality or condition of a person who is a dāna-pāramī, who possesses the pāramī or highest point of dāna or charity." In this case, the suffix - tā would be added to a bahu-vrīhi compound (dānasya pāramīr yasya). But the two words in such a compound as dāna-pāramitā seem to stand in direct opposition, and it is better to construe thus:
"Dānaṁ eva pāramitā dāna-pāramitā".510
The term pāramitā chiefly denotes the ethical principles as the proper means of leading to spiritual goal. In this regard, R. Spence Hardy gives a very sane and apt translation. He translates it as (1) prescribed virtue,511 (2) a class of virtue,512 (3) primary virtue.513 Philosophically, it is ‘the cardinal virtues’ termed by Plato as the fundamental virtues called for practice by a person concerned or ‘the categorical imperative’514 propounded by Kant.515 Similar in its context to R.A.P. Roger’s term ‘positive morality’ as is the highest principle for determining the true worth of actions regarding human life.516
The Bodhisattva’s pāramitā is not ideal morality nor a concept, but it is a logically practical principle determining the worth of human action in daily life. Although it is (as in the texts) prescribed for those who are the Bodhisattva’s yet it may be, no doubt, followed or practised by anybody in so far as the Buddhist principles are concerned.
According to Mahāyānists, the doctrine of pāramitās leading to Bodhisattvahood (菩 薩 果), and in the end Buddhahood (佛 果) was the new method of Buddhist practice resulting from the intention of Mahāyāna patriarchs of later times. Nevertheless, there are two trends of thought relating to the above point of view. The first group has considered the pāramitā doctrine to be one of the marks most characteristically distinguishing Mahāyāna from Hīnayāna.517 In the contrast, there was in the research of the second one, nothing new in the six pāramitās. All the items were found in the old Buddhist scriptures.518 In their views, in Buddhism, there was really no innovation, but what seemed so was in fact a subtle adaptation of preexisting ideas. Great attention has always been paid to continuous doctrinal development and to proper transmission of the teachings from teacher to teacher. 519
These perfections were later enumerated, and there are slight differences between the Pāli and the Sanskrit lists. However, their theme is the same, which is ethical perfection.520
Ten Pāramitās in Pāli Buddhist Texts
The canonical Pali texts mention the number of pāramitās (波 羅 密) in (1) the Apadāna (譬 喻 經), (2) the Jātaka (本 生 經), (3) the Buddhavaṁsa (佛 史) and (4) the Cariyāpiṭaka (所 行 藏).
In the Apadāna the ten pāramitās are evidently mentioned and the text runs as follows:
"The Bodhisattva gave the gift (dāna) to the needy. He then observed sīla perfectly and fulfilled the pāramitā in the worldly renunciation. He then attained the Supreme Enlightenment. He was indifferent to both gain and loss, pleasure and pain. He was impartial and attained the Supreme Enlightenment".
(Datvā dattabbakaṁ dānaṁ sīlaṁ pūretva asesato,
Nekkhamme pāramīṁ patvā patto sambodhī uttamaṁ.
Labhālābhe sukhe dukkhe samāne ca vimānane,
Savatthe sāmako hutvā patto sambodhi uttamaṁ).521
It is mentioned in the Visuddhimagga (清 淨 道 論 , IX.124) that the Great Beings (Mahāsattvas) are concerned about the welfare of living beings, not tolerating the sufferings of beings, wishing long duration to the higher states of happiness of beings and being impartial and just to all beings, by fulfilling the first pāramitā they fulfill all the pāramitās:
1) Dāna-pārami (布 施 波 羅 密): They give alms (Dāna) to all beings, so that they may be happy without investigating whether they are worthy or not. In the Jātaka literature, many stories are found which show how the Bodhisatta fulfilled the Dāna-pāramitā, the former birth stories of Gautama, when he was a Bodhisatta, either in human form or non-human form, it is written that he practised such types of dāna. In the Mahākapi Jātaka,522 the Bodhisattva is a great monkey leader, who at the attack by the men of the Vārāṇasi king, allowed fellow monkeys to pass off safely by treading on his body, stretched as the extension of a bridge. In the Sasa Jātaka,523 the Bodhisattva is a young hare who offers his own body in the absence of any other thing to offer, just to observe the sacred vow. The story of Prince Vessantara,524 which is widely appreciated, shows Prince Vessantara in fulfillment of his vow to give whatever he is asked to give, not only surrenders the palladium of his father’s kingdom, but even his own wife and children...
2) Sīla-pārami (持 戒 波 羅 密): By avoidance of doing them any harm, they observe morality (Sīla).
3) Kṣānti-pārami (忍 辱 波 羅 密): Though having become heroes through energy, Bodhisattvas are nevertheless full of forbearance (Khanti) towards the manifold failings of beings. It is the patient endurance of suffering inflicted upon oneself by others and the forbearance of others. Bodhisattva practices patience to such an extent that he is not provoked even when his hands and feet are cut off.
4) Vīrya-pārami (精 進 波 羅 密): For the sake of welfare and happiness of others they constantly exert their energy or perseverance (Viriya). Here Viriya does not mean physical strength though this is an asset, but strength of character, which is far superior. It is defined as the persistent effort to work for the welfare of others both in thought and deed. Firmly establishing himself in this virtue, the Bodhisatta develops self-reliance and makes it one of his prominent characteristics. The Viriya of a Bodhisatta is clearly depicted in the Mahājanaka Jātaka.525 Shipwrecked in the open sea for seven days, he struggled on without once giving up hope until he was finally rescued. Failures he views as steps to success, opposition causes him to double his exertion, dangers increase his courage, cutting his way through difficulties, which impair the enthusiasm of the feeble, surmounting obstacles, which dishearten the ordinary, he looks straight towards his goal. Nor does he ever stop until his goal is reached.
5) Nekkhamṁa-pārami (出 離 波 羅 密): In order to bring morality to perfection, they train themselves in renunciation (Nekkhamṁa). Nekkhamṁa implies both renunciation of worldly pleasures by adopting the ascetic life and the temporary inhibition of Hindrances (Nīvaraṇa) by Jhānas (Ecstasies). A Bodhisatta is neither selfish nor self-possessive but is selfless in his activities. He is ever ready to sacrifice his happiness for the sake of others. Though he may sit in the lap of luxury, immersed in worldly pleasures, he may comprehend their transitoriness and the value of renunciation. Realizing thus the vanity of fleeting material pleasures, he voluntarily leaves his earthly possessions, and donning the simple ascetic garb, tries to lead the Holy Life in all its purity. Here he practises the higher morality to such an extent that becomes practically selfless in all his actions. No inducement whether fame, wealth, honour, or worldly gain, could induce him to do anything contrary to his principles.
6) Paññā-pārami (智 慧 波 羅 密): In order to understand clearly what is beneficial and what is injurious to beings, they purify their wisdom (paññā).
7) Sacca-pārami (真 實 波 羅 密): Once they have promised to give or do something they do not break their promise (Sacca). So, sacca is here meant the fulfillment of one’s promise. This is one of the salient characteristics of a Bodhisattva, for he is no breaker of his word. He acts as he speaks, he speaks as he acts (Yathā vādi tathā kāri, yathā kāri tathā vādi). He makes truth his guide and holds it his bounden duty to keep his word. He ponders well before he makes his promise. In the Hiri Jātaka526 and the Mahāsutasoma Jātaka 527 Bodhisattva practiced Viriya Pāramitā. A Bodhisattva is trustworthy, sincere and honest. What he thinks, he speaks. There is perfect harmony in his thoughts, words and deeds. He does not use flattery to win the hearts of others, does not exhort himself to win their admiration, does not hide his defects or vainly exhibits his virtues. The praise-worthy he praises without malice. The blameworthy he blames judiciously, not with contempt but out of compassion. He honours the word of others as he honours his own.
8) Adiṭṭhāna-pārami (願 波 羅 密): Adiṭṭhāna is translated as resolute determination. Without this firm determination (Adiṭṭhāna), the other perfections cannot be fulfilled and they work for the wealth and welfare of beings. It is compared to the foundation of a building. This will-power forces all obstructions out of Bodhisattva path and no matter what may come to him, sickness, grief, or disaster, he never turns his eyes away from his goal. For instance, the Bodhisattva Siddhārtha made a firm determination to renounce his royal pleasure and gain enlightenment. Six long years, it was a superhuman struggle. He had to endure manifold hardships and face innumerable difficulties. At a crucial moment, when he most needed their help his five favorite disciples deserted him. Yet he did not give up his effort. The Bodhisattva is a man of iron determination, whose high principles cannot be shaken to do good. None could tempt him to do anything contrary to those principles. As occasion demands, he is as soft as a flower and as firm as a rock.
9) Metta-pārami (悲 心 波 羅 密): With unshakable kindness (metta) they are helpful to all. Metta is loving kindness. In Sanskrit it is Maitrī. It is benevolent, goodwill or friendliness, wish for the happiness of all beings without exception. It is this Metta that prompts a Bodhisattva to renounce personal deliverance for the sake of others. He is permeated with boundless goodwill towards all beings, irrespective of caste, creed, colour or sex. Since he is the embodiment of universal love, he fears none, nor is he feared by any. He ever cherishes in his heart boundless goodwill towards all that live.
10) Upekkhā-pārami (捨 波 羅 密): The tenth Pāramī is Upekkhā or equanimity. By reason of their equanimity (Upekkhā) they do not expect anything in return. The Pāli term Upekkha is composed of upa, which means justly, impartially or rightly (yuttito) and ikkha, to see, discern or view. The etymological meaning of the term is discerning rightly, viewing justly or looking impartially, that is, without attachment or aversion, without favour or disfavour. Here the term is not used in the sense of indifference or neutral feeling. The most difficult and the most essential of all perfections is this equanimity, especially for a layman who has to live in an ill-balanced world with fluctuating fortunes. Slights and insults are the common lot of humanity. So are praise and blame, loss and gain, pain and pleasure. Amidst all such vicissitudes of life a Bodhisatta tries to stand unmoved like a firm rock, exercising perfect equanimity.
In pāli scriptures, these are ten Pāramitās as ten transcendental virtures, ten powers which Bodhisasittva practice positively out of compasion for the many, devas and humans.
Ten Pāramitās in Sanskrit Literature
According to the Buddhist Sanskrit Literature, the concept of pāramitā (波 羅 密) is divided into two categories, viz., (1) The chief Pāramitās and (2) the supplementary pāramitās. The former are enumerated as below:
1. Dāna (布 施 ,
Generosity and Liberality in Giving),
The four supplementary Pāramitās are:
1. Upāya or Upāya-kauśalya (方
便 , Skilful-means or Skill-in- Means),
1. Nekkhamma (Renunciation) instead of Dhyāna.
As for the six chief pāramitās (波 羅 密), the same are mentioned and discussed in the following Buddhist Sanskrit texts. These are: The Lalitavistara (神 通 遊 戲 經) (340.21ff.); The Mahāvastu (佛 本 幸 集 經 異 本) (III.226); The Aṣṭasāhaśrikā Prajñā-pāramitā (八 千 頌 般 若 波 羅 密 經) (194.15); The Karuṇāpuṇḍarīka (慈 悲 蓮 華 經) (127.1); The Avadāna-Śataka (撰 集 百 緣 經) (7.4); The Mahāyāna-sūtrālaṅkāra (大 乘 大 莊 嚴 經) (99); The Dharmasaṅgraha (法 數 名 集 經 異 本) (Sect.7); The Samādhi-rāja Sūtra (三 妹 王 經) (Fol.1129, 3); The Bodhisattva-bhūmika Sūtra (菩 薩 地 經) (Fol. 47 a, 6)...529 The last four supplementary pāramitās, on the other hand. are mentioned in the following texts, viz., The Mahāyāna-sūtralaṅkāra (大 乘 大 莊 嚴 經) (151.3); The Mahāvyutpatti (名 義 大 集 經) (Sect.34); The Dharma-saṅgraha (法 數 名 集 經 異 本) (Sect.18) and The Daśabhūmika Sūtra (十 地 經) (57)...530 As, we see, the six pāramitās (空 性) are mentioned and discussed in many passages of Buddhist Sanskrit literature, while the seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth pāramitās are mentioned only in a few passages and are not explained at great length.
Har Dayal is of the opinion that the last three pāramitās (in the list cited in the aforesaid context) are really superfluous.531 He left them undiscussed unlike the rest. From this it can be easily concluded that the present day scholars of Buddhist Sanskrit Literature do not attach importance to the last four pāramitās and study the first six only. In fact, in most of the cases these are altogether ignored and in the list of the Mahāyāna pāramitās only the six main ones are mentioned and the rest are not even enumerated and mentioned.
The Role of Śūnyatā in Bodhisattva-caryā
As Edward Conze has said that the two great contributions which the Mahāyāna had made to human thought were the creation of the Bodhisattva ideal and the elaboration of the doctrine of ‘Emptiness’.532 Here we make an attempt to example the relation between Bodhisattva and Śūnyatā (空 性). In other words, Bodhisattva-caryā (菩 薩 行) means Boddhisattva practises ten Pāramitās (波 羅 密) in which Śūnyātā plays the essential role to lead to the effect of Bodhisattva conduct (Bodhisattva-caryā).
First of all, we come to the first pāramitā i.e. Dāna perfection.
1) Dāna Pāramitā (布 施 波 羅 密 , Generosity and Liberality in Giving Perfection):
The word dāna (布 施) literally means ‘giving’, and this seems to be the best rendering in this context.533 In the Visuddhimagga, Buddhaghosa defines Dāna as follows: Dānaṁ vuccati avakkhandhaṁ means to give with heart is really called the Dāna, though the word dāna literally stands for (i) charity, (ii) generosity, (iii) alms-giving, (iv) liberality, etc.534 It is Bodhisattva’s perfection of gift when he offers, gives up or remains indifferent to his body.535
There are three kinds of dāna (布 施 , donation): donating material goods (財 施), donating the Law (Dharma, 法 施) and donating fearlessness (無 畏 施). The first means to give wealth to others. The second refers to the teaching of Law rightly and the third means to remove the anxieties or sufferings of others through one’s own efforts.
i) The Giving of Wealth (Āmisadāna, 財 施)
The giving of wealth includes both outer and inner wealth. The outer wealth refers to one’s kingdom and treasures, one’s wife and sons. Those who practise the Bodhisattva way have no mark of self and so they are able to give away their kingdom, their homes and even their wives and sons. Śākyamuni Buddha for example should have become a king, but he chose instead to become a monk. He left his wife and his newly born son. Relinquishing the glory of royalty, he went to the state of homelessness. The inner wealth, on the other hand, refers to one’s own body, head, eyes, brains and marrow, skin, blood, flesh and bones — all can be given to others.536
ii) The Giving of Law (Dharmadāna, 法 施)
When the Bodhisattva feels satisfied only with the supply of material aid, without raising them from their misery or introducing them into beatitude, he uses inffective method (anupāya). Because material help is not sufficient. The best way of helping them is to establish them in goodness as follows:
"Monks, there are these two gifts, the carnal and spiritual. Of these two gifts the spiritual is prominent. Monks, there are these two sharings together, the sharing of the carnal and the sharing of the spiritual. Of these two sharings together the spiritual is pre-eminent.
