The King of Samādhis Sūtra
Degé Kangyur, vol. 55 (mdo sde, da), folios 1.b–170.b
Translated by Peter Alan Roberts
under the patronage and supervision of 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha
First published 2018
Current version v 1.45.25 (2022)
Generated by 84000 Reading Room v2.17.7
84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha is a global non-profit initiative to translate all the Buddha’s words into modern languages, and to make them available to everyone.
This work is provided under the protection of a Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND (Attribution - Non-commercial - No-derivatives) 3.0 copyright. It may be copied or printed for fair use, but only with full attribution, and not for commercial advantage or personal compensation. For full details, see the Creative Commons license.
This sūtra, much quoted in later Buddhist writings for its profound statements especially on the nature of emptiness, relates a long teaching given by the Buddha mainly in response to questions put by a young layman, Candraprabha. The samādhi that is the subject of the sūtra, in spite of its name, primarily consists of various aspects of conduct, motivation, and the understanding of emptiness; it is also a way of referring to the sūtra itself. The teaching given in the sūtra is the instruction to be dedicated to the possession and promulgation of the samādhi, and to the necessary conduct of a bodhisattva, which is exemplified by a number of accounts from the Buddha’s previous lives. Most of the teaching takes place on Vulture Peak Mountain, with an interlude recounting the Buddha’s invitation and visit to Candraprabha’s home in Rājagṛha, where he continues to teach Candraprabha before returning to Vulture Peak Mountain. In one subsequent chapter the Buddha responds to a request by Ānanda, and the text concludes with a commitment by Ānanda to maintain this teaching in the future.
Translated from the Tibetan, with reference to Sanskrit editions, by Peter Alan Roberts. The Chinese consultant was Ling-Lung Chen. Edited by Emily Bower and Ben Gleason.
This translation has been completed under the patronage and supervision of 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha.
The generous donation of an anonymous donor, which helped make the work on this translation possible, is most gratefully acknowledged.
The Samādhirājasūtra, or King of Samādhis Sūtra, is one of the earlier Mahāyāna sūtras to appear in India. It contains teachings on emptiness, bodhisattva conduct, and mendicancy, as well as tales of previous lifetimes and prophecies for the future. Its teaching on emptiness is much quoted by such Mādhyamaka masters as Candrakīrti and Śāntideva, as well as in later Buddhist literature.
The samādhi of the title does not simply refer to meditation, but is used to designate both the sūtra itself and an entire range of Buddhist practices for conduct, meditation, motivation, and realization. The sūtra enumerates over three hundred of the samādhi’s qualities. One of the samādhi’s main descriptive epithets is given in the long form of the title itself as “the revealed1 equality of the nature of all phenomena.” However, far from being a systematic textbook on the features of any one practice or doctrine, the sūtra has a complex, convoluted structure and includes long narrative passages. These not only relate the Buddha’s interactions with Candraprabha, the main interlocutor, but also tell lengthy stories in mixed prose and verse from the Buddha’s past lives—in his own words—exemplifying the points he teaches. Interspersed in these narratives, often in the form of verse teachings given by past tathāgatas, are some of the profound statements on the nature of phenomena, and on the essential points of the path, for which the sūtra is justly celebrated.
History of the Sūtra
As is the case for most sūtras, it is impossible to be sure when this work first appeared in writing; indeed, the sūtra is very likely a compilation of earlier shorter works. None of the complete extant Sanskrit manuscripts can be dated to earlier than the sixth century. There is, however, a reference to it in the Sūtrasamuccaya, a work attributed to Nāgārjuna (second or third century) although the attribution is not universally accepted. There is even a claim that the King of Samādhis Sūtra was translated into Chinese in 148 ᴄᴇ, but this, too, is disputed. The mention of a Samādhirāja in Asaṅga’s fourth century Mahāyānasaṃgraha may be a reference to the sūtra.
At least two shorter independent works that may have existed earlier appear to have been incorporated into the King of Samādhis Sūtra. One is a text entitled Mahāprajñāsamādhisūtra (The Sūtra of the Samādhi of Great Wisdom) or Mañjuśrībodhisattvacāryā (The Bodhisattva Conduct of Mañjuśrī). It is a teaching on the six perfections that must have existed as early as the fifth century, as it was translated into Chinese by Shih Sien-kung (420–479). It corresponds to chapters 27–29 of the King of Samādhis Sūtra in the Tibetan version, except that the Mahāprajñāsamādhisūtra has Mañjuśrī as the recipient of the teaching instead of Candraprabha (both bodhisattvas have the title Kumārabhūta).
The other is chapter 36 of the Tibetan version of the King of Samādhis Sūtra, which also appears to have originally been an independent text; its interlocutor is Ānanda, whose name in this case was not changed to that of Candraprabha.
Candraprabha, the principal interlocutor in the sūtra, appears in a number of other sūtras, but particularly in the Raśmisamantamuktanirdeśasūtra, Toh 55 in the Heap of Jewels (Ratnakūṭa) section of the Kangyur, in which, as in the King of Samādhis Sūtra, he is depicted as inviting the Buddha to his home and making elaborate preparations for the visit.2 Most of the qualities of the samādhi described in the King of Samādhis Sūtra also appear within the list of the qualities of a samādhi in The Sūtra of the Samādhi of the Miraculous Ascertainment of Peace.3
The entire sūtra was translated into Chinese by Narendrayaśas in 557. Narendrayaśas (517–589) was a much-traveled Indian monk from Orissa who arrived in China in 556. This Chinese version is widely known under an alternative title, Candrapradīpasamādhisūtra (The Sūtra of the Samādhi of the Lamp of the Moon, Taishō 639); this title is closely related to the alternative title used in some Indian commentaries (see below). Narendrayaśas’s translation is divided into ten chapters, in contrast to the forty of the Tibetan. There are fragments of three Sanskrit manuscripts from central Asia, dated to the fifth or sixth centuries, that correspond to this version, but no complete manuscript has survived.
The ninth century Tibetan translation of the sūtra in the Kangyur was made from a Sanskrit version no longer extant, but longer than the one translated into Chinese. The Tibetan was translated during the reign of King Ralpachen (815–838) by Śīlendrabodhi and Chönyi Tsultrim (who used the Sanskrit version of his name, Dharmatāśīla).
The earliest complete Indian manuscript to have survived is the one discovered in 1938 in the ruins of a library near Gilgit. It is dated, from the calligraphy of its Gupta script, to the sixth century. It has some additional verses that do not appear in the Chinese version, but is significantly shorter than the Tibetan translation, with fewer verses and prose passages. Much closer to the Tibetan is a group of twelve later Sanskrit manuscripts found in Nepal, including the one referred to here as the Hodgson manuscript; another group of Nepalese manuscripts contain additional material usually not found in the Tibetan, and includes the one referred to here as the Shastri manuscript.4
In the Sanskrit versions, much of the sūtra is composed of verse in a highly distinctive Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit (BHS). The prose is in what appears to be classical Sanskrit in terms of spelling and case endings, but the vocabulary includes words that are only found in BHS, or words that exist in classical Sanskrit but have a different meaning in BHS.
The number of chapters, as well as where the chapter breaks occur, varies in these different versions and manuscripts. The Chinese text is divided into only ten chapters. The Tibetan version is often referred to as having thirty-eight chapters, but a closer look reveals that there are two additional untitled final chapters. The Tibetan, unlike the Sanskrit versions, does not make a final chapter from the conclusion, and does not divide its chapter 39 on the restraint of the body, speech, and mind into three chapters, but it does make a short chapter 22 from what, in the Sanskrit, constitutes the end of chapter 21.
The sūtra is quoted in a number of Indian treatises as well as many Tibetan works. Indian authors such as Candrakīrti and Śāntideva referred to it by the title Candrapradīpasūtra (zla ba sgron ma’i mdo); other authors used the title Samādhirāja. The earliest known quotations from the sūtra were made by Candrakīrti in the seventh century; he quoted from it twenty times in his Prasannapadā (Clear Words), and also in his Madhyamakāvatāra (Entering the Middle Way). He also quoted verses that appear only in the longer version of the sūtra, and not in the manuscript that was translated into Tibetan in the early ninth century. It would therefore seem that variants of the sūtra already coexisted in India in the seventh century.
Candrakīrti is followed by Śāntideva in the late seventh to early eighth century, who quotes it twenty times in his Śikṣasamuccaya (Compendium of Training).
The sūtra, particularly its verses on emptiness, is quoted by other prominent Indian authors such as Prajñākaramati in his Bodhisattvacaryāvatārapañjikā (Commentary on Difficult Points in “Entering the Conduct of the Bodhisattvas”), which is a commentary on Śāntideva’s Bodhisattvacaryāvatāra (Entering the Conduct of the Bodhisattvas) and Kamalaśīla’s Bhāvanākrama (Stages of Meditation).
A passage from chapter 3 in which the Buddha summarizes for Candraprabha the qualities of a tathāgata (3.3) seems to have been the source for the short Kangyur sūtra Remembering the Buddha (Buddhānusmṛti, sangs rgyas rjes su dran pa, Toh 279), which reproduces verbatim the Tibetan translation of the passage and is therefore unlikely to be a parallel translation from an independent Sanskrit original (although that is not impossible). This widely known and much recited text is part of a set of three such works (Toh 279–281), one for each of the Three Jewels, and often reproduced as a single work with the title Remembering the Three Jewels. However, the passages on the Dharma and Saṅgha are not drawn from the King of Samādhis.
The King of Samādhis is also quoted in many treatises on tantras, and its recitation is prescribed in maṇḍala ritual texts. For example, the Maṇḍala Rite of Cakrasamvara says that four sūtras should be recited, one in each of the four main directions around the maṇḍala. The sūtras are the Prajñāparāmitā (Perfection of Wisdom in Eight Thousand Verses); Gaṇḍavyūha (Array of Trees), which is the last chapter of the Avataṃsaka; Laṅkāvātara (Entry into Laṅka); and Samādhirāja (King of Samādhis).5
These four sūtras are among the nine principal works that came to be considered the most important in Nepalese Buddhism; they are frequently recited, and offerings are made to them. The other five sūtras in this group are the Saddharmapuṇḍarīka (The White Lotus of the Good Dharma), Lalitavistara (The Play in Full), Tathāgataguhyaka (The Secret of the Tathāgatas), Suvarṇaprabha (The Golden Light), and Daśabhūmika (The Ten Bhūmis).
In China, the King of Samādhis—unlike the White Lotus of the Good Dharma—never gained any great prominence, and no commentary was translated.
In Tibet, although its existence was well known through its use as a source of quotations, the sūtra itself was not particularly studied, nor were its admonitions to dedicate oneself to its recitation and follow a life of extreme mendicancy followed. Nevertheless, more than two hundred years after it had been translated into Tibetan, the King of Samādhis Sūtra did gain a certain importance within the circle of students who followed Atiśa Dipaṃkaraśrījñāna (980–1054) and became the founders of the Kadampa tradition, which emphasized the bodhisattva path of the Mahāyāna sūtras. Atiśa’s translator and guide Nagtsho Lotsawa translated a commentary on the King of Samādhis Sūtra by the Indian master Mañjuśrīkīrti entitled Kīrtimālā (The Garland of Fame). Mañjuśrīkīrti may be the same person as the student of Candrakīrti with that name, although that would seem unlikely given the definite influence of the Yogacāra tradition in his work.6 Moreover, Nagtsho’s Tibetan translation of the commentary incorporates the earlier Tibetan translation of the sūtra itself—another indication that Mañjuśrīkīrti’s original commentary was written for the same version of the sūtra in Sanskrit that had been translated into Tibetan, and not the longer version that Candrakīrti quoted from.
Tsongkhapa, the founder of the Gelugpa tradition, which was based on the Kadampa tradition, quotes from the sūtra thirteen times in his Lamrim Chenmo (Great Graduated Path), and his student Khedrup Jé also relied upon it as a major source of quotations. The sūtra is also much quoted in the best known commentarial works of the great scholars of all traditions, including several of the early Sakya masters, Longchenpa, Minling Terchen, and Drikung Chökyi Trakpa, as well as those of later authors like Jamgön Kongtrul, Mipham, Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo, and Jigme Tenpai Nyima.
Some of the quotations from the sūtra in the Tibetan commentarial literature are ascribed to it erroneously, such as the one-line quotation on buddha nature (an idea barely even mentioned in the sūtra), in the first few lines of Gampopa’s text on the graduated path, An Adornment for the Precious Path to Liberation. Similarly, an eight-line prophecy concerning the Karmapa incarnations is frequently ascribed to the sūtra even though it is not to be found in any extant version, even as a paraphrase.7 Among the other reasons why the sūtra is revered in the Kagyu tradition, the monastic lineage of which was founded by Gampopa, is perhaps that Gampopa’s Kadampa teacher Potowa is said to have identified him as the rebirth of Candraprabha, the interlocutor of the King of Samādhis. Gampopa used the name Da-ö Shönnu (zla ’od gzhon nu, the Tibetan for Candraprabha Kumāra) in his colophons, and later teachers sometimes referred to him by that name. Since Gampopa himself is nevertheless not known to have been a promulgator of the sūtra, in order to conform to the prophecy it has been claimed that it represents a sūtra version of Gampopa’s Mahāmudrā teaching—but not explicitly so, and indeed the reader will not find any such doctrinal elements that set its viewpoint particularly apart from that of the Perfection of Wisdom sūtras.
The sūtra portrays a form of Buddhism that emphasized mendicancy, living at the foot of trees in forests, and so on, in opposition to less austere Buddhist ways of life. It considers nirvāṇa impossible to attain for householders, and likens nirvāṇa to a flame being extinguished, bringing any activity to an end. In it, the Buddha emphasizes again and again the vast number of eons during which he and other tathāgatas practiced before attaining enlightenment.
It contains prophecies describing the very time when the sūtra itself is being disseminated in India, saying it will be rejected and denounced by other monks. As well as its strong promotion of mendicancy, insisting that a bhikṣu should remain in the forest and have no possessions, it condemns the corruption of bhikṣus who accumulate possessions and visit laypeople’s homes to teach them there. Its strict adherence to the forest lifestyle, and its condemnation of bhikṣus who do not follow it, would not have found wide favor in some of the Buddhist establishments of that time. The sūtra also addresses the known problem of that time of destitute people who joined the ranks of Buddhist monks in order to receive material support for themselves, without having any genuine dedication to or understanding of the teaching.
