Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “the four fearlessnesses (vaisharadya) of the bodhisattva” 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.

III. The four fearlessnesses (vaiśāradya) of the Bodhisattva

What are the four fearlessnesses (vaiśāradya) of the bodhisattva?

1) He retains all that he has heard (śruta), he possesses the dhāraṇīs and he suffers no loss of memory (smṛtihāni): this is why [he possesses] the fearlessness of preaching the Dharma in the assemblies (parṣatsu dharmanirdeśa-vaiśāradya).

2) He has obtained liberation in all things (sarvadarmeṣu vimukti), he distinguishes, cognizes and uses all the remedies of the Dharma (dharmabhaiṣajya) and he knows the spiritual faculties (indriya) of all beings: this is why he possesses the fearlessness of preaching the Dharma as is suitable in the great assemblies (mahāparṣatsu anukūladharmanirdeśa-vaiśāradya).

3) Having driven away every fear definitively, the bodhisattva never asks if there is anyone in the ten directions who could come and make objections (codana) to him and to whom he would be unable to answer. Not seeing any reason to fear that, he possesses the fearlessness of preaching the Dharma in the great assemblies.

4) He allows everyone to come and question him, and to each question he replies without the slightest hesitation (saṃśaya): this is why he has the fearlessness of preaching the Dharma in the great assemblies.

These are the four fearlessnesses of the bodhisattva.