Monks, there are these two acts of kindness, the carnal and the spiritual. Of these two acts of kindness the spiritual is pre-eminent." 537
Therefore, the Dāna of this type is to speak the dharma to benefit beings, to teach and transform all living beings by explaining the Buddha-dharma to them. Of all the offerings the dharma offering is supreme. The offering of dharma is to move out the suffering of other and to propogate the Buddha-dharma for the sake of all beings as explained:
"The feeling that causes the good people’s hearts to be moved when they see others’ suffering is compassion".
(Paradukke sati sadhunam hadayakampanam karoti’ ti karuṇa).538
iii) The Giving of Fearlessness (Abhayadāna, 無 畏 施)
The third dāna is the giving of fearlessness. When some one encounters disasters or calamities which terrify him, at that moment the Bodhisattva removes his anxieties and sufferings through one’s own efforts. Dispelling fear means to give the gift of fearlessness.
The giving of fearlessness is the best way that can give a genuine peaceful and happy environment for everyone, because a real state of fearlessness is considered as synonymous with the freedom and bliss without war, dislike, fighting, killing...etc.
According to Mahāyāna, the best and noblest gift among three a Bodhisattva can give to others is the gift of Dharma, other gifts are considered of a lower category than this as the Buddha once said that ‘the gift of Dhamma triumphs over all gifts’. (Sabbedānaṁ Dhamma-dānaṁ jināti, 法 施 是 最 上 施) and a Sūtra preserved in Chinese translation proved it by the following passage:
"What is a bad means (anupāya)? When, by the practice of the perfections the Bodhisattvas help others, but are content to supply them with merely material aid, without raising them from their misery or introducing them into beautitude, then they are using a bad means. Why? Because material help is not sufficient. Whether a dunghill be large or small, it cannot possibly be made to smell sweet by any means whatsoever. In the same way, living beings are unhappy because of their acts, because of their nature; it is impossible to make them happy by supplying them with merely material aid. The best way of helping them is to establish them in goodness".539
To illustrate Boddhisattva’s practice of Dāna pāramitā in the Mahāyāna Sūtras, we can find some significant verses in Chapter One "Introduction" (品 序)540 of Saddharma-puṇḍarīka Sūtra (妙 法 蓮 華 經), which clearly show that the performance of Dāna Pāramitā is the Bodhisattva’s Way. At the beginning of this Sūtra is narrated that Maitreya Bodhisattva Mahāsattva (彌 勒 菩 薩 摩 訶 薩) addresses Mañjuṣrī Bodhisattva Mahāsattva (聞 殊 師 利 菩 薩 摩 訶 薩) that within the while hair mark emitted by the Buddha, the World-honoured One, he can see Bodhisattvas as numberless as the grains of the sands in the Gaṅgā river (恆 河) are giving all kinds of charity (dāna) such as gold, silver, coral, pearls, mani jewels, seashell, agate, diamonds, and other rarities, men, women servants, carriages, jeweled hand carriages, and palanquins...to beings.
Not only do these Bodhisattvas give valuable objects, but they even give their bodies, their own flesh, their hands and feet. There are Bodhisattvas who are giving their wives and children to others. They give happily. Not even once do they feel bad about giving wives and children. Bodhisattvas practice such giving in order to attain the supreme Enlightenment as is described in Saddharma-puṇḍarīka Sūtra:
"Again I see Bodhisattvas
(又 見 菩 薩 ， 身 肉 手 足 ， 及 妻 子 施 ， 求 無 上 道 。 又 見 菩 薩 ， 頭 目 身 體 ， 欣 樂 施 與 ， 求 佛 智 慧). 542
In the Mahāratnakūṭa Sūtra (大 寶 積 經) (one of the earliest Mahāyāna texts), it is stated that only those Bodhisattvas who have attained the realization of the non-arising of dharmas are able to practise extreme charity: for other people this practice may serve no purpose or even harm them and others. This means that these Bodhisattvas have attained the realization of the dharmas.543
Again in the text it is written that there are Bodhisattvas who with fine food and drink and broth and herbs made offerings to the Buddha and the monks, so that when those who have left home get sick, they can use them to cure their illness. There are four kinds of offerings: food and drink, clothing, bedding and medicine. The clothing given is no ordinary clothing. It is very fine and expensive, and absolutely priceless. They are given in charity in order to attain the Supreme Enlightenment with a million different kinds of precious sandalwood and with much fine bedding, with gardens and groves, fruits and flowers in large quantity, with flowing springs and bathing ponds. They make this offering to the Buddha, Dharma and Saṅgha. All these offerings of many different kinds are given to the Triple Jewel for seeking the Supreme way that is Buddha way.
Likewise in Chapter XII entitled ‘Devadatta’ (提 婆 達 多 品),544 Śākyamuni himself describes that during many thousands of aeons that long back when he had been a king, he had taken the strong resolution to arrive at supreme perfect Enlightenment. For that he exerted himself to fulfill the Six Perfections (Ṣaṭ Pāramitās, 六 波 羅 密). In charity he had given innumerable, immeasurable gold, money, gems, pearls, villages, towns, boroughs, provinces, kingdoms, royal capitals, wives, sons, daughters, slaves, male and female, elephants and horses. This giving is related to outer wealth. However, he had given his inner wealth also. But in his heart the thought of self-complacency did not occur.
In the same chapter in other place, the Bodhisattva Prajñākūṭa (智 積 菩 薩) says that he himself had seen the Blessed Śākyamuni, the Tathāgata performing numberless charitable tasks while he was striving after enlightenment. And during many aeons he did not feel satisfied about his arduous task. He went everywhere for weal and welfare of creatures. He did not take rest but kept busy in doing his sacrificial tasks. Whenever he found any being in trouble, to help out that being he did not care even for his own body. As it is mentioned in the Saddharma Puṇḍarīka Sūtra:
"Bodhisattva Wisdom Accumulated said, "When I observe Shakyamuni Thus Come One, I see that for immeasurable kalpas he carried out harsh and difficult practices, accumulating merit, piling up virtue, seeking the way of the bodhisattva without ever resting. I observe that throughout the thousand-millionfold world, there is not a single spot tiny as a mustard seed where this bodhisattva failed to sacrifice body and life for the sake of living beings. Only after he had done that was he able to complete the bodhi way"545
(智 積 菩 薩 言 ： 我 見 釋 迦 如 來 ， 於 無 量 劫 難 行 ， 苦 行 ， 積 功 累 德 ， 求 菩 提 道 ， 未 曾 止 息 。 觀 三 千 大 千 世 界 ， 乃 至 無 有 如 芥 子 許 ， 非 是 菩 薩 ， 捨 身 命 處 ， 為 眾 生 故 然 後 得 成 菩 提 道).546
In Chapter XXIII entitled ‘Former Affair of the Bodhisattva Medicine King’547 (藥 王 菩 薩 本 事 品) a story is mentioned of Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Sarvasattva Priyadarśana (一 切 眾 生 喜 見 菩 薩 摩 訶 薩 , Gladly Seen by All Living Beings), who burnt his own body with the object of paying worship to the Tathāgata and his Dharmaparyāya of the Lotus of The True Law. His sacrificial deed is praised by all the Buddhas. That is the real worship of the Law. No worship with flowers, incense, fragrant, umbrellas, flags, banners, no worshipping with material gifts or with uragasāra sandal equals. This, young men of good family, is the sublimest gift, higher than the abandoning of royalties, the abandoning of beloved children and wives. Sacrificing one’s own body, young men of good family, is the most distinguished, the chiefest, the best, the very best, the most sublime worship of the Law.
The above mentioned paragraph shows clearly that giving of one’s body is the highest degree of charity. In the same story it is mentioned that the body of Sarvasattva Priyadarśana (一 切 眾 生 喜 見 菩 薩 摩 訶 薩) continued blazing for twelve thousand years without ceasing to burn. After the expiration of those twelve thousand years the fire was extinguished. Then the Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Sarvasattva Priyadarśana having paid such worship to the Tathāgata, disappeared from that place and appeared in the house of king Vimaladatta (淨 德 , Pure Virtue). In this birth Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Sarvasattva Priyadarśana made eighty four thousand stūpas in order to pay honour to the relics of the Tathāgata Candravimalasūrya-prabhāsaśrī (日 月 淨 明 德 如 來 , Sun Moon Pure Bright Virtue Thus Come One). There he burnt his own hand which was marked by the one hundred auspecious signs, and so paid worship to those stūpas containing relics of the Tathāgata and while paying worship, he educated countless hundred thousands myriads of Koṭis548of disciples from that assembly. In consequence of this all those Bodhisattvas acquired the samādhi termed Sarvarūpa-sandarśana (現 一 切 色 身 三 妹).
In Chapter XXIV entitled "The Bodhisattva Wonderful Sound"549 (妙 音 菩 薩 , Bodhisattva Gadgadasvara), Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Gadgadasvara preaches Dharmaparyāya in various shapes to different beings according to their ability and capacity. In Chapter XXV "The Universal Gateway of the Bodhisattva Perceiver of the World’s Sounds" (觀 世 音 菩 薩 普 門 品), Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Avalokiteśvara (觀 世 音 菩 薩 摩 訶 薩) preaches Dharmaparyāya in various shapes to different beings. This all comes under the second kind of Dāna— the offering of Dharma, that is, propagating the Buddhadharma for the sake of all beings. And Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Avalokiteśvara (觀 世 音 菩 薩 摩 訶 薩) has given the fearlessness as follows:
"This bodhisattva and mahāsattva Perceiver of the World’s Sounds can bestow fearlessness on those who are in fearful, pressing or difficult circumstances. That is why in this saha world everyone calls him Bestower of Fearlessness".550
(是 觀 世 音 菩 薩 摩 訶 薩 於 布 畏 急 難 之 中 能 施 無 畏 是 故 此 娑 婆 世 界 皆 號 之 為 施 舍 無 畏 者).551
Each giving has three ties: (1) a perception of self (我), (2) a perception of others (他), and (3) a perception of the gift (物 施). The supramundane perfection of giving, on the other hand, consists in the three-fold purity. Here, with the insight of Śūnyatā (空 性), a Bodhisattva who gives a gift, does not apprehend a self, a recipient and a gift; also no reward of his giving. He surrenders that gift to all beings, but he apprehends neither beings, nor self. He dedicates that gift to Supreme Enlightenment, but he does not apprehend any Enlightenment.552 This is called the supramundane perfection of giving (最 上 布 施 波 羅 密) and numerous Bodhisattvas like Ganges sand (恆 河 沙) practice this pāramitā (波 羅 密).
"One could also see bodhisattvas
(又 見 諸 菩 薩 ， 行 施 忍 辱 等 ， 其 數 如 恆 河 , 其 由 佛 光 照).554
The perfection of generosity is understood in Mahāyāna to be non-clinging. By this is meant a special kind of wisdom permeating action that upholds the concept of emptiness. It rejects the dialing between all evasive thoughts of giver, gift and recipient. Lying in the stratum of wisdom and compassion generosity rises from the invalidation of ‘ego’ which causes misery to beings.
The doctrine of selflessness (Nairātmya) is a metaphysical expression genuinely sought to illustrate the ethical injunction and a saviour device of a supreme order. Its virtue is non-clinging.
However, we should know that Bodhisattva insights the nature of Śūnyatā (空 性) the selflessness of all things, the spirit of nonclinging, so that he is able to give all his possessions happily to others but not grasp it as Vajrachedikā prajñā-pāramitā Sūtra (金 剛 般 若 波 羅 密 經) taught:
"If a Bodhisattva’s mind does not abide in forms (laksaṇas) when practising charity (dāna), his merit will be inconceivable and immeasurable. Subhūti, what do you think? Can you think of and measure the extent of space in the East?’
‘I cannot. World Honoured One.’’
‘Subhūti. can you think of and measure (all) the extent of space in the South, West and North, as well as in the intermediate directions, including the zenith and nadir’
‘I cannot. World Honoured One!’
‘Subhūti. (when) a Bodhisattva practises charity without a mind abiding in forms, his merit is equally inconceivable and immeasurable.’
‘Subhūti a Bodhisattva’s mind should THUS abide as taught."
(若 菩 薩 不 住 相 布 施
， 其 福 德 不 可 思 量 。 須 菩 提 ！ 於 意 云 何 ？ 東 方 虛 空 ， 可 思 量 不 ？
2) Śīla Pāramitā (持 戒 波 羅 密 , Virtuous Conduct, Morality Perfection)
The second virtue which a Bodhisattva cultivates is Śīla (持 戒). As it is mentioned in the text:
"And I see those who observe the precepts,
(又 見 具 戒 ， 威 儀 無 缺 ， 淨 如 寶 珠 ， 以 求 佛 道).557
This means that there are Bodhisattvas who observe the moral precepts, and guard them as they would hold a precious pearl. Their precepts are not the slightest deficient.
Their clear and lofty purity is as priceless as a jewel by which they attain the Buddha way.
Such an irreversible Bodhisattva (不 退 轉 菩 薩) observes the ten ways of wholesome action. He himself observes and instigates others to observe abstention from taking life, abstention from taking what is not given to him, abstention from wrong conduct as regards sensuous pleasures, abstention from intoxicants as tending to cloud the mind, abstention from lying speech, abstention from harsh speech, abstention from indistinct prattling, abstention from covetousness, abstention from ill-will, abstention from wrong views. Even in his dreams he never commits offences against these ten precepts, and he does not nurse such offences in his mind.558
The Bodhisattvabhūmi (菩 薩 地)559 lists three categories of morality: (1) restraint from immoral behavior; (2) cultivation of virtuous behavior; and (3) accomplishing what is most beneficial for all living beings. These three are identified as invariable concomitants of the deep-rooted tendency of conceptual thought to construct reified notions of an ultimately real self. They are diagnosed as symptomatic of an attitude inharmonious with the concept of Śūnyatā, (空 性), and they help to forge the links of a chain which keeps the mind firmly bound to a beginningless cycle of misery.
