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Buddha (Skt. Buddha; Tib. སངས་རྒྱས་, Sangyé; Wyl. sangs rgyas), usually refers to Shakyamuni Buddha, the Indian prince Gautama Siddhartha, who reached enlightenment in the sixth century B.C., and who taught the spiritual path followed by millions all over Asia, known today as Buddhism. Buddha, however, also has a much deeper meaning.
It means anyone who has completely awakened from ignorance and opened to his or her vast potential for wisdom. A buddha is one who has brought a final end to suffering and frustration and discovered a lasting and deathless happiness and peace.
Buddha (sangs rgyas): One who has eliminated the two veils - the veils of emotional obscuration and cognitive obscuration, which is the dualistic conceptual thinking, which obscures natural omniscience - and who has developed the two wisdoms, the wisdom which knows this ultimate nature of mind and phenomena, and the wisdom which knows the multiplicity of these phenomena.
Buddha (sangs rgyas)
- The first of the Three Jewels (Skt. triratna), which are the foremost objects of refuge, in Buddhism. The Sanskrit term buddha literally means "awakened", "developed", and "enlightened", while its Tibetan equivalent sangs rgyas is a combination of sangs pa ("awakened" or "purified"), and rgyas pa ("developed").
These two syllables therefore denote a full awakening from fundamental ignorance (Skt. - avidyā) in the form of the two obscurations (dvayāvaraṇa) and a full realization of true knowledge, ie. the pristine cognition (jñāna) of buddha-mind.
A fully awakened being is herein one who, as a result of training the mind through the bodhisattva paths, has finally realized this full potential for complete enlightenment (bodhi), and has eliminated the obscuration to true knowledge and liberation.
Buddhas are characterized according to their five fruitional aspects of Buddha-body (kaya), Buddha-speech (vāk), Buddha-mind (citta), Buddha-qualities (guṇa), and Buddha-activities (kötyakriyā), which are poetically described in the literature of the Nyingma school as the "five wheels of inexhaustible adornment" (mi zad pa'i rgyan gyi 'khor lo lnga).
- སངས་, Sang means ‘awakening’ from the sleep of ignorance, and ‘purifying’ the darkness of both emotional obscurations and cognitive obscurations.
- རྒྱས་, Gyé means ‘opening’, like a blossoming lotus flower, to all that is knowable, and ‘developing’ the wisdom of omniscience—the knowledge of the true nature of things, just as they are, and the knowledge of all things in their multiplicity.
The Seventy Verses on Taking Refuge says:
- One who sleeps no more in ignorance,
- And in whom genuine wisdom is brought forth,
- Has truly awoken as an awakened buddha,
- Just as one wakes from ordinary sleep.
- Their minds have opened to all that is knowable,
- And they have overcome the tight seal of delusion,
- So the awakened have blossomed like lotus flowers.
As it says, they are like ‘blossoming’ lotus petals in the sense that through their genuine wisdom they have overcome the tendency to ‘shut down’ through lack of knowledge, and their minds are open to all that can be known.
The three 'bodies' of a buddha. They relate not only to the truth in us, as three aspects of the true nature of mind, but to the truth in everything. Everything we perceive around us is nirmanakaya; its nature, light or energy is sambhogakaya; and its inherent truth, the dharmakaya.
- wisdom of dharmadhatu
- mirror-like wisdom
- wisdom of equality
- wisdom of discernment
- all-accomplishing wisdom
Sogyal Rinpoche writes:
- You can also think of the nature of mind like a mirror, with five different powers or 'wisdoms.' Its openness and vastness is the wisdom of all-encompassing space [or dharmadhatu ], the womb of compassion.
Its capacity to reflect in precise detail whatever comes before it is the mirror-like wisdom.
These five wisdoms may be condensed into two:
- ‘the wisdom that knows the nature of all phenomena’ which comprises the wisdom of the dharmadhatu, mirror-like wisdom and the wisdom of equality; and
- ‘the wisdom that knows the multiplicity of phenomena’ which comprises discriminating and all-accomplishing wisdom.
