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_BODHI_ (Sanskrit: बोधि; and Pali ) in Buddhism is the understanding possessed by a Buddha regarding the true nature of things . It is traditionally translated into English with the word enlightenment , although its literal meaning is closer to "awakening". The verbal root "budh" means TO AWAKEN.

Bodhi is presented in the Nikayas as knowledge of the causal mechanism by which beings incarnate into material form and experience suffering . Although its most common usage is in the context of Buddhism , the term _buddhi _ is also used in other Indian philosophies and traditions.

CONTENTS

* 1 Etymology * 2 Soteriological meaning * 3 Buddha\'s awakening * 4 The Buddhist Path

* 5 Development of the concept

* 5.1 Early Buddhism

* 5.2 Mahayana

* 5.2.1 Buddha-nature * 5.2.2 Harmonisation of the various terms and meanings

* 6 See also * 7 Notes * 8 References * 9 Web references * 10 Sources * 11 Further reading

ETYMOLOGY

_Bodhi_ is an abstract noun formed from the verbal root _*budh-_ (to awake, become aware, notice, know or understand) corresponding to the verbs _bujjhati_ (Pāli) and _bodhati_ or _budhyate_ (Sanskrit).

The feminine Sanskrit noun of _*budh-_ is _buddhi _.

SOTERIOLOGICAL MEANING

The soteriological goal of Indian religions is liberation or _moksha _ (also called _mukti_). Liberation is simultaneously freedom from suffering and the endless round of existences . Within the Sramanic traditions one who has attained liberation is called an _arhat _ (Sanskrit; Pali: _arahant_), an honorific term meaning "worthy" acknowledging the skill and effort required to overcome the obstacles to the goal of _nirvana _.

According to the Buddha the path to liberation is one of progressively coming out of delusion (Pali: _Moha_). This path is therefore regarded as a path of awakening. Progressing along the path towards Nirvana one gains insight into the true nature of things . A Buddha is one who has attained liberation and an understanding of the causal mechanism by means of which sentient beings come into existence. This mechanism is called _pratitya samutpada_ or dependent origination . The knowledge or understanding of this is called _bodhi_.

BUDDHA\'S AWAKENING

In the suttapitaka , the Buddhist canon as preserved in the Theravada-tradition , a number of texts can be found in which Gautama Buddha tells about his own awakening.

In the _Vanapattha Sutta_ (Majjhima, chapter 17) the Buddha describes life in the jungle, and the attainment of awakening. After destroying the disturbances of the mind , and perfecting concentration of mind , he attained three knowledges (vidhya):

* Insight into his past lives * Insight into the workings of Karma and Reincarnation * Insight into the Four Noble Truths

Insight into the Four Noble Truths is here called awakening. The monk (_bhikkhu _) has

...attained the unattained supreme security from bondage.

Awakening is also described as synonymous with Nirvana , the extinction of the passions whereby suffering is ended and no more rebirths take place. The insight arises that this liberation is certain:

Knowledge arose in me, and insight: my freedom is certain, this is my last birth, now there is no rebirth.

So awakening is insight into karma and rebirth, insight into the Four Noble Truths, the extinction of the passions whereby Nirvana is reached, and the certainty that liberation has been reached.

THE BUDDHIST PATH

Main article: Buddhist Paths to liberation

The Buddhist tradition gives a wide variety of descriptions of the Buddhist Path (_magga_) to liberation . Tradition describes the Buddha's awakening, and the descriptions of the path given in the Sutta Pitaka . By following this path Buddhahood can be attained. Following this path dissolves the ten fetters and terminates volitional actions that bind a human being to the wheel of samsara .

The Theravada-tradition follows the Path to purification described by Buddhaghosa in his Visuddhimagga . It features four progressive stages culminating in full enlightenment . The four stages are Sotapanna , Sakadagami , Anagami and Arahat .

