The Uṣṇīṣavijayā Dhāraṇī with Its Ritual Manual (2)
Degé Kangyur, vol. 90 (rgyud, pha), folios 237.b–242.a.
Translated by Catherine Dalton
under the patronage and supervision of 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha
This text was translated by Catherine Dalton, who also wrote the introduction.
The translation was completed under the patronage and supervision of 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha.
The generous sponsorship of May, George, Likai, and Lillian Gu, which helped make the work on this translation possible, is most gratefully acknowledged.
The Uṣṇīṣavijayā Dhāraṇī with Its Ritual Manual opens in Sukhāvatī, where the Blessed One Amitāyus is residing. Amitāyus addresses the bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara, informing him that there are beings who suffer from illnesses and short lifespans, and introducing the uṣṇīṣavijayā dhāraṇī as a remedy for such painful circumstances. Avalokiteśvara immediately asks Amitāyus to pronounce the dhāraṇī, which the Tathāgata does from within a state of samādhi.
Following this pronouncement of the dhāraṇī proper, Amitāyus explains that the dhāraṇī purifies the evil deeds of someone who is pursued by the Lord of Death, and he describes some procedures through which the dhāraṇī can be used to extend such a person’s lifespan. The text goes on to describe several additional rites for the dhāraṇī that will restore health and bring about long life and other benefits.
Then, in response to a request from Avalokiteśvara, Amitāyus teaches the short dhāraṇī of limitless life and explains rites for a caitya, a short Amitābha sādhana together with some rites connected to it, a homa ritual, and a number of additional applications of the dhāraṇī rite to obtain results such as glory and kingship.
This work is one among a group of texts in the Kriyātantra section of the Tibetan Kangyurs that contain the uṣṇīṣavijayā dhāraṇī and its related rituals (kalpa). The present text is the second longest of four short dhāraṇī texts—three of which have the same title—that present the uṣṇīṣavijayā dhāraṇī with its ritual manual (kalpa).1 These four works share a similar narrative opening (nidāna) up through the presentation of the dhāraṇī proper, and several among them also share additional passages. The present text, in fact, is made up entirely of parallel passages from the slightly longer Toh 594. Interestingly, the passages from Toh 594 absent in the present text are precisely the passages that Toh 594 shares with what we will call—for the purpose of distinguishing it from the present group of dhāraṇī-kalpas—the “primary” uṣṇīṣavijayā dhāraṇī text (Toh 597, which is titled Sarvadurgatipariśodhana-uṣṇīṣavijayā-dhāraṇī rather than Uṣṇīṣavijayā-dhāraṇī-kalpasahitā).2
There are many Sanskrit witnesses of the uṣṇīṣavijayā dhāraṇī proper,3 and the primary uṣṇīṣavijayā dhāraṇī text (Toh 597) survives in at least one, an incomplete early manuscript.4 While our text appears to no longer be extant in Sanskrit, there is at least one surviving Sanskrit uṣṇīṣavijayā dhāraṇī work that is closely related to it and belongs to the same group of related dhāraṇī texts described above. This work shares the same opening narrative and some of the ritual material with the texts from this group.5
The primary uṣṇīṣavijayā text (Toh 597) was first translated into Chinese by Buddhapāli in the late seventh century, and then at least five times subsequently.6 Several ritual manuals for the dhāraṇī’s recitation were also translated into Chinese,7 including the present text, which was translated into Chinese by Dharmadeva between 973 and 981 and is found in the Chinese canonical collection as Taishō 978.8 The primary uṣṇīṣavijayā text was significant in East Asia, and one scholar has even identified it as the most important esoteric Buddhist scripture translated into Chinese in the seventh century.9 Practices connected with the uṣṇīṣavijayā dhāraṇī were important in China, in particular in conjunction with funerary rites, where the dhāraṇī was written on pillars near tombs, especially from the mid-Tang to Ming dynasties (ca. 800–1600 ᴄᴇ).10 In addition to its ritual uses, in China this dhāraṇī receives mention in poems and tales of miracles and is analyzed in philosophical commentaries.11
The uṣṇīṣavijayā dhāraṇī also appears to have been popular in Dunhuang. A number of Tibetan manuscripts from Dunhuang include just the dhāraṇī on its own, both in Tibetan transliteration (dhāraṇīs, like mantras, are commonly left untranslated in Tibetan texts) and in Tibetan translation. The primary uṣṇīṣavijayā dhāraṇī text also appears in several Dunhuang manuscripts.12 Interestingly, several drawings from Dunhuang show maṇḍala (altar) arrangements corresponding to uṣṇīṣavijayā dhāraṇī texts,13 and one in particular, which has labels written in Chinese, depicts a maṇḍala that is nearly identical to a maṇḍala described in one of the rites in our text, even though no known ritual manual surviving in Chinese describes such a maṇḍala.14 There is also a woodblock print from tenth-century Dunhuang that has an image of Amitābha and a dhāraṇī written in Sanskrit, but with Chinese writing on the side. The Amitābha dhāraṇī from this print is very similar to (but not identical with) the second short dhāraṇī transmitted in the present text.15 The records of uṣṇīṣavijayā-related works at Dunhuang, then, suggest a close relationship between Tibetan- and Chinese-speaking Buddhist practitioners there.
