Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “miracle of the multiplication of the buddhas” 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.

The miracle of the multiplication of the Buddhas

Summary: An event closely analogous to the great miracle at Śrāvastī which the Traité has already related in detail above, p. 531–535F.

One day Ānanda reflected thus: Formerly, under the Buddha Jan-teng (Dīpaṃkara), people were good, had long life (dīrghāyuṣa) and were easily converted. Today, under the Buddha Śākyamuni, people are actually bad, have a short life (alpāyuṣa) and are hard to convert. Is Śākyamuni going to enter into nirvāṇa without having completed his work as Buddha (buddhakārya)?

In the morning, Ānanda questioned the Buddha about this. The sun had just risen and, at that very moment, the Buddha entered into the samādhi of Daybreak (sūryodayasamādhi). Just as the rays of the rising sun lit up Jambudvīpa, so, from the body of the Buddha and from the pores of his skin (romakūpa) rays were emitted that illumined universes of the ten directions as many as the sands of the Ganges (gaṅgaÌadīvālukopama).

From each of these rays arose lotus flowers with a thousand petals made of the seven jewels (saptaratnamayāni sahasrapattrāṇī padmāni). On each of these flowers there was a seated Buddha each of whom emitted innumerable rays. From each of these rays arose other thousand-petalled lotus flowers made of the seven jewels on each of which was a seated Buddha.

All these Buddhas filled universes in the ten directions as numerous as the sands of the Ganges and converted beings. Some preached the Dharma, others were silent, others walked about, still others, by feats of magic (ṛddhiprātihārya), shot out water and fire successively. They converted beings of the five destinies in the ten directions by these skillful means (upāya).

By the power of the Buddha (bhagavataḥ prabhāvena), Ānanda saw all these things. Then the Buddha withdrew the bases of his magical power (ṛddhipādān punar eva pratisaṃharati sma), emerged from meditation and asked Ānanda if he had seen and heard these things. Ānanda replied: “Thanks to the Buddha’s power, I saw and I heard.”

The Buddha asked him: “Does the Buddha have enough power to be able to finish [quickly] his task as Buddha?”

Ānanda answered: “O Bhagavat, suppose that the beings filled universes in the ten directions as numerous as the sands of the Ganges and the Buddha lived only one single day, if, [in order to convert them], the Buddha used the power [which you have just demonstrated], he could certainly fully accomplish completely (atyantam) his task as Buddha (buddhakārya).” And Ānanda exclaimed: “It is truly wonderful (adhbhutaṃ bata), O Bhagavat! The Buddha’s attributes are immense (apramāṇa) and inconceivable (acintya).”

This is why we know that the dhyānas and the absorptions of the Buddha are perfected (saṃpanna).