Three types of buddha are recognized:

* Arhat ( Pali : _arahant_), those who reach Nirvana by following the teachings of the Buddha. Sometimes the term Śrāvakabuddha (Pali: _sāvakabuddha_) is used to designate this kind of awakened person; * Pratyekabuddhas (Pali: _paccekabuddha_), those who reach Nirvana through self-realisation, without the aid of spiritual guides and teachers, but don't teach the Dharma ; * Samyaksambuddha (Pali: _samma sambuddha_), often simply referred to as _Buddha_, one who has reached Nirvana by his own efforts and wisdom and teaches it skillfully to others.

DEVELOPMENT OF THE CONCEPT

The term bodhi acquired a variety of meanings and connotations during the development of Buddhist thoughts in the various schools.

EARLY BUDDHISM

Main article: Early Buddhism

In early Buddhism, _bodhi_ carried a meaning synonymous to _nirvana _, using only some different metaphors to describe the insight, which implied the extinction of _lobha _ (greed), _dosa _ (hate) and _moha _ (delusion). In Theravada Buddhism , bodhi and nirvana carry the same meaning, that of being freed from greed, hate and delusion.

MAHAYANA

Main article: Mahayana

In Mahayana-thought, bodhi is the realisation of the inseparability of samsara and nirvana , and the unity of subject and object. It is similar to prajna , to realizing the Buddha-nature , realizing sunyata and realizing suchness .

Mahayana discerns three forms of bodhi:

* Arahat – Liberation for oneself; * Bodhisattva – Liberation for living beings; * Full Buddhahood .

Within the various Mahayana-schools exist various further explanations and interpretations.

Buddha-nature

In the Tathagatagarbha and Buddha-nature doctrines bodhi becomes equivalent to the universal, natural and pure state of the mind:

_Bodhi_ is the final goal of a Bodhisattva's career _Bodhi_ is pure universal and immediate knowledge, which extends over all time, all universes, all beings and elements, conditioned and unconditioned. It is absolute and identical with Reality and thus it is Tathata . _Bodhi_ is immaculate and non-conceptual, and it, being not an outer object, cannot be understood by discursive thought. It has neither beginning, nor middle nor end and it is indivisible. It is non-dual (_advayam_) The only possible way to comprehend it is through samadhi by the yogin.

According to these doctrines bodhi is always there within one's mind, but requires the defilements to be removed. This vision is expounded in texts such as the Shurangama Sutra and the Uttaratantra .

In Shingon Buddhism, the state of Bodhi is also seen as naturally inherent in the mind. It is the mind's natural and pure state, where no distinction is being made between a perceiving subject and perceived objects. This is also the understanding of Bodhi found in Yogacara Buddhism.

To achieve this vision of non-duality, it is necessary to recognise one's own mind:

... it means that you are to know the inherent natural state of the mind by eliminating the split into a perceiving subject and perceived objects which normally occurs in the world and is wrongly thought to be real. This also corresponds to the Yogacara definition ... that emptiness (_sunyata_) is the absence of this imaginary split

Harmonisation Of The Various Terms And Meanings

During the development of Mahayana Buddhism the various strands of thought on Bodhi were continuously being elaborated. Attempts were made to harmonize the various terms. The Buddhist commentator Buddhaguhya treats various terms as synonyms:

For example, he defines emptiness (_sunyata_) as suchness (_tathata_) and says that suchness is the intrinsic nature (_svabhava_) of the mind which is Enlightenment (_bodhi-citta _). Moreover, he frequently uses the terms suchness (_tathata_) and Suchness-Awareness (_tathata-jnana_) interchangeably. But since Awareness (_jnana_) is non-dual, Suchness-Awareness is not so much the Awareness of Suchness, but the Awareness which _is_ Suchness. In other words, the term Suchness-Awareness is functionally equivalent to Enlightenment. Finally, it must not be forgotten that this Suchness-Awareness or Perfect Enlightenment _is_ Mahavairocana . In other words, the mind in its intrinsic nature is Mahavairocana, whom one "becomes" (or vice versa) when one is perfectly enlightened.

