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Signlessness

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The Ten Levels of the Bodhisattva – The Buddha Journey

The very hard to conquer/Difficult to cultivate (Sudurjaya): The fifth level is “difficult” because it involves practices that are so difficult and require a great deal of effort to perfect. It is also called the “Difficult to Overcome” because when one has completed the training of this level one has profound wisdom and insight that are difficult to surpass or undermine.

According to Nagarjuna:
The fifth is called the Extremely Difficult to Overcome
Since all evil ones find it extremely hard to conquer him;
He becomes skilled in knowing the subtle
Meanings of the noble truths and so forth.

Bodhisattvas on this level cultivate the perfection of samadhi. They develop strong powers of meditative stabilization and overcome tendencies toward distraction. They achieve mental one-pointedness and they perfect calm abiding. They also fully penetrate the meanings of the four noble truths and the two truths (conventional truths and ultimate truths) and perceive all phenomena via dependent origination.

The turning towards/The manifest (Abhimukhi): On this level, the bodhisattva clearly perceives the workings of dependent arising and directly understands “signlessness.” Signlessness refers to the fact that phenomena seem to possess their apparent qualities by way of their own nature, but when one examines this appearance, one realizes that all qualities are merely mentally imputed and not a part of the nature of the objects they appear to characterize. As a result of these understandings, bodhisattvas manifest meditative wisdom and avoid attachment to either cyclic existence or nirvana. Having overcome all attachments, bodhisattvas on this level can attain nirvana, but because of the force of the mind of awakening they decide to remain in the world in order to benefit other sentient beings. They cultivate the Perfection of Wisdom, through which they perceive all phenomena as lacking inherent existence, as being like dreams, illusions, reflections, or magically created objects. All notions of “I” and “other” are transcended, along with conceptions of “inherent existence” and “inherent nonexistence.” These sixth-level bodhisattvas abide in contemplation of suchness, with minds that are undisturbed by false ideas.

See Also: Signless perception

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