Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “introduction (the story of shariputra)” 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.

Introduction (the story of Śāriputra)

Sūtra: The Buddha said to Śāriputra (Tatra khalu Bhagavān āyuṣmanataṃ Śāriputram āmantrayām āsa).

Śāstra: Question. – The Prajñāpāramitā is the system (dharma) of the bodhisattva-mahāsattvas. Why does the Buddha address himself here to Śāriputra and not to the bodhisattvas?

Answer. – Of all the disciples of the Buddha, Śāriputra is by far the foremost in wisdom (prajñā[1]). A stanza of the Buddha says:

“Except for the Buddha Bhagavat, the knowledge (jñāna) of all beings would not equal a sixteenth part compared with the wisdom (prajñā) and learning (bahuśruta) of Śāriputra.”[2]

Footnotes and references:

1.

Cf. Aṅguttara, I, p. 23 (= Tseng yi a han, T 125, k. 3, p. 557b): etad aggaṃ bhikkhave mama sāvakānaṃ bhikkhūnaṃ mahāpaññāṃ yadidaṃ Sāriputto.

2.

Cf. Divyāvadāna, p. 394:
Sarvalokasya yā prajñā sthāpayitvā Tathāgatam,
Śāriputrasya prajñāyā kalāṃ nārhati ṣoḍaśīm.