Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “ten directions (dish)” 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 2 - The ten directions (diś)

Note: This Appendix is extracted from Chapter XIV part 1.5.

“... And it was the same in the south, in the west and in the north, in the four intermediate directions (vidikṣu), at the zenith and at the nadir.”

Here it may be useful to give the Sanskrit, Pāli, Tibetan and Chinese vocabularies for the ten directions. See the following sources: Pañcaviṃśati, ed. N. Dutt, p. 6; Chinese translations: T 221, p. 1b12–13; T 222, p. 147b25–26; T 223, p. 217b21; Śatasāsrikā, p. 9; Sukhāvatīvyūha st. 12; Saddharmapuṇḍarīka, p. 243; Mahāvyutpatti, no. 8326–8337; Saṃyutta, III, p. 124.

There are ten directions (diś, disā, phyogs, fang) subdivided in the following way:

a) The four directions proper:

East (pūrvā, purimā or puratthimā, śar, tong),
South (dakṣiṇā, dakkhiṇā, lho, nan).
West (paścimā, pacchimā, nub, si).
North (uttarā, uttarā, byaṅ, pei).

b) The four intermediate directions: vidiś, vidisā or anudisā, phyogs-ḥtsham, wei (120 and 8) or yu (170 and 9):

North-east (uttarapūrvā, uttaraparimā, byaṅ-śar, tong-pei).
South-west (pūrvadakṣiṇā, purimadakkhiṇā, śar-lho, rong-nan).
South-east (dakṣiṇapaścimā, dakkhiṇapacchimā, lho-nub, si-nan).
North-west (paścimottarā, pacchimuttarā, nub-byaṅ, si-pei)

c) The two directions above and below (in Pāli, paṭidisā in Dīgha, III, p. 176):

Nadir (adhaḥ, adhastāt or heṣīthimā, adho or heṭṭhimā, ḥog, hia).
Zenith (ūrdhvam, upariṣṭāt or upariṣṭhā, uddhaṃ or uparimā, steṅ, chang).