- the descent from Tushita, the Joyous pure land (dga' ldan gyi gnas nas 'pho ba),
- entering the mother’s womb (lhums su zhugs pa),
- delighting in the company of royal consorts (btsun mo'i 'khor dgyes rol ba),
- developing renunciation and becoming ordained (rab tu byung ba),
- practicing austerities for six years (dka' ba spyad pa),
- proceeding to the foot of the bodhi tree (byang chub snying por gshegs pa),
- overcoming Mara’s hosts (bdud btul ba),
- becoming fully enlightened (mngon par rdzogs par sangs rgyas pa),
- turning the wheel of Dharma (chos kyi 'khor lo bskor ba), and
- passing into mahaparinirvana  (mya ngan las 'das pa)
Eight Qualities of a Buddha
[[Image:Maitreya.jpg|thumb|Maitreya, the future Buddha)] The qualities of a Buddha are immeasurable. Yet according to Maitreya's Uttaratantra Shastra, they can be condensed in eight qualities of the two-fold benefit of self and others:
Benefit of others:
How a Buddha teaches
- The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, p. 157
- In the case of Buddha Shakyamuni, this was in the Lumbini garden.
- In the case of Buddha Shakyamuni, this was in the city of Kushinagara.
- Patrul Rinpoche, Preliminary Points To be Explained when Teaching the Buddha's Word or the Treatises, translated by Adam Pearcey.
One enlightened to the eternal and ultimate truth that is the reality of all things, and who leads others to attain the same enlightenment. Buddha was originally a common word meaning awakened one or enlightened one, referring to those who attained any kind of religious awakening. In Buddhism, it refers to one who has become awakened to the ultimate truth of all things and phenomena.
In this context, the term Buddha at first was applied exclusively to Shakyamuni. Later, however, with the development of Buddha as an ideal, numerous Buddhas appeared in Mahayana scriptures. These include such Buddhas as Amida and Medicine Master.
Expressions such tences" communicate the idea that Buddhas, or the potential for enlightenment they represent, pervade the universe and are eternally present.Various definitions of Buddha are set forth in Buddhist teachings. In Hinayana teachings, it means one who has entered the state of nirvana, in which both body and mind are extinguished.
Mahayana teachings generally maintain that one becomes a Buddha only after innumerable kalpas of austere and meritorious practices, by eradicating illusions and earthly desires and acquiring the thirty-two features of a Buddha.
and who teaches it to people to save them from suffering. Philosophy based on the Lotus Sutra, including that of T'ient'ai and Nichiren who regarded the sutra as Shakyamuni's most profound teaching, recognizes the potential of every person to become a Buddha.
See Silent Buddha.
Buddha is a title meaning ‘Awakened One’ which Siddhattha Gotama called himself and was called by others after he attained Enlightenment. More than an individual, a Buddha is a type, a human who has reached the apex of Wisdom and Compassion and is no longer subject to Rebirth.
A generic name, an appellative - but not a proper name - given to one who has attained Enlightenment (na mātarā katam, na pitarā katam – vimokkhantikam etam buddhānam bhagavantānam bodhiyā mūle ... paññatti, MNid.458; Ps.i.174) a man superior to all other beings, human and divine, by his Knowledge of the Truth (Dhamma).
The texts mention two kinds of Buddha: viz.,
- Pacceka Buddhas - i.e., Buddhas who also attain to complete Enlightenment but do not preach the way of deliverance to the world; and
- Sammāsambuddhas, who are omniscient and are teachers of Nibbāna (Satthāro).
The Commentaries, however (e.g., SA.i.20; AA.i.65) make mention of four classes of Buddha:
A Pacceka Buddha practises the ten perfections (pāramitā) for two asankheyyas and one hundred thousand kappas, a Sabbañu Buddha practises it for one hundred thousand kappas and four or eight or sixteen asankheyyas, as the case may be (see below).
E.g., D.ii.5f.; S.ii.5f.; cp. Thag.491; J.ii.147; they are also mentioned at Vin.ii.110, in an old formula against snake bites. Beal (Catena, p. 159) says these are given in the Chinese Pātimokkha. They are also found in the Sayambhū Purāna (Mitra, Skt. Buddhist Lit. of Nepal, p. 249).
