The most important Meditation practices laid down by the Buddha are the Four Sathipattana Meditations. They guide one's mind to understand reality behind the connection between Mind and Body. They increase the Wisdom of dividing Nāma and Rūpa, Nāmarūpa Paricceda Gnāna. The word Sathipattana means being in Mindfulness.
Kayanupassana (Contemplation on the Body)
Vedananupassana (Contemplation on Feelings)
Cittanupassana (Contemplation on Thoughts)
Dhammanupassana (Contemplation on Dhammas)
Pattana and Anupassana carries the same meaning. All beings associate some kind of a body, Kāya in Pali, and humans associate or link up with a body which is made up with Patawi (Feeling/sensation of Hardness), Āpo (Feeling/sensation of Liquidity), Thejo (Feeling/sensation of hot or mild temperature) and Vayo (Feeling/sensation of Air).
Kayanupassana meditation starts from understanding the true nature of body. The body is the beginning of all sorrow, anger, unwise, likeness, and ultimately Suffering.
The Buddha always said:
"Pagncha Upadanaskadha Dhukkha"
"One's birth, sickness, death and all affairs along life is suffering. Whatsoever feeling, or thought generated by mind during One's interaction with world or mind through these six bases is Suffering

The Jain texts postulate four gatis, that is states-of-existence or birth-categories, within which the soul transmigrates. The four gatis are: deva (demi-gods), manuṣya (humans), nāraki (hell beings) and tiryañca (animals, plants and micro-organisms).[21] The four gatis have four corresponding realms or habitation levels in the vertically tiered Jain universe: demi-gods occupy the higher levels where the heavens are situated; humans, plants and animals occupy the middle levels; and hellish beings occupy the lower levels where seven hells are situated

'Anumana' (Sanskrit)[edit]
Etymology: anu ("subsequent") + manas ("perception, mind") is identified as a ‘source of knowledge’, a pramāṇa. Though not the founders of 'Indian logic', the Nyaya school first codified and established a 'system of logic'. The Nyāya recognized four 'sources of knowledge' (pramana): perception, inference, comparison and testimony.

'Nyāya' (Skt. "recursion", with the semantic amplification of 'syllogism, inference') is the name given to one of the six 'orthodox' (astika) schools of Sanatana Dharma, which may be understood as "the school of logic." The Nyaya is founded in the Nyaya Sutras, attributed to Gotama (2nd century CE). Buddhist logic inherited much of the architecture of Nyaya's methodology, but where the Nyaya recognised a set of four pramanas—perception, inference, comparison and testimony

Buddhist temporal cosmology describes how the universe comes into being and is dissolved. Like other Indian cosmologies, it assumes an infinite span of time and is cyclical. This does not mean that the same events occur in identical form with each cycle, but merely that, as with the cycles of day and night or summer and winter, certain natural events occur over and over to give some structure to time.
The basic unit of time measurement is the mahākalpa or "Great Eon" (Jpn: 大劫 daigō). The length of this time in human years is never defined exactly, but it is meant to be very long, to be measured in billions of years if not longer.
A mahākalpa is divided into four kalpas or "eons" (Jpn: 劫 kō), each distinguished from the others by the stage of evolution of the universe during that kalpa. The four kalpas are:
Vivartakalpa "Eon of evolution" – during this kalpa the universe comes into existence. The first square is always good and inspiring.
Vivartasthāyikalpa "Eon of evolution-duration" – during this kalpa the universe remains in existence in a steady state. The second square is homeostasis and order.
Saṃvartakalpa "Eon of dissolution" – during this kalpa the universe dissolves. The third square is destruction and is bad.
Saṃvartasthāyikalpa "Eon of dissolution-duration" – during this kalpa the universe remains in a state of emptiness. The fourth square is death and transcendence.

16 is the squares of the quadrant model

Form Realm (Rūpadhātu)[edit]
The Rūpadhātu (Pāli: Rūpaloka; Tib: gzugs kyi khams; Jpn: 色界 Shiki-kai) or "Form realm" is, as the name implies, the first of the physical realms; its inhabitants all have a location and bodies of a sort, though those bodies are composed of a subtle substance which is of itself invisible to the inhabitants of the Kāmadhātu. According to the Janavasabha Sutta, when a brahma (a being from the Brahma-world of the Rūpadhātu) wishes to visit a deva of the Trāyastriṃśa heaven (in the Kāmadhātu), he has to assume a "grosser form" in order to be visible to them. There are 17-22 Rūpadhātu in Buddhism texts, the most common saying is 18.[10]

The beings of the Form realm are not subject to the extremes of pleasure and pain, or governed by desires for things pleasing to the senses, as the beings of the Kāmadhātu are. The bodies of Form realm beings do not have sexual distinctions.

Like the beings of the Ārūpyadhātu, the dwellers in the Rūpadhātu have minds corresponding to the dhyānas (Pāli: jhānas). In their case it is the four lower dhyānas or rūpadhyānas. However, although the beings of the Rūpadhātu can be divided into four broad grades corresponding to these four dhyānas, each of them is subdivided into further grades, three for each of the four dhyānas and five for the Śuddhāvāsa devas, for a total of seventeen grades (the Theravāda tradition counts one less grade in the highest dhyāna for a total of sixteen).

Manuṣyaloka (Tib: mi; Jpn: 人 nin) – This is the world of humans and human-like beings who live on the surface of the earth. The mountain-rings that engird Sumeru are surrounded by a vast ocean, which fills most of the world. The ocean is in turn surrounded by a circular mountain wall called Cakravāḍa (Pāli: Cakkavāḷa) which marks the horizontal limit of the world. In this ocean there are four continents which are, relatively speaking, small islands in it. Because of the immenseness of the ocean, they cannot be reached from each other by ordinary sailing vessels, although in the past, when the cakravartin kings ruled, communication between the continents was possible by means of the treasure called the cakraratna (Pāli cakkaratana), which a cakravartin and his retinue could use to fly through the air between the continents. The four continents are:
Jambudvīpa or Jambudīpa (Jpn: 閻浮提 Enbudai) is located in the south and is the dwelling of ordinary human beings. It is said to be shaped "like a cart", or rather a blunt-nosed triangle with the point facing south. (This description probably echoes the shape of the coastline of southern India.) It is 10,000 yojanas in extent (Vibhajyavāda tradition) or has a perimeter of 6,000 yojanas (Sarvāstivāda tradition) to which can be added the southern coast of only 3 1⁄2 yojanas' length. The continent takes its name from a giant Jambu tree (Syzygium cumini), 100 yojanas tall, which grows in the middle of the continent. Every continent has one of these giant trees. All Buddhas appear in Jambudvīpa. The people here are five to six feet tall and their length of life varies between 10 to power 140 years (Asankya Aayu) and 10 years.
Pūrvavideha or Pubbavideha is located in the east, and is shaped like a semicircle with the flat side pointing westward (i.e., towards Sumeru). It is 7,000 yojanas in extent (Vibhajyavāda tradition) or has a perimeter of 6,350 yojanas of which the flat side is 2,000 yojanas long (Sarvāstivāda tradition). Its tree is the acacia. The people here are about 12 feet (3.7 m) tall and they live for 250 years.
Aparagodānīya or Aparagoyāna is located in the west, and is shaped like a circle with a circumference of about 7,500 yojanas (Sarvāstivāda tradition). The tree of this continent is a giant Kadamba tree. The human inhabitants of this continent do not live in houses but sleep on the ground. They are about 24 feet (7.3 m) tall and they live for 500 years.
Uttarakuru is located in the north, and is shaped like a square. It has a perimeter of 8,000 yojanas, being 2,000 yojanas on each side. This continent's tree is called a kalpavṛkṣa (Pāli: kapparukkha) or kalpa-tree, because it lasts for the entire kalpa. The inhabitants of Uttarakuru are said to be extraordinarily wealthy. They do not need to labor for a living, as their food grows by itself, and they have no private property. They have cities built in the air. They are about 48 feet (15 m) tall and live for 1,000 years, and they are under the protection of Vaiśravaṇa.

The four kalpa moments


Maha Kalpa[edit]

The word kalpa, means 'moment'. A maha kalpa consists of four moments (kalpa), the first of which is creation. The creation moment consists of the creation of the "receptacle", and the descent of beings from higher realms into more coarse forms of existence. During the rest of the creation moment, the world is populated. Human beings who exist at this point have no limit on their lifespan. The second moment is the duration moment, the start of this moment is signified by the first sentient being to enter hell (niraya), the hells and nirayas not existing or being empty prior to this moment. The duration moment consists of twenty "intermediate" moments (antarakappas), which unfold in a drama of the human lifespan descending from 80,000 years to 10, and then back up to 80,000 again. The interval between 2 of these "intermediate" moments is the "seven day purge", in which a variety of humans will kill each other (not knowing or recognizing each other), some humans will go into hiding. At the end of this purge, they will emerge from hiding and repopulate the world. As of May 2015, it seems the lifespan of humans is 80 years, during the time of Gotama Buddha it was 100 years.[15][16] After this purge, the lifespan will increase to 80,000, reach its peak and descend, at which point the purge will happen again.


Within the duration 'moment', this purge and repeat cycle seems to happen around 18 times, the first "intermediate" moment consisting only of the descent from 80,000—the second intermediate moment consisting of a rise and descent, and the last consisting only of an ascent.


After the duration 'moment' is the dissolution moment, the hells will gradually be emptied, as well as all coarser forms of existence. The beings will flock to the form realms (rupa dhatu), a destruction of fire occurs, sparing everything from the realms of the 'radiant' gods and above (abha deva).


After 7 of these destructions by 'fire', a destruction by water occurs, and everything from the realms of the 'pleasant' gods and above is spared (subha deva).


After 64 of these destructions by fire and water, that is—56 destructions by fire, and 7 by water—a destruction by wind occurs, this eliminates everything below the realms of the 'fruitful' devas (vehapphala devas, literally of "great fruit"). The pure abodes (suddhavasa, meaning something like pure, unmixed, similar to the connotation of "pure bred German shepherd"), are never destroyed. Although without the appearance of a Buddha, these realms may remain empty for a long time. It should be noted that the inhabitants of these realms have exceedingly long life spans.


The formless realms are never destroyed because they do not consist of form (rupa). The reason the world is destroyed by fire, water and wind, and not earth is because earth is the 'receptacle'.


After the dissolution moment, this particular world system remains dissolved for a long time, this is called the 'empty' moment, but the more accurate term would be "the state of being dissolved". The beings that inhabited this realm formerly will migrate to other world systems, and perhaps return if their journeys lead here again.[17][18]

Buddhist cosmology

In Buddhist cosmology
The Ārūpyadhātu (Sanskrit) or Arūpaloka (Pāli) (Tib: gzugs med pa'i khams; Jpn: 無色界 Mushiki-kai) or "Formless realm" would have no place in a purely physical cosmology, as none of the beings inhabiting it has either shape or location; and correspondingly, the realm has no location either. This realm belongs to those devas who attained and remained in the Four Formless Absorptions (catuḥ-samāpatti) of the arūpadhyānas in a previous life, and now enjoys the fruits (vipāka) of the good karma of that accomplishment. Bodhisattvas, however, are never born in the Ārūpyadhātu even when they have attained the arūpadhyānas.
There are four types of Ārūpyadhātu devas, corresponding to the four types of arūpadhyānas:
Arupa Bhumi (Arupachara Brahmalokas or Immaterial/Formless Brahma Realms)[edit]
Naivasaṃjñānāsaṃjñāyatana or Nevasaññānāsaññāyatana (Tib: 'du shes med 'du shes med min; Jpn: 非有想非無想処) "Sphere of neither perception nor non-perception". In this sphere the formless beings have gone beyond a mere negation of perception and have attained a liminal state where they do not engage in "perception" (saṃjñā, recognition of particulars by their marks) but are not wholly unconscious. This was the sphere reached by Udraka Rāmaputra (Pāli: Uddaka Rāmaputta), the second of the Buddha's two teachers, who considered it equivalent to enlightenment. Total life span on this realm in human years - 84,000 Maha Kalpa (Maha Kalpa = 4 Asankya Kalpa). Kalpa Vibhangaya This is realm is place 5,580,000 Yodun ( 1 Yoduna = 16 Miles) above the Plane of Nothingness(Akiknchaknkayatana). Sakwala Vibhangaya
Ākiṃcanyāyatana or Ākiñcaññāyatana (Tib: ci yang med; Jpn: 無所有処 musho u sho) "Sphere of Nothingness" (literally "lacking anything"). In this sphere formless beings dwell contemplating upon the thought that "there is no thing". This is considered a form of perception, though a very subtle one. This was the sphere reached by Ārāḍa Kālāma (Pāli: Āḷāra Kālāma), the first of the Buddha's two teachers; he considered it to be equivalent to enlightenment. Total life span on this realm in human years - 60,000 Maha Kalpa. This is realm is place 5,580,000 Yodun above the Plane of Infinite Consciousness(Viknknanaknchayathana).
Vijñānānantyāyatana or Viññāṇānañcāyatana or more commonly the contracted form Viññāṇañcāyatana (Tib: rnam shes mtha' yas; Jpn: 識無辺処 shiki mu hen jo) "Sphere of Infinite Consciousness". In this sphere formless beings dwell meditating on their consciousness (vijñāna) as infinitely pervasive. Total life span on this realm in human years - 40,000 Maha Kalpa. This is realm is place 5,580,000 Yodun above the Plane of Infinite Space(Akasanknayathanaya)
Ākāśānantyāyatana or Ākāsānañcāyatana (Tib: nam mkha' mtha' yas; Jpn: 空無辺処 kū mu hen jo) "Sphere of Infinite Space". In this sphere formless beings dwell meditating upon space or extension (ākāśa) as infinitely pervasive. Total life span on this realm in human years - 20,000 Maha Kalpa. This is realm is place 5,580,000 Yodun above the Akanita Brahma Loka — Highest plane of pure abodes.

Buddhist cosmology is the description of the shape and evolution of the Universe according to the Buddhist scriptures and commentaries.

It consists of temporal and spatial cosmology, the temporal cosmology being the division of the existence of a 'world' into four discrete moments (the creation, duration (the second square is always homeostasis), dissolution (the third square is always destruction) , and state of being dissolved (the fourth square is death)

The term Four Heavenly Kings originally refers to 4 gods in Buddhism.

Four Heavenly Kings (四大天王) is a Chinese term created in June 1992 by Oriental Daily News to refer to the four biggest male superstars in Hong Kong at that time: Andy Lau, Jacky Cheung, Aaron Kwok and Leon Lai.[1] They dominated entertainment not only in Hong Kong but throughout the Chinese speaking world in the 1990s, having very successful singing careers (in both Cantopop and Mandopop) as well as acting careers well into the 2000s. The 1990s is sometimes called the "Four Heavenly Kings Era" in Hong Kong entertainment because their songs swept the awards of Top 10 Songs of the Year during a 6-year span, especially by Cheung and Lau.


In Hinduism, lokapāla refers to the Guardians of the Directions associated with the four cardinal directions.

In Buddhism, lokapāla refers to the Four Heavenly Kings, and to other protector spirits, whereas the Guardians of the Directions are referred to as the 'dikpālas'

The Four Heavenly Kings are four Buddhist gods, each of whom watches over one cardinal direction of the world. In Chinese, they are known collectively as the "Fēng Tiáo Yǔ Shùn" (simplified Chinese: 风调雨顺; traditional Chinese: 風調雨順; literally: "Good climate") or "Sì Dà Tiānwáng" (Chinese: 四大天王; literally: "Four Great Heavenly Kings"). The Hall of the Heavenly Kings is a standard component of Chinese Buddhist temples.…/an-eastern-philosophy-for-our-…

In one of the Āgama Scriptures, there is the following passage:
The Buddha once told his monks that there were four kinds of horses. The first, upon seeing the shadow of the riding crop, is startled and forthwith follows the wish of its rider. The second, startled when the crop touches its hair, forthwith follows the wish of its rider. The third is startled after the crop touches its flesh. The fourth is awakened only after the touch of the riding crop is felt in its bones.
The first horse is like the person who hears about the death of someone in a distant monastic community and forthwith feels aversion for things of the world. The next horse is like the person who hears of the death of someone within their own monastic community and then feels aversion for things of the world. The third horse is like the person who hears of the death of someone near and dear to them and then feels aversion for things of the world. The fourth horse is like the person whose own body experiences sickness and suffering, and only then feels aversion for things of the world.

Shōbōgenzō: On ‘The Four Horses’ 1046
This is the metaphor of the four horses in the Āgama Scriptures. When you are exploring through your training what the Buddha’s Dharma is, this is certainly a good place to study. Those among ordinary people or those in lofty stations who emerge as spiritually good friends and guides, later, as emissaries of the Buddha, become Ancestral Masters. All of them have invariably explored this Teaching through their practice and pass it on for the benefit of their disciples. Those who do not know it are not spiritually good friends and guides for ordinary people or for those more lofty. Those human disciples who have grown good, thick roots and are intimate with the Buddha’s words and ways have invariably been able to hear this Teaching. Those who are ever so far from the Buddha’s words and ways have not heard it, nor do they know it. Hence, those who would be master teachers should consider presenting it without delay, and disciples should pray that they may hear of it without delay.
The meaning of ‘feeling aversion for things of the world’ has been given in the Vimalakirti Scripture, as follows:
When the Buddha gives voice to a single utterance of Dharma, sentient beings are able to free themselves from suffering in accord with their type. Some will experience fear, some will feel joy, some will give rise to aversion for things of the world, some will cut through their doubts.

The Great Scripture on the Buddha’s Parinirvana quotes the Buddha as saying the following:
Next, my good disciples, it is like training horses. Generally speaking, there are four kinds of horses. With the first, contact is made through their hair. With the second, contact is made through their skin. With the third, contact is made through their flesh. With the fourth, contact is made through their bones. They obey the trainer’s wish, depending on which part is contacted.
The situation is also like this for the Tathagata. By means of four methods, He restrains and subdues sentient beings. With the first, the Buddha explains for their benefit what ‘being alive’ means, whereby they accept what He says. They are like horses who follow the wish of their rider once he has made contact with their hair. With the second, the Buddha explains what ‘being alive, along with aging’ means, whereby they accept what He says. They are like horses who follow the wish of their rider once he has made contact with their hair
Shōbōgenzō: On ‘The Four Horses’ 
and skin. With the third, the Buddha explains what ‘being alive, along with aging and sickening’ means, whereby they accept what He says. They are like horses who follow the wish of their rider once he has made contact with their hair, skin, and flesh. With the fourth, He explains what ‘being alive, along with aging, sickening, and dying’ means, whereby they accept what the Buddha says. They are like horses who follow the wish of their rider once he has made contact with their hair, skin, flesh, and bones.
O my good disciples, there is nothing assured when it comes to a rider training a horse, but with the World-honored Tathagata’s restraining and subduing sentient beings, His efforts are assured and never in vain. This is why the Buddha was given the epithet of Tamer and Subduer of Those Who Are Strong in Their Determination.
This is called “The Four Horses of the Great Scripture on the Buddha’s Parinirvana”. There are no trainees who have failed to learn of it and no Buddhas who have failed to teach it. We hear it when we follow the Buddha. Of necessity, we pay heed to it whenever we encounter and offer our service to a Buddha. Once we have had the Buddha Dharma Transmitted to us, we continually give expression to It for the sake of sentient beings. When we ultimately arrive at Buddhahood, we voice It for the sake of the great assembly of bodhisattvas* and all others—worldly and celestial—who will listen, just as if it were the first time that our wish to realize the Truth had arisen. This is why the Three Treasures of Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha have continued on without interruption

In Persian mythology, two four-eyed dogs guard the Chinvat Bridge.

Two diagrams known as bagua (or pa kua) loom large in feng shui, and both predate their mentions in the Yijing (or I Ching).[citation needed] The Lo (River) Chart (Luoshu) was developed first,[42] and is sometimes associated with Later Heaven arrangement of the bagua. This and the Yellow River Chart (Hetu, sometimes associated with the Earlier Heaven bagua) are linked to astronomical events of the sixth millennium BC, and with the Turtle Calendar from the time of Yao. The Turtle Calendar of Yao (found in the Yaodian section of the Shangshu or Book of Documents) dates to 2300 BC, plus or minus 250 years.[44]

In Yaodian, the cardinal directions are determined by the marker-stars of the mega-constellations known as the Four Celestial Animals:


The Azure Dragon (Spring equinox)—Niao (Bird 鳥), α Scorpionis


The Vermilion Bird (Summer solstice)—Huo (Fire 火), α Hydrae


The White Tiger (Autumn equinox)—Mǎo (Hair 毛), η Tauri (the Pleiades)


The Black Tortoise (Winter solstice)—Xū (Emptiness, Void 虛), α Aquarii, β Aquarii

The diagrams are also linked with the sifang (four directions) method of divination used during the Shang dynasty.[45] The sifang is much older, however. It was used at Niuheliang, and figured large in Hongshan culture's astronomy. And it is this area of China that is linked to Huangdi, the Yellow Emperor, who allegedly invented the south-pointing spoon (see compass)

The Four Gates Pagoda (Chinese: 四门塔; pinyin: Sì Mén Tǎ) is a Sui dynasty (581-618 AD) stone Chinese pagoda located in central Shandong Province, China. It is thought to be the oldest remaining pavilion-style stone pagoda in China. The oldest extant brick-built pagoda in China is the 40-metre-tall (130 ft) Songyue Pagoda of 523 AD.

Contents [hide] 
1 Location
2 History
3 Architecture
4 Interior
5 Surroundings
6 See also
7 External links
The Four Gates Pagoda is located at the foot of Qinglong Mountain, near Liubu Village, in Licheng District, under the administration of Jinan City, about 33 kilometers southeast of the city of Jinan proper. The pagoda is located to the east of the site of the Shentong Temple (Chinese: 神通寺; pinyin: Shéntōng Sì; literally: "Supernatural Power Temple"), which was one of the most important temples in northern China at the time the pagoda was built but is now in ruins.

According to an inscription on a stone tablet which was discovered inside the pagodas ceiling in 1972, the pagoda was "built in the seventh year of the Daye period of the Sui dynasty". This corresponds to the year 611 AD, near the end of the dynasty. The pagoda has been listed as a Major Historical and Cultural Site Protected at the National Level since 1961.

During the Sui dynasty, stone and brick were introduced as material for building pagodas. The Four-Gates Pagoda was built from blocks quarried from a hard local rock. All extant older stone pagodas are sculptured pagodas or columns in the shape of a pagoda. The simple design of the Four Gates Pagoda is typical for one-storey, pavilion-style pagodas: It has a square cross-section delineated by plane side walls. All elements of the structure are symmetrical with four identical sides each facing one of the four cardinal directions. In the center of each wall is a door with straight sides and round arch on top (hence the name). The roof of the pagoda is pyramid shaped. It consists of 23 tiers of overlapping stone slabs and is supported by 5 tiers of stone eaves. The tip of the roof is occupied by a stone steeple. The overall shape of the steeple resembles a box-shaped pagoda which is carved with Buddhist scriptures and sits on its own Sumeru pedestal with stone corner decorations in the shape of banana leaves. The spire of the steeple is made up of 5 stone discs. The total height of the pagoda is 10.4 meters; each side is 7.4 meters long.


Ancient "Nine-tip pine" near the Four-Gates Pagoda
The interior of the pagoda is dominated by a large central pillar with a square cross-section like the walls of the pagoda, between the surface of the central pillar and the inner side of the walls is a corridor which leads around the entire pillar. The roof of the pagoda is supported by 16 triangular beams which link the outer walls to the central pillar. On each of the four sides of the central pillar, behind the gates, a seated Buddha sculpture is located. The four sculptures are: the "Subtle-voiced" Buddha (Chinese: 微妙聲佛; pinyin: Wēi Miào Shēng Fó) on the northern wall, the Ratnasambhava Buddha (Chinese: 寶生佛; pinyin: Bǎo Shēng Fó) on the southern wall, the Akshobhya Buddha (Chinese: 阿閦佛; pinyin: A Shan Fó) on the eastern wall, and the Amitābha Buddha (Chinese: 無量壽佛; pinyin: Wu Liang Shou Fo) on the western wall. On the base of the statues is a dedication inscription dated to the year 544 AD (during the times of the Eastern Wei Dynasty). According to the inscription, a high-ranking military and civil official named Yang Xianzhou (楊顯州) commissioned the Buddha statues to commemorate his ancestors on occasion of the anniversary of his father's death. This suggests that the statues are significantly older than the pagoda which houses them. The pagoda may thus have been built for the purpose of housing these sculptures.

The head of one of the four Buddha statues in the pagoda, the Akshobhya Buddha seated on the east wall, was sawed off and stolen in 1997. The head came eventually into the possession of a group of business people from Taiwan, who presented it to Dharma Drum Mountain Foundation in Peitou, Taipei, to be exhibited in the foundation's Museum of Buddhist History and Culture. After the origin of the head was determined, it was returned to its original location in 2002.

Next to the pagoda stands an ancient pine tree known as the "Nine-tip Pine" (Chinese: 九顶松; pinyin: jiŭ dǐng sōng) or "Thousand Year Pine" since it is believed to be more than thousand years old. Two other pagodas dating from the Tang dynasty stand near the Four-Gates Pagoda: The Dragon-and-Tiger Pagoda and the Minor Dragon-and-Tiger Pagoda.

According to taoism the balance of Yin Yang can be skewed due to outside influences. Four possible imbalances exist:
Deficiency Yang
Deficiency Yin
Excess Yang
Excess Yin

According to the Buddha

"There are these four nutriments for the maintenance of beings who have come into being or for the support of those in search of a place to be born. Which four? Physical food, gross or refined; contact as the second, intellectual intention the third, and consciousness the fourth. These are the four nutriments for the maintenance of beings who have come into being or for the support of those in search of a place to be born."
Puttamansa Sutta: A Son's Flesh
In many suttas Buddha talks about these four kinds of nutriment (food) for the maintenance of beings that already have come to be and for the support of those seeking a new existence.
The Four Nutriments:
1. Physical nutriment : gross or subtle (kabali'nkaaro)
2. Contact nutriment (phassa)
3. Mental volition (formations) nutriment (mano-sancetanaa)
4. Consciousness nutriment (viññaa"na)
Nayna ponika Thera says:
"All beings subsist on nutriment" — this, according to the Buddha, is the one single fact about life that, above all, deserves to be remembered, contemplated and understood. If understood widely and deeply enough, this saying of the Buddha reveals indeed a truth that leads to the root of all existence and also to its uprooting....
....the laws of nutriment govern both biological and mental life, and this fact was expressed by the Buddha when speaking of four kinds of nutriments
.... It is hunger that stands behind the entire process of nutrition, wielding its whip relentlessly. The body, from birth to death, craves ceaselessly for material food; and mind hungers as eagerly for its own kind of nourishment, for ever new sense-impressions and for an ever expanding universe of ideas.
.....Craving (ta.nhaa) is the principal condition of any "in-take" or "up-take" (upaadaana), that is, of nutriment in its widest sense. This is the first factor common to all types of nutriment, be they physical or mental.

According to the Buddha

"There are these four nutriments for the maintenance of beings who have come into being or for the support of those in search of a place to be born. Which four? Physical food, gross or refined; contact as the second, intellectual intention the third, and consciousness the fourth. These are the four nutriments for the maintenance of beings who have come into being or for the support of those in search of a place to be born."
Puttamansa Sutta: A Son's Flesh
In many suttas Buddha talks about these four kinds of nutriment (food) for the maintenance of beings that already have come to be and for the support of those seeking a new existence.
The Four Nutriments:
1. Physical nutriment : gross or subtle (kabali'nkaaro)
2. Contact nutriment (phassa)
3. Mental volition (formations) nutriment (mano-sancetanaa)
4. Consciousness nutriment (viññaa"na)
Nayna ponika Thera says:
"All beings subsist on nutriment" — this, according to the Buddha, is the one single fact about life that, above all, deserves to be remembered, contemplated and understood. If understood widely and deeply enough, this saying of the Buddha reveals indeed a truth that leads to the root of all existence and also to its uprooting....
....the laws of nutriment govern both biological and mental life, and this fact was expressed by the Buddha when speaking of four kinds of nutriments
.... It is hunger that stands behind the entire process of nutrition, wielding its whip relentlessly. The body, from birth to death, craves ceaselessly for material food; and mind hungers as eagerly for its own kind of nourishment, for ever new sense-impressions and for an ever expanding universe of ideas.
.....Craving (ta.nhaa) is the principal condition of any "in-take" or "up-take" (upaadaana), that is, of nutriment in its widest sense. This is the first factor common to all types of nutriment, be they physical or mental.

The text is divided into four categories.

The Classic of Mountains and Seas or Shan Hai Jing,[1] formerly romanized as the Shan-hai Ching, is a Chinese classic text and a compilation of mythic geography[2][3] and myth. Versions of the text have existed since the 4th century BC,[4][5] but the present form was not reached until the early Han dynasty a few centuries later.[5] It is largely a fabulous geographical and cultural account of pre-Qin China as well as a collection of Chinese mythology.[citation needed] The book is divided into eighteen sections; it describes over 550 mountains and 300 channels.

All 18 chapters can be classified into 4 categories: Classic of the Mountains (contents 5 chapters), Classic of the Seas (contents 8 chapters), Classic of the Great Wilderness (contents 4 chapters), and Classic of Regions Within the Seas (contents 1 chapter). It recorded more than 100 diplomatically related realms, 550 mountains and 300 rivers, along with the geographic and cultural information of the nearby realms. The Classic of Mountains and Seas also recorded up to 277 different animals. Scholars believe the records of animals in Classic of the Mountains are somewhat exaggerated due to the long history of people compiling them in different dynasties; yet they still have a certain degree of authority, because they were generally written by sorcerers and Fangshi based on the experiences they gained from their trips.

Yellow Emporer had four faces.
The Five Forms form a quincunx- a cross of five elements- once central and four at the four directions.

The Yellow Emperor, also known as the Yellow Thearch, the Yellow God or the Yellow Lord, or simply by his Chinese name Huangdi (About this sound Huángdì, formerly romanized as Huang Ti and Hwang Ti), is a deity in Chinese religion, one of the legendary Chinese sovereigns and culture heroes included among the mytho-historical Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors and cosmological Five Forms of the Highest Deity (五方上帝 Wǔfāng Shàngdì).[2][note 1] First calculated by Jesuit missionaries on the basis of Chinese chronicles and later accepted by the twentieth-century promoters of a universal calendar starting with the Yellow Emperor, Huangdi's traditional reign dates are 2697–2597 or 2698–2598 BC.

As a cosmological deity, the Yellow Emperor is known as the "Great Emperor of the Central Peak" (中岳大帝 Zhōngyuè Dàdì),[2] and in the Shizi as the "Yellow Emperor with Four Faces" (黄帝四面 Huángdì Sìmiàn).[20] In old accounts the Yellow Emperor is identified as a deity of light (and his name is explained in the Shuowen jiezi to derive from guāng 光, "light") and thunder, and as one and the same with the "Thunder God" (雷神 Léishén),[21][22] who in turn, as a later mythological character, is distinguished as the Yellow Emperor's foremost pupil, such as in the Huangdi Neijing.

The state of Qin[edit]
Further information: Qin (state)
In his Shiji, Sima Qian claims that the state of Qin started worshipping the Yellow Emperor in the fifth century BC, along with Yandi, the Fiery Emperor.[47] The altars were established at Yong 雍 (near modern Fengxiang County in Shaanxi province), which was the capital of Qin from 677 to 383 BC.[48] By the time of King Zheng, who became king of Qin in 247 and First Emperor of a unified China in 221 BC, Huangdi had become by far the most important of the four "thearchs" (di 帝) that were then worshiped at Yong.[49]

Symbol of the centre of the universe[edit]

Temple of Huangdi in Jinyun, Lishui, Zhejiang, China.
As the Yellow Deity with Four Faces (黄帝四面 Huángdì Sìmiàn) he represents the centre of the universe and vision of the unity which controls the four directions. It is explained in the Huangdi Sijing ("Four Scriptures of the Yellow Emperor") that regulating "heart within brings order without". In order to reign one must "reduce himself" abandoning emotions, "drying up like a corpse", never allowing oneself to be carried away, as according to the myth the Yellow Emperor himself did during his three years of refuge on Mount Bowang in order to find himself. This practice creates an internal void where all the vital forces of creation gather, and the more indeterminate they remain and the more powerful they will be.[115]

16 offering goddesses
In Tibetan Buddhist tradition senses are considered in relation to their cognitive faculties. They are associated with a certain kind of consciousness, because through them we get information about the surrounding world. Consciousness is considered as one of the five agregats that form the human personality. Senses, agregats and elements (earth, water, fire, air and space) represent psycho-physical components of samsara. They have to be purified and transformed, which is the aim of Buddhist tantric practice. For this purpose particular objects that stimulate the senses are used like the five sense objects, called in Tibetan Buddhist tradition the “five objects that please the senses”. In Vajrayana Buddhism they are worshiped as offering goddesses, which have the status of female Bodhisattvas. The sixteen offering goddesses are described in the prayer “The Lute of the Gandharvas: The Garland of Offerings of the Sixteen Vajra Goddesses”, whose translated from Tibetan to Bulgarian language is attached to the main text.…/senses-and-offerings-sense-objects-tibeta…

This website talks about the four tiered universe of the Buddhists and Hindus as well as the four Jhanas and the sixteen world forms from rupa lokas


Today we are going to have a discussion on the topic of youth. All of us need a good environment. Teachers and parents should come together to create a good environment for our young people in order to suffer less. The Buddha said that nothing can survive without food. There are several kinds of food. In the Sutra of the Four Nutriments can be helpful as a background to understand. In this sutra there is a story of a family crossing the desert and they have to make a very difficult decision to kill their child in order to survive. The first kind of nutriment is edible food. We have to eat in such a way to preserve compassion in us and not to eat the flesh of our own sons and daughters. The second kind of nutriment is sensory impressions. This comes from eye, ear, nose, ear, body, and mind. When we watch television, we consume. When we use the internet, we consume. Even conversation can be very toxic. Educators and parents should practice mindful consumption to set an example for our young people to preserve our well being. The third kind of nutriment is intention/volition. This is the deepest desire in us – our deepest desire may be good or it may be destructive. Helping young people to suffer less or to work for the environment or work for peace, these are good intentions. Last year at Google, they asked Thay to talk about intention. What do we want to do with our life? Our deepest desire? Is it to practice to help people to suffer less, then that is a good intention. And the fourth kind of nutriment is consciousness – consciousness as food. There is individual consciousness. We carry with us the suffering of our parents and our ancestors. We should have a teacher or friend to help us come out of the dark corner of the past. Practicing appropriate attention, that is good food. There is also collective consciousness. We can feel the collective energy of mindfulness and compassion in a positive environment. To help young people, we should reflect on the kinds of nutriments we are providing them. Nothing can survive without food.…/sutra-on-full-awareness-of-breathing/

The 16 breathing exercises
Today, Thay will talk about one mental formation called restlessness. We don’t feel peace and don’t know what to do. Restlessness is the lack of peace. How do new deal with this mental formation? If parents and teachers know how to handle restlessness they can help our children. How do we learn? First, we start with our body. In Plum Village we have many ways to work with the body. For example, total relaxation. In the Sutra of Mindful Breathing the Buddha proposed sixteen exercises. These are concrete.
The third exercise is “breathing in, I am aware of my body.” You do not think of anything else. When the mind is not with the body you are not totally alive. This is called the oneness of body and mind. Your body is a wonder of life. Happiness can be found in your body. Aware of body.
The Buddha then proposed the fourth exercise, “breathing in, I release the tension in my body.” This is very important for us today to help us suffer less. When you heat the bell, you can stop your thing and breath in mindfully and bring your mind back to your body. Release the tension in body.
The first exercise of mindful breathing is very simple and powerful. Breathing in, I know am breathing out. Breathing out, I know I am breathing out. Awareness of breath. Very simple. We can touch the fact that you are alive and this is the greatest of all miracles. It is wonderful. This can make you a free person and can make good decisions.
The second exercise is following your in breath all the way through. We become very concentrated on your breath. Our concentration becomes deeper. We stop our thinking and we enjoy. When we sit in the lotus position, we can allow ourselves to release the tension and this is one of the methods to work with restlessness. We have many practices to help us work with our breathing. Gathas and songs to release the tensions and enjoy our body.
The practice of lying down and total relaxation of body is practical and relevant. In the Sutra of the Contemplations of the Body we learn how to identify different parts of the body. We can all learn and practice total relaxation.
Another method to release the tension is walking meditation. The present moment. Happiness is possible now. We don’t need to go into the future to find happiness. Walking meditation is a training to help us stop running. Life is only available in the here and the now. It is the practice of stopping. Stop the running and enjoy every step. How do we practice walking meditation?
Editor’s Note: The video is included below for you but the time stamps listed above apply to the audio recording only.…/sutra-on-full-awareness-of-breathing/


16 is the squares of the quadrant model


A Brief Description of the Mandala of the Medicine Buddha

This Mandala, constructed here from colored sand particles, represents the residence of Medicine Buddhas. It is in the unique design of Namgyal Monastery’s tradition, which has been preserved through many generations, along with studies and practices according to different traditional lineages. The Namgyal Monastery’s sand Mandala is flat, very colorful and catches many people’s eyes with its beautiful designs. Just to glimpse this Mandala creates a positive impression on the mind stream of the observer, who for a moment is in touch with the timeless ideal of all-encompassing compassion.

