Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “the mind of sympathetic joy can be directed to the concentrations” 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.

IV. The mind of sympathetic joy can be directed to the concentrations

Question – It is possible for the bodhisattva to surpass the generosity (dāna), morality (śīla) and wisdom (prajñā) of the śrāvakas and pratyekabuddhas by means of a mind of sympathetic joy (anumodanācitta). Why? Generosity and morality are visible to the eye and audible to the ear. Wisdom also is something audible; therefore it is possible to produce a mind of sympathetic joy towards it. On the other hand, the dhyānas, samāpattis and vimokṣasamādhis can neither be seen nor heard.[1] Then how could the bodhisattva rejoice in them?

Answer. – The bodhisattva rejoices in them by using his knowledge of another’s mind (paracittajñāna).

Question. – But if the mind of another is impure (sāsrava), he cognizes the impure minds (sāsravacitta) of others; if it is pure (anāsrava), he cognizes the pure minds (anāsravacitta) of others. But not yet being Buddha, the bodhisattva [does not possess a pure paracittajñāna]. How then could he cognize the pure minds of the śrāvakas and pratyekabuddhas?

Answer. – In the system of the śrāvakas, you would be correct, but according to the Mahāyāna system, the bodhisattva has acquired the conviction that dharmas do not arise (anutpattikadharmakṣanti), has cut all the fetters (saṃyojana) and, from one lifetime to the next, never loses the six superknowledges (abhijñā). Therefore he can, by means of an impure cognition of another’s mind (sāsravaparacittajñāna), know pure minds and, a fortiori, by means of a pure cognition, know the mind of another (anāsravaparacittajñāna). [271a]

Furthermore, some say: Take a bodhisattva who is about to produce for the first time the mind of bodhi (prathamacittotpādika) and who does not yet have the body born of the fundamental element (dharmadhātujakāya). If he sees or hears that a śrāvaka is giving gifts or observing the discipline, this bodhisattva knows perfectly well that the man in question will become arhat and he rejoices in it (anumodate). He says: “That is a man who has found the true nature (bhūtalakṣaṇa) of dharmas and will escape from the threefold world. My own wish is to save all beings from birth (jāti), old age (jarā) sickness (vyādhi) and death (maraṇa). That this man may find deliverance, that’s up to me!”

For many reasons of this kind the bodhisattva rejoices (anumodate) and his sympathetic joy (anumodanā) is faultless (nirdoṣa).

Footnotes and references:


On the limits of paracittajñāna, see Kośa, VII, p. 26–27.