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JAMES APPLE

TWENTY VARIETIES OF THE SAM


. GHA: A TYPOLOGY OF

NOBLE BEINGS (ARYA)


IN INDO-TIBETAN SCHOLASTICISM
(PART II)
An Assembly of Irreversible Bodhisattvas

INTRODUCTION
In Indian and Tibetan Buddhist commentarial literature on the Prajaparamita (Perfection of Wisdom), the Twenty Sam
. ghas (Skt. vim
. satiprabhedasam
gha,
Tib.
dge
dun
nyi
shu)
refers
to
an
exhaustive
list
of the stages
.
through which Noble Beings (Skt. a rya, Tib. phags pa) may pass in
their progress toward enlightenment through various lifetimes in various
cosmological realms. This typological list of twenty does not provide
a description of any one individuals path to enlightenment; rather, it
enumerates all of the possible stages through which any given individual
might pass, depending upon factors such as that individuals cosmological circumstances and the acuity of his faculties. As such, the Twenty
Sam
. ghas, by presenting the defining characteristics of these individuals,
provides a complete picture of all possible states on the path to enlightenment. The sam
. gha, as construed in this sense, represents those qualities of
an ideal figure that provide structure to the Indian and Tibetan Buddhist
worldview where soteriological results of the path can take place. The
type of sam
. gha as exemplified by Noble Beings categorizes those who
have achieved the sixteenth moment of the path of seeing (darsanamarga,
mthong lam) and who actualize the truth of cessation (satyanirodha, gogs
bden) and the truth of the path (margasatya, lam bden pa).
Indian and Tibetan Mahayana Buddhist exegetes regard this topic as
crucially important, and its importance is reflected in the inclusion of
the Twenty Sam
. ghas in the ten topics of special instruction (avavada)
mentioned in the corpus of literature surrounding The Ornament for Clear
Realization (AA; abhisamayalam
. kara mngon par rtogs pai rgyan).
The exegetical system of the AA stipulates that bodhisattvas must train in
these topics of special instruction in order to attain complete omniscience
(sarvakarajata).
The Twenty Sam
. ghas are mentioned in the twenty-third and twentyfourth verse of the AAs first chapter. These verses are as follows:
Journal of Indian Philosophy 32: 211279, 2004.
2004 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands.

212
23 ab.
cd.
24 ab.
cd.

JAMES APPLE

mr.dutks.n.endriyau sraddhadr. s..tipraptau kulam


. kulau /
ekavcyantarotpadya karakarakanis..thagah. //
plutas trayo bhavasyagraparamo ruparagaha /
dr.s..tadharmasramah. kayasaks. khad.gas ca vim
. s atih. //

As Part I indicated, the paradigm of soteriological typologies listed in


AA 1.2324 most likely embodies a well-known rubric within early (3rd
to 6th century) Indian Abhidharmic scholasticism that was appropriated
into the Prajaparamita literature. Although the Twenty Sam
. ghas always
consists of a list of twenty, various interpretations can lead to various
lists of twenty. While one can point to other scholastic lists with fixed
numbers but varying contents in the AA, such as AA 1.1920 on the
twenty-two forms of bodhicitta, the Twenty Sam
. ghas differs from many of
these lists, inasmuch as one cannot provide any easy formula to compute
its possible contents. This lack of regularity reflects the complexity of the
topic. The earliest Indian commentators, Vimuktisena (ca. 6th century)
and Haribhadra (ca. 8th century), differ in their exegesis but agree that
the twenty varieties found in these verses represent bodhisattvas who are
irreversible (avaivartika) from Buddhahood.
The Tibetan exegetical tradition, attestable to at least the time of Bu ston
(Apple, 2001, 2003), draws a distinction between the allegorical sam
. gha
(mtshon byed dpei dge dun) and the actual sam
gha
(mtshon
bya
.
don gyi dge dun) in the hermeneutics of these verses. The allegorical
sam
. gha represents an articulation of the Twenty Sam
. ghas by means of
the classic Abhidharma categories of the sravaka sam
. gha as enumerated
in the sixth chapter of the Abhidharmakosa and the first part of the
praptiviniscaya section (pudgalavyavasthana) of the Abhidharmasamuccaya. The enumeration of this type of sam
. gha serves as a model to illustrate the actual sam
. gha of bodhisattvas mentioned in the AA. The actual
sam
. gha indicated (mtshon bya don gyi) represents the real sam
. gha that
is presented in the AA, i.e. the mahayana spiritual community in its
definitive sense. The actual sam
. gha is the mahayana community of Noble
Irreversible bodhisattvas (avaivartika, phyir mi ldog pa) who are destined
for the state of Buddhahood through attaining highest complete awakening
(anuttarasam
. yaksam
. bodhi). They are the actual sam
. gha expressed in
such Mahayana Buddhist scriptures as the Perfection of Wisdom in
25,000 Stanzas (Pacavim
. s.atisahasrika-prajaparamita sutra) and The
Discourse Setting in Motion the Wheel of Irreversibility from Enlightenment (Avaivartikacakra sutra). This heuristic distinction represents a
standardized hermeneutical device that allows AA 1.2324 to become
polysemic. In this way, Tibetan scholars such as Tsong kha pa account for

TWENTY VARIETIES OF THE SAM


. GHA

213

and articulate types of Noble Beings in all three vehicles i.e., sravakas,
pratyekabuddhas, and bodhisattvas.
This essay concludes our study of the Twenty Sam
. ghas in Indo-Tibetan
Buddhist scholasticism. Part I identified and described the sravaka sam
. gha
as a model that serves as a metaphor to the bodhisattva sam
. gha, the actual
sam
. gha that is represented in the AA and PP sutras. Tibetan exegesis of
the Twenty Sam
. ghas, particularly as exhibited by the savant Tsong kha
pa (13571419), demonstrates a unity in diversity between the vehicles
of sravakas, pratyekabuddhas, and bodhisattvas in regards to the abstract
ideal of the sam
. gha. In this essay we wish to demonstrate how Tsong kha
pa constructs a structural system of Mahayana scholasticism that presents
1
the Twenty Sam
. ghas coherently from various perspectives.
Our discussion revolves around the hermeneutics of how Tsong kha pa
interprets the relationship between the model of the sravaka sam
. gha and
the bodhisattva sam
gha
and
the
understanding
that
he
has
for
the
definite
.
meaning of the Twenty Sam
ghas
in
the
AA.
We
will
see
how
the
various
.
Indian and Tibetan commentators deal with the discrepancies between the
AA and Pacavim
. sati where we will also translate AA 1.2324 according
to Indo-Tibetan exegesis. This essay will therefore articulate the actual
sam
. gha of bodhisattvas and its relationship with the allegorical sam
. gha.
Before we examine the specifics of this assembly of bodhisattvas, I
would like to present several tacit assumptions that conform to the expectations of most Indian and Tibetan commentators in approaching the subject
matter of the actual sam
. gha and that will help facilitate a contextual
understanding for the task at hand. Controversial issues related to these
assumptions and specific doctrinal points within them that may be subject
to debate, either with regard to the AA or a related text, will not be
explored.
The mahayana sam
. gha jewel
Tsong kha pa understands the twenty varieties of the sam
. gha in its actual
sense to be representative of the mahayana spiritual community, or sam
. gha
jewel. In defining the mahayana sam
. gha jewel, Tsong kha pa incorporates
the tradition of Maitreyanathas Ratnagotravibhaga Mahayanottaratantrasa stra into his catholic exegesis. The mahayana sam
. gha jewel consists
of irreversible (avaivartika) bodhisattvas who possess four unsurpassable
qualities: (1) seeing reality just as it is (yathavat) and (2) to its utmost
extent (yavat), visions which consist of (3) pure introspective pristine
cognitions (adhyatmajana), and the (4) qualities that arise from these
1 Y-chia (1987) examines (in Chinese) the Twenty Samghas based on Tsong kha pas
.

Golden Garland. We have not utilized this material in our study.

214

JAMES APPLE

visions. For Tsong kha pa, seeing reality just as it is means to have
a strong cognition into the suchness (de bzhin nyid, tathata) of entities,
that is, the essencelessness of the person (pudgalanairatmya) and things
(dharmanairatmya). To perceive this suchness itself as pervading all
sentient beings is to see reality to its utmost extent. In this way, the first
vision cognizes the true nature of reality (dharmata) and the latter cognizes
where it is established. These two visions are perceived in an introspective
manner (rang rig pai tshul) and are purifying to defilement obscurations
like attachment and obscurations to knowledge. The Uttaratantra states:
Because of its pure vision [consisting of] pristine cognitions which are introspective, [that
sees] reality just as it is and [reality] to its extent, the assembly of irreversible sages [is
endowed] with unsurpassable qualities.2

The mahayana sam


. gha consists of irreversible sages, those bodhisattvas who perceive bodhi with wisdom and sentient beings with compassion
and who are thought to be much more spiritually advanced than ordinary
people (pr.thagjana, so so skye bu). These bodhisattvas enter into and
practice whatever is beneficial to achieving the path, while cognizing that
these activities are from the very beginning unproduced (anutpattika). As
we will see, the enumeration of this mahayana sam
. gha depends upon
imputing the names or designations of the sravaka sam
. gha on to bodhisattvas. These bodhisattvas are merely nominally designated (tsam po pai
ming gis btags nas), and exist with this designation through possessing the
2 Ratnagotravibhaga, I.14: Tib. ji bzhin ji snyed nang gi ni / ye shes gzigs pa dag pai
phir / blo ldan phir mi ldog pai tshogs / bla med yon tan dang ldan nyid / Quoted in
Golden Garland (1970: 204.5) and Rgyal tshab dar ma rin chen in his rNams bshad snying
poi rgyan. The Sanskrit: yathavadyavadadhyatma-janadarsanasuddhitah. / dhmatam
avivartyanam anuttaragun.air gan.ah. / For Obermillers translation, see The Sublime
Science, page 268, in The Uttaratantra of Maitreya, H.S. Prasad (ed) (1991). The Uttaratantravyakhya, atrributed to Asanga, comments that: with this [verse] it is explained,
in brief, [that] the pure visionary supermundane pristine cognition of the irreversible
bodhisattva assembly jewel is endowed with unsurpassable qualities through its twofold
aspect of [seeing] existence as it is and the extent of existence (anena samasato vaivartika-bodhisattvagan. aratnasya dvabhyam a karabhyam
. yathavadbhavikataya yavadbhavikataya ca lokottarajanadarsanavisuddhito nuttaragun.a nvitatvam udbhavitam). The later
Dge lugs pa tradition (Se ra rje mtsun pa onward) attributed eight qualities of the Sam
. gha
Jewel from this verse. The first three define the knowledge of the mahayana sam
. gha.
The second three enumerate three purifications of the mahayana sam
. gha which free them
from the three primary obstacles to emancipation. These three obstacles are: (1) passion
obstacles (Skt. klesa varan.a, Tib. nyon sgrib), (2) knowledge obstacles (Skt. jeyavaran.a,
Tib. shes sgrib), (3) obstacle of inferior purpose (Tib. dman sgrib). The seventh and eighth
qualities respectively categorize the first and second three characteristics in terms of their
knowledge and their becoming free from the three obstacles. Nevertheless, Tsong kha pa
(Golden Garland: 204.711), citing reference to the root text and commentary, discards
this system of interpretation.

TWENTY VARIETIES OF THE SAM


. GHA

215

name only (ming can). In general, there are three who nominally abide
in the result of Stream-enterer, Once-returner, and Non-returner and four
who nominally are enterers to the results of Stream-enterer, Once-returner,
Non-returner, and arhat, making seven great individuals. These seven great
individuals together with the pratyekabuddha make eight. Here it is necessary to count the nominal abider in the result of arhat, one who is beyond
mahayana training (mahayanasaiks. a), as being part of the Buddha jewel.
This is because arhat in this context of the Prajaparamita Sutras and
3
Abhisamayalam
. kara means fully enlightened Buddha.
The mahayana arhat therefore is not to be counted among the sam
. gha
of trainees (saiks.asam
gha).
The
sam
gha
of
noble
irreversible
bodhisattva
.
.
trainees (aryavaivartika-bodhisattvasaiks. a sam
. gha) at its base is counted
as these eight individuals and when divided according to weak or sharp
faculties and so forth it includes twenty individuals. Haribhadra summarizes these factors while commenting on the jewel of the sam
. gha in his
Abhisamayalam
k
a
ravr
tti
Sphut
a
rth
a
:

.
.
.
As regards the jewel of the sam
. gha, with the exception of the [mahayana] arhat who is
to be regarded as the jewel of the Buddha, there are seven great individuals among the
divisions of enterers [to the first three results] and abiders [in all four results], to which an
eighth, viz. the pratyekabuddha, is included. In classifying through the division of weak
faculties and so forth there are altogether twenty varieties. These Noble irreversible trainee
bodhisattvas occur as [ultimately] unproduced.4

Haribhadra emphasizes here that going for refuge in the sam


. gha
necessitates entering into the unproduced essence of the sam
. gha, i.e.,
the sam
. ghas emptiness of existing as an absolutely or truly existing
phenomena.
This going forth by way of the unproduced (anutpadataya pravr.ttih.)
relates to the tenets of the Prajaparamita and Madhyamaka systems.
All phenomena are presented in the PP as ultimately being unoriginated,
unproduced, unarisen, etc., yet from the conventional side phenomena have
3 AAV, Pensa, 44: arhams tu samyaksambuddha evam sa buddharatnavavade nirdis.
.
.
t.atvan na punar ihocyate /
4 AASPH, Amano, 2000: 13: samghe buddharatnantarggatatvenarhadvarjyes u
.
.
phalasthapratipannakabhedena saptasu mahapurus.es.u pratyekabuddhena sahas..tasu
mr.dvindriyadibhedena vim
. s atisam
. khyavacchinnes. v a ryavaivartikabodhisatvasaiks. es.v
anutpadataya pravr.ttir ity upadeso ratnatrayavavadah. / Tib. dge dun la sangs rgyas dkon
mchog gi khong su gtogs pa nyid kyis dgra bcom pa ma gtogs pa bras bu la gnas pa dang
zhugs pai bye brag gis skyes bu chen po bdun po rang sangs rgyas dang lhan cig brgyad
po dbang po rtul po la sogs pai bye brag gis grangs nyi shur chad pa {Tripathi, tshang
ba} byang chub sems dpa phags pa slob pa phir mi ldog pa rnams la skye ba med pa
nyid du jug par bya o shes lung bogs pa dkon mchog gsum la doms pa / Cf. Obermiller,
(W, 1932: 32.2629).
1933: 40. Haribhadra repeats this same statement in his AAA

216

JAMES APPLE

some sort of merely designated existence where we can posit something


in dependence upon a name. This conventional existence of designations
comprises the implicit aspect of the PP, the main topic of the AA, which
presents stages, aspects, and systems of the path. These principles are also
applied to the twenty varieties of the sam
. gha jewel. Not only do these
irreversible trainee bodhisattvas go forth by way of the unproduced, they
are constituted by the unconditioned (asam
. skr.taprabhavita).
The avaivartika-sam. gha as refuge in the Abhisamayalam. kara
The members of the sam
. gha jewel that are understood to be the most
definitive object of veneration in the AA system are the irreversible
community (avaivartika sam
. gha). This type of sam
. gha is mentioned in

both the commentaries of Arya


Vimuktisena and Haribhadra before articulating the characteristic of the sam
. gha jewel in general and enumerating
5
the divisions within the sam
. gha jewel in particular. Later in the AA,
Haribhadra distinguishes three types of irreversible bodhisattvas: (1) those
who abide on the path of preparation [while cultivating] the preparatory
analytical factors (nirvedhabhagyaprayogamargastha), (2) those who
abide on the path of seeing consisting of [eight moments of] receptivity and
[eight moments of] knowledge (ks.a ntijanasam. gr.htadarsanamargastha),
and (3) those who abide on the path of cultivation which follows
(prabandhikabhavanamargastha).6 These divisions are likewise characterized in the AA itself:
Here, the assembly of those who are irreversible are those Bodhisattvas who have acquired
the limbs of penetration, who abide in paths of vision and familiarization.
nirvedhan ganyupadaya darsanabhyasamargayoh. /
ye bodhisattva vartante sotravaivartiko gan.ah. // (AA 4.38)

The term irreversible (Skt. avaivartika, Tib. phyir mi ldog pa) is


an epithet most often applied to the bodhisattva who dwells in the
eighth bhumi, the Acala, of the ten stages entailed in reaching supreme
and complete Buddhahood. An avaivartika bodhisattva possesses the
irreversible certainty (avavartikadharmaks. a ntilabdha) of attaining highest
enlightenment. This epithet can also be applied to the bodhisattva in his
entry on to the bhumis or again at the preparatory stage. The concept of
the irreversible bodhisattva is mentioned in many mahayana sutras such
5 AAV, 39: tatra samgharatnam avaivartikabodhisattvasam gho tra veditavyah / AAA,

.
.
.
32.28: sam
ghe
.
.
.
a

ry
a
vaivartikabodhisattva
s
aiks
e
s
u
.
.
.
/
AASph
(Amano,
2000:
13):
.
. .
sam
. ghe . . . a ryavaivartikabodhisattvasaiks. es.u . . . /
6 AAA,
665.58: sa ca nirvedhabhagyaprayogamargasthas tatha ks.a ntijanasam
. gr.htadarsanamargastho paras ca prabandhikabhavanamargastha iti tryavastha bhavati /

TWENTY VARIETIES OF THE SAM


. GHA

217

uram
as the Saddharmapun. d.arka, S
. gamasamadhi, Vimalakrti, etc. and
is considered to be one of the most problematic subjects in mahayana
Buddhism.7 In the context of the AA and its related commentaries, all
the bodhisattvas who are training in the path of prajaparamita are
considered to be irreversible. This theory assumes many overlapping
aspects of mahayana soteriology such as the ideas of ekayana, gotra,
tathagatagarbha, that we will briefly mention in the next section but the
details of which are perhaps too complex for our purposes here.8
In the context of the AA and PP commentaries then, the Twenty
Sam
. ghas is a topic within the context of the first chapter of the AA and
corresponds with special topics that bodhisattvas need to learn in order to
acquire Total Omniscience (sarvakarajata, rnam pa thams cad mkhyen
pa nyid). From the soteriological standpoint of the AA, these Twenty
Sam
. ghas are irreversible bodhisattvas. It is these irreversible bodhisattvas
as constituting the Twenty Sam
. ghas that will be discussed below.
Mahayana soteriological theory and the one ultimate vehicle9
In the mahayana tradition which is followed by AA commentators such
as Haribhadra and Tsong kha pa, the conclusion of the sravakas and
pratyekabuddhas path in their goals of arhatship does not represent the
final termination of their respective vehicles. The sravaka arhat and
pratyekabuddha arhats achievement of nirvan.a, with or without remnant
(sopadhises. a-nirupadhises. anirvan.a), is said to be only a state of peaceful
trance in which the arhat is engaged for a countless period of time. This
apparent nirvan.a is called, nirvan.a resembling an extinguished light
(pradpanirvan. aprakhyanirvan. a). In this instance, although their karmic
propensities to take rebirth in the three spheres of existence (traidhatuka)
have ceased, these arhats take rebirth in Buddha-fields of utmost purity
which resemble the petals of lotus flowers. They abide in this uncontaminated realm (anasravadhatu) engaged in meditative absorption until they
7 See remarks by Lamotte in Sgs,
1998: 185186.
8 Outside of the indigenous Tibetan and Indian commentaries on the subject, the works

of Ruegg (1969) discuss these various factors.


9 Our remarks in this section will be brief. They aim to show the continuity of
the AA path system. The one ultimate vehicle theory (ekayana), which is maintained
by Madhyamikans such as Candrakrti and Haribhadra, involves a conglomeration of
Mahayana soteriological concepts combined with various interpretative measures to
account for a harmonious overall schema. The theory takes in particular understandings of
gotra, the dharmadhatu, tathagatagarbha, su nyata, etc., and the fundamental standpoints
of the natural luminosity of the mind (prabhasvaracitta) and the adventitiousness of the
defilements (agantukaklesa) in order to have coherence. See D. Ruegg, La theorie de
lveil universel et de lekayana dans les commentaries de lAbhisamayalam
. kara, La
Theorie du Tathagatagarbha et du Gotra (Paris, 1969), pp. 89217).

