Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “theory of the laukikagradharma” 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.

Appendix 3 - The theory of the laukikāgradharma

Note: this appendix is extracted from Chapter XXX part 3.2 (the teaching of the abhidharma):

“If a Bhikṣu is unable to correctly understand conditioned dharmas (saṃskṛtadhamra) and if he wants to obtain the supreme worldly dharmas (laukikāgradharma), that will be impossible for him”.

In the Prajñā system, the higher (adhimātra) laukikāgradharmas consist of the absence of concept during the concentration, all dharmas having ceased to exist for the bodhisattva (sarvadharmāvidyamānatvena samādher avikalpanam): cf. Pañcaviṃśati, p. 145; Obermiller, Doctrine of P.P., p. 36; Analysis, I, p. 75. In possession of the laukikāgradharma, the ascetic enters into the Path of seeing (darśanamārga); he exchanges his quality of worldly person for that of śaikṣa; he enters into the samyaktvaniyama, the state of complete predestination (niyama) for nirvāṇa (samyayaktva = nirvāṇa): cf. Kośa, VI, p. 180–182.

The theory of the laukikāgradharmas has not been formulated clearly in the canonical scriptures; however, the scriptural text cited here by the Mppś, contains a rough outline. This text may be compared with a passage of Saṃyutta, III, p. 225, which says:

Yo bhikkhaveime dhamme evaṃ saddahati adhimuccati… okkanto sammattaniyāmaṃ sappurisabhūmiṃ okkanto vītivatto puthujjanabhūmiṃ. abhabbo taṃ kammaṃ kātuṃyaṃ kammaṃ katvā nirayaṃ vā tiracchManayiniṃ vā pettivisayaṃ vā uppajjeyya. abhabbo ca tāva kālaṃ kmatuṃ yāva na sotāpattiphalaṃ sacchikaroti:

“He who believes and accepts these doctrines [according to which all dharmas are transitory (anicca), changing (vipariṇāmin) and perishable (aññathābhāvin)] has entered into predestination for nirvāṇa, has entered into the level of good people and has escaped from the level of worldly people. He is incapable of committing a deed that would cause him to be reborn in hell or among animals or among pretas. He cannot die without realizing the fruit of entering into the stream.”

The theory of the nirvedhabhāgīyas and the laukikāgradharmas was first formulated in clear terms in the Abhidharma. The Jñānaprasthāna of Kātyāyana begins with a study of the laukikāgradharmas: cf. T 1544, k. 1, p. 918 (tr. L. de La Vallée Poussin, Pārāyaṇa cited in Jñānaprasthāna, Mélanges Linossier, II, p. 323–327). The theory has already been taken studied in the treatises of the Sarvāstivādin-Vaibhaṣjkas, as well as in all the works of the Greater Vehicle: see the bibliography on the nirvedhabhāgīyas in Saṃgraha, p. 34.