SEE ALSO

* Buddhism portal

* Bodhicitta * Bodhi Day * Bodhi tree * Enlightenment in Buddhism * Satori

NOTES

* ^ This also includes Pratyekabuddha , but is not being mentioned by Fischer-Schreiber et al.

REFERENCES

* ^ Warder 2000 , p. 45-50. * ^ Faure 1991 . * ^ Bhikkhu Nanamoli 1995 . * ^ Warder 2000 , pp. 47–48. * ^ Snelling 1987 , p. 27. * ^ Warder 2000 , p. 47-48. * ^ Bhikkhu Nanamoli 1996 , p. 199. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Warder 2000 , p. 49. * ^ Buswell 1994 , p. 1-36. * ^ Harvey 1995 , p. 21-25. * ^ _A_ _B_ Walsh (translator) 1995 , p. 25-27. * ^ Harvey 1995 , p. 71-72. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ Snelling 1987 , p. 81. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ Fischer-Schreiber 2008 , p. 51. * ^ Schreiber 2008 , p. 51. * ^ Sebastian 2005 , p. 274. * ^ _A_ _B_ Hodge 2003 , p. 31-32.

WEB REFERENCES

* ^ Samyutta Nikaya 56.11 Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta: Setting the Wheel of Dhamma in Motion * ^ Digha Nikaya 2 Samaññaphala Sutta: The Fruits of the Contemplative Life * ^ Thanissaro Bhikkhu: Stream Entry Part 1: The Way to Stream-entry

SOURCES

* Bhikkhu Nanamoli; Bhikkhu Bodhi (1995), _The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha. A New Translation of the Majjhima Nikaya_, Boston: Wisdom Publ. * Buswell, Robert E. JR; Gimello, Robert M. (editors) (1994), _Paths to Liberation. The Marga and its Transformations in Buddhist Thought_, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link ) * Faure, Bernard (1991), _The Rhetoric of Immediacy. A Cultural Critique of Chan/ Zen Buddhism_, Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, ISBN 0-691-02963-6 * Gombrich, Richard F. (1997), _How Buddhism Began_, Munshiram Manoharlal * Peter N. Gregory (1991), Sudden and Gradual (Approaches to Enlightenment in Chinese Thought), Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 8120808193 * Harvey, Peter (1995), _An introduction to Buddhism. Teachings, history and practices_, Cambridge University Press * Hodge, Stephen (2003), _The Maha-Vairocana-Abhisambodhi Tantra, With Buddhaguya's Commentary_, London: RoutledgeCurzon * Fischer-Schreiber, Ingrid; Ehrhard, Franz-Karl; diener, Michael S. (2008), _Lexicon Boeddhisme. Wijsbegeerte, religie, psychologie, mystiek, cultuur an literatuur_, Asoka * Sebastian, C.D. (2005), _Metaphysics and Mysticism in Mahayana Buddhism_, Delhi: Sri Satguru Publications * Snelling, John (1987), _The Buddhist handbook. A Complete Guide to Buddhist Teaching and Practice_, London: Century Paperbacks * Walsh (translator), Maurice (1995), _The Long Discourses of the Buddha: A translation of the Digha Nikaya_, Boston: Wisdom publications * Warder, Anthony Kennedy (2000), _Indian Buddhism_, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers

FURTHER READING

* A. Charles Muller (translator) (1999), _The Sutra of Perfect Enlightenment_. State University Press of New York * Lu K'uan Yu (translator) (1978), _The Surangama Sutra_. Bombay: B.I. Publications * Kenneth R. White (editor) (2005), _The Role of Bodhicitta in Buddhist Enlightenment Including a Translation into English of the Bodhicitta-Sastra, Benkenmitsu-nikyoron, and Sammaya-kaijo_. New York: The Edwin Mellen Press.

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