Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “patience relating to the profound dharmas” 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.

Bodhisattva quality 10: patience relating to the profound dharmas

10. gambhiradharmakṣāntipāraṃgata:

Sūtra: They have crossed over to the other shore of the patience relating to the profound dharmas (gambhīradharmakṣāntipāramgataiḥ).

Śāstra: What are the profound dharmas (gambhīradharma)?

1) The twelve causes and conditions (dvādaśahetupratyaya) are called gambhīradharma. Thus the Buddha said to Ānanda: “The twelve causes and conditions (or pratītyasamutpāda) are profound (gambhīra), difficult to probe (durvigāhya) and difficult to understand (duranubodha).”

2) Also, we call gambhīradharma the breaking of the thread (jāla) of the sixty-two wrong views (dṛṣṭigata) relating to the past (atīta) and the future (anāgata). Thus the Buddha said to the bhikṣus: “The foolish ignorant person (bālo ‘śrutavān) who wants to praise the Buddha finds only meager praises. In order to praise the Buddha truly, one should praise the purity of the precepts (śīlaśuddhi), renunciation of desire (vairāgya), the profound doctrine (dharma gambhīra), difficult to sound (durvigāhya) and difficult to understand (duranubodha).”[1]

Here the Fan wang king (Brahmajālasūtra) should be discussed fully.

3) The three gates of deliverance (vimokṣamukha) are also called (gambhīradharma) as the Buddha said in the Prajñāpāramitā. The gods praised him, saying: “O Bhagavat, this doctrine is profound”, and the Buddha replied: “This profound doctrine has as its meaning (artha) emptiness (śūnyatā), wishlessness (apraṇihita) and signlessness (ānimitta).”

4) The explanation of the nature of all dharmas (sarvadharmalakṣaṇanirmocana) is also called gambhīradharma: the true (satya) nature, indestructible (akṣaya) and immutable (akṣobhya, acala).

5) Finally, we also call gambhīradharma the exclusion of inner conceptual knowledge (adhyātmacittasaṃjñājñāna) and the fixing of the concentrated mind (samāhitacittaikāgratā) on the pure true nature of all dharmas (sarvadharmaviśuddhasatyalakṣaṇa). Just as, in the thick of a fog, one sees something that is not yellow as yellow, so by the play of conceptual knowledge one finds dharmas that are merely superficial. Just as a pure eye, not surrounded by fog, sees correctly as yellow that which is yellow, so the pure eye of wisdom (prajñācakṣurviṣuddhi), freed from conceptual knowledge, sees the true nature of dharmas. – When mixed with a yellow substance, clear water becomes yellow (pīta); the water changes color [according to the dye]: blue (nīla), red (lohita), white (avadāta), etc. It is the same for the mind: By the activity of conceptual knowledge, the fool (bāla) finds various natures in dharmas. Seeing that the true nature of dharmas is neither empty (śūnya) nor non-empty (aśūnya), neither existent (sat) nor non-existent (asat), and penetrating deeply into this doctrine without deviations or blockage, this is what is called “having crossed over to the other shore of the acquiescence relating to profound dharmas” (gambhīradharmakṣāntipāraṃgata). Pāraṃgata (in Chinese, tou) means “having obtained” the gambhīradharma. When [this acquiescence] is full, complete and without obstacle (asaṅga), one has “reached the other shore” (pāraṃgata).

Footnotes and references:


Brahmajālasutta in Dīgha, I, p. 12 (Tchang a han, T 1, k. 14, p. 89c18–21; Fan wang lieou che eul kien king, T 21, p. 266a): Idaṃ kho taṃ bhikkhave appamattakaṃ …. sammā vadammanā vadeyyuṃ. “Such, O monks, are the trifles, the minute details of the simple morality of which worldly people speak when praising the Tathāgata. But there are other profound dharmas, difficult to see, difficult to understand, peaceful, exquisite, eluding controversy, subtle and cognizable only by the wise. These are the ones which the Tathāgata himself recognized and realized and which he truly propounds; one should speak of these when one wants to praise the Tathāgata properly in a manner conforming to the truth.”