Bodhisattvabhūmi

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Bodhisattvabhūmi (T. byang chub sems dpa'i sa བྱང་ཆུབ་སེམས་དཔའི་ས་; C. pusa dichi jing), or Bodhisattva Stages, is a treatise on the training of the bodhisattva attributed to Asanga. It is included as a chapter within the Yogacarabhumi.

According to the 14th Dalai Lama, this text is "a key work of Sanskrit Buddhist literature."[1] The Dalai Lama states:

“It deals, as the title suggests, with the stages of the path, the training, and education of a bodhisattva. The text was taught and studied at the great Nalanda University. It not only outlines the practice of meditation and cultivation of the six perfections—generosity, ethics, patience, effort, meditation, and wisdom—but encourages the acquisition of broad knowledge and general education in the pursuit of enlightenment. The focus of that education is the five sciences, which include study of Buddhist and non-Buddhist philosophical views, grammar, logic, medicine, and crafts.”[2]

Outline

The text identifies ten topics which are presented within three major sections.

Ten topics

The following ten topics are identified in the opening passages of the text:[3]

  1. support
  2. marks
  3. factions
  4. superior attitudes
  5. pleasurable states
  6. births
  7. embracing
  8. stages
  9. conduct
  10. preeminence

Major sections

  • Book I explains the support for becoming a bodhisattva (including inborn disposition or gotra, arousing bodhicitta, practicing for the benefit of oneself and others, understanding the nature of reality and the perfections). It also discusses how bodhisattvas are superior to other practitioners.
  • Book II explains the marks (liṅga) of bodhisattvas (like courage and karuṇā), factions (pakṣa) of bodhisattvas (lay and monastic), superior attitudes (adhyāśaya) and pleasurable states (vihāra) in the practice of a bodhisattva.
  • Book III explains the five kinds of rebirths (upapatti) a bodhisattva undergoes during their journey, the six ways that they lead (parigraha) sentient beings to perfection, seven bodhisattva levels (bhūmis), the bodhisattva's practices (which are the 10 perfections, the factors of Awakening, clairvoyance and training sentient beings) and their ascension (pratiṣṭhā) to Buddhahood along with all the Buddha qualities which are manifested in them.

Commentaries

  • Sagaramegha, Bodhisattvabhūmivyākhyā (Wyl. byang chub sems dpa'i sa'i rnam par bshad pa)

Translations

  • Asanga, The Bodhisattva Path to Unsurpassed Enlightenment: A Complete Translation of Bodhisattvabhumi (Tsadra), Snow Lion, 2016, translated by Artemus B. Engle
  • Janice Dean Willis, On Knowing Reality: The Tattvārtha Chapter of Asaṅga's Bodhisattvabhūmi, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 2002.

References

  1. Asanga. “The Bodhisattva Path to Unsurpassed Enlightenment.” (Snow Lion, 2016), 18
  2. Asanga. “The Bodhisattva Path to Unsurpassed Enlightenment.” (Snow Lion, 2016), 19-20
  3. Asanga (2016), 58