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大智度論摘譯
EXCERPTS FROM THE SHASTRA ON THE PERFECTION OF GREAT WISDOM

龍樹菩薩著
姚秦三藏法師鳩摩羅什譯
Written by Bodhisattva Nagarjuna Translated into Chinese by Tripitaka Master Kumarajiva of the Yaoqin dynasty
English translation © 1996 Dharmamitra reprinted with permission of Kalavinka (http://www.teleport.com/-dh-mitra/)

大迦葉召集法會

是時,大迦葉思惟﹕我今云何使是三大阿僧祇劫難得佛法而得久住!如是思惟竟,我知是法可使久住,應當結集修妒路,阿毗曇、毗尼,作三法藏。如是佛法可得久住,未來世人可得受行。所以者何?佛世世勤苦慈愍眾生故,學得是法,為人演說;我曹亦應承用佛教,宣揚開化。

是時,大迦葉作是語竟,往須彌山頂,採銅揵椎,說此偈言﹕

佛諸弟子!若念於佛,
當報佛恩,莫入涅槃!

是揵椎音,大迦葉語聲,遍至三千大千世界,皆聞悉知。諸有弟子得神力者,皆來集會大迦葉所。

爾時,大迦葉告諸會者﹕佛法欲滅,佛從三阿僧祇劫種種勤苦,慈愍眾生,學得是法。佛般涅槃已,諸弟子知法、持法、誦法者,皆亦隨佛滅度;法今欲滅,未來眾生甚可憐愍,失智慧眼,愚癡盲冥;佛大慈悲愍傷眾生,我曹應當承用佛教,須待結集經藏竟,隨意滅度。諸來眾會,皆受教住 。

爾時,大迦葉選得千人,除去阿難,盡皆阿羅漢,得六神通,得共解脫,無疑解脫;悉得三明,禪定自在,能逆順行諸三昧,皆悉無礙。誦讀三藏,知內外經書,諸外道家十八種大經,盡亦讀知;皆能論議,降伏異學。


此方教體在音聞 歌詠讚頌妙通神
乾闥婆王聞香至 緊那羅眾聽樂臨
有緣含靈皆得度 無情枯木盡逢春
同圓種智波羅蜜 共證菩提大覺尊

   

──長白山僧題/歲次乙未

Mahakasyapa Convenes a Dharma Council

At this time, Mahakasyapa pondered, "How can I now cause this Buddhadharma, obtained through [such great] difficulty across the course of three asamkhyeya kalpas, to be preserved for a long time? After pondering like this, [he said], "I know that this Dharma can be caused to remain a long time. We should collect together and compile the Sutras, the Abhidharma, and the Vinaya and make a three-fold repository of Dharma. In this manner the Buddha-dharma may be able to remain a long time. People of future generations may be able to receive it and cultivate it. Why is it [that we should do this]? Because in life after life, out of compassion and pity for beings, the Buddha was diligent and endured suffering to study and obtain this Dharma [so that he could] expound it for mankind. We too should undertake to put the Buddha's teaching to use, propagating and converting [people]."

At this point, after Mahakasyapa had formulated this discourse, he went to the summit of Mount Sumeru and, striking a bronze gandl (gong), uttered this verse:

All [of you] disciples of the Buddha,
If the Buddha [now] you do recall,
[You] should all repay the Buddha's kindness.
Do not enter [yet] into Nirvana.

The sound of the gandl accompanied by the voice of Mahakasyapa reached everywhere throughout the great trichiliocosm so that everyone heard and was aware of it. Of all of the disciples throughout the realms of existence, those who had gained spiritual powers all came and assembled at the place of Mahakasyapa.

At that time, Mahakasyapa told all of those assembled there, "The Buddhadharma is about to become extinct. Out of compassion and pity for beings, the Buddha, for three asamkhyeya kalpas, was diligent and endured all manner of suffering in studying and obtaining this Dharma. After the Buddha's parinirvana, all of those disciples who knew the Dharma, upheld the Dharma, and recited the Dharma followed the Buddha and also crossed into extinction. Now the Dharma is about to become extinct. The beings of the future are extremely pitiable [for] they will have lost the eye of wisdom and shall [be lost in] the blindness and darkness of ignorance. With great kindness and compassion the Buddha felt pity for beings. We also ought to undertake [the work of] putting the Buddha's teaching to use. We must wait until we have collected and compiled the repository of scriptures. Then we may cross into extinction whenever we wish. All of those who had assembled there accepted the instruction to remain.

At that time, Mahakasyapa selected a thousand men. All of them except for Ananda were Arhats who had attained the six superknowledges, who had attained the complete liberation, and who had attained the liberation devoid of doubt. They had all attained the three knowledges and coursed freely in dhyana samadhi. They were able to practice all of the samadhis [in both] ascending and descending [order], and in all cases without hindrance. They could recite and had studied the three repositories [of Dharma] and had knowledge of all the esoteric and exoteric scriptures. They had completely studied and knew the eighteen kinds of immense scriptures of the non-Buddhist schools [of thought] and were all able to debate and defeat [the adherents of] heterodox [realms of] learning.

English translation © 1996 Dharmamitra. All rights reserved.
Reprinted with permission of Kalavinka (http://www.teleport.com/~dh-mitra/)


In this region the substance of the teaching is in sound,
These songs and praises wonderfully penetrate the spiritual realm.
Gandharvas inhale the incense and arrive,
Kinnaras hear the music and descend.
Creatures with conditions all are saved,
Wilted plants and trees come alive again!
All perfect the wisdom of all-modes,
And together realize Bodhi, becoming greatly enlightened honored ones.

—— Changbai Mountain Monk in the year I-wei (1979) 

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