In Nepal, uṣṇīṣavijayā dhāraṇī rituals continue to be performed as part of modern Newar Buddhist practice, where their practice is sometimes prescribed for Wednesdays in particular.16 Practices connected to the uṣṇīṣavijayā dhāraṇī likewise continue in modern Tibetan Buddhism. The so-called Tongchö (stong mchod)—the thousandfold offering practice of Uṣṇīṣavijayā, a version of which is mentioned briefly in our text—is currently performed in Tibetan monasteries, sometimes using a ritual manual composed by the nineteenth-century polymath Jamyang Khyentsé Wangpo. Other notable Tibetan works on the uṣṇīṣavijayā dhāraṇī and its associated practices include commentaries by the great Sakya lama Butön (bu ston rin chen grub, 1290–1364) and the fourth Panchen Lama, Losang Chökyi Gyaltsen (blo bzang chos kyi rgyal mtshan, 1570–1662).
The question of what, or who, exactly, Uṣṇīṣavijayā is is a complex one that cannot be clearly answered here. In short, like a number of uṣṇīṣa deities, she is sometimes identified as a protective deity, in this case a goddess, emanated from the Buddha’s uṣṇīṣa. Indeed, Uṣṇīṣavijayā is clearly depicted as a goddess in a number of short sādhanas included in Indian anthologies such as the Sādhanamāla, compiled from the works of many authors probably during the period of the Pāla kings (eighth to twelfth century).17 Three closely similar sādhanas of a three-faced, eight armed form of the goddess are included in the Tengyur, one in each of the three related anthologies translated from the Indian collections into Tibetan in the eleventh to fourteenth centuries respectively.18 A variety of other forms are depicted or described in Chinese, Japanese, Tibetan, Mongolian, and Kashmiri sources.19 In the later Tibetan tradition Uṣṇīṣavijayā can even appear as one of a group of three long-life deities along with the Buddha Amitāyus and White Tārā. However, in our text, and indeed in all but one of the uṣṇīṣavijayā works in this section of the Kangyur (Toh 598), while the dhāraṇī itself uses the feminine vocative form throughout, the name uṣṇīṣavijayā is not rendered into Tibetan in the feminine, and the word uṣṇīṣavijayā is not used to refer to anything apart from the name of the dhāraṇī—the dhāraṇī of the crown victory. The single instance in this text in which we could interpret uṣṇīṣavijayā to refer to a goddess is a sentence in one of the rites for an Amitāyus sādhana that also involves reciting the uṣṇīṣavijayā dhāraṇī. After having properly followed the rite, the text notes that “in the early morning at dawn you will see the face of the Bhagavatī, and she will give you whatever accomplishments you desire.” The name of this Bhagavatī is not mentioned in our text, but we might well presume that she is Uṣṇīṣavijayā herself.
The range of possible answers to the question of what the name Uṣṇīṣavijayā refers to is enlarged even further by the existence of a group of related texts widely used in Southeast Asia, sharing the Pali title Uṇhissa-vijaya-sutta (or in some cases simply Uṇhissa-vijaya) but found in a number of different forms, some in Pali but others in Siamese, Lao, Yuon, and Khmer. Some refer at least briefly to the story of the god Supratiṣṭhita (Pali Supatiṭṭhita) which, although it does not appear in the present text, is the frame story of Toh 597 and a secondary narrative element in Toh 594. But instead of the dhāraṇī of the Sanskrit and Tibetan texts these Southeast Asian texts contain a set of verses (gāthā) to be recited whose content is unrelated to that of the Sanskrit dhāraṇī. The gāthā are also found alone in several ritual compilations. Even in the vernacular versions, the verses are written in Pali. In these texts, in their own opening lines, it seems to be the verses themselves that are referred to as the Uṇhissa-vijaya.20
The present text lacks a translator’s colophon. However, as noted above, it is made up entirely of passages that are parallel with Toh 594, with which it also shares the same title. That work does have a translator’s colophon indicating that it was translated into Tibetan by the Indian scholar Dharmasena and the Tibetan translator Khampa Lotsāwa Bari Chödrak, and it is therefore an eleventh- or twelfth-century translation. However, the imperial Phangthangma catalog lists one Uṣṇīṣavijayā-dhāraṇī-vidhisahitā, which, even if not the same as the present text, is certainly a work of a similar type.21 Thus, along with the records of Uṣṇīṣavijayā texts at Dunhuang, its presence in the Phangthangma catalog at the very least indicates the early presence of parts of the Uṣṇīṣavijayā corpus, including not just the dhāraṇī but also some of its associated rites, in Tibet.
