Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “courses through the five destinies (pancagati)” 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.

Courses through the five destinies (pañcagati)

Courses through the five destinies.

The bodhisattva who possesses the divine eye (divyacakṣus) sees beings wander through the five destinies (pañcagati) and whirl about in them. They die among the gods and are reborn among men; they die among men and are reborn among the gods; they die among the gods and are reborn in hell; they die in hell and are reborn among the gods; they die among the gods and are reborn among the pretas; they die among the pretas and are again reborn among the gods; they die among the gods and are reborn among the animals; they die among the animals and are reborn among the gods; they die among the gods and again are reborn among the gods. And it is the same for those in hells (nāraka), the pretas and the animals.

Courses through the three realms.

They die in kāmadhātu and are reborn in rūpadhātu; they die in rūpadhātu and reborn in kāmadhātu; they die in kāmadhātu and are reborn in ārūpydhātu; they die in ārūpyadhātu and are reborn in kāmadhātu; they die in kāmadhātu and are reborn in kāmadhātu. It is the same for rūpadhātu and ārūpyadhātu.

Courses through the hells.

They die in Saṃjīva hell and are reborn in Kālasūtra hell; they die in Kālasūtra hell and are reborn in Saṃjīva hell; they die in Saṃjīva hell and are again reborn in Saṃjīva hell. And it is the same for the other hells from Saṃghāta up to Avīchi.

They die in the hell of blazing coals (kukūla) and are reborn in the hell of excrement (kuṇapa); they die in the hell of excrement and are reborn in the hell of blazing coals; they die in the hell of blazing coals and are again reborn in the hell of blazing coals. And it is the same for the other hells, from the hell of the blazing forest (madīptavana) up to the Mahāpadma.

Courses through the five wombs.

In the course of their successive rebirths, they die among the aṇḍaja (beings born from eggs) and are reborn among the jarāyuja (beings born from the chorion); they die among the jarāyuja and are reborn among the aṇḍaja; they die among the aṇḍaja and are again reborn among the aṇḍaja. And it is the same for the jarāyuja, the Ssṃsvedaja (beings born from moisture) and the upapāduka (apparitional beings).

Courses through the four continents.

They die in Jambudvīpa and are reborn in Pūrvavideha; they die in Pūrvavideha and are reborn in Jambudvīpa; they die in Jambudvīpa and are again reborn in Jambudvīpa. And it is the same for Aparagodānīya and Uttarakuru.

Courses through the classes of gods.

They die among the Cāturmahārājikas and are reborn among the Trāyastriṃśas; they die among the Trāyastriṃśas and are reborn among the Cāturmahārājikas; they die among the Cāturmahārājikas and are again reborn among the Cāturmahārājikas. And it is the same [for the other gods of kāmadhātu], from the Trāyastriṃśas to the Paranirmitavaśavartins.

They die among the Brahmakāyikas and are reborn among the Brahmapurohitas; they die among the Brahmapurohitas and are reborn among the Brahmakmayikas; they die among the Brahmakmayikas and are again reborn among the Brahmakāyikas. And it is the same for the Brahmapurohita, [Mahābrahman]; Parīttabha, Apramāṇābha, Ābhāsvara; Parīttaśubha, Apramāṇaśubha, Śubhakṛtana; Anabhraka, Puṇyaprasava, Bṛhatphala; [gods belonging] to the place of infinite space (ākāśānantyāyatana), to the place of infinite consciousness (vijñānānantyāyatana), to the place of nothing at all (ākiṃcanyāyatana) and to the place of the neither with perception nor without perception (naivasaṃjñānasaṃjñāyatana) gods. They die among the neither with perception nor without perception gods and are reborn in Avīci hell. Thus they are reborn in the five destinies (pañcagati) successively.

Having seen that, the bodhisattva produces a mind of great compassion (mahākaruṇācitta): “I am of no use to these beings; even if I gave them [all] the [175c] happiness in the world, this happiness would end up in sorrow. It is only by means of the eternal happiness of the state of buddhahood and nirvāṇa that I can benefit everyone. How can I benefit them? I will use great exertion until I have obtained true wisdom; when I have attained true wisdom I will understand the true nature of dharmas and, with the help of the other virtues, I will do good for beings.” This is the virtue of exertion belonging to the bodhisattva.