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Pratyeka is named after the concept of the Pratyekabuddha.

"The Pratyeka Buddhas are very great men, very holy men, very pure men in every way, whose knowledge is wide and vast and deep, whose spiritual stature is great; but when they reach Buddhahood, instead of feeling the call of almighty love to return and help those who have gone less far, they go ahead into the supernal light -- pass onwards and enter the unspeakable bliss of nirvana -- and leave mankind behind. Such are the Pratyeka Buddhas.

The Pratyeka Buddha, he who achieves Buddhahood for himself, does not do it selfishly, however; does not do it merely in order to gratify self, and he does no harm to others; if he did he could never reach even his solitary Buddhahood. But he does it and achieves nirvana automatically, so to speak..."

The Sanskrit pratyekabuddha (Pali: pacceka-buddha) is translated into Chinese as either yuanjue 縁覺 ('enlightened by contemplation on dependent origination') or dujue 獨覺 ('solitary realizer', 'self-enlightened one', 'individual illuminate').

One of two kinds of lesser vehicle (小乘) sages, whose practice, according the Mahaayaana perspective, is aimed toward the goal of arhatship, the other being a 'sraavaka' (聲聞).

The first Chinese rendering of the term, yuanjue (縁覺), emphasizes the method by which the practitioner attains the goal, that is by analyzing the principle of the twelve-part conditioned origination (十二因縁).

The second rendering, dujue (獨覺), refers to the fact that this practitioner attains liberation through his own study and effort, not relying on the sermons of a teacher, and staying by himself absorbed in contemplation.