For quick and easy access, this list gathers into a single page the texts completed and published so far, as well as showing which sections of the Kangyur they are found in.
|Publications: 82||Total Pages: 801|
Published Translations Filtered by: Quick Reads
ཁྱེའུ་སྣང་བ་བསམ་གྱིས་མི་ཁྱབ་པས་བསྟན་པ། · khye’u snang ba bsam gyis mi khyab pas bstan pa
This sūtra is a story in which the spiritual realization of the child Inconceivable Radiance is revealed through a dialogue with the Buddha Śākyamuni. The Buddha furthermore recounts events from the child’s past lives to illustrate how actions committed in one life will determine one’s future circumstances. The teaching concludes with the Buddha prophesying how the child Inconceivable Radiance will eventually fully awaken in the future.
- ’phags pa khye’u snang ba bsam gyis mi khyab pas bstan pa zhes bya ba’i chos kyi rnam grangs
- The Noble Account of Dharma “The Teaching by the Child Inconceivable Radiance”
སངས་རྒྱས་ཀྱི་ཞིང་གི་ཡོན་ཏན་བརྗོད་པའི་ཆོས་ཀྱི་རྣམ་གྲངས། · sangs rgyas kyi zhing gi yon tan brjod pa’i chos kyi rnam grangs
While the Buddha is staying in the kingdom of Magadha with an immense assembly of bodhisattvas, the bodhisattva Acintyaprabharāja gives a teaching on the relativity of time between different buddhafields. Eleven buddhafields are enumerated, with an eon in the first being equivalent to a day in the following buddhafield, where an eon is, in turn, the equivalent of a day in the next, and so forth.
- The Noble Dharma Discourse: Expounding the Qualities of the Thus-Gone Ones’ Buddhafields
- Āryatathāgatānām buddhakṣetraguṇoktadharmaparyāya
- ’phags pa de bzhin gshegs pa rnams kyi sangs rgyas kyi zhing gi yon tan brjod pa’i chos kyi rnam grangs
ཆོས་ཐམས་ཅད་ཀྱི་ཡོན་ཏན་བཀོད་པའི་རྒྱལ་པོ། · chos thams cad kyi yon tan bkod pa’i rgyal po
The events recounted in The King of the Array of All Dharma Qualities take place outside Rājagṛha, where the Buddha is residing in the Bamboo Grove together with a great assembly of monks, bodhisattvas, and other human and non-human beings. At the request of the bodhisattvas Vajrapāṇi and Avalokiteśvara, the Buddha teaches his audience on a selection of brief but disparate topics belonging to the general Mahāyāna tradition: how to search for a spiritual friend and live in solitude, the benefits of venerating Avalokiteśvara’s name, the obstacles that Māra may create for practitioners, and warnings on how easy it is to lose one’s determination to be free from saṃsāra. The sūtra also includes two dhāraṇīs that the Buddha and Vajrapāṇi teach in turn, along with details of their benefits and Vajrapāṇi’s ritual recitation instructions. Throughout the text, the Buddha repeatedly insists on the importance and benefits of venerating and propagating this teaching as well as those who teach it.
- ’phags pa chos thams cad kyi yon tan bkod pa’i rgyal po zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo
- The Noble Great Vehicle Sūtra “The King of the Array of All Dharma Qualities”
- chos kyi yon tan bkod pa’i rgyal po’i mdo/
བདེ་བ་ཅན་གྱི་བཀོད་པ། · bde ba can gyi bkod pa
In the Jeta Grove of Śrāvastī, Buddha Śākyamuni, surrounded by a large audience, presents to his disciple Śāriputra a detailed description of the realm of Sukhāvatī, a delightful, enlightened abode, free of suffering. Its inhabitants are described as mature beings in an environment where everything enhances their spiritual inclinations. The principal buddha of Sukhāvatī is addressed as Amitāyus (Limitless Life) as well as Amitābha (Limitless Light).
Buddha Śākyamuni further explains how virtuous people who focus single-mindedly on Buddha Amitābha will obtain a rebirth in Sukhāvatī in their next life, and he urges all to develop faith in this teaching. In support, he cites the similar way in which the various buddhas of the six directions exhort their followers to develop confidence in this teaching on Sukhāvatī.
The sūtra ends with a short dialogue between Śāriputra and Buddha Śākyamuni that highlights the difficulty of enlightened activity in a degenerate age.
- The Noble Mahāyāna Sūtra “The Display of the Pure Land of Sukhāvatī”
- ’phags pa bde ba can gyi bkod pa zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo
- The “shorter” Sukhāvatīvyūha (cf. the “longer,” Toh 49)
རིན་པོ་ཆེའི་མཐའ། · rin po che’i mtha’
While residing at Vulture Peak Mountain with a large community of monks, the Buddha is visited by the bodhisattva Mañjuśrī. The sūtra unfolds as a series of exchanges between the Buddha, Mañjuśrī, and the monk Śāriputra, elucidating a profound vision of reality as undifferentiated, nondual, and all-pervasive.
- The Noble Great Vehicle Sūtra “Infinite Jewels”
- ’phags pa rin po che’i mtha’ zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo
- rin po che’i mtha’i mdo/
འདའ་ཀ་ཡེ་ཤེས་ཀྱི་མདོ། · ’da’ ka ye shes kyi mdo
While the Buddha is residing in the Akaniṣṭha realm, the bodhisattva mahāsattva Ākāśagarbha asks him how to consider the mind of a bodhisattva who is about to die. The Buddha replies that when death comes a bodhisattva should develop the wisdom of the hour of death. He explains that a bodhisattva should cultivate a clear understanding of the non-existence of entities, great compassion, non-apprehension, non-attachment, and a clear understanding that, since wisdom is the realization of one’s own mind, the Buddha should not be sought elsewhere. After these points have been repeated in verse form, the assembly praises the Buddha’s words, concluding the sūtra.
- ’phags pa ’da’ ka ye shes zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo
- The Noble Mahāyāna Sūtra “Wisdom at the Hour of Death”
གསེར་གྱི་མདོ། · gser gyi mdo
In this very brief sūtra, Venerable Ānanda asks the Buddha about the nature of the mind of awakening, the aspiration to attain the awakening of a buddha for the benefit of all beings. The Buddha explains that the mind of awakening is like gold because it is pure. He also teaches the analogy that just as a smith shapes gold into various forms, yet the nature of the gold itself does not change, so too the mind of awakening manifests in various unique ways, yet the nature of the mind of awakening itself does not change.
- The Noble Great Vehicle Sūtra “The Gold Sūtra”
- ’phags pa gser gyi mdo zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo
རྡོ་རྗེ་སྙིང་པོའི་གཟུངས། · rdo rje snying po’i gzungs
In The Dhāraṇī of the Vajra Quintessence, the bodhisattva of wisdom Mañjuśrī asks the Buddha to propound a teaching on the highest wisdom that questions foundational Buddhist concepts and categories from an ultimate standpoint without denying their conventional efficacy. The Buddha begins by teaching, in a paradoxical tone that defines the entire discourse, that although there is neither awakening nor buddha qualities, bodhisattvas nonetheless aspire for buddhahood. This is followed by a lengthy series of similar paradoxes that examine basic Buddhist distinctions between the worlds of buddhas and sentient beings while pointing to the common ground underlying them. One key doctrinal point is that the qualities of ordinary people are neither distinct from, nor to be conflated with, the qualities of buddhas. When asked why this is so, the Buddha explains that the dhāraṇī of the vajra quintessence is nonconceptual and immanent in all things, from emotional defilements up to the realization of buddhahood. Since all phenomena are equally empty of intrinsic essence, they are already intrinsically pure and beyond bondage or liberation.
- The Noble Mahāyāna Sūtra “The Dhāraṇī of the Vajra Quintessence”
- ’phags pa rdo rje snying po’i gzungs zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo
- rdo rje’i snying po’i gzungs kyi mdo/
- 《金剛心髓陀羅尼經》 (大正藏：《金剛場陀羅尼經》)
སྒོ་དྲུག་པའི་གཟུངས། · sgo drug pa’i gzungs
While the Buddha is abiding in the space above the Śuddhāvāsa realm with a retinue of bodhisattvas, he urges them to uphold The Dhāraṇī of the Six Gates and presents these gates as six aspirations that vanquish the causes of saṃsāric experience. He then presents the dhāraṇī itself to his listeners and instructs them to recite it three times each day and three times each night. Finally, he indicates the benefits that come from this practice, and the assembly praises the Buddha’s words. This is followed by a short dedication marking the conclusion of the text.
