Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

by Gelongma Karma Migme Chödrön | 2001 | 941,039 words

This page describes “community of the five (pancasadharana)” 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 1 - The community of the five (pañcasādhāraṇa)

Note: this appendix is extracted from Chapter XIX part 6:

“The common victim of the five classes causes the human mind to be scattered, to run wild, without ever staying steady, like a monkey (markaṭa) that cannot be still in one place for an instant...”

The characters Wou kia so kong, which literally mean ‘the entire five classes’, probably translate the Sanskrit compound pañcasādhāraṇa ‘the community of the five’. The expression indicates the collection of wealth of the world envied by the five classes of beings which the Mppś will mention below at k. 13, p. 156c2–3:

  1. the king (rājan),
  2. thieves (caura),
  3. fire (agni),
  4. water (udaka),
  5. the prodigal heir (apriyadāyāda).

This may be compared with a text in Aṅguttara, III, p. 259 which has no correspondent in the Chinese sources:

Pañc’ime bhikkhave bhogasu. Katame pañca?
Agghisādhāraṇā bhogā,
udakasādhāraṇā bhogā,
vājasādharaṇā bhogā,
corasāddharaṇā bhogā,
appiyehi dāyādehi sādhāraṇā bhogā

“There are, O monks, five drawbacks to wealth. What are these five? Wealth is exposed to fire, to water, to the king, to robbers and to bad heirs.”

See also the Aputtakasutta of the Saṃyutta, I, p. 90, where it is said that if wealth is not used well,

  1. kings seize it (rājana vā haranti),
  2. thieves steal it (corā vā haranti),
  3. fire burns it (aggiḍahati),
  4. water carries it away (udakaṃvahati)
  5. or bad heirs waste it (appiyā vā dāyāddā haranti).

– The Bodhisattvabhūmi, p. 140, speaks of the protection assured to beings against various dangers:

vividheybhyaś ca siṃhavyāghrarājacorodakāgnyādikebhyo vicitrebhyo bhayasthānebhyaḥ sattvānām ārakṣa.

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