Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “generosity and the virtue of generosity.” 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.

1. Generosity and the virtue of generosity.

How does generosity engender the virtue of generosity?

Generosity is lower (avara), middling (madhya) or higher (agra); from the lower generosity comes the middling generosity and from the middling generosity comes the higher generosity. Giving food (āhāra) and [other gross] objects (audārikadravya) with gentleness (mṛducitta) is lower generosity.

[150b] Advancing in the practice of generosity (dānabhāvanāvardhana) and giving garments (vastra) and [other] precious objects (ratnadravya) is middling generosity, the result of lower generosity. Progressing in the generous motivation (dānacittavardhana) without sparing anything, giving one’s head (śiras), one’s eyes (nayana), one’s blood (śoṇita), one’s flesh (māṃsa), one’s kingdom (rājya), one’s wealth (dhana), one’s wife (dāra) and children (putra) unreservedly, this is higher generosity, coming from middling generosity.

[Gifts practiced by Śākyamuni in his jātakas].