Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “dharma is like good medicine (bhaishajya)” 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 12 - The Dharma is like good medicine (bhaiṣajya)

Note: This Appendix is extracted from Chapter XXXVI, part 2.III.4 (Other qualities of the Community):

“The Buddha is like the king of physicians (vaidyarāja), the Dharma is like good medicine (bhaiṣajya) and the Community is like a nurse (glānopasthāyaka)”.

Classical comparison which will be repeated below, p. 1407F. Later (k. 85, p. 657b12–14), the Traité explains:

“The sick man should seek the good physician and the medicinal herb. The Buddha is the good physician; the good roots (kuśalamūla) are the medicinal herb; the good friend (kalyānamitra) is the nurse. Furnished with these three things, the sick man is quickly cured.”

Kośa, VI, p. 294 and Kośavyākhyā, p. 606:

Vaidyabhūto Bhagavān anuttaro bhiṣak śalyaharteti sortāt, dharmabhaiṣajyadaiśikatvāc ca. bhaiṣajyabhūto dharmaḥ kleśavyādhibhaiṣajyatvāt. nirvāṇārogyasaṃprāpakatvāc copasthāyakabhūtaḥ saṃgho nirvāṇārogyaprāptaye parasparopasthānāt:

“The Blessed One is physician, for the sūtra (Tsa a han, T 99, k.15, p. 105a–b; Kośavyākhyā, p. 514) calls him ‘the supreme physician who pulls out the arrows’ and because he preaches the medicine of the Dharma. The Dharma is medicine because it remedies the sicknesses of the passions. Finally, because it brings about the peace of nirvāṇa, the Community is the nurse, for its members support one another in order to obtain the peace of nirvāṇa.”

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