Verses on the Perfection of Wisdom

Prajñāpāramitā Ratnaguṇasaṃcayagāthā

14,137 words

Prajnaparamita Ratnagunasamcayagatha Translated by Edward Conze (Taisho Tripitaka 0229)...

Chapter XIV

The Bodhisattva and Enlightenment

The Bodhisattva who has firm faith in the Sugata,
Who is resolutely intent on the supreme perfection of wisdom;
Gone beyond the two levels of the Disciples and Pratyekabuddhas,
He will swiftly attain, unhindered, the enlightenment of the Jinas.

The Simile of the Ship

When a ship breaks up in the ocean,
Those who do not get hold of a corpse, a stick or a log,
Go to their destruction in the midst of the water, without having gained the shore;
But those who hold on to something, travel to the other shore and reach it:

Just so those who, although endowed with some faith and in possession of some serenity,
Reject the perfection of wisdom, the mother:
In the ocean of birth-and-death they must wander about for ever and ever,
In birth, decay, death, sorrow, turmoil, and the breaking up [of limbs].

But those who have been taken hold of by the supreme wisdom,
Skilled in seeing the own-being of existence, seers of ultimate reality:
They are persons worthy of the vehicle who have collected the wealth of merit and cognition.
They will speedily experience the exceedingly wonderful Sugata-enlightenment.

The Simile of the Jar

It is as if someone would transport water in an unbaked jar;
One should know that it will break quickly, because it does not hold the water well.
But when water is transported in a fully baked jar, that on the way
It might break there is no fear, and it gets safely to the house:

Although the Bodhisattva be full of faith,
If deficient in wisdom he swiftly reaches destruction.
But when taken hold of by both faith and by wisdom,
Gone beyond the two levels he will attain the supreme enlightenment.

The Simile of the Two Ships

A ship, which is not well got ready, in the ocean
Goes to destruction, together with its goods and merchants.
But when a ship is well got ready, and well joined together,
Then it does not break up, and all the goods get to the [other] shore.

Just so a Bodhisattva, exalted in faith,
But deficient in wisdom, swiftly comes to a failure in enlightenment.
But when he is well joined to wisdom, the foremost perfection,
He experiences, unharmed and uninjured, the enlightenment of the Jinas.

The Simile of the Aged Man

An aged man, ailing, one hundred and twenty years old,
Although he may have got up, is not capable of walking on his own;
But when two men, both to his right and left, have taken hold of him
He does not feel any fear of falling, and he moves along at ease:

Just so a Bodhisattva, who is weak in wisdom,
Although he sets out, he breaks down midway;
But when he is taken hold of by skilful means and by the best wisdom,
Then he does not break down: he experiences the enlightenment of the mightiest of men.

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