- The Noble Dhāraṇī of the Six Gates
- ’phags pa sgo drug pa zhes bya ba’i gzungs
རྣམ་པར་མི་རྟོག་པར་འཇུག་པའི་གཟུངས། · rnam par mi rtog par ’jug pa’i gzungs
The Dhāraṇī “Entering into Nonconceptuality” is a short Mahāyāna sūtra that came to be particularly influential in Yogācāra circles. The central theme of the sūtra is the attainment of the nonconceptual realm, reached through the practice of relinquishing all conceptual signs by not directing the mind toward them. The sūtra presents the progressive stages through which bodhisattvas can abandon increasingly subtle conceptual signs and eliminate the erroneous ideas that lead to the objectification of phenomena.
- ’phags pa rnam par mi rtog par ’jug pa zhes bya ba’i gzungs
- The Noble Dhāraṇī “Entering into Nonconceptuality”
- rnam par mi rtog par ’jug pa’i gzungs/
བྱམས་པས་ཞུས་པ། · byams pas zhus pa/
The bodhisattva Maitreya approaches the Buddha on Vulture Peak Mountain and asks him to explain the karmic results of teaching the Dharma. The Buddha responds by comparing the merit gained by a person who makes an unfathomably enormous material offering to the buddhas, to the merit gained by another person who teaches a single verse of Dharma, declaring that the merit of the latter is far superior.
- The Noble Mahāyāna Sūtra “The Question of Maitreya”
- ’phags pa byams pas zhus pa zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo
- 《彌勒所問經 （3）》（大正藏：《彌勒菩薩所問本願經》）
སྤྱན་རས་གཟིགས་དབང་ཕྱུག་གིས་ཞུས་པ་ཆོས་བདུན་པ། · spyan ras gzigs dbang phyug gis zhus pa chos bdun pa
The sūtra is introduced with the Buddha residing on Vulture Peak Mountain in Rājagṛha, together with a great monastic assembly of 1,250 monks and a multitude of bodhisattva mahāsattvas. The Buddha is approached and asked by the bodhisattva mahāsattva Avalokiteśvara about the qualities that should be cultivated by a bodhisattva who has just generated the altruistic mind set on attaining awakening. The Buddha briefly expounds seven qualities that should be practiced by such a bodhisattva, emphasizing mental purity and cognitive detachment from conceptuality.
- ’phags pa spyan ras gzigs dbang phyug gis zhus pa chos bdun pa zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo
- The Noble Mahāyāna Sūtra “The Inquiry of Avalokiteśvara on the Seven Qualities”
སྤོབས་པའི་བློ་གྲོས་ཀྱིས་ཞུས་པ། · spobs pa’i blo gros kyis zhus pa
The subject matter of this sūtra is indicated by the alternative title suggested by the Buddha himself in its conclusion: The Teaching That Clarifies Karma. In the opening section, the merchant Pratibhānamati, concerned about the state of society and what will become of the saṅgha in times to come, requests the Buddha Śākyamuni for a teaching that offers moral guidance to future beings. With the Buddha’s encouragement, he asks what actions lead to rebirth in ten different human and non-human states. The Buddha answers with descriptions of the actions associated with each of these states and the effects they will bring. Pratibhānamati then invites the Buddha to his home in Śrāvastī. Two beggars arrive there, and on account of their opposing aspirations and conduct in the presence of the Buddha and retinue, one soon becomes a king while the other is killed in an accident. The sūtra concludes as the Buddha, invited to the newly anointed king’s land, explains the karmic reasons for his unexpected fortune.
- ’phags pa spobs pa’i blo gros kyis zhus pa zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo
ཀླུའི་རྒྱལ་པོ་རྒྱ་མཚོས་ཞུས་པ། · klu’i rgyal po rgya mtshos zhus pa
The Questions of the Nāga King Sāgara presents a discourse given by the Buddha Śākyamuni on the importance of considering the effects caused by actions. At the start of his teaching, the Buddha remarks how the variety of forms that exist, and in fact all phenomena, come about as the result of virtuous and nonvirtuous actions. By understanding this law of cause and effect and by taking great care to engage in virtue, one will avoid rebirth in the lower realms and enter the path to perfect awakening. In the rest of his discourse he explains in great detail the advantages of engaging in each of the ten virtues and the problems associated with not engaging in them.
- ’phags pa klu’i rgyal po rgya mtshos zhus pa zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo
- The Noble Great Vehicle Sūtra “The Questions of the Nāga King Sāgara”
ཀླུའི་རྒྱལ་པོ་རྒྱ་མཚོས་ཞུས་པ། · klu’i rgyal po rgya mtshos zhus pa
In this very short sūtra, the Buddha explains to a nāga king and an assembly of monks that reciting the four aphorisms of the Dharma is equivalent to recitation of all of the 84,000 articles of the Dharma. He urges them to make diligent efforts to engage in understanding the four aphorisms (also called the four seals), which are the defining philosophical tenets of the Buddhist doctrine: (1) all compounded phenomena are impermanent; (2) all contaminated phenomena are suffering; (3) all phenomena are without self; (4) nirvāṇa is peace.
- ’phags pa klu’i rgyal po rgya mtshos zhus pa zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo
- The Noble Mahāyāna Sūtra “The Questions of the Nāga King Sāgara”
ཚངས་པས་བྱིན་གྱིས་ཞུས་པ། · tshangs pas byin gyis zhus pa
The Questions of Brahmadatta begins with the bodhisattva Amoghadarśin departing from the Jeta Grove of Śrāvastī, where the Buddha is residing. Together with more than five hundred bodhisattvas, he travels to the region of Pañcāla, where King Brahmadatta requests Amoghadarśin to impart teachings to him and his citizens. The bodhisattva discusses the attributes and correct practices of a king who is a protector of the Dharma. The king requests that the bodhisattva remain in his kingdom to observe the summer vows in retreat. Sixty wicked monks already residing there treat Amoghadarśin poorly, and after three months he leaves Pañcāla and returns to the Jeta Grove.
King Brahmadatta later goes to see the Buddha, who explains to the king how the wicked monks behaved and the negative consequences of such actions. The Buddha then goes on to explain what a monk and others who wish to attain awakening should strive for, namely, to rid themselves of pride, anger, and jealousy. Upon hearing these instructions, King Brahmadatta expels the sixty wicked monks from his kingdom. Many beings then generate the mind of awakening, and King Brahmadatta is irreversibly set on the path of complete awakening. The Buddha smiles and radiates multicolored lights throughout the whole world. Finally, the king apologizes to Amoghadarśin and the bodhisattva forgives him.
- ’phags pa tshangs pas byin gyis zhus pa zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo
- The Noble Mahāyāna Sūtra “The Questions of Brahmadatta”
དཔལ་དབྱིག་གྱིས་ཞུས་པ། · dpal dbyig gyis zhus pa
The Buddha is approached by the young merchant Śrīvasu, who requests instruction on how to live his life as a novice bodhisattva. The Buddha is pleased and offers some pithy advice regarding the bodhisattva path that encapsulates the main altruistic aims and practices of the Great Vehicle. He states that foremost among the bodhisattva’s daily practices are taking refuge in the Three Jewels, practicing the six perfections, and dedicating all resulting merit to the attainment of awakening for oneself and others.
- The Noble Great Vehicle Sūtra “The Questions of Śrīvasu”
- ’phags pa dpal dbyig gyis zhus pa zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo
རིན་ཆེན་ཟླ་བས་ཞུས་པ། · rin chen zla bas zhus pa
The Questions of Ratnacandra is a sūtra in which Ratnacandra, a prince from the country of Magadha, requests the Buddha Śākyamuni to reveal the names of the ten buddhas who dwell in the ten directions. Prince Ratnacandra has been told that hearing the names of these ten buddhas ensures that one will attain awakening at some point in the future. The Buddha confirms this and discloses their names, as well as details of their respective buddha realms, such as the names of these realms and their many unique qualities.
- ’phags pa rin chen zla bas zhus pa zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo
- The Noble Great Vehicle Sūtra “The Questions of Ratnacandra”
- rin chen zla bas zhus pa’i mdo/
བདེ་བྱེད་ཀྱིས་ཞུས་པ། · bde byed kyis zhus pa/
The Question of Kṣemaṅkara contains a teaching given by Buddha Śākyamuni to the Śākya youth Kṣemaṅkara, in response to a question he poses about the qualities of bodhisattvas and how to develop such qualities. The Buddha teaches him about bodhisattvas’ qualities, first in prose and later reiterated in verse, and then equates the teaching of this sūtra with the perfection of insight, stating that even if one practices the first five perfections for many eons, one will not make much progress without knowing what is taught in this sūtra.
