Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “canonical definitions of the 37 auxiliaries” 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. Canonical definitions of the 37 auxiliaries

1. The four smṛtyupasthānas

Pāli formula in Dīgha, II, p. 290; Majjhima, I,p. 55–56; Saṃyutta, V, p. 141, 167, 185; Vibhaṅga, p. 193:

Ekāyano ayaṃ bhikkhave maggo ….vuneyya loke abhijjhādomanassaṃ.

Sanskrit formula in Pañcaviṃśati, p. 204; Śatasāhasrikā, p. 1427; Daśabhūmika, p. 38.

Sa … kāye kāyānupaśyi (var. kāyānudarśī) … vinīyā loke ‘bhidhyādaurmanasye.

Transl. – O monks, there is only one way for the purification of beings, for going beyond sorrow and lamentation, for the disappearance of suffering and sadness, for the conquest of the right Path, for the realization of nirvāṇa: this is the four foundations of mindfulness. What are these four?

1. The monk dwells considering the body in the body, energetic, aware, mindful of controlling greed and sorrow in the world.

2. He dwells considering feeling in the feelings, energetic, aware, mindful of controlling greed and sorrow in the world.

3. He dwells considering the mind in the mind, energetic, aware, mindful of controlling greed and sorrow in the world.

4. He dwells considering dharmas in the dharmas, energetic, aware, mindful of controlling greed and sorrow in the world.

Pāli formula: Dīgha, II, p. 216, 292–306; Majjhima, I, p. 56–57, 59; Anguttara, III, p. 450; Saṃyutta, V, p. 143, 294, 296; Vibhaṅga, p. 193, 195, 197:

Iti ajjhattaṃ vā kāye kāyānupassī … dhammesu dhamānupassī viharati.

Sanskrit formula: Pañcaviṃśati, p. 204 seq; Śatasāhasrikā, p. 1427 seq.; Daśabhūmika, p. 38:

Evam adhyātmaṃ kmye kāyānupaśyi (var. anudarśi) … bahirdhā dharmeṣu dharmānupaśyī viharati.

Transl. – 1. Thus he dwells considering the body in the body internally (i.e., in his own body), considering the body externally (i.e., in the body of another) or considering the body (both) internally and externally.

2. He dwells considering feelings in the feelings internally, considering feeling in the feelings externally or considering feelings internally and externally.

3. He dwells considering the mind in the mind internally, considering the mind in the mind externally or considering the mind in the mind internally and externally.

4. He dwells considering dharmas in the dharmas internally, considering dharmas in the dharmas externally or considering dharmas in the dharmas internally and externally.

2. The four samyakpradhānas

In the Pāli sources, sammappadhānaright efforts’; in the Sanskrit sources, samyakprahāṇa ‘right cessations’, translated into Tibetan as yaṅ dag par spoṅ ba, but glossed as samyakpradhāna in the Kośavyākhyā, p. 601, l. 29. The Chinese translations give a choice between tcheng cheng or tcheng k’in on the one hand, and tcheng touan on the other hand.

Pāli formula in Dīgha, III, p. 221; Majjhima, II, p. 11; Saṃyutta, IV,p. 364–365; V, p. 244; Anguttara, II, p. 15; IV, p. 462; Paṭisambhidā, II, p. 15, 17:

Cattāro sammappadhānā:
1. Idha bhikkhu anupannānaṃ pāpakānaṃ … ārabhati cittaṃ paggaṇhāti padahati.

Sanskrit formula in Pañcaviṃśati, p. 307; Śatasāhasrikā, p. 1435–36; Daśabhūmika, p. 38; Mahāvyut., no. 958–965.

Catvāri samyakprahāṇāni:
1. Anutpannānāṃ pāpakānām akuśalānāṃpragṛhṇāti samyak pradadhāti (var. praṇidadhāti).

Transl. – The four right efforts:

1. Here the monk gives rise to zeal, exerts himself, activates his energy, stimulates his mind and strives so that evil bad dharmas not yet arisen do not arise.

2. He gives rise to zeal, exerts himself, activates his energy, stimulates his mind and strives so that evil bad dharmas already arisen are destroyed.

3. He gives rise to zeal, exerts himself, activates his energy, stimulates his mind and strives so that good dharmas not yet arisen arise.

4. He gives rise to zeal, exerts himself, activates his energy, stimulates his mind and strives so that good dharmas already arisen are maintained, preserved, developed increased, cultivated and completed.

