The Ten Stages of the Mahayana Bodhisattva Path

in #mindfulness3 years ago (edited)

The Ninth Stage

Part 11

Introduction

Stages of the Mahayana Bodhisattva Path are similar to the Theravada idea of the Noble Eight-fold Path, although not the same in the order of the stages, as well as the aim of the various stages that comprise the total trajectory that the Bodhisattva has to traverse. The idea of the Bodhisattva path is linked to the idea of bodhicitta, the aspiration of becoming enlightened, and this aim is for the benefit of all sentient beings—when compared to the Arahant idea it is distinguished by the fact, that the Bodhisattva holds off on attaining final non-returning Nirvana until all sentient beings are brought along the journey of the Bodhisattva path towards Enlightenment.

Mahayana Texts

Various Mahayana texts discuss the stages of the path in varying detail and order. For this eleventh article in the series, I’ve mainly followed the stages of the Path as explained in the Dasa Bhumika Sutra. Dasa bhumika in Sanskrit means ten stages.

In the Dasa Bhumika Sutra, a Bodhisattva is compared to gold in each stage, which is purified more and more by being heated in the goldsmith's fire until it is at last made into an ornament to be worn around the neck of a powerful wheel-turning monarch (cakravartin). The bodhisattva's splendor is likened to the light of the moon and the sun. In each subsequent stage, a Bodhisattva's glory and power (prabhava) increase a hundred-fold, a thousand-fold, a million-fold, etc..

I’ve also consulted the abhidharma-samuccaya text of Asanga, the prajna-paramita abhi-samaya-lankara, the Maha-vastu, and the Mahayana-sutralamkara text. The Avatamsaka Sutra (Flower Ornament Scripture) has great details on the 10 stages of the path as well, including the Gandavyuha commentary. For cross-reference purposes I’ve used the yogacara-bhumi text, which incorporates the Bodhisattva path into an even greater 17 stages, to verify Sanskrit terminology. The ‘Materials for a Dictionary of The Prajnaparamita Literature’ by Edward Conze has been very useful, in verifying Sanskrit terms as they are used in the various Prajna Paramita texts.

In this article, I’ll cover the ninth stage of the 10 Stages of the Mahayana Bodhisattva Path.

An interesting side-note: In summarizing the teachings of The Flower Ornament Scripture (avatamsaka sutra), the Gandavyuha, ‘The Book on Entry into the Realm of Reality’, uses the format of a journey for knowledge. Sudhana, the inspired young male pilgrim of the story, visits fifty-three teachers to learn the conduct of the Bodhisattva, the enlightening being dedicated to liberation of the hidden resources of humanity. Quite out of keeping with the modern myth that the inner circle of living Buddhism was traditionally a male monkish elite, the story represents a small minority of the teachers as monks, and nearly half as females!

Summary

Stage 9. The Proficient Thoughts stage (sadhumati bhumi)

The ninth stage is Proficient, because the Bodhisattva attains the perfection of the ten powers (bala paramita) of a Buddha, and the realization of possessing the perfection of wisdom (prajna paramita). This is also the stage the Boddhisattva prepares for leading all sentient beings to Enlightenment.

In detail

This ninth stage is called sadhumati, because in this stage the Bodhisattva’s intellectual discernments dominates (pratisamvidmateh pradhanatvat). This stage is also called Good Intellect, because of the perfection of all kinds of spiritual teachings and attainments of holy wisdom and a peaceful Mind.


Various types / levels of ignorance have been purified in the first eight stages, and in each subsequent stage the ignorance that is to be purified is more subtle and difficult to address than in the previous stage.

  • In the first stage, the ignorance of clinging to person and things, and the ignorance of the defilement of wrong tendencies and actions have been purified.
  • In the second stage, the ignorance of minute errors and transgressions, and the ignorance of what various actions lead to have been purified.
  • In the third stage, the ignorance of greed, and the ignorance of complete mental control to retain what is learned have been purified.
  • In the fourth stage, the Bodhisattva addressed the ignorance of attachment to attainments in concentration, and the ignorance of attachment to religion.
  • In the fifth stage, the Bodhisattva addressed the ignorance of one-sided thought rejecting life and death, and the ignorance of one-sided thought heading for nirvana.
  • In the sixth stage, the Bodhisattva addressed the ignorance of observing the flux of events at the moment, and the ignorance of elaborate active mental patterns.
  • In the seventh stage, the Bodhisattva addressed the ignorance of subtle active mental patterns, and the ignorance of method in one-sided formless awareness.
  • In the eighth stage, the Bodhisattva addressed the ignorance of making effort toward the formless, and the ignorance of control over forms.
  • In the ninth stage, the Bodhisattva addresses the ignorance of control of the intellectual powers and mental command of ultimate understanding of infinite expressions of truth, and the ignorance of free command of special knowledge of comprehension and communication.

