The Dhāraṇī of the Jewel Torch
Degé Kangyur, vol. 57 (mdo sde, pa), folios 34.a–82.a
Translated by David Jackson
under the patronage and supervision of 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha
First published 2020
Current version v 1.4.22 (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.
The Dhāraṇī of the Jewel Torch starts with a profound conversation between the Buddha and the bodhisattvas Samantabhadra and Mañjuśrī on the nature of the dharmadhātu, buddhahood, and emptiness. The bodhisattva Dharmamati then enters the meditative absorption called the infinite application of the bodhisattva’s jewel torch and, at the behest of the millions of buddhas who have blessed him, emerges from it to teach how bodhisattvas arise from the presence of a tathāgata and progress to the state of omniscience. Following Dharmamati’s detailed exposition of the “ten categories” or progressive stages of a bodhisattva, the Buddha briefly teaches the mantra of the dhāraṇī and then, for most of the remainder of the text, encourages bodhisattvas in a long versified passage in which he recounts teachings by a bodhisattva called Bhadraśrī on the qualities of bodhisattvas and buddhas. Some verses from this passage on the virtues of faith have been widely quoted in both India and Tibet.
Translated by David Jackson and edited by the 84000 editorial team. The introduction, also by the 84000 editorial team, expands on an original version by David Jackson. The translation was completed under the patronage and supervision of 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha.
The generous sponsorship of Make and Wang Xiao Juan (馬珂和王曉娟), which helped make the work on this translation possible, is most gratefully acknowledged.
Translated, checked, and verified by the Indian preceptor Surendrabodhi and the chief editor and translator, Bandé Yeshé Dé.
Tibetan and Sanskrit Texts
’phags pa dkon mchog ta la la’i gzungs (Ratnolkānāmadhāraṇī). Toh 145, Degé Kangyur vol. 57 (mdo sde, pa), folios 34.a–82.a.
’phags pa dkon mchog ta la la’i gzungs (Ratnolkānāmadhāraṇī). Toh 847, Degé Kangyur vol. 100 (gzungs, e), folios 3.b–54.b.
’phags pa dkon mchog ta la la’i gzungs. 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. 57, pp. 94–207.
Dzamthang Lama Ngawang Lodrö Drakpa. dpal ldan jo nang pa’i chos ’byung. Beijing: krung go’i bod kyi shes rig dpe skrun khang, 1992.
———. dpal ldan jo nang pa’i chos ’byung. Bir: Tsondu Senghe, 1983.
Drolungpa Lodrö Jungné. bstan rim chen mo. gsung ’bum: blo gros ’byung gnas. 2 volumes. n.p., n.d.
Bendall, Cecil (ed.). Çikshāsamuccaya: A Compendium of Buddhistic Teaching Compiled by Çāntideva Chiefly from Earlier Mahāyāna-Sūtras. Bibliotheca Buddhica I. St. Petersburg: Académie Impériale des Sciences, 1902.
Bendall, Cecil, and W.H.D. Rouse, trans. Śikṣā-Samuccaya: A Compendium of Buddhist Doctrine Compiled by Śāntideva Chiefly from Earlier Mahāyāna Sūtras. First edition in Indian Texts Series, London: John Murray, 1922. Reprinted New Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1971 and 1981.
Braarvig, Jens. “Dhāraṇī and Pratibhāna: Memory and Eloquence of the Bodhisattvas.” Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies 8, no. 1 (1985): 17–30.
Burchardi, Anne, trans. The Teaching on the Great Compassion of the Tathāgata (Toh 147, Tathāgatamahākaruṇānirdeśasūtra). 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha, 2020.
Buswell, Robert E. and Donald S. Lopez, eds. The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013.
Davidson, Ronald M. “Studies in Dhāraṇī Literature I: Revisiting the Meaning of the Term Dhāraṇī.” Journal of Indian Philosophy 37 (2009): 97–147.
———. “Studies in Dhāraṇī Literature II: Pragmatics of Dhāraṇīs.” Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 77 (2014): 5–61.
