Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “padhana-sutta” 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.

It is said that when the Buddha was practicing the six years of austerity (duṣkaracaryā), king Māra came to see him and said: “Noble kṣatriya, of the thousand parts (sahasrabhāga) that are in you, only one is still alive. Get up! Return to your land; win merit by generous gifts and you will find the path of human and divine happiness in this and future lifetimes. It is impossible for you to increase this painful effort. If you do not listen to my fond advice (ślakṣṇavāc), if you persist in your mistake and do not get up, I will bring my great armies here and I will come to destroy you.”[1]

The Bodhisattva answered: “Today I will destroy your inner armies that are so powerful, to say nothing of your outer armies.” – Māra asked: “What are my inner armies?” The Bodhisattva replied:

Desire (kāma) is your first army (senā)
Sadness (arati) is the second,
Hunger and thirst (kṣutpipāsa) are the third army,
Greed (trṣṇā) is the fourth.

Laziness-torpor (styānamiddha) is the fifth army.
Fear (bhaya) is the sixth.
Doubt (vicikitsā) is the seventh army,
Anger (krodha) and hypocrisy (mrakṣa) are the eighth.

Cupidity (labha) and vainglory (mithyāyaśas) are the ninth,
Glorification of the self (ātmotkāra) and scorn of others (parāvajñā) are the tenth.
It is into those armies
That monastics (pravajita) are plunged.

By the power of my meditation and my wisdom
I will crush your armies.
Having attained Buddhahood
I will save all people.[2]

The bodhisattva who has not yet crushed all these armies puts on the armor of patience (kṣāntivarman), grasps the sword of wisdom (prajñākhaḍga), takes the buckler of rapture (dhyānaphalaka) and arrests the arrows of the afflictions (kleśeṣu): this is called inner patience.

Notes on the Padhāna-sutta:

Cf. the Padhānasutta of Suttanipāta, III, 2 (v. 425–449) designated above by the Traité, I, p. 341F under the name of Tsa tsang king (Kṣudraka). See the parallel texts there of the Suttanipāta, v. 436–449 and of the Lalitavistara, p. 262–263

Footnotes and references:


Cf. Suttanipāta, v. 426b–428; Lalita, p. 261.

Suttanipāta Lalitavistara

Kiso tvam asi dubbaṇṇo; Kṛiśo vivarṇo dīnas tvaṃ,
santike maraṇan tava. antilo maraṃaṃ tava.

Sahassabhāgo maraṇassa, Sahasrabhāge maraṇaṃ,
ekaṇso tava jīvitaṃ. ekabhāge cha jīvitam
Jīva bho! Jīvitaṃ seyyo;
jīvaṃ puññāni kāhasi.

Carato ca te brahmacariyaṃ Dadataḥ satataṃ dānaṃ
agghhuttañ ca jāhato, agnihotraṃ ca juhvataḥ,
pahūtaṃ cīyate puññaṃ
; bhaviṣyati mahatpuṇyaṃ; 
kiṃ padhhānena kāhasi. kiṃ prahāṇe karihyasi.

The Mppś comes closest to the version of the Lalita here.


See these stanzas above, Traité, I, p. 341–343F.

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