bhumi

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Bhūmi (Skt., ‘ground’, ‘level’, ‘stage’). In Mahāyāna Buddhism, a stage in a systematized scheme of progress to spiritual maturity and perfection in enlightenment (nirvāna). Most schools of Buddhism recognize a scheme of states or stages which are passed through, beginning with conversion and the taking up of the religious life and ending in enlightenment. Theravāda lists the four stages of the arya-mārga, and the theory of the bhūmis may be thought of as an outgrowth of this or as an extension of the scheme of progress in the Eightfold Path (aṣtangika-mārga) through morality, meditation, and wisdom. The most popular sequence involves a list of ten bhūmis although some texts refer only to seven.

In the 10th stage, the Cloud of the Dharma (dharmamegha), the bodhisattva reaches full perfection and is consecrated as a fully enlightened Buddha. He sits, surrounded by bodhisattvas, on a lotus in the Tuṣita heaven. This stage is also known as abhiṣeka-bhūmi.

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Bhumi (‘earth’): see LOKA.

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