Śantideva (寂 天) in his famous work - the Śikṣāsamuccaya (大 乘 集 菩 薩 學 論) discusses again the most compelling pragmatic justification for virtuous behavior:
"A [Bodhisattva] cultivates the desire to abandon all sinful and unmeritorious behavior. In this context, [an action] is evil and unmeritorious if it causes the mind to become agitated and so is opposed to balanced concentration. Such [an action] is also referred to as ‘an opponent to samādhi (禪 定).’ 560
A calm mind alone is capable of deep concentration (samādhi) which in its turn is obtained by a highly disciplined practice of meditation, like that of the ‘great seal’ (mahāmudrā, 大 首 印). If the mind is unobstructed and without fear that it can quickly grasp the inner essence of Śūnyatā.
Non-clinging is the basic need for attaining the state in which such mind is realized or cultivated. The theme is well elaborated in the Mahā-prajñā-pāramitā-śāstra (大 智 度 論):
"The highest kind of moral conduct, its perfection, consists in the non-clinging way, not clinging to sin or merit as absolute and unconditioned. The Bodhisattva that enters deep into the truth of things, cultivating the contemplation of their Śūnya-nature, beholds with his eye of wisdom that sin and merit are not absolute and unconditioned." 561
The perfection of morality lies in equanimity in thought and action toward the sinner and no remarkable pride to appreciate the merited. This is the non-clinging way of looking into things that provides reason to the thought of pure kind and a clear vision unblurred from biases.
3) Kṣānti Pāramitā (忍 辱 波 羅 密 , Forebearance Perfection)
Apart from fulfilling Śīla Pāramitā there are Bodhisattvas who practice Kṣānti Pāramitā to fulfil the Bodhisattva-caryā. In this context one can find very significant verses related to this topic in the Saddharma Puṇḍarīka Sūtra as:
"Or I see bodhisattvas
(或 見 菩 薩 ， 而 作 毘 獨 處 閑 靜 ， 樂 誦 經 典).563
The verses referred to above show the cultivation of the Perfection of Patience. There are Bohisattvas who have left the home life to become bhikṣus and dwell deep in the forests or in mountain caves. Evil people may strike or rebuke them the Bodhisattvas must endure patiently. When evil beasts bite them, then also they must be patient and not become frightened or alarmed. They remain unperturbed and like to read and recite Sūtras.
"And I see Buddha sons
(又 見 佛 子 ， 住 忍 辱 力 ， 增 上 慢 人 ， 惡 罵 唾 打 ， 皆 悉 能 忍 ， 以 求 佛 道).565
"Mañjuśri, what do I mean by the practices of a Bodhisattva or Mahāsattva? If a Bodhisattva or Mahāsattva takes his stand on perseverance, is gentle and compliant, never violent, and never alarmed in mind; and if with regard to phenomena he takes no action but observes the true entity of phenomena without acting or making any distinction, then this I call the practices of a Bodhisattva or Mahāsattva".566
(文 殊 師 利 ！ 云 何 名 ： 菩 薩 摩 訶 薩 行 處 ？ 若 菩 薩 摩 訶 薩 住 忍 褥 地 ？ 柔 和 善 順 而 不 卒 暴 ， 心 亦 不 敬 ， 又 復 於 法 無 所 行 ， 而 觀 諸 法 如 實 相 ， 亦 不 行 ， 不 分 別 是 名 ： 菩 薩 摩 訶 薩 行 處).567
Maitreya Bodhisattva Mahāsattva (彌 勒 菩 薩) again says to Mañjuśrī Bodhisattva Mahāsattva (文 殊 師 利 菩 薩) that some true disciples of the Buddha are also seen who cultivate the Perfection of Patience (kṣānti Pāramitā, 忍 辱 波 羅 密). These Bodhisattvas exclusively cultivate the practice of patience. In cultivating patience, they calmly endure the abuse, criticism and threat from proud monks. They endure all this without getting angry. They are able to bear all this because they seek the Buddha way as in Vajraccedikā Prajāñā Pāramitā (金 剛 般 若 波 羅 密 經) as under:
"Subhūti, the Tathāgata speaks of the perfection of patience (kṣānti pāramitā) which is not but is called the perfection of patience. Why? Because Subhūti, in (a) past, when my body was mutilated by Kalirāja, I had at that time no notion of an ego, a personality, a being and a life. I would have been stirred by feelings of anger and hatred. Subhūti, I also remember that in the past, during my former five hundred lives, I was a Kṣanti and held no conception of an ego, a personality, a being and a life. Therefore, Subhūti, Boddhisattvas should forsake all conceptions of form and resolve to develop the Supreme Enlightenment Mind (Anuttara-samyaksam-bodhi). Their mind should not abide in form, sound, smell, taste, touch and dharma. Their minds should abide nowhere. If mind abides somewhere it should be in falsehood. This is why the Buddha says Bodhisattvās’ minds should not abide in form when practising charity (dāna). Subhūti, all Bodhisattvas should thus make offering for the welfare of all living beings. The Tathāgata speaks of forms which are not forms and of living beings who are not living beings."
(須 菩 提 ！ 忍 辱 波 羅 密 ， 如 來 說 非 忍 辱 波 羅 密 是 名 忍 褥 波 羅 密 。 何 以 故 ？ 須 菩 提 ！ 如 我 昔 為 歌 利 王 害 截 身 體 ， 我 於 爾 時 ， 無 我 相 ， 無 人 相 ， 無 眾 生 相 ， 無 壽 者 相 。 何 以 故 ？ 我 於 往 昔 支 解 時 ， 若 有 我 相 ， 人 相 ， 眾 生 相 ， 壽 者 相 ， 應 生 瞋 恨 . 須 菩 提 又 念 過 去 於 五 百 世 ， 作 忍 仙 人 於 所 世 ， 無 我 相 ， 無 人 相 ， 無 眾 生 相 ， 無 壽 者 相 。 是 故 須 菩 提 菩 薩 應 離 一 切 相 發 阿 耨 多 羅 三 藐 三 菩 提 心 。 不 應 住 色 生 ， 不 應 住 聲 ， 香 ， 味 ， 觸 ， 法 生 心 ， 應 生 無 所 住 心 ， 若 心 有 住 ， 即 為 非 住 ， 是 故 佛 說 菩 提 心 ， 不 應 住 色 布 施 。 須 菩 提 ！ 菩 薩 為 利 益 一 切 眾 生 ， 應 如 是 布 施 ！ 如 來 說 切 諸 相 ， 即 是 非 相 。 又 說 一 切 眾 生 ， 即 非 眾 生).568
Kṣānti Pāramitā or the Perfection of Patience deserves special attention because Kṣānti brings one closer to equanimity which is a feature of Nirvāṇic experience. Sangharakshita says "Kṣānti is a composite virtue. In it are blended not only patience and forbearance, the literal meanings of the term, but also love, humility, endurance and absence of anger and of desire for retaliation and revenge".569
The Bodhisattvabhumi (菩 薩 地)570 designates three particular varieties of kṣānti.
The first two are defined primarily in terms of a lack of antipathy, as the patience to forgive those who inflict injury and the patience to bear necessary and unavoidable suffering. In this context, of course, ‘injury’ must be understood as a reference to any sort of cruelty, either intentional or unintentional, as well as to physical violence. These first two kinds of patience should be practiced as social virtues, with the understanding that although the concepts of ‘self’ and ‘other’ are entirely suitable and harmless enough for practical purposes, they become pernicious and destructive when used to justify anger and resentment.
Both of these types merge into a third sort of ‘patience’, which is described in of the most refined order. Patience in this sense is not practiced as a social virtue, but with the specific aim of cultivating one’s intellectual appreciation of doctrinal and philosophical issues to the point where soteriological application of the concept of emptiness finally becomes a real possibility. This third kind of patience is defined as a quality of stamina in conjunction with a proper attitude or sensitivity. Both are considered necessary in order that the bodhisattva conducts a meaningful analysis of the various aspects. ‘Intellectual flexibility’ which culminates in a deep, noninferential understanding that all things are, from the perspective of the truth of the highest meaning, entirely unproduced (anutpattikadharma-kṣānti, 無 生 法 忍). Anutpattikadharma-kṣānti means by virtue of the understanding of the true nature of things the Bodhisattva is able to be non-clinging; he is able to keep free from misconstructions (不 作 分 別) in regard to the senses and their different objects. In their mundane nature they are conditioned, non-substantial and in the ultimate comprehension, they enter the non-dual dharma. Although they are not two, they are also not one. By this comprehension the mind gives rise to faith in the truth of things and does not revert (信 心 不 轉). This is the Bodhisattva's dharmakṣānti (法 忍) capacity to sustain the comprehension of the truth of things.571 It is this capacity to have faith in the purity and the impregnability of the teachings of the Buddha by banishing all wrong notions and gaining the understanding of the truth of things that is called the endurance for dharma.572
As his heart of faith is great, his mind is free from doubt and repentance; as his power of faith is great, his mind can accept and hold firmly the truth of things. This is the endurance for dharma. 573
On account of the power of concentration and meditation, the mind becomes soft (柔 軟) and pure (清 淨); in this state when one hears the teaching of the true nature of things, one responds to it heartily (應 心 與 會), holds it firm in faith (信 著) and penetrates deep into it, remaining free from doubt and repentance. This is the endurance for dharma.574 By virtue of this endurance for dharma the Bodhisattva enters the door of wisdom (入 智 慧 門), comprehends (觀) the universal reality and does not revert (不 退) or repent (不 悔).575 Having known the true nature of Prajñā-pāramitā, he does not give rise to imaginative constructions; his mind remains ever free from clinging and thus he has the capacity to forbear, to endure all things.576 Therefore, the Yogācāra (瑜 伽 論) philosopher Asaṅga (無 著), who stated that kṣānti is ‘a most essential factor in the awakening of a bodhisattva’. And this kṣānti (忍 辱) relates with the Buddha’s body of the Dharma (法 身).
‘Patience’ is the cornerstone of a way of life based on insight and attention rather than on manipulation and control. The (true) status of the Boddhisattva is the Anutpattika-dharma-kṣānti. Having achieved this dharma-kṣānti, he comprehends the entire world as Śūnyatā and remains completely non-clinging at heart. Being (firmly) established in the true nature of all things, he does not cling any more to the world with passion.
3) Vīrya Pāramitā (精 進 波 羅 密 , Energy Perfection)
The next perfection is characterized by enthusiasm and perseverance in every undertaking. Vīrya (精 進) is the source of energy to begin the Bodhisattva’s career and to see it through to full awakening.
There are three aspects mentioned specifically:
1. Energy and stamina which serve as armor in encounters with difficulties and provide the encouragement necessary to avoid depression;
2. Energy which produces enthusiasm and good spirits; and
3. Energy which helps to accomplish the welfare of all living beings.577
As a further clarification of the meaning of the term, Śāntideva offers the following verse:
"What is Vīrya? —It is resolution in pursuing whatever is good. And what is referred to as the antithesis of vīrya? —Laziness, slothfulness, attachment, depression, and self-contempt."578
It may be very interested if here we can add same ideas of Mahatma Gandhi as under:
"A ceaseless effort (whether it be ethical or religious) to attain self-purification can develop in us the capacity to bear".579
Thus, one should strive with heroic vigour for purification. In this connection, Saddharma Puṇḍarika Sūtra (妙 法 蓮 花 經) depicts in detail the way Boddhisattvas practice Vīrya pāramitā by going without eating and sleeping to study the Buddha-dharma (佛 法). They do not deliberately refrain from food in order to cultivate Buddhahood (佛 果). In fact, they just forget the idea of food and sleep. They think only of cultivating and studying the Buddha-dharma for getting Supreme Enlightenment. They go deep into the mountain valleys. It is also observed that there exist some Bodhisattvas who do not ever sleep. If they do sleep, they just sit at a place and doze off for perhaps a moment. Within the forest groves they seek with diligence the Buddha way. They, in fact, are intent on finding the road to the accomplishment of Buddhahood q.v. Saddharma Puṇḍarika Sūtra as under:
"If there are living beings who attend the Buddha, the World- Honored One, hear the Law, believe and accept it, and put forth diligent effort, seeking comprehensive wisdom, Buddha wisdom, wisdom that comes of itself, teacherless wisdom, the insight of the Thus Come One, powers and freedom from fear, who pity and comfort countless living beings, bring benefit to heavenly and human beings, and save them all, they shall be called [those who ride] the Great Vehicle. Because the Bodhisattvas seek this vehicle, they are called Mahāsattvas."580
(若 有 眾 生 從 佛 世 尊 聽 法 信 受 ， 勤 修 精 進 ， 求 一 切 智 ， 佛 智 ， 自 然 智 ， 無 師 智 ， 如 來 知 見 ， 力 無 所 畏 ， 愍 念 安 樂 無 量 眾 生 ， 利 益 天 人 ， 度 說 一 切 ， 是 名 大 乘 ； 菩 薩 求 此 乘 故 ， 名 為 摩 訶 薩 如 彼 諸 子 為 求 鹿 車 ， 出 於 火 宅).581
or in other passage in the same text:
"Ajita, these good men take no delight in being in the assembly and indulging in much talk. Their delight is constantly to be in a quiet place, exerting themselves diligently and never resting. Nor do they linger among human or heavenly beings, but constantly delight in profound wisdom, being free from all hindrances. And they constantly delight in the Law of the Buddhas, diligently and with a single mind pursuing unsurpassed wisdom."582
(阿 逸 多 ！ 是 諸 善 南 子 等 不 樂 在 眾 ， 多 有 所 說 ， 樂 靜 處 ， 勤 行 精 進 ， 未 曾 休 息 ， 亦 不 依 止 人 天 而 住 。 樂 智 ， 無 有 障 礙 ， 亦 樂 於 諸 佛 之 法 ， 一 念 精 進 ， 求 無 上 慧).583
According to Śāntideva (寂 天), he must cultivate this confidence in three areas:
(1) Confidence in the ability to act on his own initiative, which must grow directly from the Buddhist teachings;
(2) Self-respect as a deterrent to the afflictions of clinging, antipathy, and delusion; and
(3) The power of self-assurance which is not worn down or swayed by the opinion of others.584
Vīrya (精 進) is not simply the strengthening of the power of will in service to the Buddhist teachings. It is also the energy needed to remain constantly attentive and to observe all aspects of experience with extreme patience and care.
