"Words are things, and a small drop of
falling like dew, upon the thought produces
that which makes
consider the positions of kings and rulers as that of dust motes.
observe treasures of gold and gems as so many bricks and pebbles.
upon the finest silken robes as tattered rags.
I see myriad worlds of
the universe as small seeds of fruit, and the greatest lake in India as a drop
of oil on my foot.
I perceive the teachings of the world to be the
illusion of magicians.
discern the highest conception of emancipation as a golden brocade in a dream,
and view the holy path of the
illuminated ones as flowers appearing in one's eyes.
I see meditation as
a pillar of a mountain, Nirvana as a nightmare of daytime.
I look upon
the judgement of right and wrong as the
serpentine dance of a dragon, and
the rise and fall of beliefs as but traces left by the four seasons." -
bodhisattvaAccording to many traditions within Mahāyāna Buddhism,
on the way to becoming a Buddha,
a bodhisattva proceeds through ten grounds or bhūmis.
bhūmis and their descriptions according to the Avataṃsaka Sūtra
and The Jewel Ornament of Liberation, a treatise by Gampopa, an influential
teacher of the Tibetan Kagyu school.
Before a bodhisattva arrives at
the first ground, he or she first must travel the first two of the five
the path of accumulation
the path of
The ten grounds of the bodhisattva then can be grouped into
the next three paths
bhūmi 1 the path of insight
bhūmis 2-7 the path of meditation
bhūmis 8-10 the path of no
The chapter of ten grounds in the Avataṃsaka
Sūtra refers to 52 stages.
The 10 grounds are:
Great Joy: It is said that being close to
seeing the benefit for all sentient beings, one achieves great joy, hence the
In this bhūmi the bodhisattvas practice all perfections
(pāramitās), but especially emphasizing generosity
Stainless: In accomplishing the
second bhūmi, the bodhisattva is free from the stains of
immorality, therefore, this
bhūmi is named "stainless".
The emphasized perfection is moral
third bhūmi is named "luminous", because, for a bodhisattva who
accomplishes this bhūmi, the light of Dharma is said to radiate for others
from the bodhisattva.
The emphasized perfection is patience
Radiant: This bhūmi
is called "radiant", because it is said to be like a radiating light that fully
burns that which opposes
The emphasized perfection is vigor (vīrya).
Incorrigible: Bodhisattvas who attain this bhūmi strive
to help sentient beings attain maturity, and do not become emotionally involved
when such beings respond negatively, both of which are difficult to do.
The emphasized perfection is meditative concentration
Obviously Transcendent: By
depending on the perfection of wisdom, [the bodhisattva] does not abide in
either saṃsāra or nirvāṇa, so this state is "obviously
The emphasized perfection is wisdom
Gone afar: Particular
emphasis is on the perfection of skillful means (upāya), to help
emphasized virtue is aspiration. This, the "immovable" bhūmi, is the
bhūmi at which
one becomes able
to choose his place of rebirth.
Discernment: self-focused material
grasping is transmuted into clear-sighted compassion.
Cloud of Dharma:
The emphasized virtue is the practice of
After the ten bhūmis, according to
Mahāyāna Buddhism, one attains complete
becomes a Buddha.
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