Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “the buddha smiles a second time with all the pores of his skin” 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.

Act 2: The Buddha smiles a second time with all the pores of his skin

Sūtra: Then the Bhagavat smiled once more with all the pores of his skin and emitted rays that lit up the trisāhasramahāsāhasralokadhātu and extended to universes of the ten directions as numerous as the sands of the Ganges. All the beings who were touched by their brilliance were destined to supreme complete enlightenment (Atha khalu Bhagavān punar eva sarvaromakūpebhyaḥ smitaṃ kṛtvā raśmīn niścārayati sma yair ayaṃ trisāhasramahāsāhasraro lokadhātuḥ parisphuto’bhut. taiś ca daśasikṣu gaṅgãnadīvālukopamāḥ sarvalokadhātvaḥ parisphutā abhūvan. ye ca sattvās tayā prabhayā spṛṣṭās te sarve niyatā abhūvan anuttatāyāṃ samyaksaṃbodhau).

Śāstra: Above, the Buddha smiled with his whole body (sarvakāyāt); why does he smile here with all the pores of his skin (sarvaromakūpebhyaḥ)?

Answer. – When he smiled with all his body, he was smiling with a coarse part (sthūlabhāga); now when he smiles with all his pores, he is smiling with a subtle part (sūkṣmabhāga).

Moreover, when he smiled with his whole body, the rays could be counted; now when he smiles with all his pores, his rays are innumerable (asaṃkhyeya).

Finally, those who had not been saved by the rays emitted from his body now obtain salvation by encountering the rays emitted from his pores. Thus, when a tree (vṛkṣa) is shaken (dhumoti) to gather the fruit, the ripe fruit (paripakvaphala) fall at once, but the tree must be shaken again to get the green fruit; the net (jāla) [114c] must be cast in order to take fish (matsya) and, if it is not full, it must be cast again until the fish are taken.

As for the reasons for smiling, they are the same as above.