Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

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

This page describes “two kinds of right view” 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 1 - The two kinds of right view

Note: This Appendix is extracted from the Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra chapter LII (endowing the kṣetra with a special wisdom):

This wisdom is the correct worldly view (laukikī samyagdṛṣṭi). In this correct worldly view, beings say: “There is generosity, there is fruit of ripening of good or bad actions, there is a world here below and a world beyond, there are Arhats”.

The distinction between mundane (laukikī) and supramundane (lokottarā) saṃyagdṛṣṛti is canonical. Here the Traité reproduces almost literally the Cattārīsakasutta of the Majjhima, III, p. 72, l. 4–20 (compare Saṃyukta, T 99, no. 28, p. 203a21–b2).

Sammādiṭṭhiṃ p’ ahaṃ, bhikkhave, dvayaṃ vadāmi. Atthi, bhikkhave, sammādiṭṭhi sāsavā puññabhagiyā upadhivepakkā; atthi, bhikkhave, sammādiṭṭhi ariyā … paññindriyaṃ paññabalaṃ dhammavicayasambojjhaṅgo sammādiṭṭhi maggaṅgā.

Transl. –

I say, O monks, there are two kinds of right view. There is an impure right view contributing to merit and ending up in a rebirth; there is a noble supramundane pure right view, constituting a member of the Path.

What is the impure right view, contributing to merit and leading to a rebirth? There is generosity, there is sacrifice, there is oblation, there is fruit of ripening of good or bad actions, there is a world down here and a world beyond, there are in the world monks and brāhmaṇas of right progress and right conduct who, having realized this world and the other world by their own superknowledge, teach them,

What is the noble pure supramundane right view, constituting a member of the path? In a man of noble mind, of pure mind who is in possession of the noble Path and cultivates the noble Path, it is the wisdom, the faculty of wisdom, the power of wisdom, the factor of enlightenment called discrimination of dharmas, the right view constituting a factor of the path.

– In contrast to the heathen (mithyādṛṣṭika), the man with mundane right view respects the natural (or conventional law); he believes in the efficacy of rituals, in reward for good and punishment for evil, in the future life; he honors his parents and the deities; he venerates monks and brāhmaṇas. But this right mundane view is impure (sāsrava) because it rests on the belief in the self, in the ātman, which is a false belief. Although it contributes to gaining merit (puṇyabhāgīya) and leads to good rebirths in the higher destinies, it is incapable of putting an end to suffering and does not assure deliverance. On the other hand, the right supramundane view, not contaminated by belief in the self and which is a factor of the Path, is truly liberating.

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