Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “superiority of sypathetic joy over good action” 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. Superiority of sypathetic joy over good action

Question. – How can the bodhisattva, by means of a mind of sympathetic joy, surpass the śrāvakas and pratyekabuddhas who, themselves, give in kind (āmiṣa)?

Answer. – While the śrāvakas and pratyekabuddhas are making such gifts, the bodhisattva who is standing by, notices them. He thinks about it carefully, is pleased thereby and congratulates the authors. Taking the merit (puṇya) resulting from this sympathetic joy (anumodanā), he applies it (pariṇāmayati) to supreme and perfect enlightenment (anuttarasamyaksaṃbodhi) to save all beings. Thus he gains immense Buddha attributes. By means of the twofold merit [of sympathetic joy (anumodanā) and the application of merit (puṇyapariṇāmanā)], he surpasses the generosity carried out by the śrāvakas and pratyekabuddhas.

Furthermore, by means of his knowledge of the true nature (bhūtalakṣaṇa) of dharmas and his sympathetic joy, the bodhisattva surpasses the generosity of the śrāvakas and pratyekabuddhas.

Moreover, by means of his thought of sympathetic joy, the bodhisattva gains a merit (puṇya) the fruit of retribution (vipākaphala) of which he applies to veneration (satkartum) of the Buddhas of the three times and the ten directions. Thus he surpasses the generosity of the śrāvakas and pratyekabuddhas. This is like a man who, having made a small offering to the king, derives a great reward from it. Or it is like a man who, by blowing gently into a conch (śaṅkha), produces a very powerful sound.

Finally, by the quality (guṇa) of his sympathetic joy, the bodhisattva brings together numberless other qualities that, until the end of things (dharmakṣaya), will not disappear (akṣaya). In the same way, if one pours a little bit of water into the ocean (mahāsamudra), it will not disappear until the end of the kalpa.[1]

[What has been said here about generosity] is also true [for the other qualities of the śrāvaka, viz., morality (śīla), concentrations (samādhi), wisdom (prajñā), deliverance (vimukti), knowledge and vision of deliverance (vimuktijñānadarśana): [By means of a single thought of sympathetic joy, the bodhisattva surpasses all these qualities].

Footnotes and references:

1.

At the end of the kalpa of disappearance (saṃvartakalpa) involving the disappearance of beings (sattvasaṃvartanī) and the disappearance of the receptacles (bhājanasaṃvartanī): cf. Kośa, III, p. 184, n. 4.