The Mahāsūtra “On Entering the City of Vaiśālī”
Degé Kangyur, vol. 101 (gzungs ’dus, waM) folios 256.b–260.b.
Translated by the Bhaiṣajyavastu Translation Team
under the patronage and supervision of 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha
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.
The translation is an extract from a translation of the Bhaiṣajyavastu (“The Chapter on Medicines,” the sixth chapter of the Vinayavastu, Toh 1) by the Bhaiṣajyavastu Translation Team. The translation was made by Fumi Yao and proofread by Shayne Clarke. The extract has been adapted and annotated to the context of this source text by the 84000 editorial team, who also compiled the introduction.
The translation was completed under the patronage and supervision of 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha.
On Entering the City of Vaiśālī is a text with a rich network of textual, historical, narrative, and literary connections. It is also one of the mahāsūtras, whose primary use has traditionally been a ritual one—they were recited to provide protection (rakṣa) from sickness and other calamities.
The association of this mahāsūtra with healing, the banishing of misfortune, and the restoration of spiritual well-being is clearly derived from its narrative context. In essence, a terrible famine and epidemic has been ravaging the city of Vaiśālī, and the text comprises a commanding proclamation, a long mantra, and a set of verses for auspiciousness (svastigāthā) that the Buddha instructs his attendant Ānanda to pronounce at the city gate in order to put an end to the disaster. The first half of the text has the Buddha telling Ānanda what to say, and the second half repeats the first half verbatim as Ānanda executes this mission.
There are several different lists of mahāsūtras in works that recommend their recitation. Compared to the other mahāsūtras in the Kangyur, On Entering the City of Vaiśālī is something of an outlier, in that it is not included with the other nine of that category in the early text inventories. Its title and what is known of its history, however, identify it as closely related to the others. No modern discussion of the mahāsūtras would be complete without reference to Peter Skilling’s two-volume magnum opus on the subject,1 and his study of these texts not only covers the nine that are mentioned in some lists but also adds On Entering the City of Vaiśālī as the tenth, with the special status of an “independent mahāsūtra.”2
Like the other mahāsūtras, this text belongs to the literature of the Mūlasarvāstivādin school.3 The mahāsūtra On Entering the City of Vaiśālī corresponds almost exactly to a passage in the very long sixth chapter of the Mūlasarvāstivādin Vinayavastu (Toh 1), the Chapter on Medicines (Bhaiṣajyavastu).4 The present, standalone mahāsūtra version provides minimal detail of the narrative context in which the event it describes takes place, but from the passages that precede and follow the version in The Chapter on Medicines we can understand why this event was considered so significant.
In The Chapter on Medicines, the episode is set during a long and detailed account of the Buddha’s final journey toward the north, not long before his parinirvāṇa, which parallels in many other respects the narrative of the Mahāparinirvāṇasūtra in the Dīrghāgama.5 While the Buddha is staying in Rājagṛha under the patronage of King Ajātaśatru, an emissary sent by the Licchavis from their capital of Vaiśālī arrives, bearing news of a terrible epidemic that has decimated the city’s population and a request to the Buddha to visit and quell the disaster. The Licchavis have been at war with Ajātaśatru, so the Buddha first has to obtain King Ajātaśatru’s assent, and he then sets out under the king’s protection, stopping at several places on the way to teach before crossing the Ganges into Licchavi territory. He again stays and teaches in several places, including Nādikā, where an epidemic has also struck (there is no mention of it being the same as Vaiśālī’s) and many of his disciples have died, providing the setting for a famous teaching on the twelve factors of interdependent arising. Here, The Chapter on Medicines inserts the less somber episode (perhaps out of sequence6) of the Vaiśālī courtesan Āmrapālī’s invitation, her meeting with the Buddha, his teaching to her, and his interactions with other Licchavis.
Then comes the episode of quelling the epidemic in Vaiśālī, just as it is told in this mahāsūtra, except that in The Chapter on Medicines Ānanda’s proclamation at the city gate is followed by the statement, not present in this mahāsūtra version:
“When Ānanda had spoken these words, there by the blessed buddhas’ power of buddhahood and the gods’ power of the gods, the epidemic was quelled.”
