Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “story of the vaishya mendaka” 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 1 - The story of the vaiśya Meṇḍaka

Note: this appendix is extracted from Chapter XXVI, part 1:

“Thus, the vaiśya Meṇḍaka who wanted to get innumerable precious substances (ratnadravya) obtained everything at will”.

Meṇḍaka was a rich householder, native of the city of Bhadaṃkara (Pāli, Bhaddiyanagara) in Bengal. When the Buddha visited the city, Meṇḍaka gave him and the saṅgha shelter and, having heard his sermons, he obtained the fruit of srotaāpanna. The story of this conversion is told in detail in the Vinayas: Pāli Vinaya, I, p. 240–245 (tr. Rh. D.-Oldenderg, II, p. 121–129); Wou fen liu, T 1421, k. 22, p. 150b; Sseu fen liu, T 1428, k. 42, p. 872b; Che song liu, T 1435, k. 26, p. 191a seq.; Divyāvadāna, p. 123–130.

As a result of the merits of their previous lives, Meṇḍaka, his wife Candapadumā, his son Dhanañjaya, his grand-daughter Sumandevī and his slave Puṇṇaka possessed great miraculous powers which are described in the previously cited sources and in yet other texts:

– Vinaya, I, p. 240:

“When he had bathed his head and swept out his granary, he was able to sit outside and refill the granary by making showers of grain fall from the sky.”

– Dhammapadaṭṭha, III, p. 372:

“One day this merchant wanted to prove the power of his merit; he had his twelve hundred and fifty granaries cleaned, bathed his head, sat at the door of each of the granaries and looked up into the sky; at once these granaries were filled with red rice of the type described above.”

Visuddhimagga, p. 383:

“When the merchant had washed his head, he looked up into the sky and his twelve thousand five hundred granaries became full of red rice coming from above.” – Divyāvadāna, p. 123: “When he looked at his treasuries and his empty granaries, they became filled in the wink of an eye.”