Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “the three concentrations (samadhi) according to the mahayana” 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.

II. The three concentrations (samādhi) according to the Mahāyāna

Here [in the Prajñāpāramitāsūtra], it is a matter of much higher things, namely, the meditative stabilizations (samādhi):

What are these concentrations?

1) The concentrations of the arhats and pratyekabuddhas, from the three concentrations of emptiness, etc. (śūnyatāsamādhi) up to the diamond concentration (vajrasamādhi).[1]

2) The concentrations of the Buddhas, from the concentration contemplating the Buddhas of the ten directions (daśadigbuddhasamādhi) up to the concentration of the hero’s progress (śūraṃgamasamādhi), from the concentration eliminating all doubts (sarvasaṃśayasamucchedasamādhi) up to the king of concentrations (samādhirājasamādhi).[2]

These explanations briefly outline (saṃkṣiptena) the meaning of the three concentrations. It is finished!

Footnotes and references:


The meditative stabilizations of emptiness (śūnyatā), signlessness (ānimitta) and wishlessness (apraṇihita), also called the three vimokṣamukhas, have been studied above, p. 1209–1232F. The vajrasamādhi or more correctly the vajropamasamādhi, is the path of abandonment (prahaṇamārga) by means of which the ascetic abandons the ninth category (weak-weak) of the kleśas that attach him to the highest sphere of existence – the fourth samāpatti or bhavāgra


These are the 108 or 120 samādhis belonging to the bodhisattvas and the Buddhas. A list accompanied by brief explanations of them is given by Pañcaviṃśati, p. 142–144, 198–203, and Śatasāhasrikā, p. 825–835, 1412–1426. See also Mahāvyut., no. 505–623.

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