The Three Types of Samādhi with the Bodhisattva Path According to the Mahāprajñāpāramitā-śāstra
|Authors:||釋彌堅||Keywords:||菩薩三三昧;聲聞三三昧;大智度論;自利利他;三三昧;菩薩道;定學;慧學;Mahāprajñāpāramitā-śāstra;Bodhisattva Path;Śrāvaka Path;3 Samādhis;Training through Meditation;Training through Wisdom||Issue Date:||Jun-2018||Abstract:||《大智度論》(Mahāprajñāpāramitā-śāstra)乃是佛教的重要修行之論書,主要介紹菩薩的修行方法及次第。因此,在論中能充分地找到菩薩修行的系統,以及也找到聲聞及部派佛教修行之間的關係,包括行四禪、四無量心、無色界四處、三十七菩提分、三三昧、八背捨、九次第定等禪修方法。
The Mahāprajñāpāramitā-śāstra is an important Buddhist treatise which deals with the Bodhisattva practices and stages. In this treatise , we find not only a complete and systematic exposition of the Bodhisattva path, but also connections between the paths and practices of the Śrāvakas and Nikāya Buddhism, including the 4 Dhyānas, the 4 Immeasurables, the 4 levels of the Formless Heaven, the 37 Factors of Enlightenment, the 3 Samādhis, the 8 Renunciations, and the 9 Graduated Concentrations, among other expositions of meditative concentration. In this text, we find the expression ‘the 3 Samādhis’ (trayaḥ samādhayaḥ) on numerous occasions, and in this way we know this contemplative method of the Three Vehicles in Buddhism, yet at the same time, we can see that it also is a part of Early Buddhism, as well as early Mahāyāna Buddhism. This demonstrates that it is an integral part of and common to all three vehiczles. In Early Buddhism, the 3 Samādhis allow one to realise the truth of worldly impermanence, suffering, and selflessness, and to depart from afflictions such as desire, ignorance and so on, and achieve Nirvāṇa. However, the 3 Samādhis of the Bodhisattva are neither wholly independent from, nor in opposition to, those of the Śrāvakas, but rather are based on the foundation of the Śrāvaka practice. Moreover, the Bodhisattva application of this practice does not fall into the Śrāvaka stage of realization, yet does not enter into Nirvāṇa either, we can see the 3 Samādhis of the Bodhisattva have different with the 3 Samādhis of the Śrāvaka. Accordingly, my research goal will be to examine the notion of the 3 Samādhis according to the Mahāprajñāpāramitā-śāstra, in order to clarify how this treatise expounds the doctrine of the 3 Samādhis of the Bodhisattva, the related meditative practices, and how these provide assistance on the Bodhisattva path. After clarifying the meaning of the 3 Samādhis, this thesis will then examine how this doctrine is treated in Early Buddhism, Nikāya Buddhism and early Mahāyāna Buddhism. I will also attempt to demonstrate the specificity of the Mahāprajñāpāramitā-śāstra’s view of the 3 Samādhis, and how the Bodhisattva practice of the 3 Samādhis transcends that of the Śrāvakas by not abiding in Nirvāṇa but choosing the Bodhisattva path out of compassion, and practicing the Pāramitās and expedient means in order to liberate countless sentient beings. The uniqueness of this practice resides in the fact that the Bodhisattva does not seek to achieve liberation by means of the 3 Samādhis, but relying on the 3 Samādhis, will focus on realising the true nature of reality, and attain limitless and complete achievement, and extensively liberate all sentient beings, without entering Nirvāṇa. In a nutshell, it could be said that this is the special characteristic of the Bodhisattva’s practice of the 3 Samādhis.
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