Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

by Gelongma Karma Migme Chödrön | 2001 | 941,039 words

This page describes “introduction (five thousand bhikshus)” 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.

Introduction (five thousand bhikṣus)

Text commented on in this chapter (Cf. Pañcaviṃśati, p. 4; Śatasāhasrikā, p. 2–4):

Mahatā bhikṣusaṃghena sārdhaṃ pañcamātrair bhikṣusahasraiḥ (1) sarvair arhadbhiḥ (2) kṣīṇāsravair (3) niṣkleśaiḥ (4) suvimuktacittaiḥ suvimuktaprajñair (5) ājāneyair (6) mahānāgaiḥ (7) kṛtakṛtyair (8) apahṛtabhārair bhārasahair (9) anuprāptasvakāthaiḥ (10) parikṣīṇabhavasaṃyojanaiḥ (11) samyagājñāsuvimuktair, ekapudgalaṃ sthāpayitvā yad utāyuṣmantam Ānandaṃ śaikṣaṃ srotaāpannam.[1]

“The Buddha was accompanied by a great saṃgha of five thousand bhikṣus; all were arhats, had destroyed the impurities, were free from the afflictions; their minds were well freed; their minds as well as their wisdom were tamed; they were great ‘nāgas’; they were accomplished and complete;[2] they had laid down the burden but were capable of bearing it; they had assured their own personal benefit; they had completely broken the fetters of existence; they were completely freed by perfect knowledge with the exception of Ānanda who, being of the śaikṣa level, had [merely] entered the stream.”

* * *

Sūtra: Accompanied by a great saṃgha of bhikṣus (mahatā bhikṣusaṃghena sārdham).


Footnotes and references:


We may notice that this formula departs from the traditional text at certain points: three epithets are omitted, namely, vaṣībhūtaiḥ, kṛtakaraṇīyaiḥ and sarvacetovaśiparamapāramitāprāptaiḥ; on the other hand, bhārasahaiḥ occurs here only.


Rather free translation of kṛtakṛtyaiḥ which means ‘having accomplished what had to be done’.

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