Bodhicitta in Mahāyāna Buddhism: An Analytical Study based on Early Buddhism

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Phramaha Sayan Visuddho (Tiancrob)
Phramaha Mit Thitapanyo
Sowit Bamrungphak
Theerapong Meethaisong


The aims of this research article were: 1) to study Bodhicitta (enlightened mind) in early Buddhism; 2) to study Bodhicitta in Mahāyāna Buddhism and 3) to analyse Bodhicitta in Mahāyāna Buddhism based on Early Buddhism. This qualitative study employed the documentary research methodology. The results of this research were presented in a form of the descriptive analysis.
The results of study were as follows: Bodhicitta in early Buddhism is mind, comprised of ten perfections of the enlightened doctrines and 37 virtues partaking of enlightenment that are the key natures to realize the profound doctrines which are difficult to see and know, peaceful and exquisite. These natures are the procedure of specific conditionality (idappaccayatā) or the Twelve Dependent Origination that are the process of the natures integrated with the Four Noble Truths with the Noble Eightfold Path as a method to make the mind realize an tranquillity of the whole world, abandonment of all essential existence (upadhi), an exhaustion of craving (tahakkhaya), detachment, extinction and extinction by getting freed.
In relations to Bodhicitta in Mahāyāna Buddhism, there are two essences: namely, 1) the conventional Bodhicitta is a primary mind, motivated by great compassion that spontaneously seeks the enlightenment for the benefit of all living beings. It is a method for ripening our Buddha’s seed and a collection of merit, the main cause of accomplishing the Form Body of a Buddha and 2) the ultimate Bodhicitta is an absolute wisdom, motivated by conventional Bodhicitta that directly realizes emptiness, the ultimate nature of phenomena, penetrated to liberation, the main cause of accomplishing the truth body of the Buddha.
Based analysis, Bodhicitta in Mahāyāna Buddhism is a primary mind with the purity in nature which has an embryo of the Buddha-nature or Tathāgata-nature. This concept is in harmony with a Buddha’s seed (Buddha-vjakura) in early Buddhism. To generate Bodhicitta is to create the mind with aspiration to attain Buddhahood for the benefits of all beings in Mahayana. This is based on early Buddhism. When the ascetic Sumedha has gotten the faith in the Dῑpaṅkara Buddha’s virtues, he devoted his life and lied down for the Buddha to walk across with Arahants and aspires the omniscience (sabbaññutañāṇa) for the benefits of all sentient beings.


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บทความวิจัย (Research Article)