This is one example of how the sūtra shows evidence of the conditions prevailing at the time and place it was promulgated. Another—one of its less appealing aspects for our present age, but one that is typical of many early Mahāyāna sūtras—is its attitude toward women: the bodhisattva is always male, as is explicit in the Sanskrit (although in this translation frequent use has been made of the plural to render bodhisattvas’ male gender less obvious). Women often appear as property that is given away, and the noble kings have harems as well as slaves, though the Tibetan did not have the term to translate antapuraḥ (harem) and used the more palatable “retinue of queens.” However, women are still seen as capable of being devotees of the path of the sūtra, and in particular there is the tale of Princess Jñānāvatī, who cuts off the flesh from her thigh so as to heal her sick bhikṣu teacher. But in every such case this means that the woman will gain a male rebirth so that she may be able to continue on the path to enlightenment.
The sūtra also mentions the sacrificial offering of burning a hand (which is, however, then miraculously reconstituted). This passage, along with similar accounts in other sūtras, has inspired the Tibetan tradition of burning a finger as an offering.
The sūtra has several references linking it with South India. It contains references to South Indian music, and the nominative -u ending is a characteristic of South India. More significantly, in the post-Gilgit additional verses there is a special emphasis given to Rishi Ananta, who was highly revered in the south.
There are several doctrinal indicators to the period in which it appeared. This being an early Mahāyāna sūtra, there is no mention in the King of Samādhis of the saṃbhogakāya or nirmāṇakāya, but only dharmakāya and rūpakāya; the doctrine of three kāyas came to prominence later. Nor is there any real mention of the tathāgatagarbha, or buddha nature, another notion developed in later works.
Although there is mention in both the Gilgit and Chinese versions of Buddha Amitābha and his realm Sukhāvatī, Amitābha’s accompanying bodhisattvas Avalokiteśvara and Mahāstāmaprapta are noticeable by their absence, indicating that the sūtra dates back to a time before their rise to prominence, and possibly to a time even before the appearance of the longer Sukhāvatīsūtra. However, as might be expected, both bodhisattvas do appear in the additional verses of the later Sanskrit versions, and therefore the Tibetan, too. As a pair, however, they still have equal status, as they frequently do in Mahāyāna sūtras before the rise of Avalokiteśvara to preeminence by the fourth or fifth century.
Some of the later additional verses, too, include references to the ten bodhisattva bhūmis that are unlikely to have been in the earliest version, as the Perfection of Wisdom tradition, as well as the early Yogacāra of Asaṅga, mention only seven bhūmis.
A particular feature that the sūtra shares with quite a large number of other Mahāyāna sūtras, such as the White Lotus of the Good Dharma Sūtra, is that it promotes itself as the core focus of a bodhisattva’s practice, stating that the bodhisattva should recite it, promulgate it, and so on.
Given the significant differences between the versions of this sūtra in Sanskrit, Chinese, and Tibetan, an English translation could never represent all versions equally, and necessarily involves a selective approach based on stated principles. In this translation of the King of Samādhis, we have chosen to stay as close as possible to the Tibetan of the Kangyur, which has more content than both the Chinese translation and the Gilgit manuscript. However, we have compared the Tibetan closely to the Chinese and Gilgit versions, along with the two longer Nepalese Sanskrit manuscripts identified in this translation as Shastri and Hodgson (see above). Discrepancies between the versions are recorded in the notes.
Where there are significant discrepancies, the Tibetan has been favored in the translation wherever possible, as it probably represents a particular Sanskrit version that has not survived. In some instances, however, adhering to the Tibetan would have caused problems regarding the meaning of the text, and here the Sanskrit reading has been preferred. Consulting the other versions has also been indispensable in clearing up ambiguities, variations in the Tibetan between the different Kangyurs, and the occasional error in the Tibetan, the results of scribal corruption or adopting the wrong meaning of a word, such as the classical Sanskrit meaning instead of the BHS meaning. Also of great help has been clarification from the Chinese translation that Ling-Lung Chen has been able to provide. In one case, the Chinese preserves an uncorrupted version of a passage in which “nature” was later replaced by “past,” resulting in a peculiar set of verses with a peculiar meaning.
A particular difficulty was the list of qualities of the samādhi given in chapter 1. They are defined in order in chapter 40, and also in Mañjuśrīkīrti’s commentary on the sūtra, which itself was useful in ascertaining the intended meaning of these words. However, there are discrepancies between these three versions in Tibetan, as well as with the qualities as listed in the Sanskrit versions of the sūtra.
Much invaluable work has already been done on this sūtra by present-day Western scholars. Konstanty (also Constantin) Régamey planned an erudite translation of the entire sūtra based on Tibetan, Sanskrit, and Chinese, which was interrupted by the effects of World War II in Poland. However, we are fortunate that copies of his translation of chapters 8, 19, and 22 survived the destruction of his work.
Nalinaksha Dutt published an edition of the Gilgit manuscripts with comparison to two later Nepalese manuscripts in the 1940s and ’50s. Luis Gómez and Jonathan Silk published a translation of the first four chapters in 1989. John Rockwell translated chapters 4, 5, 7, and 9 in 1980. Christoph Cüppers translated the ninth chapter in 1990, and Mark Tatz translated the eleventh chapter in 1972. Finally, Andrew Skilton’s research into the various versions of the Samādhirāja Sūtra, in several publications from 1999 onwards, has been very illuminating and has been particularly useful for this introduction.
Chapter 1: The Introduction
The Buddha Śākyamuni is on Vulture Peak Mountain outside Rājagṛha with a great gathering of bhikṣus and bodhisattvas. Candraprabha asks him for instruction. The Buddha states that evenness of mind is the one quality that will bring enlightenment and the attainment of the samādhi called the revealed equality of the nature of all phenomena, which is described as having an array of qualities that covers all the various aspects of the path. On hearing this, a multitude of beings attain various stages of realization; the earth shakes, and a radiance illuminates the universe.
Chapter 2: Śālendrarāja
The Buddha tells Candraprabha in both prose and verse how in a past life he was a cakravartin named Bhīṣmottara who for quintillions of eons honored successive buddhas on Vulture Peak Mountain and received the teaching of this sūtra from all of them. The last of those buddhas was Śālendrarāja. The Buddha says that serving the buddhas in this way is necessary for the attainment of buddhahood. He says that those who uphold this sūtra in the future will be reborn in Sukhāvatī.
Chapter 3: Praise of the Buddha’s Qualities
The Buddha tells Candraprabha about the qualities of a tathāgata, and explains that they can be attained through this sūtra. Then, in verse, he describes his acts of generosity in past lives and his search for this sūtra. He describes the benefits of the sūtra and condemns those in the future who teach but do not practice. Candraprabha vows to uphold this teaching in the future.
Chapter 4: Samādhi
Candraprabha asks what is meant by samādhi. The Buddha explains that it means the attainment of realization, the elimination of the kleśas, correct conduct, renunciation, and other such qualities. Then the Buddha describes in verse the nature and result of practicing this samādhi.
Chapter 5: Ghoṣadatta
The Buddha tells Candraprabha that the practitioner should abandon all worldly ties and his home. He then describes how in the past there was a buddha named Ghoṣadatta. A king named Mahābala and his subjects make extensive offerings to him. However, the king realizes that his subjects have made the offerings with the hope for material benefits in future lives. Buddha Ghoṣadatta recites verses on how it is necessary to abandon one’s home and all material possessions. King Mahābala becomes a bhikṣu, and in subsequent lifetimes serves two hundred million buddhas and hears the teaching of this sūtra from them all. He eventually becomes a buddha named Jñānaśūra. Mahābala’s subjects, who also became bhikṣus, all become buddhas named Dṛḍhaśūra.
Chapter 6: Cultivating the Samādhi
The Buddha tells Candraprabha that many offerings should be made to the Buddha but without the concept of a giver or recipient and that the merit that ensues should be dedicated to attaining enlightenment. Then, knowing that there is no birth, death, or anyone who is a bodhisattva, they will be impervious to the attacks or persuasions of the māras.
Chapter 7: The Attainment of Patience
The Buddha tells Candraprabha that a bodhisattva needs to attain three kinds of patience. The first patience is to maintain the Dharma by not arguing, and so on; to know that everything is an illusion; to know the sūtras; to have no doubt; to have no anger toward tīrthikas; to speak truthfully; never to abandon the path to buddhahood; and to master worldly skills. The second patience is having undisturbed śamatha and vipaśyanā, being in meditation during all activity, attaining the five higher cognitions, having miraculous powers, and remembering every word that is taught. With the third patience the bodhisattva can see all other worlds, has a golden body, teaches millions of beings, receives the prophecy of his buddhahood, and being aware of emptiness he remains unaffected by praise or blame, loss or gain.
Chapter 8: Buddha Abhāvasamudgata
The Buddha tells Candraprabha that the bodhisattva has to attain the wisdom of the nonexistence of phenomena so that he will have no desire. He adds that in the past there was a buddha named Abhāvasamudgata, who at birth levitated and declared the nonexistence of all phenomena, following which all the sounds in the world made the same declaration. Later, a prince named Mahākaruṇācintin became one of his bhikṣus, received the teaching of this sūtra, and thereby after twenty eons became a buddha named Suvicintitārtha.
Chapter 9: The Patience of the Profound Dharma
The Buddha tells Candraprabha that all the buddhas have attained buddhahood as a result of practicing the teaching of this sūtra. He says that the patience of the Dharma is attained through realizing that everything is like a dream or an illusion, so that there is no desire, anger, or ignorance. He teaches that one should avoid association with fools, and with those who have become bhikṣus as a source of livelihood. He teaches that one should not only give the teachings but also practice and realize them.
Chapter 10: The Entry into the City
Candraprabha praises the teaching and aspires to it. The Buddha places his hand on Candraprabha’s head and Candraprabha instantly realizes quintillions of samādhis. Candraprabha praises the Buddha and invites him to come for his midday meal at his home. The Buddha assents by remaining silent. Candraprabha then has the road to his home cleaned and divinely adorned. Throughout the night, he prepares a sumptuous meal. He then adorns the city and his own home. Accompanied by bodhisattvas and citizens he goes to Vulture Peak Mountain to invite the Buddha to his home. The Buddha proceeds there accompanied by a multitude of deities. The ground shakes as he takes his first step into the city. Everyone in the world becomes happy and deities make vast offerings.
The Buddha and his saṅgha are served food at Candraprabha’s home. When the Buddha has finished eating, Candraprabha praises him, aspires to become a buddha, and requests teaching that will enable him to accomplish that. The Buddha states that only one quality is necessary, which is the knowledge of the insubstantial nature of phenomena. He also describes the vast merit and good results that come from knowing even one verse of this sūtra. Candraprabha aspires to be a keeper of this sūtra in the future. The Buddha prophesies to many millions of beings who are present that they will attain buddhahood after more than four million eons have passed.
Chapter 12: The Training According to the Samādhi
The Buddha teaches Candraprabha that the mind has no nature of its own, and that the nature of the mind is the nature of the buddhas. The bodhisattva who knows that teaching is free from all bondage and masters all the skills of words and teaching.
Chapter 13: The Teaching of the Samādhi
The Buddha teaches that a bodhisattva should be skilled in teaching this samādhi, which is nonconceptual. The bodhisattva should be free of illusion and have great compassion.
Chapter 14: The Buddha’s Smile
Candraprabha, inspired by the teaching, recites verses praising how the Buddha has practiced, how true and supreme his words are, and how many different kinds of beings have gathered to listen to him. The Buddha smiles and Maitreya asks him the reason why.
Chapter 15: The Elucidation of the Buddha’s Smile
The Buddha explains to Maitreya that Candraprabha has in previous lives seen ten thousand million buddhas in this very city of Rājagṛha, and has received this same teaching on samādhi. He will also teach this samādhi in the future. He will see many buddhas and will eventually become a buddha named Vimalaprabha. Candraprabha on hearing this levitates with joy and praises the Buddha and rejoices in his good fortune.
Chapter 16: The Past
The Buddha tells Candraprabha that the samādhi of this sūtra frees beings from all illness and lower rebirths. The Buddha adds in verse that in a past life he was a prince named Mati who had an incurable illness. A bhikṣu named Brahmadatta, who was a previous life of Buddha Dīpaṃkara, taught him the samādhi and he was cured. Then the Buddha prophesies that in the future there will be bhikṣus with worldly desires and conduct, and when they die they will be reborn in the lower existences.
Chapter 17: The Entranceway to the Samādhi That Is Taught by Many Buddhas
The bodhisattva Maitreya tells the Buddha he is going to Vulture Peak Mountain in order to prepare offerings to the Buddha. When he arrives there he transforms it into a flat, divinely adorned ground with a throne in its center. Then he returns to Candraprabha’s home and describes what he has created. The Buddha returns to the mountain and sits on the throne. Candraprabha and millions of others also come to the mountain and Candraprabha requests a teaching. The Buddha describes four qualities necessary for attaining the samādhi of this sūtra: the first is calmness and self-restraint, the second is correct conduct, the third is fear of the three realms, and the fourth is devotion to the Dharma and benefiting others. Then in verse the Buddha describes a succession of buddhas within two eons of the distant past. He states that whoever hears their names will quickly attain this samādhi. Then he recounts that they were followed by a buddha named Narendraghoṣa. At that time the Buddha was a king named Śirībala, who with five hundred sons received this samādhi teaching from Narendraghoṣa. He and his sons all became bhikṣus. Śirībala was then reborn as the son of King Dṛḍhabala. The prince, remembering millions of previous lives, asks if the Buddha Narendraghoṣa is still alive, and describes and praises his teaching of this samādhi. King Dṛḍhabala brings his son, along with millions of other people, to that buddha, hears the teaching, and becomes a bhikṣu. Sixty eons later King Dṛḍhabala becomes Buddha Padmottara, and all his subjects who became bhikṣus all eventually become buddhas who all have the same name: Anantajñānanottara. The five hundred sons became the five hundred students of Śākyamuni who would in future times teach this sūtra. King Dṛḍhabala and his queen also became the Buddha’s parents: Śuddhodana and Māyādevī.
