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Causal and resultant vehicles

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Causal and resultant vehicles (rgyu dang 'bras bu'i theg pa). The teachings of Hinayana and Mahayana that regard the practices of the path as the causes for attaining the fruition of liberation and enlightenment and the Vajrayana system of taking fruition as the path by regarding buddhahood as inherently present and the path as the act of uncovering the basic state.

The teachings of Hinayana and Mahayana that regard the practices of the path as the causes for attaining the fruition of liberation and enlightenment and the Vajrayana system of taking fruition as the path by regarding buddhahood as inherently present and the path as the act of uncovering the basic state. The great master Longchenpa defined them as follows: "The causal vehicles are so called because of accepting a sequence of cause and effect, asserting that buddhahood is attained by increasing the qualities of the nature of the sugata essence, which is merely present as a seed, through the circumstance of the two accumulations. The resultant vehicles are so called because of asserting that the basis for purification is the (sugata) essence endowed with qualities that are spontaneously present as a natural possession in sentient beings, just as the sun is endowed with rays of light; that the objects of purification are the temporary defilements of the eight collections (of consciousnesses), like the sky being (temporarily) obscured by clouds; and that one realizes the result of purification, the primordially present nature, by means of that which purifies, the paths of ripening and liberation. Besides this, there is no difference (between the two) in sequence or quality."

Hinayana (theg pa dman pa). The vehicles focused on contemplation of the four noble truths and the twelve links of dependent origination, the practice of which brings liberation from cyclic existence. When used in a derogative sense, the Hinayana attitude refers to the narrow pursuit of a spiritual path simply for the sake of individual liberation rather than for the enlightenment of all sentient beings.

Mahayana (theg pa chen po). ‘Greater vehicle.’ When using the term ‘greater and lesser vehicles,’ Mahayana and Hinayana,’ Mahayana includes the tantric vehicles while Hinayana is comprised of the teachings for shravakas and pratyekabuddhas. The connotation of ‘greater’ or ‘lesser’ refers to the scope of aspiration, the methods applied and the depth of insight.

Causal philosophical teachings (rgyu mtshan nyid kyi chos). The teachings of Hinayana and Mahayana that regard the practices of the path as the causes for attaining the fruition of liberation and enlightenment. Compare with ‘Resultant Vehicle.’

Resultant vehicle (‘bras bu’i theg pa). The Vajrayana system of taking fruition as the path by regarding buddhahood as inherently present and the path as the act of uncovering the basic state. This is different from the ‘causal philosophical vehicles’ of Mahayana and Hinayana that regard the path as that which leads to and produces the state of buddhahood. Ultimately, these two approaches are not in conflict. See also ‘Secret Mantra.’

Mantra and Philosophy (sngags dang mtshan nyid). Mantra is synonymous with Secret Mantra or Vajrayana while Philosophy refers to the ‘causal vehicles of philosophy:’ Hinayana and Mahayana.

Nine gradual vehicles (theg pa rim pa dgu). Shravaka, Pratyekabuddha, Bodhisattva, Kriya, Upa, Yoga, Maha Yoga, Anu Yoga, and Ati Yoga. The first two are Hinayana; the third is Mahayana; the next three are the Three Outer Tantras; and the last three are called the Three Inner Tantras.

Paramita (pha rol tu phyin pa). Literally, 'paramita' means 'reaching the other shore.' Particularly, it means transcending concepts of subject, object and action. The Paramita vehicle (phar phyin gyi theg pa) is the Mahayana system of the gradual path through the five paths and ten bhumis according to the Prajnaparamita scriptures. See also 'six paramitas.'

Philosophical Vehicles (mtshan nyid kyi theg pa). A collective name for Hinayana and Mahayana; includes the three vehicles for shravakas, pratyekabuddhas, and bodhisattvas.

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