A Bodhisattva after completing and purifying the first eight stages of the path, enters into the ninth stage. At this stage, he truly understands and is able to make a distinction between dharmas as wholesome, unwholesome or indifferent; pure or impure; worldly or transcendental; conceivable or inconceivable; determinate (niyata) or indeterminate (aniyata). The Bodhisattva understands the purpose of the various paths of the Disciples (sravaka), Solitary Buddhas (pratyekabuddha), Bodhisattvas, and the Buddha stages (tathagata-bhumi). Through this understanding, he understands the habits (samacara) and differentiated nature (nanatva) of thoughts of sentient beings, their defilements (klesa), actions (karma), faculties (indriya), aspiration (adhimukti), elements (dhatu), desire and intention (asayanusaya), birth determined by desires (vadanusandhi) and their accumulations (rasi = three types of accumulations: 1. wrong-doing based on bad results, 2. right-doing based on good results, and 3. neither-wrong-nor-right-doing with undetermined results).

The bodhisattva’s understanding of each individual sentient being’s circumstance in this stage, allows him to modify, through skillful means, the manner in which the teaching is explained, customizing the way it is taught but not the underlying meaning of the teaching itself.


Practitioners in the ninth stage gain accurate knowledge of good, bad, neutral, mundane, and supra-mundane actions. They also know how people get entangled in defilements, acts, senses, resolutions, dispositions, inclinations, likes-and-dislikes, and habits; and they know what is beneficial or not. Practitioners also know all about the divisions of the mind, the complexity of the mind, how the mind becomes defiled, how the mind becomes bound and liberated, and how it apprehends illusions and false conclusions [based on ignorance]. Learning to become expert teachers, practitioners in this stage develop the four analytic knowledges (pratisamvid):

1. All realities (dharma).
2. True meaning [of characteristics of reality] and valid manner [in which realities exist] (artha).
3. Valid expression and command of languages [to transmit the teachings] (nirukti).
4. Intelligible speech, verbal distinctions in expression, and readiness to speak (pratibhana).

They attain mental command of the teachings through concentration protective spells (mantra-dharani). They learn to teach in accord with the particularities, faculties, likes-and-dislikes, and inclinations of the people they are helping.

In the ninth stage, twelve dharmas are to be completed and accomplished:

1. The Bodhisattva's infinite resolve consists in that, as a result of having fulfilled the six perfections (paramita), whatever he resolves upon that he accomplishes.
2. His cognition of the speech of all beings consists in that, through the analytical knowledge of languages (nirutkti-pratisamvid), he comprehends the speech of the gods, Nagas (serpents), Yakshas (spirits), Gandharvas (bird-like creatures with heavenly music skills), Asuras (titans), Garudas (bird-like creature), Kinnaras (half-man half bird), and Mahoragas (great snakes).
3. His fulfilled ready speech consists in that, through the analytical knowledge of ready speech (pratibhana-pratisamvid), he penetrates to the cognition which enables him always to expound the Dharma effectively.
4. He accomplishes the descent into the womb by being, in all births, reborn at-will (sam-cintya) [by his choice].
5. He accomplishes the choice of family by being reborn in good families.
6. He accomplishes the choice of birth by being reborn in noble families, or in good brahmin families.
7. He accomplishes the choice of clan (gotra) by being reborn in that clan from which the former Bodhisattvas came.
8. He accomplishes the quality of his followers by having Bodhisattvas among them, after he has established sentient beings in Enlightenment. All those who surround the Bodhisattva are sages and honest people who, from one life to another, have accumulated virtuous qualities.
9. He accomplishes the manner (artha) of birth: even when just born, a Bodhisattva shines on all world systems with his splendor, and shakes them all in six ways (sad-vikaram = shaken, stirred, quaked, was agitated, resounded, and [finally] rumbled).
10. He accomplishes the leaving of his home (and going into the spiritual life) by leaving home together with many hundreds of thousands of vast numbers of (niyuta) of realms (koti) of sentient beings.
11. A Bodhisattva's accomplishment of the miraculous harmony (vyuha) of the Bodhi-tree (tree of Enlightenment) consists in that the root of his Bodhi-tree (bodhimanda-druma-mula) is made of gold, the trunk of Vaidurya (lapis lazuli = precious blue stone from India), the branches of all kinds of jewels, the leaves of all kinds of precious things, and the fine fragrance of that tree and its radiance irradiate infinite world systems.
12. A Bodhisattva's accomplishment of the fulfillment of all virtuous qualities in the perfect purity of his Buddha-field (buddha-ksetra), through the maturity of the sentient beings in it.

