Perfection of Wisdom


ཤེར་ཕྱིན། · sher phyin/


Prajñāpāramitā


The collection of discourses on the Perfection of Wisdom (Toh 8-30).

Texts: 23 Translated: 1 In Progress: 8 Not Begun: 14
Title
Toh  8

The Perfection of Wisdom in One Hundred Thousand Lines


ཤེར་ཕྱིན་སྟོང་ཕྲག་བརྒྱ་པ། (འབུམ།) · sher phyin stong phrag brgya pa/ \('bum/\)
śatasāhasrikāprajñāpāramitā
Title variants
  • shes rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa stong phrag brgya pa/

Not Started
Toh  9

The Perfection of Wisdom in Twenty-five Thousand Lines


ཤེར་ཕྱིན་སྟོང་ཕྲག་ཉི་ཤུ་ལྔ་པ། (ཉི་ཁྲི།) · sher phyin stong phrag nyi shu lnga pa/ \(nyi khri/\)
pañcaviṃśatisāhasrikā­prajñāpāramitā
Title variants
  • shes rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa stong phrag nyi shu lnga pa/

In progress
Toh  10

The Perfection of Wisdom in Eighteen Thousand Lines


ཤེར་ཕྱིན་ཁྲི་བརྒྱད་སྟོང་པ། (ཁྲི་བརྒྱད།) · sher phyin khri brgyad stong pa/ \(khri brgyad/\)
aṣṭādaśasāhasrikāprajñāpāramitā
Title variants
  • 'phags pa shes rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa khri brgyad stong pa zhes bya ba theg pa chen po'i mdo/
  • āryāṣṭādaśasāhasrikā­prajñāpāramitā­nāmamahāyānasūtra

In progress
Toh  11

The Perfection of Wisdom in Ten Thousand Lines


ཤེར་ཕྱིན་ཁྲི་པ། · sher phyin khri pa/
daśasāhasrikāprajñāpāramitā
Summary

While dwelling at Vulture Peak near Rājagṛha, the Buddha sets in motion the sūtras that are the most extensive of all—the sūtras on the Prajñāpāramitā, or “Transcendent Perfection of Wisdom.” Committed to writing around the start of the first millennium, these sūtras were expanded and contracted in the centuries that followed, eventually amounting to twenty-three volumes in the Tibetan Kangyur. Among them, “The Transcendent Perfection of Wisdom in Ten Thousand Lines” is a compact and coherent restatement of the longer versions, uniquely extant in Tibetan translation, without specific commentaries, and rarely studied. While the structure generally follows that of the longer versions, chapters 1–2 conveniently summarize all three hundred and sixty-seven categories of phenomena, causal and fruitional attributes which the sūtra examines in the light of wisdom or discriminative awareness. Chapter 31 and the final chapter 33 conclude with an appraisal of irreversible bodhisattvas, the pitfalls of rejecting this teaching, and the blessings that accrue from committing it to writing.

Title variants
  • 'phags pa shes rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa khri pa zhes bya ba theg chen po'i mdo/
  • āryadaśasāhasrikā­prajñāpāramitā­nāmamahāyānasūtra

Toh  12

The Perfection of Wisdom in Eight Thousand Lines


ཤེར་ཕྱིན་བརྒྱད་སྟོང་པ། · sher phyin brgyad stong pa/
aṣṭasāhasrikāprajñāpāramitā
Title variants
  • 'phags pa shes rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa brgyad stong pa/
  • āryāṣṭasāhasrikāprajñāpāramitā

In progress
Toh  13

The Verses that Summarize the Perfection of Wisdom


ཤེས་རབ་ཀྱི་ཕ་རོལ་ཏུ་ཕྱིན་པ་སྡུད་པ་ཚིགས་སུ་བཅད་པ། · shes rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa sdud pa tshigs su bcad pa/
prajñāpāramitāsaṃcayagāthā
Title variants
  • 'phags pa shes rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa sdud pa tshigs su bcad pa
  • āryaprajñāpāramitāsaṃcayagāthā
  • mdo bsdud pa
  • The Summarized Sūtra
  • The Verses Summarizing the Precious Qualities
  • ratnaguṇasaṃcayagāthā

