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The pratyekabuddhas

From Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia
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A pratyekabuddha, “who became Buddha by himself,” can attain the level of an arhat without relying upon a teacher in this lifetime (though teachers have been met in former lifetimes).

He meditates on dependent origination, the natural process through which everything appears through the combination of interdependent causes and conditions.

No phenomenon can appear without a cause or can it be made by a permanent creator that himself is without cause.


Acquainting himself with the fact of death, this practitioner becomes weary of the condition of samsara.

Pondering the causes of suffering and death, he investigates the twelve links of dependent origination to find that the misery of samsara originates in ignorance and further develops through grasping.


View: Though realizing that individuals and indivisible particles of matter are devoid of true existence, he still clings to moments of consciousness as constituting real entities.

Thus, he realizes fully the selflessness of the individual and only partly the selflessness of phenomena.

This view characterizes the Sautrantika School.


Meditation:

The practitioner contemplates the twelve interdependent links in reverse order: seeing bones in a cemetery, he reflects upon death (12th link) and understands that it follows old age, which itself is caused by birth (11th).

Birth results from the drive to exist (10th),
which arises from grasping (9th), which rises from craving (8th),
which arises from feeling (7th), which arises from contact (6th),
which arises from the six senses (
5th), which arise from name and form
(4th) which arise from consciousness
(3rd), which arises from karmic dispositions
(2nd), which arise from ignorance (1st).

Finally, following the chain from ignorance to death, the pratyekabuddha understands definitively that ignorance, the clinging to phenomena as real, is the source of all suffering in samsara.


Action and Fruit: Because he is practicing for his own, limited deliverance, the pratyekabuddha does not teach others verbally, but nonetheless inspires faith in them through the display of miracles, such as flying through the sky or transforming the upper half of his body into fire and the lower half into water, and so on.

Eventually he becomes an arhat.

Since sravakas and pratyekabuddhas practice primarily for their own sakes, they cannot attain complete buddhahood and benefit innumerable sentient beings, as does a Bodhisattva.

Source

www.treasuryoflives.org