Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “perfecting the dhyanas” 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.

In all four dhyānas, there is the principle of perfecting (vardhanadharma). By perfecting the sāsrava by means of the anāsrava, mastery of the mind (cetovaśita) of the fourth dhyāna is obtained. By means of the fourth anāsrava dhyāna, the fourth sāsrava dhyāna is perfected. Similarly the third, second, and first dhyāna can perfect the sāsrava of their own level by means of the anāsrava of the same level.

Question. – What is the perfecting of the dhyāna called?

Answer. – The saints (ārya) are pleased with the anāsrava concentration and do not like the sāsrava; at the time of abandoning the passions (vairāgya), the śuddhaka and sāsrava dhyānas displease them and when they are obtained, they try to eliminate the impurities: they resort to the anāsrava to perfect them. Just as melting rids the gold ore from its dross, so the anāsrava perfects the sāsrava. From the anāsrava dhyāna, one enters into the śuddhaka dhyāna, and the repetition of this practice constitutes a kind of melting.