Initially a Bodhisattva’s energy is said to be generated from faith or conviction (śraddhānusārin) of emptiness. Realizing the true nature of voidness, Bodhisattva constanstly efforts to attain enlightenment as The Large Sūtra of Perfect Wisdom depicts:
"This is the foremost ‘undertaking’ of the Bodhisattva, i.e. the endeavour about emptiness. When he courses in emptiness, a Bodhisattva does not fall on the level of a Disciple or Pratyekabuddha, but purifies the Buddha-field, matures beings, and quickly knows full enlightenment. Among the ‘endeavours’ of a Bodhisattva the ‘endeavour’ about the perfection of wisdom is declared to be the highest, the best, the choicest, the most excellent, the utmost, the unsurpassed, the peerless, the unequalled, the most sublime. And why? There is nothing above that ‘endeavour’, i.e. above the ‘endeavour’ about perfect wisdom, about emptiness, the signless, the wishless".585
By the non-clinging way the Bodhisattva cultivates the perfection of effort. Right effort, putting forth energy in the right way, is fundamental to the cultivation of concentration and meditation as well as of true wisdom (禪 定 實 智 慧 之 根).586 Vīrya, (精 進) effort has been also called chandas determination and absence of lassitude apramāda (不 放 逸). Determination comes first; then follows effort, the putting forth of energy; and there is the aspect of the absence of langour which means to keep the effort unfailing.587 The Bodhisattva, with his mind fixed on the Way of the Buddha from the very start, exerts himself in order to cultivate all that is good and thus he gradually achieves the perfection of effort. It is the effort put forth in order to achieve the Way of the Buddha (為 佛 道 精 進) that is called the perfection of effort.588
5) Dhyāna Pāramitā (禪 定 波 羅 密 , Meditation Perfection)
Meditation is a method of shaking oneself free from habitual patterns of thought and of refining both the will and the intellect through a maturing of insight into the nature of cognitive and perceptual processes as they influence everyday experience. The ultimate goal of such practice is not to eliminate emotional involvement or to divorce oneself from the external world, but to create a stable and attentive mind which can serve as a workable foundation for appreciating the significance of any experience in the wider context of the Buddhist teachings. Sensitivity in all relationships is to be enhanced, not devalued, and for this it is absolutely necessary to undermine egotism and the clinging to concepts and views of any kind.
The flow of events comes to be seen as a dynamic and constantly changing interaction between the six organs of sensation (including the mind) and their respective objective referents—an interaction which is experienced as entirely devoid of any stable, abiding ground. Apprehended in this way, the everyday procession of worldly affairs generates and sustains not only dichotomizing thought and emotion, but a deeper understanding of the philosophical literature as well. The conventional world remains just as it is, but with the steady refinement of philosophical understanding and the direct application of these concepts, one sees the meaning of emptiness unfold as a new dimension within the old order of things—a new natural interpretation that "seems to emerge from the things themselves."
The meditator establishes himself in a great inner peace characterized in the texts as the actualization of emptiness, devoid of reified thought and therefore free from the distortions of an emotionally unbalanced, egocentric mind. This tremendous inner peace is described as the power embodied in realization of the ‘Suchness’ (如 是) or ‘Śūnyatā’ (空 性) of everyday experience, the ability to see oneself and all the other things of the world with ‘perfect clarity’ just as they are in the context of their relations with each other. The highest experience of perfect, balanced concentration (samyaksamādhi, 正 定) involves the transformation and harmonization of the entire personality so that one’s attitude and form of life are in complete accord with the understanding gained through study and critical reflection as The Large Sūtra on Perfect Wisdom represented the contemplation (觀) of all Dharmas (諸 法) in detail vividly under:
"...He does not settle down in any dharma, contemplates the essential original nature of all dharmas, also instigates other beings to the contemplation of all dharmas, but never bases himself on anything...
Moreover, Subhūti, the great vehicle of the Bodhisattva, the great being, that is the emptiness of the subject, etc. to: the emptiness of other being.
- What is the emptiness of the subject? Dharmas on the subject-side are eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind. Therein the eye is empty of the eye, on account of its being neither unmoved nor destroyed. And why? Because such is its essential nature. And so for the ear, etc. to mind.
- What is the emptiness of the object? Dharmas on the object-side are forms, sounds, smells, tastes, touch objects, and mind objects. Therein from is empty of form, on account of its being neither unmoved nor destroyed. For such is its essential nature. And so for sounds, etc. to: mind objects...
- What is the emptiness of emptiness? The emptiness of all dharmas is empty of that emptiness, on account of its being neither unmoved nor destroyed. For such is its essential nature...
- What is infinite emptiness? That of which no end is got at, that infinite is empty of the infinite, on account of its being neither unmoved nor destroyed. For such is its essential nature.
- What is the emptiness without beginning or end? That of which no beginning or end is got at, of that the middle is nonexistent. And that of which neither beginning nor middle nor end is got at, of that there is no coming or going. Beginning, middle, and end are also empty of beginning, middle, and end, on account of their being neither unmoved nor destroyed. For such is their essential nature...
- What is the emptiness of all dharmas? All dharmas means the five skandhas, the twelve sense fields, the six kinds of consciousness, the six kinds of contact, the six kinds of feeling conditioned by contact. Conditioned and unconditioned dharmas, these are called "all-dharmas". Therein all dharmas are empty of all-dharmas, on account of their being neither unmoved nor destroyed. For such is their essential nature...
This is called the great vehicle of the Bodhisattva, the great being."589
Saddharma-puṇḍarika Sūtra (妙 法 蓮 花 經) expresses that the Bodhisattvas also fulfil the fifth Pāramitā, i.e. Dhyāna or Meditation Perfection (禪 定 波 羅 密) in order to attain Enlightenment as below:
"One could also see bodhisattvas
(又 見 諸 菩 薩 ， 入 諸 禪 定 ， 身 心 寂 不 動 ， 以 求 無 上 道).591
Also in Chapter XV ‘Emerging from the Earth’ (從 地 勇 出 品) belonging to Saddharma Puṇḍarīka Sūtra presented such Jhāna which Bodhisattvas attained not only in one kalpa but numerous:
"It has in fact not been long since you attained the way. But this great multitude of bodhisattvas have already for immeasurable thousands, ten thousands, millions of kalpas applied themselves diligently and earnestly for the sake of the Buddha way. They have learned to enter into, emerge from and dwell in immeasurable hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, millions of samadhis, have acquired great transcendental powers, have over a long period carried out brahma practices, and have been able step by step to practice various good doctrines, becoming skilled in questions and answers, a treasure among persons, something seldom known in all the worlds".592
(佛 亦 如 是 ， 得 道 以 來 ， 其 實 未 久 ， 而 此 大 眾 諸 菩 薩 等 ， 以 於 無 量 千 萬 億 劫 ， 為 佛 道 故 ， 勤 行 精 進 善 入 出 住 無 量 百 千 萬 億 三 妹 ， 得 大 神 通 ， 久 修 梵 行 ， 喜 能 次 第 習 諸 善 法 巧 於 問 答 ， 人 中 之 實 ， 一 切 世 間 甚 為 俙 有).593
It is the dhyāna followed by the great compassion for all beings and issuing in the oath to help all to realize the joy of contemplation through abandoning the pleasures of sense that gets the name of perfection. It is the spirit of non-clinging that gives the quality of perfection to concentration and meditation. In the non-clinging (Śūnyatā) cultivation, the Bodhisattva does not seize its flavour, does not seek its result (不 受 味 , 不 求 報). He enters dhyāna only in order to soften and subdue the mind.594 He rises from the state of dhyāna and enters again the realm of desires through the skilfulness of Śūnyatā and this he does in order to help all to cross the stream of birth and death. It is then that dhyāna gets the name of perfection.595 One who has attained the perfection of dhyāna does not seize the characteristics of collectedness and disturbedness of mind as absolute and unconditioned, for one has comprehended the true nature of things. The ultimately true nature of the elements that obstruct the mind is also the ultimately true nature of the collected, concentrated, state of mind.596 The dhyāna that is saturated with this comprehension of the ultimate truth has attained its perfection.
6) Prajñā Pāramitā (智 慧 波 羅 密 ,Wisdom Perfection)
Saddharma Puṇḍarīka Sūtra reflected that some Bodhisattvas cultivate Prajñā Pāramitā (智 慧 波 羅 密) for fulfilling Boddhisattva-caryā. To illustrate the same the rendering of some of them may be reproduced as below :
"Again I see bodhisattvas,
(復 見 菩 薩 ， 智 志 固 能 問 諸 佛 ， 聽 悉 受 按 ， 又 佛 子 ， 定 慧 具 足 ， 以 無 量 喻 ， 為 眾 稱 法 ， 欣 樂 說 無 法 ， 化 諸 菩 薩 破 魔 兵 眾 ， 而 學 法 鼓).598
This means that their wisdom is extremely profound and their determination is extremely firm and solid. They are well able to question the Buddhas concerning their doubts. They ask about the dharma and having received their answers they can put what they have heard into actual practice in accordance with dharma — that is to say they accept, uphold and cultivate the Pāramitā. In accordance with the dharma there are others whose samādhi and wisdom power is perfected. They use an uncountable number of parables, analogies and doctrines in order to preach dharma to the multitudes. They expound the Buddha-dharma for the sake of living beings. The more they speak the more they like to speak. The dharma which they propound is extremely profound, subtle and wonderful.
Again verses of the same theme may be illustrated as under:
"Or there are Bodhisattvas
(或 有 菩 薩 ， 說 寂 滅 法 種 種 教 詔 ， 無 數 眾 生 ， 或 有 菩 薩 ， 觀 諸 法 性 ， 無 有 二 相 ， 獨 如 虛 空 ， 又 見 佛 子 ， 心 無 所 著 ， 以 此 妙 慧 ， 求 無 上 道).600
To express this more clearly, it may be said that there are Bodhisattvas who are teaching ‘Still Extinction Dharma’ (常 寂 滅 法). ‘Still Extinction’ means that all dharmas are Śūnyatā appearances. Bodhisattvas use all manners of devices and teaching methods to:
1. Cause living beings to turn their back on the dust and unite with Enlightenment;
2. Lead living beings to a clear understanding and awakening;
3.Help living beings to awaken to the fact that all insolvent with the dust of worldly affairs is a form of suffering.
There are Bodhisattvas who look at the nature of all dharmas as lacking the mark of duality. These dharmas are like empty space. There are also Buddha’s disciples whose minds have no attachment and who use wondrous wisdom to attain Supreme Enlightenment. This wondrous wisdom comes simply from their non-attachment.
The nature of prajñā as ‘nondualistic knowledge’ (advāyajñana,智 不 二) i.e. Śūnyatā is the key to its relationship with the other perfections. According to the Mahāyāna literature, all five perfections must be practiced for eons, during which time they are purified by perfect wisdom and so purged of all associations with the reified concepts ‘agent’ ‘action’ or ‘recipient’. Accompanied by full comprehension of the Śūnyatā of all things, the practice of these virtues releases one from obscuring emotional afflictions and reified thought. Actualization of Śūnyatā releases us from the grip of the observational language and natural interpretations that are useful in their own right but spiritually dangerous unless placed in contrast with an alternative, soteriological truth. Through their transformation all six perfections are held responsible for engendering the realization of the Buddha’s body of the Dharma, which is the truth of the highest meaning. Only at this point are they properly called ‘perfections’ and prajñā is chief among them. In union with perfect wisdom each of the other qualities takes part in fostering a deep inner peace, the affective counterpart to direct awareness of conventional truth as it is in its relational, contextual nature.
Prajñā is not amassed through accretion of theoretical formulas or through reference to any sublime, metaphysical, or mystical reality. It is the essential clarity and flexibility of the mind revealed when, through the discipline of the path, the Bodhisattva has completely rid himself of the tendency to cling to the contents of conceptualization and perception as though some or all of them were grounded in an a priori truth or reality. Prajñā is a matter both of intellectual understanding and of action. With it the Bodhisattva not only slashes away at the thick undergrowth of reified concepts but is also conducted along the path to a point where the concept of Śūnyatā is actualized through his attitude and behavior in the world which is illustrated in the Large Sūtra of Perfect Wisdom as below:
"Śāriputra: How is a Bodhisattva, a great being who is joining (exerting) himself, to be called "joined to perfect wisdom"?
The Lord: Here, Śāriputra, a Bodhisattva, a great being, who is joined to the emptiness of form is to be called ‘joined’. And so if he is joined to the emptiness of feeling, etc.; of the eye to mind, of sight-objects to mind-objects, of eye-element, sight-object-element; eye-consciousness-element, etc. to mind-consciousness-element; of suffering, origination, stopping, path; and of ignorance, etc. to: decay and death. Joined to the emptiness of all dharmas is he to be called ‘joined’. Of whichever conditioned and unconditioned dharmas he may have formed a notion, joined to the emptiness of all those dharmas is he to be called ‘joined’. Moreover, Sāriputra, a Bodhisattva, a great being, who courses in perfect wisdom, should be called ‘joined’ if he is joined to the emptiness of the essential original nature.
It is thus, Śāriputra that the Bodhisattva, the great being who courses in perfect wisdom is, when joined to these seven emptinesses, to be called ‘joined’. It is thus, Śāriputra, that he who courses in perfect wisdom by means of these seven emptinesses should, because of that, not even be called ‘joined’ or ‘unjoined’. And why? Because there he does not review form, etc., as ‘joined’, or as ‘unjoined’.601
Or another passage in the same text states a following lesson:
"Śāriputra: How then should the Bodhisattva, the great being, course in perfect wisdom?
The Lord: Here the Bodhisattva, the great being, coursing in the perfection of wisdom, truly a Bodhisattva, does not review a Bodhisattva, nor the word ‘Bodhisattva’, nor the course of a Bodhisattva, (nor the perfection of wisdom, nor the word ‘perfection of wisdom’.
He does not review that ‘he courses’, nor that ‘he does not course’). He does not review form, feeling, perception, formative forces, or consciousness. And why? Because the Bodhisattva, the great being, is actually empty of the own-being of a Bodhisattva, and because perfect wisdom is by its own-being empty. And why? That is its essential original nature. (For it is not through emptiness that form, etc. is empty.) Nor is emptiness other than form, etc."602
This Prajñā-pāramitā (智 慧 波 羅 密) is also understood to mean Śūnyatā (空 性). As we mentioned the meanings of Śūnyatā in the previous Chapter, here we only sum up that Śūnyatā was regarded as a middle way between the dogmas of absolute Existence and absolute Non-existence.
The Laṇkāvatāra-sūtra (楞 伽 經) shows that absolute Existence and Non-existence are relative terms, as each proves the necessity of the other.603 Nāgārjuna has expressed this view in his famous aphorism of eight negatives which sum up the early teaching on Śūnyatā, which really amounts to a systematic exposition of the old Buddhist formula of the Paṭicca-samuppāda (Skt. Pratītya-samutpāda, 緣 起 , 因 緣 生 起). Śūnyatā denotes the absence of an absolute self-existent Substance or Substratum in all things and phenomena (dharma-natrātmya, 法 空).604 It also implies the non-existence of any uncaused or self-caused entities and phenomena...
Some Buddhist philosophers go further and explain Śūnyatā as absolute Non-existence (abhāva, 非 有). The Sata-sāhaśrikā Prajñā Pāramitā (一 百 千 頌 般 若 波 羅 密 經)605 says:
"Ignorance is non-existent; the saṁskāras are non-existent; Consciousness, Name-and-form, the Sixfold Sphere of the Senses, Contact, Sensation, Craving, Grasping, Becoming, Birth, Old age-and-Death are all non-existent (avidyamāna)... A bodhisattva does not find and discern the origination or cessation, corruption or purification, this side or the other side of any thing or phenomenon. If a clever magician or his apprentice were to create a great crowd of people in a square and preach the Perfection of Wisdom to them in order to establish them therein, then he would not thereby establish any being in the Perfection of Wisdom, because all things and beings are of such a nature that they are illusory (māyā-dharmatā). . . All dharmas exist in that they do not exist. They are not merely empty, they are identical with Emptiness. They are transient, painful, non-substantial, quiescent, void, signless, aimless, unproduced and unrelated. ‘There are no form, sensation, perception, volitions and consciousness , no eye, ear, nose, tongue, body and mind; no forms, sounds, odours, savours, tangible things and mental objects; no Patn, or its origin or cessation ; no eightfold Way; no past, present or future, no uncompounded elements; no Bodhisattva, no Buddha and no Enlightenment... A Bodhisattva is himself like a phantom of illusion (māyā-purusa)."
Thus, the Sata-sāhasrikā Prajñā Pāramitā expound its doctrine of negation, which is surely carried to the utmost limit. The Vajracchedikā Prajñā Pāramitā (金 剛 般 若 波 羅 密 經) text exhibits the same tendency. It declares that there are no individuals, no qualities, no ideas, no Doctrine, no beings to be delivered, no production or destruction, no Bodhisattva, no Buddha and no Bodhi.606
In other words, Prajñā and Śūnyatā are the sources of a Bodhisattva’s moral strength.
7) Upāya Pāramitā (方 便 波 羅 密 , Skillful Perfection)
This is the most important of the four supplementary pārāmitās. The term is a translation of upāya (方 便), a mode of approach, an expedient, stratagem, device. The meaning is teaching according, to the capacity of the hearer, by any suitable method, including that of device or stratagem, but expedience beneficial to the recipient. Mahāyāna claims that the Buddha used this expedient or partial method in his teaching until near the end of his days, when he enlarged it to the revelation of reality, or the preaching of his final and complete truth. In Saddharma Puṇḍarika sūtra relates some interesting parables. Among them is ‘Parable of the Lost Son’607 in Chapter IV of Belief and Understanding (信 解 品) which may be briefly as follows:
A certain poor man lost a loved son who left his home and went out a far country. Later father became rich, his son wandering about in search of food and raiment. The father suddenly saw a young poor man whom he knew to be his son but his son was filled with fear at the thought that he had perhaps come into wrong street and might be punished for his rashness. So, he ran away in great haste. His father now exhibited his Upāya-kauśalya (方 便) by letting the poor fellow go away. Then, he called two poor men of humble origin and said to them hire him as a labourer cleaning the refuge-barrel in his house. Then, the father put on dirty clothes, took a basket in his hand, and going near unto his son, said: "Work here, my man; do not go anywhere else... Look upon me as your own father...henceforward you are unto me like my son". In this way, the father found the chance of speaking to his son, who thereupon felt happier in the house. But he continued to live in his hovel of straw and did the same menial work for twenty years. At last, the rich man fell sick and felt that his days were numbered. So, he first gave much wealth to the young man, and then he gathered together all his kinsfolk and citizens, said to them: "He is my son; I am his father. To him, I leave all my possessions". The son was greatly astonished at this, and rejoyed exceedingly in his heart.
In this parable, father is the Buddha; the son is every pious Buddhist; the labour of cleaning the refuge-barrel is the lower teaching about Nirvāṇa (Liberation); the declaration of the filial relation is the higher doctrine of Mahāyāna.
And there are many places in the same text telling that Gautama Buddha really attained Enlightenment many aeons ago and lives for ever; he pretends to be born as a man and attain bodhi under tree. He does so in order to help mankind, and this is his Upāya-kauśalya. Specially, in chapter two in which the meaning of Upāya kauśalyā is elucidated through the doctrine of Triyānas (Three Vehicles), viz., Śrāvaka-yāna (聲 文 乘), Pratyekabuddha-yāna (辟 支 佛 乘 / 緣 覺 乘) and Boddhisattva-yāna (菩 薩 乘) in order to respond to different temperaments of listeners as under: ‘Expedient Means’,608
A Bodhisattva reveals all the activities of this world, is never tired of teaching beings, and manifests himself according to the wish of beings. He is never attached to deeds, and delivers all, manifesting himself sometimes as an ignorant being, sometimes as a holy man, sometimes in the midst of Saṁsāra, and sometimes in the state of Nirvāṇa. (Avatamsaka-sūtra)
Upāya-kauśalya is the way in which the Bodhisattvas act for saving the beings from the thraldom of suffering. It starts from genuine ability to perform such action. It is not the crafty method of achieving one’s objective. It is imbued with the morality of compassionate action with the contiguous purpose of bringing forth merit (puṇya, 功 德). Mahāyāna preceptors have a strong faith in skilfull method of the exercise of supreme wisdom.
8) Praṇidhāna Pāramitā (願 波 羅 密 , Resolution Perfection)
William Jamesin in his work The Varieties of Religious Experience regards the following as the psychological essence of our experience of Praṇidhāna:
"It is as if there were in the human consciousness a sense of reality, a feeling of objective presence, a perception of what we may call ‘something there’ more deep and more general than any of the special and particular ‘senses by which the current psychology supposes existent realities to be originally revealed". 609
The very fact that men of perfect faith have appeared in the fold of every religion proves that faith is possible. And Praṇidhāna, we have seen, not only needs but generates faith. In the Mahatma Gandhi’s own words, Praṇidhāna is: "...the key of the morning and the belt of the evening".610 That is, if we start the day with it, prayer can become the spring of hope and courage to deal with routine activities. Also, closing the day with a prayer would enable us to cease worring about what has been done or left undone. Thus, on the one hand Praṇidhāna helps us in sanctifyng our daily work as an offering to the Buddha and on the other in perflecting our observance of the vows. Praṇidhāna, thus is a ‘necessary spiritual disciplines.’ 611
It is so not merely because it is indispensable for the practice of truth and ahiṁsā (不 害) but because it helps in the observance of the other vows too.
The essence of Praṇidhāna is, according to Gandhi, its conduciveness to peace and order in the individual and social life. This is borns out by the following words of his: "without prayer there is no inward peace", "the man of prayer will be at peace with himself and with the whole world... prayer is the only means of bringing about orderliness and peace and respose in our daily acts". 612
As faith ripens, Praṇidhāna gains in inwardness, generating noble thoughts and they get reflected in words and actions of love and truth, and of evergrowing selflessness. All this makes for increased purity of heart. Mahatma Gandhi says:
"Prayer is not exclusive. It is not restricted to one’s own caste or community. It is all inclusive. It comprehends the whole, thus means the establishment of the kingdom of Heaven on earth. "613
Śantideva, in Śikṣāsamuccaya has explained the necessity or the value of Praṇidhāna as first essential for the practice of Bodhisattva-caryā as below:
"In resolution truly, 0 Blessed One, is the root of the Buddha’s qualities. He who has no resolution, from him all the Buddha’s qualities are far away. Yet when he has made his resolve, Blessed One, even if there are no Buddhas present, the voice of the Dharma comes forth from space and from the flowering trees. When a Bodhisattva has pure resolve in his vow, then all teaching and instruction pour forth from the wellsprings of his own mind."614
The Boddhisattva Praṇidhāna was inspired by his recognition of the terrible suffering of the world. From the point of view of the higher, soteriological truth, however, this commitment to beings who do not exist is the paramount absurdity. But Buddhist compassion cannot be appreciated without a clear understanding of the relationship between soteriological and conventional truths. The wisdom of a Boddhisattva is cultivated both through philosophical reflection and in the silence of meditation, where the world responds to this supplication for higher knowledge by revealing its intrinsic emptiness, the deepest secret of the spirit inherent in the very fabric of everyday life. His quest for knowledge culminates in a direct experience of the philosophical concepts that he has understood through study and reflection. At the same time, compassion takes root in the Bodhisattva’s original vow, and it too matures, along with wisdom, into a total affirmation of the identity of emptiness and form, culminating in his selfless concern for all those still caught up in the necessary illusion of worldly existence.
With actualization of Śūnyatā and a deep noninferential appreciation of the concept of dependent origination as the bridge linking the necessity of conventional truth with insight into its illusory nature, has the Boddhisattva achieved the wisdom and the reserves of strength effectively to commit himself to what might once have seemed a preposterous paradox: an ideal of sympathy for countless empty beings were trapped in an empty cycle of fear and misery. This immense concern for the anguish of other creatures is presented as the natural expression of perfect harmony between heart and mind. Compassion is in profound accord with the knowledge gained through philosophical analysis, but it is not in the least analytical. On the contrary, this boundless love becomes manifest as the active, operational aspect of ‘wisdom as an effect’, which finds its embodiment in an impulse finally to bring together in nirvāṇa all sentient beings, who have been from the beginning united not only by their spiritual ignorance and suffering in the world but also by their innermost nature, which is empty of any transcendental ground for perception, conceptualization, or clinging. The Boddhisattva ‘s vow is a vow of refined, purified love, immersed in paradox and contradiction and nurtured in a wisdom that does not ignore but incorporates and transcends the claims of reason.
The Chinese Mahāyāna Buddhists composed the four-fold Bodhisattva Praṇidhāna in verse which has been adopted without exception by all schools in East Asia. The early original form of the four-fold vow can be traced back to the Eight Thousand Verse Wisdom Sūtra (Fasc.8),615 Lotus Sūtra (Chap. 3), and so on, but it is clearer still in the Bodhisattva Ornament Sūtra (vol. 1 of two vols.). 616 In this Sūtra, the Bodhisattva’s vow is formulated with reference to the goals of the Four holy Truths as follows:617
"May I help all those who have not overcome-suffering
This original form was eventually refined into the presently practiced formula of the four-fold vow in verse as follows:
"However innumerable the sentient beings might be, I vow to
rescue them from suffering;
(眾 生 無 邊 誓 願 度 ， 煩 惱 無 盡 誓 願 斷 ， 法 門 無 量 誓 願 學 ， 佛 道 無 上 誓 願 成).618
According to Mahāyāna tradition, thre are three great Boddhisattvas- Avalokiteśvara (觀 世 音 菩 薩), Mañjuśri (文 殊 師 利 菩 薩) and Samantabhadra (普 賢 菩 薩) who represent respectively the great compassion, wisdom and vows of all Buddhas. In the vows of Boddhisattvas is expresses the compassionate zeal of the ideal Boddhisattva whose only concern in life is to relieve the pains and burdens of all sentient beings, and to bestow upon them true happiness through the achievement of Buddhahood.
A Bodhisattva is aspirant of the achievement of perfect wisdom in a ruesome world of beings that know no solution because of the frame of their unrestive mind. The Bodhisattva has perfect insight into the conditioned world. It is because of the luminosity which he bears toward all out of his boundless openness.
9) Bala Pāramitā (力 波 羅 密 , Strength Perfection)
The Bodhisattva’s practice at this stage consists primarily in consolidating the powers that are described as an important fruit of spiritual maturity. These powers play in the realization of the Bodhisattva’s commitment to act in the world on behalf of all sentient beings. The Bodhisattva not only understands the doctrine and conceptual content of the Buddhist teachings about the Śūnyatā, but he is, in addition, capable of conveying his understanding and insight of it to others in innumerable ways.
Perhaps the most significant aspect of these last four stages, is their focus on the Bodhisattva’s commitment to action. Although earlier he expended enormous effort in cultivating an inferentially based understanding of the central concepts of the Mahāyāna, this understanding did not lead him to renounce the world and retire into the peace of Nirvāṇa, much less into the sterility of a purely rationalistic or idealistic abstraction. The Bodhisattva is to live and teach in the world with dignity and grace. His actions are efficient, he can waste no effort in confusion or hesitation. And the whole of everyday experience is said to reflect the strength of his vow to propagate the teachings and lead all sentient beings to liberation from suffering.
10) Jñāna Pāramitā (智 波 羅 密 , Knowledge Perfection)
The culmination of the Bodhisattva’s intellectual and spiritual journey comes with his ascent to the Jñāna Pāramitā (智 波 羅 密), then immediately preceding his transformation into a fully awakened Buddha. The most significant event at this level, and the paramount symbol of the Bodhisattva’s highest accomplishment, is entrance into a meditative state of balanced concentration immersed in nondualistic knowledge of emptiness. This event is represented by his initiation into the omniscience of a perfect Buddha, which is the quintessential perfection.