3. The four ṛddhipādas.

Pāli formula: Dīgha, II, p. 213; III, p. 77, 221; Majjhima, I, p. 103; Saṃyutta, IV, p. 365; V, p. 254, 263–264; 278; Anguttara, I, p. 30, 297; II, p. 256; III, p. 82; IV, p. 464; Vibhaṅga, p. 216; Paṭisambhidā, I, p. 111, 113; II, p. 205:

Cattāro iddhipādā:
1. Idha bhikkhu … iddhipādaṃ bhāvati.

Sanskrit formula: Pañcaviṃśati, p. 207–208; Śatasāhasrikā, p. 1436; Daśabhūmika, p. 38–39; Mahāvyut., no. 967–975:

Catvāra ṛddhipādāḥ:
1. Chandasamādhiprahāṇasaṃskārasamanvāgatam vyavasargapariṇatam.

Transl. – The four bases of magical power:

1. Here the monk cultivates with active effort the basis of magical power that is provided with zealous concentration, a basis that rests on separation, that rests on detachment, that rests on cessation and results in rejection.

2. He cultivates with active effort the basis of magical power that is provided with energetic concentration, a basis that rests, etc.

3. He cultivates with active effort the basis of magical power that is provided with the concentration of mind, a basis that rests, etc.

4. He cultivates with active effort the magical power that rests on concentration of examination, a basis that rests, etc.

[The formula vivekaniśritam, etc., that does not appear here in the Pāli wording, however, does occur.

Definition of the four samādhis constituting the bases of magical power. – Pāli wording: Saṃyutta, V, p. 268; Vibhaṅga, p. 216:

1. Chandaṃ ce bhikkhu nissāya (var. adhipatiṃ karitvā) … vuccati vīmaṃsāsamādhi.

Sanskrit wording: Kośavyākhyā, p. 601–602.

1. Chandaṃ cāpi bhikṣur adhipatiṃ … ’sya bhavati mīmāṃsāsamādhiḥ.

Transl. – Concentration, the application of the mind to a single object which the monk acquires by resting on (while giving predominance) to zeal, to energy, to the mind, or to examination, concentration of the mind or concentration of examination.

4. The five indriyas

The five spiritual faculties, not to be confused with the five organs also called indriyas, are frequently mentioned in the canonical texts but rarely defined in extenso, and the definitions given are rarely identical. There is no classical definition as there is for the other auxiliaries.

Vibhaṅgasutta of the Saṃyutta, V, p. 196–197, to be compared to the Tsa a han, T 99, no, 647, k. 26, p. 182b–c:

Pañcimāni bhikkhave indriyāni. katamāni … idaṃ vuccati bhikkhave paññindriyaṃ.

Transl. – Now, O monks, the five faculties. What are these five? The faculty of faith, the faculty of exertion, the faculty of attention, the faculty of concentration, and the faculty of wisdom.

1. What is the faculty of faith? Here the noble disciple has faith; he believes in the enlightenment of the Tathāgata and says: The Blessed One is holy, completely and fully enlightened, endowed with the sciences and methods, well-come, knower of the world, peerless, leader of men to be tamed, teacher of gods and men, the Buddha and Blessed One. This is called the faculty of faith.

2. What is the faculty of exertion? Here the noble disciple dwells actively energetic in destroying the bad dharmas and producing the good dharmas; he is firm, of proven courage, and does not reject the burden of the good dharmas. This is called the faculty of exertion.

3. What is the faculty of attention? Here the noble disciple is attentive, endowed with vigilance and supreme discrimination, unceasingly recalling and remembering what was done and what was said a long time ago. This is called the faculty of attention.

4. What is the faculty of concentration? Here the noble disciple, making renunciation the object of his mind, acquires concentration, acquires the application of mind to a single object. This is called concentration.

5. What is the faculty of wisdom? Here the noble disciple is provided with wisdom: He is endowed with wisdom to determine the rising and falling of things, wisdom that is noble, penetrating, leading to complete cessation of suffering.

Daṭṭhabbaṃ sutta of the Saṃyutta, V, p. 196 (cited in Nettippakaraṇa, p. 19), corresponding to Tsa a han, T 99, no, 646, k. 26, p. 182b:

1. Kattha ca bhikkhave saddhindriyaṃ … ettha paññindriyaṃ daṭṭhabbaṃ.

Transl. – 1. Where, O monks, is the faculty of faith to be found? In the four members of entry into the stream. That is where the faculty of faith is found.

