Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

by Gelongma Karma Migme Chödrön | 2001 | 940,961 words

This page describes “why is the buddha called lokavid” as written by Nagarjuna in his Maha-prajnaparamita-sastra (lit. “the treatise on the great virtue of wisdom”) in the 2nd century. This book, written in five volumes, represents an encyclopedia on Buddhism as well as a commentary on the Pancavimsatisahasrika Prajnaparamita.

Part 7 - Why is the Buddha called Lokavid

He is also called Lou kia pai (lokavid). Loka means world and vid means to know. The expression thus means ‘Knower of the world’.

Question. – How does he know the world?

Answer. – 1. He knows two kinds of worlds: (i) the animate world (sattvaloka), (ii) the inanimate world (asattvaloka) in their true nature (satyalakṣaṇa). He knows the world (loka), its cause (hetu), its destruction (nirodha) and the supraworldly Path (lokottaramārga).

2. Furthermore, his knowledge of the world is not like conventional knowledge (saṃvṛtijñāna) or like heretical knowledge (tīrthikajñāna); he knows that the world is suffering (duḥkha) because it is transitory (anitya), and non-substantial (anātmaka) because it is suffering.

3. Finally, he knows that the world by its nature is neither eternal (śāśvata) nor non-eternal (aśāśvata), neither finite (antavat) nor infinite (ananta), neither changing (cyuta) nor unchanging (acyuta). He is not attached (abhiniviśate) to such characteristics (lakṣaṇa). Pure (viśuddha), eternal (nitya), unalterable (avipraṇaśa), [the world] is like space (ākāśasama). This is why he is called Lokavid.

Definition of Lokavid according to the Visuddhimagga:

Visuddhimagga, p. 204: Sabbathā pi viditalokattā pana Lokavidū. The Buddha knows the world of the formations (sankhāraloka), the world of beings (sattaloka) and the world of space (okāsaloka) with all their subdivisions.