Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

by Gelongma Karma Migme Chödrön | 2001 | 941,909 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 is part of the serie known as ‘The Qualities of the Bodhisattvas’. Writtin in five volumes, this book 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.