Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “concentration of the doubly liberated saint (ubhayatobhaga-vimukta)” 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. Concentration of the doubly liberated saint (ubhayatobhāga-vimukta)

Question. – Of the six meditations (dhyāna), the absorptions (samāpatti) and concentrations of liberation (vimokṣasamādhi) have already been represented. Why speak of them again?

Answer. – There are two types of samādhi: i) those that are the prerogative (bhāga) of the saint delivered by means of wisdom (prajñāvumukta); ii) those that are the prerogative of the doubly delivered saint (ubhayatobhāgavimukta).

The preceding section dealt with the prerogative of the prajñāvimukta and, since the latter does not penetrate into the trances (dhyāna) and the absorptions, it spoke only of the concentration belonging to the anāgamya, ‘the absorption preliminary to the first dhyāna’. But here we are talking about the prerogative of the ubhayatobhāgavimukta who has the dhyānas, samāpattis and vimokṣasamādhis all together. (see notes below)

Sometimes it is a question of a short explanation (saṃkṣepeṇokti); here it is a question of a developed explanation (visatareṇokti).

Sometimes just the name (nāman) samādhi is mentioned; here the meaning (artha) of it is explained.

Furthermore, earlier it was a question of ‘mastering the samādhis [of the śrāvaka and pratyekabuddha]’ and, according to some, this would be one or two samādhis only and not the profound samādhis (gambhīrasamādhi). Here we are speaking of the group of the very profound samādhis, viz., the dhyāna, samāpatti and vimokṣasamādhi.

Furthermore, the dhyānas, samāpattis and vimokṣasamādhis are of two types: i) those that are acquired by means of detachment (vairāgyalābhika); ii) those that are acquired by means of effort (prāyogika). Those that are acquired by means of detachment have been treated previously; those that are acquired by effort are treated here.[1]

Finally, the dhyānas, samāpattis and vimokṣasamādhis are very difficult to obtain (sudurlabha): it is necessary to seek them energetically and diligently in [270c] order to obtain them. Only by a mind of sympathetic joy (anumodnācitta) will the bodhisattva succeed in surpassing them, but he does not yet possess these qualities. This is why we speak about them again here.

Question. – But the concentrations (samādhi), wisdom (prajñā), deliverance (vimukti), knowledge and vision of deliverance (vimultijñānadarśana) that you spoke of previously, they too are difficult to obtain. Why then do you say that these you are speaking of now are difficult to obtain?

Answer. – I have already said that the preceding ones – [concentration, wisdom, deliverance, knowledge and the vision of knowledge] – were the prerogative of the saint delivered by wisdom (prajñāvimukta) and did not add up to the profound meaning (gambhīrārtha) of samādhi. On the other hand, the doubly delivered arhat (ubhayatobhāgavimukta) possessing the threefold knowledge (vidyātraya) – [who holds dhyāna, samāpatti and vimokṣasamādhi] – is rare and that is why it is necessary to speak of him again.

Furthermore, the concentrations (samādhi), wisdom (prajñā) deliverance (vimukti), knowledge and vision of deliverance (vimuktijñānadarśana) – [of which the previous section spoke] – although they are hard to attain, are not widely extensive, for they aim directly at nirvāṇa. On the other hand, [the dhyānas, samāpattis and vimokṣasamādhis] of the present passage concern the arhat who wants to obtain the bliss (sukha) of the dhyānas and samāpattis during the present lifetime (dṛṣṭa eva dharme), i.e., the absorption of cessation (nirodhasamāpatti), the dhyāna attaining the summit (prāntakoṭika), the knowledge resulting from vows (praṇidhijñāna), the concentration that prevents the arising of another’s passions (araṇāsamādhi), etc.[2] These do not lead directly to nirvāṇa; this is why it is necessary to return to them at length.

How do we know that [the samādhi] of the previous section leads directly to nirvāṇa? In that passage, the author mentioned in turn deliverance (vimukti), the knowledge and the vision of deliverance (vimuktijñānadarśana); therefore we know that that samādhi leads exclusively and directly to nirvāna.

The ‘wisdom-delivered’ (prajñā-vimukta) and ‘doubly delivered’ (ubhayatobhāga-vimukta):

Note: This Appendix is extracted from Chapter XLIV part 2.2 (concentration of the doubly liberated saint):

“The preceding section dealt with the prerogative of the prajñā-vimukta (wisdom-delivered saint) and, since the latter does not penetrate into the trances (dhyāna) and the absorptions, it spoke only of the concentration belonging to the anāgamya, ‘the absorption preliminary to the first dhyāna’. But here we are talking about the prerogative of the ubhayatobhāga-vimukta (the doubly delivered saint) who has the dhyānas, samāpattis and vimokṣa-samādhis all together”.

