Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes ““realm” of abstention from killing” 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.

Part 4 - The “realm” of abstention from killing

Question. – To which realm (dhātu) does abstention from murder belong?

Answer. – In the Kātyāyanīputra Abhidharma it is said that all morality of pledge (samādānasaṃvara) belongs to the desire realm (kāmadhātuvacara); but the other Abhidharmas say that it belongs to the desire realm or that it belongs to no realm (anavacara). To speak truthfully, it is of three kinds: it belongs either to the desire realm (kāmadhātvavacara), or to the form realm (rūpadhātvavacara), or to the pure realm (anāsravacara).

The killing of living beings (prāṇātipāta) involves the desire realm; abstention from killing, corresponding to it, is in the desire realm. It is only the absence of killing in the form realm or the absence of killing in the pure (anāsrava) realm which, by pushing it away (vipakṛṣṭatvāt), constitute the true morality of abstention from killing.

Moreover, there are people who, from birth onwards, without pledging to observe the precepts, have come to abhor killing; sometimes good (kuśala), sometimes neutral (avyakṛta), this [abstention from killing] is described as undefined.