Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “division of the great earth of jambudvipa into seven parts” 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.

Appendix 6 - Division of the great earth of Jambudvīpa into seven parts

Note: this appendix is extracted from Chapter VIII part 4.3:

Question: How does the Bodhisattva fulfill the virtue of wisdom (prajñāpāramitā)? Answer: When his great mind reflects and analyses. Thus the brahmin Govinda, the great minister, divided the great earth of Jambudvīpa into seven parts; he also divided into seven parts a determined number of large and small cities (nagara), of villages (nigama) and hamlets (antarāpaṇa). Such is the virtue of wisdom.

Extract of a passage from the Mahāgovindīyasūtra which was summarized by Senart in the following way: “Once there reigned the king Diśāmpati. He had as purohita and counselor the brahmin Govinda. When the latter died, he followed the advice of his son, prince Reṇu, and replaced Govinda by Govinda’s son, Jyotipāla, who was called Mahāgovinda. The six kṣatriya royal electors (rājakartāraḥ), on the death of Diśāmpati, assured his succession to Reṇu by promising to distribute the kingdom amongst the seven of them. When the time came, it was Mahāgovinda who took charge of this division of the land, assigning to each his capital; he remained in charge of all their affairs; at the same time he taught seven thousand brahmins and seven hundred snātakas.”

The sūtra of Mahāgovinda is in the Dīgha, II, p. 220–252 (tr. Rh. D., Dialogues, II, p. 259–281; Tch’ang a han, T 1 (no. 3), k. 5, p. 30b–34b; Ta kien kou p’o lo men yuan k’i king, T 8, vo, I, p. 207–213.

T. W. Rhys-Davids, Dialogues, II, p. 270, gives a list of the cities and the tribes that befell to the share of each of the seven kings; this may be found in Dīgha, II, p. 235–236; Mahāvastu, III, p. 208; Tch’ang a han, T 1, p. 33a:

City, Tribe, King

1. Dantapura, Kāliṅga, Sattabhu

2. Potana, Assaka, Brahmadatta

3. Māhissatī, Avanti, Vessabhu

4. Roruka, Sovīra, Bharata

5. Mithilā, Videha, Reṇu

6. Campā, Aṅga, Dhattaraṭṭha

7. Bārāṇasī, Kāsi, Dhataraṭṭha