Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “shalyatvena-sutra (sallattena-sutta)” 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 Śalyatvena-sūtra (Sallattena-sutta)

Worldly people do not know that, outside of the five objects of enjoyment, there is another way of getting out of suffering (na hi prajānati pṛthagjano ’nyatra pañcakāmaguṇebhyo duḥkhasya niḥsaraṇam). In pleasant feeling (sukhavedanā), he is stimulated by the propensity of lust (rāgānuśaya); [in unpleasant feeling (duḥkhavedanā), he is stimulated by the propensity of hatred (pratighānuśaya); in the feeling that is neither unpleasant nor pleasant (aduḥkhāsukhavedanā), he is stimulated by the propensity of ignorance (avidhyānuśaya).[1] When the worldly person feels suffering, inwardly (adhyātman) he undergoes the suffering of the threefold poison (triviṣaduḥkha) – [namely, desire (rāga), hatred (dveśa) and delusion (moha) -], and outwardly (bahirdhā) he suffers cold and heat (śītoṣṇa), the whip and the stick, etc., just as an inwardly feverish man also is burning externally.

The [same] sūtra says:

“When the worldly person loses a loved object, both his body and his mind suffer from it: it is as if he was being pierced by two arrows (tadyathainaṃ dvābhyāṃśalyābhyāṃ vidheyuḥ). The saints, however, do not have the suffering of pangs of grief (daurmanasya): they have only the bodily suffering (kāyikaduḥkha) and no other suffering.” 

Furthermore, suffering is associated with the five consciousnesses (pañcavijñānaprayukta), and the sufferings of the whip and the stick, of cold and heat, etc., due to external causes, are bodily sufferings. The others are mental sufferings.

Notes on the Śalyatvena-sūtra or Sallattena-sutta:

Extracts from the Sallattena sutta of the Saṃyutta, IV, p. 207–210 (Tsa a han, T 99, no. 470, k. 17, p. 119c28–120b14):

Assutavā bhikkhave puthujjano dukkhāya vedanāya phuṭṭho samāno socati kilamati … dutiyena sallena anuvijjheyyuṃ, evaṃ hi so bhikkhave puuriso ekasallena vedanaṃ vediyati.

Transl. –

When the ignorant worldly person, O monks, is touched by an unpleasant feeling, he is upset, he is troubled, he laments, he beats his breast and becomes confused. Thus he is feeling two sensations, one bodily and the other mental. It is as if a man were pierced with one arrow and then pierced with a second arrow: this man feels the pain of both arrows.

Thus, O monks, the ignorant worldly person, being touched by an unpleasant feeling, is upset, troubled, laments, beats his breast and becomes confused. Then he feels two sensations, one physical and the other mental. Being touched by an unpleasant feeling, he is full of hatred. As he is full of hatred for the unpleasant sensation, the propensity of hatred for the unpleasant feeling lies within him. And this man, being touched by the unpleasant feeling, wishes for the happiness of pleasure. Why? Because the ignorant worldly person does not know that the exit from unpleasant feeling can be other than in the happiness of the pleasures.

Since he wishes for the happiness of the pleasures, the propensity of the lust for pleasant feeling lies within him, He does not properly know the origin and cessation of these feelings, their flavors, their disadvantages and the way to exit from them.

Since he does not correctly know the origin and cessation of feelings, their flavors, their disadvantages or the way of exit from them, the propensity of ignorance toward the feeling that is neither unpleasant nor pleasant lies within him.

If he experiences a pleasant feeling, he feels it like an obedient slave; if he experiences an unpleasant feeling, he feels it like an obedient slave; if he experiences a feeling neither pleasant nor unpleasant, he feels it like an obedient slave. This means, O monks, that the ignorant worldly person is subjugated by birth, death, sorrows, lamentations, sufferings, sadness, torments: I say that he is subjugated by suffering.

But the noble learned disciple, being touched by an unpleasant feeling, is not grieved, is not troubled, does not lament, does not beat his breast and does not fall into trouble. He experiences only one feeling, namely, bodily sensation and not mental sensation. It is as if a man were pierced by one arrow but not pierced by a second arrow: this man feel the pain of just one arrow.

The same reasoning is taken up again by the Milindapañha, p. 44 (transl. Horner, I, p. 61). See also P. Demiéville, Les versions chinoises du Milindapañha, p. 120–121.

Footnotes and references:

1.

The bad propensities of lust (rāga), hatred (pratigha) and ignorance (avidyā) often form a separate group (cf. Majjhima, III, p. 285; Saṃyutta, IV, p. 205), but also appear in the lists of six (Kośa, V, p. 2) or seven anuśaya (Dīgha, III, p. 254, 282; Saṃyutta, V, p. 60; Anguttara, IV, p. 9).