Pratyekabuddha

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A Pratyekabuddha (Sanskrit: प्रत्येक बुद्ध) or Paccekabuddha (Pāli: पच्चेकबुद्ध), literally "a lone buddha", "a buddha on their own" or "a private buddha", is one of three types of enlightened beings according to some schools of Buddhism. The other two types are the arhats and samyaksambuddhas.

Characteristics[edit]

General overview[edit]

The yāna or "vehicle" by which pratyekabuddhas achieve enlightenment is called the pratyekabuddhayāna, the "Pratyekabuddha Vehicle," in Indian Buddhist tradition.

Pratyekabuddhas are said to achieve enlightenment on their own, without the use of teachers or guides, according to some traditions by contemplating the principle of dependent arising. They are said to arise only in ages where there is no Buddha and the Buddhist teachings (Sanskrit: dharma; Pāli: dhamma) are lost. See e.g.:[1] "The idea of a Paccekabuddha … is interesting, inasmuch as it implies that even when the four truths are not preached they still exist". Many may arise at a single time. Unlike Supreme Buddhas (see bodhi), their enlightenment is not foretold.[citation needed]

Some schools[citation needed] assert that pratyekabuddhas are not omniscient, while others say that they are the same (in realisation) as Bodhisattvas, but do not have the will to teach the entire Dharma. The Mahayana schools considered[2] the Pratyekabuddhas to be self-centred and contrasted them unfavourably with the Bodhisattva. According to the Theravada school, after rediscovering the path on their own, Paccekabuddhas are unable to teach the Dhamma, which requires[3] the omniscience and supreme compassion of a Sammasambuddha, and even He hesitates to attempt to teach.[4] Pratyekabuddhas do give moral teachings, but do not bring others to enlightenment. They leave no saṅgha as a legacy to carry on the Dharma.

In the Abhidharmasamuccaya[edit]

In the 4th century Mahāyāna abhidharma work Abhidharmasamuccaya, Asaṅga describes followers of the Pratyekabuddha Vehicle (Skt. pratyekabuddhayanika) as those who dwell alone like the horn of a rhinoceros, or as a solitary conquerors (Skt. pratyekajina) living in a small group.[5] Here they are characterized as utilizing the same canon of texts as the śrāvakas, the Śrāvaka Piṭaka, but having a different set of teachings, the Pratyekabuddha Dharma.[6]

In the Jātakas[edit]

Pratyekabuddhas (e.g. Darīmukha J.378, Sonaka J.529) appear as teachers of Buddhist doctrine in pre-Buddhist times in several of the Jātakas.

And the Rhinoceros Sūtra[edit]

The experiences and enlightenment verses uttered by Pratyekabuddhas are narrated in the Khaggavisāna-sutta of the Sutta Nipāta. Traditional commentaries on the text have unanimously associated the Rhinoceros Sūtra[7] with the Buddhist tradition of pratyekabuddhas.[8]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Charles Eliot, Hinduism and Buddhism, 3 Volumes, London, 1922, I 344–5
  2. ^ The Paccekabuddha: A Buddhist Ascetic A Study of the Concept of the Paccekabuddha in Pali Canonical and Commentarial Literature by Ria Kloppenborg
  3. ^ The Paccekabuddha: A Buddhist Ascetic A Study of the Concept of the Paccekabuddha in Pali Canonical and Commentarial Literature by Ria Kloppenborg
  4. ^ Ayacana Sutta: The Request (SN 6.1) translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu @ Access to Insight
  5. ^ Boin-Webb, Sara (tr). Rahula, Walpola (tr). Asanga. Abhidharma Samuccaya: The Compendium of Higher Teaching. 2001. pp. 199-200
  6. ^ Boin-Webb, Sara (tr). Rahula, Walpola (tr). Asanga. Abhidharma Samuccaya: The Compendium of Higher Teaching. 2001. pp. 199-200
  7. ^ Thanissaro Bhikkhu (trans.) (1997). Sutta Nipata I.3, Khaggavisana Sutta: A Rhinoceros Horn
  8. ^ Salomon, Richard. A Gāndhārī Version of the Rhinoceros Sutra: British Library Kharoṣṭhi Fragment 5B Univ. of Washington Press: Seattle and London, 2000, p. 10, 13

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]