218

JAMES APPLE

are roused from their samadhi by buddhas, and urged on to enter into
the mahayana path.10 On this point, both Haribhadra and Tsong kha pa
describe the situation of the sravaka and pratyekabuddha arhats based on
Candrakrtis Trisaran.asaptati:
Having attained the two aspects of bodhi, those [hnayana arhats] whose minds are
frightened by existence, rejoice in the expiration of life thinking they have attained nirvan.a.
[But] they do not [actually] possess nirvan.a. Although rebirth in the three spheres does not
exist for them they nevertheless abide in the uncontaminated realm. Later, they are urged
on by the buddhas for the purpose of abandoning unafflicted ignorance. Accumulating the
provisions of enlightenment, they will become leaders of the world.11

Here we must take note of the distinctions between sravaka and


pratyekabuddha bodhi and the bodhi of the bodhisattva. This is a distinction based upon understanding nirvan.a as the cessation of karma and the
afflictions (klesa) or as the culmination of the mahayana path. In this way,
it is understood in this mahayana system that those who have taken up
the paths of the lower vehicles and achieved the consummation of those
10 This section is based on Haribhadras AAA
on AA ii.1 (133): mahasravakas tu

sopadhinirupadhisam. jakam
. bodhidvayam
. labdhva bhavad urukarun.a prajavaikalyenottrastamanasah. purvavedhaks. iptayuh. samskarapariks.ayan nirvan.asam
. bhave pi pradpanirvan.aprakhyanirvan. asam
jino
vyativr
ttatraidh
a
tukajanm
a
na
s
cyuticitt
anantaram
.
.
.
parisuddhes. u buddhaks.etres.v anasrave dhatu samahita eva padmaput.es.u jayante / tatas te
mitabhasam
. buddhabhaskarakarair aklis..tatamohanaye prabodhita bodhicittam utpadya
muktyavasthayam
. narakadicarikam
. iva gatim
. gacchantah. kramen.a bodhisam
. bharam
.
sam
bhr
tya
lokaguravo
bhavant

ti
a

gam
a
n
ni
s
citam
iti
/
Haribhadra
goes
on
to cite
. .
the Saddharmapun. d.arka sutra, Lankavatara sutra and sa stra citation [see next note]
in connection with this theory. Tsong kha pa in his Golden Garland (1970: 501ff)
maladevsutra,
compares in addition to the above sutras, the scriptural testimony of the Sr
Ratnagotravibhaga, and PP literature to demonstrate the differences between the one final
vehicle theory and three final vehicle theory. See Gonta (1992: 5966).
11 This is cited by Haribhadra in AAA
(134: we follow Sorensen here): labdhva
bodhidvayam hy ete bhavad uttrastamanasah. / bhavanty a yuh.ks.ayat tus..ta h. praptanirvan.asam
. jinah. // na tes.a m asti nirvan.am
. kim
. tu janma bhavatraye / dhatau na vidyate
tes.a m
. te pi tis..thanty anasrave // aklis..tajanahanaya pascad buddhaih. prabodhitah.
/ sam
. bhr.tya bodhisam
. bharam
. s te pi syur lokanayakah. // The stanzas appear in the
Trisaran.asaptati as verses 4547, see P. Sorensen, Candrakrti Trisaran.asaptati: The
Septuagint on the Three Refuges (Wien, 1986), pp. 4244. Tsong kha pas version differs
slightly from above editions, see Gser phreng (1970: 508). The Tibetan tradition, including
Tsong kha pa (Golden Garland, Collected Works, Vol. 26 (1977: 163.6), Tsong kha pa utilizes this passage as part of his early argument for sravakas and pratyekabuddhas realizing
the essencelessness of things), attributes this passage to Nagarjunas Bodhicittavivaran.a,
for discussion see La Theorie du Tathagatagarbha et du Gotra (Paris, 1969), pp. 194211.
Bodhicittavivaran.a vv.9596 does express a similar idea for which see Lindtner, Master of
Wisdom (Dharma Publishing, 1986), pp. 6465. On the unafflicted ignorance of the arhat
consult P. Jaini, On the Ignorance of the Arhat, in Buswell and Gimello (eds), Paths to
Liberation (Kuroda Institute, 1992), pp. 135146.

TWENTY VARIETIES OF THE SAM


. GHA

219

paths are urged out of their apparent catalepsy and into the single ultimate
vehicle of the bodhisattvas.
Mahayana path of the bodhisattva in the Abhisamayalam. kara
Innumerable mahayana sutras and sa stras discuss the attributes of the
bodhisattva, the spiritual aspirant of the mahayana path who is said
to achieve the inconceivable liberation (acintyavimoks. a; see Lamotte,
1994: 141148). By the complex and abstract account of the bodhisattvas
spiritual career given in the AA, one could also characterize the
bodhisattva as traveling the inconceivable path. In any case, we shall
provide here a brief account of the bodhisattvas path structure because a
detailed presentation of the bodhisattvas path will not be necessary in our
discussion of the twenty sam
. ghas.
The basic structure of the mahayana path as discussed in the AA
is the same five-fold division that is attributed to the sravaka path in
Abhidharma scholarship, that is, the divisions of accumulating provisions (sam
. bhara), preparation (prayoga), seeing (darsana), cultivation
(bhavana), and no more training (asaiks.a). The fundamental differences
are that the mahayana is considered to be superior in its aspiration,
abandonment, and realization. Bodhisattvas are superior in that they aspire
for unsurpassable complete awakening (anuttarasam
. yaksam
. bodhi), not
only for themselves, but for the sake of all other beings. With emphasis
on the altruistic intention of others purpose, one primary distinction over
other vehicles is that bodhisattvas have great compassion (mahakarun. a).
They abandon not only the afflictional obscurations (klesa varan. a) but
also the obstacles that impede complete knowledge (jeyavaran. a). The
understanding that actuates their abandonment is not only cognizing
the essencelessness of the person (pudgalanairatyma), but realizing the
essencelessness of things (dharmanairatmya) through the apprehension of
emptiness (su nyata). In the course of realizing the two types of essencelessness and abandoning the two types of obscurations, a bodhisattva will
travel through ten levels or stages (dasabhumi). Through the bodhisattvas
abandonment of the knowledge obstacles, he achieves Total Omniscience
(sarvakarajata), enabling him to help all beings through their achievement of Buddhahood.
The individual who travels in the mahayana path may be of two types:
(1) the bodhisattva who from the very beginning is firm in the mahayana
lineage (rigs nges), and (2) the hnayana arhat, either sravaka or pratyekabuddha, who is not firm in the lineage (rigs ma nges pa) and subsequently
enters into the mahayana path. The foundation of the mahayana path is the
seed potential for enlightenment, the tathagatagarbha, which is considered

220

JAMES APPLE

to be latent in all sentient beings. This seed potential that naturally exists
in all living beings must be activated by means of special reflection
concerning the nature of sam
. sara such that this potential becomes engaged
in the process of spiritual development.12
The special reflection that takes place is the aspiration to achieve full
awakening for oneself and for the sake of other beings. This is known as
the generation of the thought for enlightenment (bodhicittotpada, byang
chub tu sems bskyed).13 A bodhisattva produces an altruistic mind set on
achieving perfect awakening (sam
. yaksam
. bodhi), consisting in the twofold
stage of resolution (pran.idhi) and engagement (prasthana), for the sake
of all beings. Production of this altruistic mind marks the beginning of
the mahayana path and the phase of the path called the path of accumulation. In the AA this is referred to as factors conducive to liberation
(moks.abhagya) and it is in this stage of the path where a bodhisattva
begins to collect the provisions necessary to make the aim of that altruistic intention possible. Here one develops faith, enthusiastic perseverance
in giving, mindfulness, stabilization, and wisdom.14 A bodhisattva will
acquire a whole series of provisions, or equipment, throughout his career
in order to attain highest enlightenment and the AA enumerates seventeen
types of provisions.15 Also in this phase of the path, a bodhisattva who
wishes to sustain and expand the qualities that are produced from altruistic
mind generation must hear, through dependence on meditative absorption
of the stream of the doctrine (srotanugatasamadhi), special instructions
(avavada), such as the ten topics beginning with application (pratipatti)
and including our topic of analysis, the Twenty Sam
. ghas. Having received
special instruction and developed the roots of virtue (kusalamula), which
are characterized by the qualities of faith (sraddha), etc., one becomes
possessed of the factors that constitute emancipation (moks.abhagya). At
12 Obermiller, 1932: 33, notes that the fundamental element which exists at the outset of

the path, the prakr.s.tisthagotra, must be activated into the paripus..tagotra in order to under
go the process of spiritual development.
13 AA I.18 (Amano, 2000: 10): cittotpadah pararthaya samyaksambodhi kamata /
.
samasavyasatah. sa ca yathasutram
. sa cocyate //
14 AA, IV.3234: animittapradanadisamudagamakausalam / sarvakaravabodhesmin
.
moks.abhagyam is.yate // buddhadyalambana sraddha vryam
. danadigocaram / smr.tir
a s ayasampattih. samadhir avikalpana // dharmes.u sarvair a karair janam
. prajeti
pacadha / tks.n.aih. subodha sambodhir durbodha mr.dubhir mata //
15 AA, I.4647: daya danadikam satkam samathah savidarsanah / yuganaddhas ca
. . . .
.
.
yo marga upaye yac ca kausalam // janam
. pun.yam
. ca margas ca dharan. bhumayo
dasa / pratipaks.as ca vijeyah. sambharapratipatkramah. // Seventeen is accounted for by
counting in the six paramitas beginning with generosity and so forth (danadikam
. ). This
section is missing in the manuscript (ASPh, Amano, 2000: 26) and is supplemented based

on AAA.

TWENTY VARIETIES OF THE SAM


. GHA

221

this point one has gathered a rough understanding of the essencelessness


of things and begun the unified path of calm abiding and special insight
(samathavipasyanayuganaddha). The bodhisattva is ready to enter into the
mahayana path of preparation.
The next phase of the path begins when the bodhisattva, who is still
an ordinary individual (pr.thagjana), obtains for the first time a forceful
experience of special insight directed at the emptiness of all things.16 As
with the paths of the sravaka and pratyekabuddha, this stage of developing
insight on the path of preparation consists of the four-fold preparatory
analytical factors (nirvedhabhagya).
These four factors of the nirvedhabhagya are heat (us.magata),
peak (murdhagata), forbearance (ks.a nti), and highest mundane dharma
(laukikagradharma) and they constitute a mundane meditative realization (laukikabhavanamaya) even though they focus on realizing truths for
Noble Beings (caturaryasatya). Each of these four preparatory analytical
factors has a subdivision into soft, medium, and great. They are considered
to be superior to the hnayana nirvedhabhagyas because of five factors:
(1) distinctive in terms of objective support, (2) in terms of mode of cultivation, (3) of causing realization of all three paths, (4) in terms of having a
spiritual friend characterized by skill-in-means, and (5) having divisions
correlated with the stages of dissolving the bifurcation of conceptualized
subject and object.17
Haribhadra provides the following description of these four preparatory
analytical factors and the meditative stabilizations associated with each
factor. When the mind is in meditative equipoise discerning things and
there is a cultivation of the essencelessness of all things, through a slight
illumination of wisdom (janaloka) on account of the lack of imaginative
entanglement in various external objects, one sees merely the mind and
at this time one is absorbed in the stage of heat (us.magata). This meditative stabilization is called attaining illumination (alokalabdha). One has
begun to develop the fire of non-conceptual wisdom which will penetrate
the truths. When this illumination for dharma expands through extensive
16 Obermiller, 1932: 34.
17 AAA,
36.2537.5: sravakadyus.madibhyas cais.a m anityadilaks.an.avastvalambana-

vises.a t dharmadarsana-pratipaks. atvenanabhinivesa dyakaravises. a t yanatrayadhigamahetutvavises.a d upayakausalakalyan. amitralaks.an.a-samparigrahavises. a d vises.o vaktavyah. /


tatha sam
. klesavastvadhis..thanah. pratipaks.avastvadhis..thanas ceti dvividho grahyavikalpah.
/ dravyasatpurus. a dhis..thanah. prajaptisatpurus.a dhis..thanas ceti dvividho grahakavikalpa
iti vaks.yaman.amurdhabhisamayasam. gr.htadarsanabhavanamargaprahatavyais caturbhir
vikalpair yathasam
. khyam
. sam
. klesabhajy etani nirvedhabhagyanti vaktavyam
. / tatha
yathoktavikalpasam
. yogam
. ca bhajatam
. satam
. pratyekam esam
. mr.dumadhyadhimatrabhedena visis..tata ca vaktavyeti pacavidho vises.ah. /

222

JAMES APPLE

effort in cultivating the meditative object of essencelessness, there is some


clarity and a moderate illumination of wisdom is cultivated and at this time
one is absorbed in the stage of peak (murdhagata). One has reached the
peak or end of the roots of virtue (kusalamula) becoming unstable. This
state is a meditative stabilization which is called expanded illumination
(vr.ddhaloka). Then, through absorption in merely the mental continuum, a
particularly clear illumination of knowledge is generated because there is
no imaginative entanglement at all and at this time one becomes absorbed
in the stage of forbearance (ks.a nti). A more pronounced serviceability in
regards to emptiness is developed at this point as one has no fear of this
concept anymore. At this point one develops the meditative stabilization
which understands suchness one-sidedly. This is called such because one
has attained for the first time a cognition of the emptiness of objects but
one has not yet perceived the emptiness of subjects. The stabilization is
one-sided with respect to emptiness. After this stage, when one gathers
a complete illumination of wisdom in which there is no appearance at
all that grasps at objects then one is absorbed in the stage known as the
highest of mundane dharmas (laukikagradharma). One now cultivates the
uninterrupted meditative stabilization. This is so called because in the
same session of meditative equipoise the bodhisattva will proceed without
interruption to the path of liberation on the mahayana path of seeing.18
During the mahayana path of preparation, the experience of the preparatory analytical factors begins to dissolve the bifurcation of conceptualized
subjects and objects. The conceptualization of objects (grahya), and the
conceptualization of subjects (grahaka), are each divided into two to make
four kinds of concepts. The two kinds of objects concern entities (vastu)
and their antidotes (pratipaks.a). This involves the conception that things
which are pursued truly exist (pravr.ttipaks.a dhis..thanagrahyavikalpa, jug
gzung rtog) and that things which should be turned away from truly exist
(nivr.ttipaks.a dhis..thanagrahyavikalpa, ldog gzung rtog). The two kinds
of subjects concern substantially existing persons (pudgaladravya) and
nominally existing beings (prajaptipurus. a). This takes in the conception
18 AAA,
63.2364.6: evam
. kr.tadharmapravicayah. samahitacittas ca sarvadhar-

manairatmyam
. bhavayan kramena yada pr.thagbhutarthabhinivesa bhavad s.atspas..tajanalokena manomatram eva pasyati tada syos.magatavastha / sa evatralokalabdho nama
samadhir ucyate mahayane / yada tasyaiva dharmalokasya vr.ddhyartham
. nairatymabhavanayam
. vryarambhen.a madhyaspas..to janaloko bhavati tada murdhavastha
/ sa eva vr.ddhaloko nama samadhih. / yada tu cittamatravasthanena spas..tataro
bahyarthabhinivesa bhavo janaloko jayate tada ks.a ntyavastha / grahyakarabhavanupravesa t tattvarthaikadesapravis..to nama samadhih. / yada punar arthagrahakaviks. epanabhaso janaloka nis.padyate tada laukikagradharmavastha / sa evanantaryo nama
samadhih. /

TWENTY VARIETIES OF THE SAM


. GHA

223

of true existence for the mind which conceives of the person to be substantially existent (rdzasdzin rtog) and the conception of true existence for
the mind which conceives the person to imputedly exist (btags dzin rtog).
Comprehensions connected with these four types of concepts, formative in
the path of preparation, become the dominate focal point on the mahayana
paths of seeing and cultivation.
The mahayana path of seeing in the AA is presented according to
the system of the Abhidharmasamuccaya by Haribhadra and Tsong kha
pa. It is similar to the paths of seeing in the lower vehicles in that
there are sixteen moments of consciousness directed at the Nobles
Four Truths. However, the elements of existence within the context of
these Truths are directly cognized as not being merely selfless, and not
merely unreal as external objects, but as being dependently co-arisen and
having no essence of their own. This occurs as a meditative stabilization
and comprehension consisting in the non-perception of the bifurcation
of that which is apprehended and that which apprehends. This comprehension understands what is apprehended and what apprehends as
being completely the same or non-differentiated. In this instance, nonperception means the cessation of ordinary dualistic appearances and the
manifestation of ultimate reality (dharmadhatu). Relating to the sixteen
moments, the moments of intellectual receptivity in regard to knowledge of the doctrine (dharmajanaks. a nti) and knowledge of the doctrine
(dharmajana) comprehend what is apprehended while the subsequent
moment of intellectual receptivity (anvayajanaks. a nti) and subsequent
knowledge (anvayajana) comprehend that which apprehends.
Through this manner of comprehension a bodhisattva will abandon artificial defilements and imputed knowledge obstacles on the path of seeing.
In regards to artificial defilements to be abandoned by the path seeing,
there are ten afflictions for each of the Nobles Truths in the desire realm.
There are six fundamental afflictions consisting of desire, anger, pride,
ignorance, doubt, and wrong view. Wrong view is in turn divided into
five types: [false] view of the perishable aggregates (satkayadr. s..ti), extreme
view (antagrahadr. s..ti), false view (mithyadr.s..ti), holding a [wrong] view
as supreme (dr.s..tiparamarsa), and holding [wrong] ethics and rituals as
supreme (slavrataparamarsa). These ten afflictions separately occur with
respect to each of the four truths such that within the desire realm there are
forty artificial defilements. With the exception of anger (pratigha), which
does not arise in the form or formless realms, the remaining afflictions
likewise occur for each of the four truths in the two upper realms allowing
for seventy-two artificial defilements. The forty artificial defilements of
the desire realm and the seventy-two of the form and formless realm

224

JAMES APPLE

make for one hundred and twelve artificial defilements to be removed


by the mahayana path of seeing. Along with these artificial defilements,
there are one hundred and eight imputed knowledge obstacles which
are removed by the mahayana path of seeing. This number of imputed
knowledge obstacles is calculated by multiplying the four types of conceptions times nine varieties that occur within each type of conception from
among the divisions of desire, form, and formless realms. The removal of
these imputed obstacles to knowledge correlates with the first bodhisattva
ground known as joyous (pramudita).
The mahayana path of cultivation is a continuation of the comprehensions that were beheld during the preparatory analytical factors of the
path of preparation and the sixteen moments of the path of seeing.19 This
path of cultivation repeatedly considers, assesses, and contemplates the
four types of concepts which proliferate subject/object dichotomization
throughout the serviceable levels of meditative stabilization. Similar to
the hnayana paths of cultivation, the most weak of the weak paths are
antidotes to the coarse of the coarse defilements and the most strong of
the strong paths are antidotes to the subtle of the subtle defilements.20
By means of this repeated practice or familiarization, the path of cultivation abandons the instinctual or innate afflictional obscurations and innate
knowledge obstacles. There are sixteen innate defilements to be removed
by the path of cultivation. Six fundamental afflictions associated with the
desire realm: desire, anger, pride, ignorance, (false) view of the perishable
aggregates, and extreme view. Then, on account of the lack of anger in
the upper realms, there are five afflictions each in the form and formless
realm resulting in sixteen. There are one hundred and eight innate knowledge obstacles in correlation with the concepts of subjects and objects, by
divisions of the desire, form, and formless realms, each with nine aspects
for each of the four concepts.21
These sixteen innate afflictional obscurations and one hundred and
eight innate obstructions to omniscience are gradually abandoned by the
path of cultivation in nine stages consonant with the bodhisattva stages
two through ten. When the bodhisattva, abiding on the tenth stage, attains
the last of the uninterrupted paths, the innate afflictional obscurations and
19 AASPH (2000: 74): s rutacintabhavanamayajanaih samadhau va prayogama.

ulapr.s..thabhavinya prajaya yathakramam punah. punas cintanatulananidhyanani


nirvedhan gadis. u tris.u paridr.s..tasyarthasyeti / prabandhikabhavanamarggah. /
20 AASPH (2000: 47): kamadhatucittadhyanarupyasamapattis u navabhumis v adhima.
.
tradhimatradinavaprakaravipaks. asya pratipaks.abhavena mr.dumr.dvadimargo pi yathakraman navaprakarah. /
21 AASPH (2000: 91): . . . kamaruparupyadhatubhedena pratyekam caturvikalpana
.
vaprakarataya s..tottara-satagrahyagrahakavikalpaprahan. ena . . ./

TWENTY VARIETIES OF THE SAM


. GHA

225

innate obstructions to omniscience are simultaneously abandoned. This


is known as the simultaneous illumination (ekaks.an.a bhisam
. bodha) and
the culmination of the bodhisattvas development. The bodhisattva at this
time reaches the mahayana path of no more training. In this moment, the
differentiation into subject and object ceases, the latent subtle seeds of
ignorance are totally removed, and the state of highest enlightenment is
attained (anuttarasamyaksam. bodhi).
These assumptions of the AAs mahayana system conform to the
expectations of Indian and Tibetan AA commentators in approaching the
mahayana interpretation of the Twenty Sam
. ghas. They will be important
to keep in mind as we analyze the actual sam
. gha of irreversible bodhisattavas as interpreted by Tsong kha pa.
THE ACTUAL SAM
. GHA (MTSHON PAR BYA
BAI DON GYI DGE DUN)
The sam
. ghas we have discussed in Part I consist of the sam
. gha illustration or allegorical sam
gha
(mtshon
byed
dpei
dge
dun)
of
sravakas,
.
those individuals seeking emancipation from sam
s
a
ra
through
realizing
.
the sixteen aspects of the Nobles Four Truths. The path of Noble
Beings within the allegorical sam
. gha culminates in the result of sravaka
arhat. However, as mentioned above, the goal of this type of arhatship is not final according to the mahayana theory of ekayana. The
allegorical sam
. gha serves as an analogical template that exemplifies
the actual (don gyi) sam
. gha. The actual sam
. gha is composed of
irreversible (avaivarttika) bodhisattvas, those Noble Beings who are
striving to be completely awakened into unsurpassable full enlightenment (anuttaram
. samyaksam
. bodhim abhisam
. budhyante) and to achieve
the state of mahayana arhat i.e., Buddhahood. These bodhisattvas have
generated the altruistic mind (bodhicitta) to achieve full enlightenment for
the sake of all beings (AA i.18), cultivate great compassion (mahakarun. a ),
practice the six perfections (s.at.paramita), and master various meditative
concentrations and absorptions.
The actual sam
. gha of irreversible bodhisattvas is mentioned in the
Prajaparamita sutra after the section concerning methods of training
and special instructions (avavada) concerning the precious jewel of the
Dharma. As mentioned earlier, our commentators presuppose that when
bodhisattvas practice in accord with previous special instructions of the PP
ariputras
sutras, then the Buddha teaches these sam
. ghas in response to S
question, When deceased, is a bodhisattva reborn here, where will a
bodhisattva be reborn? The dialogue in the PP sutra concerns the circum-

