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Bodhisattva is a concept of Mahayana Buddhism and the position of Bodhisattva is attained only after successfully achieving the ten stages which are termed as bhumi or ground. These 10 stages are enumerated in The Dasabhumikasutra which is dated to be around 50 150 A.D. Since Acharya Nagarjuna wrote a commentary titled Dasabhumivibhasa, the text definitely is earlier to him. This text was later included in Avatamsaka sutra. The ten stages as enumerated in the Dasabhumikasutra are: Pramudita (great joy), Vimala (taintless), Prabhakari (illuminating), Archismati (glowing wisdom), Sudurjaya (unconquerable), Abhimukhi (envisaging), Durungama (far going), Achala (immovable), Sadhumati (excellent understanding), Dharma-megha (dharma cloud). The Bodhisattva progresses through these ten stages by overcoming ignorance and realizes the Dharma nature, then while developing supreme wisdom, he attains perfect enlightenment. Pramudita (great joy): To enter this stage, the Bodhisattva must cultivate the roots of skillfulness and gather as much spiritual requisites (merits), develop compassion to all sentient beings, honor and worship the Buddhas and have deep faith in the Dharma. He also needs to be supported by spiritual friends. He develops the bodhichitta. This stage marks the entry of the Bodhisattva into the path of vision. For the first time, he directly realizes the Dharma nature. Due to this great joy arises in him and is further overjoyed when he understands the paths travelled by the tathagathas. The great joy experienced by the Bodhisattva is due to the realization that perfect enlightenment is near and that he would be able to benefit all sentient beings.


Since the Bodhisattva has a deep resolve in regard to the emptiness of the Dharmas, he is able to overcome all defilements, all religious observances, doubt and becomes free from fivefold fear, loss of livelihood, of bad reputation, of death and falling into unfortunate plane of existence. Since the Bodhisattva has partially realized the Dharma,he becomes the son of the Buddha and develops prajnaparamita and upaya kausalya. Since he has unlimited vision and due to the power of his vows, he is able to serve innumerable Buddhas. The following prose sarvagrahakalatrabhogan utsarjya tathagata sasane pravajati states that since the Bodhisattva has generated great desire to be foremost among all beings, he brings forth great vigor and renounces his family, wife and all belongings to go forth in the Tatagathas dispensation. Immediately he attains hundreds of samadhis and samapatti and he sees hundreds of the Buddhas and fully understands their benediction. (buddhasatam ca pasyati, tesam cadisthanam samjanite). He moves across hundreds of Buddha fields, illuminates hundreds of world systems,motivates hundreds of beings and lives for hundreds of eons and transforms himself in hundreds of forms. In this stage, he is determined and totally devoted to the cultivation of the perfection of giving and practices particularly the first four sangraha vastus (dana, giving). Whatever merits he thus acquires, he dedicates for his enlightenment.

Atul Bhosekar M.A II (Buddhist Studies)