Chapter 18: The Entrustment of the Samādhi
The Buddha tells Candraprabha that a bodhisattva who possesses this samādhi has four qualities: unsurpassable merit, being invincible to adversaries, unlimited wisdom, and an unending eloquence. Candraprabha asks the Buddha who will listen to this samādhi in the future. The Buddha says that only bhikṣus with pure mendicancy will have faith in it. Those who reject it will have incalculable bad karma. Candraprabha vows to promulgate the sūtra in a future life and endure the abuse of those with no faith in it. Eight hundred others also vow to uphold the sūtra and eight hundred million deities vow to protect them. The Buddha gives his blessing, the world shakes, and the Buddha prophesies the buddhahood of the millions of beings who have listened to the sūtra.
Chapter 19: The Teaching of the Inconceivable Dharma of the Buddha
The Buddha teaches Candraprabha that it is through this samādhi that the inconceivable Dharma is attained. Candraprabha, listening to the teaching, attains that samādhi. A thousand million worlds shake as a result. A multitude of devas rejoice that they have also heard this teaching. The gandharva Pañcaśikha with five hundred other gandharvas fly down to Vulture Peak Mountain and play music as an offering. The Buddha causes the teaching of the inconceivable Dharma to come from the sound of their music. The teaching describes the unreality of existence and the benefits of nonattachment and equanimity.
Chapter 20: Indraketudhvajarāja
In this short chapter the Buddha instructs Candraprabha on gaining great compassion and depending on a spiritual guide. There are also eleven verses on the teaching of emptiness by a buddha in the past named Indraketudhvajarāja.
Chapter 21: The Past
In the prose introduction, the Buddha instructs Candraprabha on accumulating merit and avoiding the influence of bad companions. The verses describe how in the distant past, a king came across two renunciants in the forest and was inspired by them. However, bhikṣus who disliked their ascetic lifestyle and views urged the king to kill or banish them. A goddess who looked after the king’s benefit countered their influence. They succeeded in influencing the king’s brother and he led an army to the forest. The deities of the forest massacred them and all involved in the plot were reborn in hell. The Buddha explains that the two monks were Buddha Dīpaṃkara and himself, the king was Maitreya, and Candraprabha was the goddess.
Chapter 22: The Teaching on the Body
In this very brief chapter, the Buddha instructs Candraprabha not to have attachment to body or life. Those who avoid such attachment will attain buddhahood. Those who do have these attachments will commit bad actions and go to hell after death.
The Buddha teaches Candraprabha that a buddha should not be identified as his rūpakāya or form body, but as the dharmakāya, the “Dharma body,” which is indescribable and unquantifiable. Even though someone sees the physical presence of a buddha, that is a manifestation of the dharmakāya, and it is the dharmakāya that is the Buddha’s true body, which cannot be perceived as having any features or actions.
The Buddha teaches Candraprabha that through this sūtra a bodhisattva can gain four kinds of discernment: discernment of phenomena, of meaning, of definitions, and of confident speech. He then gives a long explanation of the discernment of phenomena, in which successive qualities are explained in relation to four aspects: the composite teaching, the composite, the kleśas, and purification. For each of these there is an inconceivable number of each quality. The second, third, and fourth discernments are explained in single brief sentences. The concluding verses state that the Buddha has innumerable qualities, and exhort the teaching of this sūtra.
Chapter 25: Engaging in Discernment
The Buddha teaches Candraprabha in greater depth on the discernment of phenomena, emphasizing that there is no difference between the nature of phenomena and enlightenment, and specifying that there is no difference between the nature of the skandhas and enlightenment. Then in verse he teaches the emptiness of phenomena and nirvāṇa, and that his true body is not his “form body,” the rūpakāya, but his dharmakāya, and therefore the only one who has truly seen a buddha is one who has seen the dharmakāya, who has seen emptiness. There follows a condemnation of bhikṣus of the future who will be concerned with gain and honors, and will teach and become involved with laypeople, and are destined for the hells. However, there should be no anger toward them; they should be treated with respect. There is also advice on humility and circumspection in giving teachings, as to who should be taught and what kind of teaching should be given. There is also an exhortation to make offerings, but also that the merit gained from this sūtra is far more vast than the most extensive offerings.
Chapter 26: Rejoicing
The Buddha teaches Candraprabha that a bodhisattva must be skillful in methods, which he defines as rejoicing in the merit of beings. Then in verse he describes rejoicing in various kinds of good actions and the benefits of mendicancy, and concludes by saying that being careful is the root of all of these.
Chapter 27: The Benefits of Generosity
In this brief chapter, the Buddha teaches Candraprabha that a careful bodhisattva practices the six perfections. Then he teaches the ten benefits that come from practicing the first of these: generosity.
Chapter 28: The Benefits of Correct Conduct
In this very brief chapter, the Buddha teaches ten benefits that come from practicing the second of the six perfections: correct conduct.
Chapter 29: Ten Benefits
The Buddha teaches the benefits that come from the remaining four perfections: patience, diligence, meditation, and wisdom. They are followed by the benefits of becoming very learned in the Dharma, giving the Dharma to others, maintaining the knowledge of emptiness, maintaining detachment in meditation, remaining in solitude, and following a mendicant lifestyle and begging for alms. The Buddha concludes by stating that such a bodhisattva will obtain, through the supernatural higher cognitions, the treasure of the buddhas because he will be able to see them all. And he will attain the treasure of the Dharma because he can hear the buddhas teaching. He will attain the treasure of wisdom because he remembers the teaching and knows how to give it to others. Finally, he will attain the treasure of knowing the past, present, and future of beings.
Chapter 30: Tejaguṇarāja
The Buddha tells Candraprabha that he should be dedicated to this sūtra and live alone in the forest. In the verse he tells how, in the distant past, there was a buddha named Tejaguṇarāja and at that time Buddha Śākyamuni was a world ruler named Dṛdhadatta. When he heard the teaching of the King of Samādhis Sūtra, he and the entire population of the world became bhikṣus and bhikṣuṇīs who were supported by the devas. The Buddha describes the nature of degenerate Dharma teachers in future times, who do not practice mendicancy. He prescribes making images of the Buddha, making offerings to him, and aspiring to the teaching of this sūtra. The Buddha then describes the various great qualities that those who possess this sūtra will have.
Chapter 32: The Teaching on the Nature of All Phenomena
The Buddha teaches that a bodhisattva who wishes to know the nature of phenomena should be dedicated to this sūtra. He describes in verse the compassion, patience, ability to remember and teach, generosity, and diligence that is the nature of the bodhisattva who realizes the nature of phenomena, which is peace and emptiness. He states that this is the path he followed, and encourages all to follow his example. He states that those who reject the path to enlightenment spend eons in the hells, but those who teach and protect this sūtra in future times will quickly attain enlightenment.
The Buddha teaches that dedication to this sūtra will bring the higher cognitions of all phenomena. This is then explained through almost three hundred verses in the Tibetan version. He teaches that the higher cognitions are gained by having no attachment, either to samādhi or worldly things, and by having no pride. The higher cognitions are the realization that there is no substance to anything, even the Buddha’s words. This realization of emptiness brings buddhahood, which does not exist on the level of words. Buddhahood has no form; it is the dharmakāya. It transcends every kind of conceptual identification. Those without this understanding believe they have made spiritual progress but still have desire, particularly for women.