226

JAMES APPLE

stance of rebirth for a bodhisattva, who takes rebirth to a great extent


through skilful means in order to practice the perfections and help beings.
This notion of rebirth as skilful means will be important to keep in
mind for understanding the relationship between the allegorical and actual
sam
. ghas. Tsong kha pa (1970: 244) considers that the sam
. ghas taught in
the PP sutras are condensed into two verses of the Abhisamayalam
. kara for
the sake of easily understanding the many divisions of these bodhisattvas
taught from the sutra in the section which discusses the precious jewel of
the sam
. gha.
Tsong kha pa (1970: 245) states that many Indian AA scholars, such

arya Haribhadra, Kulandatta, Prajakaramati,


as Arya
Vimuktisena, Ac
Buddhasrjana, and Abhayakaragupta, assert that the foundation for the
irreversible bodhisattvas divisions is derived from the community of Noble
Persons (aryasam
. gha). This implies that the community of bodhisattvas to
be counted among the Twenty Sam
. ghas includes those Noble Mahayana
Persons who have reached the path of seeing. However, Tsong kha pa
antipa explains these divisions
notes that other Indian scholars such as S
as beginning from the preparatory analytical factors (nirvedhabhagya).
antipa considers the first two
The Golden Garland (245) notes that S
[individuals] are on the path of preparation, four [individuals] are on
the path of seeing, and then fourteen [individuals] are on the path of
cultivation. Along these lines, Tsong kha pa notes that Ratnakarasa nti,
when commenting on the meaning of the PP sutra where it says, The
bodhisattva, the great being, who dwells in this abode of perfect wisdom,

deceased in this world . . . he is reborn here, states in the Suddhamat

that abiding in the perfection of wisdom is consonant with the preparatory analytical factors (nirvedhabhagyas). According to Tsong kha pa, the
identification of whether bodhisattvas of the actual sam
. gha first dwell in
either the paths of preparation, seeing, or cultivation, does not appear in

any other text but the Suddhamat


. Tsong kha pa accepts the boundary
from the path of preparation as stated by Ratnakarasa nti but also adds that
Haribhadra explains these sam
. ghas as only Noble Persons (arya, phags
pa). According to Tsong kha pa, Asanga explains that the sam
. gha which
is one of the three refuges is an enterer to a spiritual level (bhumi, sa).
The Golden Garland (246) therefore concludes that only the preparatory
analytical factors (nirvedhabhagyas) are suitable as a path boundary for
the irreversible sam
. gha (avaivartikasam. gha), although it is not suitable for
the precious jewel of the sam
. gha (ratnasam
. gha) in general.

TWENTY VARIETIES OF THE SAM


. GHA

227

Enumerating bodhisattvas in the Prajaparamita


The Twenty Sam
. ghas represents through the domain of the actual sam
. gha
of bodhisattvas an enumeration of irreversible mahayana Noble Beings
drawn from the Prajaparamita sutras. According to the PP manuscripts
that Tsong kha pa had in front of him, there are three principal PP sutras

that enumerate lists of bodhisattvas-the Satas


ahasrika (100,000 verse),
Pacavim
. satisahasrika (25,000), and As..ta dasasahasrika (18,000). The
lists of bodhisattvas occurs in each one of these sutra where the section
states:
Having died in other Buddha-fields, among deities of Tus.ita heaven, or among humans,
one should know [the bodhisattva] to be reborn here.22

For commentators like Tsong kha pa, the enumeration of bodhisattvas


may or may not correlate with the Abhisamayalam
. karas presentation of
the Twenty Sam
. ghas based on these statements from the PP sutra.
The system which does not correlate to the Abhisamayalam. kara
The system of enumerating bodhisattvas without any correlation between

the PP sutra and the Abhisamayalam


aha. kara occurs mainly in the Satas
srika and an Indian commentary associated with it. Tsong kha pa notes

that in the Satas


ahasrika (266281) there are forty-five bodhisattvas
mentioned. In regards to this enumeration, Tsong kha pa bases his interpretation on a commentary called Conquering What Harms the Three
Mothers.23 This commentary states that the first three bodhisattvas which
occur in the PP sutras are explained as supreme, moderate, or deficient
by means of either sharp, middling, or dull faculties. According to Tsong
kha pa the first three bodhisattvas are briefly explained and the remaining
forty-five are demonstrated in detail. The Golden Garland quotes from the
Conquering Harm to the Three Mothers:
Having grouped together [bodhisattvas] into two: those with skill-in-means and those
who do not have skill-in-means, those [bodhisattvas] who do not have skill-in-means take
rebirth among the long-lived deities and in the desire realm, the remaining forty-three
are said to have skill-in-means. In this way, having construed [the bodhisattva] who does
not have skill-in-means as two, only this factor is harmonious or non-harmonious to both
in counting forty-five. Accordingly, in whichever of the three sutras, the bodhisattva on
22 Satas

ahasrika, 266: . . . so anyebhyo buddhaks.etrebhyas cyutvehopapanno vedi-

tavyah. / tus.itebhyo devanikabhyo manus.yebhova cyutvehopapanno veditavyah. / Different


wording in Pacavim
. s ati, 60.
23 Arya
satasahasrikapacavim. s atisahasrikas..tadasasahasrikaprajaparamitabr. hat..tka,
Pk 5206. This is a commentary to the 100,000, 25,000, and 18,000 verse PP sutra know
in Tibetan as yum gsum gnod joms. Tsong kha attributes the text to Dams.t.asena which
previous Tibetan scholars have attributed to Vasubandhu.

228

JAMES APPLE

the side of the forty-two [with skill-in-means] generates the first [altruistic] thought [for
enlightenment], engages in the perfections, and does not let go of the path of ten virtues
until obtaining the stage of being irreversible (avinirvartanyabhumi).24

In this way, with three bodhisattvas listed at first and then forty-five
spoken later according to the above method, there are a total of forty-eight
bodhisattvas which are demonstrated. These bodhisattvas are classified
according to whether they have skill-in-means or not and whether they
take rebirth among long lived deities. Although the Conquering Harm to
the Three Mothers and Tsong kha pa appear to accept this enumeration to
be applied to the three aforementioned PP sutras, this enumeration appears

to be only consonant with the Satas


ahasrika Prajaparamita.
The system in correlation with the Abhisamayalam.kara
The other system of enumerating bodhisattvas related to the Prajaparamita pertains directly to the Twenty Sam
. ghas mentioned in the
Abhisamayalam
. kara. The enumeration of the Twenty Sam
. ghas occurs
within the context of correlating the sections of the PP sutra, primarily
the Pacavim
. satiprajaparamitasutra, to the AA through either a literal
or non-literal interpretation. The translation that was given at the beginning of Part I (Apple, 2003) accords with a literal interpretation of the
Twenty Sam
. ghas given in the AA. Conze is not the only scholar to
read the verses on the Twenty Sam
. ghas in this manner, as the Golden
antipa also draw out
Garland (247) states that Buddhasrjana and S
Twenty Sam
. ghas literally from the Abhisamayalam
. kara. Tsong kha pa
does not comment on this method of exegesis, and we can assume
that he does not see this method as a feasible interpretation of the
Twenty Sam
. ghas. This is most likely because a literal interpretation of
the AA verses does not allow for the correspondences required by the
allegorical sam
. gha model. A literal reading of the AA verses concerning
the Twenty Sam
. ghas is also not consonant with the readings from the
corresponding sections of the Pacavim
. satiprajaparamitasutra. This will

become evident in the next section, where we discuss Arya


Vimuktisenas

exegesis of the Twenty Sam


. ghas. Arya Vimuktisena and Haribhadra are
the two main commentators whom Tsong kha pa describes as providing
a non-literal interpretation of the AA verses on the Twenty Sam
. ghas.
Both of these commentators note that bodhisattvas come to take on the
24 Tibetan from Golden Garland, 1970: 246247: thabs mkhas mi mkhas gnyis su bsdus

nas thabs mi mkhas pa la lha tshe ring po dang dod khams su skye ba gnyis / lhag ma zhe
gsum thabs mkhas su gsung so / de ltar thabs mi mkhas pa la gnyis su byas nas zhe lnga
bgrang bar gnyis ka mthun la mi mthun pacha di tsam zhig yod de / di ltar mdo gsum
gang zhe gnyis pai thad du byang chen sems dang po bskyed phyin chad phyir mi ldog
pai sa thob kyi bar du nam yang dge bcui las kyi lam mi gtong ba dag kyang yod do /

TWENTY VARIETIES OF THE SAM


. GHA

229

nomenclature of the various sravakas in the allegorical sam


. gha only
in a nominal sense, i.e., through sharing similar qualities. The subcom

mentaries that follow Arya


Vimuktisena, Ratnakarasa ntis Suddhamat
and
Abhayakaraguptas Marmakaumund and Munimatalam
k
a
ra
will
try
to
.
explain the meaning of these bodhisattvas with analogies to fit into the
framework of mahayana soteriology. We will see these analogies as we

examine Arya
Vimuktisenas system of the actual sam
. gha of bodhisattvas.

Arya
Vimuktisenas system

Arya
Vimuktisenas system of articulating the Twenty Sam
. ghas is inti
mately related to the Pacavim
. satiprajaparamitasutra. Arya Vimuktisena directly correlates sections of the Pacavim
. sati with statements in
the Abhisamayalam
k
a
ra
while
having
a
methodological
approach that
.
reflects the style of delineation of the sravaka sam
gha
given in the
.

Abhidharmakosa. Tsong kha pa (1970: 247260) demonstrates that Arya


Vimuktisena interprets sixteen sam
. ghas to be explicitly stated from the
root text of the AA and then fills in four sam
. ghas that are implicit i.e.,
not directly stated in the root text. The four implicitly mentioned sam
. ghas
are the Eighth (as..tamaka), Once-returner, Non-returner, and enterer to the

state of Arhat. Arya


Vimuktisena also posits the foundation of the Twenty
25
Sam
ghas
as
the
irreversible
sam
.
. gha. In order to properly understand

Arya
Vimuktisenas system, Tsong kha pa divides his articulation into
four divisions of bodhisattvas: those who possess the name of the Eighth,
those who are separated from attachment previous to the path of seeing
(vtaragapurvin), those who remove defilements to be removed by the path
of cultivation serially (anupurvin), and the Pratyekajina.

The eighth Arya


The eighth (as..tamaka) is the first bodhisattva that is mentioned in the

Pacavim
Vimuktisena to be the basis from
. sati and is considered by Arya
which one construes the two, followers through faith (sraddhanusarin) and
followers through doctrine (dharmanusarin). Tsong kha pa notes that the
bodhisattva follower of the path by faith has dull faculties (mr.du indriya),
and abides on the first fifteen thought-moments of the path of seeing. The
26
Pacavim
. sati states:
25 AAV, 39: tatra samgharatnam avaivartikabodhisattvasam gho tra veditavyah /
.
.
.
26 The following citations from the Pacavims ati present the reading that Tsong kha pa
.

gives in this Golden Garland (1970: 250260). I have provided Sanskrit in the footnotes
from either the AAV (Pensa, 1967) or the Pacavim
. sati (Dutt, 1934: 6072) depending on
which text correlates the best with Tsong kha pas citations. An English translation based
on the Sankrit of his own recension may be found in Conze (1975: 6674).

230

JAMES APPLE

The bodhisattva, mahasattva who, deceased among humans, has the destiny to be reborn
among them, has dull faculties; excluding the bodhisattva, mahasattva who is irreversible,
[this one] does not make effort to quickly practice the yoga of perfect wisdom and even
through the doors of dharan. or the doors of meditative stabilization will not quickly
manifest [perfect wisdom].27

Arya
Vimuktisena comments here that, Directly saying irreversible
means that ground is obtained through only the path [followed with] sharp
faculties.28 This means that the reversible seventh bodhisattva ground, the
avivartacarya bhumi among the ten bodhisattva stages, is obtained only by
one with sharp faculties. A bodhisattva with sharp faculties (tks.n.endriya)
is the follower of the path by doctrine, who is also within the fifteen
moments of the path of seeing.
The bodhisattva, mahasattva who, deceased in other Buddha-fields and reborn here, has
sharp faculties and will quickly achieve this yoga, the present yoga of perfect wisdom.
The bodhisattva, mahasattva who, deceased from among the Tus.ita heaven deities and
reborn here, will have especially sharp faculties, practices nothing but the perfections, and
will directly face [perfect wisdom] with all the doors of dharan. and doors of meditative
stabilization.29

The basis of these two followers of faith and doctrine is regarded in

Arya
Vimuktisenas Abhisamayalam
. karavr.tti as being the Eighth. The
Pacavim
s

ati
describes
the
Eighth:
.
The bodhisattva, mahasattva who abides in the abode of perfect wisdom, deceased in
other Buddha-fields, Tus.ita heaven, or in this world, should be understood as being reborn
here.30

Arya
Vimuktisena connects the eighth bodhisattva together with the
first two followers of faith and doctrine. The section of the Pacavim
. sati
concerning the two followers is not distinguished from the section on the

Eighth and Arya


Vimuktisena therefore construes these two followers as
enterers to the result of Stream-enterer. Tsong kha pa posits these followers
27 AAV, 39: yo yam bodhisattvo mahasattvo manusyebhya cyutva manusyana m
.
.
. .
eva sabhagatayam upapadyate tasyavaivartikan bodhisattvan mahasattvan sthapayitva
dhanvanndriyan. i bhavanti / [(Dutt, 60) na ca ks.ipram
. prajaparamitayogam. samapadyate
/ na casya dharan.mukham abhimukhbhavati na ca samadhimukhamm
. . . .] Conze, 67.
28 AAV, 39: avaivartikabodhisattva vacanam tu tksnendriyamargen a tatbhumiprapter /
.
..
.
29 Pacavims ati, Dutt, 61: bodhisattvo mahasattvo nyebhyo buddhaksetrebhyas cuta
.
.
ihopapadyate tasya tks.n.a nndriyan.i bhavanti / sa ks.ipramim
. yogamapadyate yaduta
prajaparamitayogam / . . . yah. punah. sa riputra bodhisattvah. mahasattvah. tus.itebhyo
devebhyas cutva ihopapanno bhavati tasyapi pat.utaran.ndriyan.i bhavanti / avipramus.itah.
sat.paramitah. sarvadharan.samadhimukhani cabhimukhbhavanti / AAV39.
30 AAV, 39; Pacavims ati, Dutt, 60: (yahs ariputra) bodhisattvo mahasattvo nena
.
.
prajaparamitaviharen. a viharati sa itas cuta ihaiva buddhaks.etre upapadyate anyebhyo
va buddhaksetrebhyas cutas tus.itebhyo va devebhyas cuta ihopapadyate /

TWENTY VARIETIES OF THE SAM


. GHA

231

to abide on the fifteenth moment of the path of seeing even though

Arya
Vimuktisena himself states that they are within the first sixteen
thought-moments.31 This is because Tsong kha pa wishes to correlate

the presentation of Arya


Vimuktisena with that of the Abhidharmakosa
presented in the allegorical sam
. gha. Why Tsong kha pa posits this correlation will become clearer below. Along these lines of interpreting the

followers of faith and doctrine, Arya


Vimuktisena asserts that if the two
followers abandon the path of cultivation defilements, from the sixth defilement of the desire realm up to the eighth, previous of the path of seeing
then those two followers are Once-returners. If they may abandon the ninth
path of cultivation defilement previous to the path of seeing, then they
will be a Non-returner enterer. As Tsong kha pa interprets, at whatever
time either of these two obtain the sixteenth thought-moment, at that time
those two will abide in either the result of Once-returner or Non-returner.
When this occurs, one who previously has dull faculties (mr.dvindriya)
will become one who aspires by faith (sraddhadhimukta) and one who
previously had sharp faculties (tks.n.endriya) will become one who obtains

by seeing (dr.s..tiprapta). However, the two followers in Arya


Vimuktisenas
system of interpretation are not considered to be enterers to a result for the
first time who progress by serial progression (anupurvika) but rather are
considered to be enterers who are separated from attachment previous to
the path of seeing (vtaragapurvin). The Abhisamayalam
. karavr.tti states:
The enterer to the second and third result is spoken with reference to the one who aspires
by faith (sraddhadhimukta).32

and
The enterer to the second and third result is spoken with reference to the one who obtains
by seeing (dr.s..tiprapta).33

Tsong kha pa (1970: 252) states that although there is one enterer who is
separated from attachment previous to the path of seeing, it is symbolically
represented by either one who aspires by faith and one who obtains by
seeing. The meaning of the two is that even though they are two followers
who have sharp or dull faculties, the intention is that they are of one lineage
of those who have faculties. The Abhisamayalam
. karavr.tti immediately
after quoting the sutra on the one who aspires by faith and the one who
obtains by seeing, quotes the sutra in regard to the two abiders in the result
31 AAV, 39: tatro yo margajatayam darsanamargah sodasaksaniko vaksyamanas tesu
.
. . .
. .
.
.
.
s.od.asasu ks.an.es.u mr.dvindriyo . . . /
32 AAV, 40.6: yato dvityatrtyaphalapratipannakam s raddhadhimuktam adhikrtyaha
.
.
.
... /
33 AAV, 40.12: dvityatrtyaphalapratipannakadr stipraptam adhikrtyaha . . . /
.
. ..
.

232

JAMES APPLE

of Once-returner and Non-returner, and therefore correlates four enterers


and abiders in the result who are separated from attachment previous to
the path of seeing. Therefore, when AA 23a states those of sharp and dull

faculties (mr.dutks.n.endriyau), Tsong kha pa considers Arya


Vimuktisena
to demonstrate implicitly the first enterer and explicitly the second and
third enterers who are separated from attachment previous to the path of
seeing. When AA 23b states those who aspire by faith and who obtain by

seeing (sraddhadr.s..tipraptau), Arya


Vimukuktisena demonstrates the two
abiders in the result of either Once-returner or Non-returner (see Figure 1).
As Tsong kha pa will show, the enterers for the two middle results
which progress gradually are illustrated by the distinguished Streamenterer, the one who goes family to family (kulam
. kulah.), the distinguished
Once-returner is demonstrated by the Ekavcika, and the Non-returners
beginning with the Upapadyaparinirvayin Non-returners and so forth are
considered to be Arhat enterers. Tsong kha pa provides a summary of

the main points of Arya


Vimuktisenas system of interpreting the actual
sam
gha
of
bodhisattvas:
.
When construed in this manner, the first two enterers are counted as one called the Eighth,
the two dull and sharp faculty enterers who are separated from attachment previous [to the
path of seeing] are counted as two; and having counted the two abiders in the result of that
[fruition] as two, subtracting the Akanis..thagah. since it is the basis for the division of the
34
three Jumpers, the other [Sam
. ghas] are to be counted literally [according to the text].

Tsong kha pa explains that these sam


. ghas are explained based on the
Abhidharma and are taught using similar terminology because they have
similar qualities. The first part of the AA verse (23ab mr.dutks.n.endriyau

sraddhadr. s..tipraptau) is explained by Arya


Vimuktisena based on the
35
Abhidharmakosa. Arya Vimuktisena next counts three enterers classifying them according to how many defilements have been removed previous
to the path of seeing, and then in a similar manner, counts two abiders
in the result of either Once-returner or Non-returner. Therefore, according

to Tsong kha pas reading, in Arya


Vimuktisenas system those who are
separated from attachment previous to the path of seeing are presented in
a similar manner to those who skip fruitions in the allegorical sam
. gha.
We will now describe these types of bodhisattvas who are separated from
attachment previous of the path of seeing.
34 Golden Garland, 253: de tar byas na zhugs pa dang po gnyis la rgyad zhes gcig tu
dang / chags bral sngon song gi zhugs pa dbang po rtul rno gnyis gnyis su dang / dei
bras gnas gnyis gnyis su bgrangs nas og min gro phar gsam (sic, emended to gsum) gyi
dbyed gzhi yin pas dor la gzhan rnams sgra ji bzhin du bgrang ngo /
35 AK, vi.29ab, 353: mrdutksendriyau tesu s raddhadharmanusarin au /
.
.
.
.

