Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “general definition of dharmakshanti (patience toward the dharma)” 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 1 - General definition of dharmakṣānti (patience toward the Dharma)

[168b] What is meant by patience toward the Dharma (dharmakṣānti)?

To endure sycophants and flatterers as well as violent and lustful people constitutes patience toward beings (satvakṣānti); to endure adulation (satkāra) and flattery (pūjā) as well as violence (viheṭhana) and lust (kāmamithyācāra) constitutes patience in regard to the Dharma (dharmakṣānti).

Furthermore. dharmakṣānti consists of not feeling any of the six inner attractions (ṣaḍādhyātmikaruci), not seizing any of the six outer objects (ṣaḍāhyasthūla), and not making any distinction (vikalpa) between the two categories. Why? Because inner (ādhyātmikanimitta) is mixed with outer (bāhyanimitta) and outer is mixed with inner. Actually the two characteristics (nimitta) are equally nonexistent (anupalabdha), presenting a single nature (ekalakṣaṇa), resulting from the complex of causes and conditions (hetupratyayasāmagryapekṣa) and are really empty (śūnya). The nature of all dharmas is eternal purity (nityaviṣuddhi), the true nature (tathatā), the limit of existence (bhūtakoṭi), the real nature (dharmatā). Dharmas are included in non-duality (advayapatita), but although they are without duality, they are not, however, single. Seeing all dharmas in this way, without developing them in one’s mind or in one’s firmly held views, is what is called dharmakṣānti. Thus, in the P’i mo lo k’i king (Vimalakīrtinirdeśasūtra), the bodhisattva Fa tchou (Dharmasthiti) said: “Arising and cessation are two; the absence of arising (anutpāda) and the absence of cessation (anirodha) is the teaching on entering into non-duality (advayapraveśadharmaparyāya).” And, finally, the bodhisattva Wen chou che li (Mañjuśrī) said: “The absence of hearing, absence of seeing, cessation of all thoughts, absence of words and absence of speech, that is the teaching on the entry into non-duality.” [Questioned in turn about non-duality], Vimalakirti remained silent and said nothing; and all the bodhisattvas congratulated him, saying: “Good, good! That is the true teaching on the entry into non-duality.”

(Also see Appendix 1: Summary of the ninth chapter of the Vimalakīrtinirdeśa-sūtra)

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