Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “great loving-kindness (mahamaitri) and great compassion (mahakaruna)” 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. Great Loving-kindness (mahāmaitrī) and Great Compassion (mahākaruṇā)

Great loving-kindness (mahāmaitrī) and great compassion (mahākaruṇā) have already been explained above (p. 1242F seq.) in the chapter entitled ‘The Four Immeasurables’ (caturapramaṇacitta). Here we will repeat it briefly (saṃkṣepeṇa).

Great loving-kindness assures the happiness (sukha) of all beings; great compassion uproots the suffering (duḥkha) of all beings. Great loving-kindness gives beings the causes and conditions for happiness; great compassion gives beings the causes and conditions that eliminate suffering.

Suppose there is a man whose sons are in prison (kārā) about to undergo great torture.[1] If their father, with loving-kindness and compassion, uses some skillful means (upāya) to prevent their suffering, that is great compassion; if, having freed them from suffering, he then gives his sons the five objects of enjoyment (pañcakāmaguṇa), that is great loving-kindness. There are many differences of this kind.

Footnotes and references:


Adopting the variant p’i in place of tsouei.