The present translation was completed on the basis of the Tibetan translation of the text found in the Tantra Collection (rgyud ’bum) section of the Degé Kangyur,22 in consultation with the Stok Palace Kangyur and the notes in the Comparative Edition (dpe bsdur ma). The text is stable across all the Kangyurs consulted, with the same title and only minor variants; all recensions are alike in lacking a colophon. We have also consulted Hidas’ edition and translation of the surviving Sanskrit Uṣṇīṣavijayā-dhāraṇī text for the passages that are parallel with the present text.
The main dhāraṇī is not identical in every detail across the five different versions in the Degé Kangyur (Toh 594–598), and the existence of further variations across different Kangyurs and versions in extra-canonical collections further complicates the picture. Reference to the dhāraṇī as presented in Hidas’ edition of the Sanskrit yields useful orthographic confirmation, but may be misleading as a model given that the ten different Nepalese Sanskrit manuscripts on which it is based are of much later date than any of the present Tibetan witnesses. Here and in the other works in the group we have therefore chosen to transcribe the dhāraṇī as it appears in the Degé version of each text, making only minor choices of orthography and adding annotations to point out the most significant discrepancies.
One noticeable difference across both Tibetan and Sanskrit versions of the dhāraṇī is the presence or absence of the syllable oṁ at the beginning of certain phrases. In the present work and in Toh 594, 596, and 597 there are only three such oṁ syllables, while in Toh 598 oṁ appears no less than nine times, as it does in Hidas’ edition from Sanskrit sources and in extra-canonical liturgies. The Tibetan translation of Toh 598 was made at a significantly later date than the other works of the group, and may possibly signal a change in usage that is also reflected in the Nepalese Sanskrit texts of even later date. This is corroborated by the absence of extra oṁ-s in the Dunhuang manuscripts. The colophon of Toh 597 found in the Phukdrak (phug brag) Kangyur includes a note claiming that the texts with only three oṁ-s are to be considered more correct.23 The note also states that although there may have been Sanskrit sources with as many as nine oṁ-s, the twelfth-century translator Sumpa Lotsāwa24 reported that all the Sanskrit texts he had seen contained only three, and that the Sanskrit manuscripts of the texts held at Sakya monastery had no more than that. Because Sumpa Lotsāwa is known to have lived and studied in Nepal, his comment on the “correct” number of oṁ-s in the Sanskrit manuscripts available to him offers a glimpse of the evolution of the text in the Nepalese tradition. As Hidas’ edition of the Nepalese manuscripts suggests, the number of oṁ-s in the dhāraṇī seem to proliferate, eventually reaching a total of nine.
Over the centuries, the textual transmission of the dhāraṇī has preserved the major portion of it with remarkable fidelity. Nevertheless, the few anomalies to be seen across all these closely related texts are a reminder that here, as with other dhāraṇī works, some variations over time and place are to be expected.
Homage to all buddhas and bodhisattvas.
Thus did I hear at one time. The blessed, thus-gone, worthy, perfectly awakened Buddha Amitāyus was staying in the excellent secret palace, Dharma Proclamation,26 in Sukhāvatī. He said to the bodhisattva, the great being, Noble Avalokiteśvara, “Child of noble family, there are beings who suffer, are afflicted with diseases, and have short lifespans. [F.238.a] To help them, one should uphold and recite this dhāraṇī called the crown victory of all tathāgatas and teach it extensively to others for the sake of long life.”27
Then the bodhisattva, the great being, Avalokiteśvara arose from his seat, joined his palms, and said to the Blessed One, “Blessed One, please teach! Well-Gone One, please teach the dhāraṇī called the crown victory of all tathāgatas.”