In progress
Toh  14

The Perfection of Wisdom Teachings “The Questions of Suvikrāntavikrāmin”


རབ་ཀྱི་རྩལ་གྱིས་རྣམ་པར་གནོན་པས་ཞུས་པ་ཤེས་རབ་ཀྱི་ཕ་རོལ་ཕྱིན་པ་བསྟན་པ། · rab kyi rtsal gyis rnam par gnon pas zhus pa shes rab kyi pha rol phyin pa bstan pa/
suvikrāntavikrāmiparipṛcchā­prajñāpāramitānirdeśa
Title variants
  • 'phags pa rab kyi rtsal gyis rnam par gnon pas zhus pa shes rab kyi pha rol phyin pa bstan pa
  • āryasuvikrāntavikrāmiparipṛcchā­prajñāpāramitānirdeśa
  • The Perfection of Wisdom in 2,500 Lines
  • sārddhadvisāhasrikāprajñāpāramitā

Not Started
Toh  15

The Perfection of Wisdom in Five Hundred Lines


ཤེས་རབ་ཀྱི་ཕ་རོལ་ཏུ་ཕྱིན་པ་ལྔ་བརྒྱ་པ། · shes rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa lnga brgya pa/
pañcaśatikāprajñāpāramitā
Title variants
  • 'phags pa shes rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa lnga brgya pa
  • āryapañcaśatikāprajñāpāramitā

In progress
Toh  16

The Sūtra on the Perfection of Wisdom "The Diamond Cutter" (The Diamond Sūtra)


ཤེས་རབ་ཀྱི་ཕ་རོལ་ཏུ་ཕྱིན་པ་རྡོ་རྗེ་གཅོད་པ། · shes rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa rdo rje gcod pa/
vajracchedikā
Title variants
  • 'phags pa shes rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa rdo rje gcod pa zhes bya ba theg pa chen po'i mdo
  • āryavajracchedikānāma­prajñāpāramitāmahāyānasūtra
  • sum brgya pa
  • The Sūtra in Three Hundred Lines
  • triśātikā
  • The Diamond Sūtra

In progress
Toh  17 / 489

The Principles of the Perfection of Wisdom in One Hundred and Fifty Lines


ཤེས་རབ་ཀྱི་ཕ་རོལ་ཏུ་ཕྱིན་པའི་ཚུལ་བརྒྱ་ལྔ་བཅུ་པ། · shes rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa'i tshul brgya lnga bcu pa/
prajñāpāramitānayaśatapañcaśatikā
Title variants
  • 'phags pa shes rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa'i tshul brgya lnga bcu pa
  • āryaprajñāpāramitā­nayaśatapañcaśatikā
  • brgya lnga bcu pa/
  • The Sūtra in One Hundred and Fifty Lines
  • adhyardhaśatikā

In progress
Toh  18

The Illustrious Perfection of Wisdom in Fifty Lines


བཅོམ་ལྡན་འདས་མ་ཤེས་རབ་ཀྱི་ཕ་རོལ་ཏུ་ཕྱིན་པ་ལྔ་བཅུ་པ། · bcom ldan 'das ma shes rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa lnga bcu pa/
bhagavatī­prajñāpāramitāpañcāśatikā
Title variants
  • 'phags pa bcom ldan 'das ma shes rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa lnga bcu pa
  • āryabhagavatī­prajñāpāramitāpañcāśatikā
  • āryabhagavatī­prajñāpāramitārdhaśatikā
  • lnga bcu pa
  • The Sūtra in Fifty Lines

In progress
Toh  19 / 554

The Perfection of Wisdom for Kauśika


ཤེར་ཕྱིན་ཀཽ་ཤི་ཀ། · sher phyin kau shi ka/
kauśikaprajñāpāramitā
Title variants
  • 'phags pa shes rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa kau shi ka zhes bya ba
  • āryakauśikaprajñāpāramitānāma

