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bhūmi


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(Skt.). ‘Level’, a term denoting one of a series of stages of spiritual development. Most schools of Buddhism recognize a hierarchical scheme of stages which are passed through, beginning with conversion and the taking up of the religious life, and ending in enlightenment (bodhi). The Hīnayāna has the four stages of the ārya-pudgala or ‘noble person’, and the theory of the bhūmis may be thought of as an outgrowth of this or as an extension of the scheme of progress in the Eightfold Path through morality (śīla), meditation (samādhi), and insight (prajñā). The most popular sequence involves a list of ten bhūmis, although some texts refer only to six or seven. After the first six stages the devotee achieves the realization of personal selflessness (anātman), and after the tenth stage the realization of the selflessness of all phenomena (dharma-śūnyatā). Thus personal liberation, the goal of early Buddhism, is supplemented by Mahāyāna metaphysics with its vision of the ‘higher truth’ of universal selflessness.

The ten bhūmis are described in detail in the Daśabhūmika Sūtra, and become linked to the practice of the Six Perfections (ṣaḍ-pāramitā) as follows. (1) Joyful (pramuditā-bhūmi): a Bodhisattva embarks upon his religious career with the production of the thought of enlightenment (bodhicitta). (2) Pure (vimalā-bhūmi): all immoral conduct and dispositions are eradicated. (3) Luminous (prabhākarī-bhūmi): through meditation the Bodhisattva strengthens and deepens his insight. (4) Brilliant (arciṣmatī-bhūmi): all good qualities are vigorously pursued. (5) Hard to conquer (sudurjayā-bhūmi): the Bodhisattva devotes himself to his own development and to the welfare of others. (6) Facing forward (abhimukhī-bhūmi): great wisdom is attained and insight into the true nature of all phenomena. (7) Going far (dūraṃgamā-bhūmi): the power of skilful means (upāya-kauśalya) is attained. (8) Immoveable (acalā-bhūmi): the possibility of falling back is gone forever. (9) The Good (sādhumatī-bhūmi): the Bodhisattva preaches the doctrine and converts beings. (10) Cloud of the Dharma (dharmameghā-bhūmi): the Bodhisattva reaches full perfection and is consecrated as a fully enlightened Buddha.

(1) Joyful (pramuditā-bhūmi): a Bodhisattva embarks upon his religious career with the production of the thought of enlightenment (bodhicitta). (2) Pure (vimalā-bhūmi): all immoral conduct and dispositions are eradicated. (3) Luminous (prabhākarī-bhūmi): through meditation the Bodhisattva strengthens and deepens his insight. (4) Brilliant (arciṣmatī-bhūmi): all good qualities are vigorously pursued. (5) Hard to conquer (sudurjayā-bhūmi): the Bodhisattva devotes himself to his own development and to the welfare of others. (6) Facing forward (abhimukhī-bhūmi): great wisdom is attained and insight into the true nature of all phenomena. (7) Going far (dūraṃgamā-bhūmi): the power of skilful means (upāya-kauśalya) is attained. (8) Immoveable (acalā-bhūmi): the possibility of falling back is gone forever. (9) The Good (sādhumatī-bhūmi): the Bodhisattva preaches the doctrine and converts beings. (10) Cloud of the Dharma (dharmameghā-bhūmi): the Bodhisattva reaches full perfection and is consecrated as a fully enlightened Buddha.

Subjects: Buddhism.


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