Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “removing excitement (restlessness) and regret” 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.4 - Removing excitement (restlessness) and regret

The obstacle of excitement (auddhatya) and regret (kaukṛtya). – Excitement is a dharma that harms the mind of the monastic (pravrajyācitta): if a person with concentrated mind (saṃgṛhitacitta) cannot remain faithful, then what can be said of a person with a scattered mind (vikṣiptacitta)? The excited person is as uncontrollable as a mad elephant (gandhagaja) without a hook or a camel (uṣṭra) with pierced nose. Some stanzas say:

“You have shaved your head; you have put on the kāṣāya; holding the clay begging-bowl (pātra), you go to beg your food. Why do you still take pleasure in excitement? You will lose the profits of the religious life after having [already] renounced the joys of the world.”

The person who is prey to regret (kaukṛtya) is like a criminal always tortured by fear (bhaya). When the arrow of regret has entered the mind, it is implanted there and cannot be torn out. Some stanzas say:

If he has done what he should not do,
If he has not done what he should have done,
He is burned by the fire of regret.
Later, he will fall into the bad destinies.

A man can regret his crime;
After having regretted it, he [should] forget it.
In this way his mind will find peace.
He should not think [of his mistakes] incessantly.

There are two kinds of regrets,
According to whether there was omission or performance.
To attach one’s mind to such remorse
Is the mark of a fool.

One must not give oneself up to regret
Because [the good] that one has omitted doing one can always do;
And the bad that one has committed,
One cannot help having already done it.

It is for all these reasons that the obstacle of excitement and of regret is condemned (auddhatyakaukṛtyanīvaraṇa).