"It is taught in the Sutra of the Ten Stages that because of being born for an instant, one hundred twelve qualities are attained; one hundred samadhis are attained, in that equipoise, one sees one hundred Buddhas; one understand their blessings; one shakes one hundred world realms; one goes to one hundred Buddhafields; one hundred world realms are made to appear; one thoroughly ripens one hundred sentient beings; one lives for one hundred eons; one enters the upper and lower limits of the one hundred eons; one opens one hundred doors of dharma; one teaches in one hundred bodies; also each body teaches a retinue having a hundred Bodhisattvas..."
I think most Tibetans would imagine that the person above was a fully awakened Buddha, and not a mere first stage bodhisattva.
Do you read that completely literally, as opposed to inspirational-poetic? I know that you appear to take the assigned qualities of scripture with a grain of salt or you would not have remarked recently
Never met an omniscient master yet. Omniscience is overrated.
And aren't there different descriptions of the Bhumis from different masters? Patrul Rinpoche differentiates the first Bhumi of the lesser
stage, the intermediate
stage and the greater
stage path of accumulation:
1. The Path of Accumulation
On the path of accumulation, the bodhisattvas, or ‘heirs of the victorious ones’, generate positive intention and bodhichitta in both aspiration and action. Having thoroughly developed this relative bodhichitta, they aspire towards the ultimate bodhichitta, the non-conceptual wisdom of the path of seeing. This is known, therefore, as the stage of ‘aspirational practice’.
It is called the path of accumulation because it is the stage at which we make a special effort to gather the accumulation of merit, and also because it marks the beginning of many incalculable aeons of gathering the accumulations.
The path of accumulation is divided into lesser, intermediate and greater stages.
On the lesser stage of the path of accumulation, it is uncertain when we will reach the path of joining. On the intermediate stage of the path of accumulation, it is certain that we will reach the path of joining in the very next lifetime. On the greater stage of the path of accumulation, it is certain that we will reach the path of joining within the very same lifetime.
The Lesser Stage
The root text says:
The applications of mindfulness… may we engage….!
This indicates that on the lesser stage of the path of accumulation, we meditate mainly on the four applications of mindfulness.
Firstly, there is the application of mindfulness to the body (1). In this meditation, the outer ‘body’ is understood to be the outer physical environment, the inner body is our own physical body, and ‘in between’ there are the bodies of other sentient beings. We examine these three with precise intelligence, and rest, with meditative concentration, in the recognition that ultimately they are unreal and their nature is space-like emptiness. During the post-meditation, we train in recognizing them as illusory and dream-like.
This practice is especially useful as an antidote to physical desire. We can consider that this body contains all kinds of impure substances like blood and pus, and that it plays host to the 404 types of disease or the 60,000 harmful influences (dön), as well as all kinds of bacteria and tiny organisms. We can also consider how, once we have died, the body will decay, become a skeleton and so on.
Secondly, for the application of mindfulness to feelings (2), we examine pleasurable, painful and neutral feelings with precise intelligence, and rest in a state of meditation, recognizing feelings to be unarisen and beyond arising. During the post-meditation phase, we train in recognizing that all feelings are insubstantial, like a plantain tree, and that they are suffering by their very nature.
Thirdly, for the application of mindfulness to mind (3), we use precise intelligence to investigate greater, lesser and intermediate types of perception, and then we rest in meditation upon their emptiness nature. During the post-meditation, we must understand the nature of the mind to be beyond ceasing and beyond remaining.
Fourthly, with the application of mindfulness to phenomena (4), we use the precise intelligence of discernment to analyze all phenomena included within the category of formations, and then settle in the recognition of their nature, which is equality. During the post-meditation, we recognize how all phenomena resemble the eight similes of illusion: they are like a dream, a magical illusion, a mirage, a hallucination, a reflection, an echo, a city of gandharvas or an apparition.
Moreover, in the first case, the body is the object to be analyzed with precise intelligence, but once this so-called ‘body’ has been thoroughly investigated and any notion of its true reality has been destroyed, the ensuing space-like emptiness becomes the true object for the application of mindfulness. It is just the same with the other three. The practices of the four applications of mindfulness each have their own objects of focus, but in essence they all consist of the space-like meditation and the illusory post-meditation. There is no aspect of them which is not included in these two.
The Intermediate Stage
On the intermediate stage of the path of accumulation, we chiefly practise the four correct abandonments.
This means that we strive, first of all, to ensure that we do not develop any non-virtuous tendencies (5) that we have not previously developed.
Secondly, we swiftly eliminate any non-virtuous tendencies (6) that we have developed.
Thirdly, we cultivate any virtuous tendencies (7) that we have not yet developed.
And fourthly, we ensure the virtues we have cultivated are further increased (8).
These are known as the four correct abandonments because we abandon all non-virtues and whatever obstructs the cultivation of virtue. They mainly concern our conduct, whether through body, speech or mind.
The Greater Stage
On the greater stage of the path of accumulation, we practise the four supports of miraculous ability:
The first of these is the 'miracle support' of determination (9), which is to meditate with enthusiasm and aspiration towards meditative concentration, so that the mind does not stray into lack of faith or wrong views.
The second, the miracle support of exertion (10), is to apply ourselves with diligence to the practice of meditative concentration, and to exert ourselves in both eliminating any faults or obstacles, and in cultivating the necessary qualities, so that we remain unaffected by temporary circumstances.
The third is the miracle support of attention (11), which ensures that we remain in a state of one-pointed attention, thus avoiding the divided attention that is caught between various thoughts and distracting influences. Through this, we realize actual meditative concentration.
Fourth, the miracle support of discernment (12), helps us sustain meditative concentration during daily activity, as a way of gaining the miraculous powers, such as the superknowledges.
These four are called ‘supports’ because they support the meditative concentration out of which a range of miraculous attainments can arise.
By manifesting various miraculous powers on the greater path of accumulation, we can travel miraculously to the fields where buddhas actually reside. There, we can receive and master countless hundreds and thousands of Dharma teachings. Bodhisattvas who do this gain continuous meditative concentration which they are able to maintain through the strength of their wisdom.