Those who have the realization manifest pure realms. While communicating with words, they transcend thought and concepts, have miraculous powers, and do not age. Ordinary humans who delight in this sūtra will proceed to enlightenment and will meet Buddha Maitreya. Maintaining this sūtra in the degenerate age is the greatest offering to the buddhas. Women who have faith in a single verse from it will never be reborn as women. The bodhisattvas who realize this samādhi will have inconceivable qualities and attain buddhahood at Bodhgaya.
Other bodhisattvas will come to hear them teaching and those bodhisattvas will adorn the world, transforming it into a pure realm. Lotuses and birds throughout countless realms will emit the words of the Dharma. The bodhisattva who practices this sūtra has immaculate conduct and at death will go to Sukhāvatī, and in the degenerate age will be the protector of the Dharma.
Chapter 34: Kṣemadatta
The Buddha teaches that the bodhisattva who wishes to attain this sūtra’s samādhi and enlightenment should make extensive offerings to a living buddha or to a stūpa containing his relics, and relates a story as an example. The story is about a king named Śrīghoṣa who made extensive offerings to millions of stūpas containing the relics of Buddha Ghoṣadatta—presumably the same buddha who appears in chapter 5. One night he offers millions of lamps to the stūpas. On seeing this, a young bodhisattva named Kṣemadatta makes a lamp out of his hand by wrapping it in cloth and dousing it in sesame oil. The light from this lamp eclipses all the other light offerings, and the hand is burned away. The king and his queens leap from their high palace roof to go and see this, but are not hurt thanks to intervention by deities. The king approaches Kṣemadatta, admires him, and expresses sorrow for the loss of his hand. Kṣemadatta recites a verse on emptiness, and because of the truth of his words, his hand grows back and there are other miracles. The Buddha then states that he was Kṣemadatta and that Maitreya was King Śrīghoṣa.
The Buddha instructs Candraprabha on four kinds of dedication of merit from acts of generosity. He then states that a bodhisattva should give even his own flesh to heal a teacher of the Dharma from illness. He then tells the story of how, eons ago, Princess Jñānāvatī followed the instructions given to her in a dream, which were to use her own flesh and blood to treat her sick Dharma teacher. He was miraculously cured, and she was miraculously unharmed, despite having cut off her own flesh. The Buddha states that he was that princess in a previous lifetime, her father the king was Maitreya, and the Dharma teacher became Buddha Dīpaṃkara.
Chapter 36: Supuṣpacandra
In this chapter, one of the longest in the sūtra, there is no mention of Candraprabha. Instead, Ānanda requests teaching from the Buddha, and the Buddha states that a bodhisattva must have equanimity and not cease in his progress to enlightenment, no matter what suffering he endures. The Buddha gives the example of Supuṣpacandra. In an eon long ago, Buddha Ratnapadmacandraviśuddhābhyudgatarāja attained enlightenment, liberated countless beings, and passed into nirvāṇa all in one day. During the last five hundred years of his teaching, all bodhisattvas had been exiled to Samantabhadra Forest. Supuṣpacandra was with them as their teacher, but saw that the time had come to teach other beings, even if it cost him his life. In the story, he leaves alone and eventually reaches the capital, where, in the course of a week, he establishes countless beings on the path to enlightenment, including King Śūradatta’s harem of eighty thousand queens, and all his thousand sons. On the seventh day, when the king is in a large procession heading to a park, he witnesses the devotion of the populace, and his own family, to a bhikṣu who is standing by the road. Consumed with jealousy, he orders his executioner to slay the bhikṣu. The executioner cuts him up into eight pieces. When the king is returning to his capital after a week he sees that the body parts have not decayed. Also the townspeople and the bodhisattvas of the forest have come and discovered the death. Filled with remorse, the king arranges a cremation and the building of a stūpa for the relics, and for thousands of years makes offerings, confesses his crime, and keeps perfect discipline. Nevertheless, he is reborn in hell and for millions of eons experiences various mutilations and sufferings as a result of his action. The Buddha then states that King Śūradatta was one of his own previous lives, and Supuṣpacandra subsequently became Buddha Padmottara.
Chapter 37: Teaching the Aggregate of Correct Conduct
The Buddha says to Candraprabha that a bodhisattva should also have correct conduct, and then recites verses, stating that possessing and reciting this sūtra, even one verse of it, has greater merit than eons of generosity, and that it contains an incalculable number of teachings. Then the qualities are described of the bhikṣu bodhisattva who has this sūtra, concluding by saying that many eons would not suffice to describe them all.
Chapter 38: Yaśaḥprabha
The Buddha says to Candraprabha that a bodhisattva should dedicate himself to ending the kleśas, gaining merit, and generating roots of goodness out of an aspiration for buddhahood. Then in verse he tells the story of how, many eons ago, there was a buddha named Gaṇeśvara. The king Varapuṣpasa listened to his teachings on emptiness and with his five hundred sons became ordained. In a later time, after Gaṇeśvara’s nirvāṇa, there was a prince named Puṇyamatin who was a student of a bhikṣu named Yaśaḥprabha, who had a great following. Other bhikṣus, who were jealous of him, tried to kill him. But because of the power of the truth of his teachings, their weapons changed to flowers. The Buddha explains that at that time, he was Yaśaḥprabha, Maitreya was Puṇyamatin, and King Varapuṣpasa later became Buddha Padmottara. The Buddha subsequently extols the virtues of patience. Then Śākyamuni gives teachings on how to practice the path to buddhahood.
Chapter 39: Restraint of the Body, Speech, and Mind
The Buddha teaches to Candraprabha all the various qualities, manners, and results of restraining the body. He tells the story of how, many eons ago, at the time of Buddha Jñānaprabhāsa, there lived King Viveśacintin, who received from him this teaching on physical restraint, given in verse form. The king became a bhikṣu, and the Buddha states that the king was one of his own previous lives. The Buddha then gives a description of the restraint of the speech and the mind—its conduct, wisdom, and results.
Chapter 40: [Untitled]
The Buddha gives definitions for all the qualities of the samādhi that were given in chapter 1. There are some variances, particularly of omission, but the qualities are said by the Buddha to number three hundred.
The Indian preceptor Śrīlendrabodhi, and the chief editor Lotsawa Bandé Dharmatāśīla, translated and revised this work. It was later modified and finalized in terms of the new translation.
|BHS||Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit.|
|Chinese||Sixth century Chinese translation by Narendrayaśas (see introduction, i.7).|
|Commentary||Mañjuśrīkīrti (see bibliography).|
|Gilgit||Sixth to seventh century Sanskrit manuscript (see introduction i.9 and bibliography under Dutt).|
|Hodgson||Later Nepalese Sanskrit manuscript (see introduction i.9 and bibliography under Dutt).|
|Matsunami||Matsunami’s Sanskrit edition (see bibliography).|
|Shastri||Later Nepalese Sanskrit manuscript (see introduction i.9 and bibliography under Dutt).|
|Vaidya||Vaidya’s Sanskrit edition (see bibliography).|
Tibetan Editions of the Samādhirājasūtra
chos thams cad kyi rang bzhin mnyam pa nyid rnam spros pa ting nge ’dzin gyi rgyal po’i mdo (Sarvadharmasvabhāvasamatāvipañcitasamādhirājasūtra). Toh 127, Degé Kangyur vol. 55 (mdo sde, da), folios 1.a–175.b.
