Lesson
3

Manjushri: Prince of Wisdom

6 of 11

Manjushri in the sutras

Manjushri plays important roles in many of the Prajnaparamita sutras, including the Lotus and Flower Ornament Sutras. The following excerpt from the Maharatnakuta, or Great Jewel Heap, collection of sutras gives the flavor of Manjushri's orations.

The Buddha asked Manjushri, "How should one abide in the paramita of wisdom when cultivating it?"

Manjushri answered, "Abiding in no dharma is abiding in the paramita of wisdom."

The Buddha asked Manjushri further, "Why is abiding in no dharma called abiding in the paramita of wisdom?"

Manjushri answered, "Because to have no notion of abiding is to abide in the paramita of wisdom."

The Buddha asked Manjushri further, "If one thus abides in the paramita of wisdom, will his good roots increase or decrease?"

Manjushri answered, "If one thus abides in the paramita of wisdom, his good roots will not increase or decrease, nor will any dharma; nor will the paramita of wisdom increase or decrease in nature or characteristic."

"World-Honored One, one who thus cultivates the paramita of wisdom will not reject the dharmas of ordinary people nor cling to the dharma of saints and sages. Why? Because in the light of the paramita of wisdom, there are no dharmas to cling to or reject."

"Moreover, one who cultivates the paramita of wisdom in this way will not delight in nirvana or detest samsara. Why? Because he realizes there is no samsara, let alone rejection of it; and no nirvana, let alone attachment to it. . . World-Honored One, to see that no dharma arises or ceases is to cultivate the paramita of wisdom. . . To see that no dharma increases or decreases is to cultivate the paramita of wisdom….To aspire to nothing and to see that nothing can be grasped is to cultivate the paramita of wisdom. . . "

"Furthermore, if a person, when cultivating the paramita of wisdom, does not see any paramita of wisdom, and finds neither any Buddha-dharma to grasp nor any dharmas of ordinary people to reject, that person is really cultivating the paramita of wisdom."

In this discussion, Manjushri cuts through our conventional ideas of and attachments to increase and decrease, ordinary and holy, nirvana and samsara, arising and ceasing, aspiring and grasping. To experience this view clearly, one must see through, and be liberated from, all limited concepts about these common mental habits.

In reality, there is no safe haven to abide in, and nobody to do the abiding. There is no ordinary to shun, and no holiness to achieve. Although the illusion of birth and death is constantly being produced, in reality there is nothing independent to arise or cease. There is nothing at all to grasp, and also no grasping for us to suppress or seek to exterminate. This is the truth of Manjushri.