Fa-ch’üan (n.d.) A priest of the esoteric teachings in T’ang China. He transferred the esoteric doctrines to Jikaku and Chishō when they journeyed to China in 838 and 853, respectively. He wrote many treatises on esoteric Buddhism.
Fan K’uai (d. 189 b.c.e.) A military leader and strategist who assisted Emperor Kao-tsu in unifying China and establishing the Former Han dynasty. Fan K’uai is known for his courage and loyalty.
Fan Yü-ch’i (d. 227 b.c.e.) A general of the state of Ch’in in China. According to tradition, after incurring the wrath of the king of Ch’in, Fan Yü-ch’i sought refuge in the state of Yen, where he was cordially received by Prince Tan. Tan had been feeling resentment against the king of Ch’in, the ruler who later united China under his rule and became the First Emperor of the Ch’in dynasty. Tan arranged to have him assassinated by a man named Ching K’o. As a device to ensure the plot’s success, Ching K’o demanded the head of Fan Yü-ch’i. On hearing this, Fan Yü-ch’i cut off his own head to repay his debt of gratitude to Prince Tan and to avenge himself upon the king of Ch’in.
Fa-pao (n.d.) A priest of the T’ang dynasty who contributed to the translation of Buddhist scriptures as one of Hsüan-tsang’s major disciples. He also wrote a commentary on The Dharma Analysis Treasury.
Fa-tao (1086–1147) A priest who remonstrated with Emperor Hui-tsung of the Sung dynasty when the emperor supported Taoism and attempted to suppress Buddhism. He was branded on the face and exiled to Tao-chou, south of the Yangtze River.
Fa-tsang (643–712) The third patriarch of the Flower Garland school in China. He learned the teachings from Chih-yen and contributed greatly to the systematization of the Flower Garland doctrine.
Fa-tsu (n.d.) Also, Po-yüan and Po Fa-tsu. A priest and translator of Buddhist scriptures in the Western Chin dynasty (265–316). He built a Buddhist monastery at Ch’ang-an where he lectured on and translated Buddhist scriptures. In 305 he set out for Lung-yu in order to live in retirement. Because of his refusal to work for Chang Fu, the local governor of Ch’in-chou; and also because of slander by someone whom he had defeated in debate, he was killed on his way to Lung-yu.
Fa-yün (467–529) A priest of Liang-dynasty China, revered as one of the three great teachers of the Liang dynasty, together with Chih-tsang and Seng-min. In 508 he was appointed chief priest of Kuang-che-ssu temple by Emperor Wu. He was often invited by the emperor to lecture at court, and in 525 he was appointed general administrator of priests.
fifteen great temples The major temples of the Nara period (710–794) and the Heian period (794–1185), including the seven major temples. See also seven major temples.
fifth five-hundred-year period The last of the five five-hundred-year periods following Shakyamuni’s death. It corresponds to the beginning of the Latter Day of the Law. According to the Great Collection Sutra, this period is one of contention and strife in which Shakyamuni’s teachings will be obscured and lost.
fifth watch The hour of the tiger (3:00–5:00 a.m.)
fiftieth person See continual propagation to the fiftieth person.
fifty-two stages of bodhisattva practice Also, the fifty-two stages of practice. The fifty-two stages through which a bodhisattva progresses toward Buddhahood. They consist of ten stages of faith, ten stages of security, ten stages of practice, ten stages of devotion, ten stages of development, the stage of near-perfect enlightenment, and the stage of perfect enlightenment.
fifty-two stages of practice See fifty-two stages of bodhisattva practice.
