Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “arriving at the other shore” 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 1 - Arriving at the other shore

Sūtra (cf. Pañcaviṃśati, p. 29, l. 5–6; Śatasāhasrikā, p. 93, l. 5–5). – Furthermore, O Śāriputra, the bodhisattva-mahāsattva who wishes to arrive at the other shore of conditioned and unconditioned dharmas must practice the perfection of wisdom (Punar aparaṃ Śāriputra bodhisattvena mahāsattvena saṃskṛtāsaṃskṛtḥanāṃ dharmāṇāṃ pāraṃ gantukāmena prajñāpāramitāyāṃ śikṣitavyam).

Śāstra. –

Arriving at ‘the other shore’ is coming precisely to the other shore (anta) of conditioned (saṃskṛta) dharmas and unconditioned (asaṃskṛta) dharmas. By means of great wisdom, how does one get to know entirely, to exhaust entirely, (mahāprajñā), this ‘other shore’ (para)? By analyzing the general characteristics (sāmānyalakṣaṇa) and the specific characteristics (svalakṣaṇa) of conditioned dharmas in many ways, and, in regard to the unconditioned dharmas, by understanding completely [the four fruits of the religious life] (śrāmaṇyaphala) from srotaāpanna up to Buddhahood.[1]

For the characteristics of conditioned and unconditioned dharmas, see what has been said above (p. 2077F).

Footnotes and references:


According to the Sarvāstivādins, the fruits of the religious life (śrāmaṇyaphala) are conditioned (saṃskṛta) and unconditioned (asaṃskṛta). The eighty-nine paths of abandoning (prahāṇamārga), or paths of immediate succession (ānantaryamārga), by means of which the ascetic abandons the afflictive emotions of the threefold world, make up the religious life (śrāmaṇya). The eighty-nine paths of deliverance (vimuktimārga) by means of which the ascetic takes possession of the abandonment are the conditioned fruits of the śrāmaṇya, being niṣyandaphala and puruṣakāraphala of the śrāmaṇya. See Kośa, VI, p. 241–242; Kośabhāṣya, p. 369–370.