Not Started
Toh  20 / 491

The Twenty-five Entrances to the Perfection of Wisdom


ཤེར་ཕྱིན་སྒོ་ཉི་ཤུ་རྩ་ལྔ་པ། · sher phyin sgo nyi shu rtsa lnga pa/
pañcaviṃśatikāprajñāpāramitāmukha
Title variants
  • 'phags pa shes rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa'i sgo nyi shu rtsa lnga pa zhes bya ba theg pa chen po'i mdo
  • āryapañcaviṃśatikā­prajñāpāramitāmukha­nāmamahāyānasūtra

Not Started
Toh  21 / 531

The Essence of the Perfection of Wisdom (The Heart Sūtra)


ཤེས་རབ་སྙིང་པོ། · shes rab snying po/
prajñāpāramitāhṛdaya
Title variants
  • bcom ldan 'das ma shes rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa'i snying po
  • The Heart of the Illustrious Perfection of Wisdom
  • bhagavatīprajñāpāramitāhṛdaya

Not Started
Toh  22 / 530

The Perfection of Wisdom in a Few Syllables


ཤེར་ཕྱིན་ཡི་གེ་ཉུང་ངུ། · sher phyin yi ge nyung ngu/
svalpākṣaraprajñāpāramitā
Title variants
  • 'phags pa shes rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa yi ge nyung ngu zhes bya ba theg pa chen po'i mdo
  • āryasvalpākṣara­prajñāpāramitā­nāmamahāyānasūtra

Not Started
Toh  23

The Perfection of Wisdom Mother in One Syllable


ཤེར་ཕྱིན་ཡི་གེ་གཅིག་མ། · sher phyin yi ge gcig ma/
ekākṣarīmātāprajñāpāramitā
Title variants
  • de bzhin gshegs pa thams cad kyi yum shes rab kyi pha rol tu phyin ma yi ge gcig ma zhes bya ba
  • The Perfection of Wisdom Mother of All Tathāgatas 'In One Syllable'
  • ekākṣarīmātānāma­sarvatathāgata­prajñāpāramitā
  • bhagavatīprajñāpāramitā­sarvatathāgata­mātaikākṣarīnāma

Not Started
Toh  24

The Perfection of Wisdom in Seven Hundred Lines


ཤེར་ཕྱིན་བདུན་བརྒྱ་པ། · sher phyin bdun brgya pa/
saptaśatikāprajñāpāramitā
Title variants
  • 'phags pa shes rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa bdun brgya pa zhes bya ba theg pa che po'i mdo
  • āryasaptaśatikānāma­prajñāpāramitā­mahāyānasūtra

Not Started
Toh  25 / 553

The Hundred and Eight Names of the Perfection of Wisdom


ཤེར་ཕྱིན་མཚན་བརྒྱ་རྩ་བརྒྱད་པ · sher phyin mtshan brgya rtsa brgyad pa
prajñāpāramitānāmāṣṭaśataka
Title variants
  • 'phags pa shes rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa'i mtshan brgya rtsa brgyad pa zhes bya ba
  • āryaprajñāpāramitānāmāṣṭaśataka

Not Started
Toh  26

The Perfection of Wisdom for Sūryagarbha


ཤེར་ཕྱིན་ཉི་མའི་སྙིང་པོ། · sher phyin nyi ma'i snying po/
sūryagarbhaprajñāpāramitā
Title variants
  • 'phags pa shes rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa nyi ma'i snying po theg pa chen po'i mdo
  • āryaprajñāpāramitā­sūryagarbha­mahāyānasūtra

Not Started
Toh  27

The Perfection of Wisdom for Candragarbha


ཤེར་ཕྱིན་ཟླ་བའི་སྙིང་པོ། · sher phyin zla ba'i snying po/
candragarbhaprajñāpāramitā
Title variants
  • 'phags pa zla ba'i snying po shes rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa theg pa chen po'i mdo rdzogs so
  • āryacandragarbha­prajñāpāramitā­mahāyānasūtra

Not Started
Toh  28

The Perfection of Wisdom for Samantabhadra


ཤེར་ཕྱིན་ཀུན་ཏུ་བཟང་པོ། · sher phyin kun tu bzang po/
samantabhadraprajñāpāramitā
Title variants
  • 'phags pa shes rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa kun tu bzang po theg pa chen po'i mdo
  • āryaprajñāpāramitā­samantabhadra­mahāyānasūtra

Not Started
Toh  29

The Perfection of Wisdom for Vajrapāṇi


ཤེར་ཕྱིན་ལག་ན་རྡོ་རྗེ། · sher phyin lag na rdo rje/
vajrapāṇiprajñāpāramitā
Title variants
  • 'phags pa shes rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa lag na rdo rje'i mdo theg pa chen po
  • āryaprajñāpāramitā­vajrapāṇi­mahāyānasūtra

Not Started
Toh  30

The Perfection of Wisdom for Vajraketu


ཤེར་ཕྱིན་རྡོ་རྗེ་རྒྱལ་མཚན་གྱི་མདོ · sher phyin rdo rje rgyal mtshan gyi mdo
vajraketuprajñāpāramitā
Title variants
  • 'phags pa shes rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa rdo rje rgyal mtshan gyi mdo theg pa chen po
  • āryaprajñāpāramitā­vajraketu­mahāyānsūtra

Not Started

The Perfection of Wisdom

The Tibetan Buddhist tradition classifies the discourses (sūtra, mdo) delivered by Śākyamuni Buddha in terms of the three turnings of the doctrinal wheel, promulgated at different places and times in the course of his life. Among them, the sūtras of the first turning expound the four truths, those of the second turning explain emptiness and the essenceless nature of all phenomena, while those of the third turning elaborate further distinctions between the three essenceless natures. The sūtras of the Perfection of Wisdom (prajñāpāramitā) are firmly placed by their own assertion within the second turning, promulgated at Vulture Peak near Rājagṛha.

It is in these sūtras that the role of the compassionate bodhisattva with a mind set upon enlightenment achieves pre-eminence over the śrāvakas and pratyekabuddhas of lesser attainment. The central message subtly integrates relative truth and ultimate truth, reiterating that great bodhisattva beings should strive to attain manifestly perfect buddhahood in order to eliminate the sufferings of all sentient beings rather than merely terminate cyclic existence for their own sake, even though, from an ultimate perspective, there are no phenomena, no sentient beings and no attainment of manifestly perfect buddhahood.

The relentless deconstruction of all conceptual elaborations with respect to phenomena, meditative experiences, and even the causal and fruitional attributes characteristic of the bodhisattva path, which is explicitly emphasized throughout these sūtras, may have been controversial, but it has given rise to both Madhyamaka dialectics and to the non-analytical meditative pursuits of the Chan (Zen) tradition. In Tibet, on the other hand, these sūtras are generally approached through study of The Ornament of Clear Realization (Abhisamayālaṃkāra, Toh 3786, a treatise said to have been dictated to Asaṅga by Maitreya) and its extensive commentaries, which constitute the Parchin (phar phyin) literature—one of the principal subjects of the monastic college curriculum. These treatises elaborate on the eightfold structural progression of the bodhisattvas’ goals, paths and fruit which are implied, though understated in all but the recast manuscript of the Sūtra in Twenty-five Thousand Lines.

Traditional Tibetan accounts hold that, following their promulgation by Śākyamuni, the sūtras were concealed in non-human abodes—the longest Sūtra in One Billion Lines among the gandharvas, the Sūtra in Ten Million Lines among the devas, and the Sūtra in One Hundred Thousand Lines among the nāgas—the last of these being retrieved and revealed by Nāgārjuna from the ocean depths and initially propagated in South India.