Firmly Established Practices One of the four bodhisattvas who are the leaders of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth.
first stage of development The first of the ten stages of development, which corresponds to the forty-first of the fifty-two stages of bodhisattva practice. This stage is also called the stage of joy.
first stage of security The first of the ten stages of security, which corresponds to the eleventh of the fifty-two stages of bodhisattva practice. This stage is regarded as the point at which bodhisattvas no longer regress in practice.
five ascetic practices Five rules of conduct. They were: (1) to wear clothing of patched rags, (2) to subsist only on alms, (3) to eat only one meal a day, (4) to remain always outdoors, and (5) to refrain from eating sweet, sour, bitter, spicy, or salty food.
five ascetics The first converts of Shakyamuni Buddha. Their names are generally given as Ājnāta Kaundinya, Ashvajit, Bhadrika, Dashabala Kāshyapa, and Mahānāma. When Shakyamuni renounced secular life, his father, Shuddhodana, anxious about his son’s safety, dispatched these five men to accompany him, and together with Shakyamuni they engaged in ascetic practice. However, when Shakyamuni forsook asceticism, they thought that he had abandoned the search for truth altogether and left him, going to Deer Park to continue their austerities. After he attained enlightenment, Shakyamuni went to Deer Park to preach to them, and they became his first followers.
Five Canons The writings of the Five Emperors, or the five legendary sage emperors in China—Shao Hao, Chuan Hsü, Ti Kao, T’ang Yao, and Yü Shun. The Five Canons is mentioned in early Chinese writings but is not extant.
five cardinal sins The five most serious offenses in Buddhism. Explanations vary according to sutras and treatises. The most common version is: (1) killing one’s father, (2) killing one’s mother, (3) killing an arhat, (4) injuring a Buddha, and (5) causing disunity in the Buddhist Order.
five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo The Mystic Law, or Myoho-renge-kyo. The Law, or Myoho-renge-kyo, is so called because it consists of the five Chinese characters of myō, hō, ren, ge and kyō.
five components Also, the five components of life and the five aggregates. The constituent elements of form, perception, conception, volition, and consciousness that unite temporarily to form an individual living being. The five components also constitute the first of the three realms of existence.
five constant virtues Also, the five great principles of humanity: benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, and good faith. They were set forth in Confucianism as the principles by which one should always abide.
five desires The desires resulting from the contact of the five sensory organs (eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and body) with their respective objects (form, sound, smell, taste, and texture).
five elements The five constituents of all things in the universe. They are earth, water, fire, wind, and space.
Five Emperors The five legendary sage emperors in China who are said to have reigned after the Three Sovereigns. There are three different sets of Five Emperors in the classics. One of them lists Shao Hao, Chuan Hsü, Ti Kao, T’ang Yao, and Yü Shun.
five five-hundred-year periods Five consecutive periods following Shakyamuni’s death, during which Buddhism is said to spread, prosper, and eventually decline. These five periods are described in the Great Collection Sutra and predict the course of Buddhism in the first twenty-five hundred years following Shakyamuni’s death. In chronological sequence, the five five-hundred-year periods are: (1) the age of attaining emancipation, (2) the age of meditation, (3) the age of studying and reciting the sutras and receiving lectures on them, (4) the age of building temples and stupas, and (5) the age of quarrels and disputes in which Shakyamuni’s teachings will be obscured and lost. Periods (1) and (2) constitute the Former Day of the Law, (3) and (4), the Middle Day of the Law, and (5), the beginning of the Latter Day of the Law.
five flavors Also, the five tastes. The flavors of fresh milk, cream, curdled milk, butter, and ghee—the five stages in the process by which milk is made into ghee, the finest clarified butter. These five flavors were used by T’ien-t’ai as a metaphor for the teachings of the five periods. The “five periods” is a classification by T’ien-t’ai of Shakyamuni’s entire body of teachings according to the order in which they were expounded.
fivefold meditation Esoteric practices of meditation consisting of: (1) perceiving the mind of enlightenment, (2) arousing the mind of enlightenment, (3) achieving the adamantine mind, (4) obtaining the adamantine body, and (5) obtaining the body of the Buddha.
five heavens of purity Also called the heavens of purity. The five highest heavens in the world of form. One who reaches the stage of the non-returner, or the second highest of the four stages of Hinayana enlightenment, is said to be reborn in these heavens.
five hundred precepts Rules of discipline to be observed by fully ordained nuns of Hinayana Buddhism. “Five hundred” is not a literal figure; the actual number differs from one source to another. The Fourfold Rules of Discipline lists 348 precepts.
five impurities Impurities of the age, of desire, of living beings, of view, and of life itself. They are mentioned in the “Expedient Means” chapter of the Lotus Sutra.