This number is increased in the later Books. The Buddhavamsa contains detailed particulars of twenty five Buddhas, including the last, Gotama, the first twenty four being those who prophesied Gotama's appearance in the world. They are the predecessors of Vipassī, etc., and are the following:
- Tissa and
- the kappa in which he is born,
- his social rank (([[[Jāti]])]),
- his family (gotta),
- length of Life at that epoch (āyu),
- the tree under which he attains Enlightenment (Bodhi),
- the names of his two chief disciples (sāvakayuga),
- the numbers present at the assemblies of Arahants held by him (sāvakasannipāta),
- the name of his personal attendant (upatthākabhikkhu),
- the names of his father and mother and of his birthplace.
The Commentary (DA.ii.422ff) adds to these other particulars -
- the names of his son and his wife before his Renunciation,
- the conveyance (yāna) in which he leaves the world,
- the monastery in which his Gandhakuti was placed,
- the amount of money paid for its purchase,
- the site of the monastery, and the name of his chief lay patron.
In the case of Gotama, the further fact is stated that on the day of his birth there appeared also in the world Rāhulamātā, Ananda, Kanthaka, Nidhikumbhi (Treasure Trove), the Mahā Bodhi and Kāludāyī.
The Buddhavamsa Commentary says (BuA.2f) that in the Buddhavamsa particulars of each Buddha are given under twenty two heads, the additional heads being the details of the first sermon, the numbers of those attaining realization of truth (abhisamaya) at each assembly,
the names of the two chief women disciples, the aura of The Buddha's Body (ramsi), the height of his Body, the name of the Bodhisatta (who was to become Gotama Buddha), the prophecy concerning him, his exertions (padhāna) and the details of each Buddha's Death.
The Commentary also says that mention must be made of the time each Buddha lived as a Householder, the names of the palaces he occupied, the number of his Dancing women, the names of his chief wife, and his son, his conveyance, his renunciation, his practice of austerities, his patrons and his monastery.
These are length of Life in the epoch in which each is born, the height of his Body, his social rank (some are born as khattiyas, others as brahmins), the length of his austerities, the aura of his Body (thus, in the case of Mangala, his aura spread throughout the ten thousand world systems, while that of Gotama extended only one fathom; - but when he wishes, a Buddha can spread his aura at will, BuA.106); the conveyance in which he makes his renunciation, the tree under which he attains Enlightenment, and the size of the seat (pallanka) under the Bodhi tree.
Only the first five are mentioned in DA.ii.424; also at BuA.105; all eight are given at BuA.246f., which also gives details under each of the eight heads, regarding all the twenty five Buddhas.
- the site of the seat under the Bodhi tree (bodhipallanka),
- the Deer Park at Isipatana where the first sermon is preached,
- the spot where The Buddha first steps on the ground at Sankassa on his descent from Tusita (Tāvatimsa?)
- the spots marked by the four posts of the bed in The Buddha's Gandhakuti in Jetavana.
The monastery may vary in size; the site of the city in which it stands may also vary, but not the site of the bed. Sometimes it is to the east of the Vihāra, sometimes to the north (DA.ii.424; BuA.247).
- In his last Life every Bodhisatta is conscious at the moment of his conception;
- in his mother's womb he remains cross legged with his face turned outwards;
- his mother gives birth to him in a standing posture;
- the birth takes place in a forest grove (araññe);
- immediately after birth he takes seven steps to the north and roars the "lion's roar";
- he makes his renunciation after seeing the four omens and after a son is born to him;
- he has to practise austerities for at least seven days after donning the yellow robe;
- he has a meal of milk rice on the day of his Enlightenment;
- he attains to omniscience seated on a carpet of grass;
- he practises Concentration in breathing;
- he defeats Māra's forces;
- he attains to supreme perfection in all Knowledge and virtue at the foot of the Bodhi tree;
- Mahā Brahmā requests him to preach the Dhamma;
- he preaches his first sermon in the Deer Park at Isipatana;
- he recites the Pātimokkha to the fourfold assembly on the full moon day of Māgha;
- he resides chiefly in Jetavana, he performs the Twin Miracle in Sāvatthi;
- he preaches the Abhidhamma in Tāvatimsa;
- he descends from there at the gate of Sankassa;
- he constantly lives in the bliss of phalasamāpatti;
- he investigates the possibility of converting others during two jhānas;
- he lays down The Precepts only when occasion arises for them;
- he relates Jātakas when suitable occasions occur;
- he recites the Buddhavamsa in the assembly of his kinsmen;
- he always greets courteously monks who visit him;
- he never leaves the place where he has spent the rainy season without bidding farewell to his hosts;
- each day he has prescribed duties before and after his meal and during the three watches of the night;
- he eats a meal containing flesh (mamsarajabhojana) immediately before his Death;
- and just before his Death he enters into the twenty four crores and one hundred thousand samāpattī.
