Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “conversion of urubilva kashyapa and the thousand jatilas” 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 4 - The conversion of Urubilvā Kāśyapa and the thousand Jaṭilas

Note: This Appendix is extracted from Chapter XXXVI, part 2.I (The five pure aggregates: anāsrava-skandha):

“Furthermore, the Buddha has vanquished the great heretical scholars, namely: Yeou-leou-p’in-li kia-chö (Urubilvākāśyapa)...”.

The same year as his enlightenment, the Buddha went to Urubilvā to convert the thousand Jaṭilas, fire worshippers, led by Urubilvākāśyapa, a venerable old man aged one hundred and twenty years, and his two brothers, Nadī- and Gatākāśyapa. To impress these heretics, the Buddha performed no less than eighteen miracles, beginning with the taming of a venomous snake. Finally convinced of not having attained sainthood (arhattva) and that he did not even know the Path, Urubilvākāśyapa asked to be received into the Buddhist order and his five hundred disciples made the same request. The Buddha agreed and the newly converted threw their garments of hide and their religious objects into the river in order to put on the Dharma robe.

Nadī- and Gayākāśyapa, further downstream, saw the cast-off garments of their co-religionists and fearing that some misfortune had occurred to them, they rushed to find out what had happened. They found their friends already shaven and wearing the saffron robes of the disciples of the Buddha. Influenced by this example, they too asked to be accepted into the Saṃgha of monks.

For these conversions, see Catuṣpariṣad, p. 304–315; Pāli Vin, I, p. 32–34; Mahīśāsaka Vin. T 1421, k. 16, p. 109a27–109b22; Dharmagupta Vin., T 1428, k. 33, p. 796b1–797a11: Mūlasarv. Vin. T 1450, k. 7, p. 133b25–134b2; Mahāvastu, III, p. 425–432; Nidānakathā in Jātaka, I, p. 82; Buddhacarita (Tib,), XVI, v. 23–38; Ying pen k’i king, T 185, k. 2, p. 482c2–483a8; Yin kouo king, T 189, k. 4, p. 649b6– 650a22; Tchong hiu mo ho ti king, T 191, k. 9–10, p. 960b27–962a10; Tchong pen k’i king, T 196, k. 1, p. 151c4–28.

For the miracles and the conversion of Urubilvā, see the list of sources in E. Waldscmidt, Vergleichende Analyse des Catuṣpariṣarsūtra, Festscrfit Schubring, 1951, p. 106–113, from which the preceding references have been taken; an analysis of the illustrated monuments in Foucher, La Vie du Bouddha, p. 217–220; a study of the foundations in Bareau, Recherches, p. 253–320.