five kinds of sundry practices Also, the five sundry practices. They are: (1) to read and recite any sutra other than the three Pure Land scriptures, (2) to meditate on any Buddha other than Amida Buddha, (3) to worship any Buddha other than Amida Buddha, (4) to invoke the name of any Buddha other than Amida Buddha, and (5) to extol and make offerings to any Buddha other than Amida Buddha. Set forth by Shan-tao, a patriarch of the Pure Land school, they are contrasted with the “five correct practices,” which are directed toward Amida Buddha.
five kinds of wisdom In the teachings of the True Word school, the five aspects of Mahāvairochana Buddha’s wisdom. They are: (1) the wisdom of the essence of the phenomenal world, (2) the great round mirror wisdom, (3) the non-discriminating wisdom, (4) the wisdom of insight into the particular, and (5) the wisdom of perfect practice.
five major principles The five viewpoints from which T’ien-t’ai interpreted the Lotus Sutra. They are designation or name, entity, quality, function, and teaching. In his Profound Meaning of the Lotus Sutra, T’ien-t’ai explains that Myoho-renge-kyo, the title of the Lotus Sutra, is not only the name but the entity of the Lotus Sutra, and is endowed with a unique quality, function, and position among all teachings.
five natures Also, the five distinct natures. A doctrine set forth by the Dharma Characteristics school, dividing human beings into five groups according to their inborn religious capacity. The five groups are: (1) those predestined to be voice-hearers, (2) those predestined to be cause-awakened ones, (3) those predestined to be bodhisattvas, (4) an indeterminate group, and (5) those without the capacity for enlightenment. Neither of the first two groups can attain Buddhahood. The third group can eventually attain Buddhahood because they possess the seed of enlightenment. These three are called the determinate groups, because the state they will achieve is predetermined. People in the indeterminate group possess two or more of the first three natures, but which nature will develop is not predetermined. Those in the fifth group cannot attain enlightenment but must transmigrate through the six paths for eternity.
five obstacles The limitations that were said to prevent a woman from becoming a Brahmā, a Shakra, a devil king, a wheel-turning king, or a Buddha. Together with the three types of obedience to which women are subject, the five obstacles are often referred to as the five obstacles and three obediences.
five or seven characters The five characters of myō, hō, ren, ge, and kyō. In Nichiren Daishonin’s writings, Myoho-renge-kyo is often used synonymously with Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, which consists of seven Chinese characters. Nam is a compound of two Chinese characters.
five pāramitās Almsgiving, keeping the precepts, forbearance, assiduousness, and meditation—five practices omitting the obtaining of wisdom, the sixth of the six pāramitās.
five paths The realms of hell, hungry spirits, animals, human beings, and heavenly beings. These five paths plus the realm of asuras constitute the six paths.
five periods T’ien-t’ai’s classification of Shakyamuni’s teachings according to the order of preaching. They are: (1) the Flower Garland period, or period of the Flower Garland Sutra, immediately following Shakyamuni’s enlightenment; (2) the Āgama period, or period of the Āgama sutras, in which the Hinayana teachings were expounded; (3) the Correct and Equal period, when the Amida, Mahāvairochana, Vimalakīrti, and other sutras were set forth; (4) the Wisdom period, in which the Wisdom sutras were taught; and (5) the Lotus and Nirvana period, an eight-year interval in which Shakyamuni expounded the Lotus and Nirvana sutras.
five practices Various categories of five practices are set forth in Buddhism. The five practices described in the “Teacher of the Law” chapter of the Lotus Sutra consist of embracing, reading, reciting, expounding, and copying the Lotus Sutra.
five precepts The basic precepts expounded for lay people. They are: not to kill, not to steal, not to commit unlawful sexual intercourse, not to lie, and not to drink intoxicants.
five provinces and seven marches A general term for the administrative sectors into which Japan was divided. This expression was also used to indicate the whole of Japan. The “five provinces” referred to the provinces surrounding the capital, or the site of the imperial court, which were Yamashiro, Yamato, Kawachi, Izumi, and Settsu. The “seven marches” referred to the regions into which the remaining sixty or so provinces were grouped, in accordance with the main roads extending from the capital.
