Ornaments of the Buddhas


ཕལ་ཆེན། · phal chen/


Buddhāvataṃsaka


Presented as a single, long sūtra, although many of its 45 chapters are independent works (Toh 44).

Texts: 46 Translated: 0 In Progress: 4 Not Begun: 42
Title
Toh  44
The Sūtra of the Ornament of the Buddhas

  Chapter 1: The Ornaments of All the Lords of the World


འཇིག་རྟེན་གྱི་དབང་པོ་ཐམས་ཅད་ཀྱི་རྒྱན་གྱི་ཚུལ་ལེའུ། · 'jig rten gyi dbang po thams cad kyi rgyan gyi tshul le'u/
Not Started
Toh  44
The Sūtra of the Ornament of the Buddhas

  Chapter 2: The Tathāgata


དེ་བཞིན་གཤེགས་པའི་ལེའུ། · de bzhin gshegs pa'i le'u/
Not Started
Toh  44
The Sūtra of the Ornament of the Buddhas

  Chapter 3: Samantabhadra's Miraculous Samādhi


ཀུན་བཟང་ཏིང་འཛིན་རྣམ་འཕྲུལ་ལེའུ། · kun bzang ting 'dzin rnam 'phrul le'u/
Not Started
Toh  44
The Sūtra of the Ornament of the Buddhas

  Chapter 4: The Teaching on the Ocean of Realms of the World


འཇིག་རྟེན་གྱི་ཁམས་རྒྱ་མཚོ་བསྟན་པའི་ལེའུ། · 'jig rten gyi khams rgya mtsho bstan pa'i le'u/
Not Started
Toh  44
The Sūtra of the Ornament of the Buddhas

  Chapter 5: The Flower Ornament Fundamental Essence Realm


འཇིག་རྟེན་ཁམས་གཞི་སྙིང་མེ་ཏོག་གི་བརྒྱན་ལེའུ། · 'jig rten khams gzhi snying me tog gi brgyan le'u/
Not Started
Toh  44
The Sūtra of the Ornament of the Buddhas

  Chapter 6: The Teaching on the Ornaments of the World's Periphery


འཇིག་རྟེན་འཁོར་ཡུག་རྒྱན་བསྟན་པའི་ལེའུ། · 'jig rten 'khor yug rgyan bstan pa'i le'u/
Not Started
Toh  44
The Sūtra of the Ornament of the Buddhas

  Chapter 7: The Teaching on the Ornaments of the Underlying Ground of the Ocean of the World's Realms


འཇིག་རྟེན་ཁམས་རྒྱ་མཚོའི་ས་གཞི་རྒྱན་བསྟན་པའི་ལེའུ། · 'jig rten khams rgya mtsho'i sa gzhi rgyan bstan pa'i le'u/
Not Started
Toh  44
The Sūtra of the Ornament of the Buddhas

  Chapter 8: The Teaching on Remaining in the Continuity of the Field


ཞིང་གི་རྒྱུད་གནས་བསྟན་པའི་ལེའུ། · zhing gi rgyud gnas bstan pa'i le'u/
Not Started
Toh  44
The Sūtra of the Ornament of the Buddhas

  Chapter 9: The Teaching on the Continuous Array of the World's Realms


འཇིག་རྟེན་ཁམས་རྒྱུད་རྣམ་འགོད་བསྟན་པའི་ལེའུ། · 'jig rten khams rgyud rnam 'god bstan pa'i le'u/
Not Started
Toh  44
The Sūtra of the Ornament of the Buddhas

  Chapter 10: Vairocana


རྣམ་པར་སྣང་མཛད་ལེའུ། · rnam par snang mdzad le'u/
Not Started
Toh  44
The Sūtra of the Ornament of the Buddhas

  Chapter 11: The Universal Interpenetration of the Tathāgatas


དེ་བཞིན་གཤེགས་པ་རྨད་གཅད་ལེའུ། · de bzhin gshegs pa rmad gcad le'u/
Not Started
Toh  44
The Sūtra of the Ornament of the Buddhas

  Chapter 12: The Buddha


སངས་རྒྱས་ཀྱི་ལེའུ། · sangs rgyas kyi le'u/
Not Started
Toh  44
The Sūtra of the Ornament of the Buddhas

  Chapter 13: The Truths of the Noble Ones


འཕགས་པ་བདེན་པའི་ལེའུ། · 'phags pa bden pa'i le'u/
Not Started
Toh  44
The Sūtra of the Ornament of the Buddhas

  Chapter 14: The Awakening Through the Tathāgata's Rays of Light


དེ་བཞིན་གཤེགས་པའི་འོད་ཟེར་ལས་རྣམ་པར་སངས་རྒྱས་པ་ལེའུ། · de bzhin gshegs pa'i 'od zer las rnam par sangs rgyas pa le'u/
Not Started
Toh  44
The Sūtra of the Ornament of the Buddhas

  Chapter 15: The Illumination of the Bodhisattva's Questions


བྱང་ཆུབ་སེམས་དཔས་དྲིས་པ་སྣང་བ་ལེའུ། · byang chub sems dpas dris pa snang ba le'u/
Not Started
Toh  44
The Sūtra of the Ornament of the Buddhas

  Chapter 16: Purification of the Sphere of Activity


སྤྱོད་ཡུལ་ཡོངས་སུ་དག་པའི་ལེའུ། · spyod yul yongs su dag pa'i le'u/
Not Started
Toh  44
The Sūtra of the Ornament of the Buddhas

  Chapter 17: Śrībhadra


བཟང་པོའི་དཔལ་གྱི་ལེའུ། · bzang po'i dpal gyi le'u/
Not Started
Toh  44
The Sūtra of the Ornament of the Buddhas

  Chapter 18: The Tathāgata Ascends to the Peak of Mount Meru


དེ་བཞིན་གཤེགས་པ་རི་རབ་རྩེར་གཤེགས་ལེའུ། · de bzhin gshegs pa ri rab rtser gshegs le'u/
Not Started
Toh  44
The Sūtra of the Ornament of the Buddhas

  Chapter 19: The Verses of the Assembly of Bodhisattvas


བྱང་སེམས་ཚོགས་ཀྱི་ཚིགས་བཅད་ལེའུ། · byang sems tshogs kyi tshigs bcad le'u/
Not Started
Toh  44
The Sūtra of the Ornament of the Buddhas

  Chapter 20: The Ten Abodes of the Bodhisattvas


བྱང་སེམས་རྣམ་དགོད་བཅུ་བསྟན་པའི་ལེའུ། · byang sems rnam dgod bcu bstan pa'i le'u/
Not Started
Toh  44
The Sūtra of the Ornament of the Buddhas

  Chapter 21: Pure Conduct


ཚང་པར་སྤྱོད་པའི་ལེའུ། · tshang par spyod pa'i le'u/
Not Started
Toh  44
The Sūtra of the Ornament of the Buddhas

  Chapter 22: The Merit of First Developing the Mind Set on Enlightenment


བྱང་སེམས་དང་པོ་བསྐྱེད་པའི་བསོད་ནམས་ཕུང་པོ་ལེའུ། · byang sems dang po bskyed pa'i bsod nams phung po le'u/
Not Started
Toh  44
The Sūtra of the Ornament of the Buddhas

  Chapter 23: Illumination of the Dharma


ཆོས་སྣང་བའི་ལེའུ། · chos snang ba'i le'u/
Not Started
Toh  44
The Sūtra of the Ornament of the Buddhas

  Chapter 24: The Emanation in Suyama


རབ་མཚེ་མའི་གནས་ན་རྣམ་འཕྲུལ་ལེའུ། · rab mtshe ma'i gnas na rnam 'phrul le'u/
Not Started
Toh  44
The Sūtra of the Ornament of the Buddhas

