Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “story of the shramanera who loved cream” 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.

Story of the śrāmaṇera who loved cream

There was a śrāmaṇera who loved cream and was always thinking about it; each time the generous donors (dānapati) distributed cream to the community (saṃgha), he received the remaining portion; in his mind, the love [of cream] was deeply planted and his joy never went away. At the end of his life, he was reborn [as an insect] in a cream-pitcher. The teacher of this śrāmaṇera had attained the state of arhat.

One day when the community was sharing some cream, he said to [the bhikṣus]:

“Gently, gently! Do not hurt the śrāmaṇera who loved cream.”

The monks said to him:

“That’s an insect; why are you talking to us about the śrāmaṇera who loved cream?”

The teacher answered:

“This insect was once my śrāmaṇera, always coveting the remainder of the cream; this is why he has taken birth in this pitcher.”

The insect was in the portion of milk which the teacher had received; he showed himself and the teacher said to him:

“Cream lover, why have you come?”

Then he took the cream and gave it to him.

Notes for this story:

Reproduced in the King liu yi siang, T 2121, k. 22, p. 121b.