The Mahayana-sutralankara explains that this stage is so called, because a Bodhisattva has good thoughts on account of the four analytical knowledges (pratisamvid) that he acquires. A Bodhisattva now knows all phenomena and principles truly and certainly, whether they are mundane or supra-mundane, conceivable or inconceivable, compounded or uncompounded. He knows everything about the minds and hearts of men and about wholesome and unwholesome actions. He becomes a great teacher and acquires and is protected by powerful spells (dharani). He experiences many concentrations (samadhi), and cultivates the perfection of power (bala-paramita) without neglecting the other perfections.

In the next and final article in this series, I’ll be discussing The final Tenth Stage [and a bonus stage!] of the Mahayana Bodhisattva Path in full detail.


References for research:


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@reddust, I'm giving you big salute you coz you're covering Ten stages of Mahayana Bodhisattva path very speedy. This time nicely describe whole stage of no. nine. Buddha's lessons hasn't hide meanings. Every lessons has bet meanings and better to compare thoughts our life and then enter that into our soul. Sadhumati bhumi mentioned like as the proficient thoughts. Those stage indeed better thoughts for peaceful mind & holy wisdom.

In the ninth stage, the Bodhisattva addresses the ignorance of control of the intellectual powers and mental command of ultimate understanding of infinite expressions of truth, and the ignorance of free command of special knowledge of comprehension and communication.

That's point to understand much better what's ninth stage. Buddha gave through his teaching to Buddhists, controlling mindset methods and shown where's follower want to go using his holy wisdom. Buddha every time tried to bring final destination (Nirvana) Buddhists. Someone could pass Nibbana and someone false. But if We can pass to control mind via using controlling methods definitely find final destination.

@madushanka, I have to admit the 8th stage and up I don't have much to offer regarding insights. The Bodhisattvas accomplishments are so fantastical I can't really relate...

four analytical knowledges (pratisamvid) that he acquires. A Bodhisattva now knows all phenomena and principles truly and certainly, whether they are mundane or supra-mundane, conceivable or inconceivable, compounded or uncompounded. He knows everything about the minds and hearts of men and about wholesome and unwholesome actions.

Wouldn't it be amazing to see things in all the detail right down to their little atoms and spaces in between? I don't think I would want to know what people are thinking and their conditioning, but I am not a Bodhisattva. Trying to help people fhas always been difficult. I loved the first bhumis, I could identify with developing compassion, patience, equanimity, wisdom. This super knowledge is a bit overwhelming!

He is able to speak Dharma that perfectly suits the potentials of all living beings. Hence he achieves Good wisdom and The bodhisattva understands all dharmas and is able to teach others.

@muzaifwani, understanding the conditioning of the sentient beings is an important ability if you are going to help someone see their potential and let go of their views. I would love to have just a little bit of insight into those I want to help. Most of the time when I do try and help someone I am not very helpful. Like tryng to help someone who is suffeirng grief or a traumatic trigger. I usually just sit and listen because I am at loss to saying anything helpful.

you are right !

Buddha said: “If you propose to speak, always ask yourself, is it true, is it necessary, is it kind.”

When you are busy trying to prove that you know better, you stop listening. Without understanding the other person, how can you possibly help?

Perfect wisdom and proficient thoughts sounds like a dream but it would be wonderful to have that. Following you as I have the past several months it sounds like it's quite a process to become a Buddhist but I'm sure it's a rewards are worth it. Thanks @redxust

I can't imagine the ability to read a persons conditioning and then work with them so they can see past themselves to reality as it is...

I don't think people really have any idea how difficult it is to become a Buddha or find enlightenment. I've met many people who think they are enlightened when I go to Buddhist teachings. However only a Buddha knows the mind state of someone else so I can't judge...hehehe

To reach this ninth stage, amazing! He must be wonderful; he is already a wise teacher with radiant abilities to transmit these teachings to other beings.

I want to share the following thought that pertains to these nine stages studied:

"With bad advisors forever left behind,

From paths of evil he departs for eternity,
Soon to see the Buddha of Limitless Light
And perfect Samantabhadra’s Supreme Vows".

The Vows of Samantabhadra
Avatamsaka Sutra

That is where I want to go @amigoponic, leave the bad advisors behind and trip the light fantastic! Lovely quote too <3

Something happened, my avatar disappeared.

aw

I see your avator @amigoponic, must be something going on with your browser.

amigo muy bonitas las fotografias, su trabajo debe ser excelente lo felicito soy venezolano, espero contar con su ayuda y que visite mis pots diarios. gracias ,continue asi saludos

Estimado @edgargonzalez, le sugiero lee el siuente post, es para su crecimiento personal en steemit...

That was kinda quick. I'm quite expecting this Ten stages of Mahayana Bodhisattva path to be longer. Thanks for sharing this to us!

I have great resourses, however the books I used are hundreds of pages long. This is a very condensed version. Thank you @gvincentjosephm. I write abioyt one conterversial subject but no one has mentioned it yet....

I'm most learnt from you about Buddha teachings through reading your valuable contents @reddust. Perfect recovery this time also. Buddha teaching has most of mind manage methods and meditation progress. We have opportunity there for reach some top levels of Buddhism. There mentioned the ignorance of control of the intellectual powers and mental command of Bodhisattva path. Thanks to given better knowledge via your experience.

Thank you @dgragonking, I have learned a lot writing this series. In fact I have discovered several things I didn't know:

  1. A Bodhisattva's accomplishment of the miraculous harmony (vyuha) of the Bodhi-tree (tree of Enlightenment) consists in that the root of his Bodhi-tree (bodhimanda-druma-mula) is made of gold, the trunk of Vaidurya (lapis lazuli = precious blue stone from India), the branches of all kinds of jewels, the leaves of all kinds of precious things, and the fine fragrance of that tree and its radiance irradiate infinite world systems.

I had no idea about Bodhisattvas and their Bodhitrees. I want to paint this!

So many stages to read, ehhh...
I just want to spread love and peace around me. Sharing some with you! :D

Interesting topic, i have a question @reddust you write the whole post? i mean it's too long and if you write all you have to invest a lot of time here. Regards

I wrote the whole post, however it only takes a 3 hours. The rest of the day I paint, clean house, garden, cook, read and take notes for my next article. People who write Buddhist blogs spend hours and hours researching and writing without any rewards ;-)

Wow my friend great great job i just spend 25 minutes writing my post hehehe. Regards

We are already in the final gap in the path of Bodhisattva, and the penultimate stage to reach the path of enlightenment. I have learned a lot from you. I would like to one day possess the wisdom you have. I wait with ancias the explanation of the last stage. regards @reddust

Thank you @deisydavi, I have a lot to remember from old lessons and I am learning new things from writing these articles. Thank you!

Hello @reddust I love how little by little you enlighten us for each stage of the Mahayana Bodhisattva path. Something I did not know I am interested in knowing a little more about each stage. I like how in each publication you remind us of the previous stages, to arrive ready to the path of enlightenment.

thou the post of @reddust seems to be to long, but when you read with focused mindset you gain from them all, she is a writer and a good one to the core. nice post @reddust

Thank you kindly @peks

I do not get tired of saying it, you are great and not only because of your wonderful drawings. But also for all this information you can see how dedicated you are with all this and all the time you take to write everything! Good Night friend ♥

Good night @denissemata and thank you for being a great friend!

The desire to practice bodhicitta is a basic tenet of Mahayana Buddhism. This implies that everything we do both in practice and in our daily lives is backed by the motivation to benefit others in all that we do. On the surface this seems an obvious and desirous achievement, but in reality it is not easy and, consequently we approach bodhicitta in a gradual and step-by-step manner.

