Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “four nirvedhabhagiya (auxiliaries of penetration or insight)” 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.

Appendix 1 - The four nirvedhabhāgiya (auxiliaries of penetration or insight)

Note: this appendix is extracted from the second note of Chapter XII (quality 23).

The four auxiliaries of penetration or insight (nirvedhabhāgiya) are:

  1. heat (uṣmagata),
  2. summit (mūrdhānaḥ),
  3. patience (kṣānti),
  4. supreme dharma (laukikāgradharma).

Although the term nirvedhabhāgiya (in contrast to hīnabhāgiya) occurs in the canonical scriptures (cf. Dīgha, III, p. 251, 277; Samyutta, V, p. 345; Aṅguttara, III, p. 427; Vibhaṅga, p. 330), the theory of the four auxiliaries of penetration appears only in the scholasticism of the Lesser Vehicle (cf. Divyāvadāna, p. 80; Kośa, VI, p. 169). It concerns the four roots of good (kuśalamūla) practiced in the path of preparation (prayogamārga) immediately preceding the path of seeing (darśanamārga). Cf. Kośa, V, p. IV; Obermiller, Doctrine of P.P., p. 20.

The four nirvedhabhāgiyas have been adopted by the masters of the Greater Vehicle and make up part of the bodhisattva Path; they must be practiced during the level of activity in faith (adhimukticaryabhūmi), the stage preparatory (prayogamārga) to entry into the bhūmis (cf. Obermiller, o.c., p. 34–37). In the scholasticism of the Greater Vehicle, the four nirvedhabhāgiyas correspond to four concentrations (samādhi): the acquisition of light (ālokabhāghiya), the increase of light (ālokavṛddhi), penetration of one part of the truth (tattvaikadeśanupraveśa), the concentration immediately preceding the path of seeing (āntaryasamādhi). Moreover, in the Vijñānavādin school, these nirvedhabhāgiyas and these samādhis are connected with a fourfold knowledge: lesser paryeśaṇā, greater paryeśaṇā, lesser yathābhūtaparijñāna, greater yathābhūta-parijñāna.

Here are some references: In the Prajñā literature: Abhisamaya, p. 5 (v. 26), p. 279V. 1–4); Āloka, p. 36, 63, 663 (cf. Obermiller, Analysis, p. 8–9. 63). – In the Madhyamaka literature: Madh. vṛtti, p. 362 n.; Bodhicaryāvatara, IX, v. 41; Pañjika, p. 426. – In the Yogācāra literature: Sūtrālamkāra (ed. Lévi), VI., v. 9: XIV, v. 23–26; Abhidharmasamuccayavyākhyā, T 1606, k. 8, p. 734c; Uttaratantra, p. 86; Madhyāntavibhaṅga, p. 27; Saṃgraha, p. 161, 169–170; Siddhi, p. 575–584, 602–603.