From: firstname.lastname@example.org (David T Wei)
Date: 1 Dec 92 19:32:52 GMT
THE PRACTICE OF BODHISATTVA DHARMA
(SUTRA TRANSLATION COMMITTEE OF THE UNITED STATES AND CANADA, SERIES#.4)
Buddha-Dharma is the wisdom of all people and the light of
the world. If people possess wisdom, then civilization is able to
expand and go forward. If one has light, then even he, as an
individual, can help to disperse the darkness of ignorance. Thus,
wisdom and civilization are the right way for everyone to follow,
and Buddhadharma illuminates the world.
Just what is Buddhadharma? It is a method to enable all
being to become Buddha. "Buddha" means "enlightened One",
but the term can be extended to mean enlightening oneself and
others as well as enlightening all people and all sentient beings.
Because everybody in reality, possesses the Original nature of
Enlightenment, everybody can, therefore, become a Buddha.
However, people in the world, in their daily lives, are strongly
bound by feelings of love and hate,etc.;and they are, also, deeply
confused by their own Original Wisdom and cloud their
own Buddha Nature and are ultimately overcome by all sorts
of obstacles and delusions.
Therefore, the great Dharma Master Tai-Hsu recommended
that Buddhism should be promoted and spread everywhere.
thus, all people should be encouraged to understand the Dharma,
increase their wisdom, purify their own minds, and be directed
onto the open, wide and comfortable Path, that from numerous
and various beginning point arrives at last, at the Supreme Bodhi.
For this reason, Dharma Master Tai-Hsu wrote The Practice
of Bodhisattva Dharma, which recommends accepting the Three
Refugees to link up with Triple Jewel, practicing goodness
and generosity, observing the Five precepts and the Ten Virtues,
and diligently performing the Six paramitas and the Four All-
Embracing Virtues. So practitioners, whether following Mahayana
or Hinayana, whether monks or laymen, and people of every
degree -- with either shallow or deep understanding and ability -
will see, if they practice regularly, responsibly and sincerely,
the Fruits of Bodhi gradually increasing day by day.
I fervently hope and desire that all people and friends in the
Dharma, after reading this work and following its recommendations,
will discover that their blessing and wisdom are constantly
on the increase.
Dharma Master Lok To
Young Men's Buddhist Association of America
Bronx, New York
THE PRACTICE OF BODHISATTVA DHARMA
In the Buddha's teaching, the Sutra collection and the Vinaya
collection comprise two kinds of Dharma. The Sutras are the
collection of the Buddha's discourses given over a forty-year
period in the Ganges valley, in India, nearly 2,6000 years ago, and
they are concerned with the nature of mind and experience and
the reality of the suffering, unsatisfactoriness, and the frustration
of conditioned existence. The Vinaya is the collection that sets
forth the discipline of body and speech that bhiksus and bhiksunis
(Buddhist monks and nuns) must practice. this monastic code
of discipline is undertaken upon ordination, when one formally
leaves home life, and Vinaya of this sort is primarily the concern
of the Sangha (monastic body). An expanded version of this
Buddhist training is the Bodhisattva ordination, wherein one
undertakes the practice of the fundamental bodhisattva Dharma
of body and mind. This Bodhisattva Dharma encompasses many
levels and degrees of practice, both worldly and transcendental,
and it is truly wondrous and inconceivable.
Many people are familiar with the term "Bodhisattva", but
the genuine meaning of the term could stand some clarification.
The average person perhaps considers images made of clay,
wood or gold or portraits and paintings of saintly personalities
to be some manner of substitute Bodhisattva. Indeed,
through Asian national customs and traditions, we have come to
associate religious statuary of this sort with the term "Bodhisattva".
Needless to say, this is incorrect. We should understand
that there are Buddha rupas portraying a higher degree of practice
than Bodhisattva and also images of lesser sages, patriarchs, and
even demons with bodies of oxen and serpents. These images
should not be indiscriminately lumped together under the designation
"Bodhisattva". Actually, men and women cannot look
like the representations of Bodhisattva that artists have created.
However, we are human beings with mind, and if we vow to
practice Bodhisattva behavior, then we can gradually become Bodhisattvas.
the Sanskrit term "Bodhisattva" is composed of two words:
Bodhi, which means enlightenment or awakening;
~~~~~and sattva, which means being.
The designation "Bodhisattva" originally meant a living
being who had developed or had determined to hold the Bodhicitta.
Citta is a Sanskrit work that means mind or heart; in the East,
The two world "heart " and "mind" are synonymous. To search with
the great perseverance for the Supreme Bodhi and to
develop a compassionate heart in order to effect the liberation
of all sentient beings from their states of conditioned suffering--
such is the authentic meaning of the life and path of one who
has taken the Bodhisattva vows. Therefore, if we can resolve
determinedly to develop the Bodhicitta, to search above for the
Tao of the Buddha and seek the below to convert all sentient being to
the right path -- not simply in theory but in genuine practice --
then we are practicing real Bodhisattva Dharma. Only one who
urges all beings to strive upward and penetrate the region of the
great enlightenment can validly be recognized as and be called
A bodhisattva. Thus, it should be clear that images of clay or
gold are not the real thing; and only those who have determined
the Bodhicitta are genuine Bodhisattvas.
To initiate the Tao of the Bodhisattva, one need not already
stand in the highest regions of sanctity. By the same token, when
we observe our own natures closely, we see that pure-mind realms
are not so very far away. Starting from our worldly state, we
march, step by step, toward the highest, holiest region and create
purity and freedom. Staring from the shallow and progressing
to the deep, we transform inferior into superior beauty. Beginning
as worldlings with the bodhicitta, we eventually shall enter the
blessed stage of the final Diamond Heart. This is the condition of
the superlatively enlightened Bodhisattva.
Most people who have confidence in the Buddhadharma and
consider themselves Buddhists do not vow the develop the
bodhicitta. Thus, they remain mere worldlings if they do not
choose to add to themselves to dimension of Bodhisattva mind.
Genuine Buddhists who have determined the Bodhicitta are as
rare as the feathers of a phoenix or the horn of a unicorn. another
kind of Buddhist are those who, after encountering the Buddhadharma
, imagines the accomplishment of Buddhahood to be
so lofty as to be virtually unreachable. because of their inadequate
self-confidence, such people fail to realize the real goal and cannot
complete the Buddha Tao. They grasp the expedient teaching
which was revealed gradually by the Buddha -- i.e., wholesome
karma in this world and the subsequent reward of heavenly bliss.