five regions of India A term for ancient India, meaning all of India. The eastern, western, southern, northern, and central regions of India.
five sense organs Also, the five sensory organs. The eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and body.
five signs of decay Five signs of decline that appear when the life of heavenly beings is about to end. These signs differ according to the sutras. According to one sutra, they are: (1) their clothes become soiled, (2) the flowers on their heads wither, (3) their bodies smell bad and become dirty, (4) they sweat under the armpits, and (5) they do not feel happy wherever they may be.
five spicy foods Also referred to as the five strong-flavored foods and by other similar expressions. Five kinds of pungent vegetables. The names of these vegetables differ according to the source. According to one account, they are garlic, scallions, leeks, rocamboles, and a plant of the dropwort family. According to another account, they are listed as garlic, scallions, leeks, onions, and ginger. In Buddhism, they were forbidden because of their strong odor and because of their stimulating effect when eaten. The five spicy foods were said to produce irritability and sexual desire.
five stages of practice Practice for believers in the Lotus Sutra to follow after Shakyamuni’s death, formulated by T’ien-t’ai on the basis of the contents of the “Distinctions in Benefits” chapter. They are: (1) to rejoice upon hearing the Lotus Sutra, (2) to read and recite the sutra, (3) to expound the sutra to others, (4) to embrace the sutra and practice the six pāramitās, and (5) to perfect one’s practice of the six pāramitās.
five thousand or seven thousand volumes of Buddhist scriptures Also, five thousand or seven thousand volumes of sutras. Generally, the entire collection of Buddhist scriptures. These numbers derive from two Buddhist catalogs in China. The K’ai-yüan Era Catalog of the Buddhist Canon, compiled in 730, lists 5,048 volumes of Buddhist works, and The Chen-yüan Era Catalog of the Buddhist Canon, complied in 800, lists 7,388 volumes. These and other similar numbers refer to the entire body of Buddhist works. Though these catalogs contain the sutras, works on the rules of monastic discipline, and treatise, the numbers “five thousand” and “seven thousand” were employed to indicate the entire collection of sutras as well.
five transcendental powers Also, the five supernatural powers. The first five of the six transcendental powers. They are: (1) the power of being anywhere at will, (2) the power of seeing anything anywhere, (3) the power of hearing any sound anywhere, (4) the power of knowing the thoughts of all other minds, and (5) the power of knowing past lives.
five types of vision Also, the five types of eyes. The five kinds of perceptive faculty. They are: (1) the eye of common mortals, also called the physical eye, which distinguishes color and form; (2) the heavenly eye, or the ability of heavenly beings to see beyond the physical limitations of darkness, distance, or obstruction; (3) the wisdom eye, or the ability of those in the two vehicles to perceive that all phenomena are without substance; (4) the Dharma eye, by which bodhisattvas penetrate all teachings in order to save the people; and (5) the Buddha eye, which perceives the true nature of life spanning past, present, and future. The Buddha eye also includes the other four perceptive faculties. In other words, the Buddhas possess the five types of vision.
five vehicles The five kinds of teaching expounded in accordance with the people’s capacity. Vehicle means a teaching that brings people to a particular stage of attainment. The five are the vehicles of ordinary mortals, heavenly beings, voice-hearers, cause-awakened ones, and bodhisattvas.
Flower Garland school Refers to the Chinese Hua-yen school and to the Japanese Kegon school. Kegon is the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese word hua-yen, meaning flower garland. A school based on the Flower Garland Sutra. Tu-shun (557–640) was the first patriarch of the school in China, although Fa-tsang who systematized its doctrines can be considered the real founder. The founder of the Flower Garland school in Japan is considered to be Shinjō (Kor Simsang, d. 742), a priest from Korea. Tōdai-ji in Nara is the head temple of the school.
Flower Garland Sutra Also, the Avatamsaka Sutra. A compilation of the teachings Shakyamuni is said to have expounded immediately after his enlightenment. According to T’ien-t’ai’s classification, the Flower Garland doctrines represent a very high level of teaching, second only to the Lotus Sutra. The sutra sets forth many stages of bodhisattva practice and teaches that all things constantly interrelate with and give rise to one another; that one permeates all and all are contained in one, and so on.