———. 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, vol. 55, pp. 3–411.
———. Lhasa Kangyur (lha sa bka’ ’gyur) vol. 55 (mdo sde, ta), folios 1.b–269.b.
———. Narthang Kangyur (snar thang bka’ ’gyur) vol. 55 (mdo sde, ta), folios 1.b–273.b.
———. Shelkar Drima Kangyur (shel mkhar bris ma bka’ ’gyur) vol. 54 (mdo sde, ja), folios 157.a–436.a.
———. Stok Palace Kangyur (stog pho brang bris ma bka’ ’gyur) vol. 58 (mdo sde, ja), folios 145.a–405.a.
———. Urga Kangyur vol. 55 (mdo sde, da), 1.b–170.a.
Sanskrit Editions of the Samādhirājasūtra
Dutt, Nalinaksha. Gilgit Manuscripts Vol. II, part I. Calcutta: J. C. Sarkhel, 1941. [This Sanskrit edition in three volumes is based on the Gilgit manuscript but also includes and represents the two Nepalese manuscripts of Hodgson and Shastri, see Introduction i.9 and n.4.
———. Gilgit Manuscripts Vol. II, part II. Calcutta: J. C. Sarkhel, 1953.
———. Gilgit Manuscripts Vol. II, part III. Calcutta: J. C. Sarkhel, 1954.
Matsunami, Seiren (ed.). “Bonbun Gattō Zanma kyō.”.in TDKK [Memoirs of Taisho University, Department of Buddhism and Literature] vol. 60 (1975), pp. 188–244.
———. “Bonbun Gattō Zanma kyō.” in TDKK [Memoirs of Taisho University, Department of Buddhism and Literature] vol. 61 (1975), 761–796.
Vaidya, P. L., ed. Samādhirājsūtra. Darbhanga, India: The Mithila Institute of Post-Graduate Studies and Research in Sanskrit Learning, 1961.
Other canonical references
da ltar gyi sangs rgyas mngon sum du bzhugs pa’i ting nge ’dzin gyi mdo (Pratyutpanna-buddha-samukhāsthita-samādhi-sūtra) [The Sūtra, The Samādhi of Being in the Presence of the Buddhas of the Present]. Toh 133, Degé Kangyur vol. 56 (mdo sde, na), folios 1.a–70.b.
dam pa’i chos pad ma dkar po’i mdo (Saddharmapuṇḍarīka-sūtra) [The Sūtra of the White Lotus of the Good Dharma]. Toh 113, Degé Kangyur vol. 67 (mdo sde, ja), folios 1.a–180.b. English translation in Roberts 2018.
de bzhin gshegs pa’i ye shes kyi phyag rgya’i ting nge ’dzin gyi mdo (Tathāgata-jñāna-mudrā-samādhi-sūtra) [The Sūtra of the Samādhi of the Seal of the Wisdom of the Tathāgatas]. Toh 131, Degé Kangyur vol. 55 (mdo sde, da), folios 230.b–253.b. English translation in Dharmachakra Translation Committee 2020b.
dge ba’i rtsa ba yongs su ’dzin pa’i mdo (Kuśala-mūla-saparigraha-sūtra) [The Sūtra of Possessing the Roots of Goodness]. Toh 101, Degé Kangyur vol. 48 (mdo sde, nga), folios 1.a–227.b. English translation in Dharmachakra Translation Committee 2020c.
de bzhin gshegs pa thams cad kyi sku gsung thugs kyi gsang chen gsang ba ’dus pa zhe bya ba brtag pa’i rgyal po chen po (Sarva-tathāgata-kāyavākcitta-rahasyo guhyasamāja-nāma-mahā-kalparāja) [The Great King Entitled the Union of the Great Secrets: the Secret of the Body, Speech, and Mind of all the Tathāgatas]. Also known as the Tathāgataguhyaka Sūtra [The Sūtra of the Secret of the Tathāgatas] and the Guhysamaja-tantra. Toh 442, Degé Kangyur vol. 81 (rgyud, ca), folios 90.a–157.b.
gser ’od dam pa mdo sde’i dbang po’i rgyal po’i mdo (Suvarṇa-prabhāsottama-sūtrendrarāja-sūtra) [The Sūtra of the King Who Is the Lord of Sūtras: The Supreme Golden Light]. Toh 556, Degé Kangyur vol. 89 (rgyud, pa), folios 151.b–273.a.
lang kar gshegs pa’i mdo (Laṅkāvatāra-sūtra) [Entry into Laṅka Sūtra]. Toh 107, Degé Kangyur vol. 49 (mdo sde, ca), folios 56.a–191.b.
sangs rgyas rjes su dran pa (Buddhānusmṛti) [Being Mindful of the Buddha]. Toh 279, Degé Kangyur vol. 68 (mdo sde, ya), folios 55.a-55.b.
rab tu zhi ba rnam par nges pa’i cho ’phrul gyi ting nge ’dzin gyi mdo (Praśanta-viniścaya-prāthihārya-samādhi-sūtra) [The Sūtra of the Absorption of the Miraculous Ascertainment of Peace]. Toh 129, Degé Kangyur vol. 55 (mdo sde, da), folios 174.b–210.b. English translation in Dharmachakra Translation Committee 2020.
rgya cher rol pa’i mdo (Lalitavistara-sūtra) [The Play in Full]. Toh 95, Degé Kangyur vol. 46 (mdo sde, kha), folios 1.b–216.b. English translation in Dharmachakra Translation Committee 2013.
sa bcu pa’i mdo (Daśabhūmika-sūtra) [The Sūtra of the Ten Bhūmis]. Chapter 31 of the Avataṃsaka, Toh 44. Degé Kangyur vol. 36 (phal chen, kha), folios 166.a–283.a. English translation in Roberts 2021b.
sdong po bkod pa (Gaṇḍavyūha) [The Stem Array]. Chapter 45 of the Avataṃsaka, Toh 44-45. Degé Kangyur vols. 37 and 38 (phal chen, ga-a), folios ga 274.b–363.a. English Translation in Roberts 2021a.
shes rab pha rol tu phyin pa brgyad stong pa (Aṣṭa-sāhasrikā-prajñāpāramitā-sūtra) [The Perfection of Wisdom in Eight Thousand Lines]. Toh 12, Degé Kangyur vol. 33 (brgyad stong pa, ka), folios 1.b–286.a.
’od dpag med kyi bkod pa’i mdo (Amitābhavyūhasūtra) [The Array of Amitābha]. Also known as The Longer Sukhāvatīsūtra. Toh 49, Degé Kangyur vol. 39 (dkon brtsegs, ka), folios 237.b-270.a.
’od zer kun du bkye pa’i bstan pa’i mdo (Raśmisamantamuktanirdeśasūtra) [The Teaching on the Effulgence of Light]. Toh 55, Degé Kangur vol. 40 (dkon brtsegs, kha), folios 195.a–255.b.
tshong dpon bzang skyong gyis zhus pa’i mdo (Bhadrapāla-śreṣṭhi-paripṛccha-sūtra) [The Sūtra of the Questions of Bhadrapāla the Merchant]. Toh 83, Degé Kangyur vol. 44 (dkon brtsegs, cha), folios 71.a–94.b.
yang dag par spyod pa’i tshul nam mkha’i mdog gis ’dul ba’i bzod pa’i mdo (Saṃyagacārya-vṛtta-gagana-varṇa-vinaya-kṣānti-sūtra) [The Sūtra on Patience with the Discipline Through Practicing in a Way that is Like The Colour of the Sky]. Toh 263, Degé Kangyur vol. 67 (mdo sde ’a), folios 90.a–209.b.
Candrakīrti. dbu ma la ’jug pa (Madhyamakāvatāra) [Entering the Middle Way]. Toh 3861, Degé Tengyur vol. 102 (dbu ma ’a), folios 201.b–219.a.
———. dbu ma rtsa ba’i ’grel pa tshig gsal ba (Mūlamadhyamakavṛttiprasannapadā) [Clear Words: A Commentary on the Root Middle Way]. Toh 3860, Degé Tengyur vol. 102 (dbu ma, ’a), folios 1.a–200.a.
Dārika. ’khor lo sdom pa’i dkyil ’khor gyi cho ga de kho na nyid la ’jug pa (Cakrasaṁvaramaṇḍalavidhitattvāvatāra) [Entering the Truth: A Maṇḍala Rite of Cakrasamvara]. Toh 1430, Degé Tengyur vol. 20 (rgyud ’grel, wa), folios 203.b–219.b.
Kamalaśīla. sgom pa’i rim pa (Bhāvanākrama) [Stages of Meditation]. Toh 3915, 3916, and 3917, Degé Tengyur vol. 110 (dbu ma, ki), folios 22.a–41.b, 41.a–55.b, and 55.b–68.b.
Mañjuśrīkīrti. ’phags pa chos thams cad kyi rang bzhin mnyam pa nyid rnam spros pa ting nge ’dzin gyi rgyal po zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo’i ’grel pa grags pa’i phreng ba zhes bya ba (Ārya-sarva-dharma-svabhāva-samatā-vipañcita-samādhi-rāja-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra-ṭika-kīrti-mālā-nāma) [The Garland of Fame: A Commentary on The Mahāyāna Sūtra Entitled The King of Samādhis: The Revealed Equality of the Nature of All Phenomena]. Toh 4010, Degé Tengyur vol. 117 (mdo ’grel, nyi), folios 1.b–163.b.
———. Idem, in bstan ’gyur (dpe bsdur ma) [Comparative Edition of the Tengyur], 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). 120 volumes. Beijing: krung go’i bod rig pa dpe skrun khang (China Tibetology Publishing House), 1994–2008, vol. 117 (mdo ’grel, nyi), 752–1181.
Prajñākaramati. byang chub kyi spyod pa la ’jug pa’i dka’ ’grel (Bodhisattvacaryāvatārapañjikā) [Commentary on Difficult Points in Entering the Conduct of the Bodhisattvas]. Toh 3872, Degé Tengyur vol. 105 (dbu ma, la), folios 41.b–288.a.
Śāntideva. byang chub sems dpa’i spyod pa la ’jug pa (Bodhisattvacaryāvatāra) [Entering the Conduct of the Bodhisattvas]. Toh 3871, Degé Tengyur vol. 105 (dbu ma, la), folios 1.a–40.a.
———. bslab pa kun las btus pa (Śikṣasamuccaya) [Compendium of Training]. Toh 3939, Degé Tengyur vol. 111 (dbu ma, khi), folios 3.a–194.b.
Non-Canonical Tibetan Sources
Gampopa (sgam po pa bsod nams rin chen). dam chos yid bzhin nor bu thar pa rin po che’i rgyan. Kathmandu: Gam-po-pa Library, 2003.
Pekar Sangpo (pad dkar bzang po). bstan pa spyi’i rgyas byed las mdo sde spyi’i rnam bzhag bka’ bsdu ba bzhi pa zhes bya ba’i bstan bcos. Beijing: mi rigs dpe skrun khang, 2006.
Rinchen Palzang (rin chen dpal bzang). mtshur phu dgon gyi dkar chag kun gsal me long. Beijing: mi rigs dpe skrun khang, 1995.
Tsongkhapa (tsong kha pa). lam rim chen mo. In rje tsong kha pa chen po’i gsung ’bum vol. 8, Zi ling: mtsho sngon mi rigs dpe skrun khang, 1999.
Bailey, D. R. Shackleton. The Śatapañcāśatka of Mātṛceta. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1951.
Cüppers, Cristoph. The IXth Chapter of the Samādhirājasūtra: A Text-Critical Contribution to the Study of Mahāyāna Sūtras. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1990.
Dharmachakra Translation Committee, trans. (2013). The Play in Full (Lalitavistara, Toh 95). 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha.
———, trans. (2020a). The Absorption of the Miraculous Ascertainment of Peace (Praśāntaviniścayaprātihāryasamādhi, Toh 129). 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha.
———, trans. (2020b). The Absorption of the Thus-Gone One’s Wisdom Seal (Tathāgatajñānamudrāsamādhi, Toh 131). 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha.
———, trans. (2020c). Upholding the Roots of Virtue (Kuśalamūlasaṃparigraha, Toh 101). 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha.
———, trans. (2022). The Teaching on the Effulgence of Light (Raśmisamantamuktanirdeśa, Toh 55). 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha.
Dimitrov, Dragomir. “Two Female Bodhisattvas in Flesh and Blood,” in Aspects of the Female in Indian Culture. Marburg: Indica et Tibetica, 2004, pp. 3–30.
Gómez, Luis O. and Silk, Jonathan A. Studies in the Literature of the Great Vehicle: Three Mahāyāna Buddhist Texts. Ann Arbor: Collegiate Institute for the Study of Buddhist Literature and Center for South and Southeast Asian Studies, The University of Michigan, 1989.
Leslie, Julia. “A Bird Bereaved: The Identity and Significance of Valmiki’s Krauñcha,” in Journal of Indian Philosophy 26.5 (1998): 455–87.
Régamey, Konstanty. Philosophy in the Samādhirājasūtra. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1990.
Roberts, Peter Alan, trans. (2018). The White Lotus of the Good Dharma (Saddharmapuṇḍarīka, Toh 113). 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha.
———, trans. (2021a) The Stem Array (Gaṇḍavyūha, Toh 44-45). 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha.
———, trans. (2021b). The Ten Bhūmis (Daśabhūmika, Toh 44-31). 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha.
Rockwell, John Jr. Samādhi and Patient Acceptance: Four Chapters of the Samādhirāja-sūtra, Translated from the Sanskrit and Tibetan. M.A. thesis, Naropa Institute, Boulder, Colorado, 1980.
Skilton, Andrew. “Dating the Samādhirāja Sūtra,” In Journal of Indian Philosophy 27: 635–52. Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1999.
Tatz, Mark. “Revelation in Mādhyamika Buddhism: Chapter Eleven of the Samādhirāja-sūtra (On Mastering the Sūtra).” Translated from the Tibetan with commentary. University of Washington, 1972.
Thrangu Rinpoche. King of Samadhi: Commentaries on the Samadhi Raja Sutra and the Song of Lodrö Thaye. Hong Kong, Boudhnath & Århus: Rangjung Yeshe Publications, 1994.