Verses on the Perfection of Wisdom

Prajñāpāramitā Ratnaguṇasaṃcayagāthā

14,137 words

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

The Three Doors to Deliverance, and the Buddha-dharmas

Furthermore, the Bodhisattva who courses in the wisdom of the Jinas
Cognizes these skandhas as unproduced, as empty from the beginning.
Even during the time that unconcentrated he views in compassion the world of beings,
He does not become destitute of the Buddha-dharmas.


The Simile of the Hero

A skilful man, endowed with all qualities,
Powerful, unassailable, well-qualified, instructed in many arts,
Perfect in archery, devoted to many crafts,
Perfect in knowing the various forms of magical illusion, keen on the welfare of the world

He takes his mother and father, together with his sons and daughters
And enters a wilderness, full of many hostile forces.
He conjures up many men, heroic champions,
Gets away safely, and again goes back to his home;

Just so at that time when a wise Bodhisattva
Extends the great friendliness to all in the world of beings,
Having passed beyond the four Maras, and the two levels,
He permanently abides in the best of concentrations, but he does not experience enlightenment.


The Simile of the Cosmos

Supported by space is air, and [by that] the mass of water;
By that again is supported this great earth and the [living] world.
If the foundation of the enjoyment of the deeds of beings
Is thus established in space, how can one think of that object?

Just so the Bodhisattva, who is established in emptiness
Manifests manifold and various works to beings in the world,
And his vows and cognitions are a force which sustains beings.
But he does not experience the Blessed Rest; for emptiness is not a place to stand on.

At the time when the wise and learned Bodhisattva
Courses in this most excellent quietude of the concentration on emptiness,
During that time no sign should be exalted,
Nor should he stand in the signless; for he is one who courses calm and quiet.


The Simile of the Flying Bird

A flying bird has no footing in the intermediate space.
It does not stand on it, nor does it fall to the ground.
So the Bodhisattva who courses in the doors to freedom
Neither experiences the Blessed Rest, nor does he course in the sign.


The Simile of the Archer

As a man trained in archery shoots an arrow upwards,
And then again other arrows in [quick] succession,
Without giving [a chance] to the first one to fall to the ground
Until he wishes the arrow to fall to the ground.

Just so someone who courses in wisdom, the best of perfections,
And who accomplishes wisdom, skill in means, the powers and the ability to work wonders:
As long as these wholesome roots remain unfulfilled
So long he does not obtain that most excellent emptiness.


The Simile of the Twin Miracle

A monk endowed with the most excellent ability to work wonders
Standing in the sky performs the twin miracle:
He exhibits the coming and going, the lying down and the sitting;
But he cannot be made to desist, nor does he feel exhausted however long he may be in it.

Just so the wise Bodhisattva, standing in emptiness,
Perfect in cognition and the ability to work wonders, wandering without a home,
Manifests an endless variety of works to the world,
But he cannot be worn down, nor does he feel exhausted for kotis of aeons.


The Simile of the Parachutes

It is as with some men who have stood on a high cliff;
If they held a parachute in each hand and would jump off into space,
Their bodies, once they had left the high cliffs,
Would go on falling until they had reached the ground.

Just so the wise Bodhisattva, having stood in compassion,
Having taken-hold of the two parachutes of skill in means and of wisdom,
Considers dharmas as empty, signless and wishless;
Though he does not experience the Blessed Rest, he nevertheless sees the dharmas.


The Simile of the Merchant and the Jewel Island

Someone, desirous of jewels, has travelled to the treasure island,
And, having obtained the jewels, he would again return home.
Although in those circumstances the merchant lives quite happily,
Yet he bears in mind the hosts of his suffering kinsmen:

Just so the Bodhisattva who has travelled to the treasure isle of Emptiness,
And has obtained the trances, faculties and powers;
Although he could experience the Blessed Rest, wholly delighting in it,
He would bear in mind all suffering beings.


The Simile of the Merchant and His Journey

As a merchant, interested in business, goes into the cities,
Market towns and villages, which he comes across on his way, so as to get acquainted with them;
But he neither abides therein, nor in the treasure island;
But he, the discerning, becomes skilful in the path [which leads] to his home.

Just so the wise Bodhisattvas who become skilful everywhere
In the cognition and emancipation of the Disciples and Pratyekabuddhas,
They abide not therein, nor in the Buddha-cognition,
Nor in what is conditioned. Wise as to the path becomes the one who knows the method.


The Bodhisattva Undefinable

At the time when he has communed with the world in friendliness,
And courses in the concentrations on emptiness, the signless and the wishless:
It is impossible that he either would [have an inclination to] reach the Blessed Rest,
Or that he could be defined by the conditioned.

As a magically created man, or one who has made his body invisible,
Cannot be defined by words:
Just so the Bodhisattva who courses in the doors to freedom
Can also not be defined by words.


The Doors to Deliverance and the Irreversible Stage

If on being questioned about the practice and the faculties
A Bodhisattva does not effect the revelation of deep dharmas
Which are empty and signless, if he fails to indicate the dharmas peculiar to
The irreversible stage, he should not be known as one who has been predicted.


Tokens of Irreversibility

Not the level of an Arhat nor the Pratyekabuddha-level,
Nor what belongs to the triple world does he long for in his dreams;
But he sees the Buddhas, and himself as one who preaches Dharma to the world:
Predicted as 'irreversible' should he then be known.

Having seen in his dreams the beings who are in the three places of woe,
He makes the vow, 'May I that very instant abolish the places of woe!'
If, through the power of his declaration of the Truth, he appeases even a mass of fire:
Predicted as 'irreversible' should he then be known.

Those possessed by ghosts, with various diseases, in the world of mortals,
Through the power of his declaration of the Truth he appeases them, he who is benevolent and compassionate.
Nor does there arise to him any self-consciousness or pride:
Predicted as 'irreversible' should he then be known.

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