Forest of Merits One of the four great bodhisattvas appearing in the Flower Garland Sutra. Forest of Merits put forth the doctrine of the ten stages of practice in the Yama heaven at the fourth assembly described in the sutra.
Former Day of the Law Also, the period of the Correct Law. The first of the three periods following a Buddha’s death, when teaching, practice, and proof are all present and those who practice Buddhism attain enlightenment. Some sources describe the Former Day of the Law of Shakyamuni as one thousand years, and others as five hundred years.
forty-eight vows Vows Amida Buddha is said to have made while still engaged in bodhisattva practice as Bodhisattva Dharma Treasury. Among these vows, the eighteenth vow—that all who place their trust in Amida Buddha shall obtain rebirth in the Pure Land—is the one most emphasized by the Pure Land school. See also eighteenth vow.
forty-two levels of ignorance (1) Different kinds of illusions associated with the final forty-two stages of bodhisattva practice, from the ten stages of security through the highest stage of perfect enlightenment. (2) The third of the “three categories of illusion.” They are illusions about the true nature of life, illusions that prevent bodhisattvas from attaining enlightenment. The last and most deeply rooted of the forty-two is called fundamental darkness. According to T’ien-t’ai’s teachings, one attains enlightenment by eradicating these successive levels of ignorance and finally freeing oneself from fundamental darkness.
four bodhisattvas Various kinds of four bodhisattvas appear in Buddhism. The leaders of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth described in the “Emerging from the Earth” chapter of the Lotus Sutra are Superior Practices, Boundless Practices, Pure Practices, and Firmly Established Practices.
four categories of believers See four kinds of believers.
four categories of Buddhists See four kinds of believers.
four continents The continents situated respectively to the east, west, north, and south of Mount Sumeru, according to ancient Indian worldview. They are Pūrvavideha in the east, Aparagodānīya in the west, Uttarakuru in the north, and Jambudvīpa in the south.
four debts of gratitude The debts owed to one’s parents, to all living beings, to one’s sovereign, and to the three treasures of the Buddha, the Law (the Buddha’s teachings), and the Order (community of believers). The definition of the four debts of gratitude varies somewhat according to the source.
four elements The first four of the five elements of earth, water, fire, wind, and space.
four evil paths The realms of suffering one undergoes because of evil karma—hell and the realms of hungry spirits, animals, and asuras.
four flavors Also, the first four flavors and the four tastes. The first four of the five flavors—fresh milk, cream, curdled milk, butter, and ghee (the finest clarified butter). T’ien-t’ai used the five flavors as a metaphor for the teachings of the five periods of Flower Garland, Āgama, Correct and Equal, Wisdom, and Lotus and Nirvana, comparing the process by which Shakyamuni Buddha instructed his disciples and gradually developed their capacity to the process whereby milk is converted into ghee. The four flavors indicate all sutras expounded before the Lotus and Nirvana period, that is, the pre-Lotus Sutra teachings. The ghee represents the Lotus Sutra.
four flavors and three teachings Also, the four tastes and three teachings. A term used to indicate the entire body of teachings preached prior to the Lotus Sutra. The four flavors indicate the first four of the five flavors—fresh milk, cream, curdled milk, butter, and ghee. The three teachings are the first three of the four teachings of doctrine—the Tripitaka, connecting, specific, and perfect teachings.
four forms of birth A classification of the ways of coming into existence. They are: (1) birth from the womb; (2) birth from eggs; (3) birth from dampness or moisture—the way worms were thought to be generated; and (4) birth by transformation, that is, spontaneous birth without the womb, eggs, or dampness.
four great seas See four seas.
four great voice-hearers Maudgalyāyana, Mahākāshyapa, Kātyāyana, and Subhūti. Their attainment of Buddhahood is predicted in the “Bestowal of Prophecy” chapter of the Lotus Sutra.
four heavenly kings The heavenly kings Upholder of the Nation, Wide-Eyed, Vaishravana, and Increase and Growth. They are the lords of the four quarters who serve Shakra as his generals and protect the four continents. They live halfway down the four sides of Mount Sumeru.
