Buddhist Paths to liberation
The Buddhist tradition gives a wide variety of descriptions of the Buddhist Path to liberation . The most notable of these descriptions is the Noble Eightfold Path , which was presented in the first discourse of the the Buddha and is considered the essence of the Buddhist path (magga ).
The Noble Eightfold Path is typically presented as a set of eight interconnected factors or conditions, that when developed together, lead to the cessation of dukkha (suffering ). Alongside the eightfold path , Buddhist texts present a number of other "paths" that describe the path in different ways according to different traditions .
the Four Noble Truths and the
The first covers the side of doctrine , and the primary response it elicits is understanding; the second covers the side of discipline , in the broadest sense of that word, and the primary response it calls for is practice.
These eight factors are:
Right Mindfulness , and
The eight factors of the path are not to be understood as stages, in which each stage is completed before moving on to the next.
Rather, they are understood as eight significant dimensions of one's behaviour—mental , spoken, and bodily —that operate in dependence on one another; taken together, they define a complete path , or way of living.
The eight factors of the path are commonly presented within three divisions (or higher trainings) as shown below:
|Division||Eightfold factor||Sanskrit, Pali||Description|
|1. Right view||samyag dṛṣṭi,
|Viewing reality as it is, not just as it appears to be|
|2. Right intention||samyag saṃkalpa,
|Intention of renunciation, freedom and harmlessness|
|3. Right speech|| samyag vāc,
|Speaking in a truthful and non-hurtful way|
|4. Right action|| samyag karman,
|Acting in a non-harmful way|
|5. Right livelihood|| samyag ājīvana,
|A non-harmful livelihood|
(Sanskrit and Pāli: samādhi)
|6. Right effort|| samyag vyāyāma,
|Making an effort to improve|
|7. Right mindfulness|| samyag smṛti,
| Awareness to see things for what they are with clear consciousness; |
being aware of the present reality within oneself, without any craving or aversion
|8. Right concentration|| samyag samādhi,
|Correct meditation or concentration, explained as the first four jhānas|
Alongside the eightfold path, Buddhist texts present a number of paths that describe the path in different ways according to different traditions. Generally speaking, these alternative methods of presentation are not considered to be contradictory, but rather as different ways to present the Buddhist path.
These purifications are:
- Purification of Conduct (sīla-visuddhi)
- Purification of Mind (citta-visuddhi)
- Purification of View (ditthi-visuddhi)
- Purification by Overcoming Doubt (kankha-vitarana-visuddhi)
- Purification by Knowledge and Vision of What Is Path and Not Path (maggamagga-ñanadassana-visuddhi)
- Purification by Knowledge and Vision of the Course of Practice (patipada-ñanadassana-visuddhi)
- Knowledge of contemplation of rise and fall (udayabbayanupassana-nana)
- Knowledge of contemplation of dissolution (bhanganupassana-nana)
- [[Knowledge of appearance as terror]] (bhayatupatthana-nana)
- Knowledge of contemplation of danger (adinavanupassana-nana)
- Knowledge of contemplation of dispassion (nibbidanupassana-nana)
- [[Knowledge of desire for deliverance)] (muncitukamyata-nana)
- Knowledge of contemplation of reflection (patisankhanupassana-nana)
- Knowledge of equanimity about formations (sankharupekka-nana)
- Conformity knowledge (anuloma-nana)
- Purification by Knowledge and Vision (ñanadassana-visuddhi)
- The Very Joyous (Skt. Paramudita), in which one rejoices at realizing a partial aspect of the truth;
- The Stainless (Skt. Vimala), in which one is free from all defilement;
- The Luminous (Skt. Prabhakari), in which one radiates the light of wisdom;
- The Radiant (Skt. Archishmati), in which the radiant flame of wisdom burns away earthly desires;
- The Difficult to Cultivate (Skt. Sudurjaya), in which one surmounts the illusions of darkness, or ignorance as the Middle Way;
- The Manifest (Skt. Abhimukhi) in which supreme wisdom begins to manifest;
- The Gone Afar (Skt. Duramgama), in which one rises above the states of the Two vehicles;
- The Immovable (Skt. Achala), in which one dwells firmly in the truth of the Middle Way and cannot be perturbed by anything;
- The Good Intelligence (Skt. Sadhumati), in which one preaches the Law freely and without restriction;
- The Cloud of Doctrine (Skt. Dharmamegha), in which one benefits all sentient beings with the Law (Dharma), just as a cloud sends down rain impartially on all things.#
- The path of accumulation (saṃbhāra-mārga, Wylie Tibetan: tshogs lam). Persons on this Path:
- The path of preparation or application (prayoga-mārga, Wylie Tibetan: sbyor lam). Persons on this Path:
- The path of seeing (darśana-mārga, Wylie Tibetan: mthong lam) (Bhūmi 1). Persons on this Path:
- The path of meditation (bhāvanā-mārga, Wylie Tibetan: sgom lam) (Bhūmi 2-7). Persons on this path purificate themselves and accumulate wisdom.
- The path of no more learning or consummation (aśaikṣā-mārga, Wylie Tibetan: mi slob pa’I lam) or thar phyin pa'i lam) (Bhūmi 8-10). Persons on this Path have completely purified themselves.
- The aspirationh for awakening
In the first stage of generation, one engages in deity yoga.
In the generation stage of Deity Yoga, the practitioner visualizes the "Four Purities" (Tibetan: yongs su dag pa bzhi; yongs dag bzhi) which define the principal Tantric methodology of Deity Yoga that distinguishes it from the rest of Buddhism:
They are as follows:
- Simplicity, "free from complexity" or "not elaborate";
- One taste;
- Non-meditation, the state of not holding to either an object of meditation nor to a meditator.
Nothing further needs to be 'meditated upon' or 'cultivated at this stage.
These stages parallel the four yogas of dzogchen semde.
Chinul, a 12th-century Korean Seon master, followed Zongmi, and also emphasized that insight into our true nature is sudden, but is to be followed by practice to ripen the insight and attain full Buddhahood.