- ’phags pa bde byed kyis zhus pa zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo
- The Noble Great Vehicle Sūtra “The Question of Kṣemaṅkara”
- bde byed kyis zhus pa’i mdo/
བགྲེས་མོས་ཞུས་པ། · bgres mos zhus pa
This sūtra contains teachings given by the Buddha to a 120-year-old woman in the city of Vaiśalī. Upon meeting the Buddha, she asks him questions concerning the four stages of life, the aggregates, the elements and the faculties. In response, the Buddha gives her a profound teaching on emptiness, using beautifully crafted examples to illustrate his point.
After hearing these teachings her doubts are dispelled and she is freed from clinging to the perception of a self. Ānanda asks the Buddha why he has given such profound teachings to this woman. The Buddha reveals that the woman has been his mother five hundred times in previous lifetimes and that he had generated the root of virtue for her to become enlightened. Because of her own strong aspirations, after dying, she would be born in the buddha field of Sukhāvatī; and after sixty-eight thousand eons she would finally become the buddha Bodhyaṅgapuṣpakara.
- ’phags pa bgres mos zhus pa zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo
- The Noble Mahāyāna Sūtra “The Questions of an Old Lady”
འཇམ་དཔལ་གྱིས་དྲིས་པ། · ’jam dpal gyis dris pa
The bodhisattva Mañjuśrī approaches the Buddha and asks about the extent of the merit represented by the Buddha’s “Dharma conch,” which here seems to mean the Buddha’s voice. The Buddha proceeds to illustrate the vastness of this merit by means of a cosmic multiplication—sequentially compounding the merit of all beings in a certain realm if they each possessed the merit of a cakravartin, a brahmā god, a bodhisattva, and so forth, each having more merit than the previous one. The expansion continues through a list of the eighty designs marking the body of a buddha and the thirty-two signs of a great being, which, multiplied inconceivably, are said to be equal in merit to the Dharma conch. The Buddha then explains how the voice, body, and light of the Buddha are made known throughout countless realms and take on numberless manifestations to tame beings.
- The Noble Mahāyāna Sūtra “The Question of Mañjuśrī”
- ’phags pa ’jam dpal gyis dris pa zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo
- ’phags pa ’jam dpal gyis zhus pa’i mdo
བདག་མེད་པ་དྲིས་པ། · bdag med pa dris pa
Questions on Selflessness consists of a dialogue between a group of followers of the Mahāyāna tradition and a group of tīrthikas, who pose several questions on the doctrine of selflessness. In the exchange that follows, the Mahāyāna proponents elucidate this and other key Buddhist doctrines, such as the distinction between relative and ultimate reality, the origin of suffering, the emptiness and illusoriness of all phenomena, and the path to awakening.
- The Noble Mahāyāna Sūtra “Questions on Selflessness”
- ’phags pa bdag med pa dris pa zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo
འཇམ་དཔལ་གྱིས་བསྟན་པ། · ’jam dpal gyis bstan pa
The bodhisattva Mañjuśrī approaches the Buddha, who is teaching the Dharma in Śrāvastī, and offers him the shade of a jeweled parasol. The god Susīma, who is in the audience, asks Mañjuśrī whether he is satisfied with his offering, to which Mañjuśrī replies that those who seek enlightenment should never be content with making offerings to the Buddha. Susīma then asks what purpose one should keep in mind when making offerings to the Buddha. In response, Mañjuśrī lists a set of four purposes.
- The Noble Great Vehicle Sūtra “Mañjuśrī’s Teaching”
- ’phags pa ’jam dpal gyis bstan pa zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo
བྱང་ཆུབ་ཀྱི་ཕྱོགས་བསྟན་པ། · byang chub kyi phyogs bstan pa
In response to a series of queries from Mañjuśrī, Buddha Śākyamuni first exposes the error that prevents sentient beings in general from transcending saṃsāra, and then focuses more particularly on errors that result from understanding the four truths of the noble ones based on conceptual notions of phenomena. He then goes on to explain how someone wishing to attain liberation should skillfully view the following five sets of qualities: (1) the four truths, (2) the four applications of mindfulness, (3) the eightfold path, (4) the five faculties, and (5) the seven branches of enlightenment.
- ’phags pa byang chub kyi phyogs bstan pa zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo
- The Noble Mahāyāna Sūtra “The Teaching on the Aids to Enlightenment”
སྦྱིན་པའི་ཕན་ཡོན་བསྟན་པ། · sbyin pa’i phan yon bstan pa
This short discourse was taught to an audience of monks in Śrāvastī, in the Jetavana. The Buddha details thirty-seven ways in which the wise give gifts, how those gifts are properly given, and the positive results that ripen from giving such gifts. The Buddha makes clear that the result that ripens is similar to the gift that was given or the manner in which the gift was given.
- The Noble “Teaching the Benefits of Generosity”
- ’phags pa sbyin pa’i phan yon bstan pa
བྱང་ཆུབ་སེམས་དཔའི་སྤྱོད་པ་བསྟན་པ། · byang chub sems dpa’i spyod pa bstan pa
This sūtra takes place in the city of Vaiśālī, where the Buddha Śākyamuni and his retinue of monks have gone to gather alms. When the Buddha enters Vaiśālī a number of miracles occur in the city, and these draw the attention of a three-year-old boy named Ratnadatta. As the child encounters the Buddha, a dialogue ensues with the monks Maudgalyāyana and Śāriputra and the bodhisattva Mañjuśrī, in which the boy delivers a teaching on the practice of bodhisattvas and a critique of those who fail to take up such practices.
- The Noble Great Vehicle Sūtra “Teaching the Practice of a Bodhisattva”
- ’phags pa byang chub sems dpa’i spyod pa bstan pa shes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo
The Teaching on the Extraordinary Transformation that is the Miracle of Attaining the Buddha’s Powers
སངས་རྒྱས་ཀྱི་སྟོབས་སྐྱེད་པའི་ཆོ་འཕྲུལ་རྣམ་པར་འཕྲུལ་པ་བསྟན་པ། · sangs rgyas kyi stobs skyed pa’i cho ’phrul rnam par ’phrul pa bstan pa
In this sūtra, the Buddha displays supernatural powers three times. First, he magically transports his entire audience and retinue to Vārāṇasī. Secondly, having incited Avalokiteśvara and Vajrapāṇi to use their own miraculous powers to gather there all the beings who must be led to awakening, he makes the whole world appear as a pure realm like Sukhāvatī. He explains that a tathāgata’s various powers are like a doctor’s skills, and teaches, with Mañjuśrī’s help in a series of dialogues with other protagonists, on how the tathāgatas manifest to beings, displaying his supernatural powers a third time by making many other buddhas appear all around him. The meaning of the Tathāgata’s miracles are gradually disclosed to the audience, as well as some other essential points including the merit to be gained by honoring the teachings.
- ’phags pa sangs rgyas kyi stobs skyed pa’i cho ’phrul rnam par ’phrul pa bstan pa zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo
- The Noble Sūtra of the Great Vehicle “The Teaching on the Extraordinary Transformation that is the Miracle of Attaining the Buddha’s Powers”
བདེ་ལྡན་མ་ལུང་བསྟན་པ། · bde ldan ma lung bstan pa
On their morning alms round, the Buddha and Maitreya meet Queen Kṣemavatī who is bedecked in all her royal jewelry. When the Buddha asks her about the source of such fine jewelry, referring to it metaphorically as fruit, Queen Kṣemavatī explains that her worldly position is the fruit of the tree of her previous good deeds. The remainder of the sūtra describes how one’s good actions can eventually lead to buddhahood, and it concludes with a prophecy of the queen’s future awakening.
- The Noble Mahāyāna Sūtra “The Prophecy of Kṣemavatī”
- ’phags pa bde ldan ma lung bstan pa zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo
ལྷ་མོ་ཆེན་མོ་དཔལ་ལུང་བསྟན་པ། · lha mo chen mo dpal lung bstan pa
This sūtra recounts an event that took place in the buddha realm of Sukhāvatī. The discourse commences with Buddha Śākyamuni relating to Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara the benefits of reciting the various names of Śrī Mahādevī. The Buddha describes how Śrī Mahādevī acquired virtue and other spiritual accomplishments through the practice of venerating numerous tathāgatas and gives an account of the prophecy in which her future enlightenment was foretold by all the buddhas she venerated. The Buddha then lists the one hundred and eight blessed names of Śrī Mahādevī to be recited by the faithful. The sūtra ends with Buddha Śākyamuni giving a dhāraṇī and a brief explanation on the benefits of reciting the names of Śrī Mahādevī, namely the eradication of all negative circumstances and the accumulation of merit and happiness.