2. Where is the faculty of exertion to be found? In the four right efforts. That is where …

3. Where is the faculty of attention to be found? In the four foundations of mindfulness. That is where …

4. Where is the faculty of concentration to be found? In the four trances. That is where …

5. Where is the faculty of wisdom to be found? In the four noble truths. That is where …

This outline is developed in the Vibhaṅgasutta, no, 2, of the Saṃyutta, V, p. 197–198, where the viriyindriya is defined in exactly the same terms as the four sammāpadhāna.

I [Lamotte] have searched in vain in the Sanskrit sources for a text corresponding to the Pāli sources cited here. The Mahāvyutpatti, no. 977–981, mentions the five indriyas but does not give a definition; the Arthaviniścaya, p. 571–572, gives a definition borrowed, it seems, from the Akṣayamatisūtra cited in the Śikṣāsamuccaya, p. 316–317, but its wording has nothing in common with the old canonical sources.

5. The five balas

Pāli formula: Aṅguttara, III, p. 10; Majjhima, II, p. 12; Saṃyutta, IV, p. 366:

Pañc’ imāni bhikkhave … samādhibalaṃ paññābalaṃ.

Sanskrit formula: Pañcaviṃśati, p. 208; Śatasāhasrikā, p. 1437; Daśabhūmika, p. 39.

Sa śraddhābalaṃ … samādhibalam, etc., prajñābalam, etc.

Except for the samādhibala, the Anguttara, III, p. 10–11, uses exactly the same terms to define the five balas as the Saṃyutta, V, p. 196–197, cited above, uses to define the five indriyas. The same formulas appear also in the definition of the seven balas presented by the Anguttara, IV, p. 3–4.
        Actually, it has always been recognized that there is just a difference in intensity between bala and indriya. Cf. Saṃyutta, V, p. 220: Evaṃ eva kho bhikkhave yaṃ saddhinriyaṃ taṃ saddhābalaṃ, yaṃ saddhābalaṃ taṃ saddhindriyaṃ. pe. yaṃ paññindriyaṃ taṃ paññābalaṃ, yaṃ paññābalaṃ taṃ paññindriyaṃ: “Similarly, O monks, the faculty of faith is the power of faith, and the power of faith is the faculty of faith. And so on up to: the faulty of wisdom is the power of wisdom, and the power of wisdom is the faculty of wisdom.”

This identity is confirmed by the Vibhāṣā, T 1545, k. 141, p. 726b13–20; Kośa, VI, p. 286.

6. The seven saṃbodhyaṅgas

Pāli wording: Majjhima, I, p. 11; II, p. 12; III, p. 275, etc.:

1. Idha bhiukkhu satisambojjhaṅgaṃbhāveti, etc.

Sanskrit wording in Pañcaviṃśati, p. 208; Śatasāhasrikā, p. 1438; Daśabhūmika, p. 39; Mahāvyut. no. 989–995.

1. Sa smṛtysaṃbodhyaṅgaṃ … Upekṣāsaṃbodhyaṅgam bhāvayati, etc.

Transl. – Here the monk cultivates the members of enlightenment called:

1. attention, 2, discernment of dharmas, 3. exertion, 4. joy, 5. relaxation, 6. concentration, 7. equanimity: members that rest on detachment, that rest on cessation and result in rejection.

In the Pāli sources, a stock phrase defines these seven saṃbodhyaṅgas: cf. Majjhima, III, p. 86–87; Saṃyutta, V, p. 67–69, 331–332, 337–339; Vibhaṅga, p. 227:

1. Yasmiṃ samaye, bhikkhave, bhikkhuno … bhāvanāparipūriṃ gacchati.

Transl. – 1. O monks, when an unfailing attention has arisen in the monk, then the member-of-enlightenment called attention has begun in the monk, then the monk develops the member-of-enlightenment called attention, then the member-of-enlightenment called attention reaches its full development in the monk.

2. When the monk thus dwelling attentively examines, inquires and investigates this thing by means of wisdom, then the member-of-enlightenment called discernment of dharmas is launched in him.

3. When exertion without laziness arises in this monk who is examining, inquiring and investigating this thing by means of wisdom, then the member-of-enlightenment called exertion is launched in him.

4. When spiritual joy is produced in this energetic monk, then the member-of-enlightenment called joy is launched in him.

5. When the body and also the mind relaxes in this monk with joyful spirit, then the member-of-enlightenment called relaxation is launched in him.

6. When the mind is concentrated in this monk of relaxed and happy body, then the member-of-enlightenment called concentration is launched in him.

7. When this monk considers his mind thus concentrated with equanimity, then the member-of enlightenment called equanimity is launched in him, then the monk develops the member-of-enlightenment called equanimity, then the member-of-enlightenment called equanimity reaches its full development in the monk.

