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Bodhisattva-caryāvatāra

Entering the Conduct of the Bodhisattvas

Text Section 250 / Stanza 16

Text sections 250-262 discuss the various distinctions of bodhicitta. Bodhicitta can be differentiated in many ways: by the six transcendental perfections [phar phyin drug], by the twenty-two similes [dpe nyer gnyis], by the different stages [sa mtshams] of qualities, or by the eighty unceasing factors [mi zad brgyad cu].

In Asaṅga’s Abhisamayālaṃkāra [mngon rtogs rgyan], Maitreya explains twenty-two similes for bodhicitta:

  1. earth [sa],
  2. gold [gser],
  3. moon [zla ba],
  4. fire [me],
  5. treasure [gter],
  6. jewel mine [rin chen ’byung gnas],
  7. ocean [mtsho],
  8. diamond [rdo rje],
  9. mountain [ri],
  10. medicine [sman],
  11. spiritual friend [bshes gnyen],
  12. wish-fulfilling jewel [yid bzhin nor bu],
  13. sun [nyi ma],
  14. song [glu],
  15. king [rgyal po],
  16. storehouse [mdzod],
  17. highway [lam po che],
  18. conveyance [bzhon pa],
  19. spring [dkod ma’i chu],
  20. melodious sound [sgra snyan],
  21. river [chu bo] and
  22. cloud [sprin].1

These twenty-two similes stand for the following qualities accompanying bodhicitta at different stages [sa mtshams] of development:

  1. earth [sa] and earnest desire [’dun pa]; )
  2. gold [gser] and intention [bsam pa]; )
  3. moon [zla ba] and superior determination [lhag pa’i bsam pa]; )
  4. fire [me] and application [sbyor ba]; )
  5. treasure [gter] and generosity [sbyin pa]; )
  6. jewel mine [rin chen ’byung gnas] and discipline [tshul khrims]; )
  7. ocean [mtsho] and patience [bzod pa]; )
  8. diamond [rdo rje] and diligence [brtson ’grus]; )
  9. mountain [ri] and meditation [bsam gtan]; )
  10. medicine [sman] and wisdom-knowledge [shes rab]; )
  11. spiritual friend [bshes gnyen] and skillful means [thabs la mkhas pa]; )
  12. wish-fulfilling jewel [yid bzhin nor bu] and aspiration [smon lam]; )
  13. sun [nyi ma] and strength [stobs]; )
  14. song [glu] and wisdom [ye shes]; )
  15. king [rgyal po] and clairvoyance [mngon shes]; )
  16. storehouse [mdzod] and the two accumulations [tshogs gnyis]; )
  17. highway [lam po che] and the factors conducive to enlightenment [byang phyogs dang mthun pa’i chos]; )
  18. conveyance [bzhon pa] and śamathā and vipaśyanā [zhi lhag]; )
  19. spring [dkod ma’i chu] and perfect recall and charisma [gzungs spobs]; )
  20. melodious sound [sgra snyan] and feast of dharma [chos kyi dga’ ston]; )
  21. river [chu bo] and sole path [bgrod pa gcig pa’i lam]; )
  22. cloud [sprin] and dharmakāya [chos kyi sku].)

The eighty unceasing factors [mi zad pa brgyad cu] are:2

1) development of bodhicitta [sems bskyed mi zad pa],3
2) motivation [bsam pa],4
3) application [sbyor ba],5
4) superior determination [lhag pa’i bsam pa],6
5-10) the six transcendental perfections [pha rol tu phyin pa drug],
11-14) the four immeasurables [tshad med bzhi],
14-19) the five supernatural perceptions [mngon shes lnga],
20-23) the four means of attraction [bsud ba bzhi],
23-27) the types of correct discrimination [so so yang dag pa rig pa bzhi],
28-31) the four reliances [rton pa bzhi],
32-33) the two accumulations [tshogs gnyis],
34-70) the thirty-seven factors conducive for enlightenment [byang phyogs so bdun],
71-72) śamathā and vipaśyanā [zhi lhag gnyis],7
73-74) perfect recall and brilliance [gzungs spobs gnyis],8
75-78) the four summaries of dharma [chos kyi sdom bzhi],
79) one single path to be traversed [bgrod pa gcig pa],9
and 80) skill in means [thabs la mkhas pa].10

