Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “position of the recollections in the prajnaparamita” 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. Position of the recollections in the prajñāpāramitā

Question. – Why do the eight recollections follow the nine notions [of the horrible] [in the Prajñāpāramitāsūtra]?

Answer. – In a forest (araṇya), an empty house (śūnyāgāra), a charnel-ground (śmaśāna), a mountain (giri), a woods (vana) or a desert (kāntāra), the disciples of the Buddha who are meditating properly on the nine notions and who are practicing the meditation on the inner and outer horrors (adhyātmabahirdhāśubhahāvanā) feel disgust for the body and say to themselves: “Why do we carry around this vile and horrible sack of excrement (viṣ) and urine (mūtra)?” They are pained and frightened by it. Also there is wicked Māra (Māra pāpīyat) who plays all kinds of evil tricks on them and who comes to frighten them in hopes of making them regress. This is why the Buddha, [in the Prajñāpāramitāsūtra], continues by explaining the eight recollections.


From that we know that [the Prajñāpāmaitasūtra] continues its account here by speaking of the eight recollections as the means to drive away fear.

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