Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “story of the gift of manjushri” 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.

The story of the gift of Mañjuśrī

Wen chou che li (Mañjuśrī) was once a bhikṣu a long time ago – these are long kalpas. Having gone to a village to beg alms, he succeeded in filling his bowl (pātra) with sweet cookies (p. 754F} of a hundred flavors (śatarasamodaka). In the town, a little boy insistently asked him for one of [these cookies] but Mañjuśrī did not give him any.

However, having come to a stūpa of the Buddha, Mañjuśrī took two cookies in his hands and said to the boy:

“If you can eat one of these cookies yourself and give the other one to the Saṃgha, I will give them to you as a gift.”

They agreed and the boy made a gift of one cookie to the Saṃgha. Then in the presence of Mañjuśrī he received ordination (upasaṃpadā) and made the aspiration to become Buddha. This is how generosity can lead to obtaining morality and to making the decision to become Buddha. Therefore generosity gives rise to the virtue of morality.