Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “explanation of the word mahat” 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 2 - Explanation of the word Mahat

Mahat, in the language of the Ts’in, means ‘great’, numerous (sambahula), or superior (śreṣṭha).[1]

1. This saṃgha is great because it surpasses all the others, because it has broken all the obstacles (āvaraṇa) and because the gods (deva), kings (rājan) and other great individuals respect it (satkurvanti).

2. This saṃgha is numerous because there are five thousand members.

3. This saṃgha is superior because it is able to refute the teachings (upadeśa) of the 96 heretical sects (read wai tao = tīrthika).[2]

Footnotes and references:


Cf. ibid., p. 35: Mahatā ti guṇamahattena pi mahatā saṅkhāmahattena pi. So hi bhikkhusaṃgho guṇehi mahā ahosi apicchatādiguṇasatasamannāgatasttā, saṃkhāya pi mahā pañcasatasaṃkhātattā.


Cf. Chavannes, Contes, I, p. 410.

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