Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “on the ordination of the bhikshu and bhikshuni” 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 2 - On the ordination of the bhikṣu and bhikṣuṇī

Note: this appendix is extract from Chapter XXII part II.2.4 (morality of the bhikṣuṇī).

The bhikṣu and bhikṣuṇī receive ordination by means of the jñapticaturthakakarman, “the ecclesiastical act where the motion (jñapti) is fourth (caturtha)”, which means: the (threefold) act which, with the motion, makes four. The act of ordination consists of a motion (jñapti) followed by three proposals (karmavācana) related to the acceptance of the motion by the community:

a. The motion.

The community is requested by a learned and capable monk who says:

“Let the community listen: So-and-so, present here, who is a student of the venerable so-and-so, wishes tp receive ordination. If the community is willing, let it confer the ordination: this is the motion.”

b. The three proposals.

The monk continues:

“Let the community listen: So-and-so, present here, who is a student of the venerable so-and-so, wishes to receive ordination. The community confers ordination to so-and-so with so-and-so as preceptor. Whoever is in agreement that ordination be conferred…, let him be silent. Whoever disagrees, let him speak.”

This proposal (karmavācana) is repeated three times. After the third proposal (tṛtiyā karmavācana), if the community is silent, the ordination is acquired and the monk says:

“So-and-so has received ordination from the community with so-and-so as preceptor. The community is agreed; that is why they are silent: thus do I understand.”

On these ceremonies, cf. Vinaya, I, p. 56. 95 (for the bhikṣu); II, p. 274 (for the bhikṣuṇī); J. Filliozat, Frag. du Vin. des Mūlasarv., JA, 1938, p. 50: Oldenberg, Bouddha, p. 390.

In acts of lesser importance, the motion may be followed by a single proposal instead of three; this is called jñaptidvitīyakarman,”the ecclesiastical act where the motion is second”, i.e., the (simple) act which, with the motion, makes two. Cf. Oldenberg, Vinaya Texts, I, p. 169, n. 2.