Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “relationship between prajna and the other perfections” 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. Relationship between prajñā and the other perfections

Question. – Either the first five perfections are the same as prajñāpāramitā or they are not. If they are the same as prajñāpāramitā, there is no need to posit five distinct (viśiṣṭa) perfections. If they are different (anya), how can you claim that, in order to practice the perfection of generosity, it is necessary to practice the prajñāpāramitā?

Answer. – They are both the same and different. They are different in the sense that the prajñāpāramitā that considers (samanupaśyati) the true nature (bhūtalakṣaṇa) of dharmas presupposes and holds no dharma. Generosity itself rejects (tyajati) all inner and outer good. [272c] But if one practices generosity in the spirit of the prajñāpāramitā, the generosity (dāna) takes the name of perfection.

Furthermore, the first five perfections establish (avaripayanti) the qualities (guṇa) and the prajñāpāramitā chases away persistent thoughts (saṃgacitta, abhiniveśa) and wrong views (mithyādṛṣṭi). It is as if one man planted grain and another man hoed and weeded to strengthen the grain. In the same way, the prajñāpāramitā makes the four other perfections ripen (paripācayati).