Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “the softening of the earth makes beings joyful” 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 5.4: The softening of the earth makes beings joyful

Sūtra: The earth became soft and gentle so that all beings rejoiced (pṛthivī mṛduka snigdhā sarvasattvasukhajanany abhūt).

Śāstra: Question. – How could a trembling of the earth (pṛthivīcala) inspire beings to a joyful mind?

Answer. – Mind (citta) stands in support behind the body (kāya); thus when the body is at ease, the mind is joyful. And so (read jou in place of yue tchö), in the person who has fasted (upoṣadhika)[1] has a joyful mind on returning to his normal routine. At present in the trisāhasramahāsāhasralokadhātu, beings with various faults have a coarse (audarika) mind deprived of wholesome stimuli; this is why the Buddha shakes the great earth so that soft and gentle minds (mṛduka-snigdhacitta) can develop (vṛddhi).

Thus, when the gods enter the Houan lo yuan (Nandanavana) garden of the king of the Trāyastriṃśa gods, their minds become soft and gentle, they are joyous, content and no gross minds (sthulacitta) arise in them. When the asuras come with their armies, they feel no aggressive attitudes (vigrahacitta). But it happens that Che t’i p’o na min (Śakro devānām indraḥ), at the head of an army of gods, enters the Pāruṣyavana and, because this garden, where the trees, flowers and fruits have an unpleasant smell, is coarse (paruṣa), the army of gods [feel] aggressive thoughts arising in themselves. (see Appendix 8) It is the same for the Buddha: Since this great earth is coarse and harsh, he transforms (pariṇāmayati) it, softens it and causes all beings to have joyous dispositions.

Thus, when certain magical herbs (mantauṣadhi) (mantrauṣadhi ?) are burned under people’s noses, violent feelings (āghātacitta) are aroused in them and they fight. On the other hand, there is a certain magical herb which inspires joy (muditā), happiness (nandana), respect (satkāra) and harmony (samaya) in people. If a simple magical herb has such power, what can be said [of the Buddha] who makes the ground of the trisāhasramahāsāhasralokadhātu soft and gentle?

Footnotes and references:


In Sanskrit, the person who fasts is said to be upoṣadhika (Mahāvastu, ii, p. 9), in Pāli, uposathika (Vinaya, I, p. 58; IV, 75, 78).