It is difficult to draw any definite distinction between Prajñā Pāramitā (智 慧 波 羅 密) and Jñāna Pāramitā (智 波 羅 密). It is evident that nondualistic knowledge is inseperable from the Boddhisattva’s experience in all its aspects. It is this experience, in both its conceptual and perceptual aspects. Jñāna (智) is the essential clarity and unerring sensibility of a mind that no longer clings to reified concepts of any kind. It is direct and sustained awareness of the truth, for a Boddhisattva, that meaning and existence are found only in the interface between the components of an unstable and constantly shifting web of relationships, which is everyday life, while prajñā is the strength of intellectual discrimination elevated to the status of a liberating power, a precision tool capable of slicing through obstructions that take the form of afflictions and attachments to deeply engrained hereditary patterns of thought and action. Prajñā (智 慧) has an analysis quality which does not seem to figure as a specific characteristic of nondualistic knowledge developed by the Boddhisattva at Jñāna Pāramitā. In other words, Jñana Pāramitā (智 波 羅 密) is similar to Prajñā Pāramitā (智 慧 波 羅 密), but Jñana (智) refers more to intellectual knowledge and Prajñā (智 慧) to intuition.
As far as the degree of Pāramitā (波 羅 密) is concerned, Pāramī is of ba kinds: low, middle and high degrees as follows:
Dāna Pāramī: Given in low degree (or ordinary, good, 下 分 布 施):
With the compasion, he gives alms to his relative, wife, children... is called Given in low degree. (Karuṇopāya kosalla paritahitā putta dārassa paricago dāna Pāramī nāma).
Dāna Uppapāramī: Given in middle degree (or extraordinary, better, 中 分 布 施):
With the compasion, he gives his own head, eyes, arms, legs... is called Given in middle degree. (Karuṇopāya kosalla paritahitā aṅga paricāgo dāna ūpapāramī nāma).
Dāna Paramattha pāramī: Given in high degree (or superlatively extraordinary, the best, 上 分 布 施):
With the compasion, he gives his own life... is called Given in high degree. (Karuṇopāya kosalla paritahitā jīvita paricāgo dāna paramattha pāramī nāma).
Therefore, 10 Pāramīs will increase to 30 factors.
It is also interesting to note here that it depends on the variety of the length of a Bodhisatta’s career and the function of each Pāramī.
Paññādhika Bodhisatta (智 慧 菩 薩 , Intellectual Bodhisattva): means Boddhisattas cultivate the wisdom. Therefore, they have to practice the Pāramī for at least four asaṅkheyyas (阿 增 祇 劫) and one hundred thousand kappas.
Saddhādhika Bodhisatta (信 心 菩 薩 , devotional Bodhisattva): means Boddhisattas cultivate the devotion. So they have to practice Pāramī for at least eight asaṅkheyyas and one hundred thousand kappas.
Viriyādhika Bodhisatta (精 進 菩 薩 , Energetic Bodhisattva): means Bodhisattas cultivate the diligence. Therefore they should pratice Pāramī for sixteen asankheyyas and one hundred thousand kappas.
The first of these periods is the very least that is required and is intended for those who excel in wisdom (Paññā, 智 慧). The middle period is for those who excel in faith (Saddhā, 信 心); the last and the longest for those whose chief feature is perseverance (Vīriya, 精 進).619
It is ordinary, when it is practised by the ordinary worldly persons for the sake of happiness in this life or the next; it is extraordinary, when it is cultivated by the Hīnayānists for the sake of personal Nirvāṇa; but is of the highest degree, when it is acquired by the Mahāyānist Bodhisattvas for the welfare and liberation of all beings. All the Perfections can be cultivated only by means of attentive thought, resolute purpose, self-mastery, and wisdom in the choice of means.
These three kinds of Bodhisattvas correspond to Jñāna Yogi, Bhakti Yogi and Karma Yogi of the Brāhmaṇic religious system.
Intellectual Bodhisattvas are less devotional and more energetic; devotional ones are less energetic and more intellectual; energetic ones are less intellectual and more devotional. Seldom, if ever, are these three characteristics harmoniously combined in one person. The Buddha Gautama is cited as one of the intellectual group.620
According to the Books, the intellectual ones attain Buddhahood within a short period, devotional ones take a longer time, and energetic ones take longer still.
Intellectual Bodhisattvas concentrate more on the development of wisdom and on the practice of meditation than on the observance of external forms of homage. They are always guided by reason and accept nothing on blind belief. They make no selfsurrender, and are not slaves either to a book or to an individual. They prefer lonely meditation. With their silent but powerful thoughts of peace radiating from their solitary retreats they render moral help to suffering humanity.621
In short, the ideal of Śūnyatā (空 性) is applied to all the Perfections (Pāramitās, 波 羅 密). They are then ‘purified’ and exercised in their highest potency. Thus a Bodhisattva should ‘purify’ the ten Pāramitās repectively and all persons and things that Bodhisattva meets in practising the other Perfections should be regarded as illusory and unreal. This is the best way of exhibiting the pāramitās in all their glory. In other words, Śūnyatā and Pāramitās are the sources of a Bodhisattva’s moral strength. From awakeing the real nature of Śūnyatā, the ideal of Bodhisattva is allied with the ten Pānamitās so that the fruits of the vivid natures, characteristics and effects were shown as the following diagram:
THE ROLE OF ŚŪNYATĀ (EMPTINESS) IN TEN PĀRAMITĀS
Śīla-Samādhi-Paññā (戒 - 定 - 慧)
The origin of the first sixfold formula of the pāramitās (波 羅 密) must be sought in the early Buddhist triad, śīla (戒 , virtuous conduct), samādhi (定 , concentration) and paññā (慧 , wisdom), which are known as the three skandhas (groups constituting the factors of spiritual progress) and also to the three Śikṣās 622 (branches of instruction, the threefold training and discipline). It is probable that prajñā was added to the original group of the two — śīla and samādhi — which are mentioned together in several passages. Śīla is often said to lead to samādhi, and prajñā is not spoken of in that context. The eightfold way also ends with samādhi.623
The threefold śikṣā is defined as adhi-śīla (善 戒), adhi-citta (善 心) and adhi-prajñā (善 慧) in the Mahā Vyutpatti;624 the prefix ‘adhi’ denotes pre-eminence and importance. Citta is here synonymous with samādhi. The last two items are identical with the fifth and sixth pāramitās (dhyāna and prajñā). Śīla is the second pāramitā, to which kṣānti was gradually attached as an important virtue. These two were mentioned together even before the final formulation of the six Perfections.
The fourth pāramitā (vīrya) was placed between the śīla section (which appertained especially to the laymen) and the dhyāna-prajñā section (which was really cultivated by the monks). The first pāramitā occupied an independent position from a very early period, when it was coupled with śīla. Dāna and śīla were regarded as the laymen’s special duties, which paved the way to a happy rebirth. The well-known sentence, which describes Buddha’s preaching, begins thus:
"Dāna-kathaṁ Śīla-kathaṁ sagga-kathaṁ."625
This was the complete gospel for the layman-householder. The higher virtues of renunciation and celibacy are then mentioned in the latter part of the same sentence:
"Kāmānaṁ Ādinavaṁ okāraṁ samkilesaṁ," etc.626
Dāna was thus the first step that an ordinary person was taught to take; and it was placed before śīla as a distinct duty, though it is logically included in moral conduct (śīla).627
It may be inferred that dāna and prajñā were added to the central dual of śīla and samādhi, and they were emphasised on account of the influence of Brāhmaṇism. Vasubandhu (世 身) clearly explains in the Majjhima Commentary that the six pāramitās are fundamentally related to the three śiksās. The first three pāramitās correspond to adhi-śīla, and the fifth and sixth to adhi-citta and adhi-prajñā respectively; while the fourth (vīrya) is regarded as belonging to all the three branches of discipline. (Sometimes, the third pāramitā is coupled with the fourth). Thus making three pairs of pāramitās as is illustrated by a following table:
In this connection, it may be pointed out that the division of the pāramitās (波 羅 密) into two sections (with vīrya as the common or neutral middle term) is based on the doctrine of the Twofold Equipment (sambhāra, 資 糧) of a Bodhisattva. Sambhāra means ‘what is carried together’, hence ‘materials and requisite ingredients’, ‘necessary conditions’, ‘equipment’. According to Dictionary of Chinese Buddhist Terms,628 Sambhāra supplies for body or soul, e.g. food, almsgiving, wisdom, etc. It consists of puṇya (功 德) merit acquired by good deeds in social life) and jñāna (智), knowledge acquired by concentration and wisdom). ‘Merit’ leads to happiness, sense-pleasure, and welfare on earth and in the heavens; but ‘knowledge’ confers final liberation. The accumulation of ‘merit’ is therefore the aim of the layman, while the acquisition of ‘knowledge’ is the goal of the monk.
According to Vasubandhu (世 身), the first two pāramitās (波 羅 密 , dāna and śīla) lead to merit, the last pāramitā (prajñā) constitutes knowledge, while the other three partake of the characteristics of both kinds of sambhāra (資 糧). For the sake of clarity, the XII table is given under:
However, the application of the results of all the pāramitās (波 羅 密) for the attainment of Enlightenment really abolishes the distinction between mundane merit and supra-mundane knowledge, and all the pāramitās may be regarded as conducive to the equipment of knowledge. In this way, Vasubandhu attempts to unify and sublimate social action and ascetic meditation in the single ideal of the quest for Bodhi (菩 提).
The six pāramitās are thus related to several basic concepts of early Buddhism. In fact, there is nothing new in the formula of the six pāramitās: all the items are found in the old Buddhist scriptures. But the Mahāyānists really contrast their pāramitās with the Thirty-seven Bodhi-pāksya-dharmas (三 十 七 助 道 品) which are supposed to constitute the highest ideal of the so-called Hīnayāna. It is certainly surprising that the terms dāna, śīla and kṣānti are absent from that curious and comprehensive catalogue of monk’s duties, which does not seem to include social sympathy and altruistic service.629
The early Mahāyānists were perhaps proud of having combined the social virtues of a righteous layman-householder with the ascetic ideals of a meditative monk in this formula of the pāramitās. They thus bridged the gap that yawned between popular and monastic Buddhism. They taught that a Bodhisattva should not cease to practise charity and forbearance in social life, when he ascended to the higher stages of concentration and wisdom. The six pāramitās were not new, but the new method of juxtaposition was devised by the Mahāyānists. They preferred their new formula to the Thirty-seven Bodhi-pāksya-dharmas (三 十 七 助 道 品), which were regarded as too monastic and unsocial in their scope and tendency. Charity and moral conduct, which could lead a Buddhist only to the gates of a heaven of temporary pleasure in the old dispensation, were not considered to be as important as concentration and the higher wisdom. All are classed together as indispensable factors in the attainment of Enlightenment.
The pāramitās are extolled to the skies in many passages of Buddhist literature. They are ‘the great oceans of all the bright virtues and auspicious principles’, and confer prosperity and happiness on all creatures. They are a Bodhisattva’s best friends. They are ‘the Teacher, the Way and the Light’. They are ‘the Refuge and the Shelter, the Support and the Sanctuary’. They are indeed ‘Father and Mother to all’. Even the Buddhas are their ‘children’.630
Certain general characteristics are ascribed to all the pāramitās as a group. They are sublime, disinterested, supremely important and imperishable. They lead to welfare, happy rebirths, serenity, unremitting spiritual cultivation, successful concentration and the highest Knowledge. They are free from contamination by sensual pleasure, partiality, love of reward and culpable self-complacency. They are placed in this order, as they imply one another and form a progressive scheme of action. The practice of each pāramitā is impossible without the cultivation of the preceding one.
The Major Characteristics of Bodhisattvas
It is also worlthwhile to pay attention that beside the cultures of ten Pāramitās, there are some noble characteristics which Bodhisattvas possess while they practice the path of Bodhisattva such as:
i) Boddhisattvas ‘keeping the defilement’ (留 種 子) as a course for Boddhisattva’s compassionate activities
It means when a Boddisattva hopes to reborn to help people, he must retain the seed of existence as Vijñaptimātratāsiddhi (唯 識) stated that:
"[A Bodhisattva] retains the obstacle of defilement (kleśāvaraṇa) to sustain his vow to be reborn [into saṁsāra]." 631 (留 煩 惱 障 , 助 願 受 生).
A Bodhisattva is reborn, fully mindful and conscious of whatever place where he chooses to be reborn. Because he is not contaminated by the defilements owing to the fact that he has stayed with the view of pratītyasanutpāda (緣 起) for a long time, there is the ‘guarding of defilements’.
ii) Great Compassionate (大 慈 悲)
A Boddhisattva should practice four psycho-physical modes of living known as maitrī (慈), karuṇā (悲), muditā (喜) and upekṣā (捨), which are not to be viewed in discreteness or in isolation. Here also there is centricity of karuṇā and the remaining three are its corelation. Maitrī is the basis of karuṇā. It stands for love, respect and care for all lives. It is concreteness of loving kindness based on the feeling that just as our life is precious to us, so also is the life of others. Muditā is altrustic sympathetic joy. It is happiness in the happiness of all. It is a consequence of karuṇā. Upekṣā is the prerequisite of karuṇā. It stands for compassion to all beings. It also means equanimity of mind apart from impartiality.
