Also see: Early Buddhism's Model of Awakening

(Image: The Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva)

About 400 years after the passing away of Shakyamuni Buddha, i.e. around 1 century BCE, the school of Mahayana Buddhism developed with a different emphasis, focus and aim of practice as compared to the practitioners of Early Buddhism (Also see: Early Buddhism's Model of Awakening). Examples of forms of Mahayana Buddhism practiced today include Zen, Pure Land, Tantric/Vajrayana (including Tibetan, Japanese Shingon), Tendai, and a number of others schools that no longer exist today or are absorbed into Zen (e.g. Huayan). Today, the number adherents of the Mahayana forms of Buddhism in the world have exceeded the number of adherents of the Theravada/Early form of Buddhism due to the extent in which Mahayana forms of Buddhism have spread into China, Japan and Tibet.

The practitioners of Early Buddhism (of which Theravada is modeled after), or what Loppon Malcolm calls "Mainstream Buddhism" (because it was a much more commonly practiced form of Buddhism in the past in India), aimed to attain their own liberation or Nirvana by removing the afflictions (passion, aggression and delusion) that causes rebirth. Thousands of Buddha's students attained that goal called Arahantship.

However, Mahayana Buddhism has a higher aim. Not only do they want to remove the causes for samsaric birth, they also want to remove all knowledge obscurations preventing the attainment of omniscience and Buddhahood, for the sake of liberating all sentient beings. Mahayana Buddhists feel that the scope of attaining liberation for oneself is too limited, so out of great compassion and for the benefit of all sentient beings, they want to attain the same Buddhahood as Shakyamuni. The practitioner walking the path to Buddhahood is called a Bodhisattva.

This post attempts to share the model of awakening in classical Mahayana Buddhism. There are 10 stages of an awakened Bodhisattva, beginning with the direct realization of twofold emptiness. (The Tibetan/Vajrayana traditions may also add a few more stages, making it 13 or 16)

From a writing I wrote:

...The reason I said Bernie is a 'real bodhisattva' is not because of impressive sounding words he spoke but rather that he clearly actualizes and expresses his wisdom in compassionate activities. He is tremendously involved in compassionate and selfless activities empty of self and in total exertion. He is able to apply his wisdom of anatta and D.O. to dissolve I/mine making in the practice of paramitas in his encounters with sentient beings, which as Thusness said is the 'great anatta' (Thusness two weeks ago: "...anatta in the 6 is great actualization of anatta."). For most of us, although we may have this and that Bodhisattva vows or believe ourselves to be practicing the Bodhisattva way, it is as Thusness said, "In my opinion many of our great aspirations and high views turn empty talks easily...." - - or like my Mahayana teacher said, even the greatest vow becomes merely a discursive/fanciful thought when not actualized....
...The practice and engagement of the 10 paramitas (or 6) in the daily life becomes of utmost importance in Mahayana Buddhism, allowing the twofold cultivation of merits and wisdom so necessary for the attainment of full Buddhahood. It is in fact in the very mundane activities of daily life and interactions that allows us the opportunity to attain the ten perfections (paramitas) that allows us to attain full Buddhahood. The paramitas are not just 'mundane qualities', but the actualization of awakened wisdom - for example, the perfection of generosity is not just the ability to give lots of money to other people, but rather, the selfless giving freed from any confusion of a giver-giving-gift. The wisdom of the emptiness of self and phenomena allows our act of generosity to be perfected. When our giving transcends giver-giving-gift, without attachments we relinquish and give and sacrifice for other beings out of genuine compassion, that is true generosity. The cultivation of the ten paramitas in conjunction of the wisdom of emptiness is itself a method for the liberation of our mental afflictions, clinging, I and mine-making, as well as the cultivation of immense merits required for Buddhahood.It is said that at each of the ten bhumi stages, one of the perfections have been perfected. For example, the first bhumi perfects the perfection of generosity, second bhumi the perfection of precepts, so on and so forth.

In short, in the Mahayana path, as Huayan Patriarch Cheng'guan explained (, the essential wisdom that allows for the twofold liberation of afflictive obscurations and knowledge obscurations is the wisdom of twofold emptiness. Then there is the emphasis on cultivating the paramitas.

I translated an excerpt from 法语缤纷(2) by Venerable Shen Kai (my refuge Master) on the Mahayana Ten Bhumi Model of Awakening. Bhumi means 'Ground'.

