The Great Cloud (1)
Degé Kangyur, vol. 64 (mdo sde, wa), folios 113.a–214.b
Translated by the Mahamegha Translation Team
under the patronage and supervision of 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha
First published 2022
Current version v 1.1.11 (2023)
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The Great Cloud features a long dialogue between the Buddha Śākyamuni and a bodhisattva named Great Cloud Essence, who are periodically joined by various additional interlocutors from the vast audience of human and divine beings who have assembled to hear the Buddha’s teaching. The topics of their conversation are diverse and wide-ranging, but a central theme is the vast conduct of bodhisattvas, which is illustrated through the enumeration of the various meditative states and liberative techniques that bodhisattvas must master in order to minister to all sentient beings. This is followed by a conversation with the brahmin Kauṇḍinya concerning the Buddha’s cousin Devadatta, who is revealed to be a bodhisattva displaying the highest level of skillful means. Kauṇḍinya then inquires about the possibility of obtaining a relic from the Buddha, and another member of the audience responds with an explanation of how truly rare it is for a buddha relic to appear within the world. Finally, the discourse ends with the Buddha delivering a series of detailed prophecies describing the principal interlocutor’s future attainment of buddhahood, and he further explains the benefits and powers that can be obtained through the practice of this sūtra itself.
This translation was produced by Joshua Capitanio for the Mahamegha Translation Team. The translator is grateful to Christopher Jones (University of Cambridge) and Susan Roach for offering several helpful suggestions.
The translation was completed under the patronage and supervision of 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha.
The translation of this text has been made possible through the generous sponsorship of an anonymous donor, who would like to dedicate it in memory of Lin, Zai-He and Lin Lee, Wan-Zhi.
Great Cloud Essence then said, “I beseech the Bhagavān to give an extensive explanation of the ten Dharma gateways called king of the wondrous secret of the way to engage and abide in the playful appearance of taking birth in cyclic existence.”
The Bhagavān replied, “Great Cloud Essence, within this Great Cloud discourse, there is the Dharma gateway called king of utter delight at being born within existence. There is the Dharma gateway called desiring and delighting in birth within existence. There is the Dharma gateway called thirsting for birth within existence. There is the Dharma gateway called beginningless birth within existence. There is the Dharma gateway called utmost faith in birth within existence. There is the Dharma gateway called skill in the aspiration to be born within existence. There is the Dharma gateway called singing the praises of birth within existence. There is the Dharma gateway called king of observing birth within existence. There is the Dharma gateway called powerful king of skill in birth within existence. And there is the Dharma gateway called king of the wondrous secret of engaging and abiding in the state of not being obscured by the various categories of unwholesome dharmas when born within existence. These ten are the Dharma gateways called king of the wondrous secret of the way to engage and abide in the playful appearance of taking birth in cyclic existence.” [F.160.b]
At that time, a goddess named Vast Delight made offerings to the Bhagavān and uttered this verse:
This concludes the fifth chapter, on the topic of birth within existence.
sprin chen po’i mdo (Mahāmeghasūtra). Toh 232, Degé Kangyur vol. 64 (mdo sde, wa), folios 113.a–214.b.
dri med grags pa’i bstan (Vimalakīrtinirdeśa). Toh 176, Degé Kangyur vol. 60 (mdo sde, ma), folios 175.a–239.a. English translation in Thurman 2017.
yongs su mya ngan las ’das pa chen po (Mahāparinirvāṇa). Toh 120, Degé Kangyur vol. 54 (mdo sde, tha), folios 1.b–151.b.
gser ’od dam pa mdo sde’i dbang po’i rgyal po (Suvarṇaprabhāsottamasūtrendrarāja). Toh 556, Degé Kangyur vol. 89 (rgyud, pa), folios 151.b–273.a; Toh 557, vol. 90 (rgyud, pha), folios 1.b–62.a.
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