7. The eight mārgaṅgas

Pāli wording: Vinaya, I, p. 10; Dīgha, I, p. 157; II, p. 251, 311; Majjhima, I, p. 15, 49, 299; II, p. 82–83; III, p. 231; Saṃyutta, II, p. 42–44, 57, 59; III, p. 159;IV, p. 133, 233; V, 8, 347–348, 421, 425; Anguttara, I, p. 177, 217; III, p. 411; Paṭisambhidā, I, p. 40, II, p. 86; Vibhaṅga, p. 104, 235, 236:

Ariyo aṭṭhaṅgiko … sammāsati sammāsamādhi.

Sanskrit wording: Catuṣpariṣad, p. 142; Mahāvastu, III, p. 331; Lalitavistara, p. 417; Pañcaviṃśati, p. 208:

Āryāṣṭāṅgo mārgassamyaksmṛtiḥ samyaksamādhiḥ.

Transl. – The noble eightfold Path, namely, right view, right concept, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.

Pāli wording: Saṃyutta, IV, p. 367–368.

1. Idha bhikkhu … vossaggapariṇāmiṃ.

Sanskrit wording: Śatasāhasrikā, p. 1438–1439; Daśabhūmika, p. 39:

1. Samyagdṛṣṛṭiṃ … vyavasargapariṇatam.

Transl. – Here the monk cultivates right view, right concept, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration, which rest on separation, which rest on detachment, which rest on cessation and lead to rejection.

A stock phrase defines the eight mārgāṅgas; it occurs frequently in the Pāli Nikāyas, e.g., Dīgha, II, p. 311–313; Majjhima, III, p. 252–252; Saṃyutta, V, p. 8–10; Vibhaṅga, p. 235–236. The Sanskrit Āgamas do not reproduce it exactly: cf. Tchong a han, T 26, k. 7, p. 469a15–b 29:

Ayam eva ariyo aṭṭhaṅgiko maggo, … catutthajjhānaṃ upasampajja viharati

Transl. – Here is the eightfold noble Path: 1. right view; 2. right resolve; 3. right speech; 4. right action; 5. right livelihood; 7. right mindfulness; 8. right concentration.

1. What is right view? It is the knowledge of suffering, the knowledge of the origin of suffering, the knowledge of the cessation of suffering, the knowledge of the path leading to the cessation of suffering.

2. What is right concept? The concept of renunciation, the concept of non-maliciousness, the concept of non-violence.

3. What is right speech? Abstaining from falsehood, abstaining from gossip, abstaining from abusive speech, abstaining from unnecessary speech.

4. What is right action? Abstaining from killing, abstaining from theft, abstaining from illicit sexual activity.

5. What is right livelihood? Here the noble disciple, excluding the evil way of life, earns his livelihood by way of right living.

6. What is right effort? Here the monk gives rise to a wish, exerts himself, activates his energy, stimulates his mind and strives so that the evil bad dharmas not yet arisen do not arise. He gives rise to a wish… and strives so that the evil bad dharmas already arisen are destroyed. He gives rise to a wish… and strives so that the good dharmas not yet arisen arise. He gives rise to a wish… and strives so that the good dharmas already arisen are maintained, preserved, developed, increased, cultivated and completed.

7. What is right mindfulness? Here the monk dwells considering the body in the body, energetic, aware and mindful of controlling greed and sadness in the world. Similarly he dwells considering feeling in the feelings, mind in the mind and dharmas in the dharmas…

8. What is right concentration? Here the monk, having eliminated desires, having eliminated bad dharmas, enters into the first trance, provided with examination, provided with judgment, resulting from detachment, which is joy and happiness. – By the suppression of examination and judgment, he enters into the second trance, inner peace, one-pointedness of mind, without examination and judgment, arisen from concentration, which is joy and bliss. – By renouncing joy, he dwells equanimous, reflective, aware; he experiences bliss in his body; he enters into the third trance where the saints say that he is ‘equanimous, reflective, dwelling in bliss’. – By cessation of bliss and by cessation of suffering, by the previous suppression of joy and sadness, he enters into the fourth trance, free of suffering and bliss, purified in renunciation and reflection.

We may note that the definitions of samyagvyāyāma (no. 6) and samyaksmṛti (no. 7) given here are the same, respectively, as the definitions given above of the four samyakpradhānas and the four smṛtyupasthānas.

For an original definition of the eight mārgāngas, see Arthaviniścaya, p. 573–575.