  Chapter 25: The Verses of the Gathering of Bodhisattvas in Suyama


རབ་མཚེ་མའི་གནས་སུ་བྱང་སེམས་འདུས་པ་ཚིག་བཅད་ལེའུ། · rab mtshe ma'i gnas su byang sems 'dus pa tshig bcad le'u/
Not Started
Toh  44
The Sūtra of the Ornament of the Buddhas

  Chapter 26: The Teaching on the Bodhisattva's Practice


བྱང་ཆུབ་སེམས་དཔའི་སྤྱོད་པ་བསྟན་པའི་ལེའུ། · byang chub sems dpa'i spyod pa bstan pa'i le'u/
Not Started
Toh  44
The Sūtra of the Ornament of the Buddhas

  Chapter 27: The Teaching on the Ten Inexhaustible Treasures


གཏེར་མི་ཟད་པ་བཅུ་བསྟན་པའི་ལེའུ། · gter mi zad pa bcu bstan pa'i le'u/
Not Started
Toh  44
The Sūtra of the Ornament of the Buddhas

  Chapter 28: The Ornament after the Tathāgata's Departure


དེ་བཞིན་གཤེགས་པ་བཞུད་གཤེགས་བཞུགས་རྒྱན་ལེའུ། · de bzhin gshegs pa bzhud gshegs bzhugs rgyan le'u/
Not Started
Toh  44
The Sūtra of the Ornament of the Buddhas

  Chapter 29: The Gathering of Bodhisattvas in Tuṣita


དགའ་ལྡན་གནས་སུ་བྱང་སེམས་འདུས་པའི་ལེའུ། · dga' ldan gnas su byang sems 'dus pa'i le'u/
Not Started
Toh  44
The Sūtra of the Ornament of the Buddhas

  Chapter 30: Vajradhvaja's Dedication


རྡོ་རྗེ་རྒྱལ་མཚན་ཡོངས་བསྔོའི་ལེའུ། · rdo rje rgyal mtshan yongs bsngo'i le'u/
Chapter 30: Vajradhvaja's Dedication
Title variants
  • vajradhvajapariṇāma
  • byang chub sems dpa' rdo rje rgyal mtshan gyis yongs su bsngo ba'i le'u/
  • [Note: This chapter contains 10 subchapters]

Not Started
Toh  44
The Sūtra of the Ornament of the Buddhas

  Chapter 31: The Ten Grounds


ས་བཅུའི་ལེའུ། · sa bcu'i le'u/
daśabhūmika
Title variants
  • 'phags pa byang chub sems dpa'i sa bcu/
  • āryabodhisattvadaśabhūmika

In progress
Toh  44
The Sūtra of the Ornament of the Buddhas

  Chapter 32: The Teaching of Samantabhadra


ཀུན་བཟང་བསྟན་པའི་ལེའུ། · kun bzang bstan pa'i le'u/
Chapter 32: The Teaching of Samantabhadra
Title variants
  • samantabhadracāryanirdeśa
  • 'phags pa kun tu bzang po'i spyod pa bstan pa/

Not Started
Toh  44
The Sūtra of the Ornament of the Buddhas

  Chapter 33: The Ten Samādhis


ཏིང་འཛིན་བཅུའི་ལེའུ། · ting 'dzin bcu'i le'u/
Not Started
Toh  44
The Sūtra of the Ornament of the Buddhas

  Chapter 34: The Superknowledges


མངོན་ཤེས་ལེའུ། · mngon shes le'u/
Not Started
Toh  44
The Sūtra of the Ornament of the Buddhas

  Chapter 35: The Acceptances


བཟོད་པའི་ལེའུ། · bzod pa'i le'u/
Not Started
Toh  44
The Sūtra of the Ornament of the Buddhas

