Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

by Gelongma Karma Migme Chödrön | 2001 | 941,039 words

This page describes “bahudhatuka-sutra (sutta)” 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.

The Bahudhātuka-sūtra (sutta)

As it is said in the To-sing king (Bahudhātukasūtra) in regard to things possible and impossible:

“It is impossible that a woman should be a noble cakravartin king” (aṭṭhānam etaṃ anavakāso yaṃ itthi rājā assa cakkavattī, n’ etaṃ thānaṃ vijjati). Why? Because any woman dependent on a man cannot obtain sovereignty (aiśvarya). And if a woman cannot be a noble cakravartin king, how then could she be Buddha? If a woman obtains liberation, nirvāṇa, it is thanks to a man that she obtains it. It is impossible that she could obtain Bodhi by herself (svataḥ).[1]

“It is impossible that two noble cakravartin kings appear simultaneously in the world” (aṭṭhānam etaṃ anavakāso yaṃ ekissā lokadhātuyā dve rājāno cakkavattino apubbaṃ acarimaṃ uppajjeyyuṃ, n’ etaṃ ṭhānaṃ vijjati). Why? Because a cakravartin king never encounters any rivalry (pratyarthikatva). And if two noble cakravartin kings cannot be in the same world, how could two Buddhas?[2]

“It is impossible that a bad action [of body, speech or mind] could result in a pleasant [agreeable] retribution.” (aṭṭhānam etaṃ anavakāso yaṃ kāyavacīmanoduccaritassa iṭṭho kanto manāpo vipāko nibbatteyya, n’etaṃ ṭhānaṃ vijjati). And if a bad action cannot bring worldly happiness (laukikasukha), how then could it bring supramundane happiness (lokottarasukha)?

“It is impossible that the person who is of bad conduct [of body, speech or mind] could, as a result of this fact, [at the dissolution of the body] be reborn in heaven” (atthānam etaṃ anavakāso yaṃ kāyavacīmanoduccaritasamaṅgī tannidānā tappaccayā kāyassa bhedā param maraṇā sugatiṃ saggaṃ lokaṃ uppajjeyya, n’etaṃ ṭhānaṃ vijjati). And if the person who is of bad conduct cannot be reborn in the heavens, how then could he obtain nirvāṇa? In fact, the five obstacles (pañcāvaraṇa) cover the mind, one is distracted (vikṣipta) and, without developing the seven factors of enlightenment (saṃbodhyaṅga), it is impossible to attain nirvāṇa. As long as the five obstacles cover the mind and one does not cultivate the seven factors of enlightenment, it is impossible to attain the Bodhi of the śrāvakas, not to speak of the Bodhi of the Buddhas. But when the mind is free of obstacles, the Bodhi of the Buddhas can be obtained and, all the more so, that of the śrāvakas.

All of these possibilities and impossibilities the Buddha has explained from his own mouth in the To-sing king (Bahudhātukasūtra) but, relying on the word of the Buddha, scholars have developed these possibilities and impossibilities at length.

Notes on the Bahudhātuka-sūtra (sutta):

An extract of the Bahudhātukasutta of Majjhima, III, p. 64–67 (Tchong a han, T 26, k. 47, p. 723c28–724b28), repeated in Anguttara, I, p. 26–30 as well..

Footnotes and references:


See also above, p. 134F, 545F.


See above, p. 302–303F, 535F.

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