Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “indifference toward benefactors” 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 2.2 - Indifference toward benefactors

Question. – For those who have not yet found the Path, food and clothing are necessary. By what means (upāya) can one find patience, not be attached and not love one’s benefactors?

Answer. – Thanks to wisdom (prajñā): by considering the impermanent nature (anityalakṣaṇa), the painful nature (duḥkhalakṣaṇa) and the selfless nature (anātmakalakṣaṇa) of things, one will feel a perpetual disgust (udvega) for them. When a criminal is about to be executed, one may put tasty dishes in front of him, his family may come to console him, but he thinks only of death; even if he eats the tasty dishes, he does not experience their flavor. Similarly, the ascetic who constantly considers impermanence and suffering can receive honors, but he is not attached to them at all. A gazelle (mṛga), pursued relentlessly by a tiger will not care for tender grass or delicious water even if it finds some. Similarly, the ascetic, whom the tiger of impermanence (anityatāvyāghra) pursues with not a moment of respite, and who meditates on the suffering [of everything], cares not at all for the savory delicacies that he may encounter. This is why the ascetic is able to control himself before those who gratify him.