The inner surface of the four directions of the Mandala are blue in the east, yellow in the south, red in the west, green in the north and white in the center. There are three circles of lotus petals inside the Mandala. The Medicine Buddha is in the center on the moon disk and is surrounded by another Eight Medicine Buddhas, who are seated on those intermediate circles of sixteen petals on moon cushions. The ten guardians (Phyons-skyong bCu) of the ten directions and the twelve Yaksha-princes (gNod-sByin) are seated on the petals of the outer lotus circle. The ten guardians are on a rock mountain cushion (phyogs-sKyon) and the twelve principle demons (gNod-sByin) are on the silk cushions. The four Guardian-Kings are at the four gates of the Mandala on moon discs. The principle Medicine Buddha is blue in color. In his right hand he holds universal medicine (a-ru-ra-myrobalan) in the gesture of giving supreme attainment. His left hand is in the gesture of meditative equipoise holding an alms bowl.

On the inner eight petals: to the Southeast are golden yellow Buddha Sakyamuni, right hand is in the earth-touching mudra (earth witness or touching the earth) to call the earth goddess and left hand is in the meditative equipoise mudra. In the South is yellow medicine Buddha with a wish-granting jewel in his right hand, which is in the mudra of bestowing protection generosity and his left hand, is in the mudra of concentration. On the Southwest petal is yellow Drayang Gyalpo with his right hand in the mudra of expounding the Dharma and his left hand in the mudra of concentration. In the Western petal, yellow Buddha Serzang with his hands is in the mudra of expounding the Dharma. In the Northwest is Buddha Nyangen Maychokpal in pink color with both hands in the mudra of concentration. In the North is Buddha Chodrag Gyatso-yang with a pale pink body and hands in the mudra of expounding the Dharma. In the Nothewest is Buddha Ngonkyen Gyalpo in red colored with his right hand in the mudra of sublime realization and his left hand in the mudra of concentration. In the East is the Great Mother (Prajnaparamita) in golden color with one face and four arms. First two hands are holding a Vajra and a scripture. The next two hands are in the mudra of concentration and adorned with precious ornaments. All the Buddhas are adorned with minor and major marks and wearing Sham-thab (undergarment of monk), and an upper yellow robe in the form or aspect of an emanation body.

The sixteen levels of petals are divided into four petals in each of the four quarters.

On the four eastern petal are: Yellow Boddhisattva Manjushri with his right hand holding the wisdom sword and in his left a blue water lily supporting a scripture; White Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara with lotus in one hand; blue-green Vajrapani holding vajra in one hand; and an orange colored Ni-Snan with a sun in his hand.

On the four Southern petals are: White Dawa-Snan with a moon disc in the hand; great Yellow bLo-gros holding an eye in one hold; Yellow Maitreya holding dagger stick and vase; White sKyags-grol holding in his right hand a Dharma treasure and in the left hand held above the left thigh in the mudra of ‘the half closed fist vajra.

On the West four petals are: White sPobs-po brtsegs-pa holding an incense burner in the hand; green-blue rNam-pa gnon-pa with a sword in one hand and the white lotus in another hand; White blTa-sdug with a scripture in the hand; White Mun-pa tham-cad ne-par with a precious stick in hand.

On the North four petals are: White sMas-ba legn-par sem-pa holding a vase filled with nectar in the hand; White lhun-po brtseg with a half moon on lotus in one hand; blue sNa-sna po’l dbyans holding blue lotus with a Vajra in one hand; White lhun-po chen-po holding a vase filled with nectar. All are adorned with silk and precious ornaments.

On the twenty-two petals of the outer lotus circle are the twelve YAKSHA-princes (gNog-sByin); each holding a jewel-spitting mongoose in the left hand, like their King Namthosa. They are placed between the guardians of the ten directions, (Phyogs skyong bCu) i.e. the four cardinal points, the four intermediate directions, Zenith and the Nadir, thus illustrating the spherical concept of the picture. These ten guardians are: in the east are yellow Brahman, white Indra, the red god of fire, blue yama, cannibal demons (dark red), the god of water (white), the god of wind (dust color), gnod-sbyin demons (yellow), dwan-Idan (white), the god of earth (yellow).

Towards the left row: ‘Jigs-pyed yellow in color with a red Vajra sword in one hand; rGyan hzin, yellow in color with; gzha-hzin, light blue in color; raun-hzin with reddish color; gns-bcas ddha-ka dbn-hzin reddish in color; gtun-hzin, yellow in color; smr-hzin, pinkcolored; bsm-hzin, yellow in color; gyo-b hzin, blue in color; rzogs-byed, reddish colored. These all short and fat with large bellies. Retinues of seven thousand surround each of these demons.

The four gates of this Mandala are protected by the four Guardian-Kings of the cardinal points. On the Eastern gate is Yul-hkor bsru in white color with guitar in his hands. In the Sourthern door is hpgs-skyes-po in blue color with a sword in one hand. On the Western gate is spyn-mi-bzn in reddish color with snake lasso and a stupa of the great enlightment in his hands. In the Northern door is rNam-thos-sras, holding cylindrical banner aloft and grasps a jewel-spitting mongoose. These four Guardian Kings are surrounded by their queens and attendants.

A long time in the past, the eight medicine Buddha made extremely powerful wishes, out of great compassion, in order to be able to always help sentient beings to be free from the three poisons, from the obstructions and confusion due to previous karma, suffering from different types of diseases, sorrow and troubles. The truth and power of their prayers and blessings are incomparable. While the Buddha was teaching the seven medicine Buddha’s sutra, the Bodhisattvas, the great beings in this Mandala such as Munjushri, son of the Buddha sKyab-grol, phyag-n-rdo-rje (Vajra Pani) and so on gathered and greatly praised it promising to protect future practitioners and sutra itself for the purposes of the sutra remaining as leader and helper of all sentient beings.

As the great assembly of Buddhas the ten Gaurdians of the directions and four gate keepers made an oath that they would protect this great sutra, and its practitioners and Cativari parisadyah. Also at this great assembly all the twelve principle demons (Noi-Jin) in this Mandala as well made a promise to protect respectfully make offerings to it.

There are several different ways to represent the Medicine Buddha and his retinue- with medicine Buddha himself in the center as the main bestower of healing, the other eight medicine Buddhas, sixteen Bodhisattvas, ten guardians of the directions, twelve Noi-Jin and four guardians of the gates. In some cases, heaps of the sand are used to represent them, in others there are painted imanges of the deities or syllables (Tibetan or Sanskrit) to represent them. Namgyal Monastery monks mostly draw just the hand implements of the deities with colored sand, which stand to symbolize them.


A market cross, or in Scots, a mercat cross, is a structure used to mark a market square in market towns, where historically the right to hold a regular market or fair was granted by the monarch, a bishop or a baron. Market crosses were originally from the distinctive tradition in Early Medieval Insular art of free-standing stone standing or high crosses, often elaborately carved, which goes back to the 7th century. Market crosses can be found in most market towns in Britain. British emigrants often installed such crosses in their new cities, and several can be found in Canada and Australia.

These structures range from carved stone spires, obelisks or crosses, common to small market towns such as that in Stalbridge, Dorset, to large, ornate covered structures, such as the Chichester Cross or Malmesbury Market Cross. Market Crosses can also be constructed from wood; an example is at Wymondham, Norfolk.

16 is the squares of the quadrant model


16 is the squares of the quadrant model


Together with Dagpo Kagyu Tradition they keep and transmit The Pith Instructions of the Sixteen Essences, and the Dagpo Kagyu Tradition keeps and transmits the Key Instructions of the Four Noble Truths.


Phuchungwa received the transmission and responsibility to hold the teachings of the pith instructions of the Sixteen Circles of the Kadampa. As a support he received also the empowerments, instructions, and secret teachings of the Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment (Skt: Bodhi Pradipa, Tib: byang chhub lam gi rdon mey). The pith instructions lineage has its root in the secret oral teachings of Atisha and are embodied in The Precious Book of the Kadampa Masters: A Jewel Rosary of Profound Instructions on the Bodhisattva Way. This text is seen as the main text of the Kadampas. These instructions were passed down only to one student in each generation in a single transmission until the secrecy was lifted at the time of Narthang Shönu Lodrö. Later these teachings were incorporated into the Karma Kamtsang Kagyu lineage by Pal Tsuglak Trengwa and into the Gelug lineage by the 1st Dalai Lama.

Buddhists have developed a complex, and rather specific, number of hell’s and punishments. There’s sixteen hells. A small sample includes “Nirarbuda”, a place where miscreant beings roam around a dark, frozen plain surrounded by icy mountains, where bodies blister from the icy cold, and are covered in blood and pus.Or maybe “Samghata”, where the residents are continually crushed by huge rocks until they are nothing but a bloody jelly. The rocks then move apart, the being is restored, and the brutal process is repeated. For precisely 10.0368 trillion years.

Other Buddhist hell’s are a mixed bag of flesh eating animals, a lot of blood and guts, fire, and weaponry of various ingenuity. I liked the one where you get stabbed with red-hot-spears, until fire comes out of your nose. No matter which one is your favourite Buddhist Hell, down in Dikwella they’re all gruesome, and the wifi sucks. And of course, more hell’s are actively being discussed by those Buddhists for whom sixteen hells is simply not enough.

King Pasenadi Kosol's 16 dreams

The historical Buddha Shakyamuni, known as Shaka in Japanese, sits on a lotus throne at the center of this painting—impressive in size, precision of brushwork, and coloration. He is surrounded by an entourage of deities and sheltered by a jeweled canopy. Flanking Shaka are two bodhisattvas: Fugen (Sanskrit: Samantabhadra), mounted on an elephant, and Monju (Sanskrit: Manjushri), on a lion. Also represented are sixteen deities who protect the Buddhist scripture known as the Great Wisdom Sutra (Japanese: Daihannyakyō; Sanskrit: Mahaprajnaparamita). Counted among the Sixteen Protectors are the Guardian Kings of the Four Directions.

At the bottom right stands the Chinese monk Genjō (Chinese: Xuanzang, 602–664). He carries a scripture in his left hand and a brush in his right; on his back is a large portable chest containing Buddhist texts. These motifs symbolize Genjō’s prominent role as a Buddhist scholar and translator of sutras from India, including the Great Wisdom Sutra. A fierce red deity wearing a skull necklace—the Jinja Daishō (Great General of the Desert), who protected Genjō during his travels in India—stands opposite him. This painting would have been hung in a Buddhist temple during ceremonies at which the Great Wisdom Sutra was read aloud.…/

Chandrakirti’s Entrance to the Middle Way: The Sixteen Emptinesses
This is an extraordinary logical exposition of Nagarjuna’s transmission on Emptiness from the Nagas who kept it viable since the Buddha taught it. Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche explains The Sixteen Emptinesses with extraordinary clarity in his inimitable style. He uses a lot of direct references to The Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way, written by the great Nagarjuna in the second century. In this seminar taught at KSC, Khenpo uses his magical presentation skills and his book, The Sun of Wisdom, to clarify the Buddha’s teachings on Emptiness and absolute reality. Ari Goldfield does the translation.
Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche
One of the most accomplished teachers and meditation masters of Tibetan Buddhism living today – often compared to Tibet’s greatest yogi, Milarepa – Khenpo Rinpoche is widely respected for his scholarship in the four major lineages of Tibetan Buddhism. He is the Senior Abbot of the Nalanda Institute of Tibetan Studies in Rumtek, Sikkim (seat of His Holiness the Karmapa), and in the West, he has been one of the principal sources of advanced teachings for students of the Kagyu lineage since 1975.
Khenpo Rinpoche has trained many Western translators through in-depth instruction in key Tibetan texts, establishing the Marpa Institute for Translators in Nepal in 1986. Author of numerous books and articles, including Progressive Stages of Meditation on Emptiness, Rinpoche provided the commentary facilitating the translation of Mahamudra: the Ocean of Wisdom from the Tibetan text, Ngedön Gyamtso.…/

BuddhismSphere of neither-perception-nor-non-perception

The highest of the four heavens in the Realm of Formlessness, or called the sphere of no-thing.

Sphere of no-thing

The heavens without form, immaterial, consisting only of the mind in contemplation, being four in number of which the "sphere of neither-perception-nor-nonperception" is the highest.


Sixteen Contemplations 

See Vipasyana Sukhavativyha Sutra.

Sixteen Hearts 

There are eight hearts within the Desire Realm:

Patience regarding the Dharma involved in Suffering

Wisdom regarding the Dharma involved in Suffering

Patience regarding the Dharma involving in Acculumation

Wisdom regarding the Dharma involved in Acculumation

Patience regarding the Dharma involved in Extinction

Wisdom regarding the Dharma involved in Extinction

Patience regarding the Dharma involved in Way

Wisdom regarding the Dharma involved in Way

Note that the Truths of Suffering, Acculumation, Extinction and Way are the Four Noble Truths, which is the fundamental doctrine in Buddhism, particularly Hinayana.

There are the other eight hearts within the Form Realm and the Formless Realm:

Subsequent Patience regarding Suffering

Subsequent Wisdom regarding Suffering

Subsequent Patience regarding Acculumation

Subsequent Wisdom regarding Acculumation

Subsequent Patience regarding Extinction

Subsequent Wisdom regarding Extinction

Subsequent Patience regarding Way

Subsequent Wisdom regarding Way

This selection from The Book of Kadam by Thubten Jinpa is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Based on a work at…/16-drops-of-kadam-initiat…/

The following excerpt is from the Introduction to The Book of Kadam: The Core Texts, translated by Geshe Thubten Jinpa, which contains more information on the 16 Drops of Kadam Initiation. The Book of Kadam is available from Wisdom Publications here.
In chapter 2 [of The Book of Kadam], Atiśa then specifies his preferred divinities in the context of the second recollection—recalling one’s body as divinities—and makes the well-known selection of Buddha, Acala, Avalokiteśvara, and Tārā as the four gods of Kadam. At one point in the text, in the course of conversations between Atiśa and Dromtönpa on the four divinities, Dromtönpa’s heart opens up and miraculously reveals progressively the entire realm of the Buddha Śākyamuni, the realm of Avalokiteśvara, the realm of Tārā, and finally the realm of Acala. It is here that we also find explicit mention of Avalokiteśvara’s famous six-syllable mantra, oṃ maṇi padme hūṃ.
This deity yoga, in its developed form, came to be referred to as the practice of the sixteen drops, which is explained in some detail in Khenchen Nyima Gyaltsen’s Elucidation of the Heart-Drop Practice (entry IV in part 1 of The Book of Kadam).
The sixteen drops are:
The drop of the outer inconceivable array
The drop of this Endurance World
The drop of the realm of Tibet
The drop of one’s abode and the drawn mandala
The drop of Perfection of Wisdom Mother
The drop of her son, Buddha Śākyamuni
The drop of Great Compassion
The drop of Wisdom Tārā
The drop of her wrathful form
The drop of Acala, their immutable nature
The drop of Atiśa
The drop of Dromtön Gyalwai Jungné
The drop of the vast practice
The drop of the profound view
The drop of the inspirational practice
The drop of great awakening

The idea of the sixteen-drops practice is fairly straightforward. Like a powerful camera lens zooming from the widest possible angle to a progressively smaller focus and, finally, to a tiny point, the meditation becomes increasingly focused, moving from the entire cosmos to this world in particular, to the realm of Tibet, to the practitioner’s own dwelling, and finally culminating within your own body. Within your body, you then visualize inside your heart the Perfection of Wisdom Mother, within whose heart is her son, Buddha Śākyamuni. Within the Buddha’s heart is Great Compassion Avalokiteśvara, within whose heart is Tārā, and so on, continuing with wrathful Tārā, Acala, Atiśa, and Dromtönpa. Within Dromtönpa’s heart you then visualize Maitreya surrounded by the masters of the lineage of vast practice. In his heart you visualize Nāgārjuna surrounded by the masters of the lineage of profound view; and within his heart you visualize Vajradhara surrounded by the masters of the lineage of inspirational practice.
Finally, inside Vajradhara’s heart, you visualize yourself as a buddha, embodying all three buddha bodies, and within your heart is a white drop the size of a mustard seed. This seed increases in size and turns into a vast radiant jewel container at the center of which your mind is imagined as a yellow drop the size of a pea. This, in turn, increases in size and turns into an ocean of drops the color of refined gold; the ocean is transparent, smooth, resolute, vast, and pervasive, and it reflects all forms. You then rest your mind, without wavering, upon this drop of great awakening, fused, and free of any sense of subject-object duality….
Although the first Dalai Lamas and their immediate disciples appear to have been the primary force behind the early dissemination of [The Book of Kadam] in the Geluk school, later, with Panchen Lobsang Chögyen (1570–1662), some masters of the so-called ear-whispered teachings (snyan brgyud) also took deep interest in the book’s transmission, especially the initiations into the sixteen drops. Among these masters was Yongzin Yeshé Gyaltsen (1713–93), who composed substantial works pertaining to the book and the meditative practice of the sixteen drops.
© Institute of Tibetan Classics, The Book of Kadam (Wisdom Publications, 2008)
This selection from The Book of Kadam by Thubten Jinpa is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Based on a work at…/16-drops-of-kadam-initiat…/

16 Mahajanapadas


In ancient India, a number of kingdoms emerged during the Vedic Age that were spread across the Indo-Gangetic plain. These kingdoms were also called as republics and 16 of them were regarded the greatest of all. These 16 kingdoms were known as the 16 Mahajanapadas. These 16 Maha Janapadas are mentioned in the ancient literature and scriptures. The term Maha Janapada actually means "great country" and is derived from Sanskrit. The sixteen mahajanapadas rose before the start of Buddhism in India. Though these places were tribal settlements initially, roughly by 600 B.C they grew into bigger political entities by grabbing land. The sixteen mahajanapadas are given here in detail.


The kingdom of Anga is mentioned in the Atharva Veda and was located roughly at the site of the present day Bihar and some parts of West Bengal. On the north was River Ganga and it was separated from the Magadha by River Champa. Anga was one of the most flourishing cities and was an important center of trade and commerce. It was regarded as one of the six principal cities of early India.

Assaka / Ashmaka


16 Mahajanapadas

Click to Enlarge

Assaka, also known as Ashmaka was a kingdom that was located in the south of India. During the time of Buddha, this tribe was located on the banks of river Godavari. The capital city of Assaka was known as Potana. It was situated in central India and extended till southern India. It is estimated that Assaka was situated roughly at the place where modern day Maharashtra is located.


Avanti was a very important kingdom located in Western India and was considered to be one of the four important monarchies during the time Buddhism began in India. River Vetravati used to flow right through Avanti thus dividing it into north and south provinces. Avanti was located roughly at the place where the state of Madhya Pradesh is located now. Avanti was an important center of Buddhism and later became a part of Magadhan Empire.

Chedi / Cheti

There were two different settlements of the Chedis, also known as Cheti. One was in the mountainous regions of Nepal while the other was located near River Yamuna. The southern boundaries of Chedi went till the banks of River Narmada. The Chedis are mentioned in Rig Veda, which is regarded as the oldest scripture. This means that Chedis were prevalent here since a long time.


The Gandharas established themselves since the Vedic Age on the banks of River Kubha till the River Indus. With time, they crossed Indus and expanded their territory into Punjab. The Gandharas were very aggressive in nature and were masters of the art of warfare. It is said that this kingdom was founded by the son of Aruddha known as Gandhara.


Kamboja was said to have been located on either sides of the Hindukush. In early scriptures and literature, Kamboja is mentioned along with Gandhara, Darada and the Bahlika quite a number of times. The Kambojas were supposed to have both Indian and Iranian similarities.


The Aryans who had settled around Varanasi were known as Kasis. The city was flanked by the rivers Varuna and Asi from which the place derives its name. Kasi was the most powerful kingdom of the sixteen Janapadas before the rise of Buddhism. During the rise of Buddha, it was converted into Kosala. This place is mentioned as Kausika / Kausaka in the Matsya Purana.


Kosala was located around 70 miles to the north west of present day Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh. It was flanked in the south by River Ganga, in the north by the Himalayas and in the east by the River Gandak. The ruler was called king Prasenjit who was succeeded by his son Vidudabha. During his son's reign, Kosala was combined with Magadha. The three chief cities of Kosala were Ayodhya, Saketa and Sravasti.


The origin of the Kuru clan can be traced to the Puru - Bharata family. Some of them were settled in central India and some were living beyond the Himalayan ranges. It is said that the founder of Kururashtra in Kurukshetra was the son of Samvarsana called Kuru. The Kurus were known for their profound wisdom and sound health. The Kurus switched to republic form of government from monarchy during 5th Century B.C.

Machcha / Matsya

The kingdom of Matsya or Machcha is said to have comprised the region of the present day Jaipur in Rajasthan along with Alwar and Bharatpur. The founder of this kingdom was king Virata and the capital of this kingdom was named Viratanagara after him. The Matsya once formed a part of the Chedi kingdom as there are evidences that show that this place was ruled by the king of Chedi.


The Magadhas are referred to in the Atharva Veda. According to the early scriptures, the Magadhas were not fully Brahmins. Thus, they were loathed at and were spoken of in contempt. Except for King Pramaganda, no other ruler is mentioned in the Vedas. It is stated in the Mahabharata that Magadha came into the limelight under the king Bimbisara and later under his son Ajatasatru. It was one of the chief empires of India during those times. The kingdom of Magadha was situated roughly where the present day Bihar is located.


Most of the scriptures of the Jains and Buddhists mention the Mallas. Their tribe was supposed to be quite powerful and they lived somewhere towards the Eastern India. The Mallas had a republic form of society and their dominant territory comprised of nine provinces. Two of these nine provinces (Pava and Kusinara) gained much importance in due course of time when Buddha came over here and took his last meal before breathing his last at Kusinara.


The Panchalas were located in the north of India and had their province to the east of the Kurus. They were located between the Himalayan ranges and river Ganga. One can say that it was located roughly at the place where the modern day Uttar Pradesh is located. The Panchalas were originally monarchial in nature and later transformed to the republican form of government during the 5th Century B.C. They are mentioned in Kautilya's Arthashastra as following the constitution of the king.


The location of the Surasena was around the west side of river Yamuna and had its capital city at Mathura. The king of Surasena, Avantiputra played a vital role in promoting Buddhism in his kingdom. He was one of the chief disciples of Buddha and aimed at spreading his knowledge and wisdom all through his kingdom. The capital city of Mathura was an important center for the worship of Lord Krishna. With time, the kingdom of Surasena was annexed by Magadha Empire.

Vajji / Vriji

The Vajji or Vriji comprised of eight to nine allied races and this kingdom became an important center of cultural and political activities. It was essentially located in northern India. Out of the nine races, the Licchhavis, the Vedehans, the Jnatrikas and the Vajjis were the most important. The Licchhavis were an independent clan and their capital was called Vaishali. It was an important center of Buddhism and the headquarters of the powerful republic of Vajjis. Buddha is supposed to have visited Licchhavis on many occasions. As time passed, the kingdom of Licchhavis was conquered by the king of Magadha, Ajatasatru.

Vamsa / Vatsa

Considered to be an offshoot of the Kurus, the kingdom of Vatsa or Vamsa was roughly situated at the location of modern day Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh. The capital city was known as Kaushambi, which was a prosperous city. A number of rich merchants dwelled here. It was an important gateway for goods and people coming from the North West and south. The ruler of Vatsa was known as Udyana and he was a very powerful ruler. He became a follower of Buddha and adopted Buddhism as the religion for his kingdom.

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The 16 Guidelines of Dharma King Songtsän Gampo

The 16 Guidelines are a set of practical and straightforward tools for developing happiness and meaning in everyday life. Inspired by a seventh-century Tibetan text, the 16 Guidelines are used by people worldwide to transform problems and create happiness and wellbeing. Since then, they have been adopted and introduced in schools, colleges, hospices, drug rehab centers, prisons, and workplaces across five continents.Songtsän Gampo (Tibetan: Srong-btsan sGam-po, 569-650 or 617-650) was the founder of the Tibetan Empire, by tradition held to be the thirty-third ruler in his dynasty. The dates of his birth and when he took the throne are uncertain. In Tibetan accounts, it is generally accepted that he was born in 617 (one year before the founding of the Tang Dynasty, when Gaozu of Tang became emperor of China). He is thought to have ascended the throne at age thirteen (twelve by Western reckoning), in 629 CE.

Songtsän Gampo is regarded as an incarnation of Avalokiteshvara. He married two princesses, Bhrikuti of Nepal and Wen Cheng of China, who each brought a sacred statue of Buddha Shakyamuni to Lhasa. He built the first Buddhist temples in Tibet, established a code of laws based on Dharma principles, and had his minister Thonmi Sambhota develop the Tibetan script. During his reign, the translation of Buddhist texts into Tibetan began.

King Songtsän Gampo built Rasa Trulnang Tsuglag Kbang and Ramoche Tsuglag Khang, two temples in Lhasa. He invited Acharya Kumara and Brahmin Shankara from India, and the Nepalese Acharya Shilmanju, who began the propagation and translation of the Buddha’s teachings.

The 16 Guidelines are based on the inspirational values and principles that King Songtsän Gampo introduced to the Tibetan people. They played a crucial part in transforming Tibet from a warlike nation into a civilization renowned for its peace and serenity.

The 16 Guidelines of King Songtsän Gampo have a complex history. Different versions have been developed over the past thirteen centuries, including a rare set of verses called The Necklace of Precious Advice by Gelong Wangchuk Chösang, which forms the basis for this presentation. The 16 Guidelines continue to be recited by young monks in the great monastic schools of Tibet, India, and Nepal and have functioned as elementary ethical instructions for countless Dharma cultivators.

How to Study the 16 Guidelines

The two foundations for happiness are wisdom and compassion. Compassion is the primary attitude leading to personal and collective happiness. Wisdom, defined as an understanding of our mind and of the world in which we live, is a key factor in developing compassion. The aim of a 16 Guidelines Study Group is to facilitate changes in the minds of participants in the direction of happiness, through wisdom and compassion.

From the ancient masters to contemporary learning theorists, one idea is constant: learning cannot be forced, merely facilitated. To facilitate learning requires an understanding of the mind. For change and learning to take place, four basic factors need to be present:

1. Readiness

A full mind is like a full cup; it cannot contain anything new. To make ‘space’ for learning, we need to empty the mind through a brief meditation before starting. It is also important to consciously set up a positive motivation.

2. Understanding

The change needs a direction. This can be achieved through hearing and discussion.

3. Reflection

Simply consuming facts does not change patterns of thinking. This can be achieved through concentrated analysis of the content.

4. Practice

This can be done by consciously practicing the content in daily life.

Analytical Meditation on the 16 Guidelines

Please apply a ‘three-step’ procedure to the study of the 16 Guidelines: hear, reflect, and contemplate.

Hearing refers to accepting the Guidelines provisionally, without mental argument. The Dharma does not require (or condone) ‘blind faith’ and passive acceptance —on the contrary, it promotes active examination. However, in order to understand (under–stand = to stand under), please defer judgment until such a time as you develop the capacity and experience to make an informed decision. This is not possible without initial provisional acceptance of the Guidelines, at least as a hypothesis to be tested.

Reflecting refers to exploring the essential meaning of what is said, ‘above, beneath, and beyond the words’ used to present the Guidelines. It requires an act of personal ‘translation, re-translation, and back-translation’ of the terms utilized, endeavoring to understand the intended meaning.

Contemplating refers to the systematic application of the Guidelines to various situations and circumstances in your life, the lives of others, and the context in which these manifest. You can begin this aspect of the practice by exploring past events in light of the Guidelines, progress to an examination of current events (in your own and the lives of others), and eventually attempt to ‘foresee’ future trends in light of the Guidelines.

Analytical Meditation is practiced by addressing each Guideline individually during at least one session, or until you are satisfied with the effort. It is important to reserve judgment on any individual Guideline until you have a clear understanding of its inter-relation with others.

The Guidelines offer a perspective, a principled approach to conduct, and not a set of pre-ordained and fixed rules. You read one Guideline at a time, and accept it provisionally —as a hypothesis, much like you would in a scientific experiment. This is hearing.

Reflecting means that you think of what is meant by the words used to express the Guideline. Words are symbols; they attempt to communicate an idea —what that idea means is how you interpret it, what it says to you personally. How would you state this Guideline if you were presenting it to others? Does it match how you have habitually seen the world? Does it offer a different perspective? How is it similar? How is it different?

Are the similarities or differences a matter of degree? Is the Guideline more or less like or unlike your habitual perspective? Does the Guideline offer a radically different point of view? Proceed to contemplate how that Guideline explains or adds insight to your own experiences in the past and present, and eventually how it could inform actions you may perform in the future.

The purpose of the practice is to challenge how you habitually see the world, and consequently your patterns of customary behavior. Ultimately, it does not matter whether you accept or reject the Guideline. Just adopting it provisionally, seeing how it would change your evaluation of past and present experiences —and how it might inform future activity— will accomplish that goal.

The fundamental problem with fixed or habitual perspectives is that one constantly applies old perceptual and behavioral patterns to new situations. Regardless of how successful those patterns may have been in the past, they necessarily limit your options in the present, as they do not allow for a fresh evaluation of the current situation and an unbiased selection of appropriate responses.

Some examples:

A person may have learned to drive a car in a very congested city, where aggressive driving was the norm. If that person continues to drive in that manner in a different environment, where people are used to more courteous driving, unnecessary dangers may arise.

A person living in a harsh northern climate may have limited food choices, and may settle on a diet which may be deficient in fruits and vegetables, but is the best possible option given those circumstances. However, if that person relocates to the tropics, continuing that pattern of eating most probably is no longer the best option available.

A child that is abused in the home may develop a defensive attitude that leads to isolation from others. While that strategy may protect the child by minimizing opportunities for abuse, later on in life that person (now an adult) may continue the pattern of isolation, when it is no longer protective.

Through Analytical Meditation, you will be systematically dislodging those patterns and replacing them with more beneficial perspectives. Please postpone any consideration of whether these Guidelines are ultimately true or not, because fundamentally the purpose of the practice is to accept that there are other ways of perceiving the world and acting in it.

Preliminary Practice

There are many different ways to develop a mental state conducive to Analytical Meditation. If you are distracted or agitated emotionally or mentally, be it from work, traveling, or interacting with others, it is very important to first attain a neutral state. This will help you to relax.

Breathe normally through the nose —not too quickly, not too slowly; deeply, but not too deeply. First breathe out, then allow a very slight pause. Because of that slight pause, you will naturally inhale more deeply, which is a much more relaxed way of breathing deeply than consciously forcing a deep breath.

As you inhale, count each breath silently. Then, without holding the breath, exhale. Repeat this cycle eleven times, and then repeat the full count of eleven two or three times, depending on how relaxed you feel. The numbers don’t really matter; you can count up to any number. The purpose is to occupy the verbal energy of your mind, so that you are not thinking something else while focusing on the breath.

Once you have attained a neutral state, make your energies, mind, and emotions positive. You can do this by affirming your motivation. Why are you engaging in this practice? What do you want to gain or accomplish? You are meditating to accomplish something practical. You meditate to try to help yourself to develop beneficial views and habits. You are not doing it merely because you are following an instruction. You are doing it because you are convinced that it will be beneficial, or at least you have enough confidence to attempt it for some time.

You would like to be able to deal with difficulties in your life more skillfully, and not just make your life a little bit better. Eventually, you would like to become free of all difficulties. You would like to become enlightened so that you can be of real benefit to yourself and all sentient beings.

Although your ultimate goal may be liberation and enlightenment, it is not going to happen overnight. Miracles normally do not happen —they are called “miracles” because they are rare. These Guidelines are not magical. Your practice will not suddenly free you from all suffering.

As you know from experience, moods and events in life go up and down, and they will continue to go up and down. With diligent practice, things will get better in the long run, but from day to day, you may continue to have difficult moments. If you approach learning the Guidelines and practicing them in daily life in a realistic manner, you will not be discouraged. Even when really difficult things do come up, and even if you still get upset, you will not be thrown off course. This is your motivation, your aim. This is your understanding of what you can gain from practicing Analytical Meditation.

Whether you feel better a half hour after the meditation or not is not the point. You want to pursue a certain direction in life, and this practice will move you in that direction. That direction is liberation and enlightenment, the union of wisdom and compassion. Each time you meditate, you take another step in that direction, despite the ups and downs. That is realistic.

The Jonang Aspiration Prayer can serve to inspire you to compose your own. You may also use it as is, if that is your preference:

May what we’re about to do yield favorable results.

May it give us the capacity to benefit others.

May it help us overcome ignorance and limitation.

May it clear away all obstacles on the path.

May it lead us to the union of wisdom and compassion.

Please make the conscious decision to meditate with concentration: if your attention wanders, bring it back to the meditation. To help your mind remain clear, sit up straight. If there is too much laxity, raise the gaze upwards (the head remains level). If there is too much excitement, lower the gaze (again the head remains level).

Main Practice

Meditate on each one of these 16 Guidelines, focusing on just one Guideline for one whole week. At the end of the initial 16-week cycle, please return to the first Guideline, and repeat the practice, focusing on a different Guideline every day.

HUMILITY: the attitude of experiencing the world and what it contains with wonder and awe, aware of the relative importance of self and others.

PATIENCE: the ability to control our reactions and retain our peace of mind in any situation, imperturbable in the face of harm and hardship.

CONTENTMENT: the state of mind that allows us to be quietly happy in any situation, and to be at peace with who we are.

DELIGHT: the genuine appreciation of the good in all persons, objects, and situations, rejoicing in its causes, and wishing its endurance.

KINDNESS: the intention to be friendly, caring, generous, benevolent, considerate, respectful, fair and affectionate to all.

HONESTY: the disposition to act without harming others, never placing our own interests ahead of theirs, and always cherishing the needs and wishes of others.

GENEROSITY: the wish to benefit others, sharing whatever time, energy, talents, and possessions we have.

RIGHT SPEECH: the commitment to use words skillfully, conveying peace, happiness, fearlessness, and hope, and bringing others closer to one another.

RESPECT: the acknowledgement that all sentient beings have the same basic physical, psychological, and spiritual needs, and that another’s experience and wisdom can be helpful to us.

FORGIVENESS: the capacity to reclaim our peace of mind when something has happened to disturb us.

GRATITUDE: the realization that we are neither independent nor self-sufficient, but part of an extraordinary continuum of events and beings, and the celebration of our mutually supportive connections.

LOYALTY: the lifeline that helps us to feel safe and supported, and enables us to function, free of anxiety and insecurity, loneliness and heartbreak.

ASPIRATION: the profound longing for purpose and fulfillment, joy and happiness, in the heart of every living being.

DISCIPLINE: the voluntary application of The Three Harvests to help us make difficult decisions when our immediate interests seem to be in conflict with the interests of others.

SERVICE: the practical expression of the wish to benefit others and increase their happiness.

COURAGE: the mental and moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty in the face of opposition, shame, scandal, and discouragement.

Concluding Practice

After each session of Analytical Meditation, try to remain in a state of calm awareness for a few minutes. If many thoughts come to your mind, you can repeat the breathing procedure utilized as a preliminary practice. When you are ready to resume your daily activities, conclude the session by dedicating the merit of your efforts to the well being and happiness of all sentient beings.

Dedication is an essential procedure, as it not only prevents the loss of merit, but actually increases it exponentially. An example can illustrate this reasoning: if I find some coins and put them in my pocket, there is the possibility (or perhaps probability) that three things may happen: I may spend them, lose them, or they may be stolen. However, if I immediately give them to another for safekeeping, these possibilities no longer exist.

Furthermore, as you are a sentient being, by dedicating the merit of your virtuous acts to universal welfare, you are not excluded from the benefit. On the contrary, your generosity will amplify that merit, and serve to reduce whatever karmic debts you may have contracted with others in this or previous lives.

The Jonang Dedication, which you may utilize or modify to suit your purposes, is as follows:

By the merit accrued through all our virtuous acts:

May all be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.

May all embrace happiness and the causes of happiness.

May all abide in peace, free from self-grasping.

May all attain the union of wisdom and compassion.

(This simple Dedication, utilized as a prayer throughout the day, can be an effective practice for cultivating wisdom and compassion.)

More extensive discussions of each individual Guideline are available by request. Please contact


The Sixteen Aspects of the Four Noble Truths
True Sufferings
True sufferings (sdug-bsngal bden-pa, Skt. du:kha-satya) refer to the five tainted aggregate factors of experience (zag-bcas-kyi phung-po lnga, five contaminated skandhas). The five aggregate factors are forms of physical phenomena, feeling levels of happiness or unhappiness, distinguishing (recognition), other affecting variables (volitions), and types of consciousness. “Tainted” means that they arise from disturbing emotions and attitudes (nyon-mongs, Skt. klesha, afflictive emotions).
[See: Basic Scheme of the Five Aggregates. See also: Tainted and Untainted Phenomena]
The four aspects of true sufferings are:
Nonstatic phenomena (mi-rtag-pa, Skt. anitya, impermanence) – the five tainted aggregate factors are nonstatic phenomena, which are temporary and change from moment to moment. Any set of five aggregates in a particular lifetime eventually comes to an end and, in each moment, it is drawing closer to that end.
Miserable phenomena (sdug-bsngal-ba, Skt. du:kha, suffering) – the five tainted aggregate factors are phenomena that are subject to one or more of the three types of suffering without any break in continuity. Thus, they are miserable phenomena because they are under the control of other factors (namely, true origins of suffering) that cause them to be tainted. The three types of suffering are unhappiness, change (referring to tainted happiness), and all-pervasively affecting suffering (referring to the five aggregates being the basis for the first two types of suffering).
Void phenomena (stong-pa, Skt. shunya, empty) – the five tainted aggregate factors are devoid of a gross impossible “soul” – a static, monolithic self (“me”) that is a separate entity, independent from the five aggregates, inhabiting, owning, controlling and making use of the five.
Phenomena lacking an impossible “soul” (bdag-med-pa, Skt. anatmaka, selfless) –the five tainted aggregate factors lack a subtle impossible “soul” – a self-sufficiently knowable self (“me”) (rang-rkya thub-pa’i rdzas-yod-kyi bdag).
There are alternative explanations of the third and fourth aspects. “The five tainted aggregate factors being void phenomena” means that, in relation to the five, there is no such thing as an impossible soul that is either one with them (exactly the same as them) or totally different (fully separate) from them. “The five tainted aggregate factors being phenomena that lack an impossible soul” implies the decisive understanding of the total absence of an impossible soul, based on the third aspect of true sufferings as the line of reasoning. The decisive understanding is that the five tainted aggregate factors are totally lacking an impossible soul, because such a soul cannot be established as being either exactly the same as these aggregates or totally different from them.
In this formulation, the impossible soul is the same in both the third and fourth aspects. Depending on the tenet system, the impossible soul may be the subtle impossible soul of a person – namely a self-sufficiently knowable “me” – or it may be the impossible soul of all phenomena, as defined by that system.
True Origins (True Causes)
True origins (kun-‘byung bden-pa, Skt. samudaya-satya, true causes) for suffering refer in general to the disturbing emotions and attitudes and to karmic impulses (karma).
More specifically, “disturbing emotions and attitudes” refer to craving (sred-pa, Skt. trshnaʼ, thirsting), the eighth of the twelve links of dependent arising (rten-‘brel ‘byung-ba, Skt. pratityasamutpada). Equivalent to attachment (chags-pa), craving manifests as clinging (a) not to be parted from ordinary forms of happiness, (b) to be separated from what is fearful, namely pain and unhappiness, and (c) to continue having further existence.
“Karmic impulses,” here, refers more specifically to the second link of dependent arising – affecting impulses (‘du-byed, Skt. samskara, volitional factors) – and the tenth link – further existence (srid-pa, Skt. bhava, becoming). “Affecting impulses” refer to throwing karma (‘phen-byed-kyi las), which are karmic impulses strongly motivated by disturbing emotions and attitudes. The karmic aftermath of these impulses (the positive and negative karmic forces and the positive and negative karmic tendencies or seeds) can “throw” our mental continuums into further samsaric rebirths. Craving activates this karmic aftermath; while the link of further existence refers to this activated karmic aftermath. This mechanism is the cause of the all-pervasively affecting suffering of continuing to have tainted aggregate factors that are the basis for the suffering of unhappiness and change.
[See: Perpetuating Samsara: The 12 Links of Dependent Arising]
The four aspects of true origins are:
Causes (rgyu, Skt. hetu) – craving, for example, is a cause for true sufferings in the sense that, together with an obtainer (len-pa, Skt. upadana, grasping), the ninth link of dependent arising, it activates throwing karma. The activated throwing karma then ripens into a further samsaric rebirth. Thus, craving is often specified as the “root of all suffering.” “Obtainers” refer to a set of disturbing emotions and attitudes. They include (a) desire for some sensory object, (b) a distorted outlook, extreme outlook, or holding a deluded outlook as supreme, (c) holding deluded morality or conduct as supreme, and (d) a deluded outlook toward a transitory network.
Origins (kun-‘byung, Skt. samudaya) – craving, obtainer disturbing emotions and attitudes, and karmic impulses are the origins from which arise, over and again, all the true sufferings of repeated samsaric rebirth.
Strong producers (rab-skyes, Skt. prabhava) – craving and karmic impulses, both in general and specific instances of them, strongly bring about the production of strong sufferings as their result.
Conditions (rkyen, Skt. pratyaya) – craving and obtainers are the simultaneously acting conditions (lhan-cig byed-pa'i rkyen, Skt. sahakaripratyaya) for the arising of further samsaric rebirth and the true sufferings that such rebirth entails. This means that craving and an obtainer disturbing emotion or attitude must be present for karmic aftermath to be activated and to function as a throwing karmic impulse. This is like the necessity for water and fertilizer to be present for a seed to germinate into a sprout.
True Stoppings (True Cessations)
True stoppings (‘gog-pa’i bden-pa, Skt. nirodha-satya, true cessations) of true sufferings and true origins occur on the mental continuums of aryas (highly realized practitioners with nonconceptual cognition of the sixteen aspects of the four noble truths) through the power of their application of opponent forces. True stoppings are static phenomena, which never change and which last forever. Thus, when they are present on someone’s mental continuum, true sufferings and true origins never occur again. More specifically, they are stoppings of portions of either emotional or cognitive obscuration.
The four aspects of true stoppings are:
Stoppings (‘gog-pa, Skt. nirodha) – true stoppings are stoppings of a portion of true sufferings and true origins on someone’s mental continuum, such that, because of the opponent forces applied for the true stoppings to occur, nothing remains on that continuum for there to be a recurrence of that portion of suffering or its origin.
Pacifications (zhi-ba Skt. shanta) – true stoppings are pacifications in the sense that, because the mental continuums on which they occur are totally rid forever of a portion of true sufferings and true origins, they are states of everlasting peace. Note that in Buddhist technical terminology, a riddance (spong-ba, Skt. hani, abandonment) is a parting (bral-ba, Skt. visamyoga, separation) that is static – unchanging and lasting forever.
Superior states (gya-nom-pa, Skt. pranita) – true stoppings are superior states that are immaculate since they are parted forever from a portion of disturbing emotions and attitudes. In addition, they are blissful since they are parted forever from the true sufferings brought on by that portion of disturbing emotions and attitudes.
Definite emergences (nges-‘byung, Skt. nihsarana) – true stoppings are definite emergences from the sufferings of samsara in the sense that they last forever.
True Pathway Minds (True Paths)
True pathway minds (lam-gyi bden-pa, Skt. marga-satya, true paths) refer to the seeing pathway minds (mthong-lam, path of seeing), accustoming pathway minds (sgom-lam, path of meditation), and pathway minds needing no further training (mi-slob lam, path of no more learning) of shravakas, pratyekabuddhas, and bodhisattvas. In other words, they refer to the pathway minds of all aryas. Thus, pathway minds refer more specifically to the minds that have non-conceptual discriminating awareness of the sixteen aspects of the four noble truths.
The four aspects of true pathway minds are:
Pathway minds (lam, Skt. marga) – true pathway minds, being non-conceptual cognitions of the lack of an impossible soul, serve as pathways for leaving the state of being an ordinary being and achieving the state of an arya and onwards. “Onwards” refers to advancing to the goal of either liberation as a shravaka or pratyekabuddha arhat or enlightenment as a Buddha.
Appropriate means (rigs-pa, Skt. nyaya) – true pathway minds have the discriminating awareness of the true sufferings and true origins that are appropriate to get rid of and the appropriate opponents that get rid of them forever.
Means for actualizations (sgrubs-pa, Skt. pratipatti) – true pathway minds are means for actualizing correct non-conceptual realizations in order to actualize the state of an arya, and the goal of either liberation or enlightenment. In the Mahayana context, this entails, for bodhisattvas, a correct realization of the void nature of the mind.
Means for definite removals (nges-‘byin-pa, Skt. nairyanika) – true pathway minds are means for definitely removing forever all obscurations preventing the attainment of the above-mentioned goals.
The Sixteen Distorted Ways of Embracing the Four Noble Truths
True Sufferings
Holding what is unclean to be clean – although the five tainted aggregate factors, for example the body, are filled with unclean substances, this mistaken view entails incorrectly considering them to be clean. Such type of incorrect consideration comes from believing that there is a static, monolithic “me,” separate and independent of the aggregates and which makes use of and enjoys the aggregates. We then think that the aggregates, such as the body, that this impossible “me” enjoys must be clean; otherwise, how could we enjoy them? The discriminating awareness of the third aspect of true sufferings – they are void phenomena – eliminates this mistake.
Holding what is suffering to be happiness – although the five tainted aggregate factors are in the nature of all-pervasively affecting suffering, this mistaken view entails incorrectly considering them to be in the nature of happiness. The discriminating awareness of the second aspect of true sufferings – they are miserable phenomena – eliminates this mistake.
Holding what is nonstatic to be static – although the five tainted aggregate factors are nonstatic, in that they change every moment and the continuity of them in one lifetime lasts for only a short time, this mistaken view entails incorrectly considering them to be static, in the sense of being unchanging and lasting forever. The discriminating awareness of the first aspect of true sufferings – they are nonstatic phenomena – eliminates this mistake.
Holding what is not established as an impossible “soul” to be an impossible “ soul” – although the five tainted aggregate factors are devoid of being established as a self-sufficiently knowable “ me,” this mistaken view entails incorrectly considering them to be such an impossible “me.” The discriminating awareness of the fourth aspect of true sufferings – they are phenomena lacking an impossible “soul” – eliminates this mistake.
True Origins
The first distorted way of embracing true origins entails has two aspects:
Holding that suffering has no cause – the incorrect view that suffering happens for no reason at all, as asserted by the Charvaka school of Indian philosophy. The Charvakas do not accept karma. The second aspect of the first distorted way of embracing true origins is
Holding that suffering has a discordant cause – the incorrect view that suffering comes from causes that are unrelated or irrelevant to it, such as chili coming from sugarcane seeds rather than from chili seeds. An example of this mistaken view is the belief that suffering comes from a perturbation (rnam-‘gyur, Skt. vikara, transformation) of primal matter (gtso-bo, Skt. pradhana), as asserted by the Samkhya school of Indian philosophy. The discriminating awareness of the first aspect of true origins – craving and karma are the causes of all suffering – eliminates both aspects of this first mistaken view.
Holding that suffering is created from just a single cause – results, such as suffering, however, come from a multitude of causes and conditions, just as sprouts come not just from seeds alone, but from a combination of contributing factors – seeds, water, fertilizer, heat, light, and so on. The discriminating awareness of the second aspect of true origins – craving and karma are the origins of all suffering over and again – eliminates this mistaken view.…/16-bodhisattva-p…

16 Bodhisattva Precepts and their history - by Zoketsu Norman Fischer
The sixteen bodhisattva precepts are a set of vows of ethical conduct taken many times in a Zen practitioner’s life. They derive originally from the vinaya, monastic vows taken on ordination during the Buddha’s time (250 precepts for monks, 348 for nuns). Lay people took only the first five vows. The bodhisattva precepts used in the Mahayana tradition emphasize conduct to benefit others, and are taken by both monastic and lay practitioners. The short set of sixteen precepts used in the Soto tradition were formulated by Dogen Zenji, the founder of Soto Zen in Japan. They form the basis of several ceremonies: jukai (receiving the precepts), priest ordination, marriage and funeral. Many Zen centers chant the precepts once a month on the full moon, in a ceremony of reflection, repentance and renewal.
The precepts are inexhaustible mindfulness practices. They are also lifetime koans. Norman's approach to the precepts is warm and down-to-earth, but also spacious and insightful. They help us to apply the vivid moment-to-moment awareness of our zazen practice in our daily life of work, family and relationships.
The Threefold Refuges
I take refuge in Buddha (the principle of enlightenment within).
I take refuge in dharma (the enlightened way of understanding and living).
I take refuge in sangha (the community of beings).
Pure Precepts
I vow to avoid all action that creates suffering
I vow to do all action that creates true happiness.
I vow to act with others always in mind.
Grave Precepts
Not to kill but to nurture life.
Not to steal but to receive what is offered as a gift.
Not to misuse sexuality but to be caring and faithful in intimate relationships.
Not to lie but to be truthful.
Not to intoxicate with substances or doctrines but to promote clarity and awareness.
Not to speak of others’ faults but to speak out of loving-kindness.
Not to praise self at the expense of others but to be modest.
Not to be possessive of anything but to be generous.
Not to harbor anger but to forgive.
Not to do anything to diminish the Triple Treasure but to support and nurture it.

16 is the squares of the quadrant model


The Sixteen Sacred Lands of Buddhism

Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism, was brought up to become a king, but he left his life of great comfort after encountering the ‘four signs’: an old man, a sick man, a corpse, and an ascetic. After six years of hardship, working to find the right spiritual path, he attained his ‘Great Enlightenment’, and became the Buddha. During the following forty-five years of his mission until he passed into Mahaparinirvana (the state of reaching the end of suffering) at the age of eighty, the Buddha walked widely throughout the northern districts of India, delivering his teachings to the bhikkhus (Buddhist monks) and laity in the places that he visited. The sixteen lands where he spent time during his long ministry can often be found illustrated in Buddhist cosmology manuscripts. In this post we present nine such Burmese manuscripts held in the British Library, all illustrated in the Mandalay style and dating from the mid-19th century. Eight are written on paper in folding-book (parabaik) format and these have all been digitised, and one is written on palmleaf.

Shown below is a depiction of the sixteen sacred lands in a Burmese folding-book paper manuscript, Or. 14004. The Buddha is seated in Bhumisparsa mudra (earth-touching posture) on a throne under the Bodhi tree at the centre. Around him are depicted the sixteen lands, with indications of the distances between the centre and each of these regions, varying from one day to two months of travel. The sixteen lands are labelled (clockwise from the top) Mithila, Sankassa, Jetuttara, Takkasila, Savatti, Kosambi, Kalinga, Mudu, Koliya, Kapilavastu, Campa, Varanasi, Rajagaha, Vesali, Pataliputta, and Pava.


The sixteen sacred lands, in a Burmese Buddhist cosmology folding book manuscript, 19th c. British Library, Or.14004, f.28. Noc

A similar illustration is shown below, drawn across four separate leaves of a Burmese palmleaf manuscript, Add. 17699A:





Sixteen Sacred Lands, illustrated Burmese palmleaf manuscript, 19th c. British Library, Add.17699A, ff. 83-86 Noc

Described below are the Sixteen Sacred Lands in the order in which they were visited by the Buddha.

Jetuttara: Prince Vessantara (the Bodhisatta) was born in the capital city of Jetuttara.

Kalinga: When a severe drought occurred in the neighbouring kingdom of Kalinga, Vessantara fulfilled the Brahmins’ wish and presented his auspicious elephant.

Takkasila: This was the capital city of the Gandhara kingdom. Kings, Brahmins and other rich families sent their sons to Takkasila, a center of learning.

Varanasi: The Buddha went from Bodh Gaya to Isipatana, Varanasi, about five weeks after his enlightenment and spent the first rainy season there. The ordination of Yasa and his fifty-four friends took place during this retreat. The Buddha and his disciples travelled from place to place and taught his Dhamma. He spent a great part of his life at Varanasi preaching to the people.


The Buddha at Varanasi in a Burmese manuscript. British Library, Or. 14553, f. 4 Noc

Rajagaha: During the time of the Buddha, the capital of the Kingdom of Magadha was ruled by King Bimbisara and later his son Ajatasattu. When the Buddha visited King Bimbisara in Rajagaha, Bimbisara offered his Bamboo Grove (Veluvana) to the Buddha and His disciples. The Buddha spent three rainy seasons (2nd, 3rd, and 4th) in this monastery.


The Buddha at Rajagaha in a Burmese manuscript. British Library, Or. 4762, f. 13. Noc

Vesali: While the Buddha was staying at Rajagaha he informed King Bimbisara that he would pay a visit to Vesali. The king prepared a road for the Buddha. At the request of the Licchavi princes, the rulers of Vesali, the Buddha and his disciples went to Vesali and recited the Ratana Sutta discourse to purify the city, which was afflicted by plague.


The Buddha at Vesali in a Burmese manuscript, from the Henry Burney collection. British Library, Or. 14298, f. 1. Noc

Savatti: The Buddha accepted Anathapindika’s invitation to visit Savatti, the capital of Kosala. Here the novice Rahula received his higher ordination at the Jetavana monastery, which was donated to the Buddha by Anathapindika, a great merchant at Savatti. The Buddha spent twenty-five years in Savatti where he delivered many sermons.


The Buddha at Savatti, in a Burmese manuscript. British Library, Or 14405, f. 55. Noc

Sankassa: The Buddha descended to Sankassa from Tavatimsa accompanied by devas and brahmas. People of the city paid their homage to the Buddha.


The Buddha descending to Sankassa in a Burmese manuscript from the Henry Burney collection. British Library, Or.14297, f.44. Noc

Kosambi: The Buddha resided at the Ghosita Monastery in Kosambi and delivered his teachings to five hundred ascetics. The monastery was built by a rich man, Ghosita, for the Buddha and his disciples. While the Buddha was staying there, a dispute arose between some monks, and the Buddha departed alone from Kosambi.


The Buddha at Kosambi, in a Burmese manuscript. British Library, Or.14823, f.31. Noc

Kapilavastu: Siddhartha Gautama was raised and lived in Kapilavastu, the capital of the Sakya country, until the age of 29 when he renounced worldly life. After he attained enlightenment and became the Buddha he visited many places to preach the Dharma. He went back to Kapilavastu at the invitation of his father Suddhodana, and in the fifth year he visited his father again who was very ill. After his father’s death, his foster mother, Mahapajapati Gotami, who desired to be ordained, requested the Buddha to ordain her as a Bhikkhuni. Although the Buddha initially declined, with the intercession of Ananda, he later granted this wish.


The Buddha at Kapilavastu, in a Burmese manuscript. British Library, Or. 5757, f. 29. Noc

Koliya: When a quarrel arose between Kapilavastu and Koliya regarding the right to the waters of the river Rohini, the Buddha delivered a sermon of peace and advised them to live in harmony. The two rulers ended the long quarrel between them and peace was restored, and young men from both tribes entered Buddhist orders.

Mithila: The Buddha stayed at Mithila and preached the Makhadeva and Brahmayu suttas. Vasitthi, a theri (nun), entered the Order after listening to his teaching.

Campa: The Buddha with a large company of bhikkhus went to Campa on several occasions and dwelt there on the banks of the Gaggara, a lotus pond.

Pattaliputta: When Gautama Buddha and his disciples visited many villages near the Ganges River they passed through Pataliputta, the new capital of Magadha, built by King Ajatasattu, the second of the Magadha kings.

Mudu: Mudu is listed in the diagram as one of the sixteen sacred lands, but little is known about it.

Pava: When the Buddha came to Pava, a city of the Mallas near Kusinara, and stayed in a mango grove, Cunda, the blacksmith invited the Buddha and his disciples to a meal. After the meal Buddha fell ill on his way to Kusinara on the same day. The Buddha gave his last teaching to the monks as he took a rest under the Sal trees. Then he entered Mahaparinirvana (reaching the end of suffering).


The Buddha in Mahaparinirvana (reaching the end of suffering) at Pava. British Library, Or. 14298, f.18. Noc

The body of the Buddha was taken by the Malla kings for cremation. The sacred relics of the Buddha were divided and enshrined in stupas.

The four main schools of Tibetan Buddhism

The four main schools (Tib. ཆོས་ལུགས་ཆེན་པོ་བཞི་, Wyl. chos lugs chen po bzhi) of Tibetan Buddhism are:


Nyingma (Tib. རྙིང་མ་, Wyl. rnying ma)

Sakya (Tib. ས་སྐྱ་, Wyl. sa skya)

Kagyü (Tib. བཀའ་བརྒྱུད་, Wyl. bka' brgyud)

Gelug (Tib. དགེ་ལུགས་, Wyl. dge lugs)

Contents [hide]

1 Commentary

2 Notes

3 Further Reading

4 External Links


As His Holiness the Dalai Lama explains:[1]


Four major traditions—Nyingma, Kagyü, Sakya and Gelug—emerged as a result of the earlier and later dissemination of the Buddhist teachings in Tibet, and also because of the emphasis placed by great masters of the past on different scriptures, techniques of meditation and, in some cases, terms used to express particular experiences.

What is common to all the four major traditions of Tibetan Buddhism is their emphasis on the practice of the entire structure of the Buddhist path, which comprises the essence of not only the Vajrayana teachings, but also the Mahayana practices of the bodhisattvas, and the basic practices of the Fundamental Vehicle. In India, based on differences in philosophical standpoint, four major Buddhist schools of thought emerged: Vaibhashika, Sautrantika, Yogachara and Madhyamaka. All four major traditions of Tibetan Buddhism, however, uphold the philosophical standpoint of the Madhyamaka school, and to that extent, there are no fundamental philosophical differences between them.

The Book- Illumination- the Shamans Way of Healing by Alberto Villoldo

In the Introduction, he offers a four-stage model of initiation (expanded on in more detail in Chapter Four) using the Buddha as a model (he assumes the traditional story/myth of the Buddha's early life and later enlightenment is true - I would refer interested readers to Stephen Batchelor's Confession of a Buddhist Atheist for what may be a much more accurate telling of the story of the Buddha's life):

The Buddha’s illumination perfectly illustrates the four stages of the journey of initiation:

1. The awakening: recognizing your dilemma (“There is death and disease, and I am trapped inside a palace.”)

2. The great departure: embarking on your journey (“I am a monk and shave my head.”)

3. The tests: confronting challenges and adversity (“I sit in stillness.”)

4. Illumination: the return to bring gifts of knowledge to others (“We can all be free from suffering.” (p. 11)…/my-review-alberto-vi…

In shamanism, the four directions are stages of healing that help one to find balance and wholeness. They are used in prayer and all things sacred.

The East is the rising sun and opening to one’s wisdom. The South is for the highest sun, inviting warmth and growth. The West is for the setting sun and the life giving energies of the water sources. The North honors cold winds, the trials people must endure and the cleansing that those trials bring.

The spirals in the Four Directions pendant (99% silver) symbolize your constant evolution through these directions. The pendant is accented here by porcelain, garnet, and smokey quartz.

May this necklace remind you to embrace all of life’s experiences as you ride the waves of being human. May it remind you to cultivate that which supports you and feeds you through the ups and downs. May it remind you to look for the lessons and blessings in every experience you encounter.

Each piece comes with a card describing its meaning and significance.



The posture of zazen is seated, with folded legs and hands, and an erect but settled spine.[9] The hands are folded together into a simple mudra over the belly.[9] In many practices, the practitioner breathes from the hara (the center of gravity in the belly) and the eyelids are half-lowered, the eyes being neither fully open nor shut so that the practitioner is neither distracted by, nor turning away from, external stimuli.

The legs are folded in one of the four standard sitting styles

Kekkafuza (full-lotus)

Hankafuza (half-lotus)

Burmese (a cross-legged posture in which the ankles are placed together in front of the sitter)

Seiza (a kneeling posture using a bench or zafu)

Four ways of knowing[edit]

See also: Four Dharmadhatu

Asanga, one of the main proponents of Yogacara, introduced the idea of four ways of knowing: the perfection of action, observing knowing, universal knowing, and great mirror knowing. He relates these to the Eight Consciousnesses:


The five senses are connected to the perfection of action,

Samjna (cognition) is connected to observing knowing,

Manas (mind) is related to universal knowing,

Alaya-vijnana is connected to great mirror knowing.[32]

In time, these ways of knowing were also connected to the doctrine of the three bodies of the Buddha (Dharmakāya, Sambhogakāya and Nirmanakaya), together forming the "Yuishiki doctrine".[32]


Hakuin related these four ways of knowing to four gates on the Buddhist path: the Gate of Inspiration, the Gate of Practice, the Gate of Awakening, and the Gate of Nirvana.[33]


The Gate of Inspiration is initial awakening, kensho, seeing into one's true nature.

The Gate of Practice is the purification of oneself by continuous practice.

The Gate of Awakening is the study of the ancient masters and the Buddhist sutras, to deepen the insight into the Buddhist teachings, and acquire the skills needed to help other sentient beings on the Buddhist path to awakening.

The Gate of Nirvana is the "ultimate liberation", "knowing without any kind of defilement".[33]

Four Dharmadhatu[edit]

Huayan teaches the Four Dharmadhātu, four ways to view reality:


All dharmas are seen as particular separate events;

All events are an expression of the absolute;

Events and essence interpenetrate;

All events interpenetrate.[9]



Four main pilgrimage sites[edit]

Gautama Buddha is said to have identified four sites most worthy of pilgrimage for his followers, saying that they would produce a feeling of spiritual urgency. These are:[1]

Lumbini: birthplace (in Nepal)

Bodh Gaya: the place of his Enlightenment (in the current Mahabodhi Temple).

Sarnath: (formally Isipathana) where he delivered his first teaching.

Kusinara: (now Kushinagar, Uttar Pradesh, India) where he died.

The Eight Great Places[edit]

Pilgrimage to


Holy Sites

Dharma Wheel.svg

The Four Main Sites

Bodh Gaya Kushinagar Lumbini Sarnath

Four Additional Sites

Rajgir Sankassa Shravasti Vaishali

Other Sites

Chandavaram Devadaha Gaya

Kapilavastu Kesaria Kosambi

Nalanda Pataliputra Pava


Later Sites

Ajanta Caves Barabar Caves Bharhut

Ellora Caves Lalitgiri Mathura

Pandavleni Caves Piprahwa Ratnagiri

Sanchi Udayagiri Vikramashila

v t e

In the later commentarial tradition, four other sites are also raised to a special status because Buddha had performed a certain miracle there. These four places, partly through the inclusion in this list of commentarial origin, became important Buddhist pilgrimage sites in ancient India, as the Attha-mahathanani (Pali for 'The Eight Great Places'). It is important to note, however, that some of these events do not occur in the Tipitaka and are thus purely commentarial.

The first four of the Eight Great Places are identical to the places mentioned by the Buddha:


Bodh Gaya



The last four are places where a certain miraculous event is reported to have occurred:

Sravasti: Place of the Twin Miracle, showing his supernatural abilities in performance of miracles. Sravasti is also the place where Buddha spent the largest amount of time, being a major city in ancient India.

Rajgir: Place of the subduing of Nalagiri, the angry elephant, through friendliness. Rajgir was another major city of ancient India.

Sankassa: Place of the descending to earth from Tusita heaven (after a stay of 3 months teaching his mother the Abhidhamma).

Vaishali: Place of receiving an offering of honey from a monkey. Vaishali was the capital of the Vajjian Republic of ancient India.

The Four Noble Truths (Sanskrit: catvāri āryasatyāni; Pali: cattāri ariyasaccāni) are "the truths of the Noble Ones,"[1] the truths or realities which are understood by the "worthy ones"[web 1] who have attained Nirvana.[2][web 1] The truths are dukkha, the arising of dukkha, the cessation of dukkha, and the path leading to the cessation of dukkha.


The four truths express the basic orientation of Buddhism: we crave and cling to impermanent states and things, which is dukkha,[3] "incapable of satisfying"[web 2] and painful.[4][5] This keeps us caught in samsara, the endless cycle of repeated rebirth, dukkha and dying again. [note 1] But there is a way to reach real happiness[11] [note 2] and to end this cycle, namely following the eightfold path. [note 3] The meaning of the truths is as follows:[23][16][web 3]


Dukkha, "incapable of satisfying,"[web 2] painful.[4][5] Life in this "mundane world,"[web 3] with its craving and clinging to impermanent states and things,[4] is dukkha,[3] unsatisfactory and painful;[web 2][4][5][6][18][web 3]

Samudaya, the origination or arising of dukkha. Dukkha, and repeated life in this world, arises with taṇhā, "thirst," craving for and clinging to these impermanent states and things. This craving and clinging produces karma which leads to renewed becoming, keeping us trapped in rebirth and renewed dissatisfaction;[note 4]

Nirodha, the cessation of dukkha. By stopping this craving and clinging nirvana is attained,[25] no more karma is produced, and rebirth and dissatisfaction will no longer arise again;[note 5]

Magga, the path to the cessation of, or liberation from dukkha. By following the Noble Eightfold Path, restraining oneself, cultivating discipline, and practicing mindfulness and meditation, craving and clinging will be stopped, and rebirth and dissatisfaction are ended.[27][28]

The four truths provide a conceptual framework for introducing and explaining Buddhist thought, which has to be personally understood or "experienced."[29][30] The formulation of the four truths, and their importance, developed over time, when prajna, or "liberating insight," came to be regarded as liberating in itself,[31][30] instead of the practice of dhyana.[31]


In the sutras, the four truths have both a symbolic and a propositional function.[32] They represent the awakening and liberation of the Buddha, but also the possibility of liberation for all sentient beings, describing how release from craving is to be reached.[33]


The four truths are of central importance in the Theravada tradition,[34] which holds to the idea that insight into the four truths is liberating in itself.[20] They are less prominent in the Mahayana traditions, which emphasize insight into sunyata and the Bodhisattva-path as a central elements in their teachings.[35]

Four Sathipattana Meditation[edit]

The most important Meditation practices laid down by the Buddha are the Four Sathipattana Meditations. They guide one's mind to understand reality behind the connection between Mind and Body. They increase the Wisdom of dividing Nāma and Rūpa, Nāmarūpa Paricceda Gnāna. The word Sathipattana means being in Mindfulness.

Kayanupassana (Contemplation on the Body)

Vedananupassana (Contemplation on Feelings)

Cittanupassana (Contemplation on Thoughts)

Dhammanupassana (Contemplation on Dhammas)

Pattana and Anupassana carries the same meaning. All beings associate some kind of a body, Kāya in Pali, and humans associate or link up with a body which is made up with Patawi (Feeling/sensation of Hardness), Āpo (Feeling/sensation of Liquidity), Thejo (Feeling/sensation of hot or mild temperature) and Vayo (Feeling/sensation of Air).

Kayanupassana meditation starts from understanding the true nature of body. The body is the beginning of all sorrow, anger, unwise, likeness, and ultimately Suffering.

The Buddha always said:

"Pagncha Upadanaskadha Dhukkha"

"One's birth, sickness, death and all affairs along life is suffering. Whatsoever feeling, or thought generated by mind during One's interaction with world or mind through these six bases is Suffering  

FOUR STAGES NIRVANA…/realizing-the-four-stages-on-the-…/

As he guided his followers over the 45 years that he taught, Buddha recognized four distinct levels or stages of realization, each one marked by a deep and unmistakable experience of selflessness followed by certain changes in outlook and behavior. The experience generally occurs during intensive meditation, when the attention has become one-pointed, and follows extensive study and understanding of the basic truths of Buddhism (especially the three marks of existence: selflessness, impermanence, and dissatisfaction).
The following list explains the four distinct stages on the path to nirvana.
Stream-enterer: The first direct insight into selflessness is often the most powerful because it's unlike anything you've ever experienced before. For a timeless moment (which may last just an instant), no one is there — that is, there's no trace of a separate self anywhere. A feeling of tremendous relief, often accompanied by joy and bliss, generally follows the experience: At last, you've had the insight you've been seeking for so long. At last, you've "entered the stream" of realization.
When you become a stream-enterer, you can never again believe that you're really a separate self that lives inside your head and looks through your eyes. Your experience forever eliminates this illusion. When you look within, you can't find a self anywhere. In everyday life, however, you may still feel like a separate somebody and may still get caught up by greed, anger, ignorance, and various other negative feelings and patterns. Fortunately, the stage of stream-enterer also brings an unshakable confidence and dedication to the Buddhist spiritual path, so you're motivated to keep deepening and refining your realization.
Once-returner: After you become a stream-enterer, your practice includes reminding yourself of your new realization of "no-self," as well as paying attention to the ways that you're still attached and your resistance to life as it unfolds. After a period of time (generally years of devoted practice) in which your concentration gets even stronger and your mind becomes even more tranquil, you have another direct insight into no-self. (Remember, knowing this truth as a concept or memory is one thing, but experiencing it directly, beyond the conceptual mind, is something else entirely.)
This insight (essentially the same as the first but even stronger and clearer) brings a significant reduction in attachment and aversion and the suffering that accompanies these states of mind. For example, occasional irritation and preference replace hatred and greed, which no longer have any hold over the once-returner. Someone who reaches this stage has only one more rebirth before becoming completely enlightened — hence the name once-returner.
Never-returner: After the experience that signals entry to this stage, all of the worst hindrances, such as hatred, greed, jealousy, and ignorance, completely drop away, but a hint of a self-sense (a "me") still remains — and with it, the slightest trace of restlessness and dissatisfaction sticks around as well. The experience itself is rarely accompanied by any emotion or excitement, just a clearer recognition of what has already been seen twice before. These people appear to be extremely content, peaceful, and without desire, but the subtlest preference for positive rather than negative experiences remains.
Arhat: At this stage, the path bears ultimate fruit in nirvana — any residual trace of a separate self falls away for good. The experience, frequently accompanied by unimaginable bliss, has been compared to falling into the depths of a cloud and disappearing. At this point, the circumstances of life no longer have the slightest hold over you; positive or negative experiences no longer stir even the slightest craving or dissatisfaction. As Buddha said, all that needed to be done has been done. There's nothing further to realize. The path is complete, and no further rebirths are necessary.


