Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “etymology of sarvajnata” 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.

In the expression ‘sarva-jña-tā’, sarva in the language of the Ts’in means ‘all’, jñā in the language of the Ts’in means ‘to know’, and in the language of the Ts’in means ‘the fact of’.[1] As I have said above, sarva designates all dharmas, with form (rūpin), etc. The Buddha knows all these dharmas in their characteristics, single or diverse, impure (sāsrava) or pure (anāsrava), conditioned (saṃskṛta) or unconditioned (asaṃskṛta), etc.

Each of these dharmas has their characteristics (lakṣaṇa), their power (bala), their causes and conditions (hetupratyaya), their fruit of retribution (vipākaphala), their nature (prakṛti), their acquiring (prāpti) and their loss (vināśa). It is by the power of sarvajñãtā that one cognizes them in a full and exhaustive way, at all times and in all their aspects (ākāra). That is why [the Prajñāpāramitāsūtra] says here: “The bodhisattva who wants to fulfill omniscience completely by means of the knowledge of the aspect of the paths (mārgākārajñatā) should exert himself in the Prajñāpāramitā. If he wants to fulfill completely the knowledge of all the aspects (sarvākārajñata), he should exert himself in the Prajñāpāramitā.”

Footnotes and references:


A Chinese gloss incorporated into the translation.