The words that the Buddha instructs Ānanda to pronounce at the city gates can be grouped into three main categories: (1) commands mainly addressed to nonhuman beings to depart, disperse, and stop causing harm, backed up by the invoking of the authority of other more powerful nonhuman beings both awakened and worldly; (2) the long mantra, most of which consists of syllables without evident semantic content and is presumably intended to work its effects through supernatural or magical mechanisms in relation to its sounds; and (3) the svastigāthā verses, most of which are addressed principally (but not exclusively) to the city’s human inhabitants and convey goodness and well-being by proclaiming and describing the qualities of the Three Jewels—compassion, purity, wisdom, and spiritual power. Some elements belong to more than one category: the commanding words retained (in the Tibetan translation) in Sanskrit, perhaps in order to conserve their authoritative power, which are also in a sense mantras, and the verses at the end addressed to spirits to tame them by invoking their better natures.
The presence of mantras in this text is noteworthy, particularly as the Vinaya version of the text includes them too. The mantras are designated in the text itself using the term gsang sngags kyi gzhi (mantrapada in parallel Sanskrit texts); the long mantra is not described as a dhāraṇī and does not seem to have the function of encapsulating or epitomizing a longer teaching, as a dhāraṇī normally would. The mahāsūtra version of this text has consequently presented problems of classification to the scholars who compiled the different Kangyurs, and in most it is placed in both sūtra and tantra sections. In the Degé Kangyur it is present as three copies: one in the General Sūtra section (Toh 312), one in the Collection of Tantras as an Action (Kriyā) tantra related to the Tathāgata family (Toh 628), and one in the Compendium of Dhāraṇīs (Toh 1093).7 If the Chapter on Medicines passage is included, the text has the unusual distinction of being classified in all four of the main divisions of the Kangyur.8 Not only does it exist in no less than four different places in Kangyurs that include a compendium of dhāraṇīs, but in addition, an extract comprising the nineteen stanzas of the verse section is found as a standalone text among the prayers of dedication at the end of the Tantra Collection, Toh 816, with the title The Verses for Well-Being Extracted from the Noble Sūtra “On Entering the City of Vaiśālī”9 and which is also duplicated toward the end of the Tengyur (Toh 4406).
Both the present, standalone mahāsūtra version and The Chapter on Medicines were translated into Tibetan in the imperial period, and both are mentioned in the two imperial text inventories dated to the early decades of the ninth century, the Denkarma and Phangthangma.10 The translators of the mahāsūtra version11 were Śīlendrabodhi and Yeshé Dé, while the Vinaya version was translated by Sarvajñādeva, Vidyākaraprabha, Dharmakāra, Palgyi Lhünpo, and Kawa Paltsek. Given that the wording of the two Tibetan versions is almost identical and that the translators in the two teams were active in the same period, we have to assume that there was some collaboration or borrowing between the teams with regard to this passage. Despite the close correspondence of the two versions, it nevertheless seems unlikely that the mahāsūtra version started life simply as an extract from The Chapter on Medicines, chosen as suitable material and presented as a separate text by the translators in Tibet. It was almost certainly based on a text that had existed on its own in Sanskrit, too—however closely that Sanskrit text might have been related to the wider Mūlasarvāstivādin corpus. Further evidence for its separate existence comes from the opening lines of the text and, in particular, its setting in a somewhat mysterious location not mentioned at all in The Chapter on Medicines,12 as well as from some significant if minor differences in the verse passages.
Nevertheless, no separate text in Sanskrit with this title has come to light, and no such title is mentioned in any Sanskrit work. However, one of the Nepalese Pañcarakṣa texts, the Mahāmantrānusāriṇī, preserved in a number of Sanskrit manuscripts (but not in Tibetan),13 is very close in content to the present text, the chief differences being the title, the setting, and the absence in the Sanskrit text of two of the verses present in the Tibetan. The title of the Sanskrit work is interesting in that mahāmantrānusāriṇī is also the name used by the Buddha within the text to refer to the mantra. The initial setting mentioned in this version of the text varies across the different manuscripts: some have it as the Veṇuvana in Rājagṛha, some as the Markaṭahrada (the “monkey pond” near Vaiśālī), and in some no setting is mentioned. These comparatively recent Nepalese Mahāmantrānusāriṇī manuscripts are the only available witnesses in Sanskrit apart from a few newly identified fragments of The Chapter on Medicines.14 Unfortunately, the incomplete Gilgit Vinayavastu manuscript includes only some parts of The Chapter on Medicines, and the passage in question is missing.
