by Gelongma Karma Migme Chödrön | 2001 | 941,039 words
This page describes “leading innumerable bodhisattvas to the state of avaivartika” 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.
Sūtra (cf. Pañcaviṃśati, p. 34, l. 4–5; Śatasāhasrika, p. 113, l. 16–17). – “May I have an immense incalculable saṃgha of bodhisattva-mahāsattvas and, in the course of a single sermon of the Dharma, may innumerable incalculable bodhisattvas become non-regressing” (‘Kim iti me ’prameyo ‘saṃkhyeyo bodhisattvānaṃ mahāsattvānaṃ saṃgho bhaved ekadharmadeśanayā cāprameyā asaṃkhyeyā bodhisattvā avaivartikā bhaveyur’ iti).
This is what the bodhisattva wishes here.
1) Most often the Buddhas have śrāvakas as saṃgha and do not have a special saṃgha of bodhisattvas, like Maitreya, Mañjuṣrī, etc. Since the Buddha Śākyamuni did not have a special bodhisattva saṃgha, he entered into his śrāvaka saṃgha and sat there.
There are buddhas who, preaching the Dharma in reference to the single Vehicle (ekaṃ yānam ārabhya), choose for themselves an exclusively bodhisattva saṃgha.
Finally, there are buddhas who have a mixed (miśra) saṃgha where śrāvakas and bodhisattvas are mingled. Thus, in the buddhafield of Buddha Amita, the bodhisattva saṃgha is numerous and the śrāvaka saṃgha is fewer in number.
This is why the bodhisattva wishes [here] “to have an immense saṃgha of bodhisattvas.”
2) When certain buddhas first turn the Wheel of the Dharma, it happens that nobody becomes ‘non-regressing’ [in the progress to supreme complete bodhi].