- ’phags pa lha mo chen mo dpal lung bstan pa
- The Noble Prophecy of Śrī Mahādevī
རྒྱལ་བའི་བློ་གྲོས་ཀྱིས་ཞུས་པའི་མདོ། · rgyal ba’i blo gros kyis zhus pa’i mdo
The sūtra is introduced with the Buddha residing in Anāthapiṇḍada’s grove in Jeta Wood in Śrāvastī together with a great assembly of monks and a great multitude of bodhisatvas. The Buddha then addresses the bodhisatva Jayamati, instructs him on nineteen moral prescriptions, and indicates the corresponding effects of practicing these prescriptions when they are cultivated.
- ’phags pa rgyal ba’i blo gros kyis zhus pa zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo
- The Noble Mahāyāna Sūtra “The Inquiry of Jayamati”
འཇམ་དཔལ་གནས་པ། · ’jam dpal gnas pa
The Dwelling Place of Mañjuśrī first presents a dialogue between Mañjuśrī and Śāriputra regarding the activity of “dwelling” (vihāra) during meditation, the nature of dharmas, and the “true nature” (tathatā). This opens into a conversation between Mañjuśrī and a large gathering of monks whereby Mañjuśrī corrects the monks’ misinterpretations. Mañjuśrī then instructs Śāriputra on the enduring and indestructible nature of the realm of sentient beings and the realm of reality. Finally, the power of Mañjuśrī’s teaching is explained and reiterated by the Buddha.
- ’phags pa ’jam dpal gnas pa zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo
- The Noble Mahāyāna Sūtra “The Dwelling Place of Mañjuśrī”
བདུད་རྩི་བརྗོད་པ། · bdud rtsi brjod pa
In this sūtra, in answer to a question put by Maitreya, the Buddha Śākyamuni teaches five qualities that bodhisattvas should have in order to live a long life free of obstacles and attain awakening quickly: (1) giving the Dharma; (2) giving freedom from fear; (3) practicing great loving kindness, great compassion, great joy, and great equanimity; (4) repairing dilapidated stūpas; and (5) causing all beings to aspire to the mind of awakening. Maitreya praises the benefits of this teaching and vows to teach it himself in future degenerate times. Both Maitreya and the Buddha emphasize the positive effects on beings and the environment that upholding, preserving, and teaching The Nectar of Speech will bring about.
- ’phags pa bdud rtsi brjod pa zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo
- The Noble Mahāyāna Sūtra “The Nectar of Speech”
- Ambrosial Speech
བྱམས་པ་དགའ་ལྡན་གནམ་དུ་སྐྱེ་བ་བླངས་པའི་མདོ། · byams pa dga’ ldan gnam du skye ba blangs pa’i mdo
This discourse takes place during the early evening in Śrāvastī and features the Buddha and his retinue. Among them are Maitreya (then known as Ajita) and Upāli, who asks about Ajita’s future awakening as Maitreya. The Buddha answers that he will be reborn in the Heaven of Joy. He proceeds to describe its wondrous qualities and the causes of being reborn there. At the conclusion of the discourse, all those present in the retinue rejoice and make aspirations to be reborn in the Heaven of Joy.
- The Noble Sūtra “The Bodhisattva Maitreya’s Birth in the Heaven of Joy”
- ’phags pa byang chub sems dpa’ byams pa dga’ ldan gnam du skye ba blangs pa’i mdo
- 《彌勒菩薩兜率天受生經》 （大藏經：《佛說觀彌勒菩薩上生兜率天經》）
ཆོས་ཀྱི་ཕྱག་རྒྱ། · chos kyi phyag rgya
In this short sūtra, the Buddha addresses the nature of monastic ordination according to the perspective of the Great Vehicle and how going forth from the life of a householder can be said to have the qualities of being noble and supramundane. Following the Buddha’s teaching, the two prominent monks Śāriputra and Subhūti engage in a brief discussion on this same topic.
- The Noble Great Vehicle Sūtra “The Seal of Dharma”
- ’phags pa chos kyi phyag rgya zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo
ཟས་ཀྱི་འཚོ་བ་རྣམ་པར་དག་པ། · zas kyi ’tsho ba rnam par dag pa
While the Buddha is staying at the Bamboo Grove with a diverse retinue, the monk Maudgalyāyana asks him about some unusual beings he saw during an alms round. The Buddha informs Maudgalyāyana that these beings are starving spirits. The Buddha gives a discourse explaining how these starving spirits were once humans yet committed misdeeds related to food that led them to their current dismal state. The misdeeds connected with food described by the Buddha present a picture of food-related prohibitions for the monastic saṅgha, such as failing to eat only a single meal a day, improperly partaking of meals, carrying away leftovers, and other forms of abusing food offerings. Food-related ethics are also given for lay people, mainly concerning how to prepare food for the saṅgha in a hygienic manner.
- The Mahāyāna Sūtra “Pure Sustenance of Food”
- zas kyi ’tsho ba rnam par dag pa zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo
གླང་པོའི་རྩལ། · glang po’i rtsal
This sūtra contains a Dharma discourse on the profound insight into the emptiness of all phenomena, also known as transcendent insight. Following a short teaching in verse by Śāriputra, the Buddha delivers the primary discourse at the behest of Ānanda and Mañjuśrī amid a vast assembly of monks, bodhisattvas, and lay devotees. He specifically addresses hearers and so-called “outcast bodhisattvas” who have not realized transcendent insight and who thus remain attached to phenomenal appearances. Responding to a series of questions posed by Mañjuśrī and Śāriputra, the Buddha explains that all phenomena are as empty as space, with nothing to be either affirmed or rejected. Yet that very emptiness is what makes everything possible, including the bodhisattvas’ altruistic activities.
- glang po’i rtsal zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo
- The Great Vehicle Sūtra “The Strength of the Elephant”
སྒྲ་ཆེན་པོ། · sgra chen po
The Buddha’s disciple Ānanda is on an alms round in Śrāvastī when he notices an immaculate palace. He wonders whether it would be more meritorious to offer such a palace to the monastic community or to enshrine a relic of the Buddha within a small stūpa. He poses this question to the Buddha who describes how the merit of the latter far exceeds any other offerings one could make. The reason the Buddha cites for this is the immense qualities that the buddhas possess.
- The Noble Mahāyāna Sūtra “The Great Rumble”
- ’phags pa sgra chen po zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo
སཱ་ལུའི་ལྗང་པ། · sA lu’i ljang pa
In this sūtra, at the request of venerable Śāriputra, the bodhisattva mahāsattva Maitreya elucidates a very brief teaching on dependent arising that the Buddha had given earlier that day while gazing at a rice seedling. The text discusses outer and inner causation and its conditions, describes in detail the twelvefold cycle by which inner dependent arising gives rise to successive lives, and explains how understanding the very nature of that process can lead to freedom from it.
- ’phags pa sA lu’i ljang pa zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo
- The Noble Mahāyāna Sūtra “The Rice Seedling”
རྟེན་ཅིང་འབྲེལ་བར་འབྱུང་བ་དང་པོ་དང་རྣམ་པར་དབྱེ་བ་བསྟན་པ། · rten cing ’brel bar ’byung ba dang po dang rnam par dbye ba bstan pa
In the Jeta Grove outside Śrāvastī, monks have gathered to listen to the Buddha as he presents the foundational doctrine of dependent arising. The Buddha first gives the definition of dependent arising and then teaches the twelve factors that form the causal chain of existence in saṃsāra as well as the defining characteristics of these twelve factors.
- rten cing ’brel bar ’byung ba dang po dang rnam par dbye ba bstan pa zhes bya ba’i mdo
- The Sūtra “Teaching the Fundamental Exposition and Detailed Analysis of Dependent Arising”
རྟེན་ཅིང་འབྲེལ་བར་འབྱུང་བའི་མདོ། · rten cing ’brel bar ’byung ba’i mdo
While the Buddha is residing in the Realm of the Thirty-Three Gods with a retinue of deities, great hearers, and bodhisattvas, Avalokiteśvara asks the Buddha how beings can gain merit from building a stūpa. The Buddha responds by stating the Buddhist creed on dependent arising:
The Buddha then explains that this dependent arising is the dharmakāya, and that whoever sees dependent arising sees the Buddha. He concludes the sūtra by saying that one should place these verses inside stūpas to attain the merit of Brahmā.