A commentary by Karmavajra, possibly written in the eleventh century, in which some chapters are devoted to both the Mahāmantrānusāriṇī and On Entering the City of Vaiśālī (and other chapters to another Pañcarakṣa text, the Mahāmantrānudhārisūtra, Toh 563?), is to be found in Tibetan translation in the Tengyur, Toh 2692. The commentary appears to focus more on the ritual practice of the texts than on their historical or narrative aspects, and it would no doubt merit further exploration.
The Bhaiṣajyavastu was translated into Chinese in the early eighth century ᴄᴇ by Yijing,15 and while there is no Chinese translation of the independent mahāsūtra version as such, a tenth-century translation by Fatian of a text similar to the Mahāmantrānusāriṇī, the Fo shuo da hu ming da tuo luo ni jing,16 provides another parallel.
The mahāsūtra was studied and translated into French by Léon Feer in 1883,17 but subsequently little Western scholarly attention appears to have been focused on the mahāsūtra until Skilling’s exemplary comparative editions, notes, and invaluable references were published in the 1990s. An English translation by Tenzin Bhuchung Shastri made under the auspices of the FPMT and distributed online has been available since 2008.
More broadly, the story of the Buddha’s arrival in Vaiśālī putting an end to the epidemic figures in a number of textual traditions. The Mahāsāṃghika-Lokottaravādin account is spread over several chapters of the Mahāvastu,18 in which the Buddha’s arrival near the city is enough by itself to expel the harmful spirits that have caused the epidemic, and which culminates in his reciting, still outside the city, a set of nineteen svastigāthā extolling the Three Jewels as the source of blessings and well-being. In the Pali Canon, an almost identical set of seventeen verses makes up the Ratana-sutta,19 a text very widely recited as a protection or paritta, as will be discussed below. The Ratana-sutta itself consists only of the verses, without any narrative setting, and in Pali sources what is recorded of the background episode comes only from later commentaries:20 the Buddha teaches the verses to Ānanda at the city gate, Ānanda goes around inside the city reciting them, and finally the Buddha himself enters the city and recites them again. The Ratana-sutta and Mahāvastu verses are not the same as the verses in the present mahāsūtra, although some elements are shared and the general theme is very similar. Unlike the Mūlasarvāstivādin account, however, these traditions place the episode earlier in the Buddha’s life, during the reign of Bimbisāra rather than that of Ajātaśatru, his son, and perhaps even on the Buddha’s very first visit to Vaiśālī.
A further text relating the incident, and in which the same verses as the Ratana-sutta and Mahāvastu are found, is another of the Pañcarakṣa texts, the Mahāsāhasrapramardanī, this one surviving not only in Nepalese Sanskrit manuscripts but also in a Tibetan translation in the Action Tantra section of the Kangyur (Toh 558, available in English as Destroyer of the Great Trichiliocosm)21 and in Chinese.22 In this text, too, the epidemic occurs while Ajātaśatru is reigning in Magadha, and the Buddha himself utters a mantra and the verses while standing at the gates of the city. The bulk of this complex (and probably composite) text, however, digresses from the Vaiśālī episode and is centered on the origins and uses of the mantra. Some verses extracted from it comprise a standalone Kangyur text with the title The Aspiration Spoken in “Destroyer of the Great Trichiliocosm.”23 The existence of these selected verses as an extract is interesting in that—out of all the many verse passages that could have been extracted—the verses in question are those that correspond to the Ratana-sutta, and they must surely have been selected in the awareness that they had their own, more ancient origin.
Yet another version among the Nepalese Sanskrit manuscripts is the Ujjvālikādānakathā, the seventeenth story in the post-canonical Dvāviṃśatyavadāna collection. It shares narrative elements with the Mahāsāhasrapramardanī, and the verses that are recited in Vaiśālī by five hundred bhikṣus headed by Ānanda contain phrases similar to the prose rakṣa of the mahāsūtra as well as verses identical to some in the Mahāmantrānusāriṇī.
Epidemics must have been relatively frequent occurrences at the time of the Buddha’s life, but the epidemic of Vaiśālī seems to have been particularly severe. Some of the accounts mention that it had been preceded by a famine, no doubt weakening human defenses. There are passing references in The Chapter on Medicines to both famine and epidemic in a wider region in the same period. All the accounts agree in ascribing the epidemic to the presence of harmful spirits and nonhuman beings, and some of them associate those unseen influences—whether as causes or effects—with the loose morals, licentiousness, and defiled mental states of the inhabitants of Vaiśālī.