By the mind of sympathetic joy, the bodhisattva surpasses not only the generosity and the five anāsravaskandhas present in all the arhats but also the eight vimokṣas present in the doubly delivered arhat.

The prajñā-vimukta and the ubhayatobhāga-vimukta are included among the seven or ten types of persons worthy of veneration and offerings (Dīgha, III, p. 105, 253–254; Anguttara, IV, p. 10; V, p. 23). Both are arhats, aśaikṣas, having destroyed their impurities (kṣīṇāsrava), but the latter has in addition the eight profound liberations of vimokṣas (cf. p. 1282).

Majjhima, I, p. 477 defines them as follows:

Katamo ca bhikkhave puggalo ubhatobhāgavimutto:
Idha bhikkhave ekacco puggalo ye te santā vimokhā atikkamma rupe āruppā te kāyena phassitvā viharati,
paññāya c’assa disvā āsavā parikkhīnā honti.
Ayaṃ vuccati bhikkhave puggalo ubhatobhāgavimutto. –

Katamo ca bhikkhave puggalo paññāvimutto.
Idha bhikkhave ekacco puggalo ye te santā vimokhā atikamma rupe āruppā te na kāyena phassitvā viharati,
paññāya c’assa disvā āsavā parikkhīnā honti.
Ayam vuccati bhikkhave puggalo paññāvimutto
.

Transl. – O monks, what is a person doubly delivered? There is, O monks, a certain person who, having physically touched the peaceful liberations of the formless realm transcending form, remains there, and whose impurities are completely destroyed, for that person has seen by means of wisdom. That person, O monk, is called one who is doubly delivered. – O monks, what is a person liberated by means of wisdom? There is, O monks, a certain person who, without having physically touched the peaceful liberations [of the formless] realm transcending form, remains there and whose impurities have been completely destroyed, for that person has seen by means of wisdom. That person, O monks, is called a person delivered by means of wisdom.

On this passage, see the explanation of Horner, The Middle Length Sayings, II, p. 151–152, n.

The santā vimokkhā āruppā are the four samāpattis of the Ārūpyadhātu and the nirodhasamāpatti, situated above the four dhyānas of the Rūpadhātu.

Kāyena phassaitvā = kāyena sākṣātkṛtvā of the canonical sūtras (cf. p. 1282F) where the expression appears only in the definition of the third and eighth vimokṣa. On leaving the samāpatti, the saint immediately perceives the ‘bodily’ calm acquired during this samāpatti (see Kośa, VI, p. 224).

– Kośabhāṣya, p. 381, l. 3–4:

Yo nirodhasamāpattilābhī sa ubhayatobhāgavimuktaḥ | prajñāsamādhibalābhyāṃ kleśavimokṣāvaraṇavimuktatvāt | itaraḥ prajñāvimuktaḥ | prajñābalena kevalaṃ kleśavaraṇavimuktatvāt |

Transl. –

He who possesses the destruction and the absorption is ‘doubly delivered’, for he is delivered from the obstacle [consisting of] the passions (kleśāvaraṇa) and from the obstacle [opposing the production of the eight] liberations (vimokṣāvaraṇa) by means of the two powers of wisdom and concentration. The other is ‘delivered by means of wisdom’ for, by the power of wisdom, he is liberated only from the obstacle [consisting of] the passions’.

Abhidharmasamuccaya, ed. P. Pradhan, p. 88, l. 17–18 (transl. W. Rahula, p. 151):

Prajñāvimuktaḥ katamaḥ | kṣīṇāsravo no tv aṣṭavimokṣadhyāyī yaḥ pudgalah ||
Ubhayatobhāgavimuktaḥ katamaḥ | kṣīṇāsravo ‘ṣṭavimokṣadhyāyī yaḥ pudgalaḥ |

Footnotes and references:

1.

With the exception of the Buddha, the other āryas attain these high qualities only by effort (prayoga) and not by detachment (vairāgya), since they all do not have them. Only the Buddha obtains them by detachment, for the Buddha obtains all the qualities at once from the beginning, at the moment of kṣayajñāna, by means of detachment: cf. Kośa, VII, p. 97.

2.

See above, p. 1041–1042F, and Kośa, VII, p. 85–96.