Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “conflicting emptions and the traces of conflicting emotions” 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.

II. Conflicting emptions and the traces of conflicting emotions

The characteristics of omniscience and the knowledge of all the aspects have been described above (p. 1744F). What is destroying the traces of all the conflicting emotions (sarvakleśaprahāṇa)? [260c]

In brief, the passions (kleśa) are the three poisons (triviṣa) – [desire (rāga), hatred (dveṣa), ignorance (moha)]; at length, these are the ninety-eight perverse tendencies (anuśaya) of the three worlds. The traces of the passions (kleśavāsanā) are the residual emanations of passion.

If certain physical or vocal actions are not in accordance with wisdom (na jñānānuparivartin), they seem to come from the passions (kleśa), and those who do not know the minds of others (paracitta) see them as such and experience a feeling of horror (aśuci). In reality, it is not truly a matter of passion, but those who have given themselves up to the passions for a long time carry out actions of this kind.

Thus a prisoner who has been laden with chains for a long time, once he is liberated, moves with a hesitant walk even though he no longer is in chains. A nurse’s clothes that have been stained for a long time, even though they are washed and scrubbed with pure ash, still remain impregnated with the smell of the stains. In the same way, the stains of the mind (cittamala) in the saint are like the passions and, even though he has washed his passions with the water of wisdom, the traces (vāsanā) remain in him.