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Part of the SKT220 Buddhist Ayurveda Course on Sanskrit Terms of Ayurveda and Dharma



Bhikshu is a Sanskrit word; it is the technical designation for a fully ordained Buddhist monk, one who leads a pure and celibate life and who upholds the basic 250 monastic regulations (227 in the Theravada tradition).

Bhikshu has Three meanings, and so it is not translated from Sanskrit. It means 'mendicant', 'frightener of Mara'[i.e., the King of the heavenly demons], and 'destroyer of evil'. Above, a Bhikshu seeks the food of Dharma from all the Buddhas to nourish his Dharma body. Below, he seeks food from living beings to nourish the life of his wisdom. In making the alms round for food, he must seek alms from the rich and poor Equally. What benefits does making the alms-round for food bring? It gives living beings a Chance to plant Blessings. living beings make offerings to the Triple Jewel in order to attain Blessings and virtue. Unless they make offerings to the Triple Jewel, their Blessings thin out, and day by day they accordingly undergo more suffering. Many people don't know enough to make offerings on their own, and so the Bhikshus make the alms-round for food to make them aware of this practice. seeking alms helps the Bhikshus to reduce their greed. It also helps lay people give rise to charitable states of mind. When Bhikshus seek alms, they make the alms-round in succession, from one house to the next; they can't skip over the poorer families and seek alms from the rich, hoping for better offerings. They must not discriminate in their seeking alms. They have to seek alms Equally from all living beings, so that all will have an Equal opportunity to plant Blessings.

“The second meaning of the word Bhikshu is 'frightener of Mara'. When a person leaves the home-life to become a Bhikshu, the heavenly demons are upset. This is like your coming here to study the Buddha Dharma: the demon Kings use all their tricks to get you to quit studying, because they don't like it one bit. If you leave the home-life, the demons are even more unhappy. When a Bhikshu steps up on the precept Plat[[form for the Bhikshu precepts to be transmitted, the Three Masters and seven certifiers, representing the Buddhas of the ten directions and the Three periods of time, who administer and certify the precepts, ask him, 'Have you brought forth the Bodhi mind (Bodhichitta)?' And he says, 'Yes.' Then they ask him, 'Are you a Great Hero?' And he says, 'Yes I am.' At that time, an earth travelling _yaksha_ takes the news to a space travelling _yaksha_, and the space-travelling _yaksha_ flies up to the demon Kings in the heavens and informs them that, among human beings, yet another one has left home to become a Bhikshu. When the demon King hears this, his Palace quakes, as if there were an earthquake, and the demon King is afraid. thus, Bhikshus are called 'frighteners of Mara.'

third, the word Bhikshu means 'destroyer of evil'. Bhikshus break through all the evils of the afflictions. people have afflictions which come to them at birth. When they are born, they lose their tempers and get angry and cry. Bhikshus break through afflictions, and just that is Bodhi. They give rise to the Bodhi mind (Bodhichitta).

“Since the word Bhikshu includes these Three meanings, it is not translated but is left in the Sanskrit.” (DFS IX 1683-1685)

The Three meanings of Bhikshu complement the Three meanings of Arhat (see entry).

1) Chinese: bi qiu_ , 2) Sanskrit: Bhikshu, 3) _bhikkhu_, 4) Alternate translations: almsman, mendicant, a Buddhist monk or priest, (etymologically 'one who wishes to share or partake').

See Also: Shramana, Bhikshuni, Sangha, Moral Precepts.

BTTS References: EDR I 166-167; FAS Ch11 106-116, FAS Ch16 30-31; SS I 63-64; SS V]] 148-149; DFS II 181, 345; DFS IX 1683-1685.

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Fair Use: Vaidya Vasant Lad, Textbook of Ayurveda, Ayurvedic Press, 2002; Vasant Lad, BAMS, MAsc, Ayurvedic Institute Gurukula Notes, Ayurvedic Institute, 1994-2006; and Ron Epstein, Buddhism A to Z, Burlingame, California, Buddhist Text Translation Society, 2003, p. and many other sources (see Bibliography). Adapted from Fair Use Source: Upasaka Ron Epstein, Buddhism A to Z, 1999: p. Primary Original Source: The Tripitaka of Sutra, Shastra and Vinaya Dharma teachings (as found in the scripture storehouse of the Indian Sanskrit- Siddham, Chinese, Tibetan and Japanese traditions of the Nalanda Tradition of ancient Nalanda University) of Shakyamuni Buddha, and his Arya Sagely Bodhisattva Bhikshu Monk and Upasaka disciples.

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bhikshu.txt · Last modified: 2016/02/01 07:47 (external edit)