Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “definition of the four fearlessnesses in the vaisharadyasutra” 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.

I. Definition of the four fearlessnesses in the Vaiśāradyasūtra

Here are the four fearlessnesses (vaiśāradya):

1. The Buddha makes the following proclamation (pratijñā): I am fully and completely enlightened (samyaksaṃbuddha) and I see not the slightest reason to fear that a śramaṇa, a brāhmaṇa, a god, Māra, Brahmā or anyone else can say truthfully that I do not know certain dharmas. This is why I have obtained security (kṣemaprāpta), I have obtained absence of fear (abhayaprāpta), I occupy the place of the Holy Teacher (viharāmy ārṣaṃ sthānam) like that of the royal bull (ārṣabha),[1] in the great assemblies I utter the lion’s roar (pariṣatu siṃhanādaṃ nadāmi) and I turn the Wheel of Brahmā (brāhmaṃ cakraṃ pravartayami) which no śramaṇa, brāhmaṇa, god, Māra, Brahmā or anyone [241c] else is truly able to turn. This is the first fearlessness.

2. The Buddha makes this proclamation: I have destroyed the impurities (kṣīṇāsrava) and I see not the slightest reason to fear that a śramaṇa, brāhmaṇa, deva, Māra, Brahmā or anyone else can say truthfully that I have not destroyed these impurities. This is why I have obtained security, I have obtained absence of fear, I occupy the position of Holy Teacher like that of a king-bull, in the great assemblies I utter the lion’s roar, and I turn the wheel of Brahmā which no śramaṇa, brāhmaṇa, deva, Māra, Brahmā or anybody else is truly able to turn. This is the second fearlessness.

3. The Buddha makes this proclamation: I have expounded the dharmas that create obstacles (āntarāyikadharma) and I do not see the slightest reason to fear that a śramaṇa, brāhmaṇa, god, Māra, Brahmā, or anyone else can say truthfully that these dharmas which create obstacles are not obstacles to the Path. This is why I have obtained security, I have obtained absence of fear, I occupy the place of the holy Teacher like that of the bull-king, in the great assemblies I utter the lion’s roar and I turn the wheel of Brahmā that no śramaṇa, brāhmaṇa, deva, Māra, Brahmā or anyone else can truly turn. This is the third fearlessness.

4. The Buddha makes this proclamation: The noble path shown by me can lead out of the world (mayā pratipad ākhyatā āryā nairyāṇikī niryāti) and the one who follows it is able to destroy all the sufferings (tatkarasya samyag duḥkhaṣayāyāyati), and I see not the slightest reason to fear that a śramaṇa, bhrāmaṇa, god, Māra, Brāhma or anyone else can say truthfully that the one who follows this path cannot get out of the world or destroy suffering. This is why I have obtained security, I have obtained the absence of fear, I occupy the place of the holy Teacher like that of the king-bull, in the great assemblies I utter the lion’s roar, and I turn the wheel of Brāhma which no śrmamṇa, brāhmaṇa, deva, Māra, Brāhma or anyone else is able truly to turn. This is the fourth fearlessness.

Footnotes and references:

1.

Here the Traité is juxtaposing the two readings ārṣa and ārṣabha mentioned above.