In the Maha Satipattana Sutta in Digha Nikaya, the Buddha describes Success of Four Pattana Meditations as: “One who is honest to himself and practice this four Pattana Meditations without a delay, he should be willing to achieve Arahat or Anagami level, in seven days to seven years in time which would ultimately direct to Nirvana”


The Buddha said: "One who is willing to attain Nirvana, has to understand Four Noble Truths. These Noble Truths are the key to attain Nirvana, without proper understanding of Suffering, Cause of Suffering, Relief of Suffering and the way to end Suffering, These are the four Noble Truths."


Munshiganj, Bangladesh -- Sixteen Buddhist stupas, around 1,000-year-old, have recently been unearthed at Nateshwar in the district with a rich archaeological background.

<< The site of the 1000-year-old Buddhist stupas discovered by archaeologists in Nateshwar in Munshiganj. Photo: Star

The aesthetics of these stupas is unique in architectural style. There are 16 stupas in four inter-connected “Stupa Hall Rooms,” each square-shaped and fenced with brick walls 16 metres in length and 3.5 metres in width.

Gautama says "knowledge of sixteen topics leads to moksha"
Gautama says "knowledge of sixteen topics leads to moksha"

Qmr i put this in one of my books

The Four Pillars of Diagnosis

Oriental medicine is a naturalistic art, having evolved before the advent of modern technology.

While the strength of technology is in its ability to heroically salvage human machinery, and to delve into tiny recesses and minutiae of human physiology, traditional, natural approaches derive their benefits from observation and integration of relationships.

Oriental or Chinese medicine rests on what is called the Four Examinations, or the Four Pillars of Diagnosis. They are:





This is deceptively simple. In Oriental medicine there is great variety; there are many, many systems and microsystems that can be examined and plundered for information, and nearly all of them rest on the assumption that the microcosm reflects the macrocosm.

That is, that a small area, like the ear or the pulse, is a holographic representation of the larger whole of the human body. This means that nearly any part of the body can be an image of the entire body. The methods that I list here are only a few of the major ones.

1. Looking

One thing that almost everyone has at least amateur training in is diagnosis of the face.

The simplest way to diagnose from the face is simply to notice the color on a face. However, even this simplicity is deceptive, because colors usually do not stand out in stark contrast. There are many subtle shades that layer themselves simultaneously in a face. This means that it requires a lot of visual sensitivity to see that color!

Along with color, the luster of the skin is also noted.

Things can get much more complicated, though, because every individual feature of the face indicates something about the health of the body. Large ears, for instance, indicate robust Kidney qi, and since the Kidneys in Oriental medicine are the root of one’s constitutional energy, that means that you were born with a lot of energy to spend, so to speak. Every feature correlates with something. The eyebrow area represents the Liver/Gall Bladder, the nose represents the Lungs, etc.

But one of the confusing things about Oriental medicine is that the same face can provide different information, depending on the map you’re using. For example, in addition to representing the Lungs, the nose can also represent the whole spine, and bumps along the nose can indicate where the spine is out of whack.

Additionally, there are whole systemsof interpreting character from the face. For instance, a cleft in the chin is associated with a strong desire to be noticed—something noticeably common in Hollywood actors.

Face reading can reach even to the eerie realms of fortunetelling. Famous Chinese doctor John Shen was a master at this, and combined with the pulse, could sometimes tell someone within minutes of meeting them that they had had a traumatic experience at a certain age.

The sclera of the eye can also be examined, by looking at the veins under the eyes, which can tell you what side of the body has had trauma, whether there is toxicity present, etc.

Another microsystem is the ear. Some acupuncturists specialize in diagnosing and treating from the ear, and can tell instantly by looking at the ear where someone has pain, where a woman is in her menstrual cycle, etc. The whole body is often treated through the ear, using needles or seeds.

As you can see from the image, in this case the whole body is represented according to the image of an upside-down fetus mapped onto the ear, with the navel in the center.

But to make things more complicated, there is yet another system of looking at the ear that looks at the outer edge of the ear as representing events that happened in childhood. So if you have any notches at the edges of your ear, those represent traumatic events at particular ages in your life.

One of the most important methods of looking diagnosis in mainland Chinese medicine is the tongue. Many, many details of the tongue are examined, including qualities such as:




Depressions, swollen areas

Enlarged papillae


Thickness and color of coating


2. Listening/Smelling

The voice is classified into roughly five types—shout, laugh, sing, weep, groan—according to the Five Element system of Chinese medicine, which correlates each Element with a set of organs; thus, the sounds heard in the voice can be used to determine which organ systems are disordered.

Smelling is classified with Listening as one of the “Four Pillars,” under a similar set of assumptions. Practically speaking, it is much less commonly used, in part because humans are not very odor-centric. However, I’ve heard anecdotal evidence of its effectiveness: There is a Chinese medical practitioner in California who has trained dogs to detect the odor of people who have cancer, and with highly accurate results.

Tasting, though also little-used these days, has had a history of diagnostic use in both the West and the East, although not in very palatable ways according to modern sensibilities—physicians in ancient cultures, from the Greeks to the Tibetans, practiced the tasting of urine for diagnostic purposes. Indeed, diabetes was known in the ancient world for the sweet taste of urine in diabetes sufferers.

3. Palpation

There are many ways to diagnose by palpation. The pulse at the radial artery is perhaps the most iconic of Chinese medicine, although this is ironic because most practitioners of Oriental medicine in today’s world have not had much training in these methods; the method I practice, Contemporary Chinese Pulse Diagnosis ®, is among the most comprehensive and the most rare, not being taught even in China. Yet, historically, there have been many different kinds of pulse diagnosis, but, again, they all rely on the principle of holographic representation—the idea that information throughout the body can be gathered by focusing attention within a small area of the body.

The picture on the left depicts six positions (three on each side) and two different depths or pressures at which you access the pulse, the superficial and the deep. This is the standard for many pulse diagnostic systems. Classically there are 28 different qualities that can be found on the pulse.

This is mostly consistent with the Japanese meridian therapy pulse system, which I am also familiar with.

Contemporary Chinese Pulse Diagnosis, however, incorporates those six pulse positions plus something like seventeen other positions. There are not three but eight depths, and not 28 but maybe over a hundred qualities.

These systems all yield different information. A comprehensive system of pulse diagnosis allows piercing insight into the whole organism, from physiological to psychological. A simpler method gives a broad view of the character of the organism at its root. Each works within the context of their respective diagnostic paradigms.

To make things more complicated, there are pulses to be found at many other sites throughout the body, such as on the foot and the head. These are rarely used today by the Chinese, but they are used by, among others, Japanese meridian therapists.

Another form of diagnosis is the palpation of the abdomen. Once again, there are many maps of the torso, and also many ways to palpate. Some doctors have learned to palpate the abdomen with rather strong, firm pressure, while others, like the Japanese style of Toyohari, emphasizes feather-light touch with only occasional pressure, and sensitivity to very slight changes in texture, temperature, and firmness of the skin.

Palpation of the acupuncture meridians is yet another method of diagnosis. This involves knowing all twelve of the main meridians (also called channels) and where they travel, and feeling the skin to sense, once again, changes in tone, texture, and temperature.

4. Asking Diagnosis

Traditional diagnosis centers around the “Ten Questions.” Oriental medical practitioners ask people about a broad variety of things, beginning with the main complaint, but branching out and including tension/pain, energy, sleep, digestion, thirst, menstruation, urine, bowel movements, sweating, mental functioning, emotional functioning, relationships, and even the birth history sometimes.

And every little area has other, related questions involved. Headache is a good example: Questions may be asked about the location of the headache on the head, the quality of the pain (sharp, dull, throbbing, etc.), how often it comes on, what time of day, if it’s associated with stress or food, and what makes it better or worse.

Here is another excerpt from my book "Quadrant Model of Reality".
I have studied Buddhist texts and they are filled with the quadrant four, as well as even 16, and within the teachings is the pattern of the quadrant model. According to Buddhism there are four stages of enlightenment. The learning of these stages is central to Buddhism and was taught by the Buddha. The stages fit the quadrant model pattern. They are 
Square 1: Sotapanna- A stream enterer is free from attachment to rites and rituals, identity view, and doubt about the teaching.
Square 2: Sakadagami- A once returner has greatly attenuated sensual desire, which keeps one mired in the ego body/self, and ill will, which is trying to make things happen through the ego.
Square 3: Anagami- A non returner has gotten rid of sensual desire and ill will.
square 4: Arahant- He is free from all of the five lower fetters and the five higher fetters, which are, craving for fine material existence, craving for existence on the level of formlessness, conceit, restlessness, and ignorance. This is the flow.

Here is another excerpt from my book quadrant model of reality 

The Buddha tells the parable of the four wives. The first three wives are similar. The fourth is different. The pattern of the quadrant model is the first three are similar and square four is transcendent.
Square 1. Wife one is the body and she does not go with you with death.
Square 2. Wife 2 is wealth and material possessions. Square 2 is always homeostasis and order. These do not go with you with death.
Square 3. Wife 3 is family and friends and acquaintances. These do not go with you with death.
Square 4. Wife 4 is the mind and the Buddha says wife 4 is different from the previous three and she goes with you with death.

The Four Right Exertions (also known as, Four Proper Exertions, Four Right Efforts, Four Great Efforts, Four Right Endeavors or Four Right Strivings) (Pali: sammappadhāna; Skt.: samyak-pradhāna or samyakprahāṇa) are an integral part of the Buddhist path to Enlightenment. Built on the insightful recognition of the arising and non-arising of various mental qualities over time and of our ability to mindfully intervene in these ephemeral qualities, the Four Right Exertions encourage the relinquishment of harmful mental qualities and the nurturing of beneficial mental qualities.


The Four Right Exertions are associated with the Noble Eightfold Path's factor of "right effort" (sammā-vāyāma) and the Five Spiritual Faculties' faculty of "energy" (viriya); and, are one of the seven sets of Qualities Conducive to Enlightenment


Contents [hide]

1 In the Pali literature

1.1 Four Right Exertions

1.2 Four Exertions

2 See also

3 Notes

4 Sources

In the Pali literature[edit]

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v t e








Efforts 4



Faculties 5





Path Factors


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The Four Right Exertions are found in the Vinaya Pitaka, Sutta Pitaka, Abhidhamma Pitaka and Pali commentaries.[1] Additionally, a similar-sounding but different concept, the "four exertions," is referenced in the literature as well. These two concepts are presented below.


Four Right Exertions[edit]

The Four Right Exertions (cattārimāni sammappadhānāni) are defined with the following traditional phrase:


"There is the case where a monk generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for:

"[i] the sake of the non-arising [anuppādāya] of evil, unskillful qualities that have not yet arisen.

"[ii] ... the sake of the abandonment [pahānāya] of evil, unskillful qualities that have arisen.

"[iii] ... the sake of the arising [uppādāya] of skillful qualities that have not yet arisen.

"[iv] ... the maintenance [ṭhitiyā], non-confusion, increase, plenitude, development, & culmination of skillful qualities that have arisen."[2]

This elaboration is attributed to the Buddha in response to the following questions:


"What is right effort?" (SN 45.8,[3] in the context of the Noble Eightfold Path)

"What is the faculty of energy?" (SN 48.10,[4] in the context of the Five Spiritual Faculties)

"What are the four right strivings?" (SN 49.1ff.)[5]

This formulation is also part of an extensive exposition by Ven. Sariputta when addressing the question of "What is this Dhamma that has been well-proclaimed by the Lord [Buddha]?" (DN 33).[6] In addition, in a section of the Anguttara Nikaya known as the "Snap of the Fingers Section" (AN 1.16.6, Accharāsaṇghātavaggo), the Buddha is recorded as stating that, if a monk were to enact one of the four right exertions for the snap of the fingers (or, "only for one moment")[7] then "he abides in jhana, has done his duties by the Teacher, and eats the country's alms food without a debt."[8]


A similar two-part elaboration is provided by the Buddha in SN 48.9, again in the context of the Five Spiritual Faculties, when he states:


"And what, bhikkhus, is the faculty of energy? Here, bhikkhus, the noble disciple dwells with energy aroused for the abandoning of unwholesome states and the acquisition of wholesome states; he is strong, firm in exertion, not shirking the responsibility of cultivating wholesome states. This is the faculty of energy."[9]

What constitutes "unskillful" or "unwholesome" (akusala) and "skillful" or "wholesome" (kusala) qualities is taken up in the Abhidhamma Pitaka and the post-canonical Pali commentaries.[10] In general, the unskillful states are the three defilements (kilesa): greed (lobha), hatred (dosa) and delusion (moha).[11] Skillful states are the defilements' opposites: non-greed (alobha), non-hatred (adosa) and non-delusion (amoha).[12][13]


Four Exertions[edit]

Throughout the Pali Canon, a distinction is made between the fourfold "exertions" (padhāna) and the four "Right Exertions" (sammappadhāna). While similarly named, canonical discourses consistently define these different terms differently, even in the same or adjacent discourses.[14]


The four exertions (cattārimāni padhānāni) are summarized as:


Restraint (saṃvara padhāna) of the senses.

Abandonment (pahāna padhāna) of defilements.

Cultivation (bhāvanā padhāna) of Enlightenment Factors.

Preservation (anurakkhaṇā padhāna) of concentration, for instance, using charnel-ground contemplations.[15]

See also[edit]

Ayatana (Sense Bases)

Bodhi (Enlightenment)

Bodhipakkhiyadhamma (Enlightenment Qualities)

Bojjhanga (Enlightenment Factors)

Buddhist meditation

Iddhipada (Bases of Spiritual Power)

Indriya (Spiritual Faculty)

Kilesa (Defilement)

Noble Eightfold Path

Samadhi (Concentration)

Viriya (Effort)

Four Dharma Seals are the four characteristics which reflect true Buddhist teaching .[1][2] It is said that if a teaching contains the Four Dharma Seals then it can be considered Buddha Dharma.[3] although the Dharma Seals were all introduced after Gautama Buddha died.[4]

The Four Seals[edit]

The Four Seals are as follows:[1]


All compounded things are impermanent

All emotions are painful

All phenomena are without inherent existence

Nirvana is beyond description

As suffering is not an inherent aspect of existence[4] sometimes the second seal is omitted to make Three Dharma Seals.[5]

Four stages of enlightenment

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The four stages of enlightenment in Theravada Buddhism are the four progressive stages culminating in full enlightenment as an Arahat.


These four stages are Sotapanna, Sakadagami, Anāgāmi, and Arahat. The Buddha referred to people who are at one of these four stages as noble people (ariya-puggala) and the community of such persons as the noble sangha (ariya-sangha).[1][2][3]


The teaching of the four stages of enlightenment is a central element of the early Buddhist schools, including the Theravada school of Buddhism, which still survives.


Contents [hide]

1 Origins

2 Path and Fruit

3 The ordinary person

4 The four stages of attainment

4.1 Stream-enterer

4.2 Once-returner

4.3 Non-returner

4.4 Arahant

5 References

6 Sources

7 External links


In the Sutta Pitaka several types of Buddhist practitioners are described, according to their level of attainment. The standard is four, but there are also longer descriptions with more types. The four are the Stream-enterer, Once-returner, Non-returner and the Arahat.


In the Visuddhimagga the four stages are the culmination of the seven purifications. The descriptions are elaborated and harmonized, giving the same sequence of purifications before attaining each of the four paths and fruits.


The Visuddhimagga stresses the importance of prajna, insight into anatta and the Buddhist teachings, as the main means to liberation. Vipassana has a central role in this. Insight is emphasized by the contemporary Vipassana movement.


Path and Fruit[edit]

A Stream-enterer (Sotapanna) is free from:


1. Identity view

2. Attachment to rites and rituals

3. Doubt about the teachings

A Once-returner (Sakadagami) has greatly attenuated:


4. Sensual desire

5. Ill will

A Non-returner (Anāgāmi) is free from:


4. Sensual desire

5. Ill will

An Arahant is free from all of the five lower fetters and the five higher fetters, which are:


6. Craving for prosperity in the material world

7. Craving for existence in the ideal world (heaven)

8. Conceit

9. Restlessness

10. Ignorance

The Sutta Pitaka classifies the four levels according to the levels' attainments. In the Sthaviravada and Theravada traditions, which teach that progress in understanding comes all at once, and that 'insight' (abhisamaya) does not come 'gradually' (successively - anapurva),"[4] this classification is further elaborated, with each of the four levels described as a path to be attained suddenly, followed by the realisation of the fruit of the path.


The process of becoming an Arahat is therefore characterized by four distinct and sudden changes, although in the sutras it says that the path has a gradual development, with gnosis only after a long stretch, just as the ocean has a gradual shelf, a gradual inclination with a sudden drop only after a long stretch. The Mahasanghika had the doctrine of ekaksana-citt, "according to which a Buddha knows everything in a single thought-instant" (Gomez 1991, p. 69). The same stance is taken in Chan Buddhism, although the Chán school harmonized this point of view with the need for gradual training after the initial insight.[citation needed] This "gradual training" is expressed in teachings as the Five ranks of enlightenment, Ten Ox-Herding Pictures which detail the steps on the Path, The Three mysterious Gates of Linji, and the Four Ways of Knowing of Hakuin. The same stance is taken in the contemporary Vipassana movement, especially the so-called "New Burmese Method".[5]


The ordinary person[edit]

An ordinary person or puthujjana (Pali; Sanskrit: pṛthagjanai.e. pritha : without, and jnana : knowledge) is trapped in the endless cycling of samsara. One is reborn, lives, and dies in endless rebirths, either as a deva, human, animal, male, female, neuter, ghost, asura, hell being, or various other entities on different categories of existence.


An ordinary entity has never seen and experienced the ultimate truth of Dharma and therefore has no way of finding an end to the predicament. It is only when suffering becomes acute, or seemingly unending, that an entity looks for a "solution" to and, if fortunate, finds the Dharma.


The four stages of attainment[edit]

The Four planes of liberation

(according to the Sutta Piṭaka[6])







until suffering's end


1. identity view (Anatman)

2. doubt in Buddha

3. ascetic or ritual rules



up to seven rebirths in

human or heavenly realms


once more as

a human


4. sensual desire

5. ill will

once more in

a heavenly realm

(Pure Abodes)


6. material-rebirth desire

7. immaterial-rebirth desire

8. conceit

9. restlessness

10. ignorance



no rebirth

Source: Ñāṇamoli & Bodhi (2001), Middle-Length Discourses, pp. 41-43.


The Sangha of the Tathagata's disciples (Ariya Sangha) can be described as including four or eight kinds of individuals. There are four [groups of noble disciples] when path and fruit are taken as pairs, and eight groups of individuals, when each path and fruit are taken separately:


(1) the path to stream-entry; (2) the fruition of stream-entry;

(3) the path to once-returning; (4) the fruition of once-returning;

(5) the path to non-returning; (6) the fruition of non-returning;

(7) the path to arahantship; (8) the fruition of arahantship.


Main article: Sotāpanna

The first stage is that of Sotāpanna (Pali; Sanskrit: Srotāpanna), literally meaning "one who enters (āpadyate) the stream (sotas)," with the stream being the supermundane Noble Eightfold Path regarded as the highest Dharma. The stream-enterer is also said to have "opened the eye of the Dharma" (dhammacakkhu, Sanskrit: dharmacakṣus).


A stream-enterer reaches arahantship within seven rebirths upon opening the eye of the Dharma.


Because the stream-enterer has attained an intuitive grasp of Buddhist doctrine (samyagdṛṣṭi or sammādiṭṭhi, "right view") and has complete confidence or Saddha in the Three Jewels: Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, and has removed the sankharas that force rebirth in lower planes, that individual will not be reborn in any plane lower than the human (animal, preta, or in hell).



Main article: Sakadagami

The second stage is that of the Sakadāgāmī (Sanskrit: Sakṛdāgāmin), literally meaning "one who once (sakṛt) comes (āgacchati)". The once-returner will at most return to the realm of the senses (the lowest being human and the highest being the devas wielding power over the creations of others) one more time. Both the stream-enterer and the once-returner have abandoned the first three fetters. The stream-enterer and once-returner are distinguished by the fact that the once-returner has weakened lust, hate, and delusion to a greater degree. The once-returner therefore has fewer than seven rebirths. Once-returners do not have only one more rebirth, as the name suggests, for that may not even be said with certainty about the non-returner who can take multiple rebirths in the five "Pure Abodes". They do, however, only have one more rebirth in the realm of the senses, excluding, of course, the planes of hell, animals and hungry ghosts.



Main article: Anāgāmi

The third stage is that of the Anāgāmī (Sanskrit: Anāgāmin), literally meaning "one who does not (an-) come (āgacchati)". The non-returner, having overcome sensuality, does not return to the human world, or any unfortunate world lower than that, after death. Instead, non-returners are reborn in one of the five special worlds in Rūpadhātu called the Śuddhāvāsa worlds, or "Pure Abodes", and there attain Nirvāṇa; Pāli: Nibbana; some of them are reborn a second time in a higher world of the Pure Abodes.


An Anāgāmī has abandoned the five lower fetters, out of ten total fetters, that bind beings to the cycle of rebirth. An Anāgāmī is well-advanced.



Main article: Arahant

The fourth stage is that of Arahant, a fully awakened person. They have abandoned all ten fetters and, upon death (Sanskrit: Parinirvāṇa, Pāli: Parinibbāna) will never be reborn in any plane or world, having wholly escaped saṃsāra.[9] An Arahant has attained awakening by following the path given by the Buddha. In Theravada the term Buddha is reserved for Siddartha Gautama Buddha, as being the one who discovered the path by himself.

Four major Buddhist holidays

The four major Buddhist holidays, four great festivals (Tib. དུས་ཆེན་, düchen, Wyl. dus chen) are related to the life of Buddha Shakyamuni. On these days, the effects of positive or negative actions are multiplied 10 million times. They are:


Chotrul Düchen

Saga Dawa Düchen

Chökhor Düchen

Lha Bab Düchen

Four bases of miraculous powers

Four bases of miraculous powers (Skt. caturṛddhipāda; Tib. རྫུ་འཕྲུལ་གྱི་རྐང་པ་བཞི་, Wyl. rdzu 'phrul gyi rkang pa bzhi) are the third group of practices in the thirty-seven factors of enlightenment, practised at the greater level of the path of accumulation. They are called bases (literally 'legs') of miraculous powers because they provide the foundation for the subsequent attainment of the six clear perceptions and so on:


intention (Skt. canda, Tib. འདུན་པ་, 'dun pa)

diligence (Skt. vīrya, Tib. བརྩོན་འགྲུས་, brtson 'grus)

attention (Skt. citta, Tib. སེམས་པ་, sems pa)

discernment (Skt. mīmāṃsā, Tib. དཔྱོད་པ་, dpyod pa)

The Sutra of the Ten Bhumis says:


"One trains in the base of miraculous powers of samadhi based on intention with the antidotes for abandoning. One remains in isolation, one remains free from attachment, and one remains in cessation and meditates on complete transformation. It is similar for the base of miraculous powers of samadhi based on diligence with the antidotes for abandoning, the base of miraculous powers of attention with the antidotes for abandoning and the base of miraculous powers of discernment with the antidotes for abandoning."

Khenpo Namdrol says:


"These four bases of miraculous powers are related to the four noble truths. ‘Remaining in isolation’ means isolation from suffering. ‘Free from attachment’ means freedom from the origin of suffering. Remaining in cessation denotes the cessation of suffering, and the meditation on complete transformation is the path."


Chotrul Düchen (Wyl. cho 'phrul dus chen), the 'Festival of Miracles' — one of the four major Buddhist holidays. It occurs on the full moon (the fifteenth day) of the first Tibetan month, which is called Bumgyur Dawa. The first fifteen days of the year celebrate the fifteen days on which, in order to increase the merit and the devotion of future disciples, Buddha displayed a different miracle.


As Jikmé Lingpa said:üchen

Through the magical power of your miracles in Shravasti,

You rendered speechless the tirthika teachers who,

With all their analysis and research, drunk on the wine of indulgence, had become oppressive in the extreme.

In the final contest they were humbled, their prestige all drained away,

As you triumphed through ‘the four bases of miraculous powers’.ökhor_Düchen

Chökhor Düchen (Tib. ཆོས་འཁོར་དུས་ཆེན་, Wyl. chos 'khor dus chen), the 'Festival of Turning the Wheel of Dharma' — one of the four major Buddhist holidays. It occurs on the fourth day of the sixth Tibetan lunar month. For seven weeks after his enlightenment, Buddha did not teach. Finally, encouraged by Indra and Brahma, he turned the Wheel of Dharma for the first time, at Sarnath, by teaching the ‘Four Noble Truths’.

Four thoughts

Four thoughts (Tib. བློ་ལྡོག་རྣམ་བཞི, lodok namshyi; Wyl. blo ldog rnam bzhi) — these are the four contemplations that turn the mind away from samsara, namely:


1) the difficulty of finding the freedoms and advantages, and

2) the impermanence of life,

which turn the mind away from the concerns of this life;


and the reflections on


3) the defects of samsara, and on

4) action (karma: cause and effect),




The double vajra (Skt. vishva-vajra; Tib. རྡོ་རྗེ་རྒྱ་གྲམ།, Wyl. rdo rje rgya gram) or crossed vajra is formed from four lotus-mounted vajra-heads that emanate from a central hub towards the four cardinal directions, and symbolizes the principle of absolute stability.


In the cosmographic description of Mount Meru a vast crossed vajra supports and underlies the entire physical universe. Similarly in the representation of the mandala, a vast crossed vajra serves as the immoveable support or foundation of the mandala palace and here the central hub of the vajra is considered to be dark blue in colour with the four heads coloured to represent the four directions-white (East), yellow (South), red (West) and green (North). These also correspond to the five elements and the buddhas of the five families with blue Akshobhya in the centre.


It’s also an emblem of the green buddha of the north, Amoghasiddhi, and represents his all-accomplishing wisdom as lord of the karma family of activity.


The raised throne upon which masters are seated when teaching is traditionally decorated on the front by a hanging square of brocade displaying the image of a crossed vajra in the centre, often with four small swastikas in the corners. This emblem represents the unshakeable ground or reality of the Buddha’s enlightenment.[1]

The four kayas (Skt. catuḥkāya; Tib. སྐུ་བཞི་, ku shyi; Wyl. sku bzhi) are the

dharmakaya (Wyl. chos kyi sku),

sambhogakaya (Wyl. longs spyod rdzogs pa’i sku),

nirmanakaya (Wyl. sprul pa’i sku), and

svabhavikakaya (Wyl. ngo bo nyid kyi sku).


Nirmanakaya (Skt. nirmāṇakāya; Tib. སྤྲུལ་སྐུ་, tulku; Wyl. sprul sku), or 'the dimension of ceaseless manifestation'[1], is defined as a rupakaya or 'form body' that arises from the ruling condition of the sambhogakaya and appears as the tamer of various beings, both pure and impure.


When it is divided, there are four kinds:


Nirmanakaya through birth, such as our teacher taking birth in the heaven of Tushita as the son of the gods, Dampa Tok Karpo.

Supreme nirmanakaya (Skt. uttamanirmāṇakāya; Tib. མཆོག་གི་སྤྲུལ་སྐུ་, Wyl. mchog gi sprul sku), such as Shakyamuni Buddha who displayed the twelve deeds here in Jambudvipa.

Diverse nirmanakaya (Skt. janmanirmāṇakāya; Tib. སྐྱེ་བ་སྤྲུལ་སྐུ, Wyl. skye ba sprul sku) that manifest in order to tame various beings from Indra to a young girl.

Craft nirmanakaya (Skt. śilpinnirmāṇakāya; Tib. བཟོ་བོ་སྤྲུལ་སྐུ་, Wyl. bzo bo sprul sku) such as the manifestation of the lute player in order to tame the gandharva Rabga, and as good food, bridges, pleasure gardens, and islands, as well as sculpted forms, paintings, woven images and cast metal statues.

Four tenet systems

Four tenet systems — in the Indian Mahayana Buddhist monasteries, such as Nalanda, monks studied four systems of Buddhist tenets. These systems are:





The Tibetans have followed this custom, but have made further subdivisions within these four systems. For example, within Madhyamaka, they have differentiated Svatantrika Madhyamaka from Prasangika Madhyamaka. Within Svatantrika Madhyamaka, the Gelug school has further classified Indian authors as Yogachara Svatantrika or Sautrantika Svatantrika. The various non-Gelug schools have subdivided Madhyamaka in yet other ways.


Contents [hide]

1 Major Authors and Texts

2 Teachings Given to the Rigpa Sangha

3 Further Reading

4 External Links

Major Authors and Texts



Vasubandhu (400-480)




Dignaga (circa 6th century)

Compendium of Logic

Dharmakirti (7th Century)

Seven Treatises on Valid Cognition – a detailed commentary on the work of Dignaga

Chittamatra (or Yogachara)






Nagarjuna (circa 150-250)

Mulamadhyamaka-karika and other texts

Four great logical arguments of the Middle Way

Arya Nagarjuna

The four great logical arguments of the Middle Way (Tib. དབུ་མའི་གཏན་ཚིགས་ཆེན་པོ་བཞི་, Wyl. dbu ma'i gtan tshigs chen po bzhi) are:


The investigation of the cause: the Diamond Splinters

The investigation of the result: refuting existent or non-existent results

The investigation of the essential identity: ‘neither one nor many’

The investigation of all: the Great Interdependence

Sometimes it is said that there are ‘five great arguments of the Middle Way,’ but, according to Mipham Rinpoche, the fifth—the investigation of both the cause and the effect: refuting production according to the four alternatives—can be included within the first category, i.e., the investigation of the cause.



Four joys

The four joys (Skt. catvārimuditā; Tib. དགའ་བ་བཞི་, gawa shyi; Wyl. dga' ba bzhi) are four increasingly subtle experiences of bliss-emptiness connected with the advanced practices of tsa-lung; they transcend ordinary feelings of joy or pleasure. They are:


joy (Skt. muditā; Tib. དགའ་བ།, Wyl. dga' ba),

supreme joy (Skt. pramuditā; Tib. མཆོག་དགའ།, Wyl. mchog dga'),

special joy (Skt. viśeṣamuditā; Tib. ཁྱད་དགའ།, Wyl. khyad dga') and

innate joy (Skt. sahajamuditā; Tib. ལྷན་སྐྱེས་ཀྱི་དགའ།, Wyl. lhan skyes kyi dga' ba).

They are experienced when the white bodhichitta drop, (also called white essence), ascends from the lowest chakra to the navel, heart, throat, and crown chakras.


Eight joys and sixteen joys may also be enumerated in the tantras.[1]


The sixteen joys (Tib. དགའ་བ་བཅུ་དྲུག་, Wyl. dga' ba bcu drug) — each of the four joys has four aspects corresponding to each of the four joys.


Abhedya or Abheda (Skt.; Tib. མི་ཕྱེད་པ་་, Michepa; Wyl. mi phyed pa), aka Subinda — one of the Sixteen Arhats.

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Sixteen Arhats or Sthaviras (Skt. Ṣoḍaśa Sthavirāḥ; Tib. Neten Chudruk; Wyl. gnas brtan bcu drug) — Buddha Shakyamuni personally selected the Sixteen Arhats from amongst his disciples and requested them to remain in the world, protecting the Dharma for as long as beings are capable of benefitting from the teachings. They vowed at the time of the parinirvana to remain in the world and maintain the Dharma until the time of the future Buddha Maitreya. To visualize the Buddha Shakyamuni surrounded by the Sixteen Arhats and an assembly of bodhisattvas generates great merit and quickly develops insight into the teachings of the Buddha.


Angiraja (Tib. Yenlag Chung; Wyl. yan lag ‘byung)

Ajita (Tib. Ma Phampa; Wyl. ma pham pa)

Vanavasin (Tib. Nagnanepa; Wyl. nags na gnas pa)

Mahakalika (Tib. Düden Chenpo; Wyl. dus ldan chen po)

Vajriputra (Tib. Dorje Möbu; Wyl. rdo rje mo’i bu)

Shribhadra (Tib. Pal Zangpo; Wyl. dpal bzang)

Kanakavatsa (Tib. Sergyi Be'u; Wyl. gser gyi be’u)

Kanaka (Tib. Serchen; Wyl. gser can)

Bakula (Tib. Bakula; Wyl. ba ku la)

Rahula, the Buddha's son (Tib. Drachen Dzin; Wyl. sgra gcan 'dzin)

Chulapanthaka (Tib. Lamtren Ten; Wyl. lam phran bstan)

Pindola Bharadvaja (Tib. Bharadodza Sönyom Len; Wyl. bha ra dhwa dza bsod snyoms len)

Panthaka (Tib. Lamchenten; Wyl. lam chen bstan)

Nagasena (Tib. Lüdé; Wyl. klu sde)

Gopaka (Tib. Bechepa; Wyl. sbed byed)

Abhedya (Tib. Michepa; Wyl. mi phyed pa)

The Sixteen Arhats are usually shown in thangkas accompanied by their two attendants, Hva Shang and Upasaka Dharmatala and by the Four Great Kings.


