Anders Honore wrote:
Paññāsikhara wrote:In many "mahayana" traditions, the arising of the aspiration to attain full awakening is sufficient to make one a bodhisattva.
However, others indicate that certain attainments are necessary, and some of them bear close resemblance to srotaapannatva in terms of the absence of identity views (satkaya-drsti), etc.
I fear it might be more confusing than clarifying to leave such a statement unelaborated, venerable. Would you care to expand on what you mean by 'bear close resemblance to srotaapannavatna'. It sounds like you're saying there are, according to this representation, no aryan bodhisattvas as they do not experience any realisation.
Okay, as we know, abandonment of identity-view (sakkayaditthi, satkayadrsti) is a, if not the, key factor in attainment of stream-entry.
The early Prajnaparamita states that it is when the bodhisattva is able to tolerate the point that there is no sattva to a bodhi-sattva to cultivate the path to liberation, that they are actually a bodhisattva, and that this tolerance towards the absence of a sattva is the teaching itself. This idea of absence of a sattva is obviously a very close to the notion of absence of a sakkaya.
The text refers to this usually as a tolerance (ksanti), which in many mainstream schools is the step immediately before knowledge (jnana). For each of the aryan paths, eg. stream-entry ... arhatship, one goes through a process which includes tolerance and then knowledge.
However, the same text also states that if a bodhisattva has already attained stream-entry (in about the 3rd century, this becomes "assurance of certitude") then they form a barrier with samsara, so are unable to continue on a bodhisattva path.
The idea of "assurance of certitude" is also given as a step just before stream-entry in sutta, and mainstream Buddhist thought.
So, I say that there is some similarity, but it is not the same. A problem is, is that although both tolerance and assurance are before stream-entry itself, we don't clearly no what the distinction, if any, is between the two. Or, if the bodhisattva's tolerance is different from that of a sravaka, say. Later Mahayana schools will give their explanations, but we can't guarantee that these are the original idea.
Whatever the case, how about aryan or non-aryan bodhisattvas? Well, depending on how we define "aryan", actually. Often it is broader, including "those on the path to <attainment>", in which case, anyone practicing for any bodhisattva practice is aryan. Likewise for sravakas with this definition, anybody cultivating towards stream-entry - even if they haven't attained it yet - is aryan. But the other, narrower, definition, those who have already attained stream-entry, well then these are not (that kind of sravaka) aryan. However, they may be aryan in a bodhisattva sense, eg. in this system, one could have cultivated the bodhisattva path for 3 asamkhya kalpas, not have realized the equivalent of stream-entry, and be in one's last birth until samyak sambodhi. Are we going to say that they are not aryan?
For the Sarvastivadins, too, the bodhisattvas are "common persons" (prthgjana), and so too for the Haimavatas. Pretty similar to the Theravadins. The Mahasamghika schools tended (but not necessarily all of them) to take the bodhisattva as already incredibly advanced, and aryan. After all, the whole life of the bodhisattva, his birth, marriage, renunciation, etc. are all just a show. To me, the Prajnaparamita is initially more like those Sthavira schools, but that probably changes over time.
Later traditions, which liked like divide the path up into lots of levels, have their own systems. eg. some put it at "first level", some at "eighth level", or whatever. But I don't think that these levels / grounds were inherent in the earliest stages of the Mahayana system.
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