Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “the seven members of enlightenment (sapta-sambodhyanga)” 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.

E.6. The Seven Members of Enlightenment (sapta-saṃbodhyaṅga)

On the seven members of enlightenment (sapta saṃbodhyaṅga), see the explanations above (p. 1149F). [203a]

Question. – You previously gave the meaning but you did not speak from the Abhidharma point of view.

Answer. – It is necessary here to repeat what was said above (p. 1170F) in regard to the four foundations of mindfulness (smṛtyupasthāna).

The seven members of enlightenment are formless (arūpin), invisible (anidarśana), non-resistant (apratigha), pure (anāsrava), conditioned (saṃskṛta), resulting from causes and conditions (hetupratyaya), included in the three times (tryadhvasaṃgṛhīta), included in name (nāmasaṃgṛhīta), included in the outer bases of consciousness (bāhyāyatanasaṃgṛhīta) and not to be destroyed by seeing (na darśanena prahātavya), things to be cultivated (bhāvanādharma) and non-defiled things (asaṃskliṣṭadharma), being fruit (phala) and involving a fruit (saphala), being neither feeling (na vedanā) nor matter derived (bhautika, upādāya rūpa) from the four great elements, nor cause associated with existence (na bhavanasaṃprayuktahetu). Two sections of the good (kuśala) contain the seven members of enlightenment and the seven members of enlightenment contain two sections of the good. [The members of enlightenment] are dissociated from bad, indeterminate, impure dharmas and dharmas containing impurity (akuśala-avyākṛta-āsrava-sāsravadharma-viprayukta). Two sections of the anāsrava include the seven members of enlightenment and the seven members of enlightenment include two sections of the anāsrava.

These various things have been discussed fully in the Ts’ien-nan ‘The Thousand Aporias’.[1]

Footnotes and references:


Prakaraṇapāda, T 1541, k. 10, p. 679c9 foll.; T 1542, k. 15, p. 753a. – Cf. Vibhaṅga, p. 232–234.

On the Chapter of the Thousand Aporias, see above, p. 1171F, note 1.