Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

by Gelongma Karma Migme Chödrön | 2001 | 941,039 words

This page describes “story of the ordination of an intoxicated brahman” 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.

Story of the ordination of an intoxicated brāhman

While the Buddha was at Tche houan (Jetavana), a drunk brāhman approached him and asked to become a bhikṣu. The Buddha ordered Ānanda to shave his head and give him the monk’s robes. When his intoxication had worn off, the brāhman was frightened, did not want to be a bhikṣu any longer and fled.

The monks asked the Buddha:

“Why did you allow this drunk brāhman to become a bhikṣu?”

The Buddha replied:

“For numberless kalpas, this brāhman did not even have the idea of becoming a monastic. Today, as a result of his drunkenness, he made a small resolution (sūkṣmacittotpāda) thanks to which, later, he will leave the world and obtain the Path.”

For all of these reasons, the religious life has many benefits and this is why the lay person (avadātavasana), even though he has the fivefold discipline (pañcaśīla) is not like a monastic (pravrajita).

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