The Great Prajna Paramita Sutra, Volume 5 translated by Naichen Chen


Naichen Chen (1941-) earned a PhD in philosophy of education at the University of Florida, USA. He has served as a professor of philosophy, Buddhism, and education at universities in Taiwan and the United States. He also has served as the president of National Hua Lien Teachers College in Taiwan and the University of the West (formerly Hsi Lai University) in Los Angeles, California. He has authored essays and books on education, religion, and philosophy in both Chinese and English.

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Prajna: transcendental wisdom

Paramita: ferrying over to the other shore; perfection

The Great Prajna Paramita Sutra, taught by the Buddha in sixteen assemblies in four places over twenty-two years and recorded posthumously by his disciples in six hundred fascicles with approximately five million words, is regarded as the largest canon in Buddhism. It is important not only because of its extensive teaching but also because it demonstrates what the great bodhisattva, the great bodhisattva path of cultivation, and the great bodhisattva vehicle are. Additionally, it indicates how one should cultivate and learn to become a bodhisattva — and eventually a Buddha — transcending self-interest to reach a state of emptiness, selflessness, and nonattachment. This sutra depicts, manifests, and elaborates an entire learning process leading to Buddhahood. Regardless of where you are on the path to enlightenment, you will be nourished by the parables and dialogues within.

“When practicing and learning prajna paramita, if the great bodhisattvas do not see the arising and extinction, grasping and renunciation, contamination and purification, formation and disintegration, and the increase and decrease of all dharmas, then they will be able to accomplish the perfect knowledge of all perfect knowledge. It is because they have adopted non-learning and non-accomplishment as expediency.” (Fascicle 89)


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