The Occurrence and Completion of Mercy in the Śūnyatā-vāda of Mādhyamika

– Centering around Mahāprajñāpāramitā-śāstra –

Nam, Sooyoung / Buddhist College of Guinsa

The mahāyāna buddhism emphasizes mercy on all living beings, though it based on the śūnyatā-vāda. But the practice of śūnyatā-vāda reveals itself on the form of thorough non-attachment on all things. Therefore the śūnyatā-vāda of mādhyamika insists on the non-attachment even on nirvāṇa. But how the mercy can be possible, if bodhisattva who realized śūnyatā cuts off all attachment on all things even including all living beings?

But the mādhyamika texts show that the mercy is placed on the center of practice all the same. If so, how both the mercy and the śūnyatā can be exist together? In addition, what is the motive of mercy and by which process bodhisattva completes it? So present writer examined in such topics centering around the early mādhyamika text Mahāprajñāpāramitā-śāstra. As the result of that examination, present writer found that the base of all practical rules is not the wisdom of prajñā but the mercy in the mādhyamika.

Also present writer found that Mahāprajñā pāramitā-śāstra asserts three kinds of mercy that are 1) the mercy which takes the all living beings as it’s object, 2) the mercy which takes dharma as it’s object, and 3) the mercy which takes no object, and the last is the highest one buddha practices.

The examination on this description of Mahāprajñā pāramitā-śāstra through Madhyamaka-śāstra and Vajracchedikā-prajñāpāramitā-sūtra shows that the mercy, which is the base of wisdom of prajñā, is completed as the most purest one by the wisdom of prajñā in it’s turn. In other words, the relation between mercy and wisdom of prajñā in the śūnyatā-vāda of mādhyamika is not antagonistic but complimentary, that is the wisdom of prajñā is attained based on the mercy and the very mercy is completed as the most purest one by the wisdom of prajñā.

The other fact, which this examination found, is that the wisdom of prajñā is not the motive of the mercy in mādhyamika, though it completes the mercy as the most purest one. On the contrarly, mādhyamika thought the mercy is the motive of wisdom of prajñā. This shows the opinion of Nakamura Hajime, that the mercy is caused by the idea of non-difference of me and others, is not correct, because the idea of non-difference of me and others can be possible by the wisdom of prajñā. So present writer made efforts to search the motive of mercy centering around Mahāprajñāpāramitā-śāstra and Tenzin Gyatso’s exposition.

The supplementary exposition of Tenzin Gyatso to the some obscure exposition on the motive of mercy in Mahāprajñāpāramitā-śāstra shows that the mercy is caused through the process of 1) the occurrence of empathy on sufferings, all living beings undergo, by right understanding on the suffering, 2) the occurrence of intimacy on the all living beings by right understanding of pratītyasamutpāda which means co-dependence. Therefore it would be correct that the mercy is not caused by the idea of non-difference between me and others but caused by 1) the empathy on sufferings, all living beings undergo, which occurred by right understanding on the suffering, 2) the intimacy on all living beings which occurred by right understanding of pratītyasamutpāda which means co-dependence.

But the idea of non-difference between me and others, proposed by Nakamura Hajime, is not nothing to the mercy. That is, as the wisdom of prajñā caused by the mercy completes the mercy as the most purest one, so the idea of non-difference between me and others contributes to completion of the mercy.

So the process from occurrence to completion of the mercy in the śūnyatā-vāda of mādhyamika would be 1) the occurrence of empathy on sufferings, all living beings undergo, caused by right understanding on the suffering, 2) the occurrence of intimacy on the all living beings caused by right understanding of pratītyasamutpāda meaning co-dependence. 3) the occurrence of mercy which takes all living beings as it’s object (=the occurrence of mercy), 4) the occurrence of boddhicitta, 5) the occurrence of mercy which takes dharma as it’s object by the right understanding of pudgala-nairātmya, 6) the occurrence of mercy which takes no object by the right understnding of dharma-nairātmya (=the completion of mercy).

* Keywords

mahāyāna buddhism, mādhyamika, śūnyatā-vāda, the occurrence of mercy, the completion of mercy, the wisdom of prajñā, the mercy which takes the all living beings as it’s object, the mercy which takes dharma as it’s object, mercy which takes no object, empathy on the sufferings, intimacy on the all living beings, pratītyasamutpāda meaning co-dependence

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