Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “endowed with the fearlessnesses” 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 17: endowed with the fearlessnesses

17. mahāparṣanmadhye vaiśāradyasamanvāgata:

Sūtra: In the great assembly, they are endowed with the fearlessnesses (mahāparṣanmadhye vaiśāradyasamanvāgataiḥ).

Śāstra: As a result of their great merits, their firm qualities and their wisdom, they have acquired a supreme dhāraṇī of eloquence (niruktidhāraṇī) and, in the midst of the great assembly, they enjoy the fearlessnesses (vaiśaradya). Some stanzas say:

Inwardly, his mind, his wisdom and his merits are slender;
Outwardly, he resorts to fine words:
He is like a bamboo (veṇu) without pith
That shows only its exterior.

Inwardly, his mind, his wisdom and his merits are vast;
Outwardly he makes use of true words:
He is like a beautiful diamond (vajra)
The inner and outer power of which are complete.

Moreover, they are endowed with the fearlessnesses, they are handsome, of noble family and of great power. Their discipline (śīla), their concentration (samādhi) and their wisdom (prajñā) are perfect. Having nothing to fear, this is why they are fearless in the midst of the great assembly. Some stanzas say:

The person of little merit and without wisdom
Is unable to occupy a high seat.
He is like a wolf in the face of a lion
That crouches down and does not dare to come out.

The great sage is without fear,
He can occupy the lion’s seat.
He is like the lion whose roar
Makes all the beasts tremble.

Having accumulated immense and infinite wisdom and merit, they have nothing to fear. Some stanzas say:

The person who has destroyed all his faults
And succeeds in avoiding the minor sins,
A great virtuous person of this kind
Has no vow that cannot be realized.

This person of great wisdom
Is free of suffering in this world,
Because for such a person
Saṃsāra and nirvāṇa are identical.

Finally, they have acquired only the fearlessnesses belonging to the bodhisattva. Thus, in the P’i na p’o na wang king,[1] it is said that the bodhisattvas acquire only the four fearlessnesses (vaiśāradya). This has been said above.

Footnotes and references:


Lamotte says he does not know what sūtra this is.