Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “nature and order of the fearlessnesses” 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.

Question. – What is the nature (svabhāva) of the fearlessnesses (vaiśāradya)?

Answer. – When the Buddha attained enlightenment, he obtained all the attributes of Buddha, the powers (bala), the absence of fear (abhaya), etc. Subsequently, he obtained the dharmas associated with knowledge free of fear (abhayajñānasaṃprayuktadharma), dharmas called fearlessnesses.[1] Similarly also [the dharma] associated with the four immeasurables is called maitra.

Question. – What is the order (krama) of these four fearlessnesses?

Answer. – In the first fearlessness, the Buddha declares that he knows all dharmas (sarvadharmābhisaṃbodhi). Since he knows all dharmas, he affirms that he has destroyed the impurities (āsravakṣaya). Since he has destroyed the impurities, he claims to know the dharmas that are obstacles to the Path (mārgāntarāyikadharma). Since he has destroyed these dharmas that are obstacles, he preaches the Path (mārgavyākaraṇa).

Furthermore, the first fearlessness is like the master physician (bhaiśajyaguru) in possession of all the remedies (oṣadhi). The second proclaims the destruction of all sicknesses (vyādhikṣaya). The third knows what one should abstain from. The fourth proclaims the foods that it is necessary to take.

Finally, in the first fearlessness, the Buddha speaks of the awareness [of things] under all their aspects (sarvakārajñāna). In the second fearlessness, he speaks of the absence of all the passions (kleśa) and their traces (vāsanā). In the third fearlessness, he preaches a Dharma without deceit or fault. In the fourth fearlessness, he deals with things that bring one to nirvāṇa.

Footnotes and references:


The Kośabhāṣya explains, p. 414, l. 8: Jñānakṛtaṃ vaiśārdyaṃ yujyate, na jñānam eva: “Fearlessness is the result of knowledge, but it is not knowledge.”