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bhāvanā-mārga (T. sgom lam སྒོམ་ལམ་; C. xiudao 修道) is translated as "path of meditation," "path of cultivation," "path of familiarization," etc. It is the fourth of the five paths within the Sanskrit tradition.

On the path of meditation, one meditates on the truth realized on the path of seeing. It is here that one begins to relinquish the innate afflictions (aka discards).

Buddhism: One Teacher, Many Traditions states:

The path of meditation (bhāvanāmārga) begins when practitioners have accumulated enough merit and their wisdom is powerful enough to begin eradicating the innate afflictions. The word for “meditation” has the same verbal root as that for “familiarize,” and this path is so called because practitioners mainly familiarize themselves with the emptiness directly realized by the path of seeing. The path of meditation has exalted wisdoms of meditative equipoise, exalted wisdoms of subsequent attainment, and exalted wisdoms that are neither of those. Here the uninterrupted paths counteract progressively subtle levels of obscurations, and liberated paths have definitely abandoned them.[1]

Distinctions between different vehicles

On the path of meditation, those following the sravakayana:

  • overcome the remaining obstacles to liberation and attain arhathood

Those following the bodhisattvayana:

Alternative translations

  • path of meditation
  • path of cultivation
  • path of familiarization (Brunnholz)
  • path of development (Gethin, Foundations of Buddhism)



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