Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “why the buddha eliminates the traces” 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.

V. Why the Buddha eliminates the traces

Question. – But the śrāvakas and pratyekabuddhas likewise, having at their disposal pure wisdom (anāsravajñāna), eliminate the traces of the passions. Is this completely or incompletely?

Answer. – Previously (p. 1761F) I said that the power of their knowledge (jñānabala) is weak and only like ordinary fire, whereas the power of the Buddhas is great and like the [cosmic] fire at the end of the kalpa (kalpoddāha). Here I must repeat myself:

The śrāvakas and pratyekabuddhas have accumulated the qualities (guṇa) [261b] and the knowledges (jñāna) for a short time, one, two or three lifetimes. The Buddha, on the other hand, has cultivated the knowledges and practiced the qualities during innumerable incalculable periods (asaṃkhyeyakalpa); long ago he vaporized the perfume of the good dharmas (kuśaladharma): this is why he no longer has even a trace of kleśavāsanā.

Moreover, the Buddha has accumulated and exhausted all the qualities to the extent that the traces of passion have been eliminated definitively without residue. Why? Because the good dharmas and qualities make the passions melt. The arhats who have not fully obtained these qualities eliminate only their desire for the world (lokatṛṣṇā) and enter directly into nirvāṇa.

Finally, the Buddha has cut the fetters (saṃyojana) and the power of his knowledge (jñānabala) is very sharp (tīkṣṇa). He utilizes the ten powers (daśabala) like a great knife and his unhindered knowledges (pratisaṃvid) are superior. This is why he cuts the fetters completely and without residue.

When a man has committed a serious wrong-doing, the king, who is very angry, massacres his descendants down to the seventh generation so that there is nobody left. In the same way, the Buddha tears up and eradicates these powerful enemies that are the conflicting emotions so that there is nothing left.

This is why [the Prajñāpāramitāsūtra] says here that [the bodhisattva] who wants to destroy the traces of passion by means of the knowledge of all the aspects should exert himself in the perfection of wisdom.