TWENTY VARIETIES OF THE SAM


. GHA

233

Vtaragapurvin: Those previously separated from attachment


Those bodhisattvas who are separated from attachment previous to the
path of seeing (vtaragapurvin) have a fundamental classification of being
either an enterer or an abider. An enterer separated from attachment
previous to the path of seeing consists of two subdivisions. First, there
is a dull faculty one who shares a similar lineage with the aspirer by faith
(sraddhadhimukta), entering into either the state of Once-returner or Nonreturner. The second subdivision consists of the sharp faculty one who
shares a similar lineage with one who obtains by seeing (dr.s..tiprapta),
entering into either the state of Once-returner or Non-returner. In regards
to the first subdivision the Pacavim
. sati states:
There are bodhisattvas, mahasattvas, who are not skilled-in-means, although they achieve
the four concentrations, engage in the perfections, and in obtaining concentration, take
rebirth among long-lived deities or among humans, they will delight the [Buddha]
Bhagavans. They will be with dull faculties and will not have sharp faculties.36

The Pacavim
. sati describes the second subdivision, the sharp faculty
one who possesses the same lineage of one who obtains by seeing, as an
enterer to the either the result of Once-returner or Non-returner as:
There are bodhisattvas, those who have skill-in-means, who enter into the concentrations
and formless attainments, engage in the thirty-seven limbs of enlightenment, they are not
reborn by the force of concentrations and so forth but through skill-in-means, they are
reborn where they can please the Buddha Bhagavans and nourish them. Since they are not
separated from the yoga of perfect wisdom, they will become completely fully awakened
in unsurpassable complete enlightenment in this very Bhadrakalpa.37

In this section of the sutra one can plausibly count four enterers, but as
Tsong kha pa reasons, by means of classifying via faculties there are only
two that can be counted because this section of the sutra makes a distinction into only dull or sharp faculties. The second division of those who are
separated from attachment previous to the path of seeing (vtaragapurvin)
consists of abiders. This type of abider also has two subdivisions. The first
subdivision mentioned by Tsong kha pa (1970: 254) is the bodhisattva
among the two who either aspire by faith or who obtains by seeing, and
36 AAV, 40: santi s ariputra bodhisattvah mahasattvah anupayakusala ye catvari
.
.

dhyananini s.padayanti paramitasu ca caranti / tena ca dhyanalabhena drghayus.kes.u


deves.u papannas tatas cyutva sacet kamadhatau manus.yes.u deves.u vopapadyante [(Dutt,
61) buddham
. s ca bhagavata a ragayis.yanti] tes.a m api dhanvanndriyan. i bhavanti na
tks.n.a ni / Conze, 68.
37 AAV, 40: santi s a riputra bodhisattva upayakusala ye dhyanarupyasamapatth
.
samapadyante saptatrim
. sad bodhipaks.a m
. s ca dharman samapadyante na dhyanadivasena
kim
. tupayakausalena tatra tatropapadyante yatra yatra buddhan bhagavata a ragayanti /
te prajaparamitaya avirahita ihaiva bhadrakalpe nuttaram
. samyaksambodhim abhisambudhyanta / Dutt, 62; Conze, 68.

234

JAMES APPLE

who abide in the result of Once-returner that is separated from attachment previous to the path of seeing. The Pacavim
. sati describes this
bodhisattva:
There are bodhisattvas, mahasattvas who are obstructed by one life, course in perfect
wisdom, and with skill-in-means, engage in the four concentrations, the four immeasurables, four formless attainments, thirty-seven limbs of enlightenment, the three doors of
liberation and not influenced by the force of these, having directly perceived the Buddha
Bhagavans please them, practicing the celibate holy life under them, take rebirth again
for a kalpa among the gods of Tus.ita heaven, where they abide until the end of their
lifespan. Then, with non-defective faculties, mindful and conscientious, in front of and
surrounded by hundreds of thousands of niyutas of kot.is of gods, take rebirth here and are
fully awakened in various Buddha-fields.38

The Golden Garland (255) states that this type of bodhisattva comes
back one time to this world, and then achieves enlightenment in another
world.39 The second subdivision is the bodhisattva among the two who
either aspires by faith or who obtains by seeing, and who abides in the
result of Non-returner that is separated from attachment previous to the
path of seeing. The Pacavim
. sati states:
The bodhisattvas, mahasattvas, who obtain the six supernatural knowledges, and who
are not reborn in the desire realm, form realm, or formless realm; but they pass on
from Buddha-field to Buddha-field, honoring, respecting, revering, and worshiping the
Tathagata, Arhat, fully enlightened Buddhas.40

This type of bodhisattva does not return to this world and achieves
enlightenment by being reborn in the upper heavens of the form and
formless realm.

38 Pacavims ati, 6263: santi s ariputra bodhisattvah mahasattva ekajatipratibaddha


.
.

ye prajaparamitayam
. caranta upayakausalyena catvari dhyanani samapadyante /
catvaryapramani catasra a rupyasamapattauh. smr.typasthanasamyak prahan.ardhipadendriyabalabodhyangamargan bhavayanti / su nyatasamadhim
. samapadyante / animittasamadhim
. samapadyante / apran.ihitasamadhim
. samapadyante / na ca tes.a m
. vasena
gacchanti sam
. mukhaubhutam
. s ca buddhan bhagavata a ragayitva tatra brahmacaryam
.
caritva punar eva tus.itanam
. devananam
. sabhagatayai upapadyante / te tatra
yavadayustis..tanti / te tatra yavadayuh. sthitva ahnendriyah. / smr.timantah. sam
. prajananto
anekairdevakot.niyutasatasahasraih. parivr.tah. puraskr.ta ihopapattim
. darsayitva nanabuddhaks.etres.v anuttaram
. samyaksam
. bodhim
. abhisam
. budhyante / AAV, 40; Conze, 69.
39 AAV, 40: sakrd imam lokam a gatya tesa m anyatra parinirvana t /
.
.
.
.
40 Pacavims ati, 63: santi bodhisattvah mahasattvah sasmamabhijanam labhino ye
.
.
. .
.
na kamadhatau na rupadhatau narupyadhatav upapadyante / api tubuddhaks.etren.a
buddhaks.etram
. sam
. kramanti tathagatan arhatah. samyaksam
. buddhan satkurvanto
gurukurvanto manayantah. pujayantah. / AAV, 40; Conze, 69.

TWENTY VARIETIES OF THE SAM


. GHA

235

Anup
urvika: Those who progress serially

Arya
Vimuktisena counts those who remove defilements to be removed
by the path of cultivation serially (anupurvin) into three divisions: the
Sam
. ghas who possess the name of Stream-enterer, Once-returner, and
Non-returner.
Bodhisattva Stream-enterers
The abider in the result of Stream-enterer is described in the Abhisamayalam
. karavr.tti:
That one who is spoken of by saying, Stream-enterer should be understood in the two
41
aspects of those who go from family to family (kulam
. kula).

The two aspects of the bodhisattva Stream-enterer according to Arya


Vimuktisena are the bodhisattva who is born family to family (kulam
. kula)
among humans and the bodhisattva who is born family to family among
gods. In regards to the bodhisattva who is born family to family among
humans, abider in the result of Stream-enterer, the Pacavim
. sati states:
There are bodhisattvas, mahasattvas who, having generated the four concentrations, the
four immeasurables, and the four formless attainments, and with skill-in-means, having
turned away from [the beneficial results of the] concentrations, meditative stabilizations,
and attainments, take rebirth in the desire realm and for the sake of maturing beings are
ala, in families of householders, Brahmins, and royalty.42
reborn, as like within a great S

As for the bodhisattva who is born family to family among gods:


There are bodhisattvas, mahasattvas who, having entered into the four concentrations, the
four immeasurables, and the four formless attainments, by the power of skill-in-means are
not reborn under the force of concentrations, meditative stabilizations, and attainments,
take rebirth among the gods from the abode of the Four Great Kings to the abode of
Controlling Others Emanations and please [the Tathagatas].43

Tsong kha pa explains in the Golden Garland (255) that the Satas
ahasrikavivaran. a classifies the Bodhisattva who is born family to family
among gods into two: those born among desire-realm deities and those
41 AAV, 41: ya esa srota-apanna ity uktah sa eva dvividhah kulamkulo veditavyah /
.
.
.
.
.
42 Pacavims ati, 64: santi bodhisattvah mahasattvah dhyanani utpadya catvarya-

.
.
.
praman.a ni catasra a rupyasamapatth. samapadyante te copayakausalyena samanvagatah.
samadhisamapattibhyo nivr.tya kamadhatav upapadyante ks.itriyamahasa lakules.u va
brahman.amahasa lakules. u va gr.hapatimahasa lakules. u va upapapadyante sattvaparipakaya / AAV, 41; Conze, 69.
43 Pacavims ati, 6465: santi bodhisattvah mahasattvah dhyanani samapadyante
.
.
.
catvaryapraman. a ni catasra a rupyasamapatth. samapadyante / te pyupayakausalyabalena dhyanasamadhisamapattivasena va caturmaharajakayikanam api devanam
.
sabhagatayai upapadyante / trayastrim
. sa nam
. yamanam
. tus.itanam
. nirman.aratnam
.
paranirmatavasavartanam. sabhagatayai upapadyante / AAV, 41: Conze, 70.

236

JAMES APPLE

born among form-realm deities. Also, these two types of bodhisattvas


that go family to family abandon the third and fourth affliction of the
desire realm, obtain the antidote of those afflictions, the uncontaminated
faculty, and are distinctive since two or three rebirths remain. The Abhisamayalam
. karavr.tti mentions the one who goes family to family as more
distinctive than a mere Stream-enterer because of having these three
qualities.44
Bodhisattva Once-returners
The second division of bodhisattvas who progress gradually is the Once
returner. Arya
Vimuktisena enumerates this one as the Ekavcikah.: That
one who is spoken of by saying Once-returner is itself an Ekavcikah..45
The Pacavim
. sati gives the following description of the bodhisattva who
is an Ekavcika:
There are bodhisattvas, mahasattvas who, obtain the four concentrations up to the eighteen
special qualities of a Buddha, they course in compliance with them. They also obtain the
ariputra, these bodhisattvas,
Nobles Four Truths and yet they do not penetrate them. S
mahasattvas should be understood to be obstructed by one life.46

This bodhisattva abandons the seventh or eighth affliction, obtains


the antidote of that, the uncontaminated faculty, and has distinction with
one extra rebirth remaining. The Abhisamayalam
. karavr.tti mentions the
Ekavcika as more distinctive than a mere Once-returner because of having
these three qualities.47 The Golden Garland (256) explains the meaning
of Ekavcika from the Abhidharmasamuccayabhas. ya48 as denoting an
interval (vci) between achieving nirvan.a by one (eka) rebirth. This
meaning is similar to the one mentioned in the allegorical sam
. gha and
is consonant with this sutra in that the Ekavcika bodhisattva has one
44

AAV, 41: sa hi tr.tyacaturthaklesaprakaraprahan. ena tatpratipaks.a nasravendriyalabhena dvitrijanmavases.ataya ca srota-apannad visis.yata iti kr.tva /
45 AAV, 41: ya esa sakrdagamty uktah sa evaikavcikah /
.
.
.
.
46 Pacavims ati, 65: santi bodhisattvah mahasattva ye caturna m dhyananam labhino
.
.
. .
.
yavad as..ta dasa namaven. ikanam
. buddhadharman. a m
. labhinastes.a m
. canurodhaya caranti /
caturn.a m a rysatyanam
. labhino na ca tani pratividhyanti / te puna bodhisattva mahasattva
ekajatipratibaddha veditavyah. / AAV, 41; Conze, 70.
47 AAV, 41: sa hi saptastaklesaprakaraprahan ena tatpratipaksa nasravendriyalabhena
..
.
.
ekajanmavases. atvac ca sakr.dagamino visis.yata iti kr.tva /
48 ASBH, Tatia, 120: ekavcikah sakrdagamyevanagamiphalapratipannako devesv
.
.
.
evaikam
. bhavam
. sam
. sr.tya parinirvati / eka vcirantaram
. janmavakasosya soyam
ekavcikah. / The Ekavcika Once-returner is only an enterer to the result of Non-returner
who, having transmigrated a single existence among the gods, is emancipated. For one
who has one interval {MW, p. 1004, wave, ripple} means the intermediate state, the
intermediate time between birth (janmavakasah.), that is the Ekavcika.

TWENTY VARIETIES OF THE SAM


. GHA

237

interval for fully enlightenment. Tsong kha pa states that even though
Abhayakaragupta explains this bodhisattva to be on the seventh or eighth
ground, it is evident that this bodhisattva would be on the tenth ground
if relying on the sutra because it explains the bodhisattva as one who is
obstructed by one rebirth (ekajatipratibaddha). Tsong kha pa also notes
that from the sutra saying obtaining the four concentrations up to the
eighteen special qualities intends that the Ekavcika has the distinction
in the lineage or ability to obtain these qualities.
Bodhisattva Non-returners

The third and final division of bodhisattvas who progress serially in Arya
Vimuktisenas system is the Non-returner. The Non-returner is described
as:
That one who is spoken of by saying, the Non-returner who abandons nine afflictions,
should be understood in five aspects.49

The Non-returner here is initially enumerated in five principal aspects:


Antaraparinirvayin, Upapadyaparinirvayin, Abhisam
. skaraparinirvayin,

Anabhisam
. skaraparinirvayin and Urdhvam
. srotas. This is in agreement
with the general enumeration given in the Abhidharmakosa.50 Tsong
kha pa, based on these principal divisions, classifies the bodhisattva

Non-returner in Arya
Vimuktisenas system into eight subdivisions.
The first subdivision consists of the bodhisattva Non-returner who
attains full enlightenment in the intermediate state (antaraparinirvayin).
The Pacavim
. sati states:
There are bodhisattvas, mahasattvas who, from the generation of the first thought of
enlightenment obtain the concentrations, the immeasurables, the formless attainments,
the thirty-seven limbs of awakening, the [ten] powers [of a Tathagata], fearlessness, the
analytical knowledges, and the eighteen special qualities [of a Buddha]. With skill-inmeans, they take rebirth among Brahmakayika gods up to the gods of Akanis..tha heaven.
Having become fully enlightened there, they work for the sake of beings.51
49 AAV, 41: ya esa navamaklesaprakaraprahan a d anagamty uktah sa pacadha
.
.
.
veditavyah. /
50 AK, vi.37ac, 358: sontarotpannasam skarasam skaraparinirvr ttih / u rdhvasrotas ca
. .
.
.
/ AKBh, 358: sa evanagam punah. pacadha bhavati / AKV, 948: sa evanagam punah.
pacadha bhavatti antaraparinirvay upapadyaparinirvay sabhisam
. skaraparinirvay
anabhisam
. skaraparinirvay u rdhvam
. srotas ceti nigamayati /
51 Pacavims ati, 6566: santi bodhisattvah mahasattva ye prathamacittotpadam
.
.
upadaya caturn.a m
. dhyananam
. labhino bhavanti / caturn.a mapraman.a nam
. labhino
bhavanti / catasr.n.a marupyasamapattnam
. labhino bhavanti / smr.tyupasthana samyakprahan.ar.ddhipadendriyabala bodhyangamargan bhavayanti / balavsa radyapratisam
. vidaven.ikabuddhadharman pratilabhante / upayakausalyena brahmakayikes.u deves.u yavad
akanis..thes.u deves.u papadyante / tatra canuttaram
. samyaksam
. bodhim abhisam
. budhya
sattvanam artham
. kurvanti / AAV, 41: Conze, 70.

238

JAMES APPLE

Tsong kha pa (Golden Garland: 256) explains this bodhisattva through the
analogy that it becomes fully enlightened instantly in whichever suitable
form realm abode, the intermediate of the three realms. The form realm
being considered the intermediate of the three realms i.e., desire, form,
and formless realms, analogous to the intermediate state between death
and future birth.
The second division of Non-returners accords with the bodhisattva
Non-returner who attain full enlightenment as soon as they are reborn
(upapadyaparinirvayin).
There are bodhisattvas, mahasattvas who, by that very generation of the first thought of
enlightenment becomes awakened into full enlightenment and turn the wheel of Dharma,
and having performed the purpose of countless immeasurable beings, achieve full nirvan.a
in the sphere of nirvan.a which leaves no aggregates behind. These [bodhisattvas] sacred
Dharma remains for an aeon or more after they have achieved nirvan.a.52

Tsong kha pa explains, based on the Suddhamat


, that this bodhisattva
generates the first thought of enlightenment, then comes down from
Akanis..tha heaven into Tus.ita heaven and thereafter descends into the
human realm, renounces the homelife, and then sits cross-legged beneath
the Bodhi tree. Tsong kha pa gives the analogy that since this bodhisattva
immediately gives birth to the mind of enlightenment and then achieves
nirvan.a, or full enlightenment, with remnant (sopadhises. a nirvan.a), the
bodhisattva is therefore called one who achieves nirvan.a by birth.
The third division of the bodhisattva Non-returner is one who achieves
full enlightenment with great effort. The Pacavim
. sati describes this Nonreturner:
There are bodhisattvas, mahasattvas who course in the six perfections, pass on from
world system to world system and there fully establish beings into enlightenment. These
bodhisattvas always make effort for the sake of sentient beings and never speak purposeless words. Always making effort for the sake of beings, they travel from Buddha-field to
Buddha-field.53

Tsong kha pa states that the analogy here is that since this bodhisattva
puts forth great effort for the sake of sentient beings, he/she is called one
52 Pacavims ati, 66: santi bodhisattvah mahasattva ye prathamacittotpadenvanut.
.
taram
. samyaksam
. bodhim abhisam
. budhyante / dharmacakram
. pravartayanty aprameyan.a masam
khyey
a
n
a
m
sattv
a
n
a
m
c
a
rtham
kr
tv
a
nir
u
padhi
s
es
e
.
.
.
. .
. nirvan.adhatau parinirvanti
tes.a m
. parinirvr.tanam
. kalpam
. va kalpavases.am
. va saddharmastis..tati / AAV, 41; Conze,
7071.
53 Pacavims ati, 66: santi mahasattva ye satparamitasu caranto lokadhato lokadhatum
.
. .
.
sam
. kramanti / tatra ca sattvan bodhaye pratis..thapayis.yanti / te nityamudyaktah. sattvanam
.
kr.taso na kadacid anarthasam
. hitam
. vacam
. bhas.ante / sattvanam
. kr.taso nityamudyakta
buddhaks.etren.a buddhaks.etram
. sam
. kranti . . . / AAV, 4142; Conze, 71.

TWENTY VARIETIES OF THE SAM


. GHA

239

who achieves nirvan.a with great effort. Tsong kha pas AA teacher, Nya
dbon kun dga dpal, compares this type of bodhisattva Non-returner to
tenth state bodhisattvas like Avalokitesvara, Tara, and Majusr based on
54
the Munimatalam
. kara. However, as we will see, Tsong kha pa will not
accept this type of comparative interpretation.
The fourth division of the bodhisattva Non-returner is the bodhisattva
who achieves nirvan.a without effort. The citation from the sutra states:
There are bodhisattvas, mahasattvas who, by the generation of the first thought of enlightenment itself, completely pass beyond from the faults of a bodhisattva and while definitely
abiding on the irreversible stage, achieve all the qualities of a Buddha.55

Following the Munimatalam


, Tsong kha pa
. kara and the Suddhamat
explains that this bodhisattva has the distinction of lineage because of
becoming enlightened quickly, with a great roar56 and with little activity.
On account of these qualities the bodhisattva is called one who achieves
nirvan.a without effort. Indian scholars like Dharmamitra (ca. 9th century)
and Tibetan scholars such as Rong ston shes bya kun rig (13671449) will
compare this type of bodhisattva Non-returner to the bhiks.u who became
the Buddha Aks.obhya and the Brahmin rgya mtshoi rdul.57
Tsong kha pa explains that in the Abhisamayalam
. karavr.tti and
the Munimatalam
. kara both the bodhisattva Non-returner who achieves
nirvan.a by being born (upapadyaparinirvayin) and the bodhisattva who
achieves nirvan.a with effort (sabhisam
. skaraparinirvayin) enters into the
path with great exertion and the bodhisattva who achieves nirvan.a without
58
effort (anabhisam
. skaraparinirvayin) enters the path without exertion.

54 Nya dbon kun dga dpal (1978: f. 193a): byang se[ms] phyir mi ong du byed pa dang

bcas da bai ming can ni / . . . / phags pa spyan ras gzigs sgrol ma jam pai dbyangs lta
buo thub dgongs so /
55 Pacavims ati, 6667: santi bodhisattvah mahasattva ye prathamacittotpadenaiva
.
.
bodhisattvan yasam avakramanti / avinirvatanyabhumau va avitis..thante / sarvabuddhadharman va samudanayanti . . . / AAV, 42; Conze, 71.
56 The Vks describes bodhisattvas as roaring the great lionss roar (mahasimhana.
danadin). See Lamotte (1994: 2 n.4).
57 Dharmamitra (PSPh: 51a.6): mngon par du byed pa med par yongs su mya ngan las
das pa ni . . . / di ltar dge slong mi khrugs pa dang bram ze rgya mtshoi rdul . . . / Rong
ston shes bya kun rig (1988: 35b.5): mngon par du byed med par mya ngan las da ba ni
/ . . . bram ze rgya mtshoi rdul dang / dge slong mi khrug pa lta buo / Nya dbon kun dga
dpal (1978: f. 193b). See Lamotte (1994: 243, f.n. 9) concerning the story of the bhiks.u
who became Aks.obhya.
58 AAV, 41 on bodhisattva with effort: sa hy abhiprayuktamargavahti krtva /
.
sabhisam
. skaraparinirvay . . . / Page 42 on bodhisattva without effort: sa hy abhiyogavahimarga iti kr.tva /

240

JAMES APPLE

The fifth division of the bodhisattva Non-returner in the system of


59

Arya
Vimuktisena is the Urdhvam
. srotas which has two subdivisions:
a bodhisattva who goes up to Akanis..tha heaven (akanis..thaparama) and
the bodhisattva who goes up to the Peak of Existence (bhavagraparama).