Learning this very shallow dharma, they wish only to
satisfy their desire for bliss and blessings in the present life.
they can be said to have learned some Buddhadharma, but they are
still quite far, in reality, from any genuine, profound understanding
of teaching. in short, they are merely grasping expedient
teaching as absolute truth. Buddha was the censure this kind of
understanding as icchantika or the state of being unable to make
Yet another kind of Buddhist is the sort who is personally aware of the
suffering of birth and death and so learns the void dharma of the Middle-
Way beyond the two extremes of "is" and "is not". Always grasping the
extremes of "is" and "is not", and then one can enter the stage of void
samadhi. Even though this is considered a superior position and can lead to
the practice of Mahayana, it is, However, not the Bodhisattva Tao leading
to the Supreme Buddha Fruit. Thus, this approach was censured by the
Bodhisattva Dharma, whether high or samadhi. The practice of Bodhisattva
Dharma, whether high or low, worldly or transcendental, starts from the human
level and proceeds until the complete Tao of Bodhi is won. This characterizes
that practice that goes all the way through from top to bottom, and it require
nothing apart from determining the Bodhicitta and vowing to act as a Bodhi-
sattva. This development is analogous, by way of example, to a person
beginning kindergarten and proceeding until he eventually reaches the
research institute and earns his doctoral degree; at all stages of his
academic career he is called a student. Similarly, in developing Bodhisattva
practice, one begins by vowing to determine the Bodhicitta and progresses to
the Final-Diamond-Heart stage. The beginning one approaches the Buddha Fruit.
All stages are termed Bodhisattva, and practice is an ongoing matter. The
Bodhisattva stage immediately preceding the Buddha Fruit is termed the Final
Diamond Heart. Though it is not easy to carry through, by not letting go of
Bodhisattva Mind even for one instant, one will gradually complete the work
and achieve the goal.
The practice of this Bodhisattva Dharma is easily initiated
by accepting the Three Refuges of Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.
Because it is feared that a person might stray onto wrong paths,
one, after accepting the Three Refuges, is encouraged to determine
to hold the Four Great Vows. These are:(1) Sentient beings
without number I vow to enlighten; (2) Vexations without
number I vow to eradicate; (3) limitless approaches to Dharma I
vow to master; (4) Supreme Bodhi I vow to achieve. The purpose
of taking the Three Refuges is to enable people to disentangle
themselves from erroneous views; the Four Great Vows are used
to teach people to hold to no desire for the bliss of men and
devas and the void samadhi of Dviyana (the two yanas of
Sravakas and Pratyekabuddhas). This path can be termed the
direct road of the Bodhisattva Tao that leads one to the Supreme
Bodhi. After accepting the Three Refuges and thus inaugurating
the bodhisattva-Dharma training, it is very important for one
to practice everywhere, continually turning the wheel of the
Dharma and aiding all sentient beings. relative to this view, the
Vimalakirtinirdesa Sutra says: "The Bodhimandala ( place of
spiritual practice) of the Bodhisattva is everywhere."
ACCEPTING THE THREE REFUGES TO LINK UP
WITH THE TRIPLE JEWEL
In his acceptance of the Three Refuges, the essential point
to be stressed is that the aspirant should develop a very fervent
desire to behold the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. While maintaining a spirit of self-sacrifice in
relationship to the Bodhisattva
Dharma. extended to body, mind and even life, one should forge a vow
in the following manner:
" I, namely so and so, as a disciple of the Buddha, vow
to take refuges in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha
throughout my entire life."
While uttering this vow, one should maintain a spirit of great
devotion and solace. When one repeats this vow while prostration to the
Buddha, one comes to fell great awe as of a great mountain had exploded in
front of him. One may experience great solace just as a nursing child
deprived of milk might experience if suddenly he met his lovely mother and had
an overwhelming impulse to surrender himself into her arms. These wholesome
emotions, coupled with repentance and joy, are kindled in one's heart. Having
experienced skillful mental states such as the above, one states the following:
" I, namely so and so, accept the Three Refuges for the remainder
of my life, and, feeling like a bird who once had lost its
nest and has once again returned to its home forest or like
an infant who is dependent upon his loving mother, I vow never
to stray away at midday (i.e., before the end of my life)
and will always hold these Refuges with great devotion."
These Refuges are the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, otherwise known as the
Three Precious Ones of the Triple Jewel, "Precious" here meaning valuable and
worth of respect. Taking refuge as understood here we are also simultaneously
taking refuge in the Triple Gem within ourselves. This means that our own
fundamentally enlightened mind is Buddha; our speech, used to teach and aid
living beings, is Dharma; and our bodies and behavior are the symbols of
Sangha, the enlightened community of Noble Ones.
We first go for refuge to Buddha. Buddha means the Enlightened One, who has
fully accomplished ANUTTARA SAMYAKSAMBODHI, the perfect Complete Awakening.
Therefore, the appellation given to enlightened ones is simply "Buddha".
This title has been used since the original period of the Buddha's teaching in
India. The founder of the Buddhist religion was called SAKYAMUNI , or sage
of the Sakya clan; but after he achieved the Supreme Awakening, he was
thenceforth called SAKYAMUNI BUDDHA. We go for refuge to Sakyamuni Buddha but
simultaneously take refuge in all Buddhas of the ten directions and in the
three periods of time. Because the epithet "Buddha" denotes the attainment of
perfect virtue and wisdom, there is complete equality between Sakyamuni Buddha
and all other Buddhas. So even though we go for refuge to our original teacher
Sakyamuni. it is reasonable that we also, at the same time, take three time
periods. Taking refuge voluntarily, one should concentrate all the energy of
one's Dharma practice to realize the perfection of blessedness and wisdom;
i.e., one should also harbor no pride whatsoever over one's small storehouse of
virtue and wisdom. With feelings of pity and sadness for the unskillful, one
should always maintain a sense of reverence within oneself and dwell in delight
Secondly, we go for refuge to the Dharma. Because all Buddhas depend on
the Dharma as their teacher, the Dharma is recognized as the most important
refuge. The Buddha was enlightened and practiced in accordance with the Dharma
After his attainment of Bodhi, the Buddha taught all his disciples to practice
Dharma and reap the fruit just as he had. One's heart and mind should incline
naturally toward the Dharma, and one should feel as if his whole body were
embraced by the Dharma.
Thirdly, we go for refuge to the Sangha, the present superintendent of
the Three Precious Ones. In India, "Sangha" originally meant harmony. The
ability of the assembly to harmonize and stay together is called Sangha. When
more than four people live together in harmony. the term "Sangha" can be applied
to describe the situation. According to the Buddhadharma, if disciples leave
home to practice (i.e., to become bhiksus or bhiksunis) and dwell harmoniously
together in a VIHARA, they are called a Sangha. According to the Theravada
teaching, those who have practiced and attained the various stages of
liberation and sanctity of the Three Vehicles make up the Sangha of Arahants
and Sages. According to the Mahayana teaching, disciples practicing the
Bodhisattva Dharma and attaining its fruit make up the Bodhisattva Sangha
When we go for refuge to the Sangha, we should include all the various meaning
of the term in our understanding. However, in the beginning stages of Dharma
study, it is more important that we take refuge in the present superintendent
Sangha of disciples who have left home. The transmission of the Buddhadharma
in this world depends upon this present Sangha to protect and actualize the
Teachings. We take refuge with and depend upon them to learn the practice
path to Bodhi. Therefore, we take refuge to link up with the tradition of
Bodhisattva Dharma practice and initially are not so concerned with which
teacher is the wisest and who has developed the highest wisdom and virtue in
former lives. We should be primarily concerned with cultivating our own good
roots, developing harmony with everyone and universally aiding them to achieve
minds concentrated in and focussed upon the Buddhadharma.
One who takes refuge should understand that the Buddha is all-virtuous
and worthy of all respect and that the Buddha-Mind represents the incomparable
field of blessings in this world. We should understand that the Dharma is a
complete teaching that is full of principles explicitly outlining the path to
the Supreme Awakening. The Sangha should be understood to be the pure Dharma
teacher, excellent in conduct and expedient methods of instruction. In this
manner, regarding the Three Precious Ones with deep admiration, we can
successfully go for refuge, even to the end of our lives with full confidence
in the practice path. Without recourse to religious or philosophical views,
we shall always remain disciples of the Buddha. This, then, is the beginning
of the determination to achieve the Bodhisattva Mind in the practice of
PRACTICING GOODNESS AND GENEROSITY,
INCREASING BLISS AND DISPELLING CALAMITIES
Faith of confidence in the Three Precious Ones is extremely
wholesome because synonymous with this confidence is the desire to
practice loving-kindness and perform acts of goodness. According to
the Buddha's Teaching, to respect, make offerings towards and to
contribute to the happiness and welfare of all sentient beings is the
primary field in which to sow the seeds of bliss in this world. Building
temples or creating statues of religious personalities, etc., can lead
to bliss and wisdom and is termed the field of reverence. Offering
devotion. respect and gratitude to one's parents and teachers due to the
fact that they are one's benefactors is termed the field of grace. We
should do our best for the poverty-stricken, the ill,old, weak and disabled,
etc., because they are fall into states of woe and calamity, should we
be armed with our practice of generosity and purity of heart, we would then
be able to transform these situations into more fortunate ones.
Natural disasters and catastrophes arise simply as a response to evil
minds and unwholesome activities on the part of many living being. If human
beings were to determine to use wholesome mind and pure action in all
circumstances, then bliss and happiness would follow naturally. All people
want a life free from ill and calamity and full of happiness. To expect a
life of happiness without performing wholesome and beneficial activities is
not a legitimate expectation. If one does not sow the appropriate seeds,
one will surely not reap the desired response or result. The novice Bodhi-
sattva should develop a storehouse of skillful activity and virtue in order
to increase the happiness of all sentient beings.
TAKING THE REFUGE OF RIGHT FAITH
After accepting the Three Refuges, it is important to take
the refuge of the Right faith. People who have cultivated the
Buddha-dharma in their previous lives and have developed strong,
deep roots and thus have natural confidence in the Teaching can
take the refuge of the Right Faith directly. One takes this Refuge
of Right Faith in the presence of a teacher and offers one's unlimited
devotion of the Three Precious Ones. When reciting one's affirmation
the practice path of Bodhi, One should visualize worshipping at the
Buddha's feet and achieving unity with the infinite Dharmadhatu of
the Triple Jewel. As the nature of a drop of water and the Ocean
is the same, so is the nature of a small space and a large one;
similarly, there is and should be non-differentiation and
non-discrimination between the worshipper and the worshipped.
It follow from this, then that there is no duality between one's
self-nature and the Buddha-nature; i.e.,
there is no notion of an ego, personality,being,etc., involved,
the only reality being the complete identification of one's
self-nature with the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and their unlimited
compassion extended to all sentient beings. this awareness is
transcendental to all notions of insides, outside and middle, and
it comprehends all the ten directions. Transcending considerations
of time, it has no beginning or end and encompasses the Three
Realms. Now, Just as this moment of right faith and concentration,
one makes a determination of dedicate oneself to the
Dharmadhatu of the Three Precious Ones for all time without
Beginning or end. This is done in accordance with and adamantine
faith in wisdom that is done in accordance with and adamantine
faith in wisdom that is compared to eating a small diamond
that one can never digest. this is the manifestation of fundamental
Faith and is one of the four kinds that are explained in THE SASTRA
OF THE AWAKENING OF FAITH IN THE MAHAYANA, where it is said:
"This faith is the delight of True Dharma." The acknowledgment
of this Original Faith is considered to be right faith, and one
who possesses this eligible to undertake the preliminary training
of the Bodhisattva Tao.
TO DESTROY ILLUSION, ESTABLISH THE RIGHT
FAITH WITH RESPECT FOR THE RIGHT TAO
AND DISPEL HETERODOX VIEWS
This is the actual proof of the efficaciousness of the right faith.
For it one has solid confidence in the Buddhadharma based
on wisdom derived from practice, then all doctrinal disputations
or the pitting of one religious or philosophical view against another
leaves one's faith unmoved. moreover, the use of the mature wisdom
can destroy all absurd statements, evil modes of though, and
erroneous views with which one might come in contact. The
Sutras and the Sastras taught by Buddha and Bodhisattvas
contain a complete, universally valid and reasonable teaching
for all sentient begin. Also, many different masters made every
effort to enhance and glorify these profound doctrines by way
of commentary. Therefore, Taking the refuge of right faith in
the Bodhisattva Tao means not only to recognize the truth for
oneself but also to protect the Buddhadharma against insult
and abuse and to profit others by teaching. Using skillful
eloquence of speech and writing, one should manifest the truth
of Buddhadharma to increase the faith of both oneself and others.
The Bodhisattva who takes the refuge of right faith, with his
qualification of self-knowledge, is able , eventually, to arrive
at the stage of non-retrogression. Those who have taken merely
the Three Refuges in order to link up with the tradition of Bodhi-
sattva Practice are not yet prepared for this stage.
THE FIVE PRECEPTS AND THE TEN VIRTUES
The five precepts, along with the Three Refuges, are the first step
in the practice of Buddhadharma for both laymen and Sangha. The five
precepts are the fundamental discipline in Buddhist training and the
necessary moral practice for human-kind. Therefore, The Bodhisattva Garland
of Precious Gems Sutra states that all sentient beings' ability to enter the
ocean of the Triple Jewel is dependent on faith and discipline. Our physical,
verbal and mental activity are the basis of our production of wholesome and
unwholesome karma. According to the Buddhadharma the five precepts are of
singular importance to enable us to destroy our evil tendencies, increase the
strength of our good tendencies and purify our minds. They are considered to
be the moral standard for human beings; and, indeed, of they are not practiced
and maintained, then this human form of life will have its demise.
The first precept is to refrain from killing living beings and, instead
to extend loving-kindness to them. The second precept is to refrain from
stealing and instead, to practice generosity. The third precept is to refrain
from adultery and, instead, to practice wholesome family life. The fourth
precept is to refrain from lying and, instead, to practice truthfulness in all
one's dealings. The fifth precept is to refrain from intoxicants--both drug
and liquor -- and, instead, to live in good health and practice clarity of
The Buddha explained this ethical principles as follows: The first four
precepts are considered to be natural moral principles, whereas the fifth
precept is considered to be a conventional moral principle. Natural morality
means those ethical principles that all human society should maintain regardless
of what religious denomination or philosophy is adhered to. Whether one
practices Buddhadharma or not, one should refrain from killing, stealing,
adultery and lying. Conventional morality means to behave in such a way that
unwholesome actions cannot have the opportunity to arise. even though the
consumption of intoxicants need not necessarily involve others, the resulting
state can lead to transgression of the first four precepts. furthermore, if
one is given to habitual consumption of liquor or drugs, the obvious result is
the steady deterioration of one's physical and mental health.
Whether one practices Buddhadharma or not, if one cultivates these five
precepts as the standard for one's behavior, one can then become a person of
unwavering morality, worthy of the respect of others. Besides the voluntary
agreement to refrain from some negative or destructive activity, these precepts
all contain a positive attitude or practice to be cultivated as their counter-
part. the five precepts in Buddhadharma and the Five Constant Virtues in
Confucianism are the same.
The practice of non-killing means extending kindness to all living beings.
To kill people is a serious matter in the eyes of the world, but to kill
smaller living things is not conventionally considered quite so serious. In the
Buddha's Teaching, however, the taking of life of any kind whatsoever is a grave
matter. People and societies that value peace and unity must practice non-
killing and its positive counterpart -- loving-kindness.
Practicing non-stealing means the adoption of right livelihood by human
beings. Clothing, food, housing and transportation are essential requirements
of human society and are produced by people's labor. As such, they are to gotten
in such a way that is justifiable and legitimate. If people resort to cheating
and stealing or acquiring their property and wealth without the necessary
expenditure of labor, then peaceful co-existence is an impossibility. Therefore,
the Buddha stated that even a needle or a weed cannot be taken from another
The practice of refraining from adultery will strengthen moral ties between
human beings. The right path to be taken between men and women is wholesome
married life with proper responsibility taken for their relationship and what-
ever children may come as a result of their union. Therefore, the Buddhist
tradition allows lay disciples to marry and considers it correct and justifiable
and legitimate source of happiness in this world. To enjoy sexual activity
without taking responsibility for one's actions only leads to a degenerate
social situation and such unfortunate extremes as incest, venereal disease, etc.
Moreover, this is an evasion of one's true responsibility to raise and educate
children and to inculcate in them proper moral and social values. Children are
not equipped emotionally or intellectually to educate themselves and need the
guidance and good example of their parents and teachers to lead and point them
toward wholesome behavior and healthy physical and mental development.
The practice of non-lying, or truthfulness, means conforming our actions
to our words and maintaining the spirit of honesty in all our dealings. Where
there is dishonesty, even as small a social unit as that of husband-and-wife
cannot live together in love and righteousness. On an international scale,
global unity will remain an impossibility because of the propensity to selfish-
ness, dishonesty and betrayal on the part of nations and societies.
The Buddha praised the virtue of words conforming with actions and observed
that honesty and sincerity are characteristic of the sage. The commentary to
The Prajnaparamita Sutra states that one who habitually lies possesses an ill
fame that spreads far and wide, and such a one, at the end of his life, succumbs
to rebirth in a hellish realm.
The practice of non-intoxication, or sobriety, is necessary to increase
and maintain purity of heart and wisdom. Intoxication can frequently lead to
the loss of both one's fortune and honor. The Venerable Hsu Yun has so wisely
observed: "Drinking wine and eating meat upset the mind-nature...; with clear
tea and vegetarian food the mind errs not, enjoying Dharma night and day."
When the consumption of alcoholic beverages of drugs is allowed to become
habitual, laziness and shamelessness will certainly develop. Therefore, if one
aspires to develop a noble personality and practice the Bodhisattva Dharma, one
should refrain from the use of such debilitating substances.
The observation of the five precepts is also the basis of discipline for
those who leave home to practice the Bodhisattva Tao. Their practice is
stricter than that of laypeople because under extreme conditions the laydisciple
is able to transgress these principles. For example, if a lay-Bodhisattva is a
member of the military and is called upon to defend the populace, he can justi-
fiably do so for the greater good of the community. However, the Sangha members
cannot, under any circumstances, be involved in this activity. Another example
would be the legitimate enjoyment of sexuality between husband and wife. Sangha
members are prohibited completely from engaging in sexuality.
Below is a chart outlining the five precepts and how they correspond to the
! non-lying<------------! T
! no improper remarks<--! E
! !---verbal N
Five---->!--->non-lying no two faced speech<--! activity<----
Precepts ! non-ugly speech<------! V
! non-grasping and clinging<-! I
! not full of anger<-! R
! !---mental activity<- T
! ! U
! not ignorant and<-! E
!--->non- unenlightened ! --------------------S
The four virtuous modes of verbal activity are here equated to the precept
of refraining from untruth. Improper remarks can even be more false than
untrue ones, and honeyed words are dishonest. Obscenity and pornography move
people's hearts in an immoral direction.
Two-faced speech serves only to stir up ill will and instigate trouble on
both sides of the fence. It can cause people to separate from their own flesh
and blood and cause loved ones to become enemies; on a small scale, it can
disrupt a family, and, on a larger one, it can lead to global warfare.
The use of ugly speech means to make insulting remarks continually. One
uses abusive and intolerable speech to insult others and does not seem to
realize the effect of one's own abrasive language. This manner of speech is
distorted and unprofitable and so is included in the category of lying.
The three virtuous mental actions are the positive counterparts to the
fifth precept of refraining from intoxicants. Grasping and clinging means
excessive craving for those things that one should renounce. One craves
continually for more and more, never being satisfied with what one has. Being
full of anger means the absence of compassion for sentient beings and their
situation. Ignorant and unenlightened states of mind and action refer to the
ignorant of clinging to heterodox views and non-possessing of that wisdom that
would let one follow the correct path. These ignorant and unwise states also
refer to that condition where one is full of uncontrollable desires and is
foolishly drowning in the sea of false views about the nature of reality.
Therefore, one who aspires to tread the Bodhisattva Path must develop right
thought and shed all heterodox views. Craving, aversion and delusion are every-
body's problem and are referred to in the Buddhadharma as the three poisons or
the three roots of unskillfulness. A Person who has extinguished these three
poisons in himself is called holy. One who aims to practice Bodhisattva Dharma
should practice generosity, compassion and wisdom, which are the antidotes for
these three roots of unskillfulness. It is said that if the protecting
embankment of the precepts is broken, the evil waves of the three poisons will
overflow, flooding and destroying the personality.
The observation of the five precepts will insure that the relationships
and moral practice of human society are perfect. To practice the Bodhisattva
Dharma, it is essential that the aspirant have a moderately balanced and
wholesome temperament. If the stability of personality and behavior is
insufficient, where can the Bodhisattva Dharma make its appearance? The
observation of the precepts will lend the necessary stability, balance and
wholesomeness to one's personality. The cultivation of these ten virtues alone
will insure one an unobstructed entrance into the realm of the devas. Because
craving, aversion and delusion are kept in check, the mind will be calm and
full of peace and quite suitable for contemplative practice. If rebirth in
heaven states occurs, the time will not be spent in idle enjoyment of celestial
bliss but rather in further practice of the Bodhisattva Tao. Whether in the
human or the deva worlds, the Bodhisattva Path consists in continually practice-
ing virtuous action and developing wisdom. The Bodhisattva extends loving-
kindness and compassion to all sentient beings and teaches and illustrates, by
example, the Bodhisattva Tao in whatever realm of existence he finds himself.
SRAMANERA AND BHIKSU
According to the Buddha's Teaching, the five precepts and the ten
virtues constitute what is called the UPASAKA or UPASIKA dharma. The
upasaka/upasika is a man or a woman who practices the Buddhadharma in
lay life and who protects and serves the Triple Jewel. These two
categories of lay disciples together with the SRAMANERAS and the BHIKSUS
become the four-fold assembly of Buddha's disciples. Further analysis
and classification establishes the four-, seven-, or nine-fold assembly
as illustrated below:
the refuge of connection -------!
the refuge of right faith ------!
four- upasaka ---------------------------!
!----- fold upasika ---------------------------!
! assembly-------- bhiksu ---------------------------!
! bhiksuni ---------------------------!
assembly in !fold
the Buddhist !assembly
! seven- (the first four are the same !
!------fold as above) -------------------------!
assembly------- siksamana -------------------------!
The sramanera is a novice monk, and the bhiksu is a fully ordained
member of the Buddhist Sangha. After taking the complete education and
training of a sramanera, one is eligible to become a bhiksu. The
sramanera depends upon a bhiksu master to administer the higher ordination,
and it is the responsibility of the master to train and educate the
sramanera fully since he will become the guardian and heir of the Dharma
in the future. This education consists of the following: the VINAYA,
or essential rules of monastic deportment and behavior; the Buddhist Sutras;
the commentaries of later Patriarchs and teachers, called Sastras; and
the essentials of meditation practice. Unless the sramanera is will grounded
in these teachings, the Dharma master should not take the responsibility
involved in conferring the bhiksu ordination. A traditional saying states:
"A Dharma master must not have any dumb sheep;"i.e., a monk who cannot
comprehend and spread the Dharma. The term "sramanera" possesses several
meanings. One meaning is "to cease" in the sense of achieving a state of
mind wherein one's craving, aversion and delusion cease. Another meaning
is "kindness" in the sense of achieving a state of mind wherein one can
practice loving-kindness, or MAITRI.
One who desires to leave home-life and practice as a sramanera must
be able to observe the ten precepts. These are as follows:
Not stealing, Celibacy, or brahmacharya,
Not lying ,
Not taking intoxicants,
Not using garlands of flowers,jewelry,perfumes,etc.,
Not listening to music or attending movies, operas,etc.,
Not sleeping on high or broad beds,
Not eating food after twelve noon, and refraining from acquiring
money and valuables.
The first five precepts are the same as those held by lay disciples,
with one notable exception. The third lay precept of refraining from
adultery or sex which accuses trouble is changed to the observance of complete
celibacy for Sangha members.
The sixth precept is to refrain from the use of flower garland, makeup,
perfumes and other manner of personal adornment. To enhance one's personal
attractiveness to the opposite sex has no place in the lives of Sangha members
who are trying to attain the knowledge and vision of reality.
The seventh precept is to refrain from taking part in dancing, singing,
musical and theatrical performances, etc. Disciples who have left home should
not view or listen to such things, for the places in which they are taking
place usually have no connection with spiritual life. The subject matter of
popular music and drama only serves to perpetuate illusions about the nature
of this world and has little or nothing to do with the practice path to Bodhi.
The eighth precept is to refrain from sleeping on a high or broad bed.
One who has renounced the life of luxury and the priorities of personal comfort
and sense pleasure has no need a simple seat and a low bed. For the disciple
who has left home, a simple seat and a low bed or mat should be more than
The ninth precept is to refrain from eating after midday. One who has
left home should try to imitate the great Patriarchs and teachers of the past,
who usually took only one meal a day, which was in the forenoon. Satisfaction
with one full meal before noon has many benefits, one of which is that a
disciple has more time to study and practice Dharma. Another benefit is that
one is not plagued with tiredness and lethargy due to overeating and can enjoy
better health. It is also said that the hungry ghosts, or pretas, seek their
nourishment in the evening; and when they hear the sounds of monk's bowl, their
hunger and suffering increase. Therefore, out of compassion for them the
disciple who has left home does not eat in the evening.
The tenth precept is to refrain from acquiring money, jewels,and other
valuables. An increase of greed and desire for fame and will surely occur if
one acquires these things. Those disciples who have left home should live a
tranquil life without the desire for worldly gain, and their needs should be
met by the offerings of the lay disciples.
The first five precepts form the sila, or moral discipline--the basis of
the four barga, or groups--of the Buddha's disciples. The sramanera must, in
addition to the first five precepts, observe and maintain these five additional
precepts, the first four of which are precept is to abandon the wealth that lay-
people depend on. In this way the monk's life is devoid of personal property,
and he truly lives up to the designation:"homeless one"
The bhiksu, then, is the disciple who has taken the higher ordination in
the Buddhadharma. The term "bhiksu" comes from the Sanskrit root-verb "bhiksa"
meaning "to beg". Bhiksu mean one who is without home and property and is
dependent on almsfood to support the body. A bhiksu should enjoy a tranquil
life of renunciation, possessing only three robes and a bowl. Like a bird
flying anywhere, devoid of property and possessions, so the bhiksu goes.
Travelling anywhere, observing strictly the monastic Vinaya, the bhiksu spreads
the Dharma and maintains the Buddha's Way in this world.
The bhiksu precepts number 250 and include the sramanera discipline. They
constitute a code of refined conduct and discipline concerning the bhiksu's
deportment while he is walking, standing, sitting, sleeping, talking, silent,
etc. If the bhiksu maintains his Vinaya, his respect-inspiring deportment is
complete, and he is competent to maintain the Buddhadharma in this world.
The discipline of bhiksus is complete; that of sramaneras is partial. However,
both have as their basis the ten precepts, which are called the perfect
discipline of one who leaves home.
THE EIGHT PRECEPTS
The eight precepts are the discipline of laypeople engaged in short
training periods or in preparation to leave home. Because the world of
laypeople with its work and family obligations can be fatiguing, both mentally
and physically, the Buddhist tradition allows and encourages periods of retreat.
During these periods, the lay disciples accept the eight precepts and
experience a bit of the peace of a will-ordered and disciplined life. In this
way, they can develop more understand of the Buddhadharma and enjoy a clarity
of mind analogous to the happiness of spring-time. The layman's precepts are
the same as the first nine of the sramanera's precepts, the sixth and seventh
being combined to make the total of eight. It is customary in Buddhist
countries to observe these precepts on the new- and full-moon days of the lunar
calendar. The precepts close the doors to the realms of woe (apaya-bhumi) and
open the doors to the heaven-worlds and the realms of the sage.
MAHAYANA AND HINAYANA
According to one's learning and level of practice, there is a distinction
made between Mahayana and Hinayana Buddhism. Hinayana is a term given by the
Mahayana to those schools of Buddhism that practice to attain Sravaka Bodhi,
the enlightenment of a sravaka, or one who listens to and understands a Buddha's
Teaching. This enlightenment is termed that of an arahant, or accomplished one.
Mahayana Buddhists aspire to win the Anuttara Samyak Sambodhi of a Buddha,
both for their own liberation and for the liberation of all sentient beings.
A traditional simile concerning these two yanas is that a solitary individual
riding a bicycle is analogous to the Hinayana path, while riding in a train
full of people is comparable to the Mahayana.
According to the Bodhisattva Dharma, an individual who has determined to
practice and seek deliverance for himself only has blockaded himself within and
limited himself to the region of Hinayana. In a contrast, one who has deter-
mined to practice the Bodhicitta with the aspiration to assist in the liberation
of other living beings has entered the region of Mahayana. The practice of
Bodhisattva Dharma is just the promotion of this Mahayana insight, and its basis
spirit is the determination of the Bodhicitta.
DETERMINING THE BODHICITTA; THE FOUR GREAT
VOWS AND THE FOUR DEFEATS OF THE
Determining the Bodhicitta is spoken of in the last of the Four Great Vows
" The Supreme Enlightenment we vow to achieve."
Enlightenment is Bodhi; Supreme Enlightenment is the Anuttara Samyak Sambodhi,
or the buddha Fruit. Determining the Bodhicitta means using the faith of our
worldly minds to vow to complete this path. However, if one is to complete
this vow, one should have the support of the other three Great
Vows. To arrive at Anuttara Samyak Sambodhi. one should
have the desire to spread the Buddhadharma and effect the liberation
of all the sentient beings. Therefore, the First vow is:
"Sentient beings without number we vow to enlighten."
For a Bodhisattva,the eradication of one's own suffering is joined with the
desire to aid in the eradication of all others' suffering as well. The
real Bodhisattva identifies the Immeasurable distress of all
sentient beings as his own. With this immeasurable compassion
(Mahakaruna), one can take up the second vow:
"Vexations without number we vow to eradicate."
The desire to win Supreme Bodhi, convert and liberate sentient
beings, aid in the eradication of their distress, etc., should not
be an impulse based on idle sentimentality or romantic notions
of spiritual life. This noble aspiration can only come to completion
provided that there is a strong foundation of wisdom. with
wisdom only, and not otherwise, can one spread the Dharma
and assist living beings. This wisdom arises from a keen desire
to learn and practice the Buddhadharma. Therefore, the Buddha
said, "All Buddha in the three periods arise from learning and
practice". One who is not willing to learn will remain eternally
foolish, and what foolish man or woman ever completed the
Bodhi Tao, spread Dharma and assisted sentient beings? As there
is Immeasurable distress in the lives of sentient beings, there
are innumerable methods of Dharma practice. Therefore, the
third vow of great compassion is:
"limitless approaches to Dharma we vow to master."
When one perceives the suffering of sentient beings, one vows to enlighten
sentient beings without number. When perceiving the distress in one's life
and that of others,one vows to eradicate vexations without end. Perceiving
the myriad Dharma doors to enlightenment, one vows to master them all.
Perceiving the truth of nirvana, one vows to attain the Supreme Bodhi.
All Bodhisattvas who determine the Bodhicitta hold there Four Vows of great
There are various condition leading to the deterioration of the bodhi-
citta and the practice of Bodhisattva Dharma. These conditions are
called parajika, or "defeats", and they are acts or thoughts that break or
defeat the Bodhisattva practice. This same term is used in connection with
the monastic Vinaya, where it denotes the first four rules, transgression of
which calls for expulsion from the order of bhiksus. The elder Tripitaka Master
Hsuan Tsang translated this term as "overcoming by specific conditions." This
means the good roots necessary for the practice of Bodhisattva Dharma are
overcome by the specific conditions of unwholesome roots.
The first specific condition which leads to the defeat of the Bodhicitta is
the tendency to praise oneself and to slander others. If the Bodhisattva loses
his Mahakaruna, he is no longer willing to profit others at his own expense.
Being solely concerned with his own name and fame, he loses respect in the
eyes of family,friends and society.
The second specific condition leading to defeat is seeing someone in a
state of suffering and anxiety and not lifting a finger to help. Losing one's
Mahakaruna, one makes no effort to teach or profit those who may come for
assistance but, instead, cultivates miserly tendencies.
The third specific condition leading to defeat is no receiving
the repentant or those desirous of following the right path. Losing
one's Mahakaruna, one allows himself to bear anger and grudges
in his mind and, as a result, is not willing to teach or assist those
who are repentant.
The fourth specific condition leading to defeat is the act
of foolishly deceiving others with pseudo-Dharma. Without
wisdom, one manipulates heterodox views, slandering the
Buddhadharma and deceiving others with what appears to be
Dharma but which is , in fact, not genuine.
If a Bodhisattva falls into any of these categories of defeat,
he loses the Bodhicitta and also the qualification of Bodhisattva
practice. Therefore, one should preserve the qualifications, protect
the Bodhicitta and increase the vast storehouse of Bodhisattva Dharma.
THE SIX PARAMITAS
The six Paramitas, or perfections, are the means for realizing
the four great vows and completing the Bodhisattva practice.
They are as follows: 1) Dana, generosity or charity; 2) Sila,
the precepts or morality; 3) Ksanti, patience or forbearance;
4) Virya, energy and zeal; 5) Dhyana, contemplative practice
or meditation; 6) Prajna, Wisdom or the power to discern reality
When one has heard the Mahayana Dharma and developed
great compassion, the practice of the six paramitas is the natural
next step on the Bodhisattva Path. The great vows, deep as the
ocean, should have a mountain of practice of Six Paramitas,
and filling (or fulfilling) the vows means to complete the
Supreme Bodhi of Buddha Fruit. The Tao of Bodhisattva Dharma
is the Practice of the Six Paramitas.
The first paramita is Dana, or charity and generosity. The
Highest worldly form of this is to give one's body, or even one's
very life, for the benefit of others. This is described as internal
charity, while the type of generosity regarding personal property.
money,time, etc., is referred to as external charity. Beyond
Dana, in this internal and external sense, there is a transcendental
form, which is the use of one's talents, intellect, scholarship,
eloquence,etc., to spread the message of buddhadharma. This
is called the almsgiving of Buddha Truth. the principle of
Dana is the spirit of self-sacrifice in order to benefit the multitude.
The second Paramita is Sila, or morality. As stated above,
the discipline of Mahayana Bodhisattva is not only concerned
with the negative prohibitions but also with their positive counter-
parts. Sila means the cessation of evil and the initiation of the
good. This sila is formulated as the 5,8,10 or 250 percepts.
The principle of Bodhisattva moral discipline is to attain the
state of non-retrogression in one's moral behavior whereby the
observation of sila becomes automatic.
The third Paramita is Ksanti, or patience and forbearance.
Holding onto the objective of doing good, especially in this age of chaos
and impurity throughout the six realms of sentient beings, is not an easy
affair. There are so many adverse circumstances to obstruct the practice of
Bodhisattva Dharma. The Bodhisattva, equipped with right view and his practice
of the Ksanti Paramita, is able to deal successfully with these situations,
effect his own liberation and aid all other living beings. The Bodhisattva
should also develop the capacity for forgiveness, which arises from wisdom.
Wisdom perceives that all sentient beings are produced by causal conditions
without self-nature and are of the same nature as oneself.
The fourth paramita is Virya, or energy. The term "energy" is used
in the sense of putting forth energy to win those states of wholesomeness
as yet unknown and unwon. One puts forth energy in the practice of the
Bodhisattva Dharma and energetically maintains the Bodhicitta. Without
developing Virya Paramita, one determines the Bodhicitta only temporarily.
When meeting with adverse conditions, one is disillusioned and drops the
practice. Virya, Then, comes to mean persistence in the face of disillusionment
and energetic striving to complete the Bodhi Tao and to win the supreme Buddha
The fifth Paramita is Dhyana, or contemplative practice. Dhyana, in
Sanskrit, means concentration practice and is synonymous with samadhi. Joining
the two words, we have the chinese phrase Ch'an-Ting. The original meaning of
Ch'an-Ting is to concentrate the mind on one point. The effort of contemp-
lation is the tonic of spiritual health. One studying the Bodhisattva Tao who
cannot control his confused and disorderly mind must necessarily practice
Ch'an-Ting and develop light and power and the ability to be unmoved by desires.
Ch'an-Ting is the source of all wisdom and equanimity and the means to complet-
ion of the Bodhisattva Tao.
The sixth Paramita is Prajna, or wisdom. Although all worldly knowledge
and learning are thought of as wisdom, the wisdom tradition of the Buddhadharma
is no quite the same. According to the Buddha, wisdom is the ability to
recognize the truth behind the temporary show of appearances and to possess
confidence regarding this truth. The method of practice leading to wisdom,
called Ch'an-Ting, encourages us not to seek anything but to unite ourselves
with the Truth. This is called Original Wisdom and it encompasses discriminat-
ive wisdom, so though its scope and the approach to it are different. Original
wisdom is the apprehension of the truth that all things arise from causal con-
ditions, have no self-nature and are, therefore, void. The very essence of
those six Paramitas is wisdom, and the way of wisdom is the Bodhisattva Tao.
The Sanskrit term "Paramita" means "Gone across to the other shore.
"The practice of these Paramitas can lead one across the sea of birth,death and
distress to the other shore of peace and truth -- i.e., Nirvana. The purified
mind and wholesome behavior that arises through the practice of the six
Paramitas are praised by all sages, ancient and modern. Perceptively, Chuang
T'se observed long ago: " The body as rotten wood, the mind as cold ashes,
losing all things, beyond the world." Another Chinese sage, Lao T'se, also
insightfully noted: "Actions like the flow of water, mind calm as a mirror;
the sounds of the world appear as an echo."
THE FOUR ALL-EMBRACING VIRTUES
Another Bodhisattva-Dharma tool used to benefit others and oneself is that
of the four All-Embracing Virtues. Dana, in this sense, means giving what others
like to them in order to lead them to become receptive and to lean toward the
truth. Priyavacana means affectionate and beautiful speech used for the same
reasons as Dana. Arthakrtya means conduct profitable to others and is used in
the same way as Dana and Priyavacana. Smanarthata means cooperation with and
adaptation to others for the sake of leading them to the truth. As
Avalokitesvara appeared in 32 form, one, similarly, should manifest all kinds of
forms to convert and aid skillfully all sentient beings.
Depending on our wisdom, we practice the Six Paramitas and the four All-
Embracing Virtues and complete the Tao of Bodhisattva Dharma. Each individual,
according to his position -- Whether it be farmer, soldier, laborer, educator,
politician, businessman, monk or nun, etc. -- can determine the Bodhicitta.
The unfolding of this Bodhicitta lies in the practice of Bodhisattva conduct,
spreading the truth of Buddhadharma, and establishing the practicality of the
Teachings as a way of life in a genuinely humane society and culture. The
principle of his practice is that the spirit is consistent though the
circumstances vary. The Bodhisattva Tao should have no restrictions depend-
en on time and place but should respond freely and spontaneously according to
May all sentient beings practice the Bodhi Tao and arrive at the Supreme-
Anuttara Sanyak Sambodhi: The incomparably complete, perfect
------------------------ Awakening experienced by Buddhas.
Apaya-bhumi: State of woe; the three realms of existence characterized
----------- by extreme discomfort and delusion, i.e., hell-states,
animal birth and hungry ghosts, or pretas.
Arahant: Lit, accomplished one; one who has destroyed the fetters
------- and defilements binding one to the wheel of birth
and death. One who has extinguished, in himself, craving,
aversion and delusion.
Arthakrtya: one of the four All-Embracing Virtues; performance
---------- of conduct profitable to others in order to lead them
toward the truth.
Bhiksu: A Buddhist monk who has taken the higher ordination
------ and the 250 precepts.
Bhiksuni: A Buddhist nun who has taken the higher ordination
-------- and 350 precepts.
Bodhi: enlightenment or awakening.
Bodhicitta: Lit, enlightened mind or heart; the determination
---------- or vow to develop and practice the Bodhisattva path to
Bodhisattva: Lit., enlightened being; one who has determined
----------- the Bodhicitta and practices the six Paramitas, the four Great
Vows, the All-Embracing Virtues,etc.
Brahmacharya: Lit., Brahma or purified life, usually connoting the
----------- practice of celibacy.
Buddha: Lit., the Awakened One ; one who through aeons of
------ spiritual development has attained Anuttara Samyak Sambodhi.
This epithet usually refers to Sakyamuni Buddha, Who
lived about taught in India some 2,600 years ago.
Buddhadharma: The Teaching of the Buddha.
Buddharupa: A statue or image of the Buddha, used for devotional
Ch'an-Ting: Lit., "mind still and quiet"; the Chinese translation
---------- of the Sanskrit terms Dhyana-samadhi, meaning deep
contemplative practice or yogic absorption.
Citta: Mind or heart, the two terms being synonymous in Asian
----- religious philosophy.
Dana: The practice of generosity or charity; one of the Paramitas
---- as well as one of the All-Embracing Virtues,Where it means,
in the latter, giving others what they want just to lead them
towards the truth.
Devas: The inhabitants of the heavenly realms, Which are characterized
----- by long life, joyous surroundings and blissful stated of
mind. In the Buddhist tradition, these states are understood
to be impermanent, not eternal.
Dharma: Lit., that which upholds. Dharma has no exact equivalent
------ in English. It can mean variously: the Buddha's teaching,
the laws of the universe, the nature of things, any and all
phenomena, the real or unreal, etc. When understood as
the perfect Teaching of the Awakened One, it constitutes
the second of the Three precious Jewels and the Three
Dharmadhatu: Lit., dharma element or realm, wherever the principles discovered
----------- by the Buddha are in operation, i.e., everywhere. Also, all
phenomena and noumena and their underlying nature.
Dhyana: The practice of concentration, i.e., meditation. Also, more
------ specifically, the four form concentrations and the four formless
Dviyana: Lit., two vehicles. The two vehicles or practice paths of Sravakayana
------- and Pratyekabuddhayana.
Four Great Vows: The four vows held by all Bodhisattvas. These vows are called
--------------- great because of the wondrous and inconceivable compassion
involved in fulfilling them. They are as follows: Sentient
beings without number we vow to enlighten; Vexations without
end we vow to eradicate; Limitless approaches to Dharma we vow
to Dharma we vow to master; The Supreme Awakening we vow to
Hinayana: The lesser Vehicle; a term applied by the Mahayana to those schools
-------- of Buddhism that practice to attain the fruits of Sravakayana and
Pratyekabuddhayana and do not attempt to attain the Anuttara Samyak
Sambodhi of a Buddha.
Icchantika: One who has no interest in the path to Awakening, or one whose
---------- good roots are completely covered.
Karma: Volition, volitional or intentional activity. Karma is always followed
----- by its fruit, vipaka. Karma and vipaka are oftentimes referred to as
the law of causality, a cardinal concern in the Teaching of the Buddha.
Ksanti: Patience or forbearance, one of the six Paramitas.
Mahakaruna: Great compassion.
Mahayana: Lit., great vehicle, a name held by those schools of Buddhism that
-------- advocate the path to the Supreme Awakening of a Buddha and the
crossing over of all sentient beings to the shore of peace and truth.
Nirvana: The deathless; the cessation of all suffering. The very opposite of
------- the Wheel-of-Birth-and Death; it is what those in the Buddhist
tradition aspire to experience. The Absolute, which transcends
designation and mundane characterization.
Parajika: Lit., defeat or the conditions leading to the defeat of the
-------- Bodhicitta. Also, the conditions leading to the defeat of the bhisku
Paramita: Lit., that which crosses over; the Six Perfections, namely: Sana,
-------- or generosity; Sila, or morality; Ksanti, or patience, Virya, or
energy; Dhyanam or meditation, and Prajna, or wisdom.
Prajna: Fundamental wisdom or insight; one of the Paramitas.
Pratyekabuddha: A solitary Buddha; one who has achieved Awakening through
-------------- insight into the dependent origination of mind and body.
Pratyekabuddhas lead only solitary lives, and they do not
teach the Dharma to others nor do they have any desire to do
Pretas: Hungry ghosts, who are tormented by continual and unsatisfied cravings.
------ The preta-realm is one of the three state of woe (apaya-bhumi) and one
of the six realms of existence.
Priyavacana: Lit., loving or affectionate speech. This beautiful and
----------- affectionate speech is one of the four All-Embracing virtues
and is used to lead sentient beings toward the truth.
Samadhi: Deep concentration; the state of one-pointedness of mind characterized
------- by peace and imperturbability. Samadhi is also one of the Paramitas
and is indispensable on the path to Bodhi.
Samanarthata: Cooperation with and adaption to others for the sake of leading
------------ them towards the truth. Samanarthata is one of the four All-
Sangha: Lit., harmonious community. In the Buddhadharma, Sangha means the
------ order of bhiksus, sramaneras and sramanerikas. Another meaning is the
Arya Sangha, attained one of the four stages of sanctity. Also, the
Siksamana: A lay-disciple who maintains the eight precepts, either temporarily
--------- or as preparation for leaving home.
Sila: Moral precepts. These number 5, 8, 10, 250 or 350. Also, one of the
Sutra: A discourse by the Buddha or one of his major disciples. The Sutra
----- collection is one of the three divisions of the Buddhist scripture.
Sramanera: A novice monk holding the 10 precepts.
Sramanerika: A novice nun holding the 10 precepts.
Sravaka: A disciple who hears the Teaching personally from a Buddha and
------- observes the practices on the path to Arahant-ship.
Tao: Path or way. The Sanskrit equivalent to this chinese term is marga.
Ten Virtues: The virtuous modes of behavior, which are the positive
----------- counterpart to the five precepts.
Theravada: Lit., the Way of the Elders. The Buddhist tradition, the
--------- scriptures of which are recorded in the pali language; this
tradition advocates the Arahant path.
Three Poisons: Craving, aversion and delusion; also, these are termed the three
------------- root-stains or the three roots of unskillfulness.
Three Precious Ones: Buddha, Dharma and Sangha; sometimes referred to as the
------------------- Teacher, the Teaching and the Taught.
Three Refuges: Taking refuge and possessing confidence in the Buddha's
------------- Awakening, in his teaching and in the Sangha of enlightened
Three Vehicles: The yanas of Sravakas, Pratyekabuddhas and Buddhas.
Upasaka: The male lay-disciples of the Buddha, characterized by their
------- maintenance of the five precepts and Three Refuges.
Upasika: The female lay-disciples of the Buddha, characterized by their
------- maintenance of the five precepts and the Three Refuges.
Vinaya: Disciplined conduct, referring specifically to the monastic rules for
------ the disciples who have left home; also, one of the three divisions of
the Buddhist scriptures.
Virya: Energy; the energy necessary to maintain and progress in spiritual
----- development. Also, one of the Paramitas.