Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “confession, commemoration, rejoicing” 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 4 - Triskandha (threefold practice): confession, commemoration, rejoicing

Note: this appendix is extract from the first note in Chapter XIII (quality 27).

A text that makes up part of the Ratnakūta, the Ugradattaparipṛcchā (cited in the Śikṣasamuccaya, p. 290) recommends that the bodhisattva, pure and clad in clean clothes, three times during the day and three times during the night, carry out the Triskandha, namely, the confession of sins, acceptance of the good and invitation to the Buddhas. Here is the text: Āryogrdattaparipṛcchāyāṃ hi trirātre tridivasasya ca …. pāpadeśanāpuṇyānumodanā-buddhādhyeṣaṇākhyāḥ.

The Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra also mentions this threefold practice and, according to the explanations it gives here, it appears that the Triskandha consists of the following practices:

i) Pāpadeśana, confession of sins.

ii) Buddhānusmṛti-anumodanā-samādāpana, commemoration, rejoicing and exhortation of the Buddhas.

iii) Adhyeṣanā and yācanā, invitation to the Buddhas to preach the Dharma and prayer to the Buddhas to delay their entry into nirvāṇa.

But it is Śāntideva who recommends these spiritual exercises mainly in his Bodhicaryāvatāra, chap. II-III, and his Śikṣamuccaya, p. 290–291 (tr. Bendall-Rouse, p. 263–265). There the threefold practice, so-called because it is done three times during the day and three times during the night, consists of at least six parts:

i) Vandana and pūjana: veneration and worship of the Buddhas, etc.

ii) Śaraṇagamana, taking refuge in the Buddhas, etc., and pāpadeśana, confession of sins.

iii) Puṇyānumodanā, rejoicing in virtue.

iv) Adhyeṣaṇā, invitation to the Buddhas to preach the Dharma.

v) Yācanā, prayer to the Buddhas to delay their entry into nirvāṇa.

vi) Pariṇamanā, dedication of merit for the good of beings.

But, as Śāntideva comments, many of these exercises are mixed up one with another: the vandana is included in the pāpadeśanā, and the yācanā is joined to the adhyeṣaṇā (cf. Śikṣāsamuccaya, p. 290). [In Tibetan, this practice is called Phung-po gsum-paḥi mdo]