  Chapter 36: The Teaching on the Reckoning from the Questions of Sovereign Mind


སེམས་ཀྱི་རྒྱལ་པོ་དྲིས་ནས་གྲངས་ལ་འཇུག་པ་བསྟན་པའི་ལེའུ། · sems kyi rgyal po dris nas grangs la 'jug pa bstan pa'i le'u/
Not Started
Toh  44
The Sūtra of the Ornament of the Buddhas

  Chapter 37: Lifespan


ཚེ་ཚད་ལེའུ། · tshe tshad le'u/
Not Started
Toh  44
The Sūtra of the Ornament of the Buddhas

  Chapter 38: The Dwellings of Bodhisattvas


བྱང་ཆུབ་སེམས་དཔའི་གནས་ཀྱི་ལེའུ། · byang chub sems dpa'i gnas kyi le'u/
Not Started
Toh  44
The Sūtra of the Ornament of the Buddhas

  Chapter 39: The Teaching on the Inconceivabality of the Buddhadharma


སང་རྒྱས་ཆོས་བསམ་མི་ཁྱབ་བསྟན་པའི་ལེའུ། · sang rgyas chos bsam mi khyab bstan pa'i le'u/
Title variants
  • [Note: see Toh 187, which is close but not identical.]

Not Started
Toh  44
The Sūtra of the Ornament of the Buddhas

  Chapter 40: The Teaching on the Tathāgata's Ocean of Major Physical Marks


དེ་བཞིན་གཤེགས་པའི་སྐུ་མཚན་རྒྱ་མཚོ་བསྟན་པའི་ལེའུ། · de bzhin gshegs pa'i sku mtshan rgya mtsho bstan pa'i le'u/
Not Started
Toh  44
The Sūtra of the Ornament of the Buddhas

  Chapter 41: The Teaching on the Minor Marks and Light Rays


དཔེ་བྱད་འོད་ཟེར་བསྟན་པའི་ལེའུ། · dpe byad 'od zer bstan pa'i le'u/
Not Started
Toh  44
The Sūtra of the Ornament of the Buddhas

  Chapter 42: The Teaching on Samantabhadra's Practice


ཀུན་ཏུ་བཟང་པོའི་སྤྱོད་པ་བསྟན་པའི་ལེའུ། · kun tu bzang po'i spyod pa bstan pa'i le'u/
Not Started
Toh  44
The Sūtra of the Ornament of the Buddhas

  Chapter 43: The Teaching on the Emergence of the Tathāgata


དེ་བཞིན་གཤེགས་པ་སྐྱེ་འབྱུང་བསྟན་པའི་ལེའུ། · de bzhin gshegs pa skye 'byung bstan pa'i le'u/
tathāgatotpattisambhavanirdeśa
In progress
Toh  44
The Sūtra of the Ornament of the Buddhas

  Chapter 44: Transcendence of the World


འཇིག་རྟེན་ལས་འདས་པའི་ལེའུ། · 'jig rten las 'das pa'i le'u/
Chapter 44: Transcendence of the World
Title variants
  • lokottaraparivarta

Not Started
Toh  44
The Sūtra of the Ornament of the Buddhas

  Chapter 45: The Gaṇḍhavyūha Sūtra


སྡོང་པོས་བརྒྱན་པའི་ལེའུ། · sdong pos brgyan pa'i le'u/
gaṇḍavyūha
Title variants
  • 'phags pa sdong po bkod pa'i mdo/
  • āryagaṇḍavyūhasūtra

In progress
Toh  44
The Sūtra of the Ornament of the Buddhas

  The Prayer of Good Action


བཟང་སྤྱོད་སྨོན་ལམ། · bzang spyod smon lam/
bhadracaryāpraṇidhāna
Title variants
  • 'phags pa bzang po spyod pa'i smon lam gyi rgyal po/
  • samantabhadracaryāpraṇidhānarāja
  • bhadracaryādeśanā
  • [Note: not a separate chapter but included at the end of chapter 45]

In progress

The Sūtra of the Ornaments of the Buddhas

This very long work in 45 chapters fills no less than four volumes of the Degé Kangyur. In its current form, it is presented as a single extensive sūtra (vaipulyasūtra), but it probably evolved as an encyclopedic coalescence of shorter works, many of which circulated independently and are still seen as texts in their own right. The whole work is classified by Tibetan editors as belonging to the Buddha’s third turning of the wheel of Dharma.