The extant texts forming this cycle of sūtras are replete with abbreviations, modulations and other mnemonic features, indicative of an early oral transmission—even today they are read aloud as an act of merit in monastic halls and public gatherings. At the same time, the medium length and longer sūtras explicitly extoll the merits of committing the sūtras to writing, in the form of books, as an offering for the benefit of posterity.

In Tibetan translation, the sūtras of the Perfection of Wisdom are contained in twenty-three volumes of the Degé and Narthang Kangyurs—comprising approximately one fifth of the entire collection. This division of the Kangyur precedes all the other sūtras in the Buddhāvataṃsaka (phal chen), Ratnakūṭa (dkon brtsegs) and General Sūtra (mdo sde) divisions of the Kangyur, reflecting the high prestige of the Perfection of Wisdom within Mahāyāna Buddhism as a whole.

They include twenty-three distinct texts, foremost among them being the “six mothers” (yum drug) and the “eleven children” (bu bcu gcig). The six mothers are the “longer” and “medium” length sūtras, which are said to be distinguished by their structural presentation of all eight aspects of the bodhisattvas’ path, as elucidated in The Ornament of Clear Realization. The shorter texts, being terser, do not fully elaborate this structure.

The six mothers are outlined as follows:

1. The Perfection of Wisdom in One Hundred Thousand Lines (Śatasāhasrikāprajñāpāramitā, Toh 8) comprises twelve volumes, twenty-five fascicles and seventy-two chapters.
2. The Perfection of Wisdom in Twenty-five Thousand Lines (Pañcaviṃśatisāhasrikāprajñāpāramitā, Toh 9) comprises three volumes, seventy-eight fascicles, and seventy-six chapters.
3. The Perfection of Wisdom in Eighteen Thousand Lines (Aṣṭādaśasāhasrikāprajñāpāramitā, Toh 10) comprises two and a half volumes, sixty fascicles, and eighty-seven chapters.
4. The Perfection of Wisdom in Ten Thousand Lines (Daśasāhasrikāprajñāpāramitā, Toh 11) comprises one and a half volumes, thirty-four fascicles, and thirty-three chapters.
5. The Perfection of Wisdom in Eight Thousand Lines (Aṣṭasāhasrikāprajñāpāramitā, Toh 12) comprises one volume, twenty-four fascicles, and thirty-two chapters.
6. The Verse Summation of the Perfection of Wisdom (Prajñāpāramitāratnaguṇasañcayagāthā, Toh 13) comprises nineteen folios.

In most Kangyurs the long sūtras, 1-5 (Toh 8-12) each occupy their own primary section of the collection, but here they have all been placed under a single heading for the genre.

Of the shorter sūtras, all contained in a final “miscellaneous Prajñāpāramitā” (sher phyin sna tshogs) volume of the section, the best known are the Diamond Cutter (Vajracchedikā, Toh 16, in three hundred lines), commonly known as the Diamond Sūtra, and the Essence of the Perfection of Wisdom (Prajñāpāramitāhṛdaya, Toh 21), justifiably famous as the Heart Sūtra.

Others include increasingly condensed versions: a version in 2,500 lines known as The Questions of Suvikrāntavikrāmin (Toh 14), versions in 700 lines (Toh 24), 500 lines (Toh 15), 50 lines (Toh 18), In a Few Syllables (Toh 22), and even In One Syllable (Toh 23). The version in 150 lines (Toh 17) is strongly tantric in style and content, and indeed several of the sūtras are duplicated in the Tantra section of the Kangyur.

In addition to these Tibetan translations, there are extant Sanskrit manuscripts from Gilgit and Nepal, complete in some cases, partial in others, and Chinese translations representing all of the longer and medium length versions of the sūtra, with the exception of The Transcendent Perfection of Wisdom in Ten Thousand Lines.

A bibliographic appraisal of all texts within this division can be found in Conze, Edward, The Prajñāpāramitā Literature (2nd edition), 1978: Tokyo, The Reiyukai.

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