Fourfold-path: 1 definition

Introduction

Introduction:

Fourfold-path means something in Buddhism, Pali. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Buddhism

Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

[«previous next»] — Fourfold-path in Mahayana glossary
Source: Wisdom Library: Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

There are also fourfold paths:

1) the path of worldly people (pṛthagjanamārga), the path of the śrāvakas, the path of the pratyekabuddhas and the path of the Buddhas;

2) the path of the śrāvakas, the path of the pratyekabuddhas, the path of the bodhisattvas and the path of he Buddhas;

3) the path of the śrāvakas is of four kinds:

  1. the path of suffering (duḥkhamārga),
  2. the path of the origin (samudayamārga),
  3. the path of the cessation (nirodhamārga)
  4. and the path of the way (pratipanmārga);

4) the paths of the four fruits of the religious life (catuḥśramaṇyaphalamārga);

5) the path contemplating the true nature of the body (kāyadharmatānupaśyanamārga) and the paths contemplating the true nature of feeling, the mind and things (vedanācittadharmadharmatānupaśyanāmārga);

6) the four paths by means of which

  1. evil bad dharmas that have not yet arisen may not arise (anutpannānāṃ pāpakānām akuśalānāṃ dharmāṇām anutpādāya),
  2. so that the bad wicked dharmas already arisen may be destroyed (utpannānāṃ pāpakānām akuśalānāṃ dharmāṇāṃ prahāṇāya),
  3. so that good dharmas that have not yet arisen may take birth (anutpannānāṃ kuśalānāṃ dharmāṇām utpādāya)
  4. and so that the good dharmas that have already arisen may increase (utpannāāṃ kuśalānāṃ dharmāṇām vaipulyāya);

7) the four paths predominating respectively in

  1. zealousness (chanda),
  2. exertion (vīrya),
  3. mind (citta)
  4. and examination (mīmāṃsā);

8) the paths of the four lineages of saints (āryavaṃśa) consisting of losing interest in

  1. clothing (cīvara),
  2. food (piṇḍapāta),
  3. beds (śayanāsana)
  4. and medicines (bhaiṣajya)

and taking enjoyment (rāmatā) in the cessation of suffering (duḥkhaprahāṇa) and the practice of the Path (mārgabhāvanā);

9) the paths of the four ways (pratipad):

  1. the difficult way of slow understanding (duḥkhā pratipad dhandhābhijñā),
  2. the difficult way of quick understanding (duḥkhā pratipat kṣiprābhijñā),
  3. the easy way of slow understanding (sukhā pratipad dhandhābhijñā),
  4. the easy way of quick understanding (sukhā pratipat kṣiprābhijñā);

10) the four paths of meditation (bhāvanāmārga) aimed at

  1. happiness in the present lifetimes (ihasukha),
  2. knowledge of births and deaths (cyutyupapādajñāna),
  3. destruction of the impurities (āsravakṣaya)
  4. and analytical knowledge (vibhaṅgajñāna) respectively;

11) the four divine paths (devamārga), namely, the four trances (dhyāna);

12) the four kinds of paths:

  1. paths of the devas,
  2. the Brahmās,
  3. the āryas
  4. and the Buddhas.

There are innumerable four paths of this type.

Mahayana book cover
context information

Mahayana (महायान, mahāyāna) is a major branch of Buddhism focusing on the path of a Bodhisattva (spiritual aspirants/ enlightened beings). Extant literature is vast and primarely composed in the Sanskrit language. There are many sūtras of which some of the earliest are the various Prajñāpāramitā sūtras.

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