The Buddha’s confident, masterful intervention in this disaster and his swift restoration of well-being to the inhabitants of Vaiśālī seems to have had the effect, in Buddhist cultural perceptions, of endowing textual accounts of the incident with a lasting power to heal. The works detailed above in which the incident is invoked, the Mahāsāhasrapramardanī, the Mahāmantrānusāriṇī, Ujjvālikādānakathā, and Ratana-sutta, as well as this mahāsūtra itself, are all used ritually to confer protection. The Sanskrit Pañcarakṣa texts are still popular in Nepal and are often recited. However, of all the Vaiśālī-related texts, it is certainly the Pali Ratana-sutta that is the best known and most widely used. The fifth-century Sri Lankan commentary, the Mahāvaṃsa, relates how the late fourth-century King Upatissa I had it recited on the saṅgha’s advice to end a famine and epidemic (with success).24 It is unlikely that this was the earliest such incident, and today, too, it is still much used in both temples and households to ward off evil and bring well-being.
While the mahāsūtras as a group, at least in recent times, do not appear to have been especially well known or much used in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, On Entering the City of Vaiśālī is probably the best known and most used among them. Recited on its own,25 or as part of several widely used collections of dhāraṇī, it is still seen as a powerful protection against epidemics and sickness in general.
The publication of this translation during the difficult months of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic in 2020 will, we hope—in commemorating the healing of Vaiśālī more than two millennia ago—bring comfort, hope, and inspiration.
Homage to all the buddhas and bodhisattvas!
Thus did I hear at one time: The Blessed One was residing in Nāḍikā, at the Impenetrable Dwelling Place.26 The Blessed One said to the venerable Ānanda, “Ānanda, let us proceed to the city of Vaiśālī.”
“Let us do so, O Honored One,” replied the venerable Ānanda, assenting to what the Blessed One had said.
“ ‘The Buddha, who has compassion for the world, has spoken.28 This is the wish of all buddhas. It is the wish of all pratyekabuddhas. It is the wish of all arhats. It is the wish of all those undergoing training. It is the wish of all śrāvakas. It is the wish of all who speak words of truth. It is the wish of the Dharma.29 It is the wish of Kāmeśvara. It is the wish of Brahmā. It is the wish of Pratyekabrahman. It is the wish of Indra. It is the wish of the gods. It is the wish of the lord of the demigods. It is the wish of all demigods. It is the wish of the servants of the demigods. It is the wish of all bhūtas:
“ ‘The Buddha, who has compassion for the world, has spoken.
“ ‘Do not stay. The epidemic should cease.
“ ‘The Buddha, the Great God, the God of Gods, the Supreme God, has arrived. The gods including Indra, the gods including Brahmā, the gods including Īśāna, the gods including Prajāpati, and the Four Protectors of the World have come. Hundreds of thousands of gods, lords of the demigods, and hundreds of thousands of demigods have also come. Hundreds of thousands of bhūtas who have faith in the Blessed One have also come for the sake of all living beings, and they have come to bring great harm to you; so:
“ ‘Disperse quickly. Those of you who have hateful thoughts, may you be destroyed. Those who have loving thoughts, who do not wish to sin but wish to protect beings, stay and take on physical form.33 The Buddha, who has compassion for the world, has spoken.
“ ‘Sumu sumu | sumu sumu sumu | sumuru sumuru | sumuru sumuru | sumuru sumuru | sumuru sumuru | muru muru | muru muru | muru muru | muru muru | miri miri | miri miri | miri miri miri | murumiri murumiri | murumiri murumiri | murumiri murumiri | murumiri murumiri | murumiri murumiri | murumiri murumiri | murumiri murūrīti | riri riri riri | rīrī rīrī rīrīti | miri miri miriti | hisi miri miriti | mirisi sīsīmī | kaṅkarā karakata | kaṅkarā karakacā | kaṅkarā kaṅkarā | kaṅkarā kaṅkarā | kaṅkarā kaṅkarā | kaṅkarā [F.258.a] kaṅkarā | kaṅkarā kaṅkarā | kaṅkarā kaṅkarā | kaṅkarā kaṅkarā | kaṅkaro titi kuriśo | kaṅkara kaṅkariśi | ririri ririri | hiritaphu svā | ripu ripu | ripu ripu | ripu ripu | ripu ripu | nāthā nānā | thā thā | ripu ripu | nāthātha | nirgacchata nirgacchata | ripu ripu | nirgacchata palāyāta | ripū ripū pālāyata |34
“ ‘The Buddha, who has compassion for the world, whose wish is to benefit all living beings, who abides in love, who is compassionate, who abides in joy, and who abides in equanimity, has arrived.
