Thursday, August 04, 2011

The Ten Stages of Awakening

Here's a table of comparison between three early models of the Ten Stages of Awakening.  We don't know how much cross reference there is between them.  The 10 Bodhisattva Stages from the Avatamsaka Sutra are the earliest. Zongmi obviously read the Avatamsaka Sutra and was extremely well versed in it but did not adopt it's model of 10 stages verbatim and instead used the famous "Discourse on the Awakening of Faith in the Mahayana" as his template for the 10 levels of awakening.  The 10 Oxherding pictures have had several versions and I'm using here one of the later versions.  I've never herd a solid story about how the 10 Oxherding Pictures developed, but I have seen an earlier version that came from India using an elephant rather than an ox.

 The fourth column is my own version of the 10 stages in terms of the functioning of the Eight Consciousnesses and the well know association of the transformation of the Eight Consciousnesses into the Four Wisdoms that have been described in Zen since Huineng in the beginning of the 8th century.

Zongmi’s 10 Levels of Awakening
10 Ox Herding Pictures
10 Bodhisattva Stages (bhūmi)
My View of the 10 Stages In Terms of the Eight Consciousnesses and Five Ranks
Awakening of Faith in One’s Own Suchness and the Three Jewels
Searching for the Ox
the Very Joyous. (Skt. Paramudita), in which one rejoices at realizing a partial aspect of the truth;
After years of wandering in the weeds and woods Awareness feels the intimations of the 8th Consciousness and begins to seek its own source.
Resolving to Attain Awakening by Generating Compassion, Wisdom and Vows
Seeing the Footprints
the Stainless. (Skt. Vimala), in which one is free from all defilement;
Awareness begins to turn around from enchantment with the 10,000 things of the 1st to 6th Consciousnesses and to investigate their images as reflected in the 7th Consciousness
Cultivating the Five Gates  to Make the Root of Faith Grow (i.e., the Five Paramitas with the fifth being samatha-vipassayna combined)
Seeing the Ox
the Luminous. (Skt. Prabhakari), in which one radiates the light of wisdom;
Peeking through the veil of the  7th Consciousness, Awareness becomes certain of the 8th Consciousness and begins releasing its fixed grip on the 1st to 5th Consciousnesses
Arising of Great Bodhicitta
Getting the Ox              
the Radiant. (Skt. Archishmati), in which the radiant flame of wisdom burns away earthly desires;
Awareness fully lets go of grasping at the 1st to 5th Consciousnesses and begins to release its grip on the 6th Cons.  to flow through the 7th Consciousness into the 8th Consciousness
Overcoming the Six Afflictions and
Seeing Self is empty.
Herding the Ox
the Difficult to Cultivate. (Skt. Sudurjaya), in which one surmounts the illusions of darkness, or ignorance as the Middle Way;
Awareness Having Let Go of all attachment to the 6th Consciousness passes through the Veil of the 7th Consciousness to enter the 8th Consciousness
Flowing in the Practice of the Six Perfections (the Six Paramitas with 5 and 6 being Dhyana and Prajna) Self and Dharmas both empty, eternally void eternally like an illusion.
Riding the Ox Home
the Manifest. (Skt. Abhimukhi) in which supreme wisdom begins to manifest;
Awareness Having let go of all attachment to the 7th Consciousness and fully returned to the 8th Cons., the 8th Cons. Transforms into the Great Mirror Wisdom
Mastery Over Forms, Everything in Fusion, All Arises From Discrimination of One’s Own Mind
Forgetting the Ox, the Person Resting
the Gone Afar. (Skt. Duramgama), in which one rises above the states of the Two vehicles;
Awareness arising through the Great Mirror Wisdom Transforms the 7th Consciousness into the Equality Wisdom
Mastery Over Mind, Nothing That is Not Illuminated
Person and Ox Both Forgotten
the Immovable. (Skt. Achala), in which one dwells firmly in the truth of the Middle Way and cannot be perturbed by anything;
Awareness arising through the Equality Wisdom Transforms the 6th Consciousness into the All Observing Wisdom
Free From Thoughts Cultivating No-thought, Awakened to the Origin of Delusion & So Full of Teaching Devices
Returning to the Source
the Good Intelligence. (Skt. Sadhumati), in which one preaches the Law freely and without restriction;
Awareness arising through the All Observing Wisdom Transforms the 1st to 5th Consciousnesses into the All Performing Wisdom
There is One Awakening With Limitless Responsive Functioning in the Constantly Abiding Dharma Realm, Seeing All Beings Attaining Perfect Awakening
Returning to the Marketplace With Helping Hands
 the Cloud of Dharma. (Skt. Dharmamegha), in which one benefits all sentient beings with the Law (Dharma), just as a cloud sends down rain impartially on all things.
Awareness Blossoms in Full Awakening and Mutual Integration of the Four Wisdoms

No comments: