Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

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

3. Generosity and the virtue of patience

How does generosity gives rise to the virtue of patience (kṣāntipāramitā)?

[151a] 1) If the bodhisattva gives a gift and his recipient (pratigrāhaka) rebuffs him, either by asking for too much or by asking at an inopportune time (akāle), the bodhisattva has the following thought: “If I give gifts, it is to attain Buddhahood; no one forces me to give. Acting by myself, why should I get angry?” Having reasoned in this way, he practices patience; thus generosity engenders the virtue of patience.

2) Furthermore, if the bodhisattva gives and his recipient becomes annoyed, the bodhisattva thinks in the following way: “At this moment I am giving my inner and outer wealth (ādhyātmikabāhyadhana); I relinquish that which is hard to abandon. Then why should I endure vain insults (śūnyaśabda)? If I did not have patience, the gifts that I would be making would be impure (aśuddha). Giving without patience is to act in exactly the same way as a white elephant (pāṇḍaragaja) going to take a bath in the river who, as soon as he comes out, goes to roll in the dirt.” Having reasoned in this way, he practices patience.

For many reasons of this kind, generosity engenders the virtue of patience.