“These mantras, which were proclaimed to all the gods and all the bhūtas through the Buddha’s supreme wisdom and truth, will accomplish their purpose. The following verses36 will accomplish their purpose:
To these instructions, the venerable Ānanda replied, “I will do so, O Honored One.”
“The Buddha, who has compassion for the world, has spoken.46 This is the wish of all buddhas. It is the wish of all pratyekabuddhas. It is the wish of all arhats. It is the wish of all those undergoing training. It is the wish of all śrāvakas. It is the wish of all who speak words of truth. It is the wish of all the Dharmas.47 It is the wish of Kāmeśvara. It is the wish of Brahmā. It is the wish of Pratyekabrahman. It is the wish of Indra. It is the wish of the gods. It is the wish of the lord of the demigods. It is the wish of all demigods. It is the wish of the servants of the demigods. It is the wish of all bhūtas.
“The Buddha, who has compassion for the world, has spoken.
“Do not stay. The epidemic should cease.
“The Buddha, the Great God, the God of Gods, the Supreme God, has arrived. The gods including Indra, the gods including Brahmā, the gods including Īśāna, [F.259.b] the gods including Prajāpati, and the Four Protectors of the World have come. Hundreds of thousands of gods, lords of the demigods, and hundreds of thousands of demigods have also come. Hundreds of thousands of bhūtas who have faith in the Blessed One have also come for the sake of all living beings, and they have come to bring great harm to you; so:
“Disperse quickly. Those of you who have hateful thoughts, may you be destroyed. Those who have loving thoughts, who do not wish to sin but wish to protect beings, stay and take on physical form.48 The Buddha, who has compassion for the world, has spoken.
“Sumu sumu | sumu sumu sumu | sumuru sumuru | sumuru sumuru | sumuru sumuru | sumuru sumuru | muru muru | muru muru | muru muru | muru muru | miri miri | miri miri | miri miri miri | murumiri murumiri | murumiri murumiri | murumiri murumiri | murumiri murumiri | murumiri murumiri | murumiri murumiri | murumiri murūrīti | riri riri riri | rīrī rīrī rīrīti | miri miri mirīti | hisi miri miriti | mirisi sīsīmī | kaṅkarā karakata | kaṅrakara karakaca | kaṅkara kaṅkarā | kaṅkarā kaṅkarā | kaṅkarā kaṅkarā | kaṅkarā kaṅkarā | kaṅkarā kaṅkarā | kaṅkarā kaṅkarā | kaṅkarā kaṅkarā | kaṅkaro tīti kuriśo | kaṅkara kaṅkariśi | ririri ririri | tiritaphu svā | riphu riphu | riphu riphu | riphu riphu | riphu riphu | nāthā nānā | thā thā | ripū ripū | nāthāthā | nirgacchata nirgacchata | ripu ripu | nirgacchata palāyāta | ripū ripū palayātā |49
“The Buddha, who has compassion for the world, whose wish is to benefit all living beings, [F.260.a] who abides in love, who is compassionate, who abides in joy, and who abides in equanimity, has arrived.
“These mantras, which were proclaimed to all the gods and all the bhūtas through the Buddha’s supreme wisdom and truth, will accomplish their purpose. The following verses will accomplish their purpose:
This last version, Toh 1093, and all those contained in this same volume (gzungs ’dus, waM), are listed as being located in volume 101 of the Degé Kangyur by the Buddhist Digital Resource Center (BDRC). However, several other Kangyur databases—including the eKangyur that supplies the digital input version displayed by the 84000 Reading Room—list this work as being located in volume 102. This discrepancy is partly due to the fact that the two volumes of the gzungs ’dus section are an added supplement not mentioned in the original catalog, and also hinges on the fact that the compilers of the Tōhoku catalog placed another text—which forms a whole, very large volume—the Vimalaprabhānāmakālacakratantraṭīkā (dus ’khor ’grel bshad dri med ’od, Toh 845), before the volume 100 of the Degé Kangyur, numbering it as vol. 100, although it is almost certainly intended to come right at the end of the Degé Kangyur texts as volume 102; indeed its final fifth chapter is often carried over and wrapped in the same volume as the Kangyur dkar chags (catalog). Please note this discrepancy when using the eKangyur viewer in this translation.
