Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “canonical definition of riddhividhi-jnana” 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.

Appendix 1 - The canonical definition of ṛddhividhi-jñāna

Note: This appendix is extract from Chapter XLIII part 1.2 (order of the superknowledges; a. order generally accepted by the canonical sūtras).

As has already been noted, the canonical definition of ṛddhividhijñāna is concerned with a part only of magical operations. Later sources tried to complete it. Pāli scholasticism distinguishes ten magical operations (cf. p. 1815F) whereas the Sarvāstivādin Abhidharma speaks of several kinds of magic:

Vibhāṣā. T 1545, k. 141, p. 725b23–c4: There are three types of ṛddhi: 1) that which moves the body (śarīravāhinī), 2) that which comes from a volition (ādhimokṣiskī), 3) that which is fast like the mind (manojavā).

The śarīravāhinī raises the body up and moves it in the air like a bird flying or a flying ṛṣi painted on the wall.

The ādhimokṣikī makes what is far becomes near (dūrasyāsannādgimokṣeṇa). By the power of this volition, one can touch the sun and the moon while staying on this very continent. Or, as well, one can reach the Akaniṣṭha heaven in the time it takes to bend or stretch one’s arm.

The manojavā is the visual consciousness (cakṣurvijñāna) reaching the summit of rūpadhātu; or else it is reaching the Akaniṣṭha heaven or also traveling through infinite universes.

How many people realize these three ṛddhis? The śrāvakas realize the first one; the pratyekabuddhas realize two with the exception of manojavā; only the Buddha Bhagavats realize all three.

The Abhidharmāmṛtarasa, T 1553, k. 2, p. 975c24–25 speaks of three ṛddhipāda (taken in the sense here of ṛddhividhi or ṛddhiviṣaya):

  1. displacement by flying (utpatanaganmana),
  2. creation (nirmāṇa),
  3. the abhijñā of the saints (ārya).

This classification is retained by the Traité which, here and in other places, (cf, p. 329–330) also mentions three kinds of ṛddhi; gamana-, nirmāṇa-, āryaḍdhi.

For the Kośa, VII, p. 113–114, and the Abhidharmadīpa, p. 400, ṛddhi is displacement (gati) and creation (nirmāṇa). Displacement itself is of three kinds: śarīravāhinī, ādhimokṣikī and manojavā. Creation is of two types: of the realm of kāma and of the realm of rūpa.

For the abhijñās in the Vijñānavāda system, see especially Bodh. bhūmi, p. 58–71; Sūtrālaṃkāra, p. 185; Saṃgraha, p. 294–295; Abhidharmasamuccaya, ed. Pradhan, p. 97.