- ’phags pa rten cing ’brel bar ’byung ba zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo
- The Noble Mahāyāna Sūtra on Dependent Arising
ལས་ཀྱི་སྒྲིབ་པ་རྣམ་པར་དག་པ། · las kyi sgrib pa rnam par dag pa
The Buddha is residing at Āmrapālī’s Grove in Vaiśālī, when Mañjuśrī brings before him the monk Stainless Light, who had been seduced by a prostitute and feels strong remorse for having violated his vows. After the monk confesses his wrongdoing, the Buddha explains the lack of inherent nature of all phenomena and the luminous nature of mind, and the monk Stainless Light gives rise to the mind of enlightenment. At Mañjuśrī’s request, the Buddha then explains how bodhisattvas purify obscurations by generating an altruistic mind and realizing the empty nature of all phenomena. He asks Mañjuśrī about his own attainment of patient forbearance in seeing all phenomena as non-arising and recounts the tale of the monk Vīradatta, who, many eons in the past, had engaged in a sexual affair with a girl and even killed a jealous rival before feeling strong remorse. Despite these negative actions, once the empty, non-existent nature of all phenomena had been explained to him by the bodhisattva Liberator from Fear, he was able to generate bodhicitta and attain patient forbearance in seeing all phenomena as non-arising. The Buddha explains that even a person who had enjoyed pleasures and murdered someone would be able to attain patient forbearance in seeing all phenomena as non-arising through practicing this sūtra, which he calls “the Dharma mirror of all phenomena.”
- ’phags pa las kyi sgrib pa rnam par dag pa zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo
- The Noble Mahāyāna Sūtra “Purification of Karmic Obscurations”
གསུམ་ལ་སྐྱབས་སུ་འགྲོ་བ། · gsum la skyabs su ’gro ba
In Taking Refuge in the Three Jewels, the venerable Śāriputra wonders how much merit accrues to someone who takes refuge in the Three Jewels: the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Saṅgha. He therefore seeks out the Buddha Śākyamuni and requests a teaching on this topic. The Buddha proceeds to describe how even vast offerings, performed in miraculous ways, would not constitute a fraction of the merit gained by someone who takes refuge in the Three Jewels.
- ’phags pa gsum la skyabs su ’gro ba zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo
- The Noble Great Vehicle Sūtra “Taking Refuge in the Three Jewels”
སྲིད་པ་འཕོ་བའི་མདོ། · srid pa ’pho ba’i mdo
King Śreṇya Bimbisāra of Magadha approaches the Buddha and asks him how a past action can appear before the mind at the moment of death. The Buddha presents the analogy of a sleeping person who dreams of a beautiful woman and on waking foolishly longs to find her. He cites this as an example of how an action of the distant past, which has arisen from perception and subsequent afflictive emotions and then ceased, appears to the mind on the brink of death. The Buddha goes on to explain how one transitions from the final moment of one life to the first moment of the next, according to the ripening of those actions, without any phenomena actually being transferred from one life to another. The Buddha concludes with a set of seven verses that offer a succinct teaching on emptiness, focusing on the two truths and the fictitious nature of names.
- The Noble Mahāyāna Sūtra “Transmigration Through Existences”
- ’phags pa srid pa ’pho ba zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo
ཆོས་ཀྱི་ཚུལ། · chos kyi tshul
Proper Dharma Conduct takes place in the Jeta Grove at Śrāvastī. Knowing that many bodhisattvas are wondering about proper Dharma conduct, the Buddha Śākyamuni gives a teaching on this topic to a great number of bodhisattvas. The teaching follows a format in which the Buddha first makes a short cryptic statement that seems to go against the conventions of proper behavior for bodhisattvas. The bodhisattvas then inquire as to the meaning of this statement, and the Buddha proceeds to explain how to interpret the initial statement in order to decipher the underlying meaning. Because of his teaching, many gods and bodhisattvas are able to make great progress on the path.
- ’phags pa chos kyi tshul zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo
- The Noble Mahāyāna Sūtra “Proper Dharma Conduct”
ཆོས་ཀྱི་ཕུང་པོ། · chos kyi phung po
In this sūtra some of Buddha Śākyamuni’s senior disciples request a teaching on the nature of “the sections of Dharma.” The Buddha responds by first delivering a teaching on the absence of birth with regard to phenomena, as an antidote to the poison of desire. On that basis, the Buddha then presents a longer explanation of the repulsiveness of the human body, and of the female body in particular.
- ’phags pa chos kyi phung po zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo
- The Noble Great Vehicle Sūtra “The Sections of Dharma”
དོན་དམ་པའི་ཆོས་ཀྱིས་རྣམ་པར་རྒྱལ་བ། · don dam pa’i chos kyis rnam par rgyal ba
Victory of the Ultimate Dharma presents the Buddha’s answers to questions posed by a non-Buddhist seer named Ulka concerning the origin of life, the end of the universe, and the nature of the soul. These questions are posed following a miraculous display by the Buddha, in which countless living beings are emitted from the Buddha in the form of rays of light. Although this miraculous display awes the bodhisattvas and gods who are present, Ulka is not swayed by these powers, arguing that non-Buddhist gods such as Nārāyaṇa and Maheśvara are also able to perform such feats. In answering his questions, the Buddha articulates core teachings of Buddhism such as impermanence, karma, and emptiness.
- ’phags pa don dam pa’i chos kyi rnam par rgyal ba zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo
- don dam pa’i chos kyi rnam par rgyal ba’i mdo
ཆོས་དང་དོན་རྣམ་པར་འབྱེད་པ། · chos dang don rnam par ’byed pa
There are two main themes in Distinguishing Phenomena and What Is Meaningful. One is in the narrative structure: The Buddha Śākyamuni tells how, countless eons ago, in a world called Flower Origin, a buddha named Arisen from Flowers gave instructions to a royal family, and prophesied the awakening of the prince Ratnākara. Arisen from Flowers, the Buddha Śākyamuni then relates, has since become the buddha Amitābha, and the prince Ratnākara the bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara. The other theme is doctrinal, and lies in the content of the teaching given by Arisen from Flowers: it explains the four mistakes made by ordinary beings in the way they perceive the five aggregates, and how bodhisattvas teach them how to clear away these misconceptions, so that they may be free of the sufferings that result.
- ’phags pa chos dang don rnam par ’byed pa zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo
- The Noble Great Vehicle Sūtra “Distinguishing Phenomena and What Is Meaningful”
- don dang chos rnam par ’byed pa/
ཆོས་བཞི་བསྟན་པའི་མདོ། · chos bzhi bstan pa’i mdo
While Buddha Śākyamuni is residing in the Sudharmā assembly hall in the Heaven of the Thirty-Three, he explains to the great bodhisattva Maitreya four factors that make it possible to overcome the effects of any negative deeds one has committed. These four are: the action of repentance, which involves feeling remorse; antidotal action, which is to practice virtue as a remedy to non-virtue; the power of restraint, which involves vowing not to repeat a negative act; and the power of support, which means taking refuge in the Buddha, Dharma, and Saṅgha, and never forsaking the mind of awakening. The Buddha concludes by recommending that bodhisattvas regularly recite this sūtra and reflect on its meaning as an antidote to any further wrongdoing.
- ’phags pa chos bzhi bstan pa zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo
- The Noble Mahāyāna Sūtra “Teaching the Four Factors”
བཞི་པ་སྒྲུབ་པ། · bzhi pa sgrub pa
The Fourfold Accomplishment revolves around a dialogue between the god Śrībhadra and the bodhisattva Mañjuśrī that takes place in the Jeta Grove at Śrāvastī. At Śrībhadra’s request, Mañjuśrī recalls a teaching that he previously gave to Brahmā Śikhin on the practices of a bodhisattva. The teaching takes the form of a sequence of topics, each of which has four components.
- ’phags pa bzhi pa sgrub pa zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo
- bzhi pa sgrub pa’i mdo/
དཔང་སྐོང་ཕྱག་བརྒྱ་པ། · dpang skong phyag brgya pa
Calling Witness with a Hundred Prostrations is widely known as the first sūtra to arrive in Tibet, long before Tibet became a Buddhist nation, during the reign of the Tibetan King Lha Thothori Nyentsen. Written to be recited for personal practice, it opens with a hundred and eight prostrations and praises to the many buddhas of the ten directions and three times, to the twelve categories of scripture contained in the Tripiṭaka, to the bodhisattvas of the ten directions, and to the arhat disciples of the Buddha. After making offerings to them, confessing and purifying nonvirtue, and making the aspiration to perform virtuous actions in every life, the text includes recitations of the vows of refuge in the Three Jewels, and of generating the thought of enlightenment. The text concludes with a passage rejoicing in the virtues of the holy ones, a request for the buddhas to bestow a prophecy to achieve enlightenment, and the aspiration to pass from this life in a state of pure Dharma.