1. The Joyous Ground: The Bodhisattva's initial entrance into sainthood, breaking through the confusion of views, realizing the principle of twofold emptiness of person and dharma. (The Bodhisattva) gives rise to great joy, therefore it is called The Joyous Ground. At this ground, (one) accomplishes the Paramita of Dana (generosity) among the Bodhisattva Ten Paramitas.

Commentary: View-Confusion - the various forms of delusional and deviant views, extreme views (e.g. eternalism/nihilism, existence/non-existence), self views, etc.
Dana - Generosity, has the meaning of 'relinquishment'.
Paramita - has the meaning of 'to the other shore'.

(Chinese: 一、欢喜地:为菩萨初得圣性,破见惑,证人法二空之理,生大欢喜,故名欢喜地。于此地成就菩萨十波罗蜜中之檀波罗蜜。(注:见惑──种种妄见、邪见、边见、我见等之妄惑。檀──布施,即舍义。波罗蜜──乃到彼岸的意思。) )

2. The Stainless Ground: accomplishes the Paramita of Precepts among the Ten Paramitas, eliminating (comments: more accurately, 'attenuating' in this case) the confusion of practice, removing the stain of immorality/precepts-breaking, resulting in purity of mind and body, therefore known as The Stainless Ground.

Commentary: Confusion of practice -- also known as the confusion of thoughts. Due to practicing the Path, (one is able to) terminate passion, aggression and delusion, and other various confusion of strong afflictive emotions.

(Chinese: 二、离垢地:成就十波罗蜜中之戒波罗蜜,断修惑,除毁犯之垢,使身心清净,故名离垢地。(注:修惑──即思惑,因修道而断贪瞋痴等迷情之惑。) )

3. The Luminous Ground: Accomplishes the Paramita of Patience among the Ten Paramitas, eliminating (i.e. attenuating) the confusion of practice, attaining the Paramita of Contemplation. Wisdom reveals and manifests, therefore it is known as the Luminous Ground.

Commentary: The Paramita of Contemplation - also known as the patience of the non-arising of dharma, also known as the non-rising patience, contemplating on the Truth and thereby resting in (the equipoise/knowledge of) non-arising.

(Chinese: 三、发光地:成就十波罗蜜中之忍辱波罗蜜,断修惑,得谛察法忍,智慧显发,故曰发光地。(注:谛察法忍──即无生法忍,或名不起忍,察观真理而安住于无生者。) )

4. The Glowing Wisdom Ground: Accomplishes the Paramita of Effort/Exertion/Diligence/Energy/Vigour, eliminating (i.e. attenuating) the confusion of practice, resulting in the blazing forth of wisdom, therefore it is known as the Glowing Wisdom ground.

(Chinese: 四、焰慧地:成就十波罗蜜中之精进波罗蜜,断修惑,使慧性炽盛,故云焰慧地。 )

5. The Difficult to Prevail Ground: accomplishes the Dhyana Paramita of the Ten Paramitas, eliminates (i.e. attenuates) the confusion of practice, integrating the twofold wisdom of the ultimate and conventional into seamless fitting, therefore it is known as the Difficult to Prevail Ground.

(Chinese: 五、极难胜地:成就十波罗蜜中之禅波罗蜜,断修惑,真俗二智之行互违者,使之合而相应,故为极难胜地。 )

6. The Manifest Ground: accomplishes the Prajna Paramita among the Ten Paramitas, eliminating (i.e. attenuating) the confusion of practice, manifesting the utmost prevailing/supreme wisdom, leading to the manifestation/revelation of the absence of the distinctions of impurity and purity, therefore it is known as The Manifest Ground.

(Chinese: 六、现前地:成就十波罗蜜中之般若波罗蜜,断修惑,发最胜智,使现前无染净之差别,故谓现前地。 )

7. The Gone Afar Ground: accomplishes the Paramita of Skillful Means among the Ten Paramitas, giving rise to the heart of Great Compassion, eliminating (i.e. attenuating) the confusion of practice, leaving far behind the self-release of the two vehicles (Sravakayana and Praytekabuddhayana), therefore it is known as the Gone Afar Ground.

(Chinese: 七、远行地:成就十波罗蜜中之方便波罗蜜,发大悲心,亦断修惑,远离二乘之自度,故称远行地。)

8. The Immovable Ground: accomplishes the Paramita of Vow among the Ten Paramitas, eliminating the confusion of practice, engages in the contemplation of signlessness; spontaneity and effortlessness/state of non-striving (任运无功用) is continuous and unceasing (相续), therefore it is known as the Immovable Ground.

(Chinese: 八、不动地:成就十波罗蜜中之愿波罗蜜,断修惑,作无相观,任运无功用相续,故为不动地。)

9. The Virtuous Wisdom Ground: accomplishes the Paramita of Strength among the Ten paramitas, eliminating the confusion of practice, endowed with the Ten Powers, everywhere (one) is able to know whether (the sentient being) can be saved/released or not, (one) is able to preach the dharma, therefore it is known as the Virtuous Wisdom Ground.

(Chinese: 九、善慧地:成就十波罗蜜中之力波罗蜜,断修惑,具足十力,于一切处知可度不可度,能说法,故谓之善慧地。)

10. The Dharma Cloud Ground: accomplishes the Wisdom Paramita among the Ten Paramitas, eliminating the confusion of practice, endowed with limitless merits, giving birth to the water of limitless merits, like a great cloud covering the empty sky, is ca
pable of pouring down all kinds of pure dew and dharma rain, nourishing sentient beings, therefore it is known as the Dharma Cloud Ground.

(Chinese: 十、法云地:成就十波罗蜜中之智波罗蜜,亦断修惑,具足无边功德,出生无边功德水,如大云覆虚空,能降清净之一切甘露法雨,普润群生,故云法云地。

After the 10th bhumi, there is two more levels, known as 等觉 (equal awakening) and 妙觉 (marvellous awakening).

The Bodhisattva at 等觉 level is almost equivalent to 妙觉 and is awaiting the chance to descend from the Tushita Heaven to become the next Buddh
a. An example would be the current Maitreya Bodhisattva.




Krodha (Kyle Dixon) posted in Reddit:

Posted byu/krodha
1 month ago
Jigme Lingpa: How Every Action of Life Can Be Turned into Another Step Towards Awakening

"Any virtuous action that is filled with loving-kindness and compassion:

Is generosity (dāna) when it is done for the sake of beings.

It is discipline (śīla) when it is free from self-interest.

It is patience (kshānti) when it is done untiringly for the sake of others.

It is heroic perseverance (vīrya) when it is done with vibrant joy.

It is meditation (dhyāna) when it is done with one-pointed mind.

It is wisdom (prajñā) when there is no clinging to it as real.

The six perfections are never separate from such virtuous actions."
- Vidyadhara Jigme Lingpa, The yogi of the sky-like vast expanse (from The Treasury of Precious Qualities)

Commentary from Yogi Prabodha Jñāna:

Everyone has the innate ability to be perfectly awakened and act from the spacious expanse of spontaneous benevolence. However, our habituation to self-clinging and dualistic grasping obscure this ability and make us narrow beings. If these obscurations are removed, the six perfections (pāramitā) are naturally perfected. Conversely, by gradually cultivating the six perfections, these concealments can be transcended. That is the Way of Six Perfections as the path to awakening. As these six are perfected, one’s primordially pure nature gradually manifests to perfection as a Buddha, an awakened being.

Cultivating these six perfections are not a separate spiritual project that one needs to perform outside all other activities of life. As Jigme Lingpa says, any virtuous action (i.e., anything that does not harm, but benefits oneself and others) can be performed as the confluence of all the six perfections. Thus, with training, one can turn every action of one’s life into another step towards Buddhahood.



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    Yes Alejandro
    Arcaya Malcolm Smith:
    First bhumi is Mahāyāna stream entry according to the presentation if the Abhisamayālamkara.
    Jamgon Mipham Rinpoche:
    "Then, at the time of the supreme quality on the path of joining, one realizes that since the perceived does not exist, neither does the perceiver. Right after this, the truth of suchness, which is free from dualistic fixation, is directly realized. This is said to be the attainment of the first ground."
    Jamgon Mipham Rinpoche:
    THE TEN GROUNDS OR STAGES OF REALIZATION I. THE FIRST GROUND: PERFECT JOY This chapter consists of an explanation followed by a concluding summary. The explanation itself comprises three main topics: the qualities that embellish the mind of the Bodhisattva on the first ground, the qualities of the Bodhisattva whereby other beings are eclipsed, and the superior qualities of the first ground. A. A brief general description Bodhisattvas, offspring of the Conqueror, see in their minds that beings are without inherent existence, and, overwhelmed by compassion, they yearn for their complete liberation. 5 Such Bodhisattvas, now on the first ground, make ten great aspirations of bodhichitta and hundreds of thousands of other prayers and countless wishes. They are all summarized in the Aspiration of Samantabhadra, which Bodhisattvas use to dedicate perfectly all their merit and wisdom devoid of dual appearance.a They dwell on the first ground, Perfect Joy, which is said to be the first level of the transmundane mind. B. A detailed examination of the qualities peculiar to the first ground 1. The qualities that embellish the mind of the Bodhisattva a. A new and meaningful name As soon as Bodhisattvas enter the first ground, they attain ultimate wisdom. They are therefore known as Bodhisattvas of the ultimate level, having become Superior or Noble Bodhisattvas. b. The five additional qualities of lineage, elimination, realization, ability, and progression

