Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “the dvadashanga” 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.

Preliminary note (2): The dvādaśāṅga

The division of the scriptures into twelve aṅgas is largely predominant in the Buddhism of the Sanskrit language, both Hīnayāna and Mahāyāna, and the twelve members are often cited in the following manner, that of the Mahāvyutpatti (no. 1267–1278):

  1. sūtra,
  2. geya,
  3. vyākaraṇa,
  4. gāthā,
  5. udāna,
  6. nidāna,
  7. avadāna,
  8. itivṛttaka,
  9. jātaka,
  10. vaipulya,
  11. adbhutadharma,
  12. upadeśa.

Three members are added to the preceding list: nidāna, introduction showing the circumstances incidental to the speech; avadāna, story of a feat; upadeśa, systematic instruction. Two words have been sanskritized: vedalla, of obscure meaning, has been replaced here by vaipulya, ‘developed text’; itivuttaka ‘thus has it been said’ is sanskritized as ityuktaka, having the same meaning, or hyper-sanskritized as itivṛttaka ‘thus has it happened.

Ityuktaka is vouched for, with an error of spelling, in the Śatasāhasrikā, p. 100, l. 10; 1460, l. 5. Itivṛttaka occurs more frequently: cf. Sanskrit Mahāparnirvāṇa, p. 386, l. 2; Kośavyākhyā, p. 438, l. 30; Pañcaviṃśatisāh., p. 31, l. 5; 158, l. 13; 218, l. 13; Saddharmapuṇḍarīka, ed. Kern -Nanjio, p. 45,l. 7 and Kashgar version, ed. H. Toda, II-III, p. 329, l. 30; Bodhisattvabhūmi, p. 67, l. 20; 397, l. 12–13.

For itivuttaka in Pāli, see Critical Pāli Dictionary, vol. II, p. 279b; for itivṛttaka in Sanskrit, see Edgerton, Dictionary, p. 113b.

Among the texts mentioning the Dvādaśāṅga, we may mention:

1. The four canonical Āgamas: Dīrgha, T 1, k. 3, p. 16c15–17; k. 12, p. 75–b19; Madhyama, T 26, k. 1, p. 421a19–20; k. 45,p. 709b7–8; k. 54, p. 764a14–15; Saṃyukta, T 99, k. 41, p. 300c5–8; T 100, k. 6, p. 415b1–3; Ekottara, T 125, k. 17, p. 635a11–13; k. 21, p. 657a2–4; k. 33, p. 728c3–6; k. 46, p. 794b14–16; k. 48, p. 813a16–17 and 28–29. – Sanskrit Mahāparinirvāṇa, ed. Waldschmidt, p. 386, l. 2.

2. The Vinayas of the Mahīśāsaka, T 1421, k. 1, p. 1c14–16; of the Dharmaguptakas, T 1428, k. 1, p. 569b4–7; of the Sarvāstivādins: Sarvāstivinayavibhāṣā, T 1440, k. 4, p. 526a12; k. 6, p. 540a21; of the Mūlasarv., Kṣudrakavastu, T 1451, k. 38, p. 398c25–27.

3. The Abhidharmas of the Sarvātivādins: Saṃgītiparyāya, T 1536, k. 14, p. 427c16–18; k. 17, p. 437a24–25; Jñānaprasthāna, T 1543, k. 17, p. 853b(aberrant list of ten aṅgas); T 1544, k. 12, p. 981b6–7.

4. Stories and apologues: Chen king, T 154, k. 5, p. 107b28; Fo pao ngen king, T 156, k. 1, p. 128a5; k. 7, p. 163b28; Sin ti kouan king, T 159, k. 8, p. 328b5; Fa kiu king, T 210, k. 1, p. 566b25; Tch’ou yao king, T 212, k. 17,p. 698c1; Tche keou king, T 214, k. 1, p. 799c12.

5. The Prajñāpāramitāsūtras:

Aṣṭasāhasrikā, T 225, k. 3, p. 488a17.

Pañcaviṃśatisāhasrikā, ed. Dutt, p. 31, l. 5–6; 158, l. 12–14; 218, l. 13–14; T 221, k. 1, p. 4a4; k. 4, p. 28a13–14; T 222, k. 1, p. 150c28; k. 7, p. p. 197a28; T 223, k. 1, p. 220b25–28; k. 10, p. 291a28–29; k. 22, p. 379c9–10; T 220, vol. VII, k. 402, p. 9c26–28; k. 416, p. 88c11; k. 430, p. 162c25–28; k. 440, p. 219a24–28.

Aṣṭadaśasāhasrikā, T 220, vol. VII, k. 479, p. 431c21–22; k. 509, p. 599a5–6.

Śatasāhasrikā, ed. Ghosa, p. 100, l. 9–10; 1460, l. 5–6; vol. V, k. 3, p. 15b20–21; k, 127, p. 699a7–9.

6. Avataṃsaka, T 281, p. 449a29; k. 1, p. 620c23; k. 6, p. 658c28.

7. Ratnakūṭa, T 310, k. 37, p. 210a4–6; k. 77, p. 436a14–6; k. 91, p. 522a25–27.

8. Mahāsaṃnipāta, T 397, k. 5, p. 30c8; k. 22, p. 157b26–28; p. 159a14 and 17; k. 31, p. 215b23.