The early 9th century Tibetan translation is of similar size and content to the late 7th century Chinese translation by Śikṣānanda, both being larger than the earlier Chinese translation by Buddhabhadra (early 5th century). Chinese translations of individual works that were later incorporated into the Buddhāvataṃsaka were made even earlier (late 2nd to early 4th century), and may provide evidence of the gradual evolution of the Buddhāvataṃsaka from its component parts. No version in any Indic language has survived, and Indian treatises only quote some of its component texts rather than the whole work by the name Buddhāvataṃsaka.

Tibetan historical tradition, however, as recounted by Tāranātha and mentioned briefly in the Degé Kangyur catalogue, tells us that in India the collection not only existed but was originally a great deal larger, with one hundred chapters (according to the Kangyur catalogue) or one thousand (Tāranātha), but is now incomplete because an arson attack on the library at Nālandā reduced it to only thirty-eight surviving chapters. The date of this event, said to have been responsible for the decimation of many other scriptures, too (including much of the Ratnakūṭa), is placed some time before the lives of Asaṅga and Vasubandhu, along with accounts of other calamitous episodes during a period of political turbulence and unstable patronage for Buddhist institutions in India.

The Buddhāvataṃsaka was studied far more extensively in China than in Tibet, generating an extensive corpus of commentarial literature, and a whole school of Chinese Buddhism, the Huayan, is based on it. Although held in great esteem in Tibet, it was very little studied as a whole, and only a few of the later chapters were widely known and quoted. It was translated into Tibetan in its entirety by Jinamitra, Surendrabodhi, and Yeshé Dé, almost certainly from a Sanskrit original. The Tibetan translation contains two chapters, 11 and 32, not found in any of the Chinese translations.

According to Chinese tradition with its several versions, the whole work is divided into 34 or 39 chapters, grouped into eight or nine “assemblies” according to the places and occasions where the teachings they relate took place.

The way the text is divided into chapters is different in the Tibetan version. Several of the Kangyur catalogues mention the first 29 chapters as constituting the Buddhāvataṃsaka proper, and add various alternative titles for the work such as sangs rgyas smag chad (the buddhas’ absence of darkness), smad chad or rmad gcad (universal containment), the latter being the form used in the first line of each fascicle), as well as snyan gyi gong rgyan (ornaments for the ears) and padma’i rgyan (lotus ornaments). Following both of the surviving early text inventories, the Pangthangma and Denkarma, they then name a selection of the later chapters, leaving ambiguous their status as texts independent of the Buddhāvataṃsaka itself or part of it. The text itself gives its component parts none of the trappings of independent texts, such as Sanskrit titles or the usual opening phrases. However, as some of the later chapters are known to have circulated independently in India as well as in China and Tibet, it is reasonable to speak of the Buddhāvataṃsaka as a “family” of texts even if little is known of how and why they came to be grouped together in this way.

Some of the chapters with known independent status are as follows:

The Gocarapariśuddha (chapter 16) may be the same work as a sūtra with this name cited in several Indian treatises. It is listed as a separate text of the Buddhāvataṃsaka in the Mahāvyutpatti, and a work in the Tengyur (Toh 3965) summarizes its contents.

The Vajradhvajapariṇāma (chapter 30) is listed as a separate text of the Buddhāvataṃsaka in the Denkarma catalogue and is probably the Vajradhvajasūtra mentioned by Śāntideva in the Bodhicaryāvatāra (VII.46). It contains its own set of ten chapters.