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    6 (1) The first bodhisattva ground transcends the levels of ordinary beings, Shravakas, and Pratyekabuddhas. The Bodhisattvas who enter this ground become members of the family of the Tathagatas; they will never more stray to other paths, for their lineage is now irreversible. (2) The Bodhisattvas on this ground have a direct realization of the nonexistence of the self. This enables them to abandon the three fetters: the view of the transitory composite, the belief in the superiority of their ethical discipline, and doubt—together with all the obscurations eliminated on the path of seeing. (3) Because they have attained the sublime qualities of realization and have eliminated all defects, the Bodhisattvas experience an extraordinary happiness, which is why this ground is called Perfect Joy. (4) At the same time, the Bodhisattvas acquire one hundred and twelve powers, such as the miraculous ability to cause a hundred different worlds to tremble.63 These are the qualities of their extraordinary, indeed sublime attainment. 7 Finally, (5) the Bodhisattvas’ quality of progression means that they joyously proceed to the higher grounds, from first to second and so forth. c. Birth in the lower realms is no longer possible It is said that when Bodhisattvas reach the first ground, all paths whereby they might fall into the lower realms are closed. The realization of the level of “acceptance” on the path of joining,64 in fact, does not furnish the complete conditions for prevention of lower birth, whereas on the first ground, the seed for such a birth is counteracted by antidotes and annihilated. Bodhisattvas who attain the first ground are now Aryas or Superiors, for they can never relapse into the states of ordinary beings. This ground of the Mahayana is said to correspond, by analogy, to the eighth Arya level of the Hinayana (that of “Stream Enterer abiding by the result”). This is according to a scheme65 that counts the state of “Arhat abiding by the result” as the first level, and proceeds in reverse order through the level of “candidate for arhatship,” and so on, to that of “Stream Enterer abiding by the result.” On all these levels, all that is eliminated by the wisdom of seeing and so forth is abandoned, and all corresponding qualities of elimination and realization are gained. The eighth level is sometimes explained as referring to the stage of “candidate for Stream Enterer.” 2. The qualities whereby Bodhisattvas outshine other beings 8 With enlightenment as their aim, Bodhisattvas, while only on the first ground, overwhelm the Shravakas, born from the Buddha’s speech, and eclipse the Pratyekabuddhas. They do this through the power of their merit accruing from relative bodhichitta and nonreferential compassion; for compared with the Shravakas and Pratyekabuddhas, the merit of Bodhisattvas is ever-increasing. It is on the seventh ground, called Far Progressed, that they outshine them also by their wisdom, their understanding of absolute bodhichitta. 3. The superior quality of the first ground a. The preeminence of the paramita of generosity on the first ground 9 Of the ten paramitas, the causes of perfect buddhahood, that of generosity is the most important for Bodhisattvas on the first ground. Even when they donate their own flesh, they are free from even the most subtle attachment and clinging to its existence. Consequently, not only do they have no regret, but they act with the keenest enthusiasm. On being witness to such deeds, ordinary people can infer what they cannot see, namely, that the Bodhisattva has attained the grounds of realization, in much the same way that fire can be inferred by the presence of smoke. b. In praise of generosity i. In praise of the generosity of ordinary people (1) Generosity is necessary for ordinary people 10 Ordinary beings want only to be happy. But happiness, the cure of human sufferings like hunger and thirst, does not occur uncaused; it requires material sustenance. Knowing that such wealth is the karmic fruit of acts of generosity performed in the past, the Buddha praised it in his first teaching, even before ethical discipline and the rest. And he did so, furthermore, because generosity is easy to practice. (2) The benefits of generosity (a) Generosity brings happiness in samsara 11 Even for people whose faith and compassion are negligible, whose disposition is extremely rough and who bestir themselves only in their own interest, the getting of material satisfaction—in other words, a reprieve from their portion of sorrows—comes solely as the karmic result of generosity. Generosity is therefore the source and origin of samsaric happiness. (b) Generosity leads to the bliss of nirvana 12 Moreover, even if they have no compassion, open-handed people will, as a result of their generosity, swiftly find themselves in the presence of superior beings. For it is in the nature of things that sublime beings appear in the vicinity of generous people. And the latter, on meeting them and receiving their teachings, turn their backs on samsara and meditate on the path. So doing, they completely sever the continuum of samsaric birth and death. On the basis of such encounters, they progress toward the peace of the Shravakas and Pratyekabuddhas. ii. In praise of the generosity of Bodhisattvas 13 Thanks to their generosity, which satisfies all who ask, Bodhisattvas, who have promised to benefit beings immediately and ultimately, are quick to obtain happiness, the resultant effect of giving. That is why they constantly delight in it. iii. Concluding summary of praise For compassionate Bodhisattvas and for ordinary beings, Shravakas, and Pratyekabuddhas, who are imperfect in their compassion, the bliss of the higher realms and the ultimate goodness of enlightenment are the outcome of generous giving. Thus the teachings on generosity are of paramount importance. iv. The respectful attitude of Bodhisattvas toward generosity thus praised (1) The extent to which they are devoted to generosity 14 When they hear a beggar crying “Give!” or even when they think of such a thing—in other words, when the merest thought occurs to them that they might have the chance to practice generosity—Bodhisattvas experience a joy greater than that of Arhats entering the expanse of peace beyond suffering. Is there any need to speak of their happiness when they actually do give away everything—their possessions and even their physical organs—to satisfy the wants of those in need? (2) How they respectfully practice generosity 15 Because they are so delighted by the practice of giving, Bodhisattvas have no thought for their own suffering; instead they try to remove that of others as quickly as they can. For they see or understand that the pain they felt (when as ordinary beings they had the flesh of their bodies cut and given away) is as nothing compared with the agony of beings in hell, whose suffering is a thousand times worse.

