Visuddhimagga; 3 Definition(s)


Visuddhimagga 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

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

in English : The Path of Purification

(Source): Dhamma Study: Cetasikas
context information

Theravāda is a major branch of Buddhism having the the Pali canon (tipitaka) as their canonical literature, which includes the vinaya-pitaka (monastic rules), the sutta-pitaka (Buddhist sermons) and the abhidhamma-pitaka (philosophy and psychology).

General definition (in Buddhism)

1) The Visuddhimagga ('The Path of Purification'), is the 'great treatise' on Theravada Buddhist doctrine written by Buddhaghosa approximately in 430 CE in Sri Lanka. It is a comprehensive manual condensing and systematizing the theoretical and practical teachings of the Buddha as they were understood by the elders of the Mahavihara Monastery in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. It is described as "the hub of a complete and coherent method of exegesis of the Tipitaka, using the ‘Abhidhamma method' as it is called. And it sets out detailed practical instructions for developing purification of mind." (Bhikkhu Nyanamoli 2011 p. xxvii.) It is considered the most important Theravada text outside of the Tipitaka canon of scriptures.

The Visuddhimagga’s structure is based on the Ratha-vinita Sutta ("Relay Chariots Discourse," MN 24), which describes the progression from the purity of discipline to the final destination of nibbana in seven steps.

2) The Visuddhimagga (The Path of Purification) is a Theravada Buddhist commentary written by Buddhaghosa approximately in 430 CE in Sri Lanka. It is considered the most important Theravada text outside of the Tipitaka canon of scriptures.

It is composed of four parts, which discuss:

  1. Sīla (discipline);
    The first part explains the rules of discipline, and the method for finding a correct temple to practice, or how to meet a good teacher.
  2. Samādhi (meditative concentration);
    The second part describes samatha's practice, object by object (see Kammatthana for the list of the forty traditional objects). It mentions different stages of concentration.
  3. The land of wisdom;
    The third part is a description of the five skandhas (aggregates), ayatanas, the Four Noble Truths and the dependent origination (see: Pratitya-samutpada). This part shows a great analytical effort specific to Buddhist philosophy.
  4. and Pañña (wisdom).
    The fourth part describes the practice of vipassana through the development of wisdom. It emphasizes different forms of knowledge emerging because of the practice.
(Source): WikiPedia: Buddhism

Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

visuddhimagga : (m.) the path to obtain holiness.

(Source): BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary
Pali book cover
context information

Pali is the language of the Tipiṭaka, which is the sacred canon of Theravāda Buddhism and contains much of the Buddha’s speech. Closeley related to Sanskrit, both languages are used interchangeably between religions.

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