Arya
Vimuktisena explains the first division, the Akanis..thagah.:

This one is an Urdhvam


. srotas who transmigrates to the end of Akanis..tha heaven having
60
three aspects.

Arya
Vimuktisena takes the Akanis..thagah. as the base for three Jumpers.
The sutra states:
There are bodhisattvas, mahasattvas who, practicing the six perfections, have become
Universal Monarchs. Having taken the perfection of giving for their guide, they provide
all beings with everything that brings happiness, like food for those desiring food up
until having established beings in the path of the ten virtuous actions. Having taken rebirth
from among the gods of Brahmakayika heaven up until the gods of Akanis..tha heaven, the
will become enlightened in various Buddha-fields.61

The bodhisattva Non-returner who transmigrates to Akanis..tha heaven


has three Jumpers: a Jumper, Half-jumper, and Jumper who dies
everywhere. Tsong kha pa does not give the details from the Abhisamayalam
. karavr.tti regarding these three divisions, most likely because

they are similar to those in the allegorical sam


Vimuktisenas
. gha and Arya
system is not the commentator Tsong kha pa adheres to. Tsong kha
pa therefore merely cites the corresponding Pacavim
. sati sections in
explaining these three Jumpers.

Arya
Vimuktisena explains the bodhisattva Jumper as one who, having
degenerated from the first three concentrations, achieves the first concentration and takes rebirth in Brahmakayika heaven. Then through the
force of previous familiarization, the Jumper alternates with the fourth
concentration, and as a consequence when he dies, takes rebirth as a
Deva in Akanis..tha heaven. This bodhisattva is called a Jumper because
59 AAV, 42: u rdhvamsrotas ca pacamah / yasyordhvam gatir na tatraiva parinirvanam
.
.
.
. .

yatropapannah. / sroto gatir ity arthah. / sa dvividhah. / akanis..thaparamo bhavagraparamas


ca /
60 AAV, 42: so yam akanisthaparama u rdhvam srotas trividho bhavati /
..
.
61 Pacavims ati, 67: santi bodhisattvah mahasattva ye satsu parimitasu carantas
.
.
. .
cakravartino bhutva danaparamitam
. puraskr.tya sarvasattvanam
. sarvasukhopadhananyupasam
. haris.yanti annamannarthikebhyah. panam
. panarthikebhyah. / evam
.
gandhamalyavilepanacurn. adhupasayanasanopasraya gr.hadanadhanyaman. imuktasarvarupyapravad. a bharan.a ni jvitopakaran.a ni upasam
. haris.yanti / yavad dasakusalakarmapathes.u sattvan pratis..thapya brahmakayikes. u yavad akanis..thes.u deves.u papadyamana
nanabuddhaks. etres.v anuttaram
. samyaksam
. bodhim abhisam
. budhyante / AAV, 42; Conze,
71.

TWENTY VARIETIES OF THE SAM


. GHA

241

of jumping all of the intermediate heavens between Brahmakayika and


Akanis..tha.62 The sutra states:
There are bodhisattvas, mahasattvas who, accomplished in the four concentrations, when
degenerating from the concentrations become accomplished in the first concentration
and [as a consequence] take rebirth among the gods of Brahmakayika heaven. Then
these [bodhisattvas], having achieved the concentrations again, from rebirth in Akanis.t.ha
heaven will become fully awakened into unsurpassable complete enlightenment in various
Buddha-fields.63

The bodhisattva Half-jumper, having passed away in Brahmakayika

heaven takes birth in the Suddh


avasas heavens, and having jumper over
one heaven in between, enterers into Akanis..tha heaven.64 The sutra
describes this Half-jumper:
There are bodhisattvas, mahasattvas who, deceased from the world of Brahma, take rebirth

among the gods of Suddh


avasakayika heavens. Having jumper over one or two abodes of

Suddh
avasakayika, taking rebirth in Akanis..tha heaven they will become fully awakened
into unsurpassable complete enlightenment in various Buddha-fields.65

The bodhisattva Jumper Who Dies Everywhere is one who, having


traversed through all other abodes of the form realm, enters into Akanis..tha
heaven and then achieves enlightenment.66 The Jumper Who Dies Everywhere is described in the sutra:
There are bodhisattvas, mahasattvas who, having emanated their own body like the
spiritual body of a Tathagata, purified the abode of Tus.ita heaven, take rebirth among the
gods of Brahmakayika heaven up to the gods of Akanis..tha heaven, and with skill-in-means
teach the Dharma to hell-realm beings, and teaching the Dharma in the animal realm and
in the world of Yama.67
62 AAV, 42: tatra pluto nama yo dhyanatrayat parihnah / prathamam dhyanam a sadya
. .
.

brahmakayikes. u papannah. / purvabhyasavasa c caturthadhyanam vyavakrya tasmat pracyuto kanis..thes.u deves.u papadyate / sa hi madhye nimajjanat pluta ity ucyate /
63 Pacavims ati, 67: santi bodhisattvah mahasattva ye catvari dhyanani nispadhya
.
.
.
dhanebhyah. parihn.a h. prathamam
. dhanamasadya brahmakayikes.u deves.u papadyante
/ te punar dhyanani nis.padyakanis..thes.u papadya nana buddhaks.etres.v anuttaram
.
samyaksam
. bodhim abhisam
. budhyante / AAV, 42; Conze, 71.
64 AAV, 4243: ardhapluto nama yo brahmakayikebhyas cyutva suddhavases u papadya
.
madhyad ekam adhis..thanantaram
. vilam
. dhyakanis..than pravisati /
65 Pacavims ati, 68: santi bodhisattva mahasattva ye brahmalokac cyutva s uddha.
vases.u papadyante / te suddhavasanam ekam
. va dve va sthane vilam
. dhyakanis..thes.u
deves.u papadya nana buddhaks.etres.v anuttaram
. samyaksam
. bodhim abhisam
. budhyante /
AAV, 43: Conze, 72.
66 AAV, 43: sarvasthanacyuto nama yah sarvani sthanan tarani samcaryakanisthan
.
.
.
.
..
pravisati /
67 Pacavims ati, 68: santi s a riputra bodhisattva mahasattva ye tathagatasat.
.
.tasamatmabhavam abhinirmaya tus.itabhavanam
. parisodhya brahmakayikes. u deves.u
yavad akanis..thes.u deves.u papadyopayakausalyena nairayikan.a m
. sattvanam
. dharmam
.

242

JAMES APPLE

The second division of the Urdhvam


. srotas in the system of Arya
Vimuktisena is the bodhisattva who transmigrates to the Peak of Existence. This is a bodhisattva Non-returner who is distinguished by entering
into all the heavens and engaging in absorption, but does not enter into

the Suddh
avasas heavens, gradually enters into the Formless Realms, and
having gone to the Peak of Existences, achieves enlightenment in various
Buddha fields.68 The sutra states here:
There are bodhisattvas, mahasattvas who, in consequence of having accomplished
the concentrations and formless realm attainments, take rebirth among the gods of

Brahmakayika heaven up to rebirth among the gods of Subhakr


. tsna and then take rebirth
in the realm of limitless space up to the Peak of Existence.69

Tsong kha pa explains that since the sutra states Subhakr


. tsna, and
the Abhisamayalam
k
a
ravr
tti
comments
that
In
not
entering
only the
.
.

Suddh
avasa heaven having taken rebirth in all other abodes, gradually
produces the formless realm [attainments],70 that therefore this
bodhisattva transmigrates up to the Br.hatphala heaven. It is crucial to

note here that in dividing these bodhisattvas in the above manner, Arya
Vimuktisena treats AA, 23d24ab, akanis..thagah. / plutas trayo bhava
syagraparamo / as five subdivisions counted under the Urdhvam
. srotas.
These bodhisattvas therefore comprise only one count among the Twenty

Sam
Vimuktisena (see Figure 1).
. ghas in the system of Arya
The sixth division of bodhisattva Non-returners is the bodhisattva who
destroys the attachment to form, transmigrator to the formless realms. The
sutra describes this bodhisattva:
There are bodhisattvas, mahasattvas who, obtaining the concentrations and formless realm
attainments, take rebirth in the realm of limitless space up to the Peak of Existence and then
will be reborn in various Buddha-fields.71

Tsong kha pa does not discuss this bodhisattva other than following

Arya
Vimuktisenas statements that this Non-returner, having deceased in
desayanti tiryagyonigatanam
. sattvanam
. dharmam
. desayanti yamalaukikanam
. sattvanam
.
dharmam
. desyanti / AAV, 43; Conze, 72.
68 AAV, 43: bhavagraparamo yah samapattyantaran y a sadyan sarvasthanantare.
.
s.u papadyapravisyaiva suddhavasan a rupyakramopapattito bhavagram
. gatva nanabuddhaks.etres.v abhisambudhyate /
69 Pacavims ati, 69: santi s a riputra bodhisattva mahasattva ye dhyanarupyasama.
pattorasadayanto brahmakayikes. u yavac chubhakr.tsnes.u deves.u papadyante / tatra
a kasa nantyayatane yavad bhavagre upapadyante . . . / AAV, 43; Conze, 72.
70 AAV, 43: . . . sarvasthanantares u papadyapravisyaiva s uddhavasan a rupyakramo.
papattito . . .
71 Pacavims ati, 69: santi s a riputra bodhisattva mahasattva ye dhyanarupyasama.
pattnam
. labhinasta a kasa nantyayanate yavad bhavagre upapadyante / tato nanabudhaks.etres.u papadyante / AAV, 43; Conze, 72.

TWENTY VARIETIES OF THE SAM


. GHA

243

this realm, does not go to the form realm but takes rebirth in the formless
realm.72
The seventh division concerns the bodhisattva who is pacified in

this present life and achieves nirvan.a (dr.s..tadharmaparinirvay).73 Arya


Vimuktisena does not explain this bodhisattva other than the description
provided by the sutra:
There are bodhisattvas, mahasattvas who, at the time of practicing the six perfections,
their bodies ornamented with the thirty-two marks of a Great Individual, come to possess
unsurpassably complete pure faculties and will never take rebirth in fallen states of bad
transmigrations and do not praise themselves nor deprecate others. These bodhisattvas, by
being endowed with completely pure faculties, will become pleasing and dear to many
individuals. Whatever beings see these bodhisattvas, mahasattvas, they, through extreme
happiness in mind, gradually attain full nirvan.a through the three vehicles.74

Tsong kha pa explains that in the allegorical sam


. gha the hnayana
sravaka who pacifies in the present life achieves nirvan.a in the embodiment which first obtains the Noble path (arya marga). However, based
on the statement from the sutra, the implication is that the bodhisattva
who pacifies in the present life, causes whoever sees him/her to achieve
nirvan.a. Therefore, according to Tsong kha pa, this bodhisattva directly
pacifies others in the present existence. The Golden Garland (259) notes
that Abhayakaragupta provides another interpretation in the Munimatalam
. kara:
Because the continuity of giving, morality, and so forth is not cut off in all lives, [one] is
completely enlightened in the present life.

The eighth and final division of bodhisattva Non-returners is the


bodhisattva who is a Bodily Witness (kayasaks.). The sutra explains this
bodhisattva:
There are bodhisattvas, mahasattvas who, practicing perfect wisdom, obtain the four
concentrations, four immeasurables, four formless attainments, and playing with these,
enter into the first concentration. Emerging from that concentration, they enter into the
absorption of cessation (nirodhasamapatti). Likewise [engaging and emerging] up to the
ariputra, in this way, bodhisattvas, mahasattvas who possess skillPeak of Existence. S
in-means while practicing perfect wisdom, since they attain and increase again and again
72 AAV, 43: . . . rupavtarago nagam sa itas cyutva a rupyesu papadyate /
.
73 AAV, 43: drstdharmaparinirvay tu saptamo yad a ha . . . /
. ..
74 AAV, 43: santi s a riputra bodhisattva mahasattva ye satparamitasu caranto
. .

dvatrim
. san mahapurus.alaks.an.a lam
. kr.tamurtayo niruttaraih. parisuddhair indriyah.
samanvagata naiva kadacid apayadurgativinipates. u papadyante / natmanam utkars.ayanti
na paran pam
. sayanti te mahajanasya priyas ca bhavanti manaapas ca / ye ca sattvas tan
bodhisattvan pasyanti te tenaiva cittaprasadenanupurven. a tribhir yanaih. parinirvanti . . .
/ Pacavim
. sati, 69; Conze, 7273.

244

JAMES APPLE

these concentrations, immeasurables, meditative stabilizations, and attainments, enter into


the attainment which skips over [at will from one abode to the next] and will become
enlightened in various Buddha-fields.75

Tsong kha pa notes that Arya


Vimuktisena refers to this one as a bodily
witness since when the bodhisattva achieves the attainment of cessation,
which has a quality similar to nirvan.a and is without mind, it directly
witnesses with the body.76 Tsong kha pa accepts this explanation to be
consonant with that of the Vaibhas.ikas and Vasubandhu.77 The next type

of bodhisattva mentioned by Arya


Vimuktisena and the Pacavim
. sati is
the enterer to the result of Arhat (arhatvaphalapratipannaka). However,
Tsong kha pa does not discuss in detail this type of bodhisattva in the

system of Arya
Vimuktisena. As we have briefly mentioned, Tsong kha
pa considers the bodhisattva Non-returners in this system, beginning with
the Upapadyaparinirvayin Non-returner, to be synonymous with the Arhat

enterer. Arya
Vimuktisena briefly states that a Non-returner who has
removed the eighth affliction of the Peak of Existence is considered to be
an Arhat enterer.78 This is the same definition which Tsong kha pa accepts
when presenting the Twenty Sam
. ghas system of Haribhadra.
Bodhisattva pratyekabuddha
The fourth and final division in which Tsong kha pa classifies bodhisattvas

according to the system of Arya


Vimuktisena is the bodhisattva who is like
the horn of rhinoceros. The sutra states:
75 Pacavims ati, 70: santi s a riputra bodhisattva mahasattva ye prajaparamitayam
.
.
carantas caturn.a m
. dhyananam
. labhinas catasran.a m a rupyasamapattnam
. labhinaste
tabhivikrd.antah. prathamam
. dhyanam
. samapadyante / tato vyutthaya nirodhasamapattim
.
samapadyante / tato vyutthaya . . . naivasam
. janasam
. jayatanam
. samapadyante / . . .
evam
. hi sa riputra bodhisattva mahasattvah. prajaparamitayam
. caranta upayakausalenavaskandakena samadhm
sam
a
padya
n
a
n
a
budhaks
etres
v
anuttar
am
.
.
.
. samyaksam
.bodhim abhisam
. budhyante / AAV, 44: Conze, 73.
76 AAV, 44: yas tu nirodhasamapattilabhy anagam sa kayasaksty ucyate nirva.
n.asadr.sasya dharmasya kayena saks.a tkaran.a t / katham
. punah. kayena saks.a tkaroti /
cittabhavat kayasrayen.a tadutpatteh. /
77 Tsong kha pa quotes this section of his comments from the AKBH on AK, vi.43cd.
Pradhan, 363: katham
. punah. kayena saks.a tkaroti / cittabhavat kayasrayotpatteh. / evam
.
tu bhavitavyam / sa hi tasyadavyuthayapratilabdhapurvam. savijanakam
. kayasa ntim
.
pratilabhate / yatosyaivam
. bhavati sa nta vata nirodhasamapattir nirvan.asadr.s bata
nirodhasamapattir iti / evam anena tasyah. sa ntatvam
. kayena saks.a tkr.tam
. bhavati / When
the [Noble Being] emerges from the absorption of cessation, from the moment when
thinking, This cessation is calm like nirvan.a, a calmness of the afflicted body which
has consciousness is obtained that was never previously acquired. In this way he directly
witnesses by the body [the calmness of extinction].
78 AAV, 44: ya eso nagamty uktah / tasya yadi bhavagrikan a m klesa nam astamah
.
.
.
..
.
prakarah. prahn.o bhavati tato sav arhatvaphalapratipannaka ity ucyate /

TWENTY VARIETIES OF THE SAM


. GHA

245

ariputra, there are bodhisattvas, mahasattvas who, in Buddha-less world-systems where


S
there are no disciples will become fully enlightened in the pratyekabuddha enlightenment.
These [bodhisattvas], with skill-in-means, having matured many hundreds of thousands of
niyutas of kot.is of living beings in the three vehicles, will become completely awakened in
unsurpassable fully complete enlightenment.79

The pratyekabuddha has similar characteristics of the pratyekabuddha


of the allegorical sam
. gha in that they appear where there are no Buddhas

nor sravaka disciples. Tsong kha pa notes, according to the Suddhamat

and Munimatalam
k
a
ra:
that
the
pratyekabuddha
has
two
aspects.
The
.
first is much like the allegorical sam
. gha pratyekabuddha, having the
quality of becoming enlightened without listening to teachings from
others. The second aspect of the pratyekabuddha takes on the appearance of a pratyekabuddha. Here we are reminded of the story in the
uram
S
. gamasamadhisutra (1998: 214216) of Majusr manifesting the
figure (sam
. sthana), colors (varn.a), and bodily attitudes (ryapatha) of
a pratyekabuddha as a form of skilful means to help deliver beings.80
That sutra (1998: 111) states that a bodhisattva manifests the figure,
colors, and bodily attitudes of a pratyekabuddha, but without ever straying
inwardly from the thought of great compassion (mahakarun.a citta) of the
Buddhas.
These aforementioned divisions of the Twenty Sam
. ghas comprise the

system of Arya
Vimuktisena. The Abhisamayalam
k
a
ravr
. tti quotes twenty.
four sam
ghas
from
the
s
u
tra,
condensing
them
into
Twenty Sam
.
. ghas,
sixteen of which are explicitly stated and four of which are implicit. The

following (Figure 1) chart depicts Arya


Vimuktisenas system.
arya Haribhadras and Tsong kha pas system
Ac
The second system of the actual sam
. gha of bodhisattvas is that of
Haribhadra. This is the system whose intention (dgongs pa, abhipraya)
Tsong kha pa accepts in the Golden Garland. Haribhadras articulation
of the Twenty Sam
. ghas is mentioned in his Abhisamayalam
. karasphut.a rthavr.tti (Amano, 2000: 15) and Abhisamayalam
k
a
r
a
lok
a
(Wogihara,
.

