Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “casting the mount sumerus far away” 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.

Part 5 - Casting the mount sumerus far away

Sūtra (cf. Pañcaviṃśati, p. 28, l. 2–5; Śatasāhasrikā, p. 82, l. 9–12). – Furthermore, the bodhisattva-mahāsattva should practice the perfection of wisdom if he wants, by means of a single hair, having raised up all the Sumerus, king of the mountains, in the trisāhasramahāsāsralokadhātu, to cast them beyond innumerable and incalculable universes, without harming the beings in them (Punar aparaṃ trisāhasramahāsāhasralokadhātau ye sumeruparvatarājās tān sarvān ekena vālenābhyutkṣipyāprameyān asaṃkhyeyān lokadhātūn samtikramya prakṣipeyaṃ na tu sattvān viheṭhayeyam iti bodhisattvena mahāsattvena prajñāpāramitāyāṃ śikṣitavyam).

Śāstra. –

Question. – How can the bodhisattva raise the Mount Sumerus and the mountains and cast them far away beyond the innumerable universes of the other directions?

Answer. – He has no need of a lever, and this emphasizes the power of the bodhisattva who is able to lift up the mountains.

Moreover, when the Buddha is going to preach the Dharma, the bodhisattvas first adorn the trisāhasramahāsāhasralokadhātu and remove the mountains so that the ground is leveled out (sama).

[Saddharmapuṇḍarīkasūtra].[1] – See what was said in the Fa-houa king (Dharmapuṇḍarīkasūtra): “When the buddha [Śākyamuni] was about to join the emanated buddhas (nirmita buddha), he first leveled out the ground and also, wanting to manifest extraordinary things (adbhuta), he made it so that beings could see them.”

How is that? Each Mount Sumeru has a height of 84,000 yojanas.[2] To raise up one single Sumeru is already extraordinary (adhbhuta); to say nothing about [when the Bodhisattva raises] the hundred koṭis[3] of Sumerus in the trisāhasramahāsāhasralokadhātu; to say nothing about raising with a single hair (ekena vālāgreṇa) the hundred koṭis of Sumerus in the trisāhasramahāsāhasralokadhātu and casting them out beyond innumerable (aprameya) and incalculable (asaṃkhyeya) universes. The beings who see this extraordinary exploit of the bodhisattva all produce the mind of supreme complete enlightenment (anuttarasamyak-saṃbodhicitta) and have the following thought: “If this bodhisattva who has not yet attained the bodhi of the Buddhas possesses such magical power (ṛddhibala), what will it be when he becomes Buddha?”

That is why the Prajñāpāramitāsūtra spoke thus.

Footnotes and references:


Saddharmapuṇḍ., chap. XI. – While the Buddha Śākyamuni was preaching the Lotus in the Sahā universe, a stūpa appeared in the sky; in this stūpa was enclosed the body of the tathāgata Prabhūtaratna. In order to pay homage to him, Śākyamuni miraculously created from his own body a large number of forms of the Tathāgata which, in the ten directions of space, each in the different Buddha fields, taught the Dharma to beings. All these Tathāgatas decided to go to the Sahā universe in the presence of the Buddha Śākyamuni to see and venerate the stūpa of Prabhūtaratna. There appeared with them in the Sahā universe twenty hundreds of thousands of myriads of koṭis of Buddha fields, marvelously decorated, without villages, without cities and without mountains.

Then, continues the Saddharmapuṇḍarīka (p. 245–246): Atha khalu punar bhagavāñ śākyamunis tathāgato ‘rhan samyaksaṃbuddhas teṣāṃ tathāgatavigrahāṇām āgantānām avakāśaṃ nirmimīte sma | … tāni ca sarvāni bahubuddhakṣetrāṇy ekam eva pṛthivīpradeśaṃ parisaṃsthāpayām āsa samaṃ ramaṇīyaṃ saptaratnamayaiś ca vṛkṣaiś citritam. – Then the blessed Tathāgata Śākyamuni, arhat, completely and fully enlightened, created a space to contain these tathāgata-forms that had just arrived … All these numerous Buddha fields Śākyamuni established as a single Buddha land, flat, pleasant, embellished with trees made of the seven jewels.

According to the Traité, the intention of the leveling of the ground and the disappearance of the mountains “carried to other universes” was to render the miracle visible to the eyes of all.

The Traité refers to the same chapter of the Lotus above, p. 417–418F.


Sumeru is 84,000 yojanas in length, 84,000 yojanas in width, plunges into the water to a depth of 84,000 yojanas and emerges from the water to a height of 84,000 yojanas.

Aṅguttara, IV, p. 100: Sineru pabbatarājā caturāsītiyojanasahassāni āyāmena caturāsītiyojanasahassāni vithārena caturāsītiyojanasahassāni mahāsamudde ajjhogāḷho caturāsītiyojanasahassāni mahāsamuddā accuggato.

See also Atthasālinī, p. 298, l. 13–14; Kośa, III, p. 143.


A hundred koṭis, i.e., a billion, koṭi here being equal to 10,000,000 (cf. Kośa, III, p. 189, l. 34). See above, p. 448F and n. The universe of four continents contains only one Sumeru, but in a trisāhasramahāsāhasra, this number is 1000 carried to the third power, i.e., a billion.

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