Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “two bodies (kaya) of the bodhisattva” 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.

Appendix 1 - The two bodies (kāya) of the Bodhisattva

Note: this appendix is extracted from Chapter XX part 5:

“Furthermore, the bodhisattva has two kinds of bodies (kāya): 1) a body born from bonds and actions (bandhanakarmaja-kāya) and 2) a body of the Dharma (dharma-kāya). The perfection of the virtue of generosity that he practices in these two bodies is called paripūrṇadānapāramitā.”

To understand this text and the developments that follow, it is useful to compare other passages of the Mppś that deal with the two bodies of the Bodhisattva, Some have already been listed in Hôbôgirin, p. 141, and in the appendix to the Siddhi, p. 780f. In order to justify my [Lamotte] translations, I would like to mention that de La Vallée Poussin, Notes bouddhiques, VIII,BCLA, 1929, p. 218, has established that the fa-sing (61 and 4) of Kumārajīva which, in Hiuan-tsang’s versions, corresponds to dharmatā, translates dharmadhātu here. Dharmadhātu may be translated as Absolute; according to the explanation of the Saṃgraha, p. 121, it is called thus because it is the cause (dhātu = hetu) of pure dharmas (vaiyavadānika).

T 1509, k. 28, p. 264b: We have already said that the Bodhisattva entering into the dharmavasthā, abiding in the avaivartikabhūmi, acquires a body born of the Absolute (dharmadhātujakāya) when his last fleshly body (māṃsakāya) is exhausted, because, although he has cut all the afflictions (kleśa), the perfuming (vāsanā) of the afflictions remains; thus he takes a dharmadhātujakāya, not an existence in the threefold world (traidhātukajāti).

T 1509, k. 30, p. 283a–b: Although the Bodhisattva has not attained either acquiescence of non-production (anutpādakṣānti) or the five abhijñās, his fleshly body of birth and death (cyutupapattimāṃsakāya, or saṃsāramāṃsakāya) possesses a mind of great compassion (mahākaruṇācitta) and is able to give beings all the inner and outer goods that he possesses.

T 1509, k. 30, p. 284a: When the Bodhisattva enters into nyāma, he abandons the body of birth-and-death (cyutupapattikāya or saṃsārakāya) and acquires the true form of the Absolute (dharmadhātu).