Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

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

5. Generosity and the virtue of meditation

How does generosity give rise to the virtue of meditation (dhyānapāramitā)?

1) When the bodhisattva gives, he eliminates miserliness (mātsarya) and greed (lobha). Having eliminated avarice and envy by this generosity, he fixes his attention (ekacitta) and progressively eliminates the five hindrances (nivaraṇa).[1] [152b] Elimination of the five hindrances is what is properly called meditation (dhyāna).

2) Moreover, it is by the support (āśritya) of generosity that the mind (citta) goes from the first dhyāna up to the dhyāna of the absorption of the cessation (nirodhasamāpatti)”.[2] How is [generosity] a support? When the bodhisattva gives a gift to a person deep in meditation, he says to himself: “Because this person is practicing meditation and absorption (samāpatti), I am making the offering with good intention (viśuddhacitta). What can I do now to replace the meditation [from which I have just distracted him]?” Immediately, he concentrates his own mind and practices meditation. – When the bodhisattva gives to a poor person (daridra), he recalls the previous existences of this poor person [and says to himself]: “It is because he has committed errors (akuśala), because he has not concentrated his mind (ekacitta) or practiced meditation that he is at present (ihajanman) poor.” As a result of that, [the bodhisattva] himself tries to practice the good, to fix his attention, and he enters into the dhyānas and the absorptions.

[Mahāsudassanasuttanta].

Footnotes and references:

1.

These are fully studied below, chap. XXVIII.

2.

These are the nine anupūrvavihāra listed in Dīgha, II, p. 156; III, p. 265, 290; Aṅguttara, IV, p. 410. They include the four dhyānas, the four ārūpyasamāpattis and the saṃjñāveditanirodhasamāpatti.