|The five paths|
saṃbhāra-mārga (T. tshogs lam ཚོགས་ལམ་; C. ziliang dao) is translated as "path of accumulation," "path of equipment," etc. It is the first of the five paths in the Sanskrit tradition. It is divided into greater, intermediate and lesser stages.
- The path of accumulation (sambhāramārga) is a clear realization of the doctrine—the words of the scriptures. It is called “accumulation” because at this stage practitioners accumulate great learning of the doctrine and begin accumulating the merit and wisdom leading to the goal of their chosen vehicle. Śrāvakas and pratyekabuddhas enter the path of accumulation of their vehicles when they have, day and night, the determination to be free from saṃsāra. Bodhisattvas enter their path of accumulation when they have genuine bodhicitta in addition to the determination to be free from saṃsāra.
The Rangjung Yeshe Dharma Dictionary states:
- [The path of accumulation is] the first of the five paths which forms the foundation for the journey towards liberation and involves gathering a vast accumulation of merit dedicated towards this attainment. On this path one gains an intellectual and conceptual understanding of egolessness through learning and reflection. By means of cultivating the four applications of mindfulness, the four right endeavors, and the four legs of miraculous action, one succeeds in eliminating the gross defilements that cause samsaric suffering and in attaining the virtuous qualities of the superknowledges and the 'samadhi of the stream of Dharma' leading to the path of joining.
Patrul Rinpoche states:
- It is called the path of accumulation because it is the stage at which one makes a special effort to gather the accumulation of merit, and also because it marks the beginning of many incalculable aeons of gathering the accumulations.
- The path of accumulation is divided into lesser, intermediate and greater stages.
- On the lesser path of accumulation it is uncertain when one will reach the path of joining. On the intermediate path of accumulation it is certain that one will reach the path of joining in the very next lifetime. On the greater path of accumulation it is certain that one will reach the path of joining within that very same lifetime.
Regarding the three stages:
- on the lesser stage, one meditates mainly on the four applications of mindfulness.
- on the intermediate stage, one chiefly practices the four right exertions.
- on the greater stage, one practices the four bases of miraculous power
Distinctions between different vehicles
- have the motivation of the sravaka - to liberate oneself from cyclic existence (samsara)
- follow the texts of the sravakayana
- maintain the vows of the sravakayana
Those following the bodhisattvayana:
- have the motivation of the bodhisattva - to attain buddhahood for the sake of all sentient beings
- follow the texts of the bodhisattvayana (aka Mahayana)
- maintain the vows of the bodhisattva
- path of accumulation
- path of equipment
- path of preparation (Walpola Rahula, Abhidharmasamuccaya)
- Dalai Lama & Thubten Chodron 2014, s.v. Chapter 10.
- A Brief Guide to the Stages and Paths of the Bodhisattvas by Patrul Rinpoche
- Brunnhölzl 2011, The manner and knowledge of the path of the sravaka.
- Brunnhölzl, Karl (2011), Gone Beyond: The Prajnaparamita Sutras, The Ornament of Clear Realization, and Its Commentaries in the Tibetan Kagyu Tradition, Volume One, Snow Lion
- Dalai Lama; Thubten Chodron (2014), Buddhism: One Teacher, Many Traditions, Wisdom Publications
- Mipham Rinpoche (2000), Gateway to Knowledge, vol. II, translated by Kunsang, Erik Pema, Rangjung Yeshe Publications
- Patrul Rinpoche, A Brief Guide to the Stages and Paths of the Bodhisattvas