Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “origin of the story of gandaka” 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 11 - Origin of the story of Gaṇḍaka

Note: This Appendix relates to the story of a sick bhikṣu extracted from Chapter XIV part 5.8. It shows how the sick are healed by the miraculous power of the Buddha.

“The servant of the Jetavana called Kien ti (Gaṇḍaka) [Gaṇḍaka in the Ts’in language means ‘cut up’]. He was the brother of king Prasenajit; he was handsome, kind and endowed with an excellent heart”.

Kien ti may well conceal an original Sanskrit Khaṇḍin which also means ‘cut up’, but Gaṇḍaka is attested by the Divyāvadāna, p. 155: He was originally called Kāla, but ‘as his body had been cut into pieces, his name was changed to Gaṇḍaka.’ Indeed, Kien ti can easily conceal an original Gaṇḍa, because Kien (93 and 9) can as well translate gan as k(h)an, and ti (64 and 5) probably translates a final di[ka]: Gaṇḍika.

His story, told here, also occurs with some divergences in detail in the Divyāvadāna, p. 153–155 (tr. Burnouf, Introduction, p. 154–156) and the Mūlasarvmastivādin Vinaya, Ken pen chouo … tsa che T 1451, k. 26,p. 330b–c.

The same Gaṇḍaka, called Gaṇḍa in the Pāli sources, appears also in another story. The gardener of king Prasenajit, he went one day to the palace to offer the king a ripe mango (ambapakka). But meeting the Buddha on the way who was on his begging round, he offered it to him instead. The Buddha ate it at once and gave the seed (aṭṭhi) to Ānanda to plant in the garden at the gate of the city. A tree grew out of it immediately to the height of one hundred cubits, laden with flowers and fruits. Cf. Jātaka, IV, p. 264–265; Dhammapadaṭṭha, III, p. 206–208 (tr. Burlingame, Legends, III, p. 41). It was at the foot of this mango tree, called Gaṇḍamba, that the Buddha accomplished the great miracle of Śrāvastī (cf. Nidānakathā, p. 88, Milinda, p. 349).