The Giving of King Sarvada
Nāgārjuna’s Preamble: Perfect Dāna in Two Body Types
Additionally, the bodhisattva possesses two kinds of bodies. The
first is the body produced from the karma of the fetters. The second
is the Dharma body. Fulfillment of dāna pāramitā in both of these
bodies is what is intended by perfectly fulfilling dāna pāramitā.
Question: What is meant by fulfillment of dāna pāramitā within
the body produced from the karma of the fetters (saṃyojana)?
Response: This refers to when one has not yet gained the Dharma
body and to when the fetters have not yet been brought to an end.
One becomes able to give completely of all that one possesses, both
inwardly and outwardly, including all manner of precious objects,
and including one’s head, eyes, marrow, brain, country, wealth,
wives, and sons, doing so without one’s mind moving or turning
away from it. Take for instance Prince Sudinna who made a gift
of his two sons to a brahman. (Chinese textual note: In our language,
this [Sudinna] means “fine fondness.”) Next, he relinquished his wife,
and even then, his mind still did not turn away from continuing on
with this practice.
Story: King Sarvada Turns Himself In
This is also exemplified by King Sarvada (Chinese textual note: In our
language, this [“Sarvada”] means “giving everything.”) who was vanquished
by an enemy country and who then fled and hid in the
furthest reaches of the forests. He encountered a brahman from a
faraway country who sought to receive alms from him. As for himself,
his country had been crushed, his family had been wiped out,
and he had been forced to flee alone and go into hiding.
Because he felt pity for [the brahman’s] hardship in having come
from afar and yet having gotten nothing, he said to the brahman, “I
am King Sarvada. The new king has sent men out who are trying
very hard to find me.” He then immediately tied himself up and
gave himself to [the brahman] who then gave him over to the new
king and received great wealth and valuables [in reward].
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