The Pali-English Dictionary defined Karuṇā (慈 悲) means:
"Desire of bringing welfare and good to one’s fellow-men (ahita-dukkha-apanayakammata), or the desire of removing bane and sorrow of one’s fellow men, it also denotes the exalted state of compassion for all beings (paradukkhe sati sadhunam hadaya-kampanam karoti)."632
Compassion is the root-motivation of the Bodhisattva who sacrifices himself selflessly for the welfare of many and out of compassion for the world. Compasion has become the principle feature of the ideal for Bodhisattva’s service to society as pointed out by Peter Harve:
"Compassion is the root-motivation of the Bodhisattva, is much emphasized. In Eastern and Northern Buddhism, the taking of Bodhisattva vows, often done after taking the precepts, is a solemn commitment which expresses the compassionate urge to aid all beings. This is to be done by constant practice for the ‘perfection’: generosity, virtue, patience, vigour meditation and wisdom. In Southern Buddhism, there is a set of ten perfections, seen as noble qualities of aid in compassionately benefitting others..."633
In Sadharma Puṇḍarika Sūtra, the Buddha said because of the suffering of living beings in the six realms, Bodhisattva has increased boundless or unlimited compassion to lead them to better way as under:
"I see the living beings in the six paths,
(我 以 佛 眼 觀 ， 見 六 道 眾 生 ， 貪 窮 無 福 慧 ， 入 生 死 險 道 ， 相 續 苦 不 斷 ， 深 著 於 五 欲 ， 如 犛 牛 愛 尾 ， 以 貪 愛 自 蔽 , 盲 瞑 無 所 見 ， 不 求 大 世 佛 ， 乃 與 斷 苦 法 ， 入 諸 邪 見 ， 以 苦 求 捨 苦 為 是 眾 生 故 ， 而 起 大 悲 心).635
The Buddha also confirms that developing great compassion means developing the mind and in the contrast as under:
"Develop the (mind-) development that is friendliness, Rahula. For, from developing the (mind-) development that is friendliness, Rahula, that which is malevolence will be got rid of. Develop the (mind-) development that is compassion, Rahula. For, from developing the (mind-) development that is compassion, Rahula, that which is harming will be got rid of."636
In Chapter XXIV entitled ‘The Bodhisattva Wonderful Sound’ (妙 音 菩 薩 , Bodhisattva Gadgadasvara), through the steadiness in the meditation termed Sarvarūpasandarśana (現 一 切 色 身 三 妹), Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Gadgadasvara transforms himself in various shapes for example under the shape of Brahmā, Śiva Kubera, citizen, villager, girl, boy, wife and goblin, etc. to close with all walkings of life to guide them the nature of Buddha in themselves.637
It is also to be noted that Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Avalokiteśvara is projected as a saviour and protector of all beings for example as it is also written in the verse of the Saddharma Puṇḍarīka Sūtra:
"Wonderful sound, Perceiver of the World’s Sounds,
(妙 音 ， 觀 世 音 ， 梵 音 海 潮 音 ， 勝 彼 世 間 音 是 故 常 修 念 ， 念 念 物 生 疑 ， 觀 世 音 淨 聖 ， 於 苦 煩 死 危 ， 能 為 作 依 估 ， 具 一 切 功 德 ， 慈 眼 現 眾 生 福 眾 海 無 量 ， 是 故 應 頂 禮).639
iii) Irreversibility of position (地 位 不 退 轉)
It means Boddhisattvas seek after Great Vehicle (Mahāyāna, 大 乘) no other. The Great Vehicle is the Great Dharma (大 法). If one believes in the Great Dharma, one must believe in the dharma doors (法 門) of the Great Vehicle. For that one needs a heart full of faith, because the Buddha-dharma is as vast as the sea and can be entered only by means of faith (信 心). Faith is the mother of the merit and virtue which one cultivates. Therefore, belief in the Great Dharma (大 乘) is one of the charactieristics of a Mahāsattva (摩 訶 薩). Great Bodhisattvas believe in all the great dharmas.
"... they shall be called [those who ride] the Great Vehicle, because the bodhisattvas seek this vehicle, they are called mahāsattvas." 640
(... 是 名 ； 大 乘 ； 菩 薩 求 此 乘 故 ， 名 為 摩 訶 薩 ， 勤 行 精 進).641
iv) Irreversibility of Thought (思 想 不 退 轉)
The Bodhisattvas are ever mindful in their practice of the Bodhisattva way, in the practice of the six perfections and thousands of conducts.
v) Irreversibility of Practice (修 習 不 退 轉)
They only go forward, they do not retreat. They also should be known by the attributes, tokens and signs of a Bodhisattva who is irreversible from Full Enlightenment. However, there are some kinds of Bodhisattva who have irreversibility of practice but others have not yet attained it as The Large Sūtra on Perfect Wisdom as illustrated below:
"Moreover, a Bodhisattva knows that "these Bodhisattvas have been predicted to full enlightenment, and those have not. These Bodhisattvas are irreversible, and those are not. These Bodhisattvas are in full possession of their superknowledges, and those are not.
This Bodhisattva, in full possession of his superknowledges, goes, in each of the ten directions, to world-systems numberless as the sands of the Ganges, and there he honours, respects, reveres and worships the Tathāgatas; that Bodhisattva, not in full possession of the superknowledges, does not go to numberless Buddha-fields, and does not there honour, respect, revere and worship the Tathāgatas. This Bodhisattva will become a recipient of the superknowledges, that one will not. This Bodhisattva good when he settles down in such ideas as "form, etc., is ill, not self, empty, signless, wishless".642
vi) Irreversibility of Dharma Wheel (法 輪 不 退 轉)
The Bodhisattvas turn the wheel of dharma to teach and convert living beings. So, there is a common phrase: ‘The Dharma Wheel forever turns’. The eternal timing of the Dharma Wheel refers to the irreversible Dharma Wheel.
vii) Boddhisattvas have very ancient, deep and great roots (種 功 德 根)
For many lives and throughout many kalpas, they have sent down and nurtured roots of goodness which are extremely deep. Good roots are called ‘roots of virtue’ and they are the basis of the way of virtue. They have sent down the roots of the virtuous nature. The roots which are limitless and boundless.
As the Vajracchedikā Prajñā-pāramitā Sūtra says that such people will have planted good roots with not just one Buddha, two Buddhas, three, four or five Buddhas, but will have planted good roots with measureless millions of Buddhas. The Mahāsattvas have planted their roots of virtue, in the presence of as many Buddhas as there are grains of sand in limitless, boundless hundreds of thousands of tens of thousands of Gaṅgā rivers (恆 河). So they are perfected with great roots. Their extremely deep foundation is a kind of greatness, as the Saddharma Puṇḍarika Sūtra mentions:
"Since the far distant past, in the dwelling place of immesurable, boundless numbers of Buddhas, they must have planted good roots, carried out the Bodhisattva way, and engaged constantly in brahma practices. World-Honored One, it is hard for the world to believe such a thing!"643
(其 等 久 遠 已 來 ， 於 無 量 無 邊 諸 佛 所 ， 殖 諸 善 根 , 成 就 菩 薩 道 ， 修 梵 行 ， 世 尊 ！ 如 所 之 事 ， 世 所 難 信).644
These great Bodhisattvas throughout limitless kalpas and in the presence of limitless Buddhas had sent down and nourished the roots of the virtuous nature. By making offerings to Triple Gems and turning the irreversible Dharma Wheel they plant and nurture their roots. The Bodhisattvas in the Saddharma Puṇḍarika Sūtra were constantly and at all times receiving the praise and commendation of all the Buddhas.
viii) Bodhisattvas possess great wisdom (智 慧)
The wisdom came as a result of having brought forth the great bodhi-heart. Bringing forth the great Bodhi-heart, the resolve to take across all living beings and they are not attached to the mark of having made them crossed over. As in the Vajraccedika Prajña Pāramitā Sūtra, the Lord says to Subhūti, someone who has set out in the vehicle of a Bodhisattva should produce a thought in this manner. Again and again, all Bodhisattva-Mahāsattvas should subdue their hearts with the vow as many beings as there are in the universe of beings, comprehended under the term ‘beings’:
"...All living beings born from eggs, wombs, humidity or by transformation, with or without form, either thoughtful or thoughtless, and neither thoughtful nor thoughtless are all led by me to final Nirvāṇa for the extinction of reincarnation. Although immeasurable, uncountable and unlimitable numbers of living beings are thus led to (the Nirvāṇa for) the extinction of reincarnation, it is true that not a living being is led there."
(所 有 一 切 眾 生 之 類 若 卵 生 ， 若 胎 生 ， 若 濕 生 ， 若 化 生 ； 若 有 色 ， 若 無 色 ， 若 有 想 若 無 想 ， 若 非 有 想 ， 若 非 無 想 ， 我 皆 令 入 無 餘 涅 槃 而 亦 度 之 。 如 是 亦 度 無 量 無 數 無 邊 眾 生 ， 實 無 眾 生 得 亦 度 者).645
Although the Buddha saves countless beings, in actuality there are no beings that he saves. Living beings save themselves. Thus it is said that crossing over living beings but not attaching oneself to the mark of doing so.
ix) Bodhisattvas understand the great principle (成 佛 的 原 理)
All living beings basically are Buddhas, that is the great principle of the identity of all beings in principle with the Buddha. In principle every one of us is a Buddha. The example of Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Sadāparibhūta (常 不 輕 菩 薩 , Bodhisattva Never Disparaging) is suitable here as given in Chapter XX entitled ‘The Bodhisattva Never Disparaging’. His particular merit is that he respects every one. He spends his life wandering round the earth, approaching all kinds of people, whether he knew them or not to bow to them and speak words of praise, saying:
"I would never dare disparage you, because you are all certain to attain Buddhahood".646
(我 不 敢 輕 於 汝 等 ， 汝 等 皆 當 作 佛).647
He does not feel bad when people abuse him or insult him because of his statement. But he continues unperturbed because he considers that all these people observe the course of duty of Bodhisattvas and are to become Tathāgatas (如 來).
x) Bodhisattvas cultivate the great conduct (修 習 大 功 行)
Beside practising the Six (or Ten) Pāramitās (波 羅 密), the Bodhisattva also cultivates Catuḥ-saṁgraha-vastu (四 攝 法 , four all-embracing virtues of Bodhisattva)648: (a) Dāna (布 施 , giving), (b) Priyavacana (愛 語 , kind words), (c) Arthakṛtya (利 行 , helpfulness), and (d) Samānārthatā (同 事 , cooperation).
1. Giving: Bodhisattvas should resolve to give, to make gifts of wealth, dharma and fearlessness to all living beings in order to lead them to love and receive the truth.
2. Kind words: Bodhisattvas who must practise affectionate speech (only Bodhisattvas can do this, those who are not cannot), have no mark of self. They see all living beings as identical with themselves. For the sake of leading them to love and receive the truth, Bodhisattvas use kind, affectionate words to convert them.
3. Helpfulness: All living beings like to receive benefits. There are many ways to help others, but, in general, Bodhisattvas do deeds which cause others to have advantage with the same purpose.
4. Cooperation: Bodhisattvas can transform themselves into thousands of millions of bodies. When they see living beings suffering, they then transform themselves to that kind of body to teach the dharma. For example when Śākyamuni Buddha was practising the Bodhisattva way he turned into a deer in order to teach and transform the deer.
The Four Methods of Conversion which is the expedient means effectively of Bodhisattvas on the Bodhisattva-caryā.
xi) Bodhisattvas pass through great kalpas (劫)
One small kalpa (小 劫) amounts as 16,800,000 years, a kalpa as 336,000,000 years and a māhākalpa as 1,334,000,000 years.649 One thousand small kalpas form a middle kalpa. Four middle kalpas constitute a great kalpa (大 劫). The Bodhisattva traverses three great asaṅkheyya kalpas (阿 僧 祇 劫). It depends on the time of Bodhisattva practices pāramitās and other virtues so that he proceeds step by step to each of the stages of spiritual feelings (Ten Bhūmis, 地). Therefore, there have been different kinds of Bodhisattvas as we above mentioned. However, Mahāyāna Sūtras declared generally that Bodhisattvas spent a very long time which was very difficult to count and we can not imagine out with the words ‘immeasurable’, ‘boundless’, ‘inconceivable number of kalpas’650 as Saddharma Puṇḍarika sūtra said that:
"...This great multitude of bodhisattvas have already for immeasurable thousands, ten thousands, millions of kalpas applied themselves diligently and earnestly for the sake of the Buddha way."651
(而 此 大 眾 諸 菩 薩 等 ， 已 於 無 量 千 萬 億 劫 ， 為 佛 道 故 , 精 進 修 習).652
xii) Bodhisattvas seek the great result (Anuttarā Samyaksambodhi, 無 上 正 等 正 覺)
The result of Anuttarā Samyaksambodhi (阿 耨 多 羅 三 藐 三 菩 提 / 無 上 正 等 正 覺) that is of supreme, equal and proper Enlightenment, the result of the realization of Buddhahood.
Mahāyāna Sūtras have proved these virtues and charateristics and numerous other morals which Bodhisattvas possessed. However, it depends on practices differently so that the fruit of Boddhisattvas will come out in variety.
While discussing the qualities of a Bodhisattva and a Bodhisattva- Mahāsattva, it will be in the fitness of things, if the list of Bodhisattva- Mahāsattvas in Mahāyāna Sūtras is examined thoroughly. This gives a number of hints and clues to comprehend the nature, qualities of Bodhisattvas or Bodhisattva-Mahāsattvas in Mahāyāna. Sometimes, even the names are highly suggestive. But these nature and characters, as a matter of fact, are the symbolization of the attributes and virtues of Śakyamuni Buddha whose moral became the goal for living beings with their earnest wish to aim at. That is the reason for the Index of the list of Bodhisattvas’ names which often apprears in Mahāyāna Sūtras, has been done.653
The Relationship of Ten Pāramitās (十 波 羅 密) and Ten Bhūmis (十 地)
In the Mahāyāna, there is also the important factor of Bhūmi (地) or stages in the spiritual progress of the Bodhisattva. This concept of Bhūmi, which are ten in number is found in such Mahāyāna works as the Mahāvastu (佛 本 幸 集 經 異 本), Bodhisattva-bhūmi (菩 薩 地 經), Daśabhūmika Sūtra (十 地 經) and so on. But according to Har Dayal, N. Dutt and others, it is almost certain that bhūmi were only seven in the beginning not in the Boddhisattva-bhūmi, Lankāvatāra Sūtra (楞 伽 經) and finally the formulation of the ten bhūmi (十 地) fixed in Prajñā-pāramitā (般 若 波 羅 密), Mahāvastu and Dasa bhūmi as in the case the last three Pāramitās added later. In the Encyclopedia of Buddhism654 stated that the concept of the state of spiritual growth of a Bodhisattva is said to be one of the unique features which distinguish Mahāyāna from Hīnayāna. The first six sastify the spiritual yearning of Hīnayāna, the last four that of Mahāyāna. The last four are the real contribution made by the Mahāyāna in this regard. And Har Dayal655 suggested that seven bhūmis in Mahāyāna might be considered as the consequence of the Theravāda doctrine of the Four stages [the status of the Stream Entrant (Sotāpanna, 入 流 , 七 來), the Once-Returner (Sakadāgāmi, 一 來), the Non-Returner (Anāgāmi, 不 來), and the Liberated One (Arahanta, 阿 羅 漢) and three Vihāras. Or Radhakishman in ‘Indian philosophy’ said that the career of an aspirant to Buddhahood represented in early Buddhism by Eight-fold-path elaborated into ten bhūmis or stages in Mahāyāna...
However, in the connection with the Bodhisattva practices in Pāli Nikāyas, we can find that nine Jhānas (禪)656 which were nine stages of spiritual process, the Bodhisattva attained under the Bodhi-tree and Buddhahood as the ten and final stage considered the final fruit of liberation coming naturally without attempt. So, the concept of ten Bhūmis is corelative with process of nine Jhānas in Pāli Nikāyas.
