Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “formulated the vows” 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 15: formulated the vows

15. asaṃkhyeyakalpapraṇidhānasusamārabdha:

Sūtra: They have formulated the vows since incalculable periods ago (asaṃkhyeyakalpapraṇidhānasusumārabdhaiḥ).

Śāstra: The meaning of the word ‘asaṃkhyeya’ has already been explained above in the chapter on the Bodhisattva. As for the word ‘kalpa’, the Buddha defined it by the following comparisons:

“Suppose there is a rocky mountain (śailaparvata) four thousand li [in size] to which a venerable monk (āyuṣmat) comes once every hundred years (varṣaśatasyatyayena), brushing against it with his silk robe (kāśika vastra): this great rock mountain would be worn out before a kalpa passes.”[1] – “Suppose there is a great city (nagara) of four thousand li, full of mustard seeds (sarṣapa), unsorted and not leveled out, and that a venerable monk comes once every hundred years and takes away one seed: the mustard seeds would have disappeared before a kalpa would have passed.”[2]

During innumerable kalpas of this kind, the bodhisattva has formed the great vow to save all beings. This is what is called the vow of the Great Mind. In order to save all beings, the fetters (saṃyojana) must be cut through and supreme perfect enlightenment (anuttarasamyaksaṃbodhi) must be realized. This is what is called vow.

Footnotes and references:

1.

Pabbatasutta: Saṃyutta, II, p. 181; Tsa a han, T 99 (no. 949), k. 34, p. 242c; T 100 (no. 342), k. 10, p. 487c; Tseng yi a han, T 125, k. 51, p. 825c: Seyyathāpi bhikkhu mahāselo pabbato … gaccheyya na tv eva kappo.

2.

Sāsapasutta: Saṃyutta, II, p. 182; Tsa a han, T 99 (no. 948), k. 34, p. 242c; T 100 (no. 3421), k. 16, p. 487c; Tseng yi a han, T 125, k. 51, p. 825b: Seyyathāpi bhikkhu āyasaṃ nagaraṃ yojanam … pariyādānaṃ gaccheyya na tv eva kappo.

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: