Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “the bodhisattvas sitting cross-legged preaching the six virtues” 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 10.5: The bodhisattvas sitting cross-legged preaching the six virtues

Sūtra: On each of these lotuses there were bodhisattvas[1] sitting cross-legged preaching the six virtues. Those who heard them were settled in supreme perfect enlightenment (teṣu ca padmeṣu bodhisattvāḥ paryaṅkaṃ baddhvā niṣaṇṇā abhūvan ṣaṭpāramitādharmadeśanāṃ deśayantaḥ. yaiś ca sattvaiḥ sa dharmaḥ śrutas te niyatā abhūvan anuttarāyāṃ samyaksaṃbodhau).

Śāstra: Question. – The Buddha had previously created thousand-petalled lotuses of precious stones by the rays of his tongue; on each of them there was a seated Buddha; why are there bodhisattvas now seated on each lotus?

Answer. – Previously, it was a question of lotuses created by the Buddha; this is why there were Buddhas seated on them. Here it is a matter of lotuses offered by the bodhisattva Samantaraśmi; this is why there are bodhisattvas seated on them. Previously, beings had to see the seated Buddhas in order to be saved; here they must see bodhisattvas in order to be saved. These bodhisattvas, seated cross-legged, are preaching the six virtues, and those who hear them are settled in supreme perfect enlightenment.

Footnotes and references:

1.

In the Sanskrit text of the Pañcaviṃśati (p. 14), it is Buddha forms (buddhavigraha) that are seated on the lotuses.