Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “bhikshu-sutra” 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.

Thus it is said in the Tsa-a-han (Saṃyuktāgama):

There was a certain bhikṣu who questioned the Buddha: Was the twelve-membered dependent origination (dvādaśāṅgapraītyapsamutpāda) made by the Buddha or was it made by others?

The Buddha said to the bhikṣu: I myself did not make the twelve-membered dependent origination and it was not made by others.

Whether there are Buddhas or whether there are no Buddhas, the manner of being of the dharmas (dharmāṇāṃ tathatā), the dharma nature (dharmatā), the stability of dharmas (dharmasthititā), is eternal.

Notes on the Bhikṣu-sūtra:

This sūtra, the original Sanskrit of which we now possess but which has no exact correspondent in the Pāli Nikāya, has already been called upon by the Traité, p. 157F n. It is the Bhikṣusūtra of the Saṃyuktāgama (T 99, no. 299, k. 12, p. 85b–c, Nidānasaṃyukta, p. 164–165:

Anyataro bhikṣur yena bhagavāṃs …. saṃskārā yāvat samudayo nirodhaś ca bhavati |


– A certain monk went to where the Blessed one was. Having gone there and having bowed down to the feet of the Blessed one, he said to the Blessed One:

Was dependent origination made by the Blessed One or by others?

O monk, dependent origination was not made by me or by others.

However, whether a Tathāgata appears or does not appear, stable is this dharmatā, the foundation for the existence of things. The Tathāgata himself, having recognized and fully understood this [dependent origination], enunciates it, makes it known, establishes it, analyzes it, reveals it, preaches it, teaches and illuminates it.

Namely: “This being, that is; from the production of this that is produced”: “Formations have as condition ignorance”, and so on up to: “Such is the origin and the cessation [of this great mass of suffering”].

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