Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “speak with a smiling face” 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 16: speak with a smiling face

16. smitamukhapūrvābhilāpin:

Sūtra: They speak with a smiling face (smitamukhapūrvābhilāpibhiḥ).

Śāstra: Because they have uprooted hatred (dveṣa), chased away envy (īrṣyā), and always practice great loving-kindness (mahāmaitrī), great compassion (mahākaruṇā) and great joy (mahāmuditā), because they have avoided the four kinds of evil speech (mithyāvāda),[1] they have acquired a pleasant face. Some stanzas say:

Seeing a mendicant monk
He treats him in four ways:
As soon as he sees him, he looks at him kindly,
He goes to meet him and speaks to him respectfully.

He gives him a seat
And fulfills all his wishes:
[101a] With such generous inclinations
The state of Buddhahood is quite close.

The person who avoids the four sins of speech;
Lying (mṛṣāvāda), slander (paiśunya),
Harmful speech (pāruṣya) and frivolous speech (saṃbhinnapralāpa)
Gains a magnificent reward

The kind, gentle person who seeks the Path,
Wishes to save beings,
And avoids the four sins of speech
Is like a harnessed horse.

Footnotes and references:


The four mithyāvādas are lies (mṛṣāvāda), scandal (paiśunya), harmful speech (pāruṣya) and frivolous speech (saṃbhinnapralāpa). Cf. Dīgha, I, p. 4, 138; III, p. 232; Majjhima, I, p. 361–362; Saṃyutta, II, p. 167; Kośa, IV, p. 164–166.