Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “increase of merit” 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.

Question. – How does the merit of generosity (dānapuṇya) increase?

Answer. – When one gives at the desired time (kāle), one obtains an increase of merit (puṇyābhivṛddhi).

[Kālasutta].[1] – As is said in the sūtra: “When one gives in time of famine (durbhikṣa), one obtains an increase of merit. When one gives to someone who has come from afar (āgantuka gamika) on desert trails or dangerous paths, when one gives constantly and uninterruptedly, when one thinks constantly of giving at the right time, then the merit of generosity increases.” See what has been said above (p. 1413–1419F) on the six recollections in respect to the recollection of renunciation (tyāgānusmṛti).

One gains much merit if one gives generously, if one gives to good people, if one gives to the Buddha, if the donor (dāyaka) and the recipient (pratigrāhaka) are pure, if one gives with a firm intention (niyatacitta), if one gives an object that one has tried hard to acquire, if one gives absolutely all that one has, if one gives in exchange for other things, if one gives one’s servants (bhṛtya), one’s lands, etc.

Only the bodhisattva is the one who practices such gifts with resolve (āśaya).

Footnotes and references:


Kālasutta (Anguttara, III,p. 41), already cited above, p. 671, n.1.

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