The six transcendental perfections [pha rol tu phyin pa drug; skr. ṣaṭpāramitā] are

  1. generosity [sbyin pa; dāna],
  2. discipline [tshul khrims; skr. śīla],
  3. patience [bzod pa; skr. kṣānti],
  4. diligence [brtson ’grus; skr. vīra],
  5. concentration [bsam gtan; skr. dhyāna], and
  6. knowledge [shes rab; skr. prajñā].11

The four immeasurables [tshad med bzhi; skr. catur-aprameya] are

  1. immeasurable loving kindness [byams pa; skr. maitrī],
  2. immeasurable compassion [snying rje; skr. karuṇā],
  3. immeasurable sympathetic joy [dga’ ba skr. muditā], and
  4. immeasurable equanimity [btang snyoms; upekṣā].12

The five supernatural perceptions [mngon shes lnga] are

  1. the supernatual perception of the divine eye [lha’i mig gi mngon shes; skr. divyacakṣurabhijñā],
  2. the supernatual perception of the divine ear [lha’i rna ba’i mngon shes; skr. divyaśrotrābhijñā],
  3. the supernatual perception of knowing the minds of others [pha rol gyi sems shes pa’i mngon shes; skr. paracittābhijñā],
  4. the supernatural perception of recollecting former rebirths [sngon gyi gnas rjes su dran pa’i mngon shes; skr. pūrvanivāsānusmṛtyabhijñā], and
  5. the supernatual perception of miracles [rdzu ’phrul gyi mgnon shes; skr. ṛddhyabhijñā].13

The four means of attraction [bsud ba bzhi / bsdu dngos bzhi; skr. catuḥ-saṃgrahavastu] are

  1. generosity [sbyin pa; skr. dāna],
  2. speaking in a pleasant manner [snyan par smra ba; skr. priyavacana],
  3. purposeful activity [don spyod pa; skr. arthacaryā] and
  4. consistency (between words and actions) [don mthun pa; skr. samānavihāra].14

The types of correct discrimination [so so yang dag pa rig pa bzhi; skr. catuḥpratisaṃvid] are

  1. the correct discrimination of meaning [don so so yang dag par rig pa; skr. arthapratisaṃvid],
  2. the correct discrimination of the teaching [chos so so yang dag par rig pa; skr. dharmapratisaṃvid],
  3. the correct discrimination of definitive words [nges pa’i tshig so so yang dag par rig pa; skr. niruktapratisaṃvid], and
  4. the correct discrimination of eloquent courage [spobs pa so so yang dag par rig pa; skr. pratibhānapratisaṃvid].15

The four reliances [rton pa bzhi; skr. catuḥpratiśaraṇa] are

  1. 1) rely not on the words, but on the meaning [tshig la mi rton don la rton pa],
  2. 2) rely not on consciousness but on wisdom [rnam shes la mi rton ye shes la rton pa],
  3. 3) rely not on the expedient meaning but on the definitive meaning [drang don la mi rton nges don la rton pa] and
  4. 4) rely not on the person, but on the teaching [gang zag la mi rton chos nyid la rton pa].16

The two accumulations [tshogs gnyis; sambhāradvaya] are

  1. the accumulation of merit [bsod nams kyi tshogs; skr. puṇyasambhāra] and
  2. the accumulation of widom [ye shes kyi tshogs; skr. jñānasambhāra].17

The thirty-seven factors conducive for enlightenment [byang phyogs so bdun / byang chub kyi chos sum cu rtsa bdun; skr. saptatriṃśadbodhiprakṣadharma] are:

