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Buddhist term abhisamaya is usually translated as insight or direct intuitive realization. Hināyāna texts treat it as a synonym for other terms denoting the realization of the essence of Buddhist teaching. In Mahāyāna treatises it is interpreted as an intuitive recognition of the fact of the verity of Buddhist teaching before the logical realization of the basis of this verity. This recognition is the support for further logical comprehension of the essence of Buddhist teaching. It necessarily entail radical transformation of the person according to the moral principles of Buddhism. Therefore the knowledge acquired through this intuitive realization, unlike mundane knowledge, can never be lost. The question as to whether this abhisamaya gives the knowledge of entire Buddhist teaching or just its different parts that must be comprehended in a given stage of the Buddhist path was given different answers by Mahāyāna thinkers, but common idea was that this path is divided into stages and prelogical recognition is necessarily precedes logical comprehension. The highest form of this intuitive realization is the realization of the bodhisattva ideal – the ideal of a person who refuses to be absorbed in nirvāṇa for salvation other sentient beings from saṃsāra. The acceptance of this ideal was treated in Mahāyāna as a necessary prerequisite for any intuitive realization of Buddhist Dharma.

Keywords: Indian Mahāyāna, Yogācāra, bodhisattva ideal, Buddhist anthropology, intuitive realization, insight, religious and philosophical systems of ancient India

DOI: 10.22250/2072-8662.2019.4.19-29

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About the author 

Sergey L. Burmistrov – DSc (Philosophy), Leading Researcher at the Department of Central Asian and South Asian Studies,

Institute of Oriental Manuscripts of the Russian Academy of Sciences; 18 Dvortsovaya embankment, St. Petersburg, Russia, 191186;

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