1932: 3536). Unlike Arya


Vimuktisena, neither one of Haribhadras
commentaries are directly related to the Pacavim
. satiprajaparamita is correlated to the As..tasahasrikaprajaparamita while
sutra. The AAA
79 AAV, 44: santi s a riputra bodhisattva mahasattva ye buddhakes u lokadhatus v
.
.

apagatasravakes. u pratyekam
. bodhim abhisambudhyante / ta upayakausalena bahuni
pran.ikot.iniyuta satasahasran.i tris.u yanes.u paripacyanuttaram
. samyaksambodhim abhisambudhyanta / Pacavim
s

ati,
71;
Conze,
7374.
.
80 Rong ston shes bya kun rig (1988: 36a.2) makes note of this as well: dpa bar gro
bai mdor / bskal pa rnam par snang pa la / jam dpal gyis rang rgyal du sprul nas sems
can gyi don byed par gsungs so /

246

JAMES APPLE

(1) As.t.amaka (srota-apannapratipannaka, implicit in AA, 23a mr.dvtks.iendriya) on


path of seeing with dull and sharp faculties (vtaragapurvin)
(2) Once-returner enterer (sakr.dagami pratipannaka) and Non-returner enterer
(anagami-pratipannaka) on path of seeing with dull faculties (23a mr.dvindriya)
(vtaragapurvin)
(3) Once-returner enterer (sakr.dagami pratipannaka) and Non-returner enterer
(anagami-pratipannaka) on path of seeing with sharp faculties (23a tks.n.edriya)
(vtaragapurvin)
(4) Once-returner abider (sakr.a gami phalastha) and Non-returner abider (anagamiphalastha) with dull faculties (23ab sraddhaprapta) (vtaragapurvin)
(5) Once-returner abider (sakr.a gami phalastha) and Non-returner abider (anagamiphalastha) with sharp faculties (23ab dr.s..tiprapta) (vtaragapurvin)
(6) Stream-enterer abider (srota-apanna phalastha) who goes from family to family
among humans (23b manus.yakulam
. kula) (anupurvin)
(7) Stream-enterer abider (srota-apanna phalastha) who goes family to family
among devas (23b devakulam
. kula) (anupurvin)
(8) Once-returner enterer (23b implicit anupurvin)
(9) Ekavcika Once-returner (23c ekavci)
(10) Non-returner abider (23c implicit anupurvin)
(11) Antaraparinirvayin (23c antara)
(12) Upapadyaparinirvayin (23c utpadya)
(13) Abhisam
. skaraparinirvayin (23d kara)
(14) Anabhisam
. skaraparinirvayin (23d akara)

(15) Urdhvam
. srota
a.
b.
c.
d.
e.
(16)
(17)
(18)
(19)
(20)

Akanis..thaga
Pluta
Ardhapluta
Sarvasthanacyuta
Bhavagraparama

Ruparagahan
Drs..tadharmasama
Kayasaks.in
Arhat enterer (implicit from AA, 23c to 24c)
Pratyekabuddha (AA, 24d)

Figure 1. Twenty Sam


Vimuktisena.
. ghas according to Arya

comments on
the AASPh, perhaps representing a summary of the AAA,
the verses of the Abhisamayalam
. kara alone. Both of the commentaries
present a brief exegesis of the Twenty Sam
. ghas and as a consequence,
Tsong kha pas presentation of our own system (rang lugs) is concise
as well. While following the commentaries of Haribhadra, Tsong kha pa
divides his exegesis of the actual sam
. gha into five classifications: the
Stream-enterer, Once-returner, Non-returner, Arhat enterer, and Pratyekabuddha. Tsong kha pa mentions each one of these types of bodhisattvas
as merely possessing the name (ming can) of Stream-enterer and so

TWENTY VARIETIES OF THE SAM


. GHA

247

forth. We will discuss the relationship between the allegorical sam


. gha and
actual sam
. gha in the next section.
The first of the five divisions of the actual sam
. gha in Tsong kha pas
system consists of the Stream-enterer which has three subdivisions: a
Stream-enterer enterer, a mere abider in the result of Stream-enterer, and a
distinctive abider in the result of Stream-enterer.
First, the bodhisattva who has the name of enterer to the result
of Stream-enterer (srota-apanna pratipannaka), has a division of two
followers: those with dull faculties and those with sharp faculties. These
are individuals who strive for the abandonment, realization, and achievement of the status of Stream-enterer. They rely on the first fifteen of the
sixteenth thought-moments within the path of seeing that are arranged in
the second chapter of the AA within the context of path-omniscience.
Tsong kha pa states that they have two aspects, sharp (tks.n.a) or dull
(mr.du) faculties, from either understanding quickly or understanding after
a long time and being previously well-trained or not well-trained.81 Second
is the bodhisattva who possess the name of the mere abider in the result
of Stream-enterer (srota-apanna phalastha) and who is characterized
according to faculties like the enterers just mentioned. This is an abider
on the sixteenth thought-moment of the path of seeing who, according to
Tsong kha pa, does not abandon even one single defilement of the desire
realm to be abandoned by the path of cultivation.82 The third classification within the first division is that abider in the result of Stream-enterer
who is a distinctive abider in the result, the one who goes from family
to family (kulam
. kula) either among gods or among men. Tsong kha pa
only mentions that this one is labeled according to the root abandonment
that is obtained by the path of cultivation while Haribhadra mentions that a
Kulam
. kula has abandoned up to the fourth defilement of the path of cultivation.83 Altogether Tsong kha pa accepts five types of Stream-enterers: two
who enter the first result with dull or sharp faculties, the mere abider in the
result, and two who may have distinction in the result.
The second principal division consists of the bodhisattva who has the
name of Once-returner (sakr.dagam) and which has three subdivisions: an
enterer, a mere abider in the result, and a distinctive abider in the result.
81 Cf. AAA,
35: sam
. gha ratne mr.dvindriyadibodhisattvanam. ayam
. prabhedo grahyah.

/ vaks.yaman.amargajata-sam
. gr.htas.od.asaks.an.adarsanamargam
. a sritya pacadasasu
darsanamargacittaks. an.es.u sraddhadharmanusari-bhedena prathamaphalapratipannako
dvividhah. /
82 Cf. AAA,
35: tato yah. kamavtaragah. sa s.od.asedarsanamargacittaks. an.e srotaa pannah. /
83 AAA,
35: tato bhavanamarge yavac caturthaklesaprakaraprahan. a d devamanus.yakulam
. kulatvena sa evanyo dvividhah. /

248

JAMES APPLE

The first subdivision from among the three, an enterer to the result of
Once-returner, consists of the aspirer by faith (sraddhadhimukti) one of
dull faculties and one that obtains by seeing (dr.s..tiprapta) who has sharp
faculties. Either one of these make effort for the sake of obtaining the
result of Once-returner having abandoned the fifth desire realm affliction
by the path of cultivation. According to Tsong kha pa, who is following
Haribhadra, the two enterers to Once-returner are counted only as one
84
among the divisions of the Twenty Sam
. ghas. The second subdivision
consists of the Once-returner who is a mere abider in the result abiding on
the path of liberation which abandons the sixth desire realm affliction.85
The third subdivision is the distinctive abider in the result of Once-returner
who is called an Ekavcika. This Once-returner is distinctive because of its
abandonment and has one rebirth remaining among the gods.86 The third
division that Tsong kha pa employs regards the bodhisattvas who have the
name of Non-returner (anagam). Non-returners have two divisions of an
enterer and an abider. First, the Non-returner enterer, who may have either
sharp or dull faculties, abandons the seventh or eighth desire-realm defilement and makes effort for the sake of abandoning the ninth defilement. In
a similar manner to the Once-returner enterer, the Non-returner is counted
87
only once among the Twenty Sam
. ghas. The question may arise as to
how one can interpret one enterer to the two middle fruitions while having
earlier counted separately each one of the sharp and dull faculty enterers to
the first result. The Golden Garland (268), following the remarks of Byang
chub ye shes, states that each one is counted separately when entering
the first result because it is definite to have either dull or sharp faculties
and that there is no time to change faculties when the path of seeing is
generated uninterruptedly. Since faculties can be changed at the time of
the path of cultivation, when entering to the result of Once-returner or
Non-returner, the faculty is not definite for each one and therefore it is to
be counted as only one among the Twenty Sam
. ghas.
The second principal division among the bodhisattvas who have the
name of Non-returner is the Non-returner abider (anagamiphalastha). The
Non-returner abider is one who abandons the ninth desire-realm affliction and consists of five subdivisions.88 The first of the Non-returner
84 AAA,
35: tatah. kamavacarapacaprakaraklesaprahan. ena dvityaphalapratipannako
mr.dutiks.n.endriya evaika s raddhadr.s..tipraptah. /
85 AAA,
35: tatah. kamavacaras. at.prakaraklesaprahan. a t sakr.dagam /
86 AAA,
35: tatah. sa evaikajanmavases.atvad deves.v ekavcikoparah. /
87 AAA,
35: tatah. kamavacarasaptas..taklesaprakaraprahan. a t tr.tyaphalapratipannakah.
purvavac chraddhadr. s..tipraptah. /
88 AAA,
35: tato yah. kamavacaranavamaklesaprakaraprahan. a d anagamty ucyate sa
pacadha veditavyah. /

TWENTY VARIETIES OF THE SAM


. GHA

249

subdivisions is comprised of the Non-returner who achieves nirvan.a in


the intermediate state (antaraparinirvayin). This nominal bodhisattva, by
abandoning the fetter which achieves birth in the form realm but not
abandoning the fetter which achieves the intermediate state of whichever
suitable form realm, obtains the end of suffering through manifesting
the path in an intermediate state.89 Tsong kha pa notes that this Nonreturner, according to the Prasphut.apada, will be enlightened having
accumulated merit by that very embodiment that has taken rebirth in

the world of Brahma. Tsong kha pa states that the Suddhamat


interprets the phrase that very embodiment to refer to Akanis..tha heaven and
not to the continent of Jambu. The second of the Non-returner abiders
is the one who achieves nirvan.a by birth (upapadyaparinirvayin). This
Non-returner obtains the end of suffering by taking rebirth in the form
realm because it does not abandon either the fetter of taking rebirth or
the fetter of becoming.90 Tsong kha pa adds a curious statement that
this Non-returner will be enlightened in that life alone, having achieved
the last existence from immeasureable lives. The third subdivision of the
nominal bodhisattva Non-returner abider is the who achieves nirvan.a
with activity (sabhisam
. skaraparinirvayin) and the fourth subdivision is
the Non-returner who achieves nirvan.a without activity (anabhisam
. skaraparinirvayin).91 These two Non-returners achieve nirvan.a either through
manifesting the path with diligent effort when taking rebirth in the form
realm, or achieve nirvan.a in just the opposite manner of having effort.
With the inclusion of these two Non-returners, Tsong kha pa states (Golden
Garland, 269) that there are a total of four parinirvayin Non-returners.92

The fifth type of Non-returner consists of the Urdhvam


. srotas and
has two aspects: the Non-returner who transmigrates up to Akanis.t.ha
heaven (akanis..thaparama) and the Non-returner who may transmigrate
up to the Peak of Existence (bhavagraparama).93 The first aspect, the
Non-returner who transmigrates finally to Akanis..tha heaven, has three
subdivisions: A Jumper (pluta) to Akanis..tha who casts out abiding in
89 AAA,
35: tatropapattisam
. yojanaprahan. a d abhinirvr.ttisam
. yojanaprahan. a d antara bhavam
. abhinirvartayann evabhinirvr.tte vantarabhave margasam
. mukhbhavena
duh.khantapraptav antaraparinirvay /
90 AAA,
35: ubhayasam
. yojanaprahan. a d rupadhatav upapadya duh.khantapraptav
upapadyaparinirvay /
91 AAA,
35: tatraivopapannobhisam. skaren.a margasam
. mukhbhavad duh.khantapraptav abhisam
. skaraparinirvay / tadviparyayad anabhisam
. skaraparinirvay /
92 AASPh, 15: tatonagamy antaropapadyasabhisam skaranabhisam skaraparinirvayti
.
.
caturvidhah. /
93 AAA,
36: u rdhvasrotas ca pacamah. / sa punar akanis..thaparamo bhavagraparamas
ca /

250

JAMES APPLE

realms from Brahmakayika to Akanis..tha heaven, a Half-jumper (ardhapluta) who enters to Akanis..tha skipping over only the abodes from

Brahmakayika up to the Suddh


avasakayika, and One who dies in All
Abodes (sarvasthanacyuta) when entering to Akanis..tha having continued
on in all the abodes of the form realm.94 Tsong kha pa states that
other than the Non-returner who goes higher by transmigrating to the
Peak of Existence (urdhvam
. srotas bhavasyagraparamagah. ) there are only

three aspects to the Urdhvam


. srotas. The second aspect, the Non-returner
who transmigrates to the Peak of Existence is one who is separated
from attachment of the form realm and destroys the attachment of form
(bhavagraparamas ca rupavtaragah. ). When this Non-returner is classified, there are two aspects other than the transmigrator to Akanis..tha
heaven, one who obtains nirvan.a in this life seeing the qualities of pacification (dr.s..tadharmasamah. ) and one who witnesses with the body the
absorption of cessation (kayasaks.). On this manner of interpreting AA,
I.24bc, Tsong kha pa directly quotes Haribhadra in the Golden Garland
(270) from the Abhisamayalam
. karaloka:
The one who transmigrates to the Peak of Existence is separated from the attachment to
forms and is of two aspects: one for who there is peace in this life and one who witnesses
[absorption] with the [physical] body.95

Tsong kha pa also notes the method of exegesis of these two in

the Satas
ahasrika Prajaparamita. He states that these two in sequence,
abandon the form realm defilements to be abandoned by the path of seeing
and the form realm defilements to be abandoned by the path of cultivation
in a desire-realm embodiment, and then obtain the four formless attainments. When either one dies, they may either pass over the form realm
and take rebirth in the formless realm, or, possess the seven treasures of a
bodhisattva,96 not take another body, and become enlightened in one life.
The later one that does not take another body is explained as the supreme
bodhisattva.
The fourth principal division among the Twenty Sam
. ghas construed
according to the system of Haribhadra consists of the arhat enterer. The
bodhisattva who has the name of enterer to the result of arhat abandons
94 AAA,
36:

tatrakanis..thaparamah. plutardhasarvasthanacyutvenakanis..thapravesa
trividhah. /
95 AAA,
36.3-4: bhavagraparamas ca rupavtarago dr.s..tadharmesamah. kayasaks.ti
dvividhah. / Peking edition and Tsong kha pa has ni for ca, construing rupavtaraga as
an epithet of bhavagraparam.
96 rgyal srid sna bdun, Tshig mdzod, 558, the seven valuables: precious disk, precious
jewel, precious consort, precious minister, precious elephant, precious horse, and precious
army.

TWENTY VARIETIES OF THE SAM


. GHA

251

the eighth defilement of the Peak of Existence to be removed by the


path of cultivation and makes effort to abandon the ninth defilement.97
The fifth and final division among the Twenty Sam
. ghas concerns the
pratyekabuddha. When one manifests the path oneself through focusing
on the sravaka scriptures when a Buddha does not occur, one will be
as a pratyekajina.98 Tsong kha pa explains that when it says will be a
pratyekabuddha in the Abhisamayalam
. karaloka the intention is understood to not be an mahayana arhat and if one does interpret this as being
an arhat, it is correct to interpret this as one who possesses the name of
a sravaka arhat by means of a similar cause. Tsong kha pa concludes his
discussion from the Prasphut.a rthapada:
Finally, it is taught in three stages, [one] who makes effort for the sake of oneself, others,
and both [self and others]. The bodhisattva who [makes effort for both] is taught as
supreme.99

Therefore, Tsong kha pa follows the principles of categorizing the


Twenty Sam
. ghas through the interpretation given by the Abhisamayalam
k
a
r
a
lok
a
. In this system, seventeen sam
.
. ghas are taught explicitly in
the Abhisamayalam
. kara and three sam
. ghas are taught implicitly. The
Abhisamayalam
. karaloka concludes:
The individuals who abide in the first and second results and those who enter to the fourth
result, since they are easy to understand, are not [explicitly] explained in the arrangement
100
[of Twenty Sam
. ghas].

The system of Twenty Sam


. ghas that Tsong kha pa concludes from the
Golden Garland (271) is the definition accepted by contemporary Tibetan
scholarship:
There are five Stream-enterers, three Once-returners, ten Non-returners, an enterer to the
101
result of arhat, and pratyekabuddha makes Twenty [Sam
. ghas].

As noted above, these Twenty Sam


. ghas have been explained according
to the Abhisamayalam
k
a
r
a
lok
a
which
Tsong kha pa notes is the same
.
97 AAA,
36: tato bhavagrikas..tamaklesaprakaran. a m
. prahan.a d arhattvaphalapra tipan-

nakah. /
98 AAA,
36: tatah. sravakapit. akam evalambya svamargasam
. mukhkaran.a d abuddhotpade pratyekabuddha. . . . /
99 Prasphutapada, Pk 5194, nya 52a.3: de ltar tha mar bstan pa di gsum ni rang dang
.
gzhan gnyi gai don las byang chub sems dpa mchog tu bstan to /
100 AAA,
36.12: (tatha ca) prathmadvityaphalastham
. caturthaphalpratipannakam. ca
pudgalam
. sugamatvenasam
. gr.hyoktam
. ... /
101 Cf. Bod rgya tshig mdzod chen mo, 449: dge dun nyi shu / dge dun dkon mchog
mtshon byed dpe dge dun nyi shu ste / rgyun zhugs lnga dang / phyir ong gsum / phyir
mi ong bcu / dgra bcom zhugs pa / bse ru lta bui rang sangs rgyas bcas nyi shu tham
pao /

252

JAMES APPLE

system of Dharmakrtisr, a teacher of Atisa Dipam


. karasrjana. The
Golden Garland (271) also notes that Prajakaramati explains afflictions
abandoned by the bodhisattva u rdhvam
. srotas are abandoned by a mundane
path of cultivation. However, Tsong kha pa rejects this interpretation

because it is not discussed by either Arya


Vimuktisena or Haribhadra.
Based on the above interpretation of Tsong kha pa and Haribhadra, the
Abhisamayalam
. kara verses on the Twenty Sam
. ghas would be translated
in the following manner:
23 ab.
cd.
24 ab.
cd.

mr.dutks.n.endriyau sraddhadr. s..tipraptau kulam


. kulau /
ekavcyantarotpadya karakarakanis..thagah. //
plutas trayo bhavasyagraparamo ruparagaha /
dr.s..tadharmasramah. kayasaks. khad.gas ca vim
. s atih. //

There are Twenty [categories]: the [(1) Stream-enterer enterer] with dull and [(2) Streamenterer enterer] with sharp faculties, [(3) the Stream-enterer abider], the [(6) Once-returner
and (9) Non-returner enterer] who have attained faith and vision, [the Stream-enterer
abider] born from family to family [(4) among gods and (5) among humans], (7) one born
with an interval, [(8) the Once-returner abider], (10) those who are born in the intermediate
state, (11) those who are born, (12) with effort and (13) effortlessly, those who proceed
to Akanis.t.ha the (1416) three who leap, those who go to the upper limit of the world
destroying attachment to the form realm being the (17) one who pacifies in the present and
the (18) bodily witness, [(19) the arhat enterer], and the (20) one who is like the horn [of
a rhinoceros].

The chart (Figure 2) on the following page depicts this system of


interpretation.
Relationship between the actual sam
. gha and the allegorical sam
. gha
We have so far given a detailed description of the allegorical sam
. gha,
comprised of sravakas and pratyekabuddhas, and the actual sam
. gha
constituted by irreversible bodhisattvas. The relationship between these
two types of sam
. gha is discussed by only the Tibetan tradition since our

principal Indian commentators, Arya


Vimuktisena and Haribhadra, present
these sam
ghas
as
irreversible
(avaivartika)
bodhisattvas. Tsong kha pa
.
therefore examines all the relevant Indian source material before him and
combines various strands of sutra and sa stra to provide a coherent explanation of how to properly understand the actual sam
. gha (mtshon bya don
gyi dge dun).
One of the first remarks Tsong kha pa states in regard to the relationship between the actual sam
. gha and allegorical sam
. gha relates to
the Abhidharmic scholasticism which influenced the two major Indian

AA commentators Arya
Vimuktisena and Haribhadra. In relation to Arya
Vimuktisena, Tsong kha pa states:

TWENTY VARIETIES OF THE SAM


. GHA

(1)
(2)
(3)
(4)
(5)
(6)
(7)
(8)
(9)
(10)
(11)
(12)
(13)

253

Stream-enterer enterer with dull faculties (23a)


Stream-enterer enterer with sharp faculties (23a)
Stream-enterer abider (23a implicit)
Stream-enterer abider Kulam
. kula among humans (23b)
Stream-enterer abider Kulam
. kula among devas (23b)
Once-returner enterer with dull and sharp faculties (23ab)
Ekavcika Once-returner (23c)
Once-returner abider (23b implicit)
Non-returner enterer with dull and sharp faculties (23ab)
Antaraparinirvayin (23c)
Upapadyaparinirvayin (23c)
Abhisam
. skaraparinirvayin (23d)
Anabhisam.skaraparinirvayin (23d)

Following three are Akanis..thaparama (23d24a)


(14) Pluta
(15) Ardhapluta
(16) Sarvasthanacyuta
Following two are Bhavagraparama and ruparagahan (24ad)
(17)
(18)
(19)
(20)

Dr.s.t.adharmasama
Kayasaks.in
Arhat enterer (23d24c implicit)
Pratyekabuddha (24d)
Figure 2. Twenty Sam
. ghas according to Haribhadra and Tsong kha pa.

