Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “the buddha smiles a fourth time: beings become aware of one another” 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 8: The Buddha smiles a fourth time: beings become aware of one another

Sūtra: Then, seated on the lion-seat, the Bhagavat smiled with joy, and the light of this smile illumined the whole trisāhasramahāsāhasralokadhātu. Thanks to this light, the beings of the trisāhasramahāsāsralokadhātu saw the Buddhas and the saṃghas in universes of the east as numerous as the sands of the Ganges; [conversely], the beings of the universes of the east, universes as numerous as the sands of the Ganges, saw the Buddha Śākyamuni and his great assembly which were in the trisāhasramahāsāhasralokadhātu. And it was the same for the south, the west and the north, the four intermediate directions and the directions of the zenith and the nadir (atha khalu bhagavāṃs tasminn eva siṃhāsane niṣaṇṇaḥ punar evasmitam akarot. yena smitāvabhāsenāyaṃ trisāhasramahāsāhasralokadhātuḥ sphuto ‘bhūt. yena ca smitāvabhāsena ye ca trisāsramahāsmasralokadhātau sattvās te sarve pūrvasyāṃ diśi gaṅgānadīvālukopameṣu lokadhātuṣu buddhān bhagavataḥ paśyanti sma saśrāvakasaṃghān, tasyāñ pūrvasyāṃ diśi gaṅgānadīvālukopameṣu lokadhātuṣu ye sattvās te sarve ’sminn eva trisāhasramahāsāhasralokadhātau buddhaṃ Śākyamuniṃ paśyanti sma amardhaṃ mahāsaṃghena. evaṃ dakṣiṇasyāṃ diśi paścimāyām uttarasyāṃ catasṛṣuvidikṣv ūrdhvam adhah cābhūt).

Śāstra: Question. – Several times already, previously, the Buddha has emited rays (raśmi); why does he again emit them now?

Answer. – Above, when he emitted rays, he had a particular reason each time as we have noted. But up to now the great assemblies were invisible to one another; now, by the miraculous power of his rays (raśmiṛddhibala), the Buddha allows all the great assemblies of these different universes to see one another.

Question. – The great arhat, the āyusmat A ni lou teou (Aniruddha), who was the first of the Buddha’s disciples to possess the divine eye (divyacakṣukānām agraḥ), ordinarily saw a chiliomicrocosm (sāhasracūḍikalokadhātu) and exceptionally a dichiliomesocosm (dvisāhasramadhyamalokadhātu). A great pratyekabuddha normally sees a dichiliomesocosm and exceptionally a trichiliomegacosm (trisāhasramahāsāhasralokadhātu). How can all beings here see the Buddha-universes of the east, universes as numerous as the sand of the Ganges?

Answer. – It is the miraculous power of the Buddha which allows them to see so far; it is not due to the power of the beings themselves. It is accepted that arhats, pratyekabuddhas, etc., also have an unlimited field of vision by the power of the Buddha. Thus, when a noble cakravartin king comes flying, his entire army with its retinue of elephants and horses follow him in the air. Here, by the Buddha’s miraculous power, beings, distant as they may be, see one another. Moreover, by the power of the concentration of wisdom (prajñāsamādhi), even those who do not have the divine eye (divyacakṣus) see the ten directions. The Buddha’s eye [124a] (cakṣus) and ear (śrotra) are free of obstacles (āvaraṇa). In the same way that all beings attain samādhi, the divine eye (divyacakṣus) and the divine ear (divyaśotra) by themselves (svataḥ) at the end of a kalpa at the time of the great conflagration, so the Buddha, by his miraculous power (ṛddhibala), causes all beings to have the ability to see at a distance.

[The sūtra says]: “Then the Bhagavat, seated on the lion-seat, smiled with joy.” We have spoken previously of this smile; here we are content to explain what has not yet been explained.

Question. – The fact that beings of this place see yonder direction over there is due to the Buddha Śākyamuni’s miraculous power; but whose is the power by virtue of which beings of yonder place see this direction here?

Answer. – Again it is the Buddha Śākyamuni’s power that allows those beings to see our trisāhasramahāsāshasralokadhātu and to contemplate the Buddha Śākyamuni with all his assemblies (saṃgha). It is the same also for the south, the west and the north, the four intermediate directions and the directions of the zenith and the nadir.