’phags pa yangs pa’i grong khyer du ’jug pa’i mdo chen po (Āryavaiśālīpraveśamahāsūtra). Toh 312, Degé Kangyur vol. 72 (mdo sde, sa), folios 157.b–161.b; Toh 628, Degé Kangyur vol. 91 (rgyud ’bum, ba), folios 63.a–63.a; and Toh 1093, Degé Kangyur vol. 101 (gzungs ’du, vaM), folios 256.b–260.b.
’phags pa yangs pa’i grong khyer du ’jug pa’i mdo chen po. bka’ ’gyur (dpe bsdur ma) [Comparative Edition of the Kangyur], krung go’i bod rig pa zhib ’jug ste gnas kyi bka’ bstan dpe sdur khang (The Tibetan Tripitaka Collation Bureau of the China Tibetology Research Center). 108 volumes. Beijing: krung go’i bod rig pa dpe skrun khang (China Tibetology Publishing House), 2006–2009, Toh 312, vol. 72, pp. 446–458; Toh 628, vol. 91, pp. 230–247; Toh 1093, vol. 98, pp. 902–913.
sman gyi gzhi (Bhaiṣajyavastu). Toh 1, ch. 6. The whole text: Degé Kangyur vols. 1–3 (’dul ba, ka, kha, and ga), folios (ka) 277.b.6–311.a.6, (kha) 1.a.1–317.a.7, (ga) 1.a.1–50.a.7. The episode corresponding to the present excerpt: vol. 2 (kha) folios 45.b.3–49.a.3. See Bhaiṣajyavastu Translation Team (2021), 3.272–324.
sman gyi gzhi. bka’ ’gyur (dpe bsdur ma) [Comparative Edition of the Kangyur], krung go’i bod rig pa zhib ’jug ste gnas kyi bka’ bstan dpe sdur khang (The Tibetan Tripitaka Collation Bureau of the China Tibetology Research Center). 108 volumes. Beijing: krung go’i bod rig pa dpe skrun khang (China Tibetology Publishing House), 2006–2009. The whole text: vol. 1, pp. 644–721; vol. 2, pp. 3–745; vol. 3, pp. 3–117. The episode corresponding to the present excerpt: vol. 2, pp. 103–111.
’phags pa yangs pa’i grong khyer du ’jug pa’i mdo las ’byung pa’i bde legs kyi tshigs su bcad pa. Toh 816, Degé Kangyur vol. 96 (rgyud ’bum, wa), folios 256.a–257.a; Toh 4406, Degé Tengyur vol. 207 (sna tshogs, nyo), folios 343.b–344.b.
Bhaiṣajyavastu in the Gilgit manuscripts. Dutt, Nalinaksha, ed. Gilgit Manuscripts Vol. III, part 1. Srinagar, 1947.
Genben shuoyiqieyoubu pinaiye yaoshi 根本説一切有部毘奈耶藥事, Taishō no. 1448. The whole text: 24.1a.1–97a.24. The episode corresponding to the present excerpt: 27b.13--28b.
stong chen mo rab tu ’joms pa’i mdo (Mahāsāhasrapramardanī). Toh 558, Degé Kangyur vol. 90 (rgyud ’bum, pha), folios 63.a–87.b. English translation in Dharmachakra Translation Committee. (2016a). [Full citation listed in secondary references].
stong chen mo rab tu ’joms pa las gsungs pa’i smon lam. Toh 813, Degé Kangyur vol. 96 (rgyud ’bum, wa), folios 253.a–254.a; Toh 1098, Degé Kangyur vol.101 (gzungs ’du, vaM), folios 268.b–269.b. English translation in Dharmachakra Translation Committee. (2020). [Full citation listed in secondary references].
Denkarma. pho brang stod thang ldan dkar gyi chos kyi ’gyur ro cog gi dkar chag. Toh 4364, Degé Tengyur vol. 206 (sna tshogs, jo), folios 294.b–310.a.
Karmavajra. gsang sngags chen mo rjes su ’dzin ma’i mdo’i ’bum ’grel. Toh 2692, Degé Tengyur vol. 72 (rgyud, du), folios 241.b–282.b.