four infinite virtues Boundless pity, compassion, joy, and impartiality. Pity here means to give living beings delight or happiness. Compassion means to remove their suffering. Joy means to rejoice at seeing them become free from suffering and gain happiness. And impartiality means to abandon attachments to love and hatred and be impartial toward everyone.
four kalpas Four periods of time corresponding to the four stages in the cycle of formation, continuance, decline, and disintegration that a world is said to repeatedly undergo.
four kinds of believers Also, the four kinds of Buddhists, the four categories of Buddhists, and the four categories of believers. Monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen.
four kinds of Buddhists See four kinds of believers.
four kinds of lands A classification of the various types of lands mentioned in the sutras, which are: (1) the Land of Sages and Common Mortals, also called the Land of Enlightened and Unenlightened Beings, where ordinary mortals of the six lower worlds live together with the sages of the four noble worlds (from voice-hearers to a Buddha); (2) the Land of Transition, which is populated by voice-hearers, cause-awakened ones, and lower-stage bodhisattvas; (3) the Land of Actual Reward, a realm inhabited by bodhisattvas in the higher stages; and (4) the Land of Eternally Tranquil Light, the Buddha land free from impermanence and impurity.
four-line verse See four-phrase verse.
four major offenses Also, the four unpardonable offenses. Grave transgressions that carried the penalty of automatic expulsion of monks from the Buddhist Order. They are: killing, stealing, sexual intercourse, and lying (in particular, claiming to have attained some level of insight or understanding that one does not in fact possess).
four meditation heavens The four heavens that constitute the world of form. Individually, they are simply called the first meditation heaven, the second meditation heaven, and so on, and this represents an ascending order both in space and in quality. The four meditation heavens are further subdivided into eighteen heavens. When, by practicing the four stages of meditation, one has freed oneself from the illusions of the world of desire, one can be reborn in these four meditation heavens.
four noble truths A fundamental doctrine of Buddhism clarifying the cause of suffering and the way of emancipation. The four are the truths of suffering, of the origin of suffering, of the cessation of suffering, and of the path to the cessation of suffering. Specifically, they are explained as follows: (1) all existence is suffering; (2) suffering is caused by selfish craving; (3) the eradication of selfish craving brings about the cessation of suffering and enables one to attain nirvana; and (4) there is a path by which this eradication can be achieved, namely, the discipline of the eightfold path. The eightfold path consists of: (1) right views, (2) right thinking, (3) right speech, (4) right action, (5) right way of life, (6) right endeavor, (7) right mindfulness, and (8) right meditation.
four noble worlds The highest four of the Ten Worlds—the realms of voice-hearers, cause-awakened ones, bodhisattvas, and Buddhas. These four noble worlds are also regarded as the states in which one makes efforts to transcend the uncertainty of the six paths, or the six lower worlds, which are controlled by earthly desires and governed by an ever-changing environment, and to establish independence.
Four Peaceful Practices, The A work by Nan-yüeh. The formal title is On the Peaceful Practices of the Lotus Sutra. It explains practices set forth in the Lotus Sutra, particularly those mentioned in the “Peaceful Practices” chapter. The four peaceful practices are those of deeds, words, thoughts, and vows set forth in that chapter.
four-phrase verse Also, four-line verse. A group of four phrases composing a verse in the Chinese translation of a Buddhist sutra or treatise. A number of four-line or four-phrase verses constitute a complete verse section. The Lotus Sutra mentions the great benefit to be gained by embracing a single four-line verse.
four ranks of bodhisattvas Bodhisattvas who embrace and propagate the correct teaching after the Buddha’s death. They thereby serve as Buddhist teachers upon whom people can rely. They are also defined as those bodhisattvas who follow the four standards: (1) to rely on the Law and not upon persons; (2) to rely on the meaning of the teaching and not upon the words; (3) to rely on wisdom and not upon discriminative thinking; and (4) to rely on sutras that are complete and final and not upon those that are not complete and final. The expressions such as “bodhisattvas of the four standards” and “sages of the four standards” are often used in reference to the bodhisattvas and sages who appear in the world after the Buddha’s passing and spread his teachings in accordance with the four standards.
