Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “acquiring a bodhisattva entourage” 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.

IV. Acquiring a Bodhisattva entourage

The bodhisattva wishes to acquire ‘a bodhisattva entourage’ (parivāra).

There are Buddhas who are surrounded only by bodhisattvas; there are Buddhas who are surrounded only by śrāvakas; there are Buddhas who are [303c] surrounded by both bodhisattvas and śrāvakas. This is why the Prajñāpāramitāsūtra says here that, in order to acquire an entourage composed exclusively of bodhisattvas, the bodhisattva must practice the Prajñāpāramitā.

There are three kinds of entourage (parivāra): superior, middling and inferior. The inferior one is made up of śrāvakas alone; the middling one is a mixture [of śrāvakas and bodhisattvas]; the superior one consists only of bodhisattvas.