There are also mentioned four dangers from which all Buddhas are immune:
- no misfortune can befall the four requisites intended for a Buddha;
- no one can encompass his Death;
- no injury can befall any of his thirty two Mahāpurisalakkhanā or eighty anubyañjanā;
- nothing can obstruct his aura (BuA.248).
A Buddha is born only in this Cakkavāla out of the ten thousand Cakkavālas which constitute the jātikkhetta (AA.i.251; DA.iii.897). There can appear only one Buddha in the world at a time (D.ii.225; D.iii.114; the reasons for this are given in detail in Mil. 236, and quoted in DA.iii.900f).
When a Bodhisatta takes conception in his mother's womb in his last Life, after leaving Tusita, there is manifested throughout the world a wonderful radiance, and the ten thousand world systems tremble.
Later Books (e.g., J.i.) have greatly enlarged these accounts.
They describe how the Bodhisatta,
- and thus reached the pinnacle of the threefold cariyā - ñātattha-cariyā,
- lokattha-cariyā and buddhi-cariyā - gives the seven mahādānā,
Sometimes only one Buddha is born in a kappa, such a kappa being called Sārakappa; sometimes two, Mandakappa; sometimes three, Varakappa; sometimes four, Sāramandakappa; rarely five, Bhaddakappa (BuA.158f).
No Buddha is born in the early period of a kappa, when men live longer than one hundred thousand years and are thus not able to recognize the nature of old age and Death, and therefore not able to benefit by his preaching. When the Life of man is too short, there is no time for exhortation and men are full of kilesa.
When the Bodhisatta is conceived, his mother has no further wish for indulgence in sexual pleasure. For seven days previously she observes the uposatha vows, but there is no mention of a virgin birth; the birth might be called parthenogenetic (see Mil.123).
On the day of the actual conception, the mother, having bathed in scented water after the celebration of the Asālha festival, and having eaten choice Food, takes upon herself the uposatha vows and retires to the adorned state bedchamber.
As she sleeps, she Dreams that the Four Regent Gods raise her with her bed, and, having taken her to the Himālaya, bathe her in Lake Anotatta, robe her in divine Clothes, anoint her with perfumes and deck her with heavenly Flowers (according to the Nidānakathā, J.i.50, it is their queens who do these things, re the Bodhisatta assuming the Form of an elephant, see Dial.ii.116n).
Not far away is a silver mountain and on it a golden mansion.
Immediately after birth the Bodhisatta stands firmly on his feet, and having taken seven strides to the north, while a white canopy, is held over his head, looks round and utters in fearless voice the lion's roar: "Aggo 'ham asmi lokassa, jettho 'ham asmi lokassa, settho 'ham asmi lokassa, ayam antimā Jāti, natthi dāni punabbhavo” (D.ii.15).
See, e.g., DA.ii.439; thus, standing on the earth means the attaining of the four Iddhi-pādas; facing north implies the spiritual conquest of multitudes; the seven strides are the seven bojjhangas; the canopy is the umbrella of emancipation;
Was he clothed? Did he look an infant or an adult? Tipitaka Culābhaya, preaching on the first floor of the Lohapāsāda, settled the question by suggesting a compromise: the Bodhisatta walked on earth, but the onlookers felt he was travelling through the air;
he was naked, but the onlookers felt he was gaily adorned; he was an infant, but looked sixteen years old; and after his roar he reverted to infancy! (DA.ii.442)
The Bodhisatta has also the eighty secondary signs (asīti anubyañjana) such as copper coloured nails glossy and prominent, sinews which are hidden and without knots, etc. (The list is found in Lal. 121 ).
The Brahmāyu Sutta (for details see M.ii.137f) gives other particulars about Gotama, which are evidently characteristic of all Buddhas. Thus, in walking he always starts with the right foot, his steps are neither too long nor too short, only his lower limbs move; when he gazes on anything, he turns right round to do so (nāgavilokana).