four ranks of sages Buddhist teachers upon whom people can rely. Though the four ranks represent the four levels of understanding, “the four ranks of sages” is often used as a generic term for such Buddhist teachers, irrespective of the level of their understanding.
four seas Also, the four great seas. The outermost seas surrounding Mount Sumeru, which is said to stand at the center of the world, lying in the four directions of north, east, south, and west. The “four seas” also refers to an entire country or the whole world.
four stages of faith The stages of faith of those who embrace the Lotus Sutra during Shakyamuni’s lifetime. It is a principle that was formulated by T’ien-t’ai on the basis of the “Distinctions in Benefits” chapter of the sutra. The four stages are: (1) to produce even a single moment of belief and understanding in the sutra, (2) to generally understand the import of the words of the sutra, (3) to expound the teaching of the sutra widely for others, and (4) to realize the truth expounded by the Buddha with deep faith.
four stages of Hinayana enlightenment Also, the four stages of enlightenment in Hinayana Buddhism. The four levels of enlightenment that the voice-hearers aim to attain. In ascending order, they are the stage of the stream-winner (Skt srota-āpanna), the stage of the once-returner (sakridāgāmin), the stage of the non-returner (anāgāmin), and the stage of arhat. The stage of the stream-winner indicates one who has entered the stream of the sages, in other words, the river leading to nirvana. At this stage one has eradicated the illusions of thought in the threefold world. At the stage of the once-returner, one has eradicated six of nine illusions of desire in the world of desire. Due to the remaining illusions, one will be born next in heaven and then once again in the human world before entering nirvana; hence the name once-returner. At the stage of the non-returner, one has eliminated the other three illusions of desire and will not be reborn in the world of desire. At the stage of arhat, one has eliminated all the illusions of thought and desire and has freed oneself from transmigration in the threefold world or six paths.
four stages of meditation Four levels of meditation that enable those in the world of desire to throw off illusions and be reborn in the four meditation heavens in the world of form. The first meditation leads one to the first heaven, and so on. The four meditation heavens are also regarded as the four levels of consciousness one can attain by practicing the corresponding meditation.
four teachings Usually refers to the four teachings of doctrine.
four teachings of doctrine Also, the four teachings. T’ien-t’ai’s classification of Shakyamuni’s teachings according to content. They are the Tripitaka, connecting, specific, and perfect teachings.
fourteen slanders Fourteen attitudes that one should avoid in Buddhist practice: (1) arrogance, (2) negligence, (3) wrong views of the self, (4) shallow understanding, (5) attachment to earthly desires, (6) not understanding, (7) not believing, (8) scowling with knitted brows, (9) harboring doubts, (10) slandering, (11) despising, (12) hating, (13) envying, and (14) bearing grudges.
four Vedas The four scriptures of Brahmanism—the Rigveda, the Yajurveda, the Sāmaveda, and the Atharvaveda.
four wheel-turning kings The four types of wheel-turning kings—a gold-wheel-turning king, a silver-wheel-turning king, a copper-wheel-turning king, and an iron-wheel-turning king. It is said that, when a wheel-turning king, a sage ruler, ascends the throne, the wheel is given to him by heaven. While turning his own wheel, a wheel-turning king advances freely without obstruction and establishes peace.
Four White-Haired Elders Also, the Four White-Haired Elders of Mount Shang. Master Tung-yüan, Scholar Lu-li, Ch’i Li-chi, and Master Hsia-huang. They were recluses who lived on Mount Shang in China in the troubled times at the end of the Ch’in dynasty. They were persuaded by the statesman Chang Liang to leave retirement and come to the court of the newly founded Han dynasty, where they gave their support to the heir apparent, Emperor Kao-tsu’s son by his consort Lü, who later came to the throne as Emperor Hui (r. 194–188 b.c.e.).
fundamental darkness Also, fundamental ignorance. The most deeply rooted illusion inherent in life, which gives rise to all other illusions and earthly desires.
fusion of reality and wisdom The fusion of the objective reality or truth and the subjective wisdom to realize that truth, which is the Buddha nature inherent within one’s life. This fusion itself represents the attainment of Buddhahood.