Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “sarvada-jataka” 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.

Thus, king Sa p’o ta (Sarvada), “Universal Generosity” in the language of Ts’in, having been conquered by an enemy kingdom, hid in a forest. A brahmin of a distant region came to beg alms of him. The king, whose kingdom was lost, his home destroyed and who was in hiding by himself, took pity on the fatigue (ārta) of this man who had come so far without receiving anything, and said to this brahmin: “I am king Sarvada; the new king has enlisted men to search for me and places great importance [on my capture].” At once he chained himself and gave himself up to the brahmin who led him to the new king and was given a big reward.

Notes on the Sarvada-jātaka:

Later, at k. 33, p. 304c, the Mppś will return to this jātaka; here the king has the name Sa p’o ta to (Sarvaṃdada). The same jātaka is taught in the Ta tchouang yen louen king, T 201, no. 70, k. 15, p. 339b–340a (tr. Huber, Sūtrālaṃkāra, p. 416–421), Tsa p’i yu king T 207, no. 34, p. 530a–c (tr. Chavannes, Contes, II, p. 59–61). In these two collections, the story has a favorable ending: the usurper king re-establishes Sarvada on the throne and goes home. On the other hand, in the Lieou tou tsi king, T 102, no. 10, k. 1, p. 5a06a (tr. Chavannes, Contes, I, p. 8–45), the good king is put to death by the usurper. In the same collection, T 153, no. 11, k. 2, p. 6a–c (tr. Chavannes, Contes, I, p. 46–49), the good king, called Po ye this time, does not wait to be handed over to the brahmin, but gives him his head on which a reward had been set; the conqueror, touched by such virtue, replaced the head of the former king back on his body, covered his entire body with gold leaf and seated him in the place of honor. See also P’ou sa pen yuan king, T 153, k. 1, p. 55sq; King liu yi snag, T 2121, k. 26, p. 141b–142b. – Hiuan tsang, Si yu ki, T 2087, k. 3, p. 883a (tr. Beal, I, p. 124; Watters, I, p. 232–235), locates the feat of Sarvaṃdada at the Mahāvana monastery on the side of a mountain two hundred li south of Maṅgalapura; archeologists place Mahāvana at Sounigrām,