When entering a house he never bends his Body (Cp. DhA.ii.136); when sitting down, accepting water to wash his bowl, eating, washing his hands after eating, or returning thanks, he sits with the greatest propriety, dignity and thoroughness.
His voice possesses eight qualities: it is frank, clear, melodious, pleasant, full, carrying, deep and resonant; it does not travel beyond his audience (for details concerning his voice see DA.ii.452f.; and MA.ii.771f).
A passage in the Anguttara (A.iv.308) says that a Buddha preaches in the eight assemblies - of nobles, brahmins, householders, recluses, devas of the Cātummahārājika world, and of Tāvatimsa, of Māras and of Brahmās.
In these assemblies he becomes one of them and their Language becomes his.
The typical career of a Buddha is illustrated in the Life of Gotama. He renounces the world only after the birth of a son. This, the Commentary explains (DA.ii.422), is to prevent him from being taken for other than a human being.
When he wishes to go alone he keeps the door of his cell shut, which sign is understood by the monks (Ibid., 271).
Occasionally he goes long distances for alms, travelling through the air, and then only khīnāsavā are allowed to accompany him (ThagA.i.65). Sometimes he goes in the ordinary way (pakatiyā), sometimes accompanied by many miracles.
The last watch is divided into three parts: the first part is spent in walking about for exercise and Meditation; the second is devoted to sleep; and the third to contemplation, during which those who are capable of benefiting by The Buddha's teaching, through good deeds done by them in the past, come into his vision. Only beings that are veneyyā (capable of benefiting by instruction) and who possess upanissaya, appear before The Buddha's divine eye (DA.ii.470).
The range of a Buddha's cārikā varies from year to year. Sometimes he would tour the Mahā Mandala of nine hundred yojanas, sometimes the Majjhimamandala of nine hundred yojanas, sometimes only the Antomandala of six hundred yojanas.
A tour of the Mahā Mandala occupies nine months, that of the Majjhimamandala eight, and that of the Antomandala from one to four months. Details of the cārikā and the reasons for them are given at length in DA.i.240 3.
When The Buddha cannot go on a journey himself, he sends his chief disciples (SNA.ii.474). The Buddha announces his intention of undertaking a journey two weeks before he starts, so that the monks may get ready (DhA.ii.167).
- by exhibition of miraculous powers (iddhipātihāriya),
- by reading their thoughts (ādesanāpātihāriya),
- or teaching them what is beneficial to them according to their character and temperament (anusāsanīpātihāriya).
They are called buddha veneyyā (SNA.i.331).
Some are pleased by The Buddha's looks, others by his voice and words, yet others by his austerities, such as the wearing of simple robes, etc.; and finally, those whose standard of judgment is goodness, reflect that he is without a peer (DhA.iii.113f.).
It is said that wherever a Monk dwells during The Buddha's time, in the vicinity of The Buddha, he would always have ready a special seat for The Buddha because it is possible that The Buddha would pay him a special visit (DA.i.48).
Sometimes The Buddha will send a ray of Light from his Gandhakuti to encourage a Monk engaged in Meditation and, appearing before him in this ray of Light, preach to him. Stanzas so preached are called obhāsagāthā (SNA.i.16, 265).
- *Described at Lal. 183, 343, Buddhaghosa also gives (at DA.iii.994) a list of eighteen buddhadhammā, but they are all concerned with the absence of duccarita in the case of The Buddha.
This faculty is possessed in ascending scale by
There are three parinibbānā in the case of a Buddha:
Some Buddhas live longer than others; those that are dighāyuka have only sammukhasāvakā (disciples who hear the Doctrine from The Buddha himself), and at their Death their relics are not scattered, only a single thūpa being erected over them (SNA. 194, 195).
then the Majjhima, from the Indriyabhāvanā Sutta to the Mūlapariyāya Sutta, and then the Dīgha, from the Dasuttara to the Brahmajāla. Scattered gāthā like the Sabhiyapucchā, and the ālavakapucchā, last much longer, but they cannot maintain the Sāsana.
Here we have the beginning of a legend which later grew into an account of an actual "transfiguration" of The Buddha.