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    c. Different kinds of generosity 16 An act of generosity associated with the pure wisdom whereby one sees that neither act of giving, nor gift to be given, neither receiver nor giverb has any real existence is called a transmundane perfection, or paramita. The Sanskrit word paramita is a combination of the elements para and ita. Para takes the accusative termination –am, while ita assumes the visarga aspiration which is a sign of the nominative case: thus, param + itah. When combined, this gives paramita. The “m” termination and the visarga are not normally audible in a compounded form. However, since the second element begins with a vowel, the preceding nasalization is heard while the visarga remains mute. Even when an act of generosity is not combined with wisdom, it can still be referred to as a paramita. For it has been said that if generosity is dedicated to complete enlightenment, it is certainly on the way to the far shore—“gone to the far shore” being the sense of the Tibetan words pha rol tu phyin pa and the Sanskrit paramita. The Tibetan term may be interpreted in two ways. In the first case, the “far shore” is understood in the sense of the Tibetan accusative,c indicative of movement toward a destination. In this case the term means “gone to the far shore,” that is, buddhahood. According to this interpretation, perfect transcendent virtue is found only in the state of perfect buddhahood and indeed is that state. In the second case, pha rol tu phyin pa may be interpreted in an instrumental sense, in other words, referring to the means whereby buddhahood is attained. In this sense, transcendental virtues are found even on the path of learning. In short, para or pha rol refers to the far shore, that is, the far shore of the ocean of samsara. This is buddhahood wherein the two veils are stripped away. By contrast, it is taught that when there is attachment to the three spheres, the generosity in question is referred to as a worldly paramita because it is still qualified by dualistic reference. C. Concluding summary of the first ground 17 Just like the moon aloft in the sky, Bodhisattvas ride high in the wisdom of the first ground because the bodhichitta of the first ground is now an intrinsic part of their minds. Such Bodhisattvas are supremely holy beings, radiantly beautiful with the light of wisdom. Like the moon, the jeweled mandala of water crystal, the Bodhisattvas on the first ground of Perfect Joy eliminate through their wisdom the thick darkness of those obscurations that are removed on the path of seeing.66 They overcome them and are completely free. Here ends the first ground or stage in the cultivation of absolute bodhichitta.

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    In summary: first bhumi is functionally mahayana stream entry which realizes the non existence of self and directly realises suchness due to the non existence of perceiver and perceived, puts an end to the three lower fetters, puts an end to rebirth in lower realms, and one attains the transcendent perfection of generosity whereby one sees neither the act of giving, nor gift to be given, nor receiver.

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