- dpang skong phyag brgya pa
བསམ་གྱིས་མི་ཁྱབ་པའི་རྒྱལ་པོའི་མདོ། · bsam gyis mi khyab pa'i rgyal po'i mdo/
While the Buddha is staying in the kingdom of Magadha with an assembly of countless bodhisattvas, the bodhisattva King of the Inconceivable gives a teaching on the relativity of time between different buddhafields. Eleven buddhafields are enumerated, with an eon in the first being equivalent to a day in the following buddhafield, where an eon is, in turn, the equivalent of a day in the next, and so forth.
- The Noble Mahāyāna Sūtra "The Sūtra of King of the Inconceivable"
- ’phags pa bsam gyis mi khyab pa’i rgyal po’i mdo zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo
སངས་རྒྱས་བདུན་པ། · sangs rgyas bdun pa
The Seven Buddhas opens with the Buddha Śākyamuni residing in an alpine forest on Mount Kailāsa with a saṅgha of monks and bodhisattvas. The Buddha notices that a monk in the forest has been possessed by a spirit, which prompts the bodhisattva Ākāśagarbha to request that the Buddha teach a spell to cure diseases and exorcise demonic spirits. The Buddha then emanates as the set of “seven successive buddhas,” each of whom transmits a dhāraṇī to Ākāśagarbha. Each of the seven buddhas then provides ritual instructions for using the dhāraṇī.
- ’phags pa sangs rgyas bdun pa zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo
- The Noble Mahāyāna Sūtra “The Seven Buddhas”
སངས་རྒྱས་བརྒྱད་པ། · sangs rgyas brgyad pa
While the Buddha is dwelling together with a great saṅgha of monks in Śrāvastī, at the garden of Anāthapiṇḍada in the Jeta Grove, the whole universe suddenly begins to shake. The sounds of innumerable cymbals are heard without their being played, and flowers fall, covering the entire Jeta Grove. The world becomes filled with golden light and golden lotuses appear, each lotus supporting a lion throne upon which appears the shining form of a buddha. Venerable Śāriputra arises from his seat, pays homage, and asks the Buddha about the causes and conditions for these thus-gone ones to appear. The Buddha then proceeds to describe in detail these buddhas, as well as their various realms and how beings can take birth in them.
- ’phags pa sangs rgyas brgyad pa zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo
- The Noble Mahāyāna Sūtra “The Eight Buddhas”
སངས་རྒྱས་བཅུ་གཉིས་པ། · sangs rgyas bcu gnyis pa
The Twelve Buddhas opens at Rājagṛha with a dialogue between the Buddha Śākyamuni and the bodhisattva Maitreya about the eastern buddhafield of a buddha whose abbreviated name is King of Jewels. This buddha prophesies that when he passes into complete nirvāṇa, the bodhisattva Incomparable will take his place as a buddha whose abbreviated name is Victory Banner King. Śākyamuni then provides the names of the remaining ten tathāgatas, locating them in the ten directions surrounding Victory Banner King’s buddhafield Full of Pearls. After listing the full set of names of these twelve buddhas and their directional relationship to Victory Banner King, the Buddha Śākyamuni provides an accompanying mantra-dhāraṇī and closes with a set of thirty-seven verses outlining the benefits of remembering the names of these buddhas.
- ’phags pa sangs rgyas bcu gnyis pa zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo
- The Noble Mahāyāna Sūtra “The Twelve Buddhas”
སངས་རྒྱས་མི་སྤང་བ། · sangs rgyas mi spang ba
This discourse takes place while the Buddha Śākyamuni is on Vulture Peak Mountain with a large community of monks, along with numerous bodhisattvas. Ten of the bodhisattvas present in the retinue have become discouraged after failing to attain dhāraṇī despite exerting themselves for seven years. The bodhisattva Undaunted therefore requests the Buddha to bestow upon them an instruction that will enable them to generate wisdom. In response, the Buddha reveals the cause of their inability to attain dhāraṇī—a specific negative act they performed in the past—and he goes on to explain the importance of respecting Dharma teachers and reveal how these ten bodhisattvas can purify their karmic obscurations.
- ’phags pa sangs rgyas mi spang ba zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo
- The Noble Great Vehicle Sūtra “Not Forsaking the Buddha”
བཀྲ་ཤིས་བརྒྱད་པ། · bkra shis brgyad pa
While the Buddha is dwelling in Vaiśālī at Āmrapālī’s grove, a Licchavi youth named Superior Skill requests him to reveal those buddhas presently dwelling in fulfillment of their former aspirations, such that venerating them and remembering their names can dispel fear and harm. The Buddha responds by listing the names of eight buddhas and the names of their buddha realms. He instructs Superior Skill to remember these buddhas’ names and to contemplate them regularly to develop their good qualities himself and ensure success before beginning any activity. After Superior Skill departs, Śakra, lord of the gods, declares that he has taken up this practice as well. The Buddha exhorts Śakra to proclaim this discourse before engaging in battles with the asuras to ensure his victory, and then enumerates the good qualities of those who proclaim this discourse.
- The Noble Mahāyāna Sūtra “The Eight Auspicious Ones”
- ’phags pa bkra shis brgyad pa zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo
- 《八吉祥經》 （大正藏：《佛說八部佛名經》）
བསླབ་པ་གསུམ་གྱི་མདོ། · bslab pa gsum gyi mdo
In The Sūtra on the Threefold Training, Buddha Śākyamuni briefly introduces the three elements or stages of the path, widely known as “the three trainings,” one by one in a specific order: discipline, meditative concentration, and wisdom. He teaches that training progressively in them constitutes the gradual path to awakening.
- bslab pa gsum gyi mdo
སྐུ་གསུམ་པའི་མདོ། · sku gsum pa’i mdo
As the title suggests, this sūtra describes the three bodies of the Buddha. While the Buddha is dwelling on Vulture Peak in Rājgṛha, the Bodhisattva Kṣitigarbha asks whether the Tathāgata has a body, to which the Buddha replies that the Tathāgata has three bodies: a dharmakāya, a saṃbhogakāya, and a nirmāṇakāya. The Buddha goes on to describe what constitutes these three bodies and their associated meaning. The Buddha explains that the dharmakāya is like space, the saṃbhogakāya is like clouds, and the nirmāṇakāya is like rain. At the end of the Buddha’s elucidation, Kṣitigarbha expresses jubilation, and the Buddha declares that whoever upholds this Dharma teaching will obtain immeasurable merit.
- ’phags pa sku gsum zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo
- The Noble Mahāyāna Sūtra “The Three Bodies”
བསམ་པ་ཐམས་ཅད་ཡོངས་སུ་རྫོགས་པའི་ཡོངས་སུ་བསྔོ་བ། · bsam pa thams cad yongs su rdzogs pa’i yongs su bsngo ba
This text is a prayer of dedication, and is meant to be recited. Its structure partly reflects the liturgy of “seven branches” or “seven limbs,” a set of practices that serves as the basic structure of many Mahāyāna Buddhist prayers and rituals. In this instance, however, the text consists of two sections: the first is a detailed prayer of confession, and the second a prayer of rejoicing, requesting that the wheel of the Dharma be turned, beseeching the buddhas not to pass into nirvāṇa, and extensively dedicating the merit.
- ’phags pa bsam pa thams cad yongs su rdzogs par byed pa zhes bya ba’i yongs su bsngo ba
- The Noble Dedication “Fulfilling All Aspirations”
འགྲོ་བ་ཡོངས་སུ་སྐྱོབ་པར་བྱེད་པའི་ཡོངས་སུ་བསྔོ་བ། · ’gro ba yongs su skyob par byed pa’i yongs su bsngo ba/
This text is a prayer of dedication that strongly resonates with the later Tibetan literature of mind training (blo sbyong). In addition to the classic element of dedication of merit to all beings, a substantial part of the text comprises a passage that enumerates the many faults, shortcomings, and afflictions that burden sentient beings, as well as the many possible attainments that they consequently may not have realized, and culminates in the wish that everything negative that would otherwise ripen for sentient beings may ripen instead for the reciter, so that all sentient beings may thus be liberated and purified.
