Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “definition of sympathetic joy (anumodana)” 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. Definition of sympathetic joy (anumodanā)

For the mind of sympathetic joy (anumodanācitta), see the Souei-hi p’in (Anumodanāparivarta).[1]

Here is an example of sympathetic joy. Someone is practicing the qualities [in question, viz., generosity, morality, etc.]; a spectator rejoices in it (anumodate) and congratulates him, saying: “That is good; in this impermanent world (anityalokadhātu) enveloped in the shadows of ignorance (avidyāndhakāra), you are strengthening the great mind [of bodhi] and you are planting this merit (puṇya).”

Imagine there is a seller (vikretṛ) and a purchaser (kretṛ) of all sorts of wonderful perfumes (gandha); a third person comes near and stands to one side. He also breathes the perfumed air; the perfume, nevertheless, does not diminish at all and the two people doing business lose nothing.

Imagine also a donor (dāyaka) and a beneficiary (pratigrāhaka); a third person, standing beside them, is joyful in the good action. He rejoices with them, but the other two lose nothing.

Such is the characteristic of sympathetic joy (anumodanā).

Thus, just by a mind of sympathetic joy, the bodhisattva surpasses the practitioners of the two Vehicles. What more could be said (kaḥ punarvādaḥ) if he himself practices [the qualities in which he is rejoicing]?

Footnotes and references:


Chapter XXXIX of the Pañcaviṃśati, T 223, k. 11, p. 197b–302a. It is entitled Souei-hi p’in (Anumodanāparivarta) or Souei-hi-houei-hiang p’in (Anumodanāpariṇāmanāparivarta). Cf. Chapter VI of the Aṣṭasāhasrikā.