First, we divide bodhicitta into two main categories: ultimate Bodhicitta and relative bodhicitta. So far, every sutra and commentary I’v read on the subject teaches these backwards, beginning with the ultimate aspect of bodhicitta and then reviewing the relative benefit. We can approach any desire by enumerating our ultimate goal, our mission statement, if you will, but first we need to recognize that nearly everything we cover when discussing Mahayana Buddhism revolves around dealing with samsara, recognizing its attributes, discovering a path and methods for diminishing the suffering, negative emotions and so on associated with samsara.

@wa2qr, you can find all about samsara, the 4 Noble Truths, The Eightfold Path, Dependent Origination and the early stages of the Bhumis at the bottom of this article and assorted other information regarding the Bodhisattva vows and aspirations.

At this level, immeasurable rays of light shine out from the bodhisattva’s body and make offerings to all the buddhas of the past, present and future, who send back tremendous rays of empowering light

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Just scrolled!

I feel how difficult it is to understand every word for word from the teachings of buddhas, all what i know that general Buddha teachings are most powerful and introduced some contents very deserve to current society.

Thanks for your support @reddust!

Your contribution is appreciated.

To have your post shared with over 10,000 followers send 0.250 SBD or STEEM to @crystalhuman, your post will also be shared to twitter at https://twitter.com/Marketechnologi

✅ Send 1-2 SBD/STEEM for 100-200+ Upvotes.

an interesting story, and I love it.
thank you for sharing this story @reddust

Why was this story interesting @cekmailna?

I do not read the whole thing because the story you wrote is very long.
I just read at the beginning where this story tells about the origin of Mahayana Bodhisattva path.
that's what I understand. and I am very interested in stories like this.
if i am wrong please you correct me ...
thanks @reddust ....

Very very nice, excellent post, I follow you!

I'm pretty impressive to see another part of Bodhisattva path. Those powerful strength indeed contents when Buddha introduced us deserve to compare & use to human's life. Perfectly mentioned dharma speeches. With your supporting posts I could good scene. I also could change some points from my life. Dharma teachings really deserve to insert own life. Thanks.

The ninth stage seems to be a very intellectual, logical, "left brain hemisphere" stage. I liked the reference to the Tree of Enlightenment, the 11th out the 12 dharmas that need to be completed.

I have learned a little Buddhist teachings in the Indonesian article, about the origins of Buddhism, about the great master (the Buddha), the coupas are very interesting, I'm getting impatient waiting for all your reviews my best friend ,,
there are many similarities in this doctrine with Sufi teachings

the teachings of Buddha are perfect, if able to apply in real life ,,,
budha teaches infinite goodness, and there are articles that I read about equality of Islamic teachings and Buddhism in some places.

Is the thought first changed for change or is it an action? "The question has always been discussed. If the emotion to be formed in the action is not known, people can first go through the action and taste the foreign emotion at the end and change. But if the emotion of the action is known (which is usually the case) but people can not change, then above, the thought must first change. Thank you @reddust

Culminate intelligence and capable considerations sounds like a fantasy however it is superb to have that. Tailing you as I have the previous a while it sounds like it's a significant procedure to wind up a Buddhist however I'm certain it's a prizes are justified, despite all the trouble. Much obliged @reddust

As the stages of Mahayana Bodhisattva progressing, it seems like Buddha is getting the purification more difficult.
I imagine the sacrifice he had paid, the stress he had went through to achieve such goal.
Have you also passed through this stage?
Anyone aiming to become a Buddhist will pass through the stage also?

I want to commend you for the work so far, it's a lot of work in short period of time. You must be a great teacher. Thanks for sharing @reddust

You got 35+ upvotes from @oceansbot courtesy of @crystalhuman!

on the twelve darhama of this ninth stage, the 11th order which is A Bodhisattva's accomplishment of the miraculous harmony (vyuha) of the Bodhi-tree (tree of Enlightenment) consists in that the root of his Bodhi-tree (bodhimanda-druma-mula) is made of gold, the trunk of Vaidurya (lapis lazuli = precious blue stone from India), the branches of all kinds of jewels, the leaves of all kinds of precious things, and the fine fragrance of that tree and its radiance irradiate infinite world systems. seems to be fantansy.

Please don't copy and pasting from a blogs article without something to say @inspiredtolife, that is bad steemit manners.

to get an upvote from your post is much difficult bro