- ’phags pa ’gro ba thams cad yongs su skyob par byed pa zhes bya ba’i yongs su bsngo ba
- The Noble Dedication “Protecting All Beings”
གཎ་ཌཱིའི་མདོ། · gaN DI’i mdo
While the Buddha is dwelling in the Bamboo Grove monastery near Rājagṛha, together with a thousand monks and a host of bodhisattvas, King Prasenajit arises from his seat, bows at the Buddha’s feet, and asks him how to uphold the Dharma in his kingdom during times of conflict. In reply the Buddha instructs the king about the gaṇḍī, a wooden ritual instrument, and tells him how the sound of this instrument, used for Dharma practice in a temple or monastery, quells conflict and strife for all who hear it. He describes how to make, consecrate, and sound the gaṇḍī. He explains that the gaṇḍī symbolizes the Perfection of Insight and describes in detail the many benefits it confers.
དགེ་བའི་བཤེས་གཉེན་བསྟེན་པའི་མདོ། · dge ba’i bshes gnyen bsten pa’i mdo
Just prior to his passing away, the Buddha Śākyamuni reminds his disciples of the importance of living with a qualified spiritual teacher. Ānanda, the Blessed One’s attendant, attempts to confirm his teacher’s statement, saying that a virtuous spiritual friend is indeed half of one’s spiritual life. Correcting his disciple’s understanding, the Buddha explains that a qualified guide is the whole of, rather than half of, the holy life, and that by relying upon a spiritual friend beings will be released from birth and attain liberation from all types of suffering.
- ’phags pa dge ba’i bshes gnyen bsten pa’i mdo
- The Noble Sūtra on Reliance upon a Virtuous Spiritual Friend
ཚུལ་ཁྲིམས་ཡང་དག་པར་ལྡན་པའི་མདོ། · tshul khrims yang dag par ldan pa’i mdo
At Prince Jeta’s Grove in Śrāvastī, the Buddha teaches his saṅgha about the benefits of having moral discipline and the importance of guarding it. It is difficult, he says, to obtain a human life and encounter the teachings of a buddha, let alone to then take monastic vows and maintain moral discipline. But unlike just losing that one human life, which comes and then inevitably is gone, the consequences of failing in moral discipline are grave and experienced over billions of lifetimes. The Buddha continues in verse, praising moral discipline and its necessity as a foundation for engaging in the Dharma and attaining nirvāṇa. He concludes his discourse with a reflection on the folly of pursuing fleeting worldly enjoyments.
- tshul khrims yang dag ldan pa’i mdo/
ཚེའི་མཐའ། · tshe’i mtha’
The Sūtra on the Limits of Life presents a detailed and systematic account of the lifespans of different beings that inhabit the universe, progressing from the lower to the higher realms of existence as outlined in early Buddhist cosmology. The Buddha describes the lifespans of beings in terms of the relationship or proportion between the lifespans of the devas of the form realm and the lifespans in the eight major hot hells, the latter being significantly longer than the former.
- The Sūtra on the Limits of Life
- tshe’i mtha’i mdo
ཚེ་འཕོ་བ་ཇི་ལྟར་འགྱུར་བ་ཞུས་པ། · tshe ’pho ba ji ltar ’gyur ba zhus pa
Questions Regarding Death and Transmigration contains explanations of Buddhist views on the nature of life and death, and a number of philosophical arguments against non-Buddhist conceptions, notably some based broadly on the Vedas. The sūtra is set in the town of Kapilavastu at the time of the funeral of a young man of the Śākya clan. King Śuddhodana wonders about the validity of the ritual offerings being made for the deceased by the family and asks the Buddha seven questions about current beliefs on death and the afterlife. The Buddha answers each of the questions in turn. After two interlocutors interrupt to test the Buddha’s omniscience, the discourse continues to present the Buddhist account of death and rebirth using a set of eight analogies, each of which complements the others in a detailed explanation.
- tshe ’pho ba ji ltar ’gyur ba zhus pa’i mdo
- The Sūtra of Questions Regarding Death and Transmigration
- ’chi ’pho ba ji ltar ’gyur ba’i bstan pa
- ’chi ’pho ba ji ltar ’gyur ba’i lung bstan pa
མི་རྟག་པ་ཉིད་ཀྱི་མདོ། · mi rtag pa nyid kyi mdo
In this brief sūtra, the Buddha reminds his followers of one of the principal characteristics of saṃsāric existence: the reality of impermanence. The four things cherished most in this world, the Buddha says—namely good health, youth, prosperity, and life—are all impermanent. He closes his teaching with a verse, asking how beings, afflicted as they are by impermanence, can take delight in anything desirable, and indirectly urging his disciples to practice the path of liberation.
- mi rtag pa nyid kyi mdo
ཡངས་པའི་གྲོང་ཁྱེར་དུ་འཇུག་པའི་མདོ་ཆེན་པོ། · yangs pa’i grong khyer du ’jug pa’i mdo chen po
Invited to visit the city of Vaiśālī, which has been ravaged by a terrible epidemic, the Buddha instructs Ānanda to stand at the city’s gate and recite a proclamation, a long mantra, and some verses that powerfully evoke spiritual well-being. Ānanda does so, and the epidemic comes to an end. One of the mahāsūtras related to the literature of the Vinaya, this text, like other accounts of the incident, has traditionally been recited during times of personal or collective illness, bereavement, and other difficulties.
- ’phags pa yangs pa’i grong khyer du ’jug pa’i mdo chen po
- The Noble Mahāsūtra “On Entering the City of Vaiśālī”
མཚན་མོ་བཟང་པོ། · mtshan mo bzang po
In Auspicious Night, the deity Candana appears before a monk in Rājagṛha and asks if he knows of the Buddha’s teaching called Auspicious Night. Since the monk has never heard of it, the deity encourages the monk to ask the Buddha himself, who is staying nearby. At the monk’s request, the Buddha teaches him how to continuously remain in a contemplative state by following these guidelines: do not follow after the past, do not be anxious about the future, and do not be led astray or become distracted by presently arisen states. The Buddha then teaches several mantras and incantations for the welfare of all sentient beings and explains the apotropaic and salvific benefits of the instructions.
- ’phags pa mtshan mo bzang po zhes bya ba’i mdo
- mtshan mo bzang po’i mdo/
མུན་གྱི་ནགས་ཚལ་གྱི་སྒོ། · mun gyi nags tshal gyi sgo
Entry into the Gloomy Forest tells the story of the eminent brahmin Pradarśa, who is converted to Buddhism upon receiving teachings from the Buddha and goes on to establish a Buddhist community in the Gloomy Forest. The text describes the exceptional circumstances of Pradarśa’s birth, his going forth as a monk, and the miraculous founding of the monastic community in the Gloomy Forest. This is followed by the Buddha’s account of the deeds and aspirations undertaken by Pradarśa in his previous lives that have resulted in the auspicious circumstances of his present life.
- The Sūtra “Entry into the Gloomy Forest”
- mun gyi nags tshal gyi sgo zhes bya ba’i mdo
ཕ་མའི་མདོ། · pha ma’i mdo
This short discourse was taught to an audience of monks in the Jeta Grove in Śrāvastī. In it, the Buddha explains, by means of similes, the importance of venerating and attending to one’s father and mother. The Buddha concludes by stating that those who venerate their father and mother are wise, for in this life they will not be disparaged, and in the next life they will be reborn in the higher realms.
དེ་བཞིན་གཤེགས་པའི་གཟུགས་བརྙན་བཞག་པའི་ཕན་ཡོན་ཡང་དག་པར་བརྗོད་པ། · de bzhin gshegs pa’i gzugs brnyan bzhag pa’i phan yon yang dag par brjod pa
In this sūtra, the Buddha Śākyamuni tells a group of monks how they should respond when asked about the karmic benefits accrued by patrons who create representations of the Buddha. He explains five kinds of benefits that such virtuous deeds bring.
- The Noble Dharma Discourse “Describing the Benefits of Producing Representations of the Thus-Gone One”
- ’phags pa de bzhin gshegs pa’i gzugs brnyan bzhag pa’i phan yon yang dag par brjod pa zhes bya ba’i chos kyi rnam grangs
ཀླུའི་རྒྱལ་པོ་རྔ་སྒྲའི་ཚིགས་སུ་བཅད་པ། · klu’i rgyal po rnga sgra’i tshigs su bcad pa
The Verses of Nāga King Drum contains the Buddha’s narration of a tale from one of his past lives as the nāga king Drum. While traveling with his younger brother Tambour, they come under verbal attack by another nāga named Drumbeat. Tambour’s anger at their mistreatment and desire for retaliation prompts Drum to counsel Tambour on the virtues of patience and nonviolence in the face of aggression and abusiveness. Through a series of didactic aphorisms, he advises his brother to meet disrespect and persecution with serenity, patience, compassion, and insight, in order to accomplish what is best for oneself and others. The Buddha now recounts King Drum’s wise counsel as a helpful instruction for his own followers.
