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Diamond Sūtra 《金剛般若波羅蜜經》

The merits of prajñā are incomparable 福智無比分

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The merits of prajñā are incomparable 福智無比


Text


須菩提三千大千世界所有須彌山如是七寶有人持用布施以此般若波羅蜜乃至四句偈受持讀誦他人福德百分不及千萬億乃至算數譬喻不能

“Subhūti, suppose three thousand great thousand-worlds all contained Sumeru, King of Mountains [parvatarājā], and there were mountains [rāśī] such as this of the Seven Precious Jewels, given away by someone in the practice of giving [dāna]. If a person has only a four-line gāthā from this Prajñāpāramitā sūtra, and accepts, maintains, studies, recites, and speaks it for others, then the merits [puṇya] of the other person are not even one hundredth as good. They are so vastly inferior that the two are incomparable.

Sanskrit: yaśca khalu punaḥ subhute strī vā puruṣo vā yāvantastrisāhasramahāsāhasre lokadhātau sumeravaḥ parvatarājānaḥ, tāvato rāśīn saptānāṃ ratnānāmabhisaṃhṛtya tathāgatebhyo'rhadbhayaḥ samyaksaṃbuddhebhyo dānaṃ dadyāt, yaśca kulaputro vā kuladuhitā vā itaḥ prajñāpāramitāyā dharmaparyāyādantaśaścatuṣpādikāmapi gāthāmudgṛhya parebhyo deśayet, asya subhūte puṇyaskandhasya asau paurvakaḥ puṇyaskandhaḥ śatatamīmapi kalāṃ nopaiti, yāvadupaniṣadamapi na kṣamate||24||

Comments



The Buddha is making a reference to the cosmic being Puruṣa, as in Section 10, Section 13, Section 15, and Section 17. It is the sixth comparison that compares material wealth with the teachings, this time it compares giving of wealth with giving by propogating the teachings. Also important is the analogy with Mount Sumeru, the largest mountain in the Universe and situated in the center (alternatively, one is situated in the center of every world in the Universe). The self is the largest object and in the center of the mind, thus the analogy imploring the listener to let go of attachment to the self. The analogy represents the self as the pile of jewels at the center of the Universe that should be let go of. Hui Neng says,

The height and diameter of Mount Sumeru is 3,360,000 miles. ... But in terms of meaning, the deluded thoughts of desire, anger, and ignorance each comprise an entire thousand-world system.
(Hui Neng Exegesis on the Diamond Sutra1)

The English name King of Mountains translates the Chinese 山王, Sanskrit parvatarājā. The Sanskrit word parvata means mountain (Chinese ). The second use of the word mountain in English translates the Sanskrit rāśī (English: heap), which is not present in the Chinese.

In the Aṅguttara Nikāya the Buddha explains that there is great benefit in passing on the Buddha's teachings,

"Bhikkus, those bhikkus who explain the Dhamma as Dhamma ... non-discipline as non-discipline ... discipline as discipline ... what has not been stated and uttered by the Tathāgata as not having been stated and uttered by him ... what has been stated and uttered by the Tathāgata as having been stated and uttered by him ... are acting for the welfare of many people, fore the happiness of many people, for the good, welfare, and happiness of many people, of devas and human beings. These bhikkus generate much merit and sustain this good Dhamma."
(AN 1.202)


Notice the chiasmic symmetry between this chapter and chapter 8.

Notes

  1. Red Pine 2009, p 362 translating Hui Neng Exegesis on the Diamond Sutra 金剛經解義, Manji 0459
  2. Bodhi. The Numerical Discourses of the Buddha: Aṅguttara Nikāya; Translated from the Pāli by Bhikkhu Bodhi. Boston: Wisdom Publications, 2012.

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