Sixteen Aspects of the Four Noble Truths


Buddha turning the Wheel of Dharma for the first time

Sixteen Aspects of the Four Noble Truths (Wyl. bdag med rnam pa bcu drug or bden chung bcu drug)



1. Suffering (Tib. སྡུག་བསྔལ་བ་, Skt. duḥkha)

2. Impermanence (Tib. མི་རྟག་པ་, Skt. anitya)

3. Emptiness (Tib. སྟོང་པ་ཉིད་, Skt. śūnyatā)

4. Selflessness (Tib. བདག་མེད་པ་, Skt. anātmaka)


5. Cause (Tib. རྒྱུ་, Skt. hetu)

6. Origination (Tib. ཀུན་འབྱུང་, Skt.samudaya)

7. Intense Arising (Tib. རབ་སྐྱེས་, Skt. prabhava)

8. Condition (Tib. རྐྱེན་, Skt. pratyaya)


9. Peace (Tib. ཞི་བ་, Skt. śānta)

10. Cessation (Tib. འགོག་པ་, Skt. nirodha)

11. Perfection (Tib. གྱ་ནོམ་པ་, Skt. praṇīta)

12. True Deliverance (Tib. ངེས་འབྱུང་, Skt. niḥsaraṇa; Tib. nges 'byung)


13. Path (Tib. ལམ་, Skt. mārga)

14. Appropriate (Tib. རིགས་པ་, Skt. nyāya)

15. Effective (Tib. སྒྲུབས་པ་, Skt. pratipatti)

16. Truly Delivering (Tib. ངེས་འབྱིན་པ་, Skt. nairyāṇika)

The Sixteen Aspects as Remedies for Wrong Views

In his General Topics commentary on the Abhisamayalankara, Patrul Rinpoche explains:

You may wonder why there are sixteen aspects. The first four are the remedies for engaging in the views of permanence, bliss, mine, and self respectively. The second four are the remedies for the views of there being no cause, a single cause, transformation, and premeditation. The third four are the remedies for the views of thinking that there is no liberation, that suffering is liberation, that the bliss of the dhyānas is perfection, and that liberation is not absolutely irreversible. The fourth four are the remedies for the views of thinking that there is no path, that this path is bad, that there are other paths, and that this path is also reversible. Therefore, because of these sixteen wrong views, there are sixteen aspects.


The Dzogchen teachings sometimes speak of sixteen bhumis

Sixteen bhumis

Sixteen bhumis (Wyl. sa bcu drug) —

Perfect Joy (Skt. pramuditābhūmi; Tib. rabtu gawa; Wyl. rab tu dga’ ba)

Immaculate / Stainless (Skt. vimalābhūmi; Tib. drima mepa; Wyl. dri ma med pa)

Luminous / Illuminating (Skt. prabhākarībhūmi; Tib. ö jepa; Wyl. ‘od byed pa)

Radiant (Skt. arciṣmatībhūmi; Tib. ö tro chen; Wyl. ‘od ‘phro can)

Hard to Keep / Hard to Conquer (Skt. sudurjayābhūmi; Tib. shintu jankawa; Wyl. shin tu sbyang dka’ ba)

Clearly Manifest (Skt. abhimukhībhūmi; Tib. ngöntu gyurpa; Wyl. mngon du gyur ba)

Far Progressed (Skt. duraṅgamabhūmi; Tib. ringtu songwa; Wyl. ring du song ba)

Immovable (Skt. acālabhūmi; Tib. miyowa; Wyl. mi g.yo ba)

Perfect Intellect (Skt. sādhuṃatībhūmi; Tib. lekpé lodrö; Wyl. legs pa’i blo gros)

Cloud of Dharma (Skt. dharmameghaābhūmi; Tib. chökyi trin; Wyl. chos kyi sprin)

Universal Radiance (Tib. kuntu ö; Wyl. kun tu 'od)

Lotus of Non-Attachment (Tib. machak pema chen; Wyl. ma chags padma can)

Gatherings of Rotating Syllables (Tib. yige khorlo tsokchen; Wyl. yi ge 'khor lo tshogs chen)

Great Samadhi (Tib. tingdzin chenpo; Wyl. ting nge 'dzin chen po)

Vajra Holder (Tib. dorje dzin; Wyl. rdo rje 'dzin)

Unexcelled Wisdom (Tib. yeshe lama; Wyl. ye shes bla ma)

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The sixteen lesser fears (Wyl. ‘jigs pa bcu drug) often include the eight great fears. They are the fear of:









ocean waves,



the harm inflicted by the messengers of Indra (gandharvas),


separation from friends/loved ones,

punishment by the king,

showers of meteorites, and



Sixteen kinds of emptiness

Sixteen kinds of emptiness, or shunyata (Skt. ṣoḍaśaśūnyatā; Tib. སྟོང་ཉིད་བཅུ་དྲུག་, tongnyi chudruk; Wyl. stong nyid bcu drug), which are mentioned in Chandrakirti's Madhyamakavatara:


emptiness of the outer (Tib. ཕྱི་སྟོང་པ་ཉིད་, chi tongpa nyi; Wyl. phyi stong pa nyid)

emptiness of the inner (Tib. ནང་སྟོང་པ་ཉིད་, nang tongpa nyi; Wyl. nang stong pa nyid)

emptiness of the outer and inner (Tib. ཕྱི་ནང་སྟོང་པ་ཉིད་, chi nang tongpa nyi; Wyl. phyi nang stong pa nyid)

great emptiness (Tib. ཆེན་པོ་སྟོང་པ་ཉིད་, chenpo tongpa nyi; Wyl. chen po stong pa nyid)

emptiness of the beginningless and endless (Tib. ཐོག་མ་དང་མཐའ་མ་མེད་པའི་སྟོང་པ་ཉིད་, tokma dang tama mepe tongpa nyi; Wyl. thog ma dang mtha' ma med pa'i stong pa nyid)

emptiness of the conditioned (Tib. འདུས་བྱས་སྟོང་པ་ཉིད་, dü je tongpa nyi; Wyl. 'dus byas stong pa nyid)

emptiness of the unconditioned (Tib. འདུས་མ་བྱས་སྟོང་པ་ཉིད་, dü mache tongpa nyi; Wyl. 'dus ma byas stong pa nyid )

emptiness of emptiness (Tib. སྟོང་པ་ཉིད་སྟོང་པ་ཉིད་, tongpa nyi tongpa nyi; Wyl. stong pa nyid stong pa nyid)

emptiness beyond extremes (Tib. མཐའ་ལས་འདས་པའི་སྟོང་པ་ཉིད་, tale depe tongpa nyi; Wyl. mtha' las 'das pa'i stong pa nyid)

natural emptiness (Tib. རང་བཞིན་སྟོང་པ་ཉིད་, rangshin tongpa nyi; Wyl. rang bzhin stong pa nyid)

emptiness of the unobserved (Tib. མཚན་ཉིད་མེད་པའི་སྟོང་པ་ཉིད་, tsennyi mepe tongpa nyi; Wyl. mtshan nyid med pa'i stong pa nyid)

ultimate emptiness (Tib. ངོ་བོ་ཉིད་སྟོང་པ་ཉིད་, ngowo nyi tongpa nyi; Wyl. ngo bo nyid stong pa nyid)

emptiness of the indispensable (Tib. དོར་བ་མེད་པའི་སྟོང་པ་ཉིད་, dorwa mepe tongpa nyi; Wyl. dor ba med pa'i stong pa nyid)

emptiness of the essential nature of non-entities (Tib. དངོས་པོ་མེད་པའི་ངོ་བོ་ཉིད་སྟོང་པ་ཉིད་, ngöpo mepe ngowo nyi tongpa nyi; Wyl. dngos po med pa'i ngo bo nyid stong pa nyid)

emptiness of all phenomena (Tib. ཆོས་ཐམས་ཅད་སྟོང་པ་ཉིད་, chö tamche tongpa nyi; Wyl. chos thams cad stong pa nyid)

emptiness of specific characteristics (Tib. མཚན་ཉིད་སྟོང་པ་ཉིད་, tsen nyi tongpa nyi; Wyl. mtshan nyid stong pa nyid)


Sixteen hells

The sixteen hells are the Eight Hot Hells and the Eight Cold Hells.


The sixteen moments of the path of seeing (Wyl. mthong lam skad cig bcu drug) describe the process of gaining insight into the four noble truths. They are as follows:


Contents [hide]

1 The Truth of Suffering

2 The Truth of Origination

3 The Truth of Cessation

4 The Truth of the Path

5 Alternative Translations

The Truth of Suffering

1. acceptance

2. knowledge

3. subsequent acceptance

4. subsequent knowledge

The Truth of Origination

5. acceptance

6. knowledge

7. subsequent acceptance

8. subsequent knowledge

The Truth of Cessation

9. acceptance

10. knowledge

11. subsequent acceptance

12. subsequent knowledge

The Truth of the Path

13. acceptance

14. knowledge

15. subsequent acceptance

16. subsequent knowledge


Sixteen serious faults

The sixteen serious faults (Wyl. lci ba bcu drug) or sixteen grave actions[1] are divided into four sets of four:


Contents [hide]

1 Four serious wrong actions (Wyl. log pa'i lci ba bzhi)[2]

2 Four serious impairments (Wyl. nyams pa'i lci ba bzhi)[3]

3 Four serious disrespectful actions (Wyl. smod pa'i lci ba bzhi)[4]

4 Four serious denigrating actions (Wyl. bskur ba'i lci ba bzhi)[5]

5 Notes

Four serious wrong actions (Wyl. log pa'i lci ba bzhi)[2]

To sit in a higher seat than a learned scholar (mkhas pa'i gong lci)

To accept prostrations from a fully ordained monk or a great meditator (sgom chen gyi phyag lci)

To steal the provisions of a meditator (sgom sgrub mkhan gyi zas lci)

To steal the ritual objects or wealth of a tantric practitioner (sngags pa'i nor lci)

Four serious impairments (Wyl. nyams pa'i lci ba bzhi)[3]

As an ordinary person, to swear using the name of the Three Jewels (mi chos la mna' zos nyams pa lci)

To impair the shravaka precepts of the Vinaya (nyan po la 'dul khrims nyams pa lci)

To impair the precepts of the bodhisattva trainings (byang chub sems dpa' la bslab khrims nyams pa lci)

As a mantrayana practitioner, to impair the samayas (gsang sngags la dam tshig nyams pa lci)

Four serious disrespectful actions (Wyl. smod pa'i lci ba bzhi)[4]

Out of ignorance, to have contempt for the Buddha's physical form (gti mug dbang gis 'phags pa'i sku la smod pa lci)

Out of pride, to have contempt for the truth (nga rgyal dbang gis bden pa'i tshig la smod pa lci)

Out of jealousy, to have contempt for the qualities of friends (phrag dog dbang gis grogs kyi yon tan la smod pa lci)

Out of partiality, to discriminate between deities (phyogs ris dbang gis lha la blang dor byas pa lci)

Four serious denigrating actions (Wyl. bskur ba'i lci ba bzhi)[5]

To make distinctions within perfect equality (mnyam nyid don la khyad 'don lci)

To hold to distinctions of relative importance among samadhis (ting 'dzin dag la gal 'dzugs lci)

To shed a buddha's blood, the most serious of the five crimes with immediate retribution (mtshams med lnga la khrag phyung lci)

To hold wrong views, the most serious of the ten unwholesome actions (mi dge bcu la log lta lci)

Category of Pith Instructions

Shri Singha

Category of Pith Instructions (Tib. མན་ངག་སྡེ་, mengakdé, Wyl. man ngag sde) — one of the three classes into which Manjushrimitra divided the Dzogchen teachings. Shri Singha arranged the teachings of the Pith Instruction class into four cycles:


the outer cycle (Tib. ཕྱི་སྐོར་, chi kor; Wyl. phyi skor), which is like the physical body, intended for those of lesser capacity;

the inner cycle (Tib. ནང་སྐོར་, nang kor; Wyl. nang skor), which is like the eyes, intended for those of medium capacity;

the secret cycle (Tib. གསང་སྐོར་, sang kor; Wyl. gsang skor), which is like the heart, for those of the highest capacity; and

the innermost secret unsurpassed cycle (Tib. ཡང་གསང་བླ་ན་མེད་པའི་སྐོར་, yang sang lana mepé kor; Wyl. yang gsang bla na med pa'i skor), which is like the whole person, intended for those of exceptionally high capacity—this is the Nyingtik cycle of teachings.

Khenpo Namdrol explains:


"These four great cycles present the Trekchö teachings in a similar way, but where they differ is in the clarity, explicitness and detail of how the Tögal teachings are given.

Shri Singha gave the outer, inner and secret cycles of the category of pith instructions to both Vimalamitra and Jñanasutra. He transmitted the innermost secret cycle to Jñanasutra, who then passed it on to Vimalamitra."

The root tantra of the category of pith instructions is the 'Reverberation of Sound' Tantra (Tib. སྒྲ་ཐལ་འགྱུར་, dra tal gyur).

Four chokshyaks

Four chokshyaks (Tib. ཅོག་བཞག་བཞི་, Wyl. cog bzhag bzhi) — the ‘four ways of leaving things as they are’ in Dzogchen practice.


“View, like a mountain, leave it as-it-is.

Meditation, like an ocean: leave it as-it-is.

Action, appearances: leave them as they are.

Fruition, unaltered: leave it as-it-is.”

The last one is sometimes given as “Fruition, rigpa: leave it as it is.”


Alternative Translations

fourfold freely resting (Erik Pema Kunsang)

four methods of settling imperturbably (Richard Barron/Lama Chökyi Nyima)

four modes of placement (Light of Berotsana)

four states of imperturbable rest (Glossary from Dzogchen, by HHDL)

four ways of leaving things in their natural simplicity (Glossary from Dzogchen, by HHDL)

Four visions

The four visions (Tib. སྣང་བ་བཞི་, Wyl. snang ba bzhi) of tögal are:


direct realization of reality itself (Tib. ཆོས་ཉིད་མངོན་སུམ་, chönyi ngön sum; Wyl. chos nyid mngon sum)

increasing experience (Tib. ཉམས་གོང་འཕེལ་, nyam gong pel; Wyl. nyams gong ‘phel)

awareness reaching full maturity (Tib. རིག་པ་ཚད་ཕེབས་, rigpa tsé pep; Wyl. rig pa tshad phebs)

dissolution of experience into the nature of reality (Tib. ཆོས་ཉིད་ཟད་ས་, chönyi zésa, chönyi zépa or chözé lodé; Wyl.chos nyid zad sa)

Contents [hide]

1 Alternative Translations

2 Teachings by Sogyal Rinpoche

3 Further Reading

4 Internal Links

Alternative Translations

(from Lotsawa School)


experiencing the nature of reality directly


intrinsic awareness reaching full measure (Lama Chökyi Nyima)


(from Dzogchen by His Holiness the Dalai Lama)


manifest intrinsic reality

increasing of experience

rigpa attains its full measure

exhaustion of phenomena, beyond the mind

(from A Guide to the Practice of Ngöndro)


the direct experience of dharmata

increased experience or increase of experience

(from Dzogchen and Padmasambhava)


4. the wearing out of phenomenal reality

(Padmakara Translation Group)


dharmata actually appearing

increase of experiences and appearances (Tib. ཉམས་སྣང་གོང་འཕེལ་, nyam nang gong pel)

the ultimate reach of awareness

exhaustion of phenomena beyond mind (Tib. ཆོས་ཟད་བློ་འདས་, chözé lodé)

(Matthieu Ricard)


the absolute nature becoming manifest

the experience of increasing appearances

awareness reaching its greatest magnitude

the exhaustion of phenomena in dharmata

Teachings by Sogyal Rinpoche

Myall Lakes, 22 January 2010


Four bardos


This section contains Tibetan script. Without proper Tibetan rendering support configured, you may see other symbols instead of Tibetan script.

Four bardos (Tib. བར་དོ་བཞི་, bardo shyi; Wyl. bar do bzhi) —


the natural bardo of this life (Skt. jatyantarābhava; Tib. རང་བཞིན་སྐྱེ་བའི་བར་དོ་; Wyl. rang bzhin skye ba'i bar do) which begins when a connection with a new birth is first made and continues until the conditions that will certainly lead to death become manifest.

the painful bardo of dying (Skt. mumūrṣāntarābhava; Tib. འཆི་ཁ་གནད་གཅོད་ཀྱི་བར་དོ་; Wyl. 'chi kha gnad gcod kyi bar do) which begins when these conditions manifest and continues until the 'inner respiration' ceases and the luminosity of the dharmakaya dawns.

the luminous bardo of dharmata (Skt. dharmatāntarābhava; Tib. ཆོས་ཉིད་འོད་གསལ་གྱི་བར་དོ་; Wyl. chos nyid 'od gsal gyi bar do) which lasts from the moment the dharmakaya luminosity dawns after death and continues until the visions of precious spontaneous perfection are complete.

the karmic bardo of becoming (Skt. bhāvāntarābhava; Tib. སྲིད་པ་ལས་ཀྱི་བར་དོ་; Wyl. srid pa las kyi bar do) which lasts from the moment the bardo body is created and continues until the connection with a new rebirth is made.

The 6,400,000 verses of the Dzogchen tantras were divided by Mañjushrimitra into three categories or series:

the category of mind (Semdé),
the category of space (Longdé), and
the category of Secret or Pith Instruction (Mengakdé).

Four seals

The four seals (Tib. སྡོམ་བཞི་, Wyl. sdom bzhi) or the 'four hallmarks of the Buddha's teachings' (Tib. ལྟ་བ་བཀའ་རྟགས་ཀྱི་ཕྱག་རྒྱ་བཞི་, Wyl. lta ba bka' rtags kyi phyag rgya bzhi). They are:



This section contains Tibetan script. Without proper Tibetan rendering support configured, you may see other symbols instead of Tibetan script.

All that is conditioned is impermanent,

All that is tainted is suffering,

Nirvana is peace,

All phenomena are empty and devoid of self.

༈ འདུ་བྱེད་ཐམས་ཅད་མི་རྟག་ཅིང༌།



མྱང་ངན་འདས་པ་ཞི་བའོ། །

Contents [hide]

1 Significance of the Four Seals

2 Sources

3 Notes

4 Teachings Given to the Rigpa Sangha

5 Further Reading

Significance of the Four Seals

These are said to be the hallmark of the Buddha’s teaching, and it is often said that the mark of a real Buddhist is that he or she accepts these four. Of course, taking refuge is the real entrance to the Buddhist path, and that which serves to distinguish Buddhists from non-buddhists, but in terms of the View, these four statements encapsulate the uniqueness of the Buddha’s teachings and really set the Buddhadharma apart from all other religions and philosophies.



Phillip Stanley has noted that the Four Seals do not appear in the early Tibetan sources on Buddhist terminology, the Mahavyutpatti, Madhyavyutpatti, or Kawa Paltsek's Memoranda on Dharmic Enumerations (chos kyi rnam grangs kyi brjed byang). According to his research, the first Tibetan author to mention the four seals was Longchen Rabjam in his Treasury of Philosophical Tenets. The scholar Butön mentions three seals, an enumeration that is also to be found in Indian sources, such as Shakyaprabha's Prabhāvatī ('od ldan). Tibetan sources do not [1]

Four reliances

The four reliances (Skt. catuḥpratisaraṇa; Tib. རྟོན་པ་བཞི་ tönpa shyi; Wyl. rton pa bzhi) —


Rely on the message of the teacher, not on his personality (gang zag la mi rton/ chos la rton);

Rely on the meaning, not just on the words (tshig la mi rton/ don la rton);

Rely on the real meaning, not on the provisional one (drang don la mi rton/ nges don la rton);

Rely on your wisdom mind, not on your ordinary, judgemental mind (rnam shes la mi rton/ ye shes la rton).

Contents [hide]

1 Commentary

1.1 1. Do not rely on the individual, but on the Dharma

1.2 2. Do not rely on the words, but on the meaning

1.3 3. Do not rely on the provisional meaning, but on the definitive meaning

1.4 4. Do not rely on the ordinary mind, but rely on wisdom

2 Alternative Translations

3 Further Reading


Mipham Rinpoche says in LotsawaHouse-tag.png The Sword of Wisdom:

If you do not have such understanding,

Then, like a blind man leaning on his staff,

You can rely on fame, mere words or what is easy to understand,

And go against the logic of the four reliances.

1. Do not rely on the individual, but on the Dharma

He also says in The Sword of Wisdom:

Therefore do not rely on individuals,

But rely upon the Dharma.

Freedom comes from the genuine path that is taught,

Not the one who teaches it.

When the teachings are well presented,

It does not matter what the speaker is like.

Even the bliss-gone buddhas themselves

Appear as butchers and such like to train disciples.

If he contradicts the meaning of the Mahayana and so on,

Then however eloquent a speaker may seem,

He will bring you no benefit,

Like a demon appearing in a buddha’s form.

2. Do not rely on the words, but on the meaning

Mipham Rinpoche says:

Whenever you study or contemplate the Dharma,

Rely not on the words, but on the meaning.

If the meaning is understood, then regardless of the speaker’s style,

There will be no conflict.

When you have understood what it was

The speaker intended to communicate,

If you then continue to think about each word and expression,

It is as if you’ve found your elephant but now go in search of its footprints.

If you misinterpret what is said and then think of more words,

You’ll never stop till you run out of thoughts,

But all the while you’re only straying further and further from the meaning.

Like children playing, you’ll only end up exhausted.

Even for a single word like “and” or “but”,

When taken out of context, there’s no end to what it might mean.

Yet if you understand what is meant,

Then with that the need for the word is finished.

When the finger points to the moon,

The childish will look at the finger itself.

And fools attached to mere language,

May think they’ve understood, but they will find it difficult.

3. Do not rely on the provisional meaning, but on the definitive meaning

Mipham Rinpoche says:

When it comes to the meaning,

You should know what is provisional and what is definitive,

And rely not on any provisional meaning,

But only on the meaning that is true definitively.

The omniscient one himself in all his wisdom,

Taught according to students’ capacities and intentions,

Presenting vehicles of various levels

Just like the rungs of a ladder.

Wisely, he spoke with certain intentions in mind,

As with the eight kinds of implied and indirect teachings.

If these were to be taken literally they might be invalidated,

But they were taught for specific reasons.

4. Do not rely on the ordinary mind, but rely on wisdom

Mipham Rinpoche says:

When taking the definitive meaning into experience,

Do not rely upon the ordinary dualistic mind

That chases after words and concepts,

But rely upon non-dual wisdom itself.

That which operates with conceptual ideas

Is the ordinary mind, whose nature involves perceiver and perceived.

All that is conceived in this way is false

And will never touch upon the actual nature of reality.

Any idea of real or unreal, both or neither—

Any such concept, however it’s conceived—is still only a concept,

And whatever ideas we hold in mind,

They are still within the domain of Mara.

This has been stated in the sutras.

It is not by any assertion or denial

That we will put an end to concepts.

But once we see without rejecting or affirming, there is freedom.

Although it is without any subject-object grasping,

There is naturally occurring wisdom that illuminates itself,

And all ideas of existence, non-existence, both and neither have ceased completely—

This is said to be supreme primordial wisdom.

The definitive meaning can either be understood conceptually, by means of ideas, or it can be experienced directly as the object of non-conceptual awareness wisdom. As long as you are caught up in the conceptual extremes of negation and affirmation, existence and non-existence and so on, you have not gone beyond the realm of the ordinary mind. When you arrive at the sublime experience of wisdom, and all dualistic ideas have been pacified, you are in harmony with the nature of reality, which is beyond any kind of refutation and establishment or denial and affirmation, and you have reached the true depths of the Dharma.


Alternative Translations

Four orientations (Kapstein)

Four extremes

Four extremes (Skt. catuṣkoṭi; Tib. མཐའ་བཞི་, ta shyi; Wyl. mtha’ bzhi)


existence (Wyl. yod mtha' )

non-existence (Wyl. med mtha' )

both existence and non-existence (Wyl. yod med mtha' )

neither existence nor non-existence (Wyl. yod med min)

Example of this logic is for example in Nagarjuna's Mulamadhyamaka-karika, verse 55:


Everything is real and is not real,

Both real and not real,

Neither real nor not real.

This is Lord Buddha’s teaching.

The four main schools of Tibetan Buddhism

The four main schools (Tib. ཆོས་ལུགས་ཆེན་པོ་བཞི་, Wyl. chos lugs chen po bzhi) of Tibetan Buddhism are:


Nyingma (Tib. རྙིང་མ་, Wyl. rnying ma)

Sakya (Tib. ས་སྐྱ་, Wyl. sa skya)

Kagyü (Tib. བཀའ་བརྒྱུད་, Wyl. bka' brgyud)

Gelug (Tib. དགེ་ལུགས་, Wyl. dge lugs)

Contents [hide]

1 Commentary

2 Notes

3 Further Reading

4 External Links


As His Holiness the Dalai Lama explains:[1]


Four major traditions—Nyingma, Kagyü, Sakya and Gelug—emerged as a result of the earlier and later dissemination of the Buddhist teachings in Tibet, and also because of the emphasis placed by great masters of the past on different scriptures, techniques of meditation and, in some cases, terms used to express particular experiences.

What is common to all the four major traditions of Tibetan Buddhism is their emphasis on the practice of the entire structure of the Buddhist path, which comprises the essence of not only the Vajrayana teachings, but also the Mahayana practices of the bodhisattvas, and the basic practices of the Fundamental Vehicle. In India, based on differences in philosophical standpoint, four major Buddhist schools of thought emerged: Vaibhashika, Sautrantika, Yogachara and Madhyamaka. All four major traditions of Tibetan Buddhism, however, uphold the philosophical standpoint of the Madhyamaka school, and to that extent, there are no fundamental philosophical differences between them.

Four activities (Tib. ལས་བཞི་, Wyl. las bzhi) — the four activities of pacifying, enriching, magnetizing, and subjugating, which are practised as part of the deity yoga of the inner or higher tantras. Practitioners visualize themselves in the form of the deity and train in:


pacifying conflict, sickness and famine;

increasing longevity and merit;

magnetizing the three realms and

subjugating hostile forces,

often through the emanation of rays of light.


Once accomplishment has been reached, these four activities are carried out directly as aspects of enlightened activity for the benefit of others.

Four empowerments (Tib. དབང་བཞི་, wang shyi; Wyl. dbang bzhi) — in general, and according to the inner tantras, there are four levels or stages within any empowerment:


the vase empowerment (Wyl. bum pa'i dbang; Skt. kalaśābhiṣeka)

the secret empowerment (Wyl. gsang ba'i dbang; Skt. guhyābhiṣeka)

the knowledge-wisdom empowerment (Wyl. shes rab ye shes kyi dbang; Skt. prajñājñānābhiṣeka)

the precious word empowerment (Tib. tsik wang rinpoche; Wyl. tshig dbang rin po che)

Four applications of mindfulness (Skt. catuḥ-smṛtyupasthāna; Tib. དྲན་པ་ཉེ་བར་བཞག་པ་བཞི་, Wyl. dran pa nye bar bzhag pa bzhi) sometimes translated as the four foundations of mindfulness refers to the close application of mindfulness to:

the body (Skt. kāya-smṛtyupasthāna, Tib. ལུས་དྲན་པ་ཉེ་བར་བཞག་, lus dran pa nye bar bzhag)

feelings (Skt. vedanā-smṛtyupasthāna, Tib. ཚོར་བ་དྲན་པ་ཉེ་བར་བཞག་, tshor dran pa nye bar bzhag)

the mind (Skt. citta-smṛtyupasthāna, Tib. སེམས་དྲན་པ་ཉེ་བར་བཞག་, sems dran pa nye bar bzhag)

phenomena (Skt. dharma-smṛtyupasthāna, Tib. ཆོས་དྲན་པ་ཉེ་བར་བཞག་, chos dran pa nye bar bzhag)

Four dhyanas

Four dhyanas (Tib. བསམ་གཏན་བཞི་, Wyl. bsam gtan bzhi) — the four levels of dhyana, corresponding to the four levels of the form realm. Khenpo Pema Vajra says:

The first dhyana level which is accomplished in this way has five features: conception, discernment, joy, physical wellbeing and samadhi.

The second dhyana, which is even more peaceful, has four features: the perfect clarity in which conception and discernment have been relinquished, joy, physical wellbeing and samadhi.

The third dhyana, which is more peaceful still, has five features: equanimity in which the concept of joy has been abandoned, mindfulness, watchful awareness, physical wellbeing and samadhi.

The fourth dhyana, which is called the ultimate dhyana because it is yet more peaceful, has four features: the neutral sensation in which the sensation of physical wellbeing has been abandoned, mindfulness, the mental formation of equanimity, and samadhi.

Four immeasurables (Skt. caturapramāṇa; Tib. ཚད་མེད་བཞི་, tsémé shyi; Wyl. tshad med bzhi[1])


This section contains Tibetan script. Without proper Tibetan rendering support configured, you may see other symbols instead of Tibetan script.

Equanimity, (Tib. བཏང་སྙོམས་, tangnyom) which is the wish that beings may be free from the attitude of attachment to some and aversion to others.

Love, (Tib. བྱམས་པ་, jampa) which is the wish that living beings may have happiness and its causes.

Compassion, (Tib. སྙིང་རྗེ་, nyingjé) which is the wish that living beings may be free from suffering and its causes.

Joy, (Tib. དགའ་བ་, gawa) which is the wish that living beings may remain happy and their happiness may increase further.

Four obscurations (Tib. dribpa shyi; Wyl. sgrib pa bzhi). There are four obscurations that hinder us from realizing our true nature. They are:

karmic obscurations,

emotional obscurations,

cognitive obscurations and

habitual obscurations.


Yukhok Chatralwa Chöying Rangdrol says:


Karmic obscurations include naturally negative actions and infringements of vows.

Emotional obscurations were defined by Lord Maitreya as:

Any thought involving avarice and so on

Is held to be an emotional obscuration.

Any thought involving avarice, lack of ethical discipline and so on, which impedes the pure enactment of the transcendent perfections, is held to be an emotional obscuration.

Regarding cognitive obscurations, Lord Maitreya says:

Any thought involving subject, object and action,

Is held to be a cognitive obscuration.

Any thought involving the three conceptual spheres of subject, object and action, which impedes the complete accomplishment of the transcendent perfections, is held to be a cognitive obscuration.

The habitual obscurations are explained according to the sutras as extremely subtle forms of cognitive obscuration, like the scent left behind in a container which once held musk. In the mantra tradition, they are the habitual tendencies of the transference of the three appearances, which are to be overcome by vajra-like primordial wisdom.

What do these four kinds of obscuration obscure?

Naturally negative actions obscure the temporary attainment of the higher realms.

Infringements of vows obscure the temporary attainment of the higher realms and the ultimate attainment of the three kinds of enlightenment.

Emotional obscurations obscure liberation.

Cognitive obscurations and habitual obscurations obscure the level of omniscience.

Four powers or four strengths (Tib. བཤགས་པའི་སྟོབས་བཞི་, Wyl. bshags pa'i stobs bzhi) — the essential elements in the practice of confession.

power of support (Wyl. rten gyi stobs)

power of regret (Wyl. rnam par sun 'byin pa'i stobs)

power of resolve (Wyl. nyes pa las slar ldog pa'i stobs)

power of action as an antidote (Wyl. gnyen po kun tu spyod ldog pa'i tobs)

The Noble Sutra of the Teaching on the Four Factors says:


O Maitreya, bodhisattva mahāsattva, if you possess four factors, you will overcome harmful actions that have been committed and accumulated. What are these four? The action of total rejection, the action as remedy, the power of restoration, and the power of support.


Edward Conze, who translated nearly all of the Perfection of Wisdom sutras into English, identified four periods of development in this literature:


100 BCE-100 CE: Ratnagunasamcayagatha and the Astasaharika (8,000 lines)

100-300 CE: a period of elaboration in which versions in 18,000, 25,000, and 100,000 lines are produced. Possibly also the Diamond Sutra

300-500 CE: a period of condensation, producing the well known Heart Sutra, and the Perfection of Wisdom in one letter

500-1000 CE: texts from this period begin to show a tantric influence

The "Vinaya in Four Parts" (Chinese: 四分律; pinyin: Shìfēnlǜ; Wade–Giles: Ssŭ-fen lü) (Taisho catalogue number 1428). This is Chinese translation of the Dharmaguptaka version, and is the version used in the Chinese tradition and its derivatives in Korea, Vietnam and in Japan under the early Kokubunji temple system. In the case of Japan, this was later replaced with ordination based solely on the Bodhisattva Precepts.
Bhikshuvibhanga dealing with monks
Bhikshunivibhanga dealing with nuns.
Vinayaikottara, corresponding to a chapter of the Parivara
Shih-sung lü (T1435), translation of Sarvastivada version
Ekottaradharma, similar to Vinayaikottara
Wu-fen lü (T1421), translation of Mahisasaka version
Mo-ho-seng-ch'i lü 摩訶僧祇律 (T1425), translation of Mahasanghika version (the nuns' rules have been translated by the late Professor Hirakawa in English as Monastic Discipline for the Buddhist Nuns, Patna, 1982)

The four harmonious animals, four harmonious friends or four harmonious brothers (Wylie: mthun pa spun bzhi[1] or Wylie: mthun pa rnam bzhi[2]) figure in Buddhist mythology and the Jataka tales that can often be found as subject in Bhutanese and Tibetan art. It is perhaps the most common theme in Bhutanese folk art, featuring on many temple murals, stupas, and as a decorative pattern on many daily utensils.[3][4]:108 It is the most well-known national folktale of Bhutan, is also popular in Tibet and Mongolia,[4]:107[5] and is widely referred to in these cultures.[6][7][8]

Contents [hide]

1 Outline of story

2 Themes

3 Origins

4 Similar motifs worldwide

5 References

6 External links

Outline of story[edit]

A popular scene often found as wall paintings in Tibetan religious buildings represents an elephant standing under a fruit tree carrying a monkey, a hare and a bird (usually a partridge, but sometimes a grouse) on top of each other.[9] The scene refers to a legend which tells that four animals were trying to find out who was the oldest. The elephant said that the tree was already fully grown when he was young, the monkey that the tree was small when he was young, the hare that he saw the tree as a sapling when he was young and the bird claimed that he had excreted the seed from which the tree grew. So the bird was recognized by the other animals as the oldest, and the four animals lived together in co-dependence and cooperation, helping each other to enjoy the fruits of the tree. After the story is finished, it is revealed the partridge was the Buddha in a previous life.[10][11]:51 The story was meant as an illustration of cooperation and respect for seniority, and was told by the Buddha after some of his students had failed to pay due respect to the senior disciple Śāriputra.[6][12] Sometimes the tale also describes the animals upholding the five precepts and teaching them to others.[13] One of the oldest extant forms of the story is the Pali version, called the Tittira Jataka.[11]:51



Thus, communal harmony and respect for seniority are the main moral of the story. Such respect stands in contrast with a pecking-order according to strength, size and power: it is the partridge which is most respected, not the elephant.[13] Although the Buddha did sometimes downplay the value respecting older people merely for their age, in this story he illustrates that a senior person should nonetheless be respected for their experience, because, as Tachibana points out, "the maturity of age is generally the sign of much experience".[14] However, the story led to the establishment of several rules of conduct with regard to respect for seniority in the context of the monastic life, in which the number of years ordained as a monk (Sanskrit: bhikṣu; Pali: bhikkhu) is measured rather than age.[10][15] Buddhist monk Thanissaro Bhikkhu explains the relation between respect for seniority and harmony, drawing from the story: "A hierarchy based on seniority, however, is both objective and, in the long run, less oppressive: One’s place in the hierarchy is not a measure of one’s worth. Such a hierarchy also discourages the pride and competition that would come if bhikkhus could fight their way up the hierarchy by outdoing the measurable merit of others."[16]



A bronze statue by Gerhard Marcks depicting the Musicians of Bremen.

