Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “arhathood of ananda” 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.

Appendix 5 - Arhathood of Ānanda

Note: This Appendix is extracted from a footnote of the Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra Chapter LI:

Ānanda first obtaind the fruit of srotaāpanna, then after having served the Buddha for twenty-five years and after the Buddha’s parinirvāṇa, he became Arhat.

Ānandasutta of the Saṃyutta, III, p. 105–106 (Saṃyukta, T 99, k. 10, p. 66a5–b5): At the Jetavana in Śrāvastī, Ānanda commented to his colleagues how useful (navaka) Pūrṇa Maitrāyaṇiputra had been to them by teaching them that the notion of “I am” (asmiti) comes from the five aggregates and by making them see that the latter are impermanent. Ānanda ended his comment by saying: Idaṃ ca pana me āyasmato puṇṇassa Manatāniputtassa dhammadesanaṃ sutvā dhammo abhisameto. “When I had understood this teaching of the Dharma by venerable Pūrṇa Maitrāyaṇiputra, the Dharma was understood by me.” The long-winded speech of the Saṃyukta (l. c.) is more accurate and more complete: “When I had heard this teaching, I obtained the perfectly pure dust-free and stainless eye of the Dharma (virajo vigatamalaṃ dharmacakṣur viśuddham): since then, I have always preached this Dharma to the fourfold assembly, but I do not preach it to the anyatīrthikas, śramaṇas, brāhmaṇas and parivrājakas.” This then is the first fruit of the Path, the fruit of srotaāpanna which Ānanda obtained at that time: see also the Commentaries of the Saṃyutta, II, p. 308, l. 24–25 and the Theragāthās in Psalms of the Brethren, p. 349, etc.

– Ānanda was the Buddha’s attendant (upasthāyaka) for the last twenty-five years of his life. To the references noted above, p. 94F, n.1, and 1675F, n. 1, add Saṃghabeda, II, p. 59–64.

– As we have seen above, p. 100F, Ānanda realized arhathood after the Buddha’s parinirvāṇa, at the time of the Council of Rājagṛha.

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