Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “the position of the nine notions (navasamjna)” 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.

I. The position of the nine notions (navasaṃjñā)

Question. – It is necessary first to have cultivated these nine notions and be free from desire in order to then attain the dhyānas. Why does [the Prajñāpāramitāsūtra] speak of the nine notions here after having dealt with the dhyānas and the absorptions (samāpatti)?

Answer. – First the Sūtra spoke about the fruit of retribution (vipākaphala) which is [the dhyānas and the samāpattis] in order to encourage the yogin’s heart. Although the nine notions are horrible (aśubha), the person who wants to obtain their fruit of retribution must have practiced them previously.

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