Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “notes on the daughter of sagara (king of the nagas)” 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 12 - Notes on the daughter of Sāgara (king of the nāgas)

Note: this appendix is extracted from Chapter VIII part 5.

Sāgaranāgarājaduhitā, the daughter of Sāgara, king of the nāgas, is a bodhisattva of the tenth level (daśamā bhūmi);

Cf. Saddharmapuṇḍarīka, p. 263–265 (tr. Burnouf, Lotus, p. 160–162; Kern, p. 251–253).

– Although female and only eight years of age, the daughter of Sāgara, king of the nāgas, had acquired anuttarasamyaksaṃbodhi, which constitutes the state of Buddha. As the bodhisattva Prajñākūṭa and Śāriputra refused to believe that a woman could attain this high rank, she suppressed the signs indicating her sex in herself, showed herself endowed with male organs and transformed herself into a bodhisattva who went to the south. In this part of space there was the universe Vimalā; there, seated near the trunk of a bodhi tree made of the seven precious substances, this bodhisattva appeared in the condition of perfectly accomplished Buddha, bearing the thirty-two marks of the Great Man, having the body adorned with all the secondary marks, emitting light which spread in the ten directions and teaching the Dharma.

Here is the Sanskrit text of this passage: Sāgaranāgarājaduhitā… tat strīndriyam anatarhitaṃ puruṣendriyaṃ… spjutitvā dharmaadeśanāṃ kurvāṇam. – According to the previous indications, the Mppś is quite correct in making the daughter of Sāgara a tenth level bodhisattva, the ultimate stage of the career of the Bodhisattva and immediately preceding the attainment of Buddhahood.

In telling the story of Sāgara’s daughter, the Mppś is referring to the Saddharmapuṇḍarīka; Kumārajīva, the translator of the Mppś, therefore was familiar with this story. This is worthy of note, for the passage referring to Sāgara’s daughter was originally missing from the translation of the Sdhp made by Kumārajīva in 406; it was inserted only later, in the time of the Souei, in the form of a special chapter entitled Devadatta (cf. T 262, k. 4, p. 34b–35c). A tradition claims that the chapter originally appeared in Kumārajīva’s version, but was removed at Th’ang-ngan. However that may be, the Devadatta chapter is old since its contents appeared as early as 286 AD in Dharmarakṣa’s translation of the Sdgp (cf. T 263, k. 6) and was circulated at the end of the 5th century in Serindia and China independently of the rest of the Sdhp. On this question, see the P. Demiéville’s note in Bibliographie Bouddhique, VII-VIII, 1937, p. 95–96 on the work of K. Fuse (in Japanese).