Then the Blessed One looked upon the circle of his perfect28 retinue, entered the samādhi called the splendor beheld everywhere, and pronounced this dhāraṇī called the crown victory of all tathāgatas:
“oṁ namo bhagavate sarvatrailokyaprativiśiṣṭāya buddhāya te namaḥ |
tadyathā | oṁ bhrūṁ bhrūṁ bhrūṁ | śodhaya śodhaya | viśodhaya viśodhaya | asamasamantāvabhāsaspharaṇagatigaganasvabhāvaviśuddhe | uṣṇīṣavijayapariśuddhe | abhiṣiñcantu māṃ sarvatathāgatāḥ sugatavaravacanāmṛtābhiṣekair mahāmudrāmantrapadaiḥ | āhara āhara mama29 āyuḥsandhāraṇi | śodhaya śodhaya | viśodhaya viśodhaya | gaganasvabhāvaviśuddhe | uṣṇīṣavijāyapariśuddhe | sahasraraśmisañcodite | sarvatathāgatāvalokini | ṣaṭpāramitāparipūraṇi | sarvatathāgatamāte30 | daśabhūmipratiṣṭḥite | sarvatathāgatahṛdayādhiṣṭhānādhiṣṭḥite | mudre mudre mahāmudre | vajrakāyasaṃhatanapariśuddhe | sarvakarmāvaraṇaviśuddhe | pratinivartaya mamāyurviśuddhe | sarvatathāgatasamayādhiṣṭhānādhiṣṭhite | oṁ muni muni mahāmuni | vimuni vimuni mahāvimuni | mati mati mahāmati | mamati | sumati | tathatābhūtakoṭipariśuddhe | visphuṭabuddhiśuddhe | [F.238.b] he he | jaya jaya | vijaya vijaya | smara smara | sphara sphara | sphāraya sphāraya | sarvabuddhādhiṣṭhānādhiṣṭhite | śuddhe śuddhe | buddhe buddhe | vajre vajre mahāvajre | suvajre | vajragarbhe | jayagarbhe | vijayagarbhe | vajrajvālagarbhe | vajrodbhave | vajrasambhave | vajre | vajrini | vajram bhavatu mama śarīraṃ sarvasatvānāñ ca kāyapariśuddhir bhavatu | me sadā31 sarvagatipariśuddhiś ca32 | sarvatathāgatāś ca māṃ33 samāśvāsayantu | budhya budhya | siddhya siddhya | bodhaya bodhaya | vibodhaya vibodhaya | mocaya mocaya | vimocaya vimocaya | śodhaya śodhaya | viśodhaya viśodhaya | samantamocaya mocaya | samantaraśmipariśuddhe | sarvatathāgatahṛdayādhiṣṭhānādhiṣṭhite | mudre mudre mahāmudre | mahāmudrāmantrapadaiḥ svāhā.34
“Child of noble family, this dhāraṇī of the crown victory of all tathāgatas is the destroyer35 of the great cudgel of the Lord of Death, the purifier, the destroyer of evil deeds. If one writes this dhāraṇī on birch bark or some other surface, places it in the center of a caitya, worships it extensively by offering whatever one has, and then circumambulates it one hundred thousand times, one will be granted an excellent lifespan and a sharp intellect. When this is done, a lifespan of seven days will become seven years, and a lifespan of seven years will become seventy years. Thus, one will obtain an excellent lifespan, a good memory, freedom from illness, and the ability to remember previous lives.
“Write the dhāraṇī together with one’s own name on a piece of cloth or bark using yellow pigment derived from cow bile and install it in a sandalwood caitya. Then place it at home and worship it with thousands of vast offerings. If one performs this offering rite each month while reciting the dhāraṇī eight hundred times, one will be free from illness and live for one hundred years. If a sandalwood caitya is not available, follow the same procedure with a clay caitya.
“One can also draw on a clean piece of cloth a caitya that is resting on a crossed vajra and ornamented with an encircling vajra garland. [F.239.a] Write one’s own name and the words of the dhāraṇī in the center of it with yellow pigment derived from cow bile. When this is installed inside an enclosed vessel made of two clay cups,36 placed in the home, and worshiped with extensive offerings, one will always be protected.
“An additional rite is as follows: make a square maṇḍala with cow dung that has not fallen on the ground and scatter it with white flowers. Place four butter lamps at the four corners. Burn incense made of aloeswood and frankincense. Fill a vessel with perfumed water and adorn it with white flowers. Place in the center a caitya or statue with the dhāraṇī in its inner chamber. Touch it with the left hand while holding a mālā in the right hand, and recite the dhāraṇī twenty-one times at the three times of the day.37 One who drinks three handfuls of that water will be free of illness and have a long life. Their enemies will fall away, and they will gain a sