Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “second samapatti” 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.

This immense and infinite space is grasped (ālambate) by the intellect; this vast object distracts the ascetic and can even destroy his absorption. Contemplating space, the ascetic sees feelings (vedanā), notions (saṃjñā), formations (saṃskāra) and consciousnesses (vijñāna)[1] which seem to him to be a sickness (roga), an ulcer (gaṇḍa), a wound (āghāta) and an arrow (śalya), transitory (anitya), painful (duḥkha), empty (śūnya) and non-self (anātman), an accumulation of deceits without true reality.[2] Thinking in this way, he abandons the ākāśa object and holds only the consciousness (vijñāna). Does he hold the present (pratyutpanna), the past (atīta), future (anāgata) consciousness, or the immense, infinite consciousness (apramāṇānantavijñāna)? He holds the immense and infinite consciousness.[3] Since this consciousness is immense and infinite like ākāśa, the absorption is called the absorption of the sphere of infinite consciousness (vijñānānantyāyatanasamāpatti).

Footnotes and references:


Whereas the dhyānas are accomp-anied by the five skandhas, the samāpattis consist of only four (vedanā, saṃjñā, saṃskāra and vijñāna), for all rūpa is absent; cf. Kośa, VIII, p. 134.


This phrase, which is of canonical origin, will be repeated for the second and third samāpatti; cf. Majjhima, I, p. 436: So yad eva attha hoti vedanāgataṃ saññāhataṃ saṅkhāragataṃ viññāṇagataṃ te dhamme aniccato dukkhato rogato gaṇḍato allato aghato ābādhato parato palokato suññato anattato samanupassati.


Cf. Vibhaṅga, p. 262: Anantaṃ viñnnāṇan ti, taṃ yeva ākāsaṃ viññāṇena phutaṃ manasikaroti anantaṃ pharati tena vuccati anantaṃ viññānanti. – Commentary in Visuddhimagga, I, p. 332.