Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

by Gelongma Karma Migme Chödrön | 2001 | 941,039 words

This page describes “damned remain in avici hell for one kalpa” 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 damned remain in Avīci hell for one kalpa

Note: this appendix is extracted from Chapter XIII (quality 25):

“According to some, even the greatest sinner who has fallen into the Avīci hell will suffer his punishment for one kalpa, whereas the very meritorious person, residing in the sphere of neither perception-nor-nonperception, will enjoy his reward for 80,000 great kalpas”.

According to the śrāvakas, adherents of the Lesser Vehicle, the damned remain in Avīci hell for one kalpa:

i) The Itivuttaka, II, 18, p. 11, says that the schismatic is cooked in hell for one kalpa: āpāyika nerayiko kappaṭṭho saṃghabhedaka … bhitvāna kappaṃ nirayahi paccan. “The schismatic falls into the abyss, he falls into hell for one kalpa. Creating schisms, living in irreligion, he falls away from safety. Having destroyed the unity of the community, he is cooked in hell for one kalpa.”

ii) The Buddha declared that Devadatta, guilty of schism, would be damned for one kalpa: Āpāyiko Devadatta nerayiko kappaṭṭho atekiccho “Devadatta has fallen into the abyss, fallen into hell for a kalpa; he is unpardonable.” This judgment is repeated in Vinaya, II, p. 202; Majjhima, I, p. 393; Aṅguttara, III, p. 402;; IV, p. 160; Itivuttaka, p.85; Tchong a han, T 26(no. 112), k. 27, p. 600c; A neou fong king, T 58, p. 854a.

Vinaya, II, p. 394: Aṅguttara, V, p. 75: Samaggaṃ kho saṃghaṃ bhinditvā kappaṭṭhikaṃ kibbisaṃ pasavati kappaṃ nirayamhi paccati “Having broken the unity of the community, he has committed a sin which will last for one kalpa: he will cook in hell for a kalpa.”

Later scholasticism discusses the length of the kalpa passed in hell: is it a small kalpa (antarakalpa) or a great kalpa (mahākalpa): cf. Kathāvatthu, II, p. 476; P’i p’o cha, T 1545, k. 116, p. 601c; Kośa, IV, p. 207. On the duration of the lifespan of the damned, see Kirfel, Kosmographie der Inder, p. 205–206.

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