Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “removing the obstacles” 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.

Section B - Second method: removing the obstacles

Having thus condemned the five sensual desires, it is necessary to remove the five obstacles (nīvaraṇa).


In order to succeed in the first stage of meditation, it is not enough to keep way from desires (vivice’ eva kāmehi). It is also necessary to stay away from bad dharmas (vivicca akusalehi dhammehi); the latter constitute the five obstacles to dhyāna, which are envy, malevolence, laziness-torpor, excitement and regret, doubt. Cf. Dīgha,I, p. 71, 246; II, p. 300; III, p.234; Majjhima, I, p. 144;Saṃyutta, V, p. 60; Aṅguttara, III, p. 16: Pañca nīvaraṇāni: kāmacchandanīvaraṇaṃ, vyāpādanīvaraṇaṃ, thīnamiddhanīvaraṇaṃ, uddhaccakukkuccanīvaraṇaṃvicikicchānīvaraṇaṃ.

– A canonical passage endlessly repeated, praises the complete freedom of mind of the ascetic who has destroyed these obstacles: cf. Dīgha, I, p. 71; Majjhima,I, p. 181, 269, 274, 347; III, p. 136; Aṅguttara, III, p. 92; IV, p. 437; V, p. 207.

The Mppś develops these ideas here. They will be found in Vibhāṣā, T 1545, k. 38, p. 194c; k. 48, p. 249c; cf. Kośa, V, p. 98–100, a better explanation. For the Pāli sources, consult Dhammasaṅghaṇī, p. 204–205; Atthasālinī, p. 380 seq.; S. Z. Aung, Compendium, p. 172.