“Dharani.” Encyclopedia Britannica. Accessed September 15, 2018. https://www.britannica.com/topic/dharani-Buddhism-and-Hinduism.
Dharmachakra Translation Committee, trans. The Play in Full (Toh 95, Lalitavistara). 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha, 2013.
Edgerton, Franklin. Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Grammar and Dictionary. 2 vols. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1977.
Fischer-Schreiber, Ingrid, Franz-Karl Ehrhard, and Michael S. Diebner. The Shambhala Dictionary of Buddhism and Zen. Boston: Shambhala Publications, 1991.
Goldstein, Melvyn C. The New Tibetan-English Dictionary of Modern Tibetan. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001.
Goodman, Charles. The Training Anthology of Śāntideva: A Translation of the Śikṣā-samuccaya. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016.
Gyatso, Janet. “Letter Magic: A Peircean Perspective on the Semiotics of Rdo Grub-chen’s Dhāraṇī Memory.” In In the Mirror of Memory: Reflections on Mindfulness and Remembrance in Indian and Tibetan Buddhism. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1992.
Inagaki, Hisao. A Tri-Lingual Glossary of the Sukhāvatāvyūha Sūtras: Indexes to the Larger and Smaller Sukhāvatīvyūha Sūtras. Kyoto: Nagata Bunshodo, 1984.
Kapstein, Matthew. The Tibetans. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2006.
Krang Dbyi-sun, et al. Bod rgya tshig mdzod chen mo [Great Tibetan–Chinese Dictionary]. Beijing: Minzu chubanshe, 1985.
Lokesh Chandra and Raghu Vira. Sanskrit texts from the imperial palace at Peking, in the Manchurian, Chinese, Mongolian and Tibetan scripts. Śata-piṭaka Series, vol. 71. New Delhi: Institute for the Advancement of Science and Culture, 1966–1976.
McBride, Richard D. “Dhāraṇī and Spells in Medieval China.” Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies 28, no. 1 (2005): 85–114.
Monier-Williams, Monier. A Sanskrit-English Dictionary. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1899.
Nattier, Jan. “The Heart Sūtra: A Chinese Apocryphal Text?” Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies 15, no. 2 (1992): 153–223.
Negi, J. S. Tibetan-Sanskrit Dictionary. 16 vols. Sarnath, Varanasi: Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies, 1993–2005.
The Nyingma Edition of the sDe-dge bKa’-’gyur and bsTan-’gyur: Research Catalogue and Bibliography. Oakland: Dharma Publishing/Dharma Mudranālaya, 1977–1983.
Pagel, Ulrich. Mapping the Path: Vajrapadas in Mahāyāna Literature. Studia Philologica Buddhica Monograph Series, XXI. Tokyo: International Institute for Buddhist Studies, 2007.
Red Pine. The Heart Sūtra: The Womb of the Buddhas. Berkeley: Counterpoint, 2004.
Roberts, Peter, and Emily Bower, trans. The Basket’s Display (Toh 116, Kāraṇḍavyūha). 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha, 2013.
Roesler, Ulrike, Ken Holmes, and David Jackson. Stages of the Buddha’s Teachings: Three Key Texts. Somerville: Wisdom Publications, 2015.
Sakaki, Ryozaburo, ed. Mahāvyutpatti. 2 vols. Tokyo: Kokusho Kankōkai, 1962.
Skilling, Peter, and Saerji. “ ‘O Son of the Conqueror’: a note on jinaputra as a term of address in the Buddhāvataṃsaka and Mahāyāna sūtras.” In Annual Report of the International Research Institute for Advanced Buddhology (ARIRIAB), vol. XV, pp. 127–130. Tokyo: Soka University, 2012.
————. “The Circulation of the Buddhāvataṃsaka in India.” In Annual Report of the International Research Institute for Advanced Buddhology (ARIRIAB), vol. XVI, pp. 193–216. Tokyo: Soka University, 2013.
Winternitz, Moritz. Der Mahāyāna-Buddhismus nach Sanskrit- und Prakrittexten. Tübingen: Verlag von J. C. B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck), 1930.