The Anguttara Nikāya gives one such list. There he is called Samana, Brāhmana, Vedagū, Bhisaka, Nimmala, Vimala, Ñānī and Vimutta (C.iv. 340). Buddhaghosa gives seven others: Cakkkumā, Sabbabhūtanukampī, Vihātaka, Mārasenappamaddī, Vusitavā, Vimutto and Angirasa (DA.iii.962f).
The Buddha generally speaks of himself as Tathāgata.
(these words are analysed and discussed in Vsm. 198 ff).
By intercourse with whom does he attain lucidity in Wisdom? He is not at his ease in conducting an assembly, not ready in conversation, he is occupied only with the fringe of things. He is like a one eyed cow, walking in a circle" (D.iii.38).
A Buddha never asks for praise, but if his praises are uttered in his presence he takes no offence (ThagA.ii.42).
He received as reward his native village. Cv.lv.26 31.
5. Buddha. See Buddhanāyaka.
The term was used in ancient India by a number of different religious groups, but came to be most strongly associated with followers of the teacher Gautama, the “Sage of the Śākya Clan” (Śākyamuni), who claimed to be only the most recent of a succession of buddhas who had appeared in the world over many eons of time (Kalpa).
In addition to Śākyamuni, there are many other buddhas named in Buddhist literature, from various lists of buddhas of the past, present, and future, to “buddhas of the ten directions” (daśadigbuddha), viz., everywhere.
Although the precise nature of buddhahood is debated by the various schools, a buddha is a person who, in the far distant past, made a previous vow (Pūrvapraṇidhāna) to become a buddha in order to reestablish the dispensation or teaching (Śāsana) at a time when it was lost to the world.
The path to buddhahood is much longer than that of the Arhat—as many as three incalculable eons of time (Asaṃkhyeyakalpa) in some computations— because of the long process of training over the Bodhisattva path (Mārga), involving mastery of the six or ten “perfections” (Pāramitā).
Although there is great interest in the West in the “biography” of Gautama or Śākyamuni Buddha, the early tradition seemed intent on demonstrating his similarity to the buddhas of the past rather than his uniqueness.
Such a concern was motivated in part by the need to demonstrate that what the Buddha taught was not the innovation of an individual, but rather the rediscovery of a timeless truth (what the Buddha himself called “an ancient path” S. purāṇamārga, P. purāṇamagga)) that had been discovered in precisely the same way,
In this sense, the doctrine of the existence of past buddhas allowed the early Buddhist community to claim an authority similar to that of the Vedas of their Hindu rivals and of the Jaina tradition of previous tīrthaṅkaras.
immediately after their birth they all take seven steps to the north; they all renounce the world after seeing the four sights (Caturnimitta; an old man, a sick man, a dead man, and a mendicant) and after the birth of a son;
Four sites on the earth are identical for all buddhas: the place of enlightenment, the place of the first sermon that “turns the wheel of the dharma” (Dharmacakrapravartana), the place of descending from Trāyastriṃśa (heaven of the thirty-three), and the place of their bed in Jetavana monastery.
Buddhas can differ from each other in only eight ways: life span, height, caste (either brāhmaṇa or Kṣatriya), the conveyance by which they go forth from the world, the period of time spent in the practice of asceticism prior to their enlightenment, the kind of tree they sit under on the night of their enlightenment, the size of their seat there, and the extent of their aura.
(1) They descend from Tuṣita heaven for their final birth; (2) they enter their mother’s womb; (3) they take birth in Lumbinī Garden; (4) they are proficient in the worldly arts; (5) they enjoy the company of consorts; (6) they renounce the world; (7) they practice asceticism on the banks of the Nairañjanā River; (8) they go to the Bodhimaṇḍa; (9) they subjugate Māra; (10) they attain enlightenment; (11) they turn the wheel of the dharma; and (12) they pass into Parinirvāṇa.
These qualities of a buddha are accepted by the major schools of Buddhism.
Among the many extraordinary powers of the buddhas are a list of “unshared factors” (Āveṇika(Buddha)dharma) that are unique to them, including their perfect mindfulness and their inability ever to make a mistake.
the Dharmakāya, a transcendent principle that is sometimes translated as “truth body”; an enjoyment body (Saṃbhogakāya) that is visible only to advanced bodhisattvas in exalted realms; and an emanation body (Nirmāṇakāya) that displays the deeds of a buddha to the world.
The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism by Robert E. Buswell Jr. and Donald S. Lopez Jr.