Generally speaking the idea of Pāramitā is brought into relationship with that of Bhūmi by making the Bodhisattva cultivate one of the Pāramitās in each Bhūmi (Stage). As the Bodhisattva passes from one stage to another his glory and power gradually increase until in the tenth stage he becomes almost equal to the Buddha possessing various supernatural powers. Having become the cloud of the Dharma (Dharma-megha, 法 云 地) he sends upon needy creatures the good rain which wipes the dust of the passions and causes growth of the harvest of merits.
Bhūmi (地) means ‘earth, place, region’ and figuratively stage, level, stage of conciousness. This concept of Bhūmi provides us with an idea of the graduation in the spiritual progress of a Bodhisattva. While the Pāramitās are related to the practical side of spiritual life, the Bhūmis indicate the stages of gradual progress. It also gives us information on the ideal life to be pursued in the Mahāyāna. As the Bodhisattva gradually progresses in respect of certain virtues, his transition from one stage (Bhūmi) to another takes place accordingly.
The Dasa-Bhūmika-sūtra (十 地 經) definitely increases the number of the pāramitās to ten, as it teaches that a Bodhisattva practises one of the pāramitās in each of the ten bhūmis (stages) of his career:657
"yo’ asyām pratisṭhito bodhisattvo bhūyastvena jambudvīipeśvaro bhavati mahaisryādhipata pratilabdho dharmānupaksī krtī prabhuh satyvāh mahātyāgena sangrahītukuśalah sattvānūm mātsaryamalavinir-vrttay paryanto mahātyāgārambhaih. Tatasarvamavirahitam buddha manasikārair-dharma manasikāraih, samghamanasikārair-bodhisattva manasikārairbodhisattvacaryā manisikāraih pāramitā manisi-kārairbhūmi manisikārair..."658
A Bodhisattva firmly established in this Bhūmi gains sovereignty over Jambudvīpa (閻 浮 提).659 His activities are charity, speaking in a pleasing way, rendering good to others and pursuing identical religious goals with others.660 The perfection of charity is one of the primary performances of this bhūmi. But it is more probable that the number of the pāramitās (and the bhūmis) was raised to ten as a consequence of the invention of the decimal system of computation in the science of arithmetic in the third or fourth century A.D.
The relationship of ten Pāramitās (十 波 羅 密) and Bhūmis (十 地) will be illustrated by a diagram:
THE RELATION BETWEEN TEN PĀRAMITĀS AND TEN BHŪMIS 661
458Encyclopedia of Religion, ed. Mircea Eliade, Vol. II, Collier Macmillan publishing Company, London, 1987, p. 165.
459G. Dhammsiri, Fundamentals of Buddhist Ethics, The Buddhist Research Society, Singapore, 1986, 113-128.
462Adhimukti: (阿 提 目 多 迦) means entire freedom of mind, confidence, interpreted by 善 思 惟 . Quoted in DCBT, p. 288.
463EB, I, 201.
464See M. I, 163 & A. I, 145.
465D. T. Suzuki, Outlines of Mahayana Buddhism, New York, 1977, p. 297.
466Ibid., p. 209 ff.
467See Abhisamayālaṇkārāloka, Gaekwad’s Oriental series, Baroda, LXII, p. 19 where it is said Śūnyatākaruṇā-garbhaṁ bodhicittaṁ.
468Quoted in EB, III, 186.
470Ibid. loc. cit.
471Sūtra of the Past Vows of Earth Stove Bodhisattva, The Collected Lectures of Tripiṭaka, Hsuan Hua, tr. Bhiksu Heng Ching, Buddhist Text Translation Society, The Institute for Advanced Studies of World Religious, NY, 1974, p. 20.
476BGS, I, 171-2, also see Chapter I, pp. 23-4.
477Ibid. loc. cit.
478DCBT, p. 218.
479E.J.Thomas, Buddhism, London, 1934.
481E.J.Thomas, Buddhism, London, 1934.
483Buddhavaṁsa , ed. by R.Morris , II, London, 1882, p. 59.
485Vide as cited in G.P. Malalasekere, Op. Cit., p. 323.
486SBFB, IV, The Mātaṁga Jātaka, Story No. 497, p. 235 ff; The Cittasambhūta Jātaka, Story No. 498, p. 244 ff.
487SBFB, IV, The Amba Jātaka, Story No. 474, p. 124 ff.; The Chavaka Jātaka, story No. 309, p. 18 ff.
488SBFB, V, Sarabhanga-Jātakā, Story No. 552, p. 64 ff.
489E.J. Thomas, Buddhism, London, 1934.
490DCBT, p. 429.
491E.J. Thomas, Buddhism, London, 1934.
492N.Dutt (ed.), Bodhisattvabhūmiḥ, Vol. II (Patna), K.P. Jayaswal Research Institute, 1978, p. 9.
493D.T.Suzuki, Outlines of Mahāyāna Buddhism, New York, 1977, p. 302.
495N.Dutt, Op. cit., p. 10.
497DCBT, p. 109.
499EB, III, 184.
500EB, III, 186 (also see Śiks. p. 8; Bc. ch. i, v. 15).
501Gunapala Dharmasiri, Fundamentals of Buddhist Ethics, The Buddhist Research Society, Singapore, 1986, p. 120.
504Buddhist Dictionary, Colombo, 1956, p.116; H.C. Warren, Buddhism in Translation, Cambridge, 1922, p. 23.
505Ed. by J.S. Speyar, The Jātakamālā (Tr.), Delhi 1971, p. 93.
506M.S. Bhat, M.V.Talim, The Geneology of The Buddhas, Translation of the Buddhavaṁsa, Bombay, 1969, p. 10.
507P.V. Bapat, Vimuttimagga and Visuddhimagga, Poona, 1937, pp. 64- 80.
509Ibid. loc. cit.
511R.S. Hardy, A Manual of Buddhism, Varanasi, 1967, p. 49.
512Ibid., p. 98.
513Ibid., p. 101.
514R.A. Rogers, A Short History of Ethics, London, 1962, p. 66.
515Ibid., p. 194.
516Ibid., p. 2.
517D.T.Suzuki, Study in The Lankavatara Sūtra, Routledge and Kegan Paul, Ltd, London, 1975, p. 366.
519E. Conze, A short History of Buddhism, George Allen & Unwin LTD, London, 1980, also see Edward Conze, Thirty Years of Buddhist Studies, Bruno Cassier (Publisher) LTD, Oxford, London, 1967, p. 70.
521Ed by Marry E. Lilley, Apadāna, London, 1925, p. 56.
522SBFB,V, Mahākapi Jātaka, Story No. 516, p. 37 ff.
523SBFB, III, Sasa Jātaka, Story No. 316, p. 34 ff.
524SBFB, VI, Vessantara Jātaka, Story No. 547, p. 246 ff.
525SBFB, VI, Mahājanaka Jātaka, Story No. 539, p. 16 ff.
526SBFB, III, Hiri Jātaka, Story No. 363, p. 129 ff.
527SBFB, VI, Mahāsutasoma Jātaka, Story No. 537, p. 246 ff.
529Ibid., pp.167-8, 356, Note 7.
532Edward Conze, Thirty Years of Buddhist Studies, Bruno Cassier (Publisher) LTD, Oxford, London, 1967, p. 54.
537Itivuttaka: As It Was Said, tr. F. L. Woodward, M.A., PTS, London: Oxford University Press, 1948, p. 185.
538EB, IV, 201.
539Quoted by Henri de Lubac, Aspects of Buddhism, p. 24.
540LS, p. 3 ff.
542妙 法 蓮 華 經 佛 教 經 典 會 佛 教 慈 慧 服 務 中 心 ， 香 港 ， 一 九 九 四 , p. 16.
543See G.C.C.Chang (ed.) A Treasury of Mahāyāna Sūtras — Selections From the Mahāratnakūṭa Sūtra Tr. From the Chinese by the Buddhist Association of the United Sates, Pennsylvania and London, 1983, p. 267.
544LS, p. 182 ff.
546妙 法 蓮 華 經 , pp. 177-8.
547LS, p. 281 ff.
548‘Koṭis: A million. Also explained by 100,000; or 100 lakṣa, i.e. 10 millions’. Quoted in DCBT, p. 261.
549LS, p. 298 ff.
551妙 法 蓮 華 經 , p. 287.
552Quoted in Edward Conze, Selected Sayings From The Perfection of Wisdom, Boulder, 1978, pp. 66-7.
554妙 法 蓮 華 經 , p. 18.
555金 剛 般 若 波 羅 密 經 , 佛 學 業 書 台 鸞 , 一 九 九 八 , p. 112.
556LS, 10-11. 557 妙 法 蓮 華 經 , p. 18.
558Edward Conze, Selected Sayings from the Perfection of Wisdom, Boulder, 1978, p. 67.
560Ś, 27-30, 66.
561The Mahā-prajñā-pāramitā-śāstra of Nāgārjuna (tr. Kumārajīva), T. 1509, Vol. 25, p. 163c.
563妙 法 蓮 華 經 , p. 17.
565妙 法 蓮 華 經 , p. 18.
567妙 法 蓮 華 經 , p. 185.
568金 剛 般 若 波 羅 密 經 , pp. 120-1.
569Gunapala Dharmasiri, Fundamentals of Buddhist Ethics, Singapore, The Buddhist Research Society, 1986, p. 207.
571The Mahā-prajñāpāramitā-śāstra of Nāgārjuna (tr. Kumārajīva), T. 1509, Vol. 25, p. 168 b.
572Ibid., p. 170c.
573Ibid., p. 171c.
575Ibid., p. 172a.
576Ibid., pp. 172a, 97b, 168b ff., 415b, 417c.
577BB, p. 200 ff.
579R.K.Prabhu and U. R. Rao, The Mind of Mahatma Gandhi, Navajivan publishing House, Ahmedabad, 1969, p. 31.
581妙 法 蓮 華 經 , pp. 65-66.
583妙 法 蓮 華 經 , pp. 205-206.
586The Mahā-prajñāpāramitā-śāstra of Nāgārjuna (tr. Kumārajīva), T. 1509, Vol. 25, p. 172 b.
587Ibid., p. 173c.
588Ibid., p. 174c.
591妙 法 蓮 華 經 , p. 26.
593妙 法 蓮 華 經 , p. 207.
594The Mahā-prajñāpāramitā-śāstra of Nāgārjuna (tr. Kumārajīva), T. 1509, Vol. 25, p. 187c.
596The Mahā-prajñāpāramitā-śāstra of Nāgārjuna (tr. Kumārajīva), T. 1509, Vol. 25, p. 189 b, c.
598妙 法 蓮 華 經 , p.18.
600妙 法 蓮 華 經 , p. 19
603Laṇkāvatāra-sūtra, ed by B. Nanjio, Kyoto, 1923, p. 54.
604Ibid., I & Mahāyāna- sūtrālaṇkāra, Pari, 1907, 1911, p. 149-2.
605The Śata-sāhasrikā Prajñā Pāramitā, ed. by P. Ghosa, Calcuta, 1902- 13, pp. 136, 141, 842, 1197, 1216, 1360, 1440, 1643.
606See in BDBSL, 245 & 金 剛 般 若 波 羅 密 經 , op.cit. p. 21.5, 441.ii, 42.8, 43.16, 23.7, 38.9, 37.13.
607LS, 80 ff.
608LS, 23 ff.
609William Jamesin, The Varieties of Religious Experience, Longmans, Green and Co., 1941, p. 58.
610Gandhi, M. K., In Search of the Suprems, vol. I, Navajivan publishing House, Ahmedabad, 1962, p. 173.
613Gandhi, M. K., Prayer, Navajivan publishing House, Ahmedabad, p. 20.
615Asṭasāhassrikā-prajñāpāramitā Sūtra (八 千 頌 般 若 波 羅 密 經).
616菩 薩 瓔 珞 本 業 經 or the Sūtra on the Original Action of the Garland of the Boddhisattva (2 fasc.) translated by Buddhasmṛti (Chu-fo-nien) in 376-378. Taisho. 24 (no. 1485), 1010 ff. ‘Garland’ (mālā) mentioned in the title is the jewel-ornament consisting of crown, necklet, and bracelets of the Boddhisattvas. This Sūtra was composed to manifest the original Action of the Boddhisattvas.
617Cf. The Mochizuki Bukkyo Daijjten, Vol. 2, p. 1755b. (四 弘 誓 願) Su hung shih yuan or shigu-seigan).
618Shohei Ichimura, Buddhist Critical Spirituality: Prajñā and Śūnyatā, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 2001, p. 112.
619Ven. Narada Maha Thero, Vision of the Buddha, Singapore, Singaspore Buddhist Meditation Centre, pp. 289-296.
625D, Ambaṭṭha sutta, VII, 220.
626D, I, 110-112, 148-149.
628DCBT, p. 413.
629Gunapala Dharmasiri, Fundamentals of Buddhist Ethics, Singapore, The Buddhist Research Society, 1986, p. 21.
631Chen Wei Shi Lun, Shindo Edition, chapter 9, p. 31, line 10.
633Peter Harvey, An Introdution to Buddhism, Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlai, 1990, p. 200.
635妙 法 蓮 華 經 , p. 47.
636MLS, II, 95.
637LS, 298 ff.
639妙 法 蓮 華 經 , p. 290.
641妙 法 蓮 華 經 , pp. 65-6.
644妙 法 蓮 華 經 , p. 207.
645金 剛 般 若 波 羅 密 經 ,p. 111.
647妙 法 蓮 華 經 , pp. 253-4.
649See note 82, p. 31, chapter II.
652妙 法 蓮 華 經 , p. 207.
653See in the end of this research work, p. 347-9.
654EB, III, 74-75.
656See Chapter III, p. 73.
658P.L.Vaidya, DasaBhumikasūtra Buddhist Sanskrit Texts No. 7, Darbhanga, Mithila Institute of Post- graduate Studies & Research in Sanskrit Learning, 1967, p. 3.
659"One of the four continents, situated south of Mountaint Meru, comprising the world knows to the early Indians" quoted in DCBT, p. 298.
660This refers to the four Sangraha-vastus.
Sincere thanks to Bhikkhuni Gioi-Huong for giving the digital files (Binh Anson, 07-2009).