Five paths

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The five paths (pañcamārga, Wylie Tibetan lam lnga) are stages in the spiritual path that are indentified in the Mahayana tradition. They are:[1]

  1. The path of accumulation (saṃbhāra-mārga, Wylie Tibetan: tshogs lam). Persons on this Path:
    1. Possess a strong desire to overcome suffering, either their own or others;
    2. Renounce the worldly life.[1]
  2. The path of preparation or application (prayoga-mārga, Wylie Tibetan: sbyor lam). Persons on this Path:
    1. Start practicing meditation;
    2. Have analytical knowledge of emptiness.[1]
  3. The path of seeing (darśana-mārga, Wylie Tibetan: mthong lam). Persons on this Path:
    1. Practice profound concentration meditation on the nature of reality;
    2. Realize the emptiness of reality.[1]
  4. The path of meditation (bhāvanā-mārga, Wylie Tibetan: sgom lam). Persons on this path purify themselves and accumulate wisdom.[1]
  5. The path of no more learning or consummation (aśaikṣā-mārga, Wylie Tibetan: mi slob pa’i lam or thar phyin pa'i lam). Persons on this Path have completely purified themselves.[1]

The ten grounds of the bodhisattva are grouped within last three paths:

  1. Bhūmi 1: The path of seeing
  2. Bhūmi 2-7: The path of meditation
  3. Bhūmi 8-10: The path of no more learning

Mahayana literature often features an enumeration of "two obstructions" (Wylie: sgrib gnyis):

  1. The "obstructions of delusive emotions" (Sanskrit: kleśa-varaṇa, Wylie: nyon-mongs-pa'i sgrib-ma)
  2. The "obstructions to knowledge" (Sanskrit: jñeyāvaraṇa, Wylie: shes-bya'i sgrib-ma).[2]

The obstruction of delusive emotions is overcome at the attainment of the path of seeing, and the obstructions to knowledge are overcome over the course of the path of meditation. This is not a statement agreed upon by all Buddhist schools, e.g. Korean Son's Kihwa states that the obstructions to knowledge are overcome by the 10th bhumi.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Losangsamten, Introduction to the Buddhist Path
  2. Dorje, Jikdrel Yeshe (Dudjom Rinpoche, author), translated and edited: Gyurme Dorje and Matthew Kapstein (1991). The Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism: Its Fundamentals and History. Boston, USA: Wisdom Publications. ISBN 0-86171-199-8, p. 107(Enumerations).