Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “non-existence of sin and its opposite” 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 2 - The non-existence of sin and its opposite

[163c] Question. – If morality consists of avoiding evil and practicing good, why speak of the non-existence of sin and its opposite?

Answer. – Speaking of their non-existence is neither wrong view (mithyādṛṣṭi) nor gross conception (sthūlacitta); if one penetrates deeply into the nature of dharmas and if one cultivates the meditative stabilization of emptiness (śūnyatāsamādhi), one sees by the eye of wisdom (prajñācakṣus) that sin (āpatti) does not exist. If sin does not exist, its opposite, absence of sin (anāpatti) doe not exist either. Besides, if the being does not exist, the sin of killing (atipātāpatti) does not exist either; if the sin does not exist, the discipline (śīla) that forbids it does not exist either. Why? There must be a sin of killing in order that the forbidding of killing exist; but since there is no sin of killing, its forbidding does not exist.