Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “recollection of gods of native purity” 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.

VI.2. Recollection of gods of native purity

Furthermore, there are four kinds of gods:[1] i) metaphorical gods (saṃmatideva), ii) gods by birth (upapattideva), iii) pure gods (viśuddhideva), iv) gods of native purity (upapattiviusuddhideva):

i) The actual god called T’ien-tseu “Son of a god or Devaputra”, for example, is a metaphorical god.

ii) [All the deities of the threefold world] from the Cāturmahārājikas up to the neither-discriminating-nor-non-discriminating gods (naivasaṃjñānāsaṃjñā deva) are gods by birth (upapattideva).

iii) All the holy individuals (āryapudgala) born among humans are gods by purity (viśuddhideva).

iv) All the holy individuals born among the gods of the threefold world (traidhātuka) are gods by native purity (upapattiviṣuddhideva), namely:

a. The srotaāpanna called kulaṃkula and the sakṛdāgāmin called ekavīcika who, in the paradises, sometimes attain the state of anāgāmin or arhat are the upapattiviśuddhadeva.

b. In the form realm (rūpadhātu), there are five kinds of anāgāmin who are no longer reborn in this realm [i.e., kāmadhātu] but attain the state of arhat in rūpadhātu.

c. In the formless realm (ārūpyadhātu), there is a kind of anāgāmin who, being detached from the form realm (rūpadhātu), is reborn in the formless realm (ārūpyadhātu), cultivates the pure path there, becomes arhat and enters into nirvāṇa. [228a]

Therefore we call recollection of the deities (devatānusmṛti) the fact of recollecting two kinds of deities: i) the deities by birth (upapattideva) and ii) the deities of native purity (upapattiviśuddhadeva).

Footnotes and references:


See above, p. 331F and note 2.