Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “the ten knowledges in the sanskrit abhidharma” 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.

Note (2): The Ten Knowledges in the Sanskrit Abhidharma

Working with the canonical sources that have been presented above, the Sanskrit Abhidharma established a list of ten knowledges, one of the masterpieces of the Sarvāstvādin-Vaibhāisika school. These are:

  1. dharmajñāna,
  2. anvayajñāna,
  3. paracittajñāna,
  4. saṃvṛtijñāna,
  5. duḥkhajñāna,
  6. samudayajñāna,
  7. nirodhajñāna,
  8. mārgajñāna,
  9. kṣayajñāna,
  10. anutpādajñāna.

This list, the order of which is sometimes slightly modified, appears on the following texts:

1. Vasumitra’s Abhidharmaprakaraṇapāda, T 1541, k. 1, p. 628b7–c6; T 1542, k. 1, p. 693c22–694a14. Extracts of the original Sanskrit are cited by the Kośavyākhyā, p. 616, l. 29–617, l. 27.

2. Kātyāyanīputra’s Abhidharmajñānaprathāna, T 1543, K. 12, p. 829c; T 1544, k. 9, p. 963c.

3. Dharmatrāta’s Saṃyuktābhidharmasāra, T 1552, k. 6, p. 817a11–b5.

4. Ghoṣaka’s Abhidharmāṛtarasa, T 1553, k. 1, p. 974a5–6 (reconstr. Sastri, p. 89, l. 3–4).

5. Skandhila’s (?) Abhidharmāvatāraprakaraṇa, T 1554, k. 2, p. 985b12–13.

6. Harivarman’s Satyasiddhiśāstra, T 1646, k. 16, p. 371c21–372c28.

7.Mahāvibhāṣā by the Five Hundred great Arhats, T 1545, k. 106, p. 549b21–c10.

8. Kośa, VII, p. 11.

9. Saṃghabhadra’s Nyāyānusāra, T 1562, k. 73, p. 735c8–10.

10. Abhidharmadīpa, p. 374.

11. Mahāvyutpatti, no. 1234–1243.

In these texts there are precise definitions of these ten jñāna: those of the Abhidharmaprakaraṇapāda (T 1542, p. 693c23–694a15) partially cited in the Kośavyākhyā, p. 616, l. 29–617, l. 27 are presented here:

1.Dhamrajñānaṃ katamat. kāmapratisaṃyukteṣu saṃskāreṣu yad amāsravaṃ …. 8. … jñānam idam icyate ’nvayajñānam.

9–10. Missing in the Sanskrit version.

    Transl. from the Chinese. – 1. What is the knowledge of things (dharmajñāna)? The knowledge of things is: i) the pure knowledge concerning the formations associated with the desire realm; ii) the pure knowledge concerning the cause of the formations associated with the desire realm; iii) the pure knowledge concerned with thecessation of the formations associated with the desire realm; iv) the pure knowledge concerned with the path leading to the cessation of the formations associated with the desire realm; v) the knowledge concerned with the knowledge of things and the stage [Fr. Terre] of the knowledge of things is also called knowledge of things.

2. What is subsequent knowledge (anvayajñāna)? Subsequent knowledge is: i) the pure knowledge concerning the formations associated with the form realm and the formless realm; ii) the pure knowledge concerning the cause of the formations associated with the form realm and the formless realm; iii) the pure knowledge concerning the cessation of the formations associated with the form realm and the formless realm; iv) the pure knowledge concerning the paths leading to the cessation of the formations associated with the form realm and the formless realm; v) the pure knowledge concerning the subsequent knowledge and the stage of subsequent knowledge is also called consecutive knowledge.

3. What is the knowledge of another’s mind (paracittajñāna)? Realized by cultivation of the knowledges (jñānabhāvanā), it is the support (niraya) of the fruit of this cultivation. Obtained by this cultivation, it is an unimpeded knowledge (apratihatajñāna) concerning another’s mind (citta) and mental events (caitta) associated with the desire realm and also in part with the pure (anaāsrava) mind and mental events of another.

4. What is conventional knowledge (saṃvṛtijñāna)? It is all the impure knowledges (sarvasāsravajñāna).

5. What is the knowledge of suffering (duḥkhajñāna)? It is the pure knowledge produced when the five aggregates of attachment are considered to be impermanent, painful, empty and without self.

6. What is the knowledge of the origin of suffering (samudayajñāna)? It is the pure knowledge produced when the cause of impure things is considered as cause, origin, production and condition.

7. What is the knowledge of the cessation of suffering (nirodhajñāna)? It is the pure knowledge produced when this cessation is considered as cessation, peace, excellent and bringing salvation.

8. What is the knowledge of the path of cessation of suffering (mārgajñāna)? It is the pure knowledge produced when the path is considered as path, logical, the definitive attainment and exit.

9. What is the knowledge of the suppression of the impurities (kṣayajñāna)? It is the pure knowledge produced when one thinks: “Suffering has been completely known by me; the origin has been abandoned by me; the cessation has been realized by me; the path has been practiced by me”: it is a knowledge, a seeing, a science, an intelligence, a light, an understanding.

10. What is the knowledge of the non-rearising of the impurities (anutpādajñāna)? It is the pure knowledge produced when one thinks: “The suffering perfectly known by me is no longer to be known; the origin abandoned by me is no longer to be abandoned; the cessation realized by me is no longer to be realized; the path practiced by me is no longer to be practiced”: it is a knowledge, a seeing, a science, an intelligence, a light, an understanding.