(1-4) the four applications of mindfulness [dran pa nyer bzhag bzhi; skr. catuḥsṛtyupasthāna],
(5-8) the four right endeavors [yang dag spong ba bzhi; skr. catuḥsamyakprahāṇa],
(9-12) the four legs of miracles [rdzu ’phrul gyi rkang pa bzhi; skr. catvāraṛddhipādāḥ],
(13-17) the five pure faculties [rnam byang dbang po lnga; skr. pañcendriya],
(18-22) the five pure powers [rnam byang gi stobs lnga; skr. pañcabala],
(23-29) the seven factors of enlightenment [byang chub yan lag bdun; skr. saptabodhyaṅga], and
(30-37) the noble eightfold path [’phags lam yan lag brgyad; skr. aṣṭāṅgamārga].18

The four applications of mindfulness [dran pa nyer bzhag bzhi] are

  1. application of mindfulness to the body [lus dran pa nye bar bzhag pa],
  2. application of mindfulness to sensation [tshor ba dran pa nye bar bzhag pa],
  3. application of mindfulness to mind [sems dran pa nye bar bzhag pa], and
  4. application of mindfulness to phenomena [chos dran pa nye bar bzhag pa].19

The four right endeavors [yang dag spong ba bzhi] are

  1. not to give rise to non-virtuous qualities that have not arise [mi dge ba’i chos ma skyes pa mi bskyed pa],
  2. to abandon those that have arisen [skyes pa spang bar byed pa],
  3. to give rise to the virtuous qualities that have not arisen [dge ba’i chos ma skyes pa bskyed pa], and
  4. not to degenerate those that have arisen [skyes pa mi nyams par byed pa].20

The four legs of miracles [rdzu ’phrul gyi rkang pa bzhi] are

  1. the miracle-leg of intention [’dun pa’i rdzu ’phrul gyi rkang pa / ’dun pa’i ting nge ’dzin spong ba’i ’du byed dang ldan pa’i rdzu ’phrul gyi rkang pa],
  2. the miracle-leg of diligence [brtson ’grus gyi rdzu ’phrul gyi rkang pa / brtson ’grus kyi ting nge ’dzin spong ba’i ’du byed dang ldan pa’i rdzu ’phrul gyi rkang pa],
  3. the miracle-leg of attention [sems pa’i rdzu ’phrul gyi rkang pa / smes kyi ting nge ’dzin spong ba’i ’du byed dang ldan pa’i rdzu ’phrul gyi rkang pa], and
  4. the miracle-leg of discernment [dpyod pa’i rdzu ’phrul gyi rkang pa / dpyod pa’i ting nge ’dzin spong ba’i ’du byed dang ldan pa’i rdzu ’phrul gyi rkang pa].21

The five pure faculties [rnam byang dbang po lnga] are

  1. trust / faith [dad pa; skr. śraddā],
  2. diligence [brtson ’grus; skr. vīrya],
  3. mindfulness / recollection [dran pa; skr. smṛti],
  4. concentration [ting nge ’dzin; skr. samādhi], and
  5. wisdom-knowledge / discriminating knowledge [shes rab; skr. prajñā].22

The five pure powers [rnam byang gi stobs lnga] are identical with the five pure faculties as mentioned above:

  1. the power of trust / faith [dad pa’i stobs; skr. śraddābala],
  2. power of diligence [brtson ’grus kyi stobs; skr. vīryabala],
  3. power of mindfulness / recollection [dran pa’i stobs; skr. smṛtibala],
  4. power of concentration [ting nge ’dzin gyi stobs; skr. samādhibala].23

The seven factors of enlightenment [byang chub yan lag bdun] are

  1. the enlightened factor of correct mindfulness [dran pa yang dag byang chub kyi yan lag],
  2. the enlightened factor of correct investigation of phenomena [chos rab du rnam par 'byed pa yang dag byang chub kyi yan lag],
  3. the enlightened factor of correct diligence [brtson ’grus yang dag byang chub kyi yan lag],
  4. the enlightened factor of correct joy [dga’ ba yang dag byang chub kyi yan lag],
  5. the enlightened factor of correct pliancy [shin tu sbyangs pa yang dag byang chub kyi yan lag],
  6. the enlightened factor of correct concentration [ting nge ’dzin yan dag byang chub kyi yan lag], and
  7. the enlightened factor of correct equanimity [btang snyoms yang dag byang chub kyi yan lag].24

The noble eightfold path [’phags lam yan lag brgyad] are

  1. correct view [yang dag pa’i lta ba],
  2. correct thought [yang dag pa’i rtog pa],
  3. correct speech [yang dag pa’i ngag],
  4. correct action [yang dag pa’i las kyi mtha’],
  5. correct livelihood [yang dag pa’i ’tsho ba],
  6. correct effort [yang dag pa’i rtsol ba],
  7. correct mindfulness / recollection [yang dag pa’i dran pa] and
  8. correct concentration [yang dag pa’i ting nge ’dzin].25

The four summaries of dharma [chos kyi sdom bzhi] are

  1. all composite things are impermanent [’du byed thams cad mi rtag pa],
  2. all composite and defiling states are suffering [’du byed zag bcas thams cad sdug bsngal ba],
  3. all phenomena are empty and devoid a self-entity [chos thams cad stong zhing bdag med pa] and
  4. nirvāṇa is peace [mya ngan las ’das pa zhi ba’o].26

All these multifarious distinctions of bodhicitta can be condensed into two:

  1. the bodhicitta of aspiration
  2. and the bodhicitta of application.

A śrāvaka arhat who has entered into cessation remains in this state for many aeons until being awakened from it by light rays emitted by the Buddha. This is called ’the empowerment of great light’ [’od zer chen po’i dbang]. The Buddha then teaches the arhats that they have not reached enlightenment and encourages them to enter into the Mahāyāna path. They progressively embark upon the paths of accumulation and of application; having once reached the path of seeing, they will realize absolute bodhicitta. Thus, according to the Mahāyāna tradition, even a śrāvaka arhat must begin over again on the paths of accumulation [tshogs lam] and of application [sbyor lam] .

No ordinary beings, śrāvakas, or pratyekabuddhas have realized absolute bodhicitta. This is realized only from the first bodhisattva level onward and is the special quality [khyad chos] of a ’noble being’ [’phags pa]. Anyone who has realized absolute bodhicitta is a noble being. Absolute bodhicitta is achieved through the power of subtle dharmatā, the nature of reality [phra ba chos nyid kyis thob], while relative bodhicitta comes about through the power of tangible indicators [rags pa brda las byung ba].

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- Footnotes:

1.

See shes bya kun khyab bar cha, pages 102-103; Buddhist Ethics, pages 170, 416-419; and Jewel Ornament, pages 147-149.

2.

See Gateway to Knowledge Vol. III., pages 190-216.

3.

See Gateway to Knowledge Vol. III., page 190.

4.

See Gateway to Knowledge Vol. III., page 190.

5.

See Gateway to Knowledge Vol. III., page 191.

6.

See Gateway to Knowledge Vol. III., page 191.

7.

See Gateway to Knowledge Vol. III., pages 206-209.

8.

See Gateway to Knowledge Vol. III., pages 209-213.

9.

See Gateway to Knowledge Vol. III., pages 213-214.

10.

See Gateway to Knowledge Vol. III., pages 213-216; shes bya kun khyab stod cha, page 289; bu ston chos ’byung, page 69 and Jewellery of Scripture, pages 138-139.

11.

See Gateway to Knowledge Vol. III., pages 191-194.

12.

See Gateway to Knowledge Vol. III., pages 194-195.

13.

See Gateway to Knowledge Vol. III., pages195-196.

14.

See Gateway to Knowledge Vol. III., page 196.

15.

See Gateway to Knowledge Vol. III., pages 196-197.

16.

See Gateway to Knowledge Vol. III., pages 197-198.

17.

See Gateway to Knowledge Vol. III., page 198.

18.

See Gateway to Knowledge Vol. III., pages 198-205.

19.

See Gateway to Knowledge Vol. III., pages 198-199.

20.

See Gateway to Knowledge Vol. III., pages 199-200.

21.

See Gateway to Knowledge Vol. III., pages 200-201.

22.

See Gateway to Knowledge Vol. III., page 201.

23.

See Gateway to Knowledge Vol. III., page 201.

24.

See Gateway to Knowledge Vol. III., pages 201-203.

25.

See Gateway to Knowledge Vol. III., pages 203-204.

26.

See Gateway to Knowledge Vol. III., page 213.

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