Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “abhavya-sutra” 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.

“If three dharmas did not exist, the Buddha would not be born into the world, and if these three dharmas are not destroyed, it would be impossible (abhavya) to escape old age, sickness and death. These three dharmas are the three poisons.”

Notes on the Abhavya-sūtra:

Abhavyasūtra of the Nidānasaṃyukta, p. 204–210 (Chinese versions, T 99, no. 346, k. 14, p. 95c17–06b24; T 99, no.760, k. 28, p. 199c27–200a13) and Abhabbo sutta of Anguttara, V, p. 144–149. – Comparative study in E. Waldschmidt, Identifizierung einer Handscrift des Nidānasaṃyukta aus den Turfan-Funden, ZDMG, 107 (1957), p. 372–401; Sūtra of the Nidānasaṃyukta, BSOAS, XX (1957), p. 569–579.

Sanskrit:

magadheṣu nidanam | traya ime bhikṣavo dharmā saṃvidyante aniṣṭā amanāpā lokasya | katame trayaḥ | tadyathā vyādhir …. abhavyo vyādhiṃ jarāṃ maraṇaṃ prahātum |

Pāli:

tayo bjhikkhave dhammā loke na saṃvijjeyyuṃ na thatāgato loke …. appahāya abhabbo jātiṃ pahātuṃ jaraṃ pahātuṃ maraṇaṃ pahātuṃ |

Transl. of the Sanskrit. –

The story took place in Magadha. There are, O monks, three unpleasant, disagreeable and annoying things for the world. What are these three things? They are sickness, old age and death. If these three things, unpleasant, disagreeable and annoying to the world, did not exist, the Tathāgatas, saints, fully and rightly enlightened, would not be born in the world to throw light on the well-preached doctrine and discipline. But since the three things, unpleasant, disagreeable and annoying to the world, namely old age, sickness and death, do exist, the Tathāgatas, saints, rightly and fully enlightened, are born into the world to bring to light the well-preached doctrine and discipline. If one has not rejected three [other] things, one is incapable of avoiding sickness, old age and death. What are these three things? They are desire, hatred and delusion. If one has not rejected these three things, one is incapable of avoiding sickness, old age and death.

– The Traité has twice already referred to this sūtra: cf. p. 300F, n. 2; p. 543F, n. 1.