Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “removing envy” 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.1 - Removing envy

The person who is prey to envy (kāmacchanda) strays far from the Path.

Why? Because envy is the basis for all sorts of worries and chaos. If the mind is attached to envy, there is no way to approach the Path. To remove this envy, some stanzas say:

How can a monastic (mārgapraviṣṭa), modest and reserved,
Carrying the begging-bowl and benefiting beings,
Still tolerate impure envy
And be plunged into the five attachments?

The soldier clothed in armor, bearing a sword and a rod,
Who withdraws and flees from the enemy,
Is nothing but a coward,
Scorned and ridiculed by everyone.

The bhikṣu in the rôle of a mendicant
Has cut his hair and put on the kāṣaya,
But still allows himself to be led by the horses of the five attachments,
He too collects nothing but mockery.

If a famous man [184a]
Richly dressed and with body adorned
Went to beg for clothes and food,
He would be mocked by people.

If a bhikṣu who has renounced adornment,
Scorns fashion and concentrates his mind
And, nevertheless, seeks sensory pleasures,
He too would gather only mockery.

Having renounced the five sense pleasures,
Having rejected them, having refused to think about them,
Why would he follow after them again
Like a madman who returns to his own vomit?

The greedy man
Ignores his earlier vows;
He no longer distinguishes between the beautiful and the ugly;
Drunkenly he hurls himself into desire (tṛṣṇā).

Modesty (hrī), restraint (apatrāpya) and other respectable qualities,
All of that has disappeared all at once;
He is no longer respected by wise people
And is visited only by fools.

Desires provoke suffering when they are sought out,
Fear when they are possessed,
Resentment and grief when they are lost;
They bring not a moment of happiness.

Such are the torments of desire!
How can one escape them?
By acquiring the happiness of dhyāna and samāpatti:
Then one is no longer deceived.

Attachment to sensual pleasures is insatiable,
How can one put an end to them?
If one acquires the meditation of the repulsive (aśubhabhāvana),
These [greedy] minds disappear by themselves.

Attachment to desire is unconscious;
How can one become aware of them?
By considering old age, sickness and death;
Then one succeeds in getting out of the four bottomless pits.

It is difficult to reject desires;
How can one escape from them?
If one can be pleased with the good dharmas
These desires disappear by themselves.

Desires are difficult to undo;
How can one loosen them?
By considering the body and perceiving its true nature;
Then one is tied by nothing.

Considerations such as these
Can extinguish the fire of the desires:
The jungle fire
Cannot withstand a heavy rain.

It is for all these reasons that one removes the obstacle of greed (kāmacchandanīvaraṇa).