དགའ་བོ་རབ་ཏུ་བྱུང་བའི་མདོ། · dga’ bo rab tu byung ba’i mdo
In this sūtra, the Buddha Śākyamuni, accompanied by Ānanda, visits the house of Nanda during his stay in Banyan Grove near Kapilavastu. A discourse ensues in which the Buddha explains to Nanda the importance and benefits of going forth as a monk. Nanda expresses hesitation about going forth, so the Buddha explains by means of analogies how fortunate Nanda is to have obtained an auspicious human birth, to have met the Buddha, and to have the opportunity to become a monk. Nanda is deeply impressed by the Buddha’s teaching and decides to renounce worldly life and go forth.
གནས་འཇོག་གི་མདོ། · gnas ’jog gi mdo
While residing in Nyagrodha Park in Kapilavastu, the Buddha meets an emaciated, long-haired brahmin named Vasiṣṭha. When the Buddha asks Vasiṣṭha why he looks this way, Vasiṣṭha explains that it is because he is observing a month-long fast. The Buddha then asks him if he maintains the eightfold observance of the noble ones, prompting an exchange between the two about what the eightfold observance entails and how much merit is to be gained by maintaining it. After outlining the eightfold observance, the Buddha tells Vasiṣṭha that there is far more merit to be had in maintaining it, even just once, than there is to be gained by making offerings. At the end of the sūtra, Vasiṣṭha takes refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Saṅgha, and he pledges to maintain the eightfold observance and practice generosity in tandem.
- The Noble “Sūtra of Vasiṣṭha”
- ’phags pa gnas ’jog gi mdo zhes bya ba
འཁར་གསིལ་གྱི་མདོ། · ’khar gsil gyi mdo
In this short sūtra, the Buddha first instructs the monks to carry the ringing staff and then provides a brief introduction to its significance. In response to Venerable Mahākāśyapa’s queries, the Buddha gives a more detailed explanation of the attributes of the staff and the benefits that can be derived from holding it. In the course of his exposition, he also elucidates the rich symbolism of its parts, such as the four prongs and the twelve rings. Finally, the Buddha explains that while the ringing staff is carried by all buddhas of the past, present, and future, the number of prongs on the staff might vary.
- ’phags pa ’khar gsil gyi mdo
- The Noble Sūtra on the Ringing Staff
འཁར་གསིལ་འཆང་བའི་ཀུན་སྤྱོད་པའི་ཆོ་ག · ’khar gsil ’chang ba’i kun spyod pa’i cho ga
The Rite for the Protocols Associated with Carrying the Ringing Staff is a short text that deals with the practical matters relating to the use of the mendicant’s staff known in Sanskrit as a khakkhara, or “rattling staff.” It begins with a simple ritual during which a Buddhist monk ceremoniously takes up the ringing staff in front of his monastic teacher. The text then provides a list of twenty-five rules governing the proper use of the staff. The rules stipulate how a Buddhist monk should or should not handle it in his daily life, especially when he goes on alms rounds and when he travels.
ཆོས་ཀྱི་འཁོར་ལོའི་མདོ། · chos kyi ’khor lo’i mdo
The Sūtra of the Wheel of Dharma contains the Buddha’s teaching to his five former spiritual companions on the four truths that he had discovered as part of his awakening: (1) suffering, (2) the origin of suffering, (3) the cessation of suffering, and (4) the path leading to the cessation of suffering. According to all the Buddhist traditions, this is the first teaching the Buddha gave to explain his awakened insight to others.
- chos kyi ’khor lo’i mdo
ལས་ཀྱི་རྣམ་པར་འགྱུར་བ། · las kyi rnam par ’gyur ba
In Exposition of Karma the Buddha is staying in Prince Jeta’s Grove in Śrāvastī, where he is visited by the brahmin youth Śuka, who asks the Blessed One to explain the reason why living beings appear so diversely. The Buddha answers Śuka’s question with a discourse on various categories of actions as well as rebirth and the actions leading to it. The discourse presents fifty-one categories of actions, followed by explanations of the negative consequences of transgressing the five precepts observed by all Buddhists, the advantages gained through caitya worship, and the meritorious results of specific acts of generosity.
- las kyi rnam par ’gyur ba zhes bya ba’i chos kyi gzhung/ bam po gcig go
- The Dharma Scripture “Exposition of Karma” in one fascicle
- las rnam par ’gyur ba chos kyi gzhung /
- ལས་ཀྱི་རྣམ་པར་འགྱུར་བ་ཞེས་བྱ་བའི་ཆོས་ཀྱི་གཞུང་། བམ་པོ་གཅིག་གོ།
ཀུན་ཏུ་རྒྱུ་བ་སེན་རིངས་ཀྱིས་ཞུས་པ། · kun tu rgyu ba sen rings kyis zhus pa
As the Buddha teaches the Dharma to the fourfold saṅgha on Vulture Peak Mountain, the brahmin and wandering mendicant Dīrghanakha approaches and questions the Buddha about his doctrine concerning the incontrovertible relationship between karma and its effects in the world. He then poses a series of ten questions regarding the karmic causes of certain attributes of the Buddha, from his vajra body to the raised uṣṇīṣa on his crown. The Buddha responds to each question with the cause for each attribute, roughly summing up the eight poṣadha vows and the ways he observed them in the past. Dīrghanakha drops his staff and bows to the Buddha, pledging to take refuge in the Three Jewels and maintain the eight poṣadha vows.
- The Sūtra “The Questions of Dīrghanakha the Wandering Mendicant”
- kun tu rgyu ba sen rings kyis zhus pa zhes bya ba’i mdo
- kun tu rgyu ba sen rings kyis zhus pa’i mdo/
ཤེས་ལྡན་གྱི་མདོ། · shes ldan gyi mdo
In the Heaven of the Thirty-Three, a god has reached the end of his life. He foresees his rebirth as a pig and calls out to the Buddha to save him. The Buddha prompts him to seek refuge in the Three Jewels and, as a result, the god finds himself reborn into a wealthy family in Vaiśālī. In this life as a child named Jñānaka, he encounters the Buddha once more and invites him and his monks for a midday meal. The Buddha prophesies to Ānanda that the meritorious offering made by Jñānaka will eventually lead the child to awaken as the buddha known as King of Foremost Knowing.
- The Noble Sūtra of Jñānaka: An Account of the Noble Deeds of the Buddha
- ’phags pa sangs rgyas kyi rtogs pa brjod pa shes ldan gyi mdo
ཕག་མོའི་རྟོགས་པ་བརྗོད་པ། · phag mo’i rtogs pa brjod pa
In The Magnificent Account About a Sow, the Buddha recounts the earlier events surrounding a god in Trāyastriṃśa heaven who foresaw that he would be reborn as a pig in Rājagṛha. At the encouragement of Śakra, this god, in the final moments of agony before his death, took refuge in the Three Jewels and thereby attained rebirth in the even higher Tuṣita heaven. The story thus illustrates the liberative power of taking refuge in the Three Jewels, as befittingly expressed in the concluding verses of this short avadāna.
- The Sūtra “The Magnificent Account About a Sow”
- phag mo’i rtogs pa brjod pa zhes bya ba’i mdo
གླང་རུ་ལུང་བསྟན་པ། · glang ru lung bstan pa
In this scripture the Buddha Śākyamuni travels miraculously from Rājagṛha with a large retinue of bodhisattvas, hearers, gods, and other beings to the Central Asian region of Khotan, which in this discourse has not yet been established as a kingdom but is covered by a great lake. Once there, the Buddha foretells how this will be the site of a future land called Virtue, which will contain a blessed stūpa called Gomasalaganda. The Buddha proceeds to explain to his retinue the excellent qualities of this land, foretelling many future events, and instructing his disciples how to guard and protect the land for the sake of beings at that time. At the end of his teaching, the Buddha asks the hearer Śāriputra and the divine king Vaiśravaṇa to drain the lake, thus diverting the water and rendering the land ready for future habitation.
- ’phags pa glang ru lung bstan pa zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo
- The Noble Great Vehicle Sūtra “The Prophecy on Mount Gośṛṅga”