Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “preliminary note on the ten concepts (dasha-samjna)” 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.

Preliminary note on the ten concepts (daśa-saṃjñā)

Various partially overlapping lists of saṃjñā have already been mentioned above, p. 1311F.

1. The Pāli Nikāyas:

In the Pāli Nikāyas, there are two different lists of ten saññās: the first, in Dīgha, III, p. 291; Saṃyutta, V, p. 132–133; Anguttara, V, p. 105, 309; the second in Anguttara, V, p.109.

1st list

  1. asubha-
  2. maraṇa
  3. āhāre paṭikkūla-
  4. sabbaloke anabhirati-
  5. anicca-
  6. anicce dukkha-
  7. dukkhe anatta-
  8. pahāna-
  9. virāga-
  10. nirodha-saññā.

2nd list

  1. anicca-
  2. anatta-
  3. asubha-
  4. ādīnava-
  5. pahāna-
  6. virāga-
  7. nirodha-
  8. sabbaloke anabhirati-
  9. sabbasaṅkhāresu anicca-
  10. ānāpānasati-saññā.

The saññās 1–7 of the first list are defined in Anguttara, IV, p. 46–53; the second list is explained in Anguttara, V, p. 109–112.

2. The Prajñāpāramitā.

In the Prajñāpāramitā, the Sanskrit list in Pañcaviṃśati (ed. Dutt, p. 20, l. 5–8) mentions ten saṃjñās; on the other hand, the Sanskrit list in the Śatasāsrikā (ed. Ghosa, p. 60, l. 15–61, l. 6) mentions only six:

a. Ten saṃjñās according to the Pañcaviṃṣati:

  1. anitya-
  2. duḥkha-
  3. anātma-
  4. aśuci-
  5. maraṇa-
  6. sarvaloke ’nabhirati-
  7. sarvaloke ‘viśvāsa-
  8. patijaya-
  9. saṃvṛti-
  10. yathāruta-saṃjñānam.

b. Six saṃjñās according to the Śatasāhasrika:

  1. anitya-
  2. duḥkha-
  3. anātma-
  4. aśubha-
  5. sarvalokānabhirati-
  6. aviśvāsa-saṃjñā.

3. Chinese version of the Pañcaviṃśati:

Ten saṃjñās also appear in the Chinese version of the Pañcaviṃśati by Kumārajīva (T 223, k. 1, p. 219a11–13) and in the Chinese versions of all the Prajñāpāramitās by Hiuan-tsang (T 220, col. V, k. 3, p. 12a22–23; T 220, vol. V, k. 37, p. 204a18–19; T 220, vol. VII, k. 402, p. 7c1–3):

a. Ten saṃjñās according to the Pañcaviṃṣati by Kumārajīva:

  1. anitya-
  2. duḥkha-
  3. anātma-
  4. āhāre pratikūla-
  5. sarvaloke ’nabhirati-
  6. maraṇa-
  7. aśuci
  8. prahāṇa-
  9. virāga-
  10. nirodha-saṃjñā.

b. Ten saṃjñās according to the Pañcaviṃṣati by Hiuan-tsang:

  1. anitya-
  2. duḥkha-
  3. anātma-
  4. aśuci-
  5. maraṇa-
  6. sarvaloke ’nabhirati-
  7. āhāre pratikūla-
  8. prahāṇa-
  9. virāga-
  10. nirodha-saṃjñā.

4. The Sarvāstivādin-Vaibhaṣika Abhidharmas:

It is probable that, from their divergence from the original Sanskrit of the Prajñāpāramitās, the Chinese versions were modeled on the list of ten saṃjñās appearing in the Sarvāstivādin-Vaibhaṣika Abhidharmas (Jñanaprasthāna, T 1543, k. 27, p. 894b27–29;T 1013, k. 18, p. 1013c18–20; Vibhāṣā, T 1545, k. 166, p. 836c20–22):

  1. amityā-,
  2. anitye duḥkha-, 
  3. duḥkhe ’nātma-, 
  4. aśuci-, 
  5. āhāre pratikūla-, 
  6. sarvaloke ’nabhirati-. 
  7. maraṇa-, 
  8. prahāṇa-, 
  9. virāga-, 
  10. nirodha-saṃjñā.
Let's grow together!

I humbly request your help to keep doing what I do best: provide the world with unbiased sources, definitions and images. Your donation direclty influences the quality and quantity of knowledge, wisdom and spiritual insight the world is exposed to.

Let's make the world a better place together!

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: