Buddhist Dictionary By Nyanatiloka Mahathera – Bi, Bo

Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines,
By Nyanatiloka Mahathera


biases: s. āsava.

birth process: upapatti-bhava: s. bhava. Further s. paṭisandhi, jāti.


bodhi (from verbal root budhi, to awaken, to understand): awakenment, enlightenment, supreme knowledge. “(Through Bodhi) one awakens from the slumber or stupor (inflicted upon the mind) by the defilements (kilesa, q.v.) and comprehends the Four Noble Truths (sacca, q.v.)” (Com. to M. 10).

The enlightenment of a Buddha is called sammā-sambodhi (q.v.) ‘perfect enlightenment’. The faith (saddhā, q.v.) of a lay follower of the Buddha is described as “he believes in the enlightenment of the Perfect One” (saddahati Tathāgatassa bodhim: M. 53, A. III, 2).

As components of the state of enlightenment and contributory factors to its achievement, are mentioned in the texts: the 7 factors of enlightenment (bojjhaṅga (q.v.)= bodhi-aṅga) and the 37 ‘things pertaining to enlightenment’ (bodhipakkhiya-dhammā, q.v.). In one of the later books of the Sutta Piṭaka, the Buddhavaṃsa, 10 bodhipācana-dhammā are mentioned, i.e. qualities that lead to the ripening of perfect enlightenment; these are the 10 perfections (pāramī, q.v.).

There is a threefold classification of enlightenment: 1. that of a noble disciple (sāvaka-bodhi, q.v.). i.e. of an Arahat, 2. of an Independently Enlightened One (pacceka-bodhi, q.v.), and 3. of a Perfect Enlightened One (sammā-sambodhi). This 3-fold division, however, is of later origin, and in this form it neither occurs in the canonical texts nor in the older Sutta commentaries. The closest approximation to it is found in a verse Sutta which is probably of a comparatively later period, the Treasure Store Sutta (Nidhikkanda Sutta) of the Khuddakapāṭha, where the following 3 terms are mentioned in stanza 15: sāvaka-pāramī, pacceka-bodhi, buddha-bhūmi (see Khp. Tr., pp. 247f.).

The commentaries (e.g. to M., Buddhavaṃsa, Cariya-piṭaka) generally give a 4-fold explanation of the word bodhi: 1. the tree of enlightenment, 2. the holy path (ariya-magga), 3. Nibbāna, 4 omniscience (of the Buddha: sabbaññutā-ñāṇa). As to (2), the commentaries quote Cūḷa Niddesa where bodhi is defined as the knowledge relating to the 4 paths (of Stream-entry, etc.; catūsu maggesu ñāṇa).

Neither in the canonical texts nor in the old commentaries is it stated that a follower of the Buddha may choose between the three kinds of enlightenment and aspire either to become a Buddha, a Pacceka-Buddha, or an Arahat-disciple. This conception of a choice between three aspirations is, however, frequently found in present-day Theravāda countries, e.g. in Sri Lanka.

bodhipakkhiya-dhammā: The 37 ‘Things pertaining to Enlightenment’, or ‘requisites of enlightenment’ comprise the entire doctrines of the Buddha. They are:

the 4 Foundations of Mindfulness (Satipaṭṭhāna, q.v.),

the 4 Right Efforts (s. padhāna),

the 4 Roads to Power (iddhi-pāda, q.v.),

the 5 Spiritual Faculties (indriya; s. bala),

the 5 Spiritual Powers (bala, q.v.),

the 7 Factors of Enlightenment (bojjhaṅga, q.v.),

the Noble 8-fold Path (s. magga).

In M. 77 all the 37 bodhipakkhiya-dhammā are enumerated and explained though not called by that name. A detailed explanation of them is given in Vis.M. XXII. In S.XLVII, 51, 67, only the five spiritual faculties (indriya) are called bodhipakkhiya-dhammā; and in the Jhāna Vibhaṅga, only the 7 factors of enlightenment (bojjhaṅga).

See The Requisites of Enlightenment, by Ledi Sayadaw (WHEEL 169/172).

Bodhisatta: ‘Enlightenment Being’, is a being destined to Buddhahood, a future Buddha. According to the traditional belief a Bodhisatta, before reaching his last birth as a Buddha on this earth, is living in the Tusita-heaven (s. deva), the heaven of bliss. Cf. A. IV, 127; VIII, 70.

In the Pāḷi Canon and commentaries, the designation ‘Bodhisatta’ is given only to Prince Siddhattha before his enlightenment and to his former existences. The Buddha himself uses this term when speaking of his life prior to enlightenment (e.g. M. 4, M. 26). Bodhisattahood is neither mentioned nor recommended as an ideal higher than or alternative to Arahatship; nor is there any record in the Pāḷi scriptures of a disciple declaring it as his aspiration. – See bodhi.

bodily action (wholesome or unwholesome); s. kamma, kamma formations – Right b.a. = sammā-kammanta; s. magga.

bodily postures, the 4: iriyā-patha (q.v.)

body: kāya (q.v.) Contemplation on the b. is one of the 4 Satipaṭṭhāna(q.v.).

body-witness: kāya-sakkhi (q.v.).

bojjhaṅga: ‘the 7 Factors of Enlightenment’, are: Mindfulness (sati-sambojjhaṅga; s. sati), investigation of the law (dhamma-vicaya-sambojjhaṅga), energy (viriya-sambojjhaṅga; s. viriya, padhāna), rapture (pīti-sambojjhaṅga, q.v.) tranquillity (passaddhi-sambojjhaṅga, q.v.), concentration (samādhi-sambojjhaṅga, q.v.), equanimity (upekkhā, q.v.). “Because they lead to enlightenment, therefore they are called factors of enlightenment” (S. XLVI, 5).

Though in the 2nd factor, dhamma-vicaya, the word Dhamma is taken by most translators to stand for the Buddhist doctrine, it probably refers to the bodily and mental phenomena (nāma-rūpa-dhammā) as presented to the investigating mind by mindfulness, the 1st factor. With that interpretation, the term may be rendered by ‘investigation of phenomena’.

In A.X. 102, the 7 factors are said to be the means of attaining the threefold wisdom (s. tevijjā).

They may be attained by means of the 4 foundations of mindfulness (Satipaṭṭhāna, q.v.), as it is said in S. XLVI, 1 and explained in M. 118:

(1) “Whenever, o monks, the monk dwells contemplating the body (kāya), feeling (vedanā), mind (citta) and mind-objects (dhammā), strenuous, clearly-conscious, mindful, after subduing worldly greed and grief, at such a time his mindfulness is present and undisturbed; and whenever his mindfulness is present and undisturbed, at such a time he has gained and is developing the factor of enlightenment ‘mindfulness’ (sati-sambojjhaṅga), and thus this factor of enlightenment reaches fullest perfection.

(2) “Whenever, while dwelling with mindfulness, he wisely investigates, examines and thinks over the law … at such a time he has gained and is developing the factor of enlightenment ‘investigation of the law’ (dhamma-vicaya°) ….

(3) “Whenever, while wisely investigating his energy is firm and unshaken … at such a time he has gained and is developing the factor of enlightenment ‘energy’ (viriya°) ….

(4) “Whenever in him, while firm in energy, arises supersensuous rapture … at such a time he has gained and is developing the factor of enlightenment ‘rapture’ (pīti°) ..

(5) “Whenever, while enraptured in mind, his body and his mind become composed … at such a time he has gained and is developing the factor of enlightenment ‘tranquillity’ (passaddhi°).

(6) “Whenever, while being composed in his body and happy, his mind becomes concentrated … at such a time he has gained and is developing the factor of enlightenment ‘concentration’ (samādhi°)

(7) “Whenever he looks with complete indifference on his mind thus concentrated … at such a time he has gained and is developing the factor of enlightenment ‘equanimity’ (upekkhā).

Literature: Bojjhaṅga Saṃyutta (S. XLVI); Bojjhaṅga Vibh. – For the conditions leading to the arising of each of the factors, see the Com. to Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta (Way of Mindfulness, by Soma Thera; 3rd ed., 1967, BPS). Further, The ‘Seven Factors of Enlightenment, by Piyadassi Thera (WHEEL 1.)

bondages, mental: cetaso vinibandha (q.v.).

bonds, the 4: yoga (q.v.).

both-ways liberated, s. ubhato-bhāga-vimutta, ariyapuggala B. 4.

boundless consciousness (and b. space), Sphere of: s. jhāna 5, 6.

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