The four animals represent the different habitats of the animal world—the sky, the trees, the ground, and underground.[11]:51 The partridge assumes the role of the most senior animal: in pre-modern India, the partridge was highly regarded for its intelligence and understanding of language.[17] The excreting of the seed of the tree is relevant, because some Indian trees are believed to only sprout when the seed is excreted by a bird, thus further amplifying the concept of cooperation and mutual dependence.[11]:53 The image of the animals standing on each other’s shoulders, on the back of a patient elephant, also portrays social and environmental harmony: the bird finds a seed and plants it, then the rabbit waters it, and the monkey fertilizes it. Once the seed sprouts and begins to grow, the elephant protects it. After some time, the small plant grows into a big, beautiful tree full of healthy fruit. By working together and using their individual talents, the four friends are able to reach and enjoy the fruit.[18]



The primary source for the Buddhist legend of the four harmonious brothers is the Vinayavastu (Wylie: 'dul ba'i gzhi), which forms the first section of the Kangyur, the canon of Tibetan Buddhism.[4]:107[2] In canons of other Buddhist traditions, such as in the Pali Canon of Theravāda Buddhism, and in the texts of the Mahāsāṃghika, Mūla-Sarvāstivāda and Sarvāstivāda orders, almost the same Jātaka tale is found, in the Vinaya, and in the Jātaka collection. The Dharmaguptaka and Mahīśāsaka orders did not consider the story a Jātaka, however, and only included it in their Vinayas. Bhikkhu Analayo believes the story originally was not considered a story of a previous life of the Buddha, but only a didactic parable taught by the Buddha.[19]


Similar motifs worldwide[edit]

Old Irish scholar Eleanor Hull has pointed out that the story may reveal a custom of the ancient world to determine the date based on the life spans of different animals. Stories dealing with the question which animal lives the longest are found throughout the world. Asiatic versions of the story usually number three animals, as indeed, the Pali and Chinese versions of the Jātaka do.[20][21] As for the fourth animal not present in the Pali version, the hare—it was included in later versions.[11]:51[22]


A German version of the story was made famous when the Grimm Brothers included it in their collection of folk tales, as the Musicians of Bremen. The German city of Bremen, which is featured in this version, adapted the motif of the four animals for the city's coat of arms.[4]:107[11]:53

The text is divided into four sections:āna

1. Buddha-apadāna: A praise of the previous Buddhas and their Buddha fields (buddhakkhetta). 1 chapter of 82 verses (in the Burmese Sixth Council edition)

2. Paccekabuddha-apadāna: Ānanda questions the Buddha about the enlightenment of solitary Buddhas (paccekabuddha). 1 chapter of 47 verses.

3. Thera-apadāna: 55 chapters of 10 apadānas of senior monks. In total 547 verses.

4. Therī-apadāna: 4 chapters of 10 apadānas of senior nuns.In total 40 verses.[6]


The present kalpa is called the bhadrakalpa (Auspicious aeon). The five Buddhas of the present kalpa are:[3][4]


Kakusandha (the first Buddha of the bhadrakalpa)

Koṇāgamana (the second Buddha of the bhadrakalpa)

Kassapa (the third Buddha of the bhadrakalpa)

Gautama (the fourth and present Buddha of the bhadrakalpa)

Maitreya (the fifth and future Buddha of the bhadrakalpa)


The sixteen hāras (conveyings, or modes of conveying) are : Desanā (teaching), vicaya (investigation), yutti (construing), Padatthāna (footings), Lakkhana (characteristics), Catuvyūha (fourfold array), Āvatta (conversion), Vibhatti (analysis), Parivattana (reversal), Vevacana (synonyms), Paññatti (descriptions), otarana (ways of entry), sodhana (clearing up), adhitthāna (terms of expression), parikkhāra (requisites), and samāropana (co-ordination).



Chatuṣkoṭi (Sanskrit; Devanagari: चतुष्कोटि, Tibetan: མུ་བཞི, Wylie: mu bzhi) is a logical argument(s) of a 'suite of four discrete functions' or 'an indivisible quaternity' that has multiple applications and has been important in the Dharmic traditions of Indian logic and the Buddhist logico-epistemological traditions, particularly those of the Madhyamaka school.


Robinson (1957: pp. 302–303) states (negativism is employed in amplification of the Greek tradition of Philosophical skepticism):


A typical piece of Buddhist dialectical apparatus is the ...(catuskoti). It consists of four members in a relation of exclusive disjunction ("one of, but not more than one of, 'a,' 'b,' 'c,' 'd,' is true"). Buddhist dialecticians, from Gautama onward, have negated each of the alternatives, and thus have negated the entire proposition. As these alternatives were supposedly exhaustive, their exhaustive negation has been termed "pure negation" and has been taken as evidence for the claim that Madhyamika is negativism.[1]


In particular, the catuṣkoṭi is a "four-cornered" system of argumentation that involves the systematic examination and rejection of each of the 4 possibilities of a proposition, P:


P; that is, being.

not P; that is, not being.

P and not P; that is, being and not being.

not (P or not P); that is, neither being nor not being.

Contents [hide]

1 Catuṣkoṭi algorithm mapped in partial logical algebra

2 Nagarjuna's Diamond Slivers

3 Exegesis

4 Nomenclature, orthography and etymology

5 Antecedents and pervasion

5.1 Gorgias

5.2 Syādvāda

5.3 Brahmajala Sutta: The Supreme Net (What the Teaching Is Not)

5.4 Literature review

6 Nagarjuna

7 Catuṣkoṭi post-Nagarjuna

8 Catuṣkoṭi paradox: a simple complex

9 Four Extremes

9.1 Alternate Four Limits/Four Extremes

9.2 Lexicon: technical language and terminology

10 Notes

11 See also

12 References

Catuṣkoṭi algorithm mapped in partial logical algebra[edit]

The following is an adaptation of the model of Puhakka (2003: p. 133)[2] with the clear identification of the positive and negative configurations of the Catuṣkoṭi following Ng (1993: pp. 99–105).[3]


P stands for any proposition and Not-P stands for the diametrical opposite or the contradiction of P (in a relationship of contradistinction); P and Not-P constitute a complementary bifurcation of mutual exclusivity, collectively constituting an exhaustive set of positions for any given (or determined) propositional array. A propositional array is signified in the model by numerals, traditionally though, propositional arrays were designated 'foot' (Sanskrit: pāda), a lexical item which holds the semantic field: 'line', 'one quartile of śloka'; where 'śloka' (Sanskrit) holds the semantic field: 'verse', 'stanza'.[4]


Nagarjuna's Diamond Slivers[edit]

Śūnyatā is the ninth 'view' (Sanskrit: dṛṣṭi), the viewless view, a superposition of the eight possible arrays of proposition P [and its 'inseparable contradistinction' (Sanskrit: apoha)].


Positive configuration



Both P and Not-P

Neither P nor Not-P

Negative configuration

Not (P)

Not (Not-P)

Not (Both P and Not-P)

Not (Neither P nor Not-P)

The eight arrays or octaves of the iconographic Dharmacakra represent drishti or traditional views that Shakyamuni countered. These eight arrays may be plotted as coordinates on a multidimensional field which may be rendered as a sphere, a mandala, a multidimensional shunya or zero where shunyata denotes zero-ness. The eight arrays are in a concordant relationship where they each constitute a chord to the sphere. The coordinates are equidistant from the epicentre of shunya where the array of the positive configuration (or hemisphere) and the array of the negative configuration (or hemisphere) constitute two polar radii or diametrical complements, a diameter in sum. These are the 'eight limits' (Wylie: mtha' brgyad; Sanskrit: aṣṭānta) of 'openness' (Sanskrit: śūnyatā),[5] where śūnyatā is amplified by 'freedom from constructs' or 'simplicity' (Wylie: spros bral; Sanskrit: aprapañca).[6][7] Karmay (1988: p. 118) conveys that 'spros bral' is a homologue of 'thig le' (Sanskrit: bindu), where 'spros bral' is literally "without amplification", understood as "that which cannot be displayed".[8]


P is true ``1 P is not true or Not P is true

Not P is true ``2. Not (Not P) is true i.e. P is true

Both P and Not P are true i.e. the universal set `` 3 Neither P nor not P are true i.e. it is a null set

Neither P nor not P are true it is a null set `` 4. Not (neither p nor not P are true ) = both P and not P are true which is the universal set/ Thus, we can see that there are only 4 alternatives available and the negative alternatives are mere rewritten alternatives.

In other words, it makes no difference whether you are working with positive configuration or negative configuration.


More over, if you replace p with not P, then the positive configuration set for not P will be the same as negative configuration of P.



Puhakka (2003: p. 134-145) charts the stylized reification process of a human sentient being, the spell of reality,[9] a spell dispelled by the Catuṣkoṭi:


We are typically not aware of ourselves as taking something (P) as real. Rather, its reality "takes us," or already has us in its spell as soon as we become aware of its identity (P). Furthermore, it's impossible to take something (P) to be real without, at least momentarily, ignoring or denying that which it is not (not-P). Thus the act of taking something as real necessarily involves some degree of unconsciousness or lack of awareness. This is true even in the simple act of perception when we see a figure that we become aware of as "something." As the German gestalt psychologists demonstrated, for each figure perceived, there is a background of which we remain relatively unaware. We can extend this to texts or spoken communications. For every text we understand there is a context we are not fully cognizant of. Thus, with every figure noticed or reality affirmed, there is, inevitably, unawareness. Is this how a spell works? It takes us unawares.[10]


Nomenclature, orthography and etymology[edit]

The Catuṣkoṭi in Western Discourse has often been glossed, Tetralemma, which is the nomenclature for the Greek form. Both of the variations have similarities but also differences and the traditions were mutually iterating.


Antecedents and pervasion[edit]

Antecedents of the Catuṣkoṭi have been charted to grammatical structures in the Vedas. The Nasadiya Sukta of the Rigveda (RV 10.129) contains ontological speculation in terms of various logical divisions that were later recast formally as the four circles of catuskoti: "A", "not A", "A and not A", and "not A and not not A".[11]


McEvilley (2002: p. 495) maps an interesting case for mutual iteration and pervasion between Pyrrhonism and Madhyamika:


An extraordinary similarity, that has long been noticed, between Pyrrhonism and Mādhyamika is the formula known in connection with Buddhism as the fourfold negation (catuṣkoṭi) and which in Pyrrhonic form might be called the fourfold indeterminacy.[12]



Gorgias (c 487-376 BCE), the author of a lost work: 'On Nature or the Non-Existent'. This book was lost but was paraphrased by Sextus Empiricus in Against the Professors.[13]



Jainism has a sevenfold logical architecture, the Syādvāda, which is a formulation to convey the insight of Anekantavada.


Brahmajala Sutta: The Supreme Net (What the Teaching Is Not)[edit]

Śākyamuni, as remembered by Ānanda and codified in the Brahmajala Sutta 2.27, when expounding the sixteenth wrong view, or the fourth wrong view of the 'Eel-Wrigglers' (Pali: amarā-vikheppikā), the non-committal equivocators, though the grammatical structure is identical to the Catuṣkoṭi (and there are numerous other analogues of this fourfold grammatical structure within this Sutta), the intentionality of the architecture employed by Nagarjuna is not evident, as rendered into English by Walshe (1987, 1995: p. 81):


'What is the fourth way? Here, an ascetic or Brahmin is dull and stupid. Because of his dullness and stupidity, when he is questioned he resorts to evasive statements and wriggles like an eel: "If you ask me whether there is another world. But I don't say so. And I don't say otherwise. And I don't say it is not, and I don't not say it is not." "Is there no other world?..." "Is there both another world and no other world?..."Is there neither another world nor no other world?..." "Are there spontaneously-born beings?..." "Are there not...?" "Both...? "Neither...?" "Does the Tathagata exist after death? Does he not exist after death? Does he both exist and not exist after death? Does he neither exist nor not exist after death?..." "If I thought so, I would say so...I don't say so...I don't say it is not." This is the fourth case.'[14]


Literature review[edit]

Robinson (1957: p. 294)[15] holds that Stcherbatsky (1927),[16] opened a productive period in Madhyamaka studies. Schayer (1933)[17] made a departure into the rules of inference employed by early Buddhist dialecticians and examines the Catuskoti (Tetralemma) as an attribute of propositional logic and critiques Stcherbatsky. Robinson (1957: p. 294)[15] states that "Schayers criticisms of Stcherbatsky are incisive and just." Murti (1955)[18] makes no mention of the logical contribution of Schayer. According to Robinson (1957: p. 294),[15] Murti furthered the work of Stcherbatsky amongst others, and brought what Robinson terms "the metaphysical phase of investigation" to its apogee though qualifies this with: "Murti has a lot to say about 'dialectic,' but practically nothing to say about formal logic." Robinson (1957: p. 294)[15] opines that Nakamura (1954),[19] developed Schayer's methodology and defended and progressed its application.


Robinson (1957: p. 293) opines that the 'metaphysical approach' evident foremost in Murti (1955) was not founded in a firm understanding of the 'logical structure of the system', i.e. catuskoti, for example:


Several fundamental limitations of the metaphysical approach are now apparent. It has tried to find comprehensive answers without knowing the answers to the more restricted questions involved - such questions as those of the epistemological and logical structure of the system.[20]


Robinson (1957: p. 296) conveys his focus and states his methodology, clearly identifying the limitations in scope of this particular publication, which he testifies is principally built upon, though divergent from, the work of Nakamura:


In considering the formal structure of Nagarjuna's argumentation, I exclude epistemology, psychology, and ontology from consideration.... Such extra-logical observations as emerge will be confined to the concluding paragraphs...[21]



The Catuṣkoṭi was employed particularly by Nagarjuna who developed it and engaged it as a 'learning, investigative, meditative'[22] portal to realize the 'openness' (Sanskrit: Śūnyatā), of Shakyamuni's Second Turning of the Dharmacakra, as categorized by the Sandhinirmocana Sutra.


Robinson (1957: p. 294), building on the foundations of Liebenthal (1948)[23] to whom he gives credit, states:


What Nagarjuna wishes to prove is the irrationality of Existence, or the falsehood of reasoning which is built upon the logical principle that A equals A.... Because two answers, assertion and denial, are always possible to a given question, his arguments contain two refutations, one denying the presence, one the absence of the probandum. This double refutation is called the Middle Path. [emphasis evident in Robinson][24]


Catuṣkoṭi post-Nagarjuna[edit]

The Catuṣkoṭi, following Nagarjuna, has had a profound impact upon the development of Buddhist logic and its dialectical refinement of Tibetan Buddhism.


Robinson (1957: p. 294) qualifies the import of Nagarjuna's work (which includes Nagarjuna's application of the Catuskoti) due to the embedded noise in the scholarly lineage: "Certainly some of Nagarjuna's ancient opponents were just as confused as his modern interpreters...".[24] This noise may also have co-arisen with Nagarjuna, following the work of Jayatilleke (1967).


Catuṣkoṭi paradox: a simple complex[edit]

Wayman (1977) proffers that the Catuṣkoṭi may be employed in different ways and often these are not clearly stated in discussion nor the tradition. Wayman (1977) holds that the Catuṣkoṭi may be applied in suite, that is all are applicable to a given topic forming a paradoxical matrix; or they may be applied like trains running on tracks (or employing another metaphor, four mercury switches where only certain functions or switches are employed at particular times). This difference in particular establishes a distinction with the Greek tradition of the Tetralemma. Also, predicate logic has been applied to the Dharmic Tradition, and though this in some quarters has established interesting correlates and extension of the logico-mathematical traditions of the Greeks, it has also obscured the logico-grammatical traditions of the Dharmic Traditions of Catuṣkoṭi within modern English discourse.[original research?]


Four Extremes[edit]

The 'Four Extremes' (Tibetan: མཐའ་བཞི, Wylie: mtha' bzhi; Sanskrit: caturanta; Devanagari: चतुरन्त) [25] is a particular application of the Catuṣkoṭi:


Being (Wylie: yod)

Non-being (Wylie: med)

Both being and non-being (Wylie: yod-med)

Neither being and non-being (Wylie: yod-med min)[25]

Dumoulin et al. (1988, 2005: pp. 43–44), in the initially groundbreaking work on Zen which is now for the most part dated due to progress in scholarship (though still useful as the premier English work of comprehensive overview), model a particular formulation of the Catuṣkoṭi that approaches the Caturanta engaging the Buddhist technical term 'dharmas' and attribute the model to Nagarjuna:


If we focus on the doctrinal agreement that exists between the Wisdom Sūtras[26] and the tracts of the Mādhyamika we note that both schools characteristically practice a didactic negation. By setting up a series of self-contradictory oppositions, Nāgārjuna disproves all conceivable statements, which can be reduced to these four:


All things (dharmas) exist: affirmation of being, negation of nonbeing

All things (dharmas) do not exist: affirmation of nonbeing, negation of being

All things (dharmas) both exist and do not exist: both affirmation and negation

All things (dharmas) neither exist nor do not exist: neither affirmation nor negation

With the aid of these four alternatives (catuṣkoṭika: affirmation, negation, double affirmation, double negation), Nāgārjuna rejects all firm standpoints and traces a middle path between being and nonbeing. Most likely the eight negations, arranged in couplets in Chinese, can be traced back to Nāgārjuna: neither destruction nor production, neither annihilation nor permanence, neither unity nor difference, neither coming nor going.[27]


Alternate Four Limits/Four Extremes[edit]

A Mantrayana enumeration of the Four Limits or the Four Extremes within the Buddhadharma is also common. These four 'limits' are evident in the earliest sutras of the Theravadin of the First Turning, through the Second Turning philosophy of Nagarjuna and his disciples and commentators and also evident in the Third Turning as evidenced in the presentation of Padmasambhava. Padmasambhava in his 'Secret Instruction in a Garland of Vision' Tibetan: མན་ངག་ལྟ་བའི་ཕྲེང་བ, Wylie: man ngag lta ba'i phreng ba lists them as follows with the English rendering following Dowman (2003)[28] and Wylie following Norbu et al. (2001):[29]


the Hedonist' or 'Chalpas' Tibetan: ཕྱལ་པ, Wylie: phyal pa: does not perceive, ascribe to the view or realize that all events, dharmas, etc. have a cause and an effect;

the 'Atheist' or 'Gyangphenpas' Tibetan: རྒྱང་འཕེན་པ, Wylie: rgyang 'phen pa: unable to see or perceive past and future lives, the atheist toils for wealth and power in this lifetime alone. They engage in intrigue;

the 'Nihilist' or 'Murthugpas' Tibetan: མུར་ཐུག་པ, Wylie: mur thug pa: holds that there is no causality or causal relationship between events and dharmas. They are of the view that everything is adventitiously arisen due to chance and events and that dharmas dissipate and vanish into the void. Death is the ultimate cessation and there is no continuity between lives; and

the Eternalist' or 'Mutegpas' Tibetan: མུ་སྟེགས་པ, Wylie: mu stegs pa: holds to the view of an eternal, unchanging 'atman', where atman is often rendered as 'soul' in English. There is considerable diversity of the mechanics of causality with proponents of this view. Some perceive the atman as having a cause but not effect, an effect but no cause, or indeed a complex causality or causal relationship.

Each one of these extreme views, limits and binds the open, unbounded spaciousness of the natural mind.


Lexicon: technical language and terminology[edit]

Within English Buddhist logico-epistemological discourse, there is and has been historically, much obstruction to an understanding of the Caturanta (as the Catuṣkoṭi) due to inherent negligence in terminology not being clearly defined from the outset. That said, acquisition of terminology must be engaged and actualized though the sadhana of the 'mūla prajñā', as definitions are slippery and challenging to pinpoint that hold for all contexts. Language usage in Buddhist logic is not intuitive but technical and must be learnt, acquired through the perfection and power of 'diligence' (Sanskrit: vīrya). The following quotations are cited to provide insight (in lieu of technical definitions) into the understanding of the technical Buddhist terms 'existence', 'nature', 'being', 'entity' and 'svabhava' which are all mutually qualifying.


Robinson (1957: p. 297) renders Mūlamadhyamakakārikā 21.14, thus:


"He who posits an entity becomes entangled in eternalism and annihilism,

since that entity has to be either permanent or impermanent."[30]


Robinson (1957: p. 300) in discussing the Buddhist logic of Nagarjuna, frames a view of 'svabhava':


Svabhava is by defini[t]ion the subject of contradictory ascriptions. If it exists, it must belong to an existent entity, which means that it must be conditioned, dependent on other entities, and possessed of causes. But a svabhava is by definition unconditioned, not dependent on other entities, and not caused. Thus the existence of a svabhava is impossible. [NB: typographical errors repaired] [31]


"Nature" (a gloss of prakrti which in this context equals svabhava) does not entail an alter-entity:


The term "nature" (prakrti equals svabhava) has no complement..."If (anythings) existence is due to its nature, its non-existence will not occur, since the alter-entity (complement) of a nature never occurs." (Mūlamadhyamakakārikā, 15.8)


That is, a nature is the class of properties attributed to a class of terms Since they are necessarily present throughout the range of the subject or class of subjects, cases of their absence do not occur.[31]


Y Karunadasa (1999, 2000: p. 1) holds that Early Buddhism and early Buddhist discourse "often refer to the mutual opposition between two views":


'permanence' or 'eternalism' (Pali: sassatavada) also sometimes referred to as 'the belief in being' (Pali: bhava-ditti); and

'annihilation' or 'nihilism' (Pali: ucchadevada) also sometimes referred to as 'the belief in non-being' (Pali: vibhava-ditti).[32]

As Shakyamuni relates in a 'thread' (Sanskrit: sūtra) of discourse to Kaccānagotta in the Kaccānagotta Sutta, rendered into English by Myanmar Piṭaka Association Editorial Committee (1993: p. 35):


"For the most part, Kaccāna, sentient beings depend on two kinds of belief - belief that 'there is' (things exist) and belief that 'there is not' (things do not exist).[33]


Y Karunadasa (1999, 2000: p. 1) states that: is within the framework of the Buddhist critique of sassatavada and ucchadavada that the Buddhist doctrines seem to assume their significance. For it is through the demolition of these two world-views that Buddhism seeks to construct its own world-view. The conclusion is that it was as a critical response to the mutual opposition between these two views that Buddhism emerged as a new faith amidst many other faiths.[32]Śūraṅgama_Sūtra

The Śūraṅgama Sūtra contains teachings from Yogācāra, Buddha-nature, and Vajrayana.[4][9] It makes use of Buddhist logic with its methods of syllogism and the catuṣkoṭi "fourfold negation" first popularized by Nāgārjuna.[10]


Eight Teachings[edit]

The Eight Teachings consist of the Four Doctrines, and the Fourfold Methods.[16][14]


Four Doctrines[edit]

Tripitaka Teaching: the Sutra, Vinaya and Abhidhamma, in which the basic teachings are explained

Shared Teaching: the teaching of emptiness

Distinctive Teaching: aimed at the Bodhisattva

Perfect Teaching - the Chinese teachings of the Lotus Sutra and the Avatamsaka Sutra

Fourfold Methods[edit]

Gradual Teaching, for those with medium or inferior abilities

Sudden Teaching, the Distinctive Teachings and the Complete Teaching for those with superior abilities

Secret Teaching, teachings which are transmitted without the recipient being aware of it

Variable Teaching, no fixed teaching, but various teachings for various persons and circumstances



The Fourfold Teachings[edit]

The Three Contemplations and Threefold Truth in turn form the basis of the Fourfold Teachings, making them "parallel structures".[17]



According to Charles Luk, in China it has been traditionally held that the meditation methods of the Tiantai are the most systematic and comprehensive of all.[8] Tiantai emphasizes śamatha and vipaśyanā meditation.[19]


Regarding the functions of śamatha and vipaśyanā in meditation, Zhiyi writes in his work Concise Śamatha-vipaśyanā:


The attainment of Nirvāṇa is realizable by many methods whose essentials do not go beyond the practice of śamatha and vipaśyanā. Śamatha is the first step to untie all bonds and vipaśyanā is essential to root out delusion. Śamatha provides nourishment for the preservation of the knowing mind, and vipaśyanā is the skillful art of promoting spiritual understanding. Śamatha is the unsurpassed cause of samādhi, while vipaśyanā begets wisdom.[20]


The Tiantai school also places a great emphasis on Mindfulness of Breathing (Skt. ānāpānasmṛti) in accordance with the principles of śamatha and vipaśyanā. Zhiyi classifies breathing into four main categories:


Panting (喘),

Unhurried breathing (風),

Deep and quiet breathing (氣),

Stillness or rest (息).

Zhiyi holds that the first three kinds of breathing are incorrect, while the fourth is correct, and that the breathing should reach stillness and rest.[21]


In Zhiyi's magnum opus, the "Great Samatha-Vipasyana", he outlined his meditation system as consisting of 25 preparatory practices, 4 kinds of samadhi and ten modes of contemplation.


The teachings of Shingon are based on early Buddhist tantras, the Mahāvairocana Sūtra (Japanese. Dainichi-kyō 大日経), the Vajraśekhara Sūtra (Kongōchō-kyō 金剛頂経), the Adhyardhaśatikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra (Rishu-kyō 理趣経), and the Susiddhikara Sūtra (Soshitsuji-kyō 蘇悉地経). These are the four principal texts of Esoteric Buddhism and are all tantras, not sutras, despite their names.


In the New Schools of Tibetan Buddhism, the four categories of tantras are Kriyā tantra, Caryā tantra, Yoga tantra and Anuttarayoga tantra.


The post-Tsongkhapa Sakya scholar Tagtsang Lotsawa identified Father Tantras as those that emphasise the secret, or hidden, empowerment of the four empowerments of Anuttarayoga Tantra


Hevajra has four forms described in the Hevajra Tantra and four forms described the Samputa Tantra:


Hevajra Tantra[edit]

Kaya Hevajra[edit]

The two armed Body (Kaya) Hevajra described in the Hevajra Tantra stands in an advancing posture on a multi-coloured lotus, corpse, and sun disk. He is dark blue in colour. His right hand holds a vajra club, and his left hand holds a vajra-marked skull cup. He embraces his consort Vajranairatma (rDo-rje bDag-med-ma). A khatvanga staff rests on his left shoulder and he is adorned with the six symbolic ornaments.


In the Sadhanamala this form of Hevajra is single (ekavira) - without a consort.[21]


Vak Hevajra[edit]

The four armed Speech (Vak) Hevajra described in the Hevajra Tantra stands in an advancing posture on a multi-coloured lotus, corpse, and sun disk. He is dark blue in colour. One right hand holds a vajra and one left hand a skullfull of blood, the other pair of arms embrace his consort Vajravarahi (rDo-rje phag-mo).


Citta Hevajra[edit]

The six armed Mind (Citta) Hevajra described in the Hevajra Tantra stands in an advancing posture with right leg extended and left bent on a multi-coloured lotus, corpse, and sun disk. He is dark blue in colour with three faces - C. blue, R. white and L. red. Each face has three blood shot eyes and four bared fangs, and frowns with knotted brows. His tawny hair streams up surmounted with a crossed vajra. Two right hands hold a vajra and a knife, two left a trident and a bell; the remaining pair of arms embrace his consort Vajrasrinkhala. Hevajra is imbued with the nine dramatic sentiments and adorned with a diadem of five dry skulls, a necklace of fifty fresh heads and the six symbolic ornaments or 'seals'.


Hrdaya Hevajra[edit]

The sixteen-armed, four-legged eight-faced Heart (Hrdaya) Hevajra described in the Hevajra Tantra stands with two legs in ardha-paryanka and the other two in alidha posture (left bent, right extended) on a multi-coloured eight petalled lotus, the four Maras in the forms of yellow Brahma, black Vishnu, white Shiva (Mahesvara) and yellow Indra and a sun disc resting on their hearts.


Sri Hevajra is 16 years old, black in color, naked, with eight faces, sixteen arms and four legs. His central face is black, the first right white, the first left red, the upper face smoke-coloured and ugly; the outer two faces on each side, black. All have three round blood shot eyes, four bared fangs, a vibrating tongue, and frowning with knotted brows. His lustrous tawny hair streams upward crowned with a crossed vajra. He is adorned with a diadem of five dry skulls. The sixteen hands hold sixteen skull cups. The central pair of arms skull contain a white elephant and the yellow earth-goddess Prithvi, and embrace his consort Vajranairatma (rDo-rje bDag-med-ma) whose two legs encircle his body. Her right hands holds a curved knife (kartika), while the left is wrapped around the neck of her lord and holds a skullcup (kapala). In the other seven skull cups held in Hevajra's outer right hands are: a blue horse, a white-nosed ass, a red ox, an ashen camel, a red human, a blue sarabha deer, and an owl or cat. In the skull cups in the outer seven left hands are the white water-god Varuna, the green wind-god Vayu, the red fire-god Agni / Tejas, the white moon god Chandra, the red sun god Surya or Aditya, blue Yama lord of death and yellow Kubera or Dhanada lord of wealth. Hevajra is adorned with the six symbolic ornaments: circlet, earrings, necklace, bracelets, girdle armlets and anklets and smeared with the ashes of the charnel ground. He wears a necklace of fifty freshly severed human heads.


Samputa Tantra[edit]

The four forms of Hevajra described in the Samputa Tantra all dance on a lotus, corpse, blood-filled skull cup and sun disk throne.


Kaya Hevajra[edit]

The two armed Kaya-Hevajra (sku kyE rdo rje) - "Shaker of all the Three Worlds" ('jig-rten gsum kun-tu bskyod-pa) - stands in dancing posture on a multi-coloured lotus, corpse, blood-filled skull cup and sun disk. He is black in colour, with one face, three round red eyes, and two arms. His right hand wields a five pronged vajra club and the left hand holds a skull cup brimming with blood. He embraces his consort Vajranairatma (rdo-rje bdag-med-ma), blue in colour, with one face and two arms, holding curved knife and skull cup.


Vak Hevajra[edit]

The four armed Vak-Hevajra (sung kyE rdo rje), stands in dancing posture on a multi-coloured lotus, corpse, blood-filled skull cup and sun disk. He is black in colour with one face, three round red eyes two legs and four arms. The outer right hand wields a five pronged vajra club, the outer left hand holds a blood-filled skull-cup; the other pair of arms embrace his consort Vajravarahi (rDo-rje phag-mo), who is similar to him.


Citta Hevajra[edit]

The six armed Citta-Hevajra (thugs kyE rdo rje) stands in dancing posture (ardha paryanka) with his right toenails pressed against his left thigh on an eight-petaled multi-coloured lotus, corpse, skull-cup brimming with blood, and sun disc. He is black, with three faces: black, white and red - each face having three round blood shot eyes. His light yellowish hair streams upwards crested with a crossed vajra, and he wears a diadem of five dry skulls. He is adorned with a necklace of fifty freshly severed human heads, the six symbolic ornaments and clad in a tiger skin skirt. The first pair of hands hold a vajra and bell embracing is consort Vajrasrnkhala, who is similar to him. The other right hands hold an arrow and a trident. The other left hands hold a bow and a skull cup.


Hrdaya Hevajra[edit]

The sixteen-armed, four-legged Hrdaya Hevajra (snying po kyE rdo rje) stands with two legs in dancing posture (ardha paryanka) and two in aleedha posture (right leg extended) on an eight-petalled multicoloured lotus are, the four Maras (Skanda Mara in the form of yellow Brahma, Klesa Mara as black Vishnu, Mrtyu Mara as white Shiva, Devaputra Mara as pale yellow Śakra), a blood filled skull-cup and sun disc. He is black in colour with eight faces, sixteen arms and four legs. The central face is black and laughing loudly, the right is white and the left is red, and the upper face black and bears its fangs; the other eight faces are black. Each face has three blod-shot eyes. His tawny hair flows upwards crested with a double vajra and he wears a diadem of five dry skulls. He is adorned with a necklace of fifty freshly severed human heads, the six symbolic ornaments and clad in a tiger skin skirt. His first pair of hands hold a vajra and bell, embracing his consort Nairatma blue in colour with two hands holding a curved knife (gri gug) and skull cup. Hevajra's remaining right hands hold a sword, arrow, wheel, skull cup, club, trident and hook; the remaining left hands hold a lotus, bow, trident, skull, jewel, threatening forefinger and noose.



The Trikāya doctrine (Sanskrit, literally "Three bodies"; 三身 Chinese: 삼신 Koreean: Sānshēn Vietnamese: Tam thân, Japanese: Sanjin or Sanshin, Tibetan: སྐུ་གསུམ, Wylie: sku gsum) is a Mahayana Buddhist teaching on both the nature of reality and the nature of Buddhahood.


Tibetan Buddhism[edit]

Fourth and Fifth Bodies - Svābhāvikakāya and Mahasukhakaya[edit]

See also: Kosha

Vajrayana sometimes refers to a fourth body called the svābhāvikakāya (Tibetan: ངོ་བོ་ཉིད་ཀྱི་སྐུ, Wylie: ngo bo nyid kyi sku) "essential body",[12][13][14] and to a fifth body, called the mahāsūkhakāya (Wylie: bde ba chen po'i sku, "great bliss body").[15] The svābhāvikakāya is simply the unity or non-separateness of the three kayas.[16]


The term is also known in Gelug teachings, where it is one of the assumed two aspects of the dharmakāya: svābhāvikakāya "essence body" and jñānakāya "body of wisdom".[17]


Haribhadra claims that the Abhisamayalankara describes Buddhahood through four kāyas in chapter 8: svābhāvikakāya, [jñāna]dharmakāya, sambhogakāya and nirmāṇakāya.[18]āya

In a post-canonical text Sri Lankan text called Saddharmaratnākaraya, a distinction is drawn between four different kāyas: the rūpakāya, dharmakāya, nimittakāya and suñyakāya. The rūpakāya refers to the four jhānas here; the dharmakāya refers to the attainment of the first eight of the nine lokuttaradhammas; the nimittakāya refers to the final lokuttaradhamma: Nibbāna with a physical remainder (sa-upadisesa-nibbāna); and the suñyakāya refers to Nibbāna without physical remainder (anupādisesa-nibbāna). However, even this teaching of four kāyas does not really stray outside of orthodox Theravāda tradition.[14][21]


The devas of the Kāmadhātu have physical forms similar to, but larger than, those of humans. They lead the same sort of lives that humans do, though they are longer-lived and generally more content; indeed sometimes they are immersed in pleasures. This is the realm that Māra has greatest influence over.


The higher devas of the Kāmadhātu live in four heavens that float in the air, leaving them free from contact with the strife of the lower world. They are:


The Parinirmita-vaśavartin devas, luxurious devas to whom Māra belongs;

The Nirmāṇarati devas;

The Tuṣita devas, among whom the future Maitreya lives (they are also referred to as the Contented Devas);

The Yāma devas (or Devas of the Hours);

The lower devas of the Kāmadhātu live on different parts of the mountain at the center of the world, Sumeru. They are even more passionate than the higher devas, and do not simply enjoy themselves but also engage in strife and fighting. They are:


The Trāyastriṃśa devas, who live on the peak of Sumeru and are something like the Olympian gods. Their ruler is Śakra. Sakka, as he is called in pali, is a Sotapanna and a devotee of the Buddha. (These are also known as the Devas of the Thirty-Three.)

The Cāturmahārājikakāyika devas, who include the martial kings who guard the four quarters of the Earth. The chief of these kings is Vaiśravaṇa, but all are ultimately accountable to Śakra. They also include four types of earthly demigod or nature-spirit: Kumbhāṇḍas, Gandharvas, Nāgas and Yakṣas, and probably also the Garuḍas.

"Furthermore, you should recollect the devas: 'There are the devas of the Four Great Kings, the devas of the Thirty-three,..."[2] [196. Dh.] "Feeders of joy we shall be like the radiant gods (devas)."


Mahamaya Tantra (Tib. gyu ma chen mo) The mother tantra of the annutarayoga tantra which is one of the four main tantras in Tibet. The Mahamaya Tantra was transmitted in the second transmission of the bka babs bzhi of the Kagyu.