The Arya
[Vimuktisena] explains both the [one who] skips [fruitions] and the [one who
progresses] gradually. Along with this, there are two who have sharp and dull faculties
and two, one who aspires by faith and one who obtains by seeing, making four abider
and enterers who skip [fruitions] and since the remaining [sam
. ghas] are connected
with [those who progress] gradually, these sam
ghas
are
explained
in harmony with the
.
Abhidharmakosa.102

As we have seen, in the allegorical sam


. gha those who skip fruitions are

defined from the Abhidharmakosa and Arya


Vimuktisena interprets four
of the Twenty Sam
ghas
to
be
those
who
are
previously separated from
.
attachment (vtaragapurvin). Tsong kha pa therefore correlates these two
ways of enumerating the Twenty Sam
. ghas, one in regard to the allegorical
sam
gha
and
the
other
to
the
actual
sam
.
. gha, to be consonant.
Tsong kha pa depicts the relationship between enumerating the
allegorical sam
. gha and the actual sam
. gha according to Haribhadra in the
following manner:
102 Golden Garland, 260: phags pas ni thod rgal ba dang rim gyis pa gnyis dang
mtshungs par bshad de / de yang dbang po rno rtul gnyis dang dad thob gnyis ni thod
rgal bai zhugs gnas bzhi dang / lhag ma rnams mthar gyis pa dang sbyar zhing de dag
kyang mdzod dang mthun par chad do /

254

JAMES APPLE

arya [Haribhadra] in his Abhisamayalam


Ac
. karaloka explains all the Sam
. ghas similar with
[those who progress] gradually and [his] explanation is principally in harmony with the
Abhidharmasamuccaya.103

Tsong kha pa in both his Stairway and Golden Garland has made an
effort to direct his interpretation of the allegorical sam
. gha and actual
sam
. gha to be in agreement with statements from the Abhidharmasamuccaya and Haribhadra. Tsong kha pa wishes to correlate the manner of
presentation of this text and author in order to articulate a homogeneous
system of interpreting the Twenty Sam
. ghas from both perspectives of the
allegorical sam
. gha and actual sam
. gha. Along these lines, Tsong kha pa
notes that neither of the aforementioned commentarial methods demonstrate a correlation of the simultaneous abandoners in the allegorical
sam
. gha to the actual sam
. gha.
Tsong kha pa relates that previous commentators have explained that
there are three qualities of resemblance between the actual sam
. gha of
irreversible bodhisattva and the allegorical sam
gha
of
s

r
a
vakas:
the
quali.
ties of abandonment, realization, and the manner of taking rebirth. Tsong
kha pa states that the method of explaining the quality of abandonment between the actual sam
. gha and sam
. gha illustration is explained
in the two great commentaries of Haribhadra, the Abhisamayalam
.karaloka and Sphut.a rtha, the Durbodhaloka of Kulandatta, the Abhisamayalam
. karavr.ttipin.d.a rtha of Prajakaramati, the Munimatalam
. kara
and Marmakaumud of Abhayakaragupta, and the Prasphut.apada of
Dharmamitra. This quality has been documented above in the presentation
of Haribhadras system.
Tsong kha pa examines other distinctive qualities of the actual sam
. gha
through analyzing the difficult points of the PP sutra, the levels (bhumi)
to which the various actual sam
. gha members are thought to correspond,
and the intention which is meant when the characteristics and designations
of the sravaka sam
. gha are applied to the actual sam
. gha. The first point
concerns the sections of the PP sutra which are difficult to interpret in
relation to mahayana doctrine. For instance, bodhisattvas are thought to
avoid rebirth in the heavens of long lived deities in order to help beings.
Tsong kha pa cites the Sutra of Expanded Gnosis (*janavistarasutra) in
support of this opinion:
Monks! Only one who is called equally abiding in all objects is a vessel of the Mahayana.
It will also be eloquent to say that, Nirvan.a is brought about for the purpose of human

103 Golden Garland, 260: slob dpon gyis ni rgyan snang du thams cad kyang mthar gyis

pa dang mtshungs par bshad cing gtso por kun las btus dang mthun par chad do /

TWENTY VARIETIES OF THE SAM


. GHA

255

rebirths since there are not others to be trained when taking rebirth among long-lived
gods.104

However, there are sections of the PP sutra which mention bodhisattvas


taking rebirth among the long-lived deities. Tsong kha pa states that rebirth
in the heavens of long lived deities is generally outside the scope of the
Noble Being (arya) bodhisattva since rebirth there generates improper
views and is considered an inopportune rebirth. However, Tsong kha pa
states that ordinary individual bodhisattvas who are reborn there, by the
force of wisdom do not generate wrong view. Tsong kha pa quotes from the
Conquering Harm to the Three Mothers to demonstrate his interpretation:
Formerly, with no skill-in-means, although making effort in the practice of the concentrations and the practice of the perfections, because [one] does not have skill-in-means, [one]
takes rebirth among the long-lived gods and in the interval of a single existence at that time
will not be making effort in the perfections, later at the time of rebirth among humans,
practicing in the perfections, although making forceful effort of practice, [one] will have
dull faculties.105

Tsong kha pa therefore explains that it is only in previous lives that one
is born among long-lived gods and that later, having taken rebirth among
humans and obtaining the Noble Path, one is established as having dull
faculties.
Tsong kha pa states that it is also incorrect to assert that the bodhisattva
Non-returner who is characterized as a transmigrator to the Peak of Existence and destroyer of the attachment to Form (bhavagraparama and
ruparagahan) to take rebirth in the formless realm. This is based on a
citation from the Ratnagun.asam
. cayagatha:
The good qualities of enlightenment come through practicing the perfections. Therefore
one does not take pains for the purpose of birth in the formless realms106

Tsong kha pa notes that this type of bodhisattva Non-returner is called


a transmigrator up to the Peak of Existence because this one is able to
104 Golden Garland, 1970: 262: dge slong dmigs pa kun la gnas par mtshungs pa zhes

bya ba theg chen gyi snod cig yod pa lha tshe ring por skyes pa na gdul bya gzhan med
nas mya ngan las das te yang mir skyes pai don mdzad do zhes gsungs pa yang legs par
gshad par gyur ro zhes zer te /
105 Golden Garland, 1970: 262: [yum gsum gnod joms las] / thabs la mi mkhas pa snga
ma ni bsam gtan gyi spyod pa dang pha rol tu phyin pai spyod pa la brtson yang thabs mi
mkhas par gyur pai phyir lha tshe ring por skyes te / dus de srid gcig gi bar du pha rol tu
phyin pa rnams la mi brtson par gyur nas phyis mii nang du skyes pai tshe sngon pha rol
tu phyin pa la spyod spyod pai mthus brtson par byed kyang dbang po rtul por gyur te /
zhes . . .
106 Close to Ratnagunasamcayagatha, XXIX.6 cd: a rupyadhatu upapatti na prarthayant
.
.
/ ma syat hi bodhigun.aparamitana hanih. /

256

JAMES APPLE

obtain the formless realm absorption, the cause of rebirth there, and therefore is called as such because of his meditative ability. However, through
skilful means this type of bodhisattva Non-returner does not take rebirth
in the formless realm. In relation to this issue, Tsong kha pa cites the
Abhidharmasamuccaya which states that a bodhisattva . . . possesses the
concentrations which abandon the aspect of the formless realm.107 The
Abhidharmasamuccayabhas. ya states:
The bodhisattva practices in the desire and form [realms] but does not practice in the
formless realm because it is not an abode in which to fully ripen sentient beings. Those
attaining the specialty of force are not born there.108

The second topic which Tsong kha pa addresses relates to the


spiritual levels (bhumi) to which the various actual sam
. gha members
are thought to correspond. Tsong kha pa (Golden Garland, 265) articulates the explanation given by Abhayakaragupta in his Munimatalam
. kara.
Abhayakaragupta appears to equate the removal of path of cultivation
defilements with the attainment of various bodhisattva spiritual levels. In
this text while the two enterers who have either weak or dull faculties abide
on the first fifteen thought-moments of the path of seeing, the two who go
from family to family (kulam
. kula) are located from the second bhumi up to
the fifth bhumi. Abhayakaragupta regards the Once-returner enterer to be
located on the sixth bhumi while the Once-returner and Ekavcika reside
on the seventh bhumi. The Non-returner enterer is positioned on the eighth
or ninth bhumi and the Non-returners, from the one who achieves nirvan.a
in the intermediate state (antaraparinirvay) up to the Bodily-Witness, are
considered to be situated on the tenth bhumi. Tsong kha pa comments that
the Marmakaumud of Abhayakaragupta places the Ekavcika on either
the seventh or eighth bhumi and that the five Non-returners, from the one

who achieves nirvan.a in the intermediate state up to the Urdhvam


. srotas,
abandon the path of cultivation defilements and are Arhat enterers. The
spiritual level for the pratyekabuddha does not occur in either of these two
commentaries.
Another commentator that Tsong kha pa examines is Rngog lo tsa ba
blo ldan shes rab (10591109 C.E.). Rngog blo ldan shes rab correlates the
levels of the actual sam
. gha members within four different bhumis: prathamacittotpadika, caryapratipanna, avaivartika, and ekajatipratibaddha.
107 AS, Rahula, 158; Pradhan, 91: kamavacaro rupavacaro bodhisattvah katamah /
.
.
a rupyadhatuvyavakars. itena dhyanena sam
. prayukto dhyanasukhair viharatti kamadhatav
apy upapanno rupadhatav apy upapannah. pudgalah. /
108 ASBh, Tatia, 121: dhyanasukhair viharaty aparihna eva dhyanebhyah dhyanavya.
.
vartanakusalatvat sattvaparipacanartham. kamadhatav api bodhisattva upapadyata iti
boditavyam /

TWENTY VARIETIES OF THE SAM


. GHA

257

This articulation corresponds closely to the oldest systems of articulating bodhisattva levels (Poussin, 1910: 744). Rngog blo ldan shes rab
in articulating the twenty members of the actual sam
. gha posits a set of
five Stream-enterers who are considered to have generated the first supermundane thought (prathamacittotpadika). The two enterers and abiders in
the result of Once-returner along with two Non-returner enterers comprises
four that have entered into the activity (caryapratipanna). There are
nine different types of abiders in the result of Non-returner that are
considered irreversible (avaivartika). According to Tsong kha pa, Rngog
blo ldan shes rab asserts the arhat enterer to be obstructed by one
rebirth (ekajatipratibaddha) and the pratyekabuddha to be arranged into
whichever of these four levels.109
Tsong kha pa himself, however, rejects the association of these sam
. ghas
to the stages of spiritual levels (bhumis). Tsong kha pa cites as an example
as to why this is not feasible from the section of the sutra where the
Dharma follower and the Ekavcika are stated to be bodhisattvas who
are obstructed by one birth (ekajatipratibaddha). Other than this example,
Tsong kha pa does not go into detail as to why he rejects the bhumis to be
applied to these sam
. ghas. This will become clearer when we discuss how
the characteristics and designations of the sravaka sam
. gha are applied to
the actual sam
gha.
.
The final point Tsong kha pa discusses concerning the actual sam
. gha
relates to how the characteristics and designations of the sravaka sam
. gha
are applied to the actual sam
gha.
Since
the
members
of
the
actual
sam
.
. gha
are not correlated with the bhumis, a question arises: Are the bodhisattvas that have been explained as Stream-enterers and so forth actual
Stream-enterers in a literal sense, or are they special designations i.e.,
denaturalized terminology, used to insinuate something more? Along these
lines, Tsong kha pa quotes first the scholar Byang chub Ye shes:
Just as entering to the path which is the stream of nirvan.a in the time period of the sravaka,
is posited as the characteristic, arranged as a Stream-enterer and so forth, likewise, it is
109 Cf. Rngog blo ldan shes rab (1993: 4142): de nas sa bcu la gnas pa yin par dod do

/ de yang bzhi ste jig rten las das pai sems dang po bskyed pa dang / spyod pa la zhugs
pa (42) dang / phyir mi ldog pa dang / skye ba gcig gis thogs pao / dang po la lnga ste
/ dad pai rjes su brang ba dang / chos kyi rjes su brang ba dang / rgyun du zhugs pai
bras bui dngos gzhi la gnas pa dang / dei khyad par la gnas pa gnyis te lngao / spyod
pa la zhugs pa ni bzhi ste / dad pas mos pa dang / mthong pas thob pa dang / lan gcig
phyir ong bai dngos gzhi la gnas pa dang / dei khyad par bar chad gcig pao / phyir mi
ldog pa ni dgu ste / phyir mi ong bai dngos gzhi la gnas pa gcig dang / dei khyad par la
gnas pa brgyad do / dgra bcom pai rgyu la zhugs pa ni skye ba gcig gis thogs pa yin no /
rang sangs rgyas kyang ji ltar rigs par de bzhir du ba nyid do /

258

JAMES APPLE

established as a Stream-enterer and so forth for entering to the path which is the stream of
Buddhahood.110

Therefore, Tsong kha pa accepts that just as one uses terms like
Stream-enterer to indicate those sravakas that are progressing toward a
nirvan.a that is an emancipation from sam
. sara, the terms Stream-enterer
and so forth can be applied to those individuals who are progressing
towards anuttarasam
. yaksam
. bodhi i.e., Buddhahood.
Tsong kha pa states that in the Prajaparamita sutras, the bodhisattva
is not demonstrated by scholastic denaturalized terminology such as
enterer and abider to the results of Stream-enterer, Once-returner, Nonreturner or pratyekabuddha. However, Tsong kha pa (Golden Garland,
265) considers that Maitreyanatha, in commenting on the meaning of
the Prajaparamita sutra through the Abhisamayalam
. kara, employs
well-known scholastic denaturalized terminology, such as sraddhanusar,
dharmanusar, ekavcikah. , etc. as a form of skilful means to generate
awareness for the bodhisattva sam
. gha. Tsong kha pa explains that since
scholastic terminology is well known in the commentarial literature of the
sravaka vehicle to elucidate the sam
. gha, that Maitreya has also utilized
this terminology to illuminate the sam
. gha of bodhisattvas.
In order to clarify the hermeneutics of Maitreyanathas approach,
Tsong kha pa cites and analyzes another sutra which he claims utilizes
a similar interpretative technique, the Avaivartikacakrasutra. This sutra
is also referred to in the Abhisamayalam
. karavr.tti (1967: 46) and Abhisamayalam
. karaloka (1932: 36) although it is not discussed at any length in
either commentary. The Avaivartikacakrasutra111 (Pk.906, Taipei, 240) is
avast,
a mahayana sutra said to have been preached by the Buddha, at Sr
in the Jeta Grove of Anathapin.d.ada. The sutra depicts the Buddha teaching
the wheel of the irreversible doctrine (avaivartikadharmacakra) where
all beings are destined for Buddhahood. Among the topics in this sutra, the

Buddha articulates to Ananda


what is meant when he states sraddhanusar,
dharmanusar, etc. Tsong kha pa paraphrases a brief passage from the
sutra in order to demonstrate this:

110 Golden Garland, 1970: 265: nyan thos kyi skabs su myang das gyi rgyun lam yin la

zhugs pas de mtshan nyid par jog pa de bzhin du sangs rgyas kyi rgyun lam la zhugs pa la
yang rgyun zhugs sogs su bzhag pa dngos su gyur bas . . . /
111 See Handurukande (1973) for an overview of this sutra. As a side note, I have visited
a temple in Horen-cho, Nara city, Nara prefecture, Japan which is named after this sutra
called Futai-ji = Futaiten borin ji = Avinivartanya-dharmacakra temple. This temple
was established in 847 of the common era.

TWENTY VARIETIES OF THE SAM


. GHA

259

[These] nine symbols: the two followers [of faith and doctrine], the Eighth, Streamenterer, Once-returner, Non-returner, arhat, sravaka, and pratyekabuddha are employed
in [reference to the] bodhisattva.112

Tsong kha pa explains however, that the discourse in this sutra is not
definitive in meaning and is not to be taken literally because if it was, the
sravaka, pratyekabuddha, and arhat who are mentioned as bodhisattvas
may cause one to be confused and combine the individuals of the three
vehicles together. Tsong kha pa paraphrases another section of the sutra to
demonstrate the intention the Buddha has in utilizing this terminology:
Monks, established similar to the example of the generation of the recognition of water in
the waterless Jetavana grove, the four results of Stream-enterer and the pratyekabuddha
and so forth are not recognized as these [results], the bodhisattva, for the sake of removing
the recognition of these, is explained as the Eighth, etc. . . .113

Tsong kha pa notes here that those who are in the lineages of the
sravaka and pratyekabuddha vehicles are satisfied by obtaining the results
among the four fruitions and the result of self-liberation and do not have
the resolution or inspiration to achieve anything more than that. This sutra
has the intention to guide beings toward the mahayana vehicle, and therefore as a form of skilful means, the Buddha teaches these individuals
themselves to be bodhisattvas.
Tsong kha pa cites a series of stanzas from the Avaivartikacakrasutra in order to demonstrate the intentional and scriptural basis
112 Tsong kha pa paraphrases in the Golden Garland, 265: byang sems la rjes brang

gnyis brgyad pa rgyun zhugs phyir ong phyir mi ong dgra bcom nyan thos rang rgyal te
dgui brda mdzad do / I have not located an exact passage in the sutra which corresponds
to this but there are many which are similar. For instance, Taipei #240, 493: dad pas rjes
su brang ba yongs su bstan pa dang / de bzhin du de bzhin gshegs pas gang la dgongs te /
chos kyi rjes su brang pa dang / brgyad pa dang / rgyun du zhugs pa dang / lan cig phyir
ong pa dang / phyir mi ong pa dang / nyan thos dgra bcom pa dang / rang sangs rgyas
yong su bstan pa de / . . . de bzhin gshegs pas de dag nyid byang chub sems dpai chos zhe
de skad yongs su bstan to /
113 Golden Garland, 1970: 265: dge slong rnams rgyal byed tshal chur med pa la chui
du shes skyes pa dper bzhag nas rgyun zhugs sogs kyi bras bu bzhi dang rang rgyal min
pa la de dag du du shes pa de dag gi du shes bsal bai phyir du byang sems la brgyad pa
la sogs par bshad pai dgongs pa di dag go / Compare with occurrence in Taipei #240,
489: [kun dga bo] bcom ldan das dge slong dag ni mchi pai rngo mi thogs so / de cislad
du zhe na / rgyal bu rgyal byed tshal bas par chab dang bsdo ba gsal pas bltams par
mthong ngo / bcom ldan das kyis bkal stsal pa / kun dga bo dge slong de dag ni chu ma
yin pa la chur du shes / ji ltar dge slong de dag chu ma yin pa la chur du shes pa de bzhin
du de dag rgyun du zhugs pai bras bu ma yin pa la rgyun du zhugs pai bras bur du
shes / lan cig phyir ong pai bras bu ma yin pa la lan cig phyir ong pai bras bur du
shes / phyir mi ong pai bras bu ma yin pa la phyir mi ong pai bras bur du shes / dgra
bcom pa nyid kyi bras bu ma yin pa la dgra bcom pa nyid kyi bras bur du shes / rang
sangs rgyas nyid ma yin pa la rang sangs rgyas su du shes. . . . /

260

JAMES APPLE

of the Buddhas methodology in teaching bodhisattvas identified through


scholastic terminology. However, each stanza is taken from a separate
section of the sutra in which a certain type of individual is discussed by

the Buddha to Ananda.


In the sutra, the Buddha gives a whole discourse
on a certain type of bodhisattva who obtains the name from sravaka
terminology, say for instance sraddhanusarin the follower by way of
faith. After the Buddha gives a discourse as to why a bodhisattva takes
up the name of whichever sravaka, he follows the discussion with a series
of stanzas which serve as a summary of the topic. Tsong kha pa (Golden
Garland, 266) cites the first summary verse of each type of individual as
follows:
There is no attachment when seeing the Buddha and that causes faith for immeasurable
sentient beings, they have no attachment for him. Therefore, the intelligent follow by
faith.114
The stream of dharmas are inconceivable, yet one does not pass beyond that stream, that
very dharma is subsequently obtained. Therefore, one is called a Dharma-follower.115
Well beyond the eight faults, and touching upon the eight liberations, there is no desire for
the eight purities. Therefore, one is called the Eighth.116
Definitely proclaiming a stream for the path, although Buddhas path is unthinkable,
whomever abides here, the [Buddha] and those [people] are diligent for the stream.117
Whoever excellently teaches the many conditions which will achieve enlightenment,
saying these conditions should be known, there is a returner searching for these
[conditions].118
Above even the three transmigrations, that one does not return or transmigrate when
obtaining the qualities of a Buddha. That one is called a Non-returner.119
Whoever destroys all the afflictions of sentient beings who suffer exceedingly, liberating
beings from the afflictions, one who does that is called an arhat.120
114 Avaivartikadharmacakra sutra, T, fol. 499.3: sangs rgyas mthong ba bchags med la /

sems can dpag med dad par byed / de ni de la chags pa med / de phyir blo ldan dad pas
brang / The following citations are from Taipei edition of Bkai gyur, vol. 13: 416433.
115 Ibid., 502.7: chos rgyun bsam gyis mi khyab pa / rgyun de las kyang da mi byed /
chos nyid de ni rjes su thob / de phyir chos rjes brang zhes gsungs /
116 Ibid., 506.6: log pa brgyad las shin tu das / rnam par thar pa brgyad la reg / yang
dag brgyad la zhen pa med / de phyir brgyad pa zhes brjod do /
117 Ibid., 510.7: lam la rgyun ces ngas brjod do / bsam du med pa sangs rgyas lam / gang
dag la lar dir gnas pa / de dang de dag rgyun la gzhol /
118 Ibid., 514.6: gang gis byang chub grub gyur ba / rkyen rnams mang po rab gsungs
pa / des na de lan cig ong / rkyen de shes par bya o zhes /
119 Ibid., 518.6: gro ba rnam gsum gang du yang / de ni phyir zhing mi gro ste / sangs
rgyas chos rnams thob pas na / de ni phyir mi ong zhes brjod /
120 Ibid., 524.6525.1: gang gis sems can rab sdug bsngal / nyon mongs thams cad de yis
bcom / nyon mongs pa las sems can dgrol / des de dgra bcom zhes brjod do /

TWENTY VARIETIES OF THE SAM


. GHA

261

Caused to proclaim without difficulty, the unelaborated, pacified, Enlightenment,


proclaiming in immeasurable lives, one who does that is called a sravaka.121
Ignorance is just like space and all dharmas are without a distinguishing characteristic,
when one directly perceives this [that person] is called a pratyekabuddha.122

