Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “prakaranagrantha or prakarana)” 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 5 - The Prakaraṇapāda-śāstra (aka. Prakaraṇagrantha or Prakaraṇa)

Note: This appendix is extracted from a note from the Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra Chapter XXXI (The Four Foundations of Mindfulness).

The Prakaraṇapāda, also called Prakaraṇagrantha or simply Prakaraṇa, is part of the Ṣaṭpādābhidharma of the Sarvāstivādins made up of the Jñānaprasthāna of Kātyāyanīputra and six annexed treatises (see above, p. 111F, n. 1).

The Sanskrit sources (Kośavyākhyā, p. 9), Tibetan sources (Bu ston, I, p. 49; Tāranātha, p. 296) and the Chinese sources attribute the Prakaraṇapāda to Vasumitra who composed it at Gandhāra, not far from Puṣkarāvati (Si-yu-ki, T 2087, k. 2, p. 881a15–16). But according to the Traité (above, p. 111–112F), only the first four chapters were by Vasumitra, the last four of which are the Ts’ien-nan p’in were the work of the Kaśmir arhats.

According to the modern exegetists, the Prakaraṇapāda belonged to the Abhidharma of the late period and shows affinities with the Vibhaṅga of the Pāli Abhidhamma: cf. Kogen Mizuno, Abhidharma Literature, Ceylon Enc., I, p. 70–71; A. C. Banerjeee, Sarvāstivādin Literature, 1957, p. 62–64: B.C. Law, History of Pāli Literature, I, 1933, p. 340.

The Prakaraṇapāda is often cited by Vasubandhu in his Kośa, by Yaśomitra in his Kośavyākhyā and by Saṃghabhadra in his Nyāyānusāra (cf. Taisho Index, 16, p. 174).

Two Chinese translations of the Prakaraṇapāda have been made:

a. Tchong che fen a-p’i-t’an louen (T 1541) by the Indian Brahmin Guṇabhadra (394–468) and his disciple Bodhiyaśas (cf. Li tai san pao ki, T 2034, k. 10, p. 91a25; K’ai yuan mou lou, T 2154, K. 5, p. 528b11).

b. A-p’i-ta-mo p’in tsou louen (T 1542) by Hiuan-tsang. The translation was started in the Yun-kouang hall at Yu-houa sseu the 1st of the 9th month of the 5th hien-k’ing year (October 10, 660) and finished the 23rd day of the 10th month of the same year (November 30). Ta-cheng-kouang, etc., wrote it down with the brush (K’ai yuan mou lou, T 2154, k. 8, p. 447a14–15).

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