Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

by Gelongma Karma Migme Chödrön | 2001 | 941,039 words

This page describes “the elements constituting the thirty-seven auxiliaries” 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.

Abhidharma auxiliaries (B): The elements constituting the thirty-seven auxiliaries

These thirty-seven auxiliaries have ten things (dravya)[1] as roots (mūla). What are these ten? 1) Faith (śraddhā), 2) morality (śīla), 3) thought (saṃkalpa), 4) exertion (vīrya), 5) mindfulness (smṛti), 6) concentration (samādhi), 7) wisdom (prajñā), 8) relaxation (praśrabdhi),[2] 9) joy, (prīti), 10) equanimity (upekṣā).

1) Faith (śraddhā) constitutes: a. the faculty of faith (śraddhendriya); b. the power of faith (śraddhābala).

2) Morality (śila) constitutes: a. right speech (samyagvac); b. right action (samyakkarmānta); c. right livelihood (samyagājīva).

3) Thought (saṃkalpa) constitutes: right thinking (samyaksaṃkalpa).]

4) Exertion (vīrya) constitutes: a. the four right efforts (samyakpradhāna); b. the faculty of exertion (vīryendriya); c. the power of exertion (vīryabala); d. the factor-of-enlightenment called exertion (vīryasaṃbodhyaṅga); e. the [factor-of-the path] called right effort (samyagvyāyāma).

5) Mindfulness (smṛti) constitutes: a. the faculty of mindfulness (smṛtīndriya); b. the power of mindfulness (smṛtibala); c. the factor-of-enlightenment called mindfulness (smṛtisaṃbodhyaṅga); d. the [factor-of-the-path] called right mindfulness (samyaksmṛti).

6) Concentration (samādhi) constitutes: a. the four foundations of magical power (ṛddhipāda); b. the faculty of concentration (samādhīndriya); c. the power of concentration (samādhibala); d. the factor-of-enlightenment called concentration (samādhisaṃbodhyaṅga); e. the [factor-of-the-path] called right concentration (samyaksamādhi).

7) Wisdom (prajñā) constitutes: a. the four foundations of mindfulness (smṛtyupasthāna); b. the faculty of wisdom (prajñendriya); c. the power of wisdom (prajñābala); d. the factor-of-enlightenment called discernment of dharmas (dharmapravicayasaṃbodhyaṅga); e. the [factor-of-the-path] called right view (samyagdṛṣṭi).

8) Relaxation (praśrabdhi) constitutes the factor-of-enlightenment called relaxation (praśrabdhisaṃbodhyaṅga).

9) Joy (prīti) constitutes the factor-of-enlightenment called joy (prītisaṃbodhyaṅga).

10) Equanimity (upekṣā) constitutes the factor-of-enlightenment called equanimity (upekṣāsaṃbodhyaṅga)].[3]

Footnotes and references:


According to the Vibhāṣā (T 1545, k. 96, p. 496a–b), the thirty-seven auxiliaries consist of ten, eleven or twelve constitutive elements: according to the Abhidharmāmṛta (1553, k. 2, p. 977c11–12) and Kośa (VI, p. 283–284), ten; according to the Abhidharmadīpa (p. 358), eleven.


This is cittapraśrabdhi, ‘the dharma by means of which the mind is skillful, light, capable’: cf. Kośa. II, p. 157. Kumārajīva renders praśrabdhi here by tch’ou “to get rid of ?”; the translation k’ing-ngan ‘lightness-peace’ adopted by Hiuan-tsang in his version of the Kośa (T 1558, k. 2, p. 7c7; k. 4, p. 19b6; k. 12, p. 67a1–2; k. 25, p. 132b11; k. 28, p. 147a13) seems preferable.


The text in square brackets is taken from Kośa, VI, p. 284, so as to complete the list.

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