The Daśabhūmika (chapter 31) is known to have circulated as an independent work in India, and has survived as a complete Sanskrit manuscript in Nepal. It is found in Kangyurs of the Thempangma tradition and independent Kangyurs as a separate sūtra, as well as a chapter of the Buddhāvataṃsaka, the two Tibetan translations in such cases being different ones. It figures in its own right in the Mahāvyutpatti.

A Sanskrit text of the Anantabuddhakṣetraguṇodbhāvana (chapter 37) has recently been discovered, with a colophon in Sanskrit describing the sūtra as from the Buddhāvataṃsaka; it also exists as two independent Tibetan translations, Toh 104 and Toh 268.

The Buddhadharmācintyanirdeśa (chapter 39) is also found in the General Sūtra section of the Kangyur with the same title as an independent work (Toh 187) that appears to be a close but not identical translation of the same original.

The Samantabhadracāryanirdeśa (chapter 42) is listed as a separate text of the Buddhāvataṃsaka in the Denkarma catalogue.

The Tathāgatotpattisambhavanirdeśa (chapter 43) is also listed as a separate text of the Buddhāvataṃsaka in the Phangtangma and Denkarma catalogues and figures in its own right in the Mahāvyutpatti. It is quoted in several Indian treatises.

The Lottaraparivarta (chapter 44) is listed as a separate text of the Buddhāvataṃsaka in the Phangtangma and Denkarma catalogues, and figures in its own right in the Mahāvyutpatti.

Approximately the last third of the Buddāvataṃsaka is taken up by the Gaṇḍavyūha (chapter 45), one of the best known texts of the family. It is also listed as a separate text in the Denkarma catalogue, figures in its own right in the Mahāvyutpatti, and is quoted in numerous Indian treatises. It has also survived as a complete Sanskrit manuscript in Nepal. Its story narrating the youth Sudhana's spiritual quest and meetings with fifty-two teachers is depicted in detail in the stone carvings of Borobudur in central Java.

The Bhadracaryāpraṇidhāna, the dedication “Prayer of Good Action” recited widely in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, forms the conclusion of chapter 45. It is also found on its own in the Dhāraṇī section (Toh 1095).

Other works that may be considered members of the Buddhāvataṃsaka “family,” but are found elsewhere in most Kangyurs, include the Ratnolkā (Toh 145 and 847), passages of which are found in chapters 17 and 20, and which is listed as belonging to the Buddhāvataṃsaka in the Phangtangma catalogue and in the Mahāvyutpatti; the Tathāgataguṇajñānācintyaviṣayāvatāranirdeśa (Toh 185); the Buddhadharmācintyanirdeśa (Toh 187), which is an independent version of chapter 39, has the same title, and is close but not identical; and the Śraddhābalādhānāvatāramudrā (Toh 201).

For further details, see: Skilling, Peter, and Saerji, “The Circulation of the Buddhāvataṃsaka in India” in ARIRIAB, vol. 16, 193-216 (March 2013). Nattier, Jan, “The Proto-History of the Buddhāvataṃsaka: the Pusa benye jing and the Dousha jing,” in ARIRIAB vol. 7, 323-360 (March 2005). Hamar, Imre, “The History of the Buddhāvataṃsaka-Sūtra: Shorter and Larger Texts.” In: Hamar, Imre (ed.), Reflecting Mirrors: Perspectives on Huayan Buddhism (Asiatische Forschungen Vol. 151), Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, pp.159-161 (2007). Tāranātha, dam pa’i chos rin po che ’phags pa’i yul du ji ltar dar ba’i tshul gsal bar ston pa dgos ’dod kun ’byung (rgya gar chos ’byung from Degé xylographs), Tezu, A.P., India: Tibetan Nyingma Monastery (1974), ff. 47a-48b. Translation in Chimpa, L. et al. (trans.), Tāranātha's History of Buddhism in India, Atlantic Highlands, N.J.: Humanities Press (1981), pp. 140-143.

Bookmarks