Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “introduction (the world of transmigration)” 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.

Introduction (the world of transmigration)

Moreover, the bodhisattva sees that the beings of the threefold world (traidhātuka) and the five destinies (pañcagati) are, each of them, deprived of happiness.

[The threefold world].

[The five destinies].

[The Preta destiny].

[The eight great hells].

[Various utsada annexed to the Avīci].

[The sixteen utsadas annexed to the eight great hells].

[The eight hot hells].

[The eight cold hells].

The sage (jñānin) who hears [about these hells] cries out in fear: “Alas! It is because of ignorance (avidyā), hatred (pratigha) and attachment (anunaya) that one comes to undergo these sufferings; one comes out of them only to re-enter them again infinitely.” Seeing these hells, the bodhisattva says to himself: “These sufferings are the acts for causes and conditions; they all result from ignorance (avidyā) and the afflictions (kleśa). I will apply myself energetically to the six virtues (pāramitā) and accumulate the qualities (guṇa) in order to relieve beings of the sufferings of the five destinies.” Thus the bodhisattva stimulates his compassion and increases his exertion. If one saw one’s father and mother shut up in prison, beaten and afflicted in ten thousand ways, one would look for any way (upāya) to save them and one’s mind would not rest for one moment.

Thus the bodhisattva, who sees beings undergo the sufferings of the five destinies, thinks of them ceaselessly as his parents.