Mahāmantrānusāriṇī. For Sanskrit edition, see Skilling (1994–97), pp. 608–622.
Ujjvālikādānakathā. For Sanskrit edition, see Okada (1993).
Ānandajoti, Bhikkhu, trans. “The Discourse on the Treasures” (English translation of Ratana-sutta). SuttaCentral.
Bhaiṣajyavastu Translation Team, trans. The Chapter on Medicines (Bhaiṣajyavastu, Toh 1, ch. 6). 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha, 2021.
Dharmachakra Translation Committee, trans. (2016a). Destroyer of the Great Trichiliocosm (Mahāsāhasrapramardanī, Toh 558). 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha, 2016.
———(2016b) trans. Great Upholder of the Secret Mantra (Mahāmantrānudhāriṇī, Toh 563). 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha, 2016.
———(2020) trans. The Aspiration Prayer from “Destroyer of the Great Trichiliocosm” (Toh 813, 1098). 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha, 2020.
Feer, Léon. Fragments extraits du Kandjour. Annales du Musée Guimet 5. Paris, 1883.
Herrmann-Pfandt, Adelheid. Die lHan kar ma: ein früher Katalog der ins Tibetische übersetzten buddhistischen Texte. Vienna: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 2008.
Jones, J.J., trans. The Mahāvastu, Vol. 1. Sacred Books of the Buddhists. London: Luzac & co., 1949.
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- dgra bcom pa
One who has achieved the fourth and final level of attainment on the śrāvaka path and who has attained liberation with the cessation of all mental afflictions.
Bandé Yeshé Dé
- ban de ye shes sde
A prolific Tibetan translator of the eighth and ninth centuries who assisted with the translation of hundreds of texts that appear in the Kangyur and Tengyur.
- ’byung po
A generic term for “spirit” or “ghost.” They can be malevolent or benevolent.
- bcom ldan ’das
An epithet for a buddha.
- tshangs pa
- lha ma yin
The traditional adversaries of the devas (gods) who are frequently portrayed in brahmanical mythology as having a disruptive effect on cosmological and social harmony.
A statement, or spell, meant to protect or bring about a particular result, it has the function of encapsulating or epitomizing a longer teaching; also refers to extraordinary skills regarding retention of the teachings.
Four Protectors of the World
- ’jig rten skyong ba bzhi po
- Catvāro lokapālā
The Four Great Kings of the cardinal directions.
Impenetrable Dwelling Place
- gzings pa’i ’dug gnas
May, or may not, correspond to the Giñjakāvasatha of other texts. See n.26.
- dbang po
- dbang bdag
One of the eight guardians of the directions, Īśāna guards the northeast quarter.
- ’dod pa’i dbang phyug
Literally, “Lord of Desire.” Name of Kubera/Vaiśravaṇa.
The demon who assailed the Buddha Śākyamuni prior to his awakening; the personification of conceptual and emotional obstacles.
- ’dam bu’i khrod
- Nāḍikā, Nādikā
A village presumed to be near Pāṭaliputra (present day Patna) but whose exact location is unknown. Rendered in Tibetan in other texts as sgra can or chu bo can. See n.26.
- skye dgu’i bdag po
- tshangs pa so so
- rang sangs rgyas
Someone who has attained liberation entirely through their own contemplation as a result of progress in previous lives but, unlike a buddha, does not have the accumulated merit and motivation to teach others.
- rgyal po’i khab
Now known as Rajgir and located in the modern Indian state of Bihar, it was the capital of the kingdom of Magadha during the Buddha’s lifetime.
- nyan thos
A “hearer” or “listener,” someone who first hears the Dharma from another. This refers to the disciples of the Buddha who sought the enlightenment of an arhat, that is, their own liberation from cyclic existence.
- su ren dra bo dhi
One of the Indian teachers invited to Tibet at the time of the emperor Ralpachen (early ninth century). He was one of the great Indian pandits who assisted the Tibetan translators such as Yeshé Dé with the translation of Buddhist texts from Sanskrit.
- yangs pa can
A great city during the Buddha’s time, the capital of the Licchavi republic. It was an important location where a number of Buddhist sūtras are said to have been taught.
- spong byed
One of the sixteen principal mahājanapadas (great countries) of ancient India, and a confederacy of eight or nine clans. It extended from the north bank of the Ganges opposite Pāṭaliputra up to the Madhesh regions of present southern Nepal.