Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “mallika-jataka” 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 Mo-li-fou-jen (Mallikā), for an offering to Siu-p’ou-t’i (Subhūti), obtained a fruit of retribution (vipākaphala); she was the main wife of king Po-sseu-ni (Prasenajit), in the present lifetime (ihaloka).

Notes on the Mallikā-jātaka:

Jātaka no. 415, III, p. 405–406. Mallikā was the daughter of a garland-maker at Sāvatthi. At sixteen years of age, she went into a flower garden, met the Buddha there and offered him three balls of barley gruel (kummāsapiṇḍa) which she had been carrying in a basket of flowers. The Teacher accepted the offering and smiled. To Ānanda who asked why he smiled, the Buddha explained: “This young girl, in reward for her gift, will this very day become the main queen of the king of Kosala (ayaṃ kumārikā imesaṃ kummāsapiṇḍakānaṃ phalena ajj’eva Kosalarañño aggamahesi bhavissati). Indeed, king Pasenadi who had just been conquered by Ajātasattu met the young girl in the garden and, finding her gentle as well as beautiful, saw her home. That same evening, he sent for her in great pomp, seated her on a pile of jewels and conferred on her the anointment reserved for queens. She became a faithful devotee of the Buddha as well as a good wife.

However, in Jātakamālā no. 3, p. 14–18, Mallikā attributes her good fortune to an act of generosity she had performed in one of her previous lives: when she was a slave, she had given the remains of a meal (uddṛtabhakta) to a Muni whose impurities were destroyed.

Here the Traité has it that in the course of a single lifetime Mallikā became the main wife of Prasenajit as a result of a gift made to Subhūti and not to the Buddha.

Having become queen, Mallikā met the Buddha frequently. The Mallikāsutta of the Saṃyutta, I, p. 75, and the Udāna, p. 47, tell that during a private conversation, Pasenadi asked Mallikā if there was someone dearer to him than she herself.

Without hesitation, she replied:

“Nobody is more dear to me than myself (n’atthi kho me mahārāja koc-añño attanā piyataro), and what is true for me is also true for you.”

A little angry, the king went to consult the Buddha who said that Mallikā clearly was right.

Then the Teacher spoke the stanza repeated in the Sanskrit Udānavārga, V, v. 18 (p. 144):

Sarvā diśas tv anuparigamya cetasā |
naivādhyagāt priyataram ārmanaḥ kva cit ||

“Traveling in mind in every direction, never will you find someone dearer to yourself than you yourself.”