As one can see, outside the sphere of the Avaivartikacakrasutra itself


and the background discussion of each verse, these stanzas are cryptic and
terse and do not reveal the complete intention that stands behind them.
These stanzas most likely represent word plays on the Sanskrit ideal figure
terminology lost in the Tibetan translation. Nevertheless, Tsong kha pa
does not wish to give a full discourse on that sutra and its meaning.
He merely wishes to show the type of intention that is presented by the
Avaivartikacakrasutra through briefly demonstrating how the terms of the
Eighth, Stream-enterer and so forth are posited.
Bodhisattvas take on the name and quality of the various sravaka
Noble Beings through mere nominal designation.123 The Prajaparamita
literature repeatedly states that while coursing in the practice of
prajaparamita i.e., viewing things through cognizing emptiness,
bodhisattvas see the various stages from Stream-enterer up to Buddhahood as being like an illusion.124 A bodhisattva, if obtaining a result such
as Stream-enterer, does not think I have obtained the result of Streamenterer.125 A bodhisattva acts and lives in a non-dual unity of emptiness
and awareness fused with compassion for all beings. As Subhuti states to
ariputra near the end of the first chapter of the Pacavim
S
. sati:
ariputra, the goal and full realization do exist, but not both [in an everyday
Honorable S
ariputra, both the goal and full realization are posited
and ultimate sense.] Honorable S
through transactional conventions of the everyday world. The [goals of] Stream-enterer,
Once-returner, Non-returner, arhat, pratyekabuddha, bodhisattva, and [even] Buddha are
[mere] transactual conventions of the everyday world. In the perspective of the highest
121 Ibid., 531.3: byang chub zhi ba spros pa med / rnyog pa med pa sgrogs par byed /

skye po dpag tu med la slags / des de nyan thos zhes brjod do /


122 Ibid., 539.7540.1: ma rig nam mkha ji bzhin te / chos rnam thams cad mtshan nyid
med / di ni mngon su gyur pas na / rang rgyal pa zhes brjod pa yin /
123 An example from the Pacavims ati (38.1921) refers to bodhisatta and bodhi as
.
only a name but this extends to all things including stages of Noble Beings: bodhisattvah.
prajaparamitayam
. carann evam upaparks.ate namamatram idam
. yad idam
. bodhisattva
iti namamatram idam
. yad uta bodhir iti namamatra idam
. yad uta buddha iti /
124 Asta, Conze, 1979: 9899.
..
125 This intention occurs for the stages of Once-returner, Non-returner, and Arhat as
well. Vajracchedika, Conze, 1957: 33ff, section 9a: tat kim
. manyase Subhute api nu srotaa pannasyaivam
. bhavati maya srota-apattiphalam
. praptam
. iti / Subhutir a ha no hdam
.
Bhagavan na srota-apannasyaivam
. bhavati maya srota-apattiphalam
. praptam
. iti . . . /

262

JAMES APPLE

meaning, there is neither goal nor realization, no Stream-enterer, no Once-returner, no


Non-returner, no arhat, no pratyekabuddha, no bodhisattva, no Buddha.126

Therefore, all stages are ultimately seen as like illusions, like a fictitious person. Yet, even though these results are like an illusion, through
skill-in-means a bodhisattva assumes the gestures, guises, and appearances
of various types of Noble Beings in order to spiritually mature sentient
beings. Moreover, bodhisattvas master, accomplish, and play with all the
meditational attainments and realizations of all the various sravaka stages
in order to mature beings who are training in those types of stages. In this
instance, bodhisattvas share similar nomenclature with Noble Beings of
the sravaka vehicles for the sake of developing sentient beings awareness for the mahayana sam
. gha of irreversible bodhisattvas destined for
anuttarasam
yaksambodhi.
.
Therefore, based on the example of the Avaivartikadharmacakrasutra,
Tsong kha pa can then correlate the methodology of how these nine individuals from the sutra are established as bodhisattvas to the manner in
which the Twenty Sam
. ghas in the Abhisamayalam
. kara are also bodhisattvas. The Golden Garland cites the Marmakaumud which comments on
this methodology:
The similarity of names with sravaka individuals is for the purpose of gaining conviction
127
in the [avaivartika bodhisattva] sam
. gha.

Tsong kha pa explains that some individuals may think, The sam
. gha
is only the four pairs of sravaka individuals and not have any resolution for the sam
. gha of irreversible bodhisattvas. Tsong kha pa asserts that
Maitreyanatha has employed the denaturalized terminology describing the
sravaka Noble Individuals, the four pairs of individuals and so forth, for
the sake of reversing the improper understanding that may arise in regards
to the mahayana sam
. gha.
However, even with this articulation of how bodhisattvas are presented
in relation to the Twenty Sam
. ghas, Tsong kha pa explains that this understanding may hold the possibility of belittling the correct understanding
of the mahayana bodhisattva. This may occur through the consequence
of mixing together the vehicles of sravakayana, pratyekabuddhayana,
126 Pacavims ati, 261: subhuti a ha / asty a yusmantam s a riputram praptir asty abhis.
.
.
.
amayo na punar dvayam
. / api tu khalu punar a yus.mantam
. sa riputram
. lokavyavaharen. a
praptis cabhisamayas ca prajapyate lokavyavaharen. a srota-apanno va sakr.dagam va
anagam va arhan va pratyekabuddho va bodhisattvo va buddho va prajapyate na punah.
paramarthena praptir nabhisamayo na srota-apanno na sakr.dagam nanagam narhanna
pratyekabuddho na bodhisattvo na buddhah. /
127 From the Golden Garland, 1970: 267: zla od du nyan thos kyi gang zag dang ming
dra ba ni dge dun nyid du yid ches bai don du o /

TWENTY VARIETIES OF THE SAM


. GHA

263

bodhisattvayana if taking the aforementioned explanations in a literal


and strict manner. To demonstrate this, Tsong kha pa quotes from the
Abhidharmasamuccaya:
Why will the bodhisattva, by entering into immaculate bodhi, not become a Streamenterer? Because entry into the stream is imperfect in regards to the practice [of the
path]. Why will [the bodhisattva] not become a Once-returner? Because in [attaining the
good] thought [the bodhisattva] accepts unlimited rebirths. Why will [the bodhisattva]
not become a Non-returner? Because after abiding in the concentrations, [the bodhisattva]
takes rebirth in the desire realm.128

Therefore, even though a bodhisattva may take on the terminology that


is representative of the various types of sravakas, the bodhisattva will not
carry the strict defining characteristics that may pertain to a particular type
of sravaka.

CONCLUDING REMARKS
Our task has been to provide an exegetical presentation of the Tibetan
interpretation of the Twenty Sam
. ghas based on the works of Tsong kha pa
blo bzang grags pa. The topic of the Twenty Sam
. ghas is important because
it provides the defining characteristics of one of the three essential components i.e, Buddha, Dharma, and Sam
. gha that are accepted as objects
of refuge universally among Buddhists. More specifically, the topic of the
Twenty Sam
. ghas incorporates methods of taxonomic organization through
which the list of the twenty individuals provides a worldview in which
soteriological results of the Buddhist path, whether that path be individual
liberative in scope or universally liberative in scope, are possible.
In our analysis, Tsong kha pa appears to be engaged in two exegetical
exercises while interpreting the Twenty Sam
. ghas. First, Tsong kha pa
sees himself as properly recovering and presenting the intentions (dgongs

pa) of the two principal Indian Abhisamayalam


. kara commentators, Arya
Vimuktisena and Haribhadra. Second, Tsong kha pa sees himself as establishing his own system (rang lugs) of interpreting the Twenty Sam
. ghas
128 Here we follow Tsong kha pas Tibetan reading of AS (1971) Rahula: 174,

which corresponds to Pradhan, 101: kena karan.ena bodhisattvo bodhim anavadyam


avakrantah. srota-apanno na bhavati / srotah.pratipattyaparinis.pannatam upadaya / kena
karen.asakr.dagam na bhavati / apraman.asam
. cintya bhavopapattiparigrahatam upadaya /
kena karen.a nagam na bhavati / dhyanair vihr.tya kamadhatav upapadya na tam upadaya
/ However, as de Jong (1973) notes, bodhim anavadyam avakrantah. who has entered
immaculate bodhi should read bodhisattvanyamavakranta entered into the certainty
of the bodhisattva, i.e., the certainty of achieving supreme perfect enlightenment. See
Boin-Webb, 2001: 237 n. 134.

264

JAMES APPLE

by means of textual Buddhist hermeneutics. He engages in exegesis and


analysis of textual systems (gzhung lugs) in order to arrive at the proper
understanding of the defining characteristics (Skt. laks.an.a, Tib. mtshan
nyid) of ideal figures.
Tsong kha pa seeks to establish a unified and coherent structure to the
Twenty Sam
. ghas, one that is able to create a homogenous system of ideal
figure descriptions between the Abhidharma and Prajaparamita materials
available to him. This allows for Tsong kha pas mahayana system to be
inclusive of Abhidharmic i.e., sravaka, descriptions of ideal figures. At
the same time, such exegesis allows Tsong kha pa to develop a system of
interpreting the Twenty Sam
. ghas that can be understood through multiple
purviews. In other words, Tsong kha pas exegesis is such that it produces
an awareness of the Twenty Sam
. ghas that is coherent, at least for him and
his followers, from the perspective of either a sravaka, pratyekabuddha, or
bodhisattva.129
This exposition involves presenting a description of the sravaka
sam
. gha as a model that serves as a metaphor to the bodhisattva sam
. gha,
the actual sam
. gha that is represented in the Abhisamayalam
. kara and
PP sutras. This presentation and exegesis demonstrated how the Tibetan
scholastic tradition and Tsong kha pa understood the Abhisamayalam
. kara
and its earliest commentators to be influenced by various Abhidharma

traditions. Namely, that the Indian commentator Arya


Vimuktisena was
influenced by the Abhidharmakosa system and that Haribhadra followed
the structure given in the Abhidharmasamuccaya.
Tsong kha pa, following in the footsteps of previous Indian and Tibetan
commentators of the Abhisamayalam
. kara, examined all the relevant
Indian source material before him and combined various strands of sutra
and sa stra to provide a coherent explanation of the Twenty Sam
. ghas
that presents the Twenty Sam
ghas
based
on
a
distinction
between
the
.
allegorical sam
gha
(mtshon
par
byed
pai
dpei
dge
dun)
and
the
actual
.
sam
. gha which indicates (mtshon par bya bai don gyi dge dun) the
mahayana sam
. gha of irreversible bodhisattvas.
Tsong kha pas exegesis of the allegorical sam
. gha represents an articulation of the Twenty Sam
ghas
by
means
of
the classic Abhidharma
.
categories of the sravakasam
. gha as enumerated in the sixth chapter of
the Abhidharmakosa and the first part of the praptiviniscaya section
(pudgalavyavasthana) of the Abhidharmasamuccaya. The most important
organizing principle in Tsong kha pas construction of the allegorical
sam
. gha model is the abandoning of defilements. This demonstrates that
129 Stairway, 270: theg pa gsum gyi gang zag rnams kyi mngon rtogs rgyud la bskyes pai

tshul la sogs pai rnam gzhag.

TWENTY VARIETIES OF THE SAM


. GHA

265

members of the allegorical sam


. gha, those sravakas who wish to escape
sam
. sara, wander in the endless cycle of rebirth through the forces of karma
and defilements. Tsong kha pa considers that sravakas wish only to obtain
a nirvan.a that is the cessation of suffering and rebirth.
The allegorical sam
. gha serves as an analogical template that exemplifies the actual (don gyi) sam
. gha that is indicated in the Prajaparamita
sutras and found in the verses of the Abhisamayalam
. kara. The actual
sam
gha
is
composed
of
irreversible
(avaivartika)
bodhisattvas,
those
.
Noble Beings who are striving to be completely awakened into unsurpassable full enlightenment (anuttaram
. samyaksam
. bodhim abhisam
. budhyante) and achieve the state of mahayana arhat i.e., Buddhahood. For
Tsong kha pa, the actual sam
. gha indicated (mtshon bya don gyi) represents the genuine sam
gha
that
is presented as an object of refuge in the
.
Abhisamayalam
. kara. Tsong kha pa, along with the Indian commen
tators Arya
Vimuktisena and Haribhadra, correlated the relationship
between these two distinctions of sam
. gha with the analogies given in the
36). The enumeration of
Avaivartikadharmacakrasutra (AAV, 46; AAA,
this mahayana sam
. gha depends upon imputing the names or designations
of the sravaka sam
. gha on to bodhisattvas. These bodhisattvas are just
nominally designated (tsam po pai ming gis btags nas), and exist in the
sense of being merely named (ming can).
Tsong kha pa in both his Stairway and Golden Garland has made an
effort to direct his interpretation of the allegorical sam
. gha and actual
sam
gha
to
be
in
agreement
with
statements
from
the
Abhidharmasamuc.
and AASPh. In part, Tsong kha pas
caya and Haribhadra in his AAA
concerns in following Haribhadra are in the mahayana soteriological
theory of one ultimate vehicle (ekayana). In following Haribhadras interpretation of this theory, we demonstrated that Tsong kha pa was able to
create a mahayana scholastic exegesis that is all inclusive in its descriptions of ideal figures such that the topic of the Twenty Sam
. ghas becomes
a tour de force of the narrative analysis of Noble Beings (arya) that is
catholic in scope and encyclopedic in proportion. Through this type of
hermeneutic, Tsong kha pa correlated Abhidharma texts and Indian AA
authors in order to articulate a homogeneous system of interpreting the
Twenty Sam
. ghas from both perspectives of the allegorical sam
. gha and
the actual sam
gha.
Yet,
in
spite
of
this
style
of
exegesis
that
Tsong
kha pa
.
follows, Tsong kha pa rejected the correlation of the Twenty Sam
ghas
to
.
the stages of spiritual levels (bhumis) traversed by mahayana bodhisattvas.
In this way, for Tibetan commentators such as Tsong kha pa, the Twenty
Sam
. ghas becomes representative of an all-inclusive taxonomic Abhidharma scholastic model. The Twenty Sam
. ghas, by presenting the defining

266

JAMES APPLE

characteristics of these individuals, is thought to provide a complete


picture of all possible states on the path to enlightenment. Therefore,
the heuristic distinction of allegorical sam
. gha and actual sam
. gha allows
Tsong kha pa to not only articulate Noble beings in all three vehicles
i.e., sravakas, pratyekabuddhas, and bodhisattvas but it also enables him
to articulate Noble Beings from the perspective of either the hnayana
or the mahayana. This skilful technique of exegesis also provides the
background material necessary to understand the commentaries on the
Twenty Sam
. ghas by the two principal Indian Buddhist commentators

Arya
Vimuktisena and Haribhadra. Most importantly, this exegetical technique utilized by Tsong kha pa allows him to present a comprehensive
scholastic discourse on the meaning of the Twenty Sam
. ghas in the
Abhisamayalam
k
a
ra
and
therefore
reveal
the
definitive
meaning
of the
.
mahayana sam
. gha jewel in Indo-Tibetan Buddhist thought.
The Twenty Sam
. ghas can be interpreted as a descriptive structural
analysis of a multilayered narrative of Buddhist soteriology. Viewed in
this manner, the scholastic accounts of ideal figures are similar to a
fictional characters soteriological narrative in progressing toward nirvan.a.
Drawing upon Indian Buddhist sources, Tsong kha pa himself provided a
structural metaphor that illustrates such a soteriological narrative, the
structure of a stairway (Tib. them skas, Skt. sopana).130
Along these lines, the soteriological narrative of the Twenty Sam
. ghas
that we have documented is multilayered and tells two different stories
depending upon the perspective that one brings to it. On one level, the
indices that we have described, the Stream-enterer, Once-Returner, etc.,
represent guidepoints in a narrative that relates to the journey of ideal
characters (i.e., sravakas) who wish to remove afflictional emotions,
abandon the effects that arise from the karmic laws of cause and effect,
and attain a state of peace, or nirvan.a, that is the result of the cessation of suffering and rebirth. This narrative description is related to the
allegorical sam
. gha or sam
. gha illustration. On another level, the indices
within the soteriological narrative represents the story of ideal characters
(i.e., bodhisattvas) who, while cultivating special wisdom in conjugation
130 Tsong kha pa undoubtedly draws the analogy of a stairway (them skas, skt./pali.

astr, 927928) citation of three


sopana sa + upayana) from Yasomitras AKV (S
sadr.s..ta ntani sutrani found in the Sam
yukt
a
gama
(T99,
ch. 16, 113ab) on the Buddhas
.
assertion that the comprehension of the four Noble Truths are progessive and not
simultaneous (caturn.a m a ryasatyanam anupurvabhisamayo na tv ekabhisamayah. ). These
three comparisons are of a storied mansion (ku.ta gara), a stairway with four flights
(catus.kadevara sopana), and a ladder with four rungs (catus.padika nih.sren.). Cf.
Sam
. yuttanikaya (V). See also Dgha Nikaya, II.178; Dhammapada v.239, Anguttara
Nikaya, IV, 200201. In Tibetan Buddhist artwork this is depicted as a four runged ladder.

TWENTY VARIETIES OF THE SAM


. GHA

267

with perfecting various virtues such as generosity, patience, energy, along


with compassion, voluntarily by means of skilful means take on innumerable rebirths in order to attain an inconceivable type of nirvan.a which
results in supreme and perfect enlightenment (anuttarasamyaksam. bodhi).
This purview or narrative interpretation is related to the Actual Sam
. gha
found in the Prajaparamita sutras through a hermeneutical technique
derived from the Avaivartikadharmacakrasutra.
The denaturalized terminology we charted in the Abhisamayalam
. kara
in comparison with other Indian Buddhist sources demonstrated that, from
a terminological standpoint, the Twenty Sam
. ghas represents a classification of Noble Beings fairly well established by the 6th century in India.
The comparison of nomenclature from Indian Buddhist sources revealed
that the system of terminology employed by the Abhisamayalam
. kara is
closely related to the Sarvastivadin-Vaibhas. ika school, as the terms are
most similar to those in the Abhidharmakosa. Our study therefore indicates
that the Twenty Sam
. ghas in the AA represents a taxonomic model of ideal
figures derived from the Abhidharma tradition, just as Makransky (1997)
has noted that the AA adapted the three-fold dharmakaya schema from the
Yogacara one.
We believe that there is enough textual evidence to support Tsong kha
pas presentation as being reasonable, but not necessarily the one and only
interpretation of the twenty-third and twenty-fourth verse of the Abhisamayalam
. karas first chapter. We are not stipulating that Tsong kha pas
reading of AA, 1.2324 may be the correct one or even represent the
original intentions of the author of the AA. On the other hand, we are
advocating that Tsong kha pas interpretation is a viable one that is wellinformed and has utility in coming to terms with how indigenous authors
articulate elliptical cryptical texts like the AA. Our analysis has demonstrated the doctrinal breadth of Tsong kha pas approach to the Twenty
Sam
. ghas and their soteriological significance for the Tibetan Buddhists
who came to follow him. This being the case, we offer no closure here as
to the correct translation of the AA, 1.2324. The Twenty Sam
. ghas reveals
a systemic presentation of Buddhist ideal figures whose descriptions and
contextual location are otherwise only sporadically mentioned throughout
canonical Nikaya, Abhidharma, and Mahayana Buddhist literature. Our
presentation is therefore informative of the interpretations at hand, and
serves as a reference for systemic accounts of ideal figures in the Indian
and Tibetan Buddhist tradition.

268

JAMES APPLE

ABBREVIATIONS
AA

AAA
AASPh
AAV
AK
AKBh
AKV
AS
ASBh
As..ta
BHSD
EOB
Golden Garland
JAOS
JIABS
JIBS
JIP
LRC
LVP
MHTL
MN
MVP
MW
Pacavim
. sati
Pk
PP
PSPh

Sgs
Stairway
T
Vks
W

Abhisamayalam
. kara
Abhisamayalam
. karaloka of Haribhadra
Abhisamayalam
. karasphut.a rtha of Haribhadra

Abhisamayalam
Vimuktisena
. karavr.tti of Arya
Abhidharmakosakarika
Abhidharmakosabhas.ya
Abhidharmakosavyakhya
Abhidharmasamuccaya
Abhidharmasamuccayabha.sya
As..tasahasrikaprajaparamitasutra
Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Dictionary, Edgerton, F.
Encyclopedia of Buddhism
Legs bshad gser phreng of Tsong kha pa
Journal of the American Oriental Society
Journal of the International Association for Buddhist Studies
Indogaku Bukkyo Kenkyu [Journal of Indian and Buddhist
Studies]
Journal of Indian Philosophy
Lam rim chen mo of Tsong kha pa
La Valle Poussins French translation of AK
Materials for a History of Tibetan Literature
Majjhimanikaya
Mahavyutpatti
Monier-Williams Sanskrit English Dictionary
Pacavim
. satisahasrikaprajaparamitasutra (Dutt, 1934)
Peking edition of the Tibetan Tripit.ika
Prajaparamita
Prasphut.apada of Dharmamitra
uram
S
. gamasamadhisutra (Lamotte, 1998)
Blo gsal bgrod pai them skas of Tsong kha pa
Taipei edition of Tibetan bkai gyur
Vimalakrtinirdesasutra
Wogihara edition of Abhisamayalam
. karaloka

TWENTY VARIETIES OF THE SAM


. GHA

269

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Department of Religious Studies


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