Each Tantra-Agama text consists of four parts:[139][141]

Jnana pada, also called Vidya pada[139] – consists of doctrine, the philosophical and spiritual knowledge, knowledge of reality and liberation.

Yoga pada - precepts on yoga, the physical and mental discipline.

Kriya pada - consists of rules for rituals, construction of temples (Mandir); design principles for sculpting, carving, and consecration of idols of deities for worship in temples;[143] for different forms of initiations or diksha. This code is analogous to those in Puranas and in the Buddhist text of Sadhanamala.[139]

Charya pada - lays down rules of conduct, of worship (puja), observances of religious rites, rituals, festivals and prayaschittas.

The Tantra-Agama texts of Hinduism present a diverse range of philosophies, ranging from theistic dualism to absolute monism.[140][144] This diversity of views was acknowledged in Chapter 36 of Tantraloka, the 10th century scholar Abhinavagupta.[140] In Shaivism alone, there are ten dualistic (dvaita) Agama texts, eighteen qualified monism-cum-dualism (bhedabheda) Agama texts, and sixty four monism (advaita) Agama texts.[145] The Bhairava Shastras are monistic Tantra texts, while Shiva Shastras are dualistic.[146][147]


Human experience is by some described in terms of four mind states: waking, dream, deep sleep, and a fourth state which is available through the energies of sexual orgasm


The Kālacakra Tantra has occasionally been a source of controversy in the west because the text contains passages which may be interpreted as demonizing Islam. This is principally because it contains the prophecy of a holy war between Buddhists and so-called "barbarians" (Skt. mleccha). One passage of the Kālacakra (Śri Kālacakra I. 161) reads, "The Chakravartin shall come out at the end of the age, from the city the gods fashioned on Mount Kailasa. He shall smite the barbarians in battle with his own four-division army, on the entire surface of the earth."


One feature that Shingon shares in common with Tendai, the only other school with esoteric teachings in Japan, is the use of bīja or seed-syllables in Sanskrit written in the Siddhaṃ alphabet along with anthropomorphic and symbolic representations to express Buddhist deities in their mandalas.


There are four types of mandalas:

• Mahāmaṇḍala (大曼荼羅, Large Mandala)

• Bīja- or Dharmamaṇḍala (法曼荼羅)

• Samayamaṇḍala (三昧耶曼荼羅), representations of the vows of the deities in the form of articles they hold or their mudras

• Karmamaṇḍala (羯磨曼荼羅) representing the activities of the deities in the three-dimensional form of statues, etc.

Chapter 2 of the sutra also contains four precepts, called the samaya, that form the basic precepts esoteric Buddhist practitioners must follow:


Not to abandon the true Dharma

Not to deviate from one's own enlightened mind

Not to be reserved in sharing with others the Buddhist teachings

Not to bring harm to any sentient beings



Contents of the Three Turnings[edit]

The basic content and audience of the three turnings of the wheel can be summarized as follows:


First Turning[edit]

The first turning is traditionally said to have taken place at Deer Park in Sarnath near Varanasi in northern India, to an audience of shravakas. It consisted of the teaching of the Four Noble Truths (Sanskrit: catvāry āryasatyāni[1]) and the other elements of the Tripitaka – the Abhidharma, Sutrapitaka and Vinaya. The Abhidharma referred to is the Abhidharma Pitaka of the Sarvastivada school, which is a later composition not taught by the Buddha, and contains philosophy which is antithetical, one may say, to the early teachings.[2]


Second Turning[edit]

The second turning is said to have taken place at Vulture Peak Mountain in Rajagriha, in Bihar, India. The audience comprised bodhisattvas; in some telling there were also shravaka arhats there as well, who promptly had heart attacks and died from the shock of the new teachings. In the second turning, the emphasis is on emptiness (Skt: śūnyatā) as epitomized in the Prajnaparamita sutras, and on compassion (Skt: karuṇā). These two elements form bodhicitta, the epitome of the second turning. The Madhyamika school that Nagarjuna founded arose from his exegesis of the early texts and is included under the second turning. Nagarjuna attacked the metaphysics of the Sarvastivada school and a school which broke away from it called Sautrantika, and promoted, among other things, the classical emphasis on the dependent arising of phenomena of the early texts.[3]


Third Turning[edit]

The third turning was also delivered to an audience of bodhisattvas in Shravasti and other Indian locations (e.g. in Kusinagara, to Bodhisattvas and onlooking Buddhas, in the Mahaparinirvana Sutra) – or even in transcendental Buddhic realms (in the Avatamsaka Sutra). The focal point of the third turning is Buddha nature and particularly the Tathāgatagarbha doctrine. This was elaborated on in great detail by Maitreya via Asanga in the Five Treatises of Maitreya, which are also generally grouped under the third turning. The Yogachara school reoriented later refinements, in all their complexity, so as to accord with the doctrines of earliest Buddhism.[4]


Fourth Turning[edit]

The Huayen school of Chinese Buddhism considered the Tathāgatagarbha doctrine a fourth turning, with the third turning comprising only the Yogachara school.[5] In addition, Vajrayana schools sometimes refer to tantra as the "fourth turning."

Neigong (Nei gung) or "internal power" is the original chi cultivation system in China, which was also invented by the Taoists. The 16 neigong develop chi. Within the Energy Arts Qigong Exercise Program you learn these neigong components. You can also learn and place these neigong into any internal martial art such as tai chi or bagua.

Learning qigong is a means by which to realize the potential of the 16 neigong to balance all of your eight energy bodies, starting with the physical body. The heart of the Energy Arts Core Qigong Program is training all 16 components.

The following are the 16 components. You do not have to learn these in a sequential manner. Further as you progress in your training you will find that each has many layers of sensitivity.

Breathing methods, from the simple to the complex.

Moving chi along the general direction of the various ascending, descending and lateral connecting channels within the body.

Moving chi in specific ways throughout the body.

Precise body alignments.

Dissolving, releasing and resolving all blockages in the eight energy bodies.

Bending and stretching the body's soft tissues.

Opening and closing methods (pulsing).

Working with the energies of the external aura.

Amplifying the circles and spirals of energy inside the body.

Learning to move chi to any part of the body at will.

Awakening and controlling all the energies of the spine.

Awakening and using the body's left and right energy channels.

Awakening and using the body's central energy channel.

Developing the capacities and all the uses of the body's lower tantien.

Developing the capacities and all the uses of the middle and upper tantiens.

Integrating and connecting each of the previous 15 components into one, unified energy.

These foundation practices enhance and advance the effectiveness of any chi practice, such as tai chi and bagua, or other exercise systems, such as yoga, dance or weight-lifting. To fully activate all of these at the same time in your energy bodies would mean that you truely have reached mastery level and completed many lifetimes of work.

four tetrads equals the quadrant model


16 steps of breathing meditation from the Majjhima Nikaya

Posted on January 8, 2013

I have been very inspired by reading Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s book, Right Mindfulness, as you can see from my last few posts. I have started using the material for guidance in my sitting practice. As more posts are likely to follow that use this framework, I thought it would be a good idea to pop this section out of the book for easy reference. This is a set of 16 steps, arranged in four tetrads, or sections of 4 steps called the “first, second, third and fourth establishing of mindfulness”. As TB says, “this procession through the levels of concentration all the way to the cessation of perception and feeling is one of the ways in which awakening is achieved. “


From the Majjhima Nikaya:


The steps developing the first establishing of mindfulness:



“[1] Breathing in long, he discerns, ‘I am breathing in long’; or breathing out long, he discerns, ‘I am breathing out long.’ [2] Or breathing in short, he discerns, ‘I am breathing in short’; or breathing out short, he discerns, ‘I am breathing out short.’ [3] He trains himself, ‘I will breathe in sensitive to the entire body.’ He trains himself, ‘I will breathe out sensitive to the entire body.’ [4] He trains himself, ‘I will breathe in calming bodily fabrication.’ He trains himself, ‘I will breathe out calming bodily fabrication.’



The steps developing the second establishing of mindfulness:



“[5] He trains himself, ‘I will breathe in sensitive to rapture.’ He trains himself, ‘I will breathe out sensitive to rapture.’ [6] He trains himself, ‘I will breathe in sensitive to pleasure.’ He trains himself, ‘I will breathe out sensitive to pleasure.’ [7] He trains himself, ‘I will breathe in sensitive to mental fabrication.’ He trains himself, ‘I will breathe out sensitive to mental fabrication.’ [8] He trains himself, ‘I will breathe in calming mental fabrication.’ He trains himself, ‘I will breathe out calming mental fabrication.’



The steps developing the third establishing of mindfulness:



“[9] He trains himself, ‘I will breathe in sensitive to the mind.’ He trains himself, ‘I will breathe out sensitive to the mind.’ [10] He trains himself, ‘I will breathe in gladdening the mind.’ He trains himself, ‘I will breathe out gladdening the mind.’ [11] He trains himself, ‘I will breathe in steadying the mind.’ He trains himself, ‘I will breathe out steadying the mind. [12] He trains himself, ‘I will breathe in releasing the mind.’ He trains himself, ‘I will breathe out releasing the mind.’



The steps developing the fourth establishing of mindfulness:



“[13] He trains himself, ‘I will breathe in focusing on inconstancy.’ He trains himself, ‘I will breathe out focusing on inconstancy.’ [14] He trains himself, ‘I will breathe in focusing on dispassion [literally, fading].’ He trains himself, ‘I will breathe out focusing on dispassion.’ [15] He trains himself, ‘I will breathe in focusing on cessation.’ He trains himself, ‘I will breathe out focusing on cessation.’ [16] He trains himself, ‘I will breathe in focusing on relinquishment.’ He trains himself, ‘I will breathe out focusing on relinquishment.’” — MN 118


This text comes directly from:

16 stages of Insight Knowledge

From Dhamma Wiki

The 16 Stages of Insight Knowledge:

1. Knowledge of the distinction between mental and physical states

2. Knowledge of the cause and effect relationship between mental and physical states

3. Knowledge of mental and physical processes as impermanent, unsatisfactory, and not-self

4. Knowledge of arising and passing away

5. Knowledge of dissolution (ceasing) of formations

6. Knowledge of the fearful nature of mental and physical states

7. Knowledge of mental and physical states as unsatisfactory

8. Knowledge of disenchantment

9. Knowledge of the desire to abandon the worldly state

10. Knowledge which investigates the Path to deliverance and which instills a decision to practice further to completion

11. Knowledge which regards mental and physical states with dispassion

12. Knowledge which conforms to the Four Noble Truths, prepares entry to the Path, attains the fruit of the Path, and approaches nibbana by way of either impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, or not-self

13. Knowledge of deliverance from the worldly condition

14. Knowledge by which defilements are abandoned and are overcome by destruction

15. Knowledge which realizes the fruit of the Path and has nibbana as object

16. Knowledge which reviews the defilements still remaining


The Hou Hanshu describes the legend (also considered doubtful) that Emperor Ming (58–75 CE) actively encouraged the introduction of Buddhism to China:


"There is a current tradition that Emperor Ming dreamed that he saw a tall golden man the top of whose head was glowing. He questioned his group of advisors and one of them said: "In the West there is a man called Buddha. His body is sixteen chi high (3.7 metres or 12 feet), and is the colour of true gold." The Emperor, to discover the true doctrine, sent an envoy to Tianzhu (Northwestern India) to inquire about the Buddha’s doctrine, after which paintings and statues [of the Buddha] appeared in the Middle Kingdom."[5]


16 Good Gods

(Jūroku Zenjin, Juroku Zenjin 十六善神). Protectors of the Daihannyakyō Sutra 大般若経 (Great Widsom Sutra, Skt. Mahaprajna paramita sutra) and those devoted to it. But more accurately referred to as the 16 Protectors of Shaka Nyorai (the Historical Buddha), or Shaka Jūroku Zenshin 釈迦十六善神, or Shaka Sanzon Jūroku Zenshin 釈迦三尊十六善神. They are depicted as warlike figures (Yasha 夜叉), and paintings of the sixteen were invoked at the Daihannya-e 大般若会 ceremony. They often appear in the Sangatsu-kyō Mandala devoted to Shaka. In Japan, the 16 are also shown around Hannya Bosatsu 般若菩薩, who is sometimes invoked instead of Shaka during the Daihannya-e service, which involves the ritual reading of the 600-fascicle Hannyakyō 般若経 sutra (translated into Chinese by Xuanzang 玄奘 (Jp. = Genjō) in the 7th century AD.


Daitorada 提頭羅宅; Jikokuten 持国天 (one of four Shitennō)

Birurokusha 毘盧勒叉; Zōchōten 増長天 (one of four Shitennō)

Saifukudokugai 摧伏毒害

Zōyaku 増益

Kanki 歓喜

Joissaishōnan 除一切障難

Batsujozaiku 抜除罪垢

Nōnin 能忍

Ueshiramanu 吠室羅摩拏; Tamonten 多聞天 (one of four Shitennō)

Birubakusha 毘盧博叉; Kōmokuten 広目天 (one of four Shitennō)

Riissaifui 離一切怖畏

Kugoissai 救護一切

Shōfukushoma 摂伏諸魔

Nōkushō 能救諸有

Shishiimō 師子威猛

Yūmōshinchi 勇猛心地

Bonten 梵天 and Taishakuten 帝釈天 are also sometimes added, making eighteen. Paintings of the 16 Good Gods sometimes include other protective deities, including Changti 常啼 (Jp: Jōtei ), the nun Fayō 法優 (Jp: Hōyū), Basusen 婆薮仙, and Kudokuten 功徳天 (an emanation of Kichijōten 吉祥天, the goddess of fortune and merit). Paintings may also include Anan 阿難 and Kashō 迦葉, disciples of the Historical Buddha (Jūdai Deshi 十大弟子). In addition, Hannya Bosatsu is sometimes surrounded by the 16 Protectors.


Says JAANUS: “The Sixteen Protectors of Shaka are a specific group of warlike figures (yasha 夜叉) believed to be the protectors of the DAIHANNYAKYOU 大般若経. In art, Shaka, with the mudra of either tenbourin-in 転法輪印 or seppou-in 説法印, is attended by the two bodhisattvas Fugen 普賢 and Monju 文殊. The Sixteen Protectors appear in two groups of eight to either side and in front of the principal figures. They are believed to guard the sutra and those who uphold it. Paintings of the Sixteen Protectors were hung as central images for ceremonies called Daihannya-e 大般若会 at which there was a tendoku 転読 (flipping through pages, or opening scrolls, and reading the chapter headings at breakneck speed) of the text a certain number of times. The earliest record of commissioning a painting for a ceremony dates from 1114, while the earliest extant paintings date from the third quarter of the 12th century. <end JAANUS quote>


In mainland Asia, less so in Japan, the Shaka Nyorai is pictured seated on a lotus with four petals, representing the four great countries of Asia (India, China, Central Asia, and Iran) during the early centuries of Buddhism’s introduction. The lotus is a symbol of purity. Although a beautiful flower, the lotus grows out of the mud at the bottom of a pond. The Buddha is an enlightened being who "grew" out of the "mud" of the material world. Like the lotus, the Buddha is beautiful and pure even though he existed in the material world.



Four Sufferings and Eight Sufferings

Shiku 四苦 and Hakku 八苦

Gautama Buddha believed that all life was suffering, and that suffering was caused by desire. He sought, through meditation, to attain a state known as Nirvana, in which one is free of desire and therefore suffering. Suffering is caused by human weakness -- desire, lust, pride, anger, greed and a host of other foibles. The philosophical foundations of Buddhism proclaim that all worldly phenomena is unsatisfactory, transient and impermanent; there is nothing one can call one's own; the world is an illusion; and our suffering is caused by our clinging to the world of illusion (the world of desire). There are four basic sufferings, to which four more were added in later times:



Old Age



Parting from those one loves

Having to meet those one hates

Not being able to have what one desires

Clinging to the five aggregates (sufferings of the mind and body)

Note: In Japanese, this grouping of four and eight gave rise to the Japanese expression Shiku Hakku, which means "agony and distress."


Mythical Home of Shaka Nyorai

Mt. Shumisen (Mt. Sumeru, Mt. Meru) is the mythical home of Shakya Nyorai (the historical Buddha). According to Buddhist lore, Mt. Sumeru is located at the center of the world, surrounded by eight mountain ranges, and in the ocean between the 7th and 8th there are four continents inhabited by humans. These four continents are protected by the Shitenno, with each leading an army of supernatural creatures to keep the fighting demons (Ashura) at bay. On the top of Mt. Sumeru is the heavenly palace of Shakya Nyorai, and the abode of the Trayastrimsha (33 Gods) ruled by Taishakuten.




Mythical Home of Shaka Nyorai

Mt. Shumisen (Mt. Sumeru, Mt. Meru) is the mythical home of Shakya Nyorai (the historical Buddha). According to Buddhist lore, Mt. Sumeru is located at the center of the world, surrounded by eight mountain ranges, and in the ocean between the 7th and 8th there are four continents inhabited by humans. These four continents are protected by the Shitenno, with each leading an army of supernatural creatures to keep the fighting demons (Ashura) at bay. On the top of Mt. Sumeru is the heavenly palace of Shakya Nyorai, and the abode of the Trayastrimsha (33 Gods) ruled by Taishakuten.


The Gal Vihara or "rock monastery" (so named after the large rock face where the four images of the Buddha were carved) was originally named Uttararama "the northern monastery". It is located in Polonnaruwa, and according to the Cūḷavaṃsa was one of the more prominent of the hundred temples built throughout Lanka by King Parakramabahu I (1153-86).[1] The Cūḷavaṃsa mentions that Parakramabahu I had his workmen build three caves in the rock after finishing the temple: the Vijjadhara Guha (cave of the spirits of knowledge), the Nissina Patima Lena (cave of the sitting image), and the Nipanna Patima Guha (cave of the sleeping image).[2] Although they are described as "caves", only the Vijjadhara Guha is a cave, while the others were image houses similar to the Thivanka and Lankathilaka, with their walls connected to the rock face. These walls, which were evidently decorated with frescoes,[3] have since been destroyed and only their bases now remain,[4]


The main feature of Gal Vihara is the four images of the Buddha that have been carved on a single, large granite rock face,[7] considered to be among the best examples of the rock carving and sculpting arts of the ancient Sinhalese.[4] The rock has been cut almost 15 feet (4.6 m) deep to create a rock face to accommodate the statues,[8] and is the only example in the country where a natural rock has been excavated to this extent for such a purpose.[9] The images position the temple alongside some of the most significant monuments which survive from the ancient kingdoms of Sri Lanka, and make it the most celebrated and visited temple in Polonnaruwa. Three of the images are quite large; the smallest of them is more than 15 feet (4.6 m) tall, and the largest is more than 46 feet (14 m) long. However, the fourth image is just over 4 feet (1.2 m) and located inside an artificial cavern carved into the rock. A seated image is on the left side of the rock, and to the right is a cavern and another seated image. Further to the right are a standing image, and then a reclining image. Unlike other statues of the same period (such as the one found in the Lankathilaka image house), they are all well preserved, and therefore provide a good indication about less well-preserved examples.[10] The size of each image seems to have been decided based on the height of the rock at that point, so that the maximum possible area could be used for it. According to the archaeologist Senarath Paranavithana, the images were evidently coated in gold in their early years.[4] The style of the images differs somewhat from that of statues from the earlier Anuradhapura period. The most notable changes are the broader forehead in the Gal Vihara images. The robe is carved with two parallel lines, rather than the single line seen in the Anuradhapura period, influenced by the Amaravati school of art.[11]


Seated image[edit]

The large seated image is 15 feet 2.5 inches (4.636 m) tall, and depicts the dhyana mudra.[12] The seat was carved in the shape of a lotus flower, its base decorated with carvings of flowers and lions. The statue sits on a carved throne, decorated with makara images, with four small images of the Buddha (identical to the larger image) carved inside small chambers. This is an unusual feature in ancient Sinhalese sculpture, and is presumably the result of Mahayana influence.[13]


Vidyhadhara Guha[edit]


Vidyhadhara Guha

A small statue only 4 feet 7 inches (1.40 m) in height,[12] but similar in appearance to its larger neighbour, is located inside the artificial cave named the Vidyhadhara Guha. The cave was created by carving 4.5 feet (1.4 m) into the rock, leaving four square shafted stone columns at the sides of the 26-foot (7.9 m) wide and 12-foot-9-inch (3.89 m) high opening.[14] The base of the lotus shaped seat of the Buddha image here is also decorated with designs of lions. A throne and a parasol are carved behind it, more elaborate in design than the larger image.[15] A prabhamandala, or halo, is carved behind the head of the statue, which rests between two four-armed deities. According to archaeologist H. C. P. Bell, the god on the right is Brahma, and the god on the left is Vishnu.[14] The walls of the cave were once decorated with frescoes, traces of which remain in the two corners at the back of the cave.[15]


The Ananda Temple (Burmese: အာနန္ဒာဘုရား, pronounced: [ànàɴdà pʰəjá]), located in Bagan, Myanmar is a Buddhist temple built in 1105 AD during the reign (1084–1113) of King Kyanzittha of the Pagan Dynasty. It is one of four surviving temples in Bagan. The temple layout is in a cruciform with several terraces leading to a small pagoda at the top covered by an umbrella known as hti, which is the name of the umbrella or top ornament found in almost all pagodas in Myanmar. The Buddhist temple houses four standing Buddhas, each one facing the cardinal direction of East, North, West and South. The temple is said to be an architectural wonder in a fusion of Mon and adopted Indian style of architecture. The impressive temple has also been titled the "Westminster Abbey of Burma".[1][2][3][4] The temple has close similarity to the Pathothamya temple of the 10th–11th century, and is also known as “veritable museum of stones”.[5][6]


The temple structure is in the form of a simple corridor. It has a central square of 53 metres (174 ft); gabled porches project out by 57 feet (17 m) from each face of the square. The superstructure is 51 metres (167 ft) in height formed by decorated terraces. The total length of the temple from end to end is about 290 feet (88 m). In the crucifix layout adopted for the temple, the main plinth over which two receding curvilinear roofs have been built followed by four receding terraces above it. The four terraces lead to the top, where it terminates in a small pagoda and an umbrella known as hti, which is the name of the top ornament found in almost all pagodas in Myanmar. The core part of the temple, at the centre of the terraces, is in the shape of a cube, which houses the four standing Buddha massive statues on its four faces, each of 9.5 metres (31 ft)height (above a 8 feet (2.4 m) high throne). The spire rises above this cubic structure. Two passages delimit the central cube, with the four sides of the cube; each face is decorated with a massive image of the Buddha. The four entrances are provided with teak wood carved doors in the interior and these entrances form a perfect cross or cruciform. A stupa finial crowns each entrance. Jataka scenes (life story of the Buddha – said to be sourced from Mon texts) are embossed over 554 terra cotta tiles that decorate the base, sides and terraces. Each niche, inside the four entrances of the cubical structure, form the sanctum where standing Buddhas, fully gilded and in different mudras or forms are deified and worshipped.[1][2][3][6][10]



The four standing Buddhas (pictured) are adorned with gold leaf and each Buddha image faces a direction, from north to south, stated to represent attainment of a state of nirvana; each is given a specific name, Kassapa (in Pāli, it is the name of a Buddha, the third of the five Buddhas’ of the present kalpa (the Bhaddakappa or 'Fortunate Aeon'), and the sixth of the six Buddhas prior to the historical Buddha) – south facing, Kakusandha (in (Pāli) is the name of the twenty-fifth Buddha, the first of the five Buddhas of the present kalpa, and the fourth of the seven ancient Buddhas) – north facing, Konagamana (the name of the twenty-sixth Buddha, the second of the five Buddhas of the present era, and the fifth of the seven ancient Buddhas) – east facing, and Gautama facing west. Out of the four images, the images facing north and south are said to be original, of the Bagan-style depicting the dhammachakka mudra, a hand position symbolizing the Buddha's first sermon, while the other two images are new replacements, after the originals were destroyed by fires. All the four images are made of solid teak wood (some say that the southern image is made of a bronze alloy).[1][2][3] The four Buddhas placed in the sanctum, called the "Buddhas of the modern age", give an indication of Buddha's "sense of the omnipresence through space and time".[3]



The perimeter wall of the main temple complex has sixteen gates, two of which serve as entrances for the public (one on Chetuphon Road, the other near the northwest corner).[10]



Phra Maha Chedi Si Rajakarn[edit]

This is a group of four large stupas, each 42 metres high. These four chedis are dedicated to the first four Chakri kings.[8] The first, in green mosaic tiles, was constructed by Rama I to house the remnants of the great Buddha from Ayuthaya, which was scorched to remove its gold covering by the Burmese. Two more were built by Rama III, one in white tiles to hold the ashes of his father Rama II, another in yellow for himself. A fourth in blue was built by Rama IV who then enclosed the four chedis leaving no space for more to be built.[31]

Phra Prang - There are four towers, or phra prang, at each corner of the courtyard around the bot. Each of the towers is tiled with marbles and contains four Khmer-style statues which are the guardian divinities of the Four Cardinal Points.[30]

Phra Chedi Rai - Outside the Phra Rabiang cloisters are dotted many smaller chedis, called Phra Chedi Rai. Seventy-one of these small chedis were built by Rama III, each five metres in height. There are also four groups of five chedis that shared a single base built by Rama I, one on each corner outside the cloister.[36] The 71 chedis of smaller size contain the ashes of the royal family, and 20 slightly larger ones clustered in groups of five contain the relics of Buddha.[18]

Phra Viharn Kod - This is the gallery which consists of four viharas, one on each corner outside the Phra Rabiang.[39][40]



Four-faced Oesho


The Taẕkirah is a genre of literature written about Sufi Muslim saints in Altishahr. Written sometime in the period from 1700-1849, the Eastern Turkic language (modern Uyghur) Taẕkirah of the Four Sacrificed Imams provides an account of the Muslim Karakhanid war against the Khotanese Buddhists, containing a story about Imams, from Mada'in city (possibly in modern-day Iraq) came 4 Imams who travelled to help the Islamic conquest of Khotan, Yarkand, and Kashgar by Yusuf Qadir Khan, the Qarakhanid leader.[128] Accounts of the battles waged by the invading Muslims upon the indigenous Buddhists takes up most of the Taẕkirah with descriptions such as "blood flows like the Oxus", "heads litter the battlefield like stones" being used to describe the murderous battles over the years until the "infidels" were defeated and driven towards Khotan by Yusuf Qadir Khan and the four Imams, but the Imams were assassinated by the Buddhists prior to the last Muslim victory so Yusuf Qadir Khan assigned Khizr Baba, who was born in Khotan but whose mother originated from western Turkestan's Mawarannahr, to take care of the shrine of the 4 Imams at their tomb and after Yusuf Qadir Khan's conquest of new land in Altishahr towards the east, he adopted the title "King of the East and China".[129] Due to the Imams deaths in battle and burial in Khotan, Altishahr, despite their foreign origins, they are viewed as local saints by the current Muslim population in the region.[130]

The Four Buddhist Persecutions in China was the wholesale suppression of Buddhism carried out on four occasions from the 5th through the 10th century by four Chinese emperors.

The Sukhothai period witnessed the innovation of the four modern postures of the Thai Buddha, i.e. walking, standing, sitting and reclining.

Four Great Treasures of Annam

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Four Great Treasures of Annam were four bronzes typical of the culture of Lý and Trần dynasties of Vietnam.[1] They were: Bao Thien Tower, Quy Dien Bell, Buddha Statues of Quynh Lam Temple and Pho Minh Caldron. None of these survive.


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The brahmavihāras (sublime attitudes, lit. "abodes of brahma") are a series of four Buddhist virtues and the meditation practices made to cultivate them. They are also known as the four immeasurables (Sanskrit: apramāṇa, Pāli: appamaññā).[1][2] The Brahma-viharas are:


loving-kindness or benevolence


empathetic joy


According to the Metta Sutta, cultivation of the four immeasurables has the power to cause the practitioner to be reborn into a "Brahmā realm" (Pāli: Brahmaloka).[3]


The Brahma-viharas, along with meditative tradition associated with Brahma-vihara, are also found in pre-Buddha and post-Buddha Vedic and Sramanic literature.


Contents [hide]

1 Etymology & translations

2 The Brahma-vihara

2.1 Early Buddhism

2.2 Visuddhimagga

2.3 A Cavern of Treasures (mDzod-phug)

3 Origins

4 See also

5 References

6 Sources

7 See also

8 Further reading

9 External links

Etymology & translations[edit]

Pāli: cattāri brahmavihārā

Sanskrit: चत्वारि ब्रह्मविहाराः (IAST: catvāri brahmavihārāḥ)

Brahmavihāra may be parsed as "Brahmā" and "vihāra"; which is often rendered into English as "sublime" or "divine abodes".[4]


Apramāṇa, usually translated as "the immeasurables," means "boundlessness, infinitude, a state that is illimitable".[5] When developed to a high degree in meditation, these attitudes are said to make the mind "immeasurable" and like the mind of the loving Brahmā (gods).[6]


Other translations:


English: four divine abodes, four divine emotions, four sublime attitudes, four divine dwellings.[7]

East Asia: (traditional Chinese: 四無量心; ; pinyin: Sì wúliàng xīn; Korean: 사무량심; Vietnamese: Tứ Vô Lượng Tâm; literally: "immeasurable states of mind, from apramāṇa-citta"), (traditional Chinese: 四等(心); ; pinyin: sì děng; literally: "four equalities/universals"), (traditional Chinese: 四梵行; ; pinyin: sì fàn xíng; literally: "noble Brahma-acts/characteristics").[8]

Tibetan: ཚད་མེད་བཞི, Wylie: tshad med bzhi or Tibetan: ཚངས་གནས་བཞི་, Wylie: tshangs gnas bzhi.

The Brahma-vihara[edit]

The four Brahma-vihara are:


Loving-kindness (Pāli: mettā, Sanskrit: maitrī) is active good will towards all;[9][10]

Compassion (Pāli and Sanskrit: karuṇā) results from metta, it is identifying the suffering of others as one's own;[9][10]

Empathetic joy (Pāli and Sanskrit: muditā): is the feeling of joy because others are happy, even if one did not contribute to it, it is a form of sympathetic joy;[9]

Equanimity (Pāli: upekkhā, Sanskrit: upekṣā): is even-mindedness and serenity, treating everyone impartially.[9][10]

Early Buddhism[edit]

The Brahma-vihara are a pre-Buddhist concept, to which the Buddhist tradition gave its own interpretation.[11][12] The Digha Nikaya asserts the Buddha to be calling the Brahmavihara as "that practice", and he then contrasts it with "my practice" as follows:[11]


...that practice [namely, the mere cultivation of love and so forth, according to the fourfold instructions] is conducive not to turning away, nor to dispassion, nor to quieting, nor to cessation, nor to direct knowledge, nor to enlightenment, nor to nirvana, but only to rebirth in the world of Brahma. practice is conducive to complete turning away, dispassion, cessation, quieting, direct knowledge, enlightenment, and nirvana – specifically the eightfold noble path (...)


— The Buddha, Digha Nikaya II.251, Translated by Harvey B. Aronson[11]

According to Gombrich, the Buddhist usage of the brahma-vihāra originally referred to an awakened state of mind, and a concrete attitude toward other beings which was equal to "living with Brahman" here and now. The later tradition took those descriptions too literally, linking them to cosmology and understanding them as "living with Brahman" by rebirth in the Brahma-world.[13] According to Gombrich, "the Buddha taught that kindness - what Christians tend to call love - was a way to salvation.[14]


In the Tevijja Sutta, The Threefold Knowledge of the Digha Nikaya set of scriptures, Buddha Shākyamuni is asked the way to fellowship/companionship/communion with Brahma. He replies that he personally knows the world of Brahma and the way to it, and explains the meditative method for reaching it by using an analogy of the resonance of the conch shell of the aṣṭamaṅgala:


A monk suffuses the world in the four directions with a mind of benevolence, then above, and below, and all around – the whole world from all sides, completely, with a benevolent, all-embracing, great, boundless, peaceful and friendly mind … Just as a powerful conch-blower makes himself heard with no great effort in all four [cardinal] directions, so too is there no limit to the unfolding of [this] heart-liberating benevolence. This is a way to communion with Brahma.[15]


The Buddha then says that the monk must follow this up with an equal suffusion of the entire world with mental projections of compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity (regarding all beings with an eye of equality).


In the two Metta Suttas of the Aṅguttara Nikāya,[16] the Buddha states that those who practice radiating the four immeasurables in this life and die "without losing it" are destined for rebirth in a heavenly realm in their next life. In addition, if such a person is a Buddhist disciple (Pāli: sāvaka) and thus realizes the three characteristics of the five aggregates, then after his heavenly life, this disciple will reach nibbāna. Even if one is not a disciple, one will still attain the heavenly life, after which, however depending on what his past deeds may have been, one may be reborn in a hell realm, or as an animal or hungry ghost.[17]


In another sutta in the Aṅguttara Nikāya, the laywoman Sāmāvatī is mentioned as an example of someone who excels at loving-kindness.[18] In the Buddhist tradition she is often referred to as such, often citing an account that an arrow shot at her was warded off through her spiritual power.[19]



The four immeasurables are explained in The Path of Purification (Visuddhimagga), written in the fifth century CE by the scholar and commentator Buddhaghoṣa. They are often practiced by taking each of the immeasurables in turn and applying it to oneself (a practice taught by many contemporary teachers and monastics that was established after the Pali Suttas were completed), and then to others nearby, and so on to everybody in the world, and to everybody in all universes.[citation needed]


A Cavern of Treasures (mDzod-phug)[edit]

A Cavern of Treasures (Tibetan: མཛོད་ཕུག, Wylie: mdzod phug) is a Bonpo terma uncovered by Shenchen Luga (Tibetan: གཤེན་ཆེན་ཀླུ་དགའ, Wylie: gshen-chen klu-dga') in the early eleventh century. A segment of it enshrines a Bonpo evocation of the four immeasurables.[20] Martin (n.d.: p. 21) identifies the importance of this scripture for studies of the Zhang-Zhung language.[21]



Prior to the advent of the Buddha, according to Martin Wiltshire, the pre-Buddhist traditions of Brahma-loka, meditation and these four virtues are evidenced in both early Buddhist and non-Buddhist literature.[22] The early Buddhist texts assert that pre-Buddha ancient Indian sages who taught these virtues were earlier incarnations of the Buddha.[22] Post-Buddha, these same virtues are found in the Hindu texts such as verse 1.33 of the Yoga Sutras of Patañjali.[23]


Three of the four immeasurables, namely Maitri, Karuna and Upeksha, are found in the early Upanishads of Hinduism, while all four are found with slight variations – such as pramoda instead of mudita – in Jainism literature, states Wiltshire.[24] The ancient Indian Paccekabuddhas mentioned in the early Buddhist Suttas, those who lived before the Buddha, mention all "four immeasurables" and Brahmavihara, and they are claimed in the Suttas to be previous incarnations of the Buddha.[22]


According to Peter Harvey, the Buddhist scriptures acknowledge that the four Brahmavihara meditation practices "did not originate within the Buddhist tradition".[25] The Buddha never claimed that the "four immeasurables" were his unique ideas, in a manner similar to "cessation, quieting, nirvana".[11]


The pre-Buddha Chandogya Upanishad, states Jayatilleke, in section 8.15 teaches metta and ahimsa to all creatures claiming that this practice leads to Brahmaloka.[26] The shift in Vedic ideas, from rituals to virtues, is particularly discernible in the early Upanishadic thought, and it is unclear as to what extent and how early Upanishadic traditions of Hinduism and Sramanic traditions such as Buddhism and Jainism influenced each other, on ideas such as "four immeasurables", meditation and Brahmavihara.[22]


In an authoritative Jain scripture, the Tattvartha Sutra (Chapter 7, sutra 11), there is a mention of four right sentiments: Maitri, pramoda, karunya, madhyastha:


Benevolence towards all living beings, joy at the sight of the virtuous, compassion and sympathy for the afflicted, and tolerance towards the insolent and ill-behaved.ūpajhāna

In Buddhism, the arūpajhānas or "formless meditations" are four successive levels of meditation on non-material objects. These levels are higher than the rūpajhānas, and harder to attain. In themselves, they are believed to lead to rebirth as gods belonging to the realm of the same name.[1]

Kyaikpun Pagoda (Burmese: ကျိုက်ပွန်ဘုရား, IPA: [tɕaiʔpʊ̀ɴ pʰəjá])(ကျာ်ပန် in Mon, Kyaik (Buddha) & Pon (Four), is a pagoda in the Bago Division of Burma, in the city of Bago. Most notably, Kyaik Pun Pagoda is the home to the Four Seated Buddha shrine, a 90 ft (27 m) statue depicting the four Buddhas namely Kakusandha, Konagamana, Kassapa, and Gautama seated in four positions, sitting back to back to four directions. The Four Seated Buddha was built by King Migadippa of Bago in the 7th Century AD (tradition) and renovated by King Dhammazedi in the 15th century AD.

Phra Phrom (Thai: พระพรหม; from Sanskrit: Para Brahma) is the Thai representation of the deva Brahma,[1] honoured in Thai Hindu traditions. Phra Phrom is also worshipped in Chinese folk religion as the Four-Faced God (Chinese: 四面神; pinyin: Sìmiànshén) or Four-Faced Awakened One (Chinese: 四面佛; pinyin: Sìmiànfó).


The sixteen Arhats

The sixteen attributes of the four noble truths

The sixteen delusions to be abandoned on the path of


The sixteen distorted views

The sixteen emptinesses
The sixteen faculties of Dharma spheres
The sixteen human principles
The sixteen misconceptions
The sixteen moments of cognition and forbearance of
the path of seeing
The sixteen moments of cognition and forbearance of
the path of seeing
The sixteen neighboring hells
The sixteen types of emptinesses
The sixteen wrong views…/Partially_Enumerating_Tibetan_Bud…

The sixteen Arhats
The sixteen attributes of the four noble truths
The sixteen delusions to be abandoned on the path of
The sixteen distorted views


Formally, there are sixteen stages – or contemplations – of anapanasati. These are divided into four tetrads (i.e., sets or groups of four). The first four steps involve focusing the mind on breathing, which is the 'body-conditioner' (Pali: kāya-sankhāra). The second tetrad involves focusing on the feelings (vedanā), which are the 'mind-conditioner' (Pali: citta-sankhāra). The third tetrad involves focusing on the mind itself (Pali: citta), and the fourth on 'mental qualities' (Pali: dhamma). (Compare right mindfulness and satipatthana.)


Any anapanasati meditation session should progress through the stages in order, beginning at the first, whether the practitioner has performed all stages in a previous session or not.[citation needed]


Satipaṭṭhāna Ānāpānasati Tetrads

1. Contemplation of the body 1. Breathing long (Knowing Breath) First Tetrad

2. Breathing short (Knowing Breath)

3. Experiencing the whole body

4. Tranquillising the bodily activities

2. Contemplation of feelings 5. Experiencing rapture Second Tetrad

6. Experiencing bliss

7. Experiencing mental activities

8. Tranquillising mental activities

3. Contemplation of the mind 9. Experiencing the mind Third Tetrad

10. Gladdening the mind

11. Centering the mind in samadhi

12. Releasing the mind

4. Contemplation of Dhammas 13. Contemplating impermanence Fourth Tetrad

14. Contemplating fading of lust

15. Contemplating cessation

16. Contemplating relinquishment


Satipaṭṭhāna is the establishment or arousing of mindfulness, as part of the Buddhist practices leading to detachment and liberation.


Traditionally, mindfulness is thought to be applied to FOUR domains, "constantly watching sensory experience in order to prevent the arising of cravings which would power future experience into rebirths,"[1] namely mindfulness of the body, feelings/sensations, mind/consciousness, and dhammās.[2]


According to Polak, this is a misinterpretation of the oldest teachings, in which the four foundations refer to the six sense-bases, contemplation on the vedanās, which arise with the contact between the senses and their objects (vedanānupassanā), the altered states of mind to which this practice leads (cittānupassanā), and the development from the five hindrances to the seven factors of enlightenment (dhammānupassanā) as the result of this practice.


Four domains or aspects[edit]

Traditionally, mindfulness is thought to be applied to four domains, "constantly watching sensory experience in order to prevent the arising of cravings which would power future experience into rebirths."[1] The four domains are:[2]


mindfulness of the body;[8][web 3]

mindfulness of feelings or sensations (vedanā);[9]

mindfulness of mind or consciousness (citta);[10] and

mindfulness of dhammās.[11]

According to Grzegorz Polak, the four upassanā have been misunderstood by the developing Buddhist tradition, including Theravada, to refer to four different foundations. According to Polak, the four upassanā do not refer to four different foundations, but to the awareness of four different aspects of raising mindfulness:[12]


the six sense-bases which one needs to be aware of (kāyānupassanā);

contemplation on vedanās, which arise with the contact between the senses and their objects (vedanānupassanā);

the altered states of mind to which this practice leads (cittānupassanā);

the development from the five hindrances to the seven factors of enlightenment (dhammānupassanā).


The Sutta Pitaka contains texts in which The Buddha is said to refer to the fourfold establishment of mindfulness as a "direct" or "one-way path" for purification and the realisation of nirvana.[note 5]


Contemporary exegesis[edit]

The four establishments of mindfulness are regarded as fundamental in modern Theravadan Buddhism and the Vipassana or Insight Meditation Movement. In this approach the emphasis is on mindfulness itself, as bare attention, instead of on the objects, mental states to be guarded, and the teachings to be remembered. The four establishments (Satipaṭṭhāna) meditation practices gradually develop the mental factors of samatha ("calm") and vipassana ("insight"). Thanissaro Bhikkhu notes that "satipatthana practice is often said to be separate from the practice of jhana," but argues that mindfulness is also an aid in the development of concentration.[21]



Contents of the Pali version[edit]

In this sutta, the Buddha identifies four domains to be mindful of (satipatthana): body (kāyā), sensations/feelings(vedanā), mind/consciousness (cittā)) and elements of the Buddhist teachings (dhammas). These are then further broken down into the following sections and subsections:


Body (Kāyā)

Breathing (also see the Anapanasati Sutta)

Postures (Walking, Standing, Sitting, Lying Down)

Clear Comprehending

Reflections on Repulsiveness of the Body

Reflections on Material Elements

Cemetery Contemplations

Sensations/Feelings (Vedanā)

pleasant or unpleasant or neither-pleasant-nor-unpleasant (neutral) feelings

worldly or spiritual feelings

Mind/Consciousness (Cittā)[note 4]

lust (sarāgaṃ) or without lust (vītarāgaṃ)

hate (sadosaṃ) or without hate (vītadosaṃ)

delusion (samohaṃ) or without delusion (vītamohaṃ)

contracted (saṅkhittaṃ) or scattered (vikkhittaṃ)

lofty (mahaggataṃ) or not lofty (amahaggataṃ)[note 5]

surpassable (sa-uttaraṃ) or unsurpassed (anuttaraṃ)[note 6]

quieted (samāhitaṃ) or not quieted (asamāhitaṃ)

released (vimuttaṃ) or not released (avimuttaṃ)

Elements of the Buddhist teachings (Dhammā)[note 8]

The Hindrances

The Aggregates of Clinging

The Sense-Bases and their Fetters

The Factors of Enlightenment

The Four Noble Truths

Contents of the Chinese Sarvastivadin version[edit]

The Sarvāstivāda Smṛtyupasthāna Sūtra differs in some ways from the Theravada version, including postures as the first contemplation instead of breathing for example. According to Bhikkhu Sujato, it seems to emphasize samatha or calm abiding, while the Theravadin version emphasizes Vipassana or insight.[12] The text also often refers to 'bhikkhus and bhikkhunīs' instead of just male bhikkhus.


Body (Kāyā)

Postures (Walking, Standing, Sitting, Lying Down)

Clear Comprehending

Cutting off thought

Suppressing thought (see Vitakkasanthana Sutta)


The first dhyāna and simile

The second dhyāna and simile

The third dhyāna and simile

The fourth dhyāna and simile

Perception of light (nimitta)

Basis of reviewing

Reflections on Repulsiveness of the Body

Reflections on Material Elements

Cemetery Contemplations

Sensations/Feelings (Vedanā)

pleasant or unpleasant or neither-pleasant-nor-unpleasant (neutral) feelings

worldly or spiritual feelings

Mind/Consciousness (Cittā)

lust or without lust

hate or without hate

confused or without confusion

defiled or without defilement

distracted or not distracted

with obstacles or without obstacles

tense or not tense

bound or boundless

concentrated or not concentrated

liberated or not liberated

Elements of the Buddhist teachings (Dhammā)

The Sense-Bases

The Hindrances

The Factors of Enlightenment



Jigme Lingpa divides the trekchö practice into ordinary and extraordinary instructions.[73] The ordinary section comprises the rejection of the all is mind – mind is empty approach, which is a conceptual establishment of emptiness.[73] Jigme Lingpa's extraordinary instructions give the instructions on the breakthrough proper, which consist of the setting out of the view (lta ba), the doubts and errors that may occur in practice, and some general instructions thematized as "the four ways of being at leisure" (cog bzhag).[73] The "setting out of the view" tries to point the reader toward a direct recognition of rigpa, insisting upon the immanence of rigpa, and dismissive of meditation and effort.).[74] Insight leads to nyamshag, "being present in the state of clarity and emptiness".[75]


Tögal is also called "the practice of vision",[web 6] or "the practice of the Clear Light (od-gsal)".[web 6] It entails progressing through the Four Visions.[79] The practices engage the subtle body of psychic channels, winds and drops (rtsa rlung thig le).[3] The practices aim at generating a spontaneous flow of luminous, rainbow-colored images that gradually expand in extent and complexity.[22]


Some exceptional practitioners such as Padmasambhava and Vimalamitra are held to have realized a higher type of rainbow body without dying. Having completed the four visions before death, the individual focuses on the lights that surround the fingers. His or her physical body self-liberates into a nonmaterial body of light (a Sambhogakāya) with the ability to exist and abide wherever and whenever as pointed by one's compassion.[82]

I'm a paragraph. Click here to add your own text and edit me. It'




In the Jain text, the Tattvartha Sutra (Chapter 7, sutra 11), which is accepted by all Jainism sub-traditions as authoritative, there is a mention of four right sentiments: Maitri, pramoda, karunya, madhyastha:


Benevolence towards all living beings, joy at the sight of the virtuous, compassion and sympathy for the afflicted, and tolerance towards the insolent and ill-behaved.

s easy.

Avalokiteśvara (Sanskrit: अवलोकितेश्वर, "Lord who contemplates", Khmer: លោកេស្វរៈ, Tibetan: སྤྱན་རས་གཟིགས་, Wylie: spyan ras gzigs, THL: Chenrézik) is a bodhisattva who embodies the compassion of all Buddhas

Four-armed Tibetan form of Avalokiteśvara.


Solosmasthana are 16 sacred places in Sri Lanka, believed by Buddhists to have been hallowed by visits of Gautama Buddha.[1] These places of worship are among the most important religious locations in Sri Lanka, and are located throughout the country.

16 kinds of emptiness [note 106] (see also 4 divisions)

1. of internal entities (six senses)

2. of external entities (sense-forms)

3. of things that are both internal and external

4. of emptiness

5. of immensity (the 10 directions)

6. of the ultimate (nirvana)

7. of the conditioned (the 3 worlds)

8. of the unconditioned

9. of that which is beyond extremes (of permanence and annhilation)

10. of that which has neither beginning nor end (samsara)

11. of that which is not to be discarded (the Mahayana)

12. of a phenomena's own nature

13. of all phenomena (18 elements, 6 contacts, 6 feelings, and all other material and immaterial, conditioned and unconditioned phenomena)

14. of defining characteristics

15. of the non-apprehensible (of the 3 times)

16. of non-things (things are not inherently compounded because they arise from causes and conditions)


16 kinds of emptiness [note 107]

1. the emptiness of sense objects

2. the emptiness of sense faculties

3. the emptiness of sensing

4. the emptiness of emptiness itself

5. the emptiness of what is great

6. the emptiness of what is ultimate

7. the emptiness of conditioned experience

8. the emptiness of unconditioned experience

9. the emptiness of what is not a position

10. the emptiness of what has no beginning or end

11. the emptiness of what is not given up

12. the emptiness of essence

13. the emptiness of all experience

14. the emptiness of defining attributes

15. the emptiness of what doesn’t exist

16. the emptiness of things consisting of non-things


16 thoughts preventing realization [note 108]

1. Dislike or disrespect for our spiritual guide.

2. Not wishing to take the essence of this precious human life.

3. Not remembering death.

4. Being attached to the pleasures and happiness of this life alone.

5. Not fearing rebirth in the lower realms.

6. Not wishing to go for refuge in the three jewels.

7. Not having faith or conviction in the law of karma.

8. Seeking to accumulate non-virtuous actions and not virtuous actions.

9. Regarding cyclic existence as having the nature of happiness.

10. Wishing to increase delusions and contaminated actions.

11. Being uninterested in gaining liberation.

12. Not wanting to practice the three higher trainings which are the causes of liberation.

13. Forsaking mother living beings.

14. Self-cherishing.

15. Self-grasping.

16. Disliking the practice of secret mantra.


SHE, too, having made her resolve under former Buddhas, and heaping up good of age-enduring efficacy in this and that rebirth, was, when Vipassi was Buddha, reborn in a clansman's family. Come to years of discretion, because of the promise that was in her, she waxed anxious at the prospect of rebirth, and, going to the Bhikkhunīs, heard the Norm, believed, and entered the Order. Perfect in virtue, and learning the Three Pitakas, she became very learned in the Norm, and a teacher of it. The same destiny befell her under the five succeeding Buddhas–Sikhi, Vessabhu, Kakusandha, Koṇāgamana, and Kassapa. But because of her tendency to pride, she was unable to root out the defilements. 330 So it came to pass, through the karma of her pride, that, in this Buddha-era, she was reborn at Sāvatthī, in the household of Anāthapiṇḍika, the Treasurer, of a domestic slave. She became a Stream-entrant after hearing the discourse of the Lion's Roar. 331 Afterwards, when she had converted (lit. tamed) the baptist 332 brahmin, and so won her master's esteem that he made her a freed woman, she obtained his consent, as her guardian and head of her home, to enter the Order. And, practising insight, she in no long time won Arahantship, together with thorough grasp of the Norm in form and in meaning. Reflecting on her attainment, she uttered these verses in exultation:


Drawer of water, I down to the stream, 333

Even in winter, went in fear of blows,

Harassed by fear of blame from mistresses. (236)


'What, brahmin, fearest thou that ever thus

Thou goest down into the river? Why

With shiv'ring limbs dost suffer bitter cold?' (237)


'Well know'st thou, damsel Puṇṇikā, why ask

One who by righteous karma thus annuls

Effect of evil karma? Who in youth, (238)

Or age ill deeds hath wrought, by baptism

Of water from that karma is released.' (239)


'Nay now, who, ignorant to the ignorant,

Hath told thee this: that water-baptism

From evil karma can avail to free? (240)

Why then the fishes 334 and the tortoises,

The frogs, the watersnakes, the crocodiles

And all that haunt the water straight to heaven (241)

Will go. Yea, all who evil karma work–

Butchers of sheep and swine, hunters of game,

Thieves, murderers–so they but splash themselves

With water, are from evil karma free! (242)

And if these streams could bear away what erst

Of evil thou hast wrought, they'd bear away

Thy merit too, leaving thee stripped and bare. (243)

That, dreading which, thou, brahmin, comest e'er

To bathe and shiver here, that, even that

Leave thou undone, and save thy skin from frost.' (244)


'Men who in error's ways had gone aside

Thou leadest now into the Ariyan Path.

Damsel, my bathing raiment give I thee.' (245)


'Keep thou thy raiment! Raiment seek I none.

If ill thou fearest, if thou like it not, (246)

Do thou no open, nor no hidden wrong.

But if thou shalt do evil, or hast done, (247)

Then is there no escape for thee from ill,

E'en tho' thou see it come, and flee away.

If thou fear ill, if ill delight thee not, (248)

Go thou and seek the Buddha and the Norm

And Order for thy refuge; learn of them

To keep the Precepts. Thus shalt thou find good.' (249)


'Lo! to the Buddha I for refuge go,

And to the Norm and Order. I will learn

Of them to take upon myself and keep

The Precepts; so shall I indeed find good. (250)


Once but a son of brahmins born was I,

To-day I stand brahmin in very deed.

The nobler Threefold Wisdom have I won,

Won the true Veda-lore, and graduate

Am I, from better Sacrament returned,

Cleansed by the inward spiritual bath.' 335 (251)


In Buddhism, the swastika symbol signifies auspiciousness and good fortune as well as the footprint of the Buddha and Buddha’s heart. It is also said to contain the whole mind of the Buddha and can often be found imprinted on the chest, feet or palms of Buddha images.

The Buddha is seen by many Hindus as an avatar of Vishnu/Krishna.

This world derives its name from the Four Great Kings (Cattāro …

The inhabitants of the lowest (Cātummahārājika) deva world.

This world derives its name from the Four Great Kings (Cattāro Mahārājāno) who dwell there as guardians of the four quarters;

Dhatarattha of the East,

Virūlhaka of the South,

Virūpakkha of the West, and

Vessarana of the North (D.ii.207f; iii.194f).

There are also mentioned four dangers from which all Buddhas are immune:


no misfortune can befall the four requisites intended for a Buddha;

no one can encompass his death;

no injury can befall any of his thirty two Mahāpurisalakkhanā or eighty anubyañjanā;

nothing can obstruct his aura (BuA.248).

The Commentaries, however,² mention four classes of Buddha: Sabbaññu-Buddhā, Pacceka Buddhā, Catusacca Buddhā, and Suta Buddhā.

The four primary sub-schools of the Dagpo Kagyu[edit]

Tshalpa Kagyu founded by Zhang Yudrakpa Tsöndru Drakpa

Karma Kagyu or Karma Kamtsang founded by the first Karmapa, Düsum Khyenpa.

Barom Kagyu founded by Barompa Darma Wangchug

Phagdru Kagyu founded by Phagmo Drupa Dorje Gyalpo (1110-1170)


Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, 16th Karmapa left the lineage in the hands of four eminent lamas: the 14th Shamarpa, the 12th Tai Situpa, the 3rd Jamgon Kongtrul and the 12th Goshir Gyaltsab. There is controversy over who is the 17th Karmapa, with two major candidates both having been recognized and enthroned by their supporters. Neither candidate has been enthroned at Rumtek Monastery

[T]he term "Kagyu" derives from the Tibetan phrase meaning "Lineage of the Four Commissioners" (Ka-bab-shi-gyu-pa). This four-fold lineage is

the illusory body and transference yogas of the Guhyasamaja and Chatushpitha Tantra, transmitted through Tilopa, Nagarjuna, Indrabhuti, and Saraha;

the dream yoga practice of the Mahamaya from Tilopa, Charyapa, and Kukuripa;

the clear-light yoga of the Chakrasamvara, Hevajra, and other Mother Tantras, as transmitted from Hevajra, Dombipa, and Lavapa; and

the inner-heat yoga, Kamadevavajra, Padmavajra, Dakini, Kalpabhadra, and Tilopa.(Thurman 2003, p. 42)


Marpa's four most outstanding students were known as the "Four Great Pillars" (Wylie: ka chen bzhi):[7]


Milarepa (1040–1123), born in Gungthang province of western Tibet, the most celebrated and accomplished of Tibet's yogis, who achieved the ultimate goal of enlightenment in one lifetime became the holder of Marpa's meditation or practice lineage.

Ngok Choku Dorje (Wylie: rngog chos sku rdo rje)[8] (1036–1102) - was the principal recipient of Marpa's explanatory lineages and particularly important in Marpa's transmission of the Hevajra Tantra. Ngok Choku Dorje founded the Langmalung temple in the Tang valley of Bumthang district, Bhutan—which stands today.[9] The Ngok branch of the Marpa Kagyu was an independent lineage carried on by his descendants at least up to the time of the Second Drukchen Gyalwang Kunga Paljor (Wylie: 'brug chen kun dga' dpal 'byor, 1428-1476) who received this transmission, and 1476 when Go Lotsawa composed the Blue Annals.[10]

Tshurton Wangi Dorje (Wylie: mtshur ston dbang gi rdo rje)[11] - (or Tshurton Wangdor) was the principal recipient of Marpa's transmission of the teachings of the Guhyasamāja tantra. Tshurton's lineage eventually merged with the Shalu Monastery tradition and subsequently passed down to Je Tsongkhapa who wrote extensive commentaries on Guhyasamāja.

Meton Tsonpo (Wylie: mes ston tshon po)

Four primary branches of the Dagpo Kagyu[edit]


The diagram to the right shows the growth of Tibetan Buddhist traditions. The four main ones overlap markedly, such that "about eighty percent or more of the features of the Tibetan schools are the same".[1] Differences include the use of apparently, but not actually, contradictory terminology, opening dedications of texts to different deities and whether phenomena are described from the viewpoint of an unenlightened practitioner or of a Buddha.[1] On questions of philosophy they have no fundamental differences, according to the Fourteenth Dalai Lama [2] The Tibetan adjectival suffix -pa is translatable as "-ist" in English.


These first four major schools are sometimes said to constitute the Nyingma "Old Translation" and Sarma "New Translation" traditions, the latter following from the historical Kadam lineage of translations and tantric lineages. Another common but trivial differentiation is into the Yellow Hat (Gelug) and Red Hat (non-Gelug) sects, a division that mirrors the distinction between the schools involved in the Rimé movement versus the one that did not, the Gelug. The correspondences are as follows:


The Shambhala dharma practices derived entirely or in part from these texts include those of werma, drala, Wind Horse (Tib. lungta), and meditations on four "dignities of Shambhala": tiger (Tib. tak), lion (Tib. seng), garuda (Tib. kyung) and dragon (Tib. druk). Jamgon Ju Mipham Gyatso, a great 19th century Nyingma lama and the predecessor of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, wrote about many of these practices and concepts as well. Some, such as the "stroke of Ashé", have no known precedents.


A recent excavation of Shalban Bihar in Comilla has unearthed a cruciform Buddhist temple and 70 terracotta plaques, which are believed to date back to a period in between ninth and 11th centuries.


Techniques to Enter the Next Level[edit]

According to Heaven's Gate, once the individual has perfected himself through the "process," there were four methods to enter or "graduate" to the next level:[47]


1) Physical pickup onto a TELAH spacecraft and transfer to a next level body aboard that craft. In this version, what Professor Zeller calls a "UFO" version of the "Rapture," an alien spacecraft would descend to Earth, collect Applewhite, Nettles, and their followers, and their human bodies would be transformed through biological and chemical processes to perfected beings.[48]


2) Natural death, accidental death, or death from random violence. Here, the "graduating soul" leaves the human container for a perfected next-level body.[49]


3) Outside persecution that leads to death. After the deaths of the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas and the events involving Randy Weaver at Ruby Ridge, Applewhite was afraid that the American government would murder the members of Heaven's Gate.[50]


4) Wilful exit from the body in a dignified manner. Near the end, Applewhite had a revelation that they may have to abandon their human bodies and achieve the next level as Jesus had done.[49] This occurred on March 22 and 23 when all 39 members committed suicide and "graduated."[51]



In Buddhism, the four Great Elements (Pali: cattāro mahābhūtāni) are earth, water, fire and air. Mahābhūta is generally synonymous with catudhātu, which is Pāli for the "Four Elements."[7] In early Buddhism, the Four Elements are a basis for understanding that leads one through unbinding of 'Rupa' or materiality to the supreme state of pure 'Emptiness' or Nirvana.



In the Pali canon,[8] the most basic elements are usually identified as four in number but, on occasion, a fifth and, to an even lesser extent, a sixth element may be also be identified.


Four primary elements[edit]

In canonical texts, the four Great Elements refer to elements that are both "external" (that is, outside the body, such as a river) and "internal" (that is, of the body, such as blood). These elements are described as follows:


Earth element (pruṭhavī-dhātu)

Earth element represents the quality of solidity or attractive forces. Any matter where attractive forces are in prominence (solid bodies) are called earth elements. Internal earth elements include head hair, body hair, nails, teeth, skin, flesh, sinews, bone, organs, intestinal material, etc.[9]

Water (or liquid) element (āpa-dhātu)

Water element represents the quality of Liquidity or relative motion. Any matter where relative motion of particles is in prominence are called water elements. Internal water elements include bile, phlegm, pus, blood, sweat, fat, tears, nasal mucus, urine, etc.[10]

Fire element (teja-dhātu)

Fire element represents the quality of heat or energy. Any matter where energy is in prominence are called fire elements. Internal fire elements include those bodily mechanisms that produce physical warmth, ageing, digestion, etc.

Air (or wind) element (vāyu-dhātu)

Air element represents the quality of expansion or repulsive forces. Any matter where repulsive forces are in prominence are called air elements. Internal air elements includes air associated with the pulmonary system (for example, for breathing), the intestinal system ("winds in the belly and ... bowels"), etc.

Any entity that carry one or more of these qualities (attractive forces, repulsive forces, energy and relative motion) are called matter (rupa). The material world is considered to be nothing but a combination of these qualities arranged in space (akasa). The result of these qualities are the inputs to our five senses, color (warna), smell (ghandda), taste (rasa) and sensation of body (ojha). The matter that we perceive in our mind are just a mental interpretation of these qualities.

BUDDHIST DISCUSSION ON THE FOUR ELEMENTS (they say there are secondary elements but they are derived from the four)ābhūta

Sensory qualities, not substances[edit]

Rūpa (matter) means both materiality and sensibility—it signifies, for example, a tactile object both insofar as that object is tactile and that it can be sensed. Rūpa is never a materiality which can be separated or isolated from cognizance; such a non-empirical category is incongruous in the context of early Buddhism. Rūpa is not a substratum or substance which has sensibility as a property. It functions in early Buddhist thought as perceivable physicality. Matter, or rūpa, is defined in its function; what it does, not what it is.[13] As such, the four great elements are conceptual abstractions drawn from the sensorium. They are sensorial typologies, and are not metaphysically materialistic.[14] They are not meant to give an account of matter as constitutive of external, mind-independent reality.[15]


Soteriological uses[edit]

The Four Elements are used in Buddhist texts to both elucidate the concept of suffering (dukkha) and as an object of meditation. The earliest Buddhist texts explain that the four primary material elements are the sensory qualities solidity, fluidity, temperature, and mobility; their characterisation as earth, water, fire, and air, respectively, is declared an abstraction – instead of concentrating on the fact of material existence, one observes how a physical thing is sensed, felt, perceived.[16]


Understanding suffering[edit]

The Four Elements pertinence to the Buddhist notion of suffering comes about due to:


The Four Elements are the primary component of "form" (rūpa).

"Form" is first category of the "Five Aggregates" (khandhas).

The Five Aggregates are the ultimate basis for suffering (dukkha) in the "Four Noble Truths."

Schematically, this can be represented in reverse order as:


Four Noble Truths → Suffering → Aggregates → Form → Four Elements

Thus, to deeply understand the Buddha's Four Noble Truths, it is beneficial to have an understanding of the Great Elements.


Meditation object[edit]

In the Mahasatipatthana Sutta ("The Greater Discourse on the Foundations of Mindfulness," DN 22), in listing various bodily meditation techniques, the Buddha instructs:


"...Just as if a skilled butcher or his assistant, having slaughtered a cow, were to sit at a crossroads with the carcass divided into portions, so a monk reviews this very body ... in terms of the elements: 'There are in this body the earth-element, the water-element, the fire-element, the air-element.' So he abides contemplating body in body internally...."[17]

In the Visuddhimagga's well-known list of forty meditation objects (kammaṭṭhāna), the great elements are listed as the first four objects.


B. Alan Wallace compares the Theravada meditative practice of "attending to the emblem of consciousness" to the practice in Mahamudra and Dzogchen of "maintaining the mind upon non-conceptuality", which is also aimed at focusing on the nature of consciousness.[18]


Buddhist sources[edit]

In the Pali canon, the Four Elements are described in detail in the following discourses (sutta):


Mahahatthipadompama Sutta ("The Greater Discourse on the Simile of the Elephant's Footprint," MN 28)[19]

Maharahulovada Sutta ("The Greater Discourse of Advice to Rahula," MN 62)[20]

Dhatuvibhanga Sutta ("The Exposition of the Elements," MN 140)[21]

The Four Elements are also referenced in:


Kevaddha Sutta (DN 11)[22]

Mahasatipatthana Sutta (DN 22)

Satipatthana Sutta (MN 10)

Chabbisodhana Sutta (MN 112)

Bahudhatuka Sutta (MN 115)

Kayagatasati Sutta (MN 119)[23]

Anathapindikovada Sutta (MN 143)[24]

Catudhatu-vaggo (SN ch. 14, subch. IV), several discourses[25]

Saddhammapatirupaka Sutta (SN 16.13)[26]

Bija Sutta (SN 22.54)[27]

Asivisa Sutta (SN 35.197 or 35.238)[28]

Kimsuka Sutta (SN 35.204 or 35.245)[29]

Dutiya-mittamacca Sutta (SN 55.17)[30]

various brief Samyutta Nikaya discourses entitled, "Dhatu Sutta" (SN 18.9,[31] SN 25.9,[32] SN 26.9,[33] SN 27.9[34])

Tittha Sutta (AN 3.61)[35]

Nivesaka Sutta (AN 3.75)

Rahula Sutta (AN 4.177)

In addition, the Visuddhimagga XI.27ff has an extensive discussion of the Four Elements.[36]

four paramatthas four ultimate realities

Four Paramatthas[edit]

The Abhidhamma and post-canonical Pali texts create a meta-scheme for the Sutta Pitaka's conceptions of aggregates, sense bases and dhattus (elements).[52] This meta-scheme is known as the four paramatthas or four ultimate realities.


Ultimate realities[edit]

There are four paramatthas; three conditioned, one unconditioned:


Material phenomena (rūpa, form)

Mind or Consciousness (Citta)

Mental factors (Cetasikas: the nama-factors sensation, perception and formation)


Mapping of the paramatthas[edit]

The story is now counted as one of China's Four Great Folktales, the others being Lady Meng Jiang, Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai, and The Cowherd and the Weaving Maid (Niulang Zhinü). [1]


The story is now counted as one of China's Four Great Folktales, the others being the Legend of the White Snake (Baishezhuan), Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai, and The Cowherd and the Weaving Maid (Niulang Zhinü). [1] Chinese folklorists in the early 20th century discovered that the legend existed in many forms and genres and evolved over the last 2,000 years.[2]



Level 1: Buddhas (Nyorai-bu)[edit]


Hōshō Nyorai/ Ratnasambhava Buddha.

Five Wisdom Buddha[edit]

Main articles: Nyorai and Five Wisdom Buddhas

The five Wisdom Buddhas (五仏) are centered around Vairocana (Japanese: Dainichi Nyorai, 大日如来), the supreme Buddha. Each of the four remaining Buddhas occupies a fixed cardinal point. Each of them are a manifestation of Buddha-hood, and are active in different world-periods in which they manifest themselves among Bodhisattvas and humans.[11]



The five Wisdom Buddhas, guarded by four Great Diamond Bodhisattvas at the corners. The Buddha at the front is at the South and is Ratnasambhava.

Fukūjōju Nyorai



Amida Nyorai



Dainichi Nyorai

(principal deity)


Ashuku Nyorai



Hōshō Nyorai



These "Dhyani Buddhas" form the core of the Buddhist pantheistic system, which developed from them in a multiform way.[3] At the Musée Guimet, the five Buddhas are surrounded by protective Bodhisattvas.[8] There is also a multitude of other Buddhas, such as Yakushi, the Buddha of medicine.


Level 2: Bodhisattvas (Bosatsu-bu)[edit]

Main article: Bodhisattvas


Bodhisattva Kongō-Haramitsu/ Vajraparamita.

Bodhisattvas are personages who are on the point of entering Buddhahood but postpone doing so in order to help other beings attain enlightenment. Bodhisattvas are paragons of compassion in Mahayana Buddhism. In the Buddhist Pantheon, besides the past and future Buddhas, there are numerous Bodhisattvas as well.[12]


Sometimes, five main "Matrix" Bodhisattvas are determined (五大菩薩), grouped around a central Bodhisattva, Kongō-Haramitsu (金剛波羅蜜菩薩) in the case of Tōji Temple.[8]



Five Matrix Bodhisattvas, guarded front right by Heavenly King Jikoku, and back right Heavenly King Tamon. Musée Guimet.








(principal deity)








Beyond these five main Bodhisattvas, there exists a huge number of other Bodhisattvas, all beings who have postponed enlightenment for the benefit of helping mankind.



Kongōhō Bosatsu/ Vajraratsa.









Level 3: Wisdom Kings (Myōō-bu)[edit]

Main article: Wisdom Kings


The Wisdom King Gundari is a manifestation of one of the Five Buddhas, Ratnasambhava/ Hōshō Nyorai.

The Wisdom Kings (Vidyârâjas) were initially divinities of Esoteric Buddhism but were then later adopted by Japanese Buddhism as a whole. These Gods are equipped with superior knowledge and power that give them influence on internal and external reality. These Kings became the object of personification, either peaceful in the case of female personifications, and wrathful in the case of male personifications. Their aggressivity expresses their will to get rid of negative forces in devotees and in the world. They are therefore an expression of the Buddha's compassion for all beings.[8]


Five Wisdom Kings[edit]

Main article: Five Wisdom Kings


Five Wisdom Kings. Front left is a protective deity: the Heavenly King Zōchō, and back left another one: Heavenly King Kōmoku.

The Five Wisdom Kings (五大明王) are emanations of the Buddhas and protect them. They are usually represented as violent beings. They represent the ambivalent in nature, and seem to derive from ancient Yaksa and Brahmanical tradition.[13]









(principal deity)








Beyond the five principal kings, numerous other Wisdom Kings exist with a great variety of roles.


Though Hinduism is a little-practiced religion in Japan, it has still had a significant, but indirect role in the formation of Japanese culture. This is mostly because many Buddhist beliefs and traditions (which share a common Dharmic root with Hinduism) spread to Japan from China via Korean peninsula in the 6th Century. One indication of this is the Japanese "Seven Gods of Fortune", of which four originated as Hindu deities: Benzaitensama (Sarasvati), Bishamon (Vaiśravaṇa or Kubera), Daikokuten (Mahākāla/Shiva), and Kichijōten (Laxmi). Along with Benzaitennyo/Sarasvati and Kisshoutennyo/Laxmi and completing the nipponization of the three Hindu Tridevi goddesses, the Hindu goddess Mahakali is nipponized as the Japanese goddess Daikokutennyo (大黒天女), though she is only counted among Japan's Seven Luck Deities when she is regarded as the feminine manifestation of her male counterpart Daikokuten (大黒天).[1