The Tantra of Caṇḍamahāroṣaṇa
Degé Kangyur, vol. 80 (rgyud ’bum, nga), folios 304.b–343.a.
Translated by the Dharmachakra Translation Committee
under the patronage and supervision of 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha
Warning: Readers are reminded that according to Vajrayāna Buddhist tradition there are restrictions and commitments concerning tantra. Practitioners who are not sure if they should read this translation are advised to consult the authorities of their lineage. The responsibility for reading this text or sharing it with others who may or may not fulfill the requirements lies in the hands of readers.
Written around the tenth or the eleventh century ᴄᴇ, in the late Mantrayāna period, The Tantra of Caṇḍamahāroṣaṇa represents the flowering of the Yoginītantra genre. The tantra offers instructions on how to attain the wisdom state of Buddha Caṇḍamahāroṣaṇa through the practice of the four joys. The tantra covers a range of practices and philosophical perspectives of late tantric Buddhism, including the development stage, the completion stage, the use of mantras, and a number of magical rites and rituals. The text is quite unique with its tribute to and apotheosis of women and, in this regard, probably has few parallels anywhere else in world literature. It is written in the spirit of great sincerity and devotion, and it is this very spirit that mitigates, and at the same time empowers, the text’s stark imagery and sometimes shocking practices. This text certainly calls for an open mind.
This translation was produced by Dharmachakra Translation Committee under the supervision of Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche. Wiesiek Mical translated the text from the Sanskrit manuscripts, prepared the Sanskrit edition, and wrote the introduction. The translation was then compared against the Tibetan translation found in the Degé Kangyur by James Gentry, and edited by Andreas Doctor.
The Dharmachakra Translation Committee is also indebted to Professor Harunaga Isaacson and Dr. Péter Szántó for their help in obtaining facsimiles of some of the manuscripts, and to Professor Isaacson for making available some of his personal materials.
This translation has been completed under the patronage and supervision of 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha.
Dharmas arise based on causes, and those causes and their cessation the Thus-Gone One has explained. This is the teaching of the Great Ascetic.264
dpal gtum po khro bo chen po’i rgyud kyi rgyal po dpa’ bo gcig pa zhes bya ba. Toh 431, Degé Kangyur, vol. 80 (rgyud ’bum, nga), folios 304b–343a.
Ekallavīranāmacaṇḍamahāroṣaṇatantram. London: Royal Asiatic Society. Ref.: Cowell 46/31.
Ekallavīranāmacaṇḍamahāroṣaṇatantram. Kathmandu: National Archives of Nepal. Ref.: NGMPP 3/687, Reel no. A 994/4.
Ekallavīratantram. Kathmandu: National Archives of Nepal. Ref.: NGMPP 5/170, Reel no. B 31/11.
Caṇḍamahāroṣaṇatantram. Göttingen: University of Göttingen Library. Ref.: Bandurski Xc 14/43–45.
Mahāsukhavajra, Padmāvatīnāmā Pañjikā. Kathmandu: National Archives of Nepal. Ref.: NGMPP 3/502, Reel no. B 31/7.
de la Vallée Poussin, Louis. “The Buddhist ‘Wheel of Life’ from a New Source.” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland (New Series) 29, no. 3 (July 1897), pp 463–70.
Dharmachakra Translation Committee. The Tantra of Siddhaikavīra (Toh 544). 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha, 2016.
Gäng, Peter, trans. Das Tantra des Grausig-Groß-Schreklichen. Berlin: Stechapfel, 1981.
George, Christopher S., trans. and ed. The Caṇḍamahāroṣaṇa Tantra, Chapters I–VIII: A Critical Edition and English Translation. New Haven, CT: American Oriental Society, 1974.
Isaacson, Harunaga (2010). The Caṇḍamahāroṣaṇatantra. Handout. Kathmandu: Rangjung Yeshe Institute, February 17, 2010.
——— (2006). Reflections on the Caṇḍamahāroṣaṇatantra. Handout. Kathmandu: Nepal Research Centre, August 25, 2006.
Snellgrove, David. Hevajra Tantra: A Critical Study. London: Oxford University Press, 1959.