Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “appearance of the buddha prabhutaratna” 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 5 - Appearance of the Buddha Prabhūtaratna

Note: this appendix is extract from Chapter XIII (quality 27).

“Furthermore, there are Buddhas who have not been invited to preach and who have entered directly into nirvāṇa without having preached the Dharma. Thus, in the Saddharmapuṇḍarīkasūtra, the Bhagavat Prabhūtaratna, whom nobody had invited to preach, entered nirvāṇa directly but, later, his fictive nirmāṇakāya and his stūpa made of the seven jewels (saptaratna) appeared simultaneously in order to confirm the prediction of the Saddharmapuṇḍarīkasūtra”.

Cf. Saddharmapuṇḍarīka, chap. XI: Stūpasaṃdarśana, p. 248–249 (tr. Burnouf, p. 150–151; Kern, p. 236–237).

When Śākyamuni was in the process of preaching the holy Dharma, a precious stūpa appeared in the sky above the assembly. A voice came from it which praised Śākyamuni who opened the stūpa and there found the preserved body of Prabhūtaratna:

Atha khalu bhagavāñ Śākyamunis tathāgatas tasyāṃ velāyāṃ svān … dharmaparyāyasya śravaṇāyehāgataḥ.

“Then at that moment the blessed Tathāgata Śākyamuni, seeing all the assembled Tathāgatas miraculously created from his own body…, arose from his seat and flying up, remained suspended in the air. The four assemblies all together arose from their seats and stood, palms joined in respect, with eyes fixed on the face of the Bhagavat.

Then with his right hand, the Bhagavat divided this great stūpa made of precious stones which was suspended in the air; and having divided it, he opened the two halves completely. Just as the two halves of the gate of a great city open up when the piece of wood holding them closed is removed, so the Bhagavat, having separated this great stūpa into two parts with the index finger of his right hand, opened it.

Hardly had this great stūpa of precious stones been opened, when the blessed Tathāgata Prabhūtaratna appeared seated cross-legged on his throne, his limbs dried out but his body not decreased in size, as if deep in meditation; and at this same moment, he pronounced the following words: “Good, good, O blessed Śākyamuni, it is well said, this explanation of the Lotus of the holy Dharma which you are about to make; it is good, O blessed Śākyamuni, that you explain this Lotus of the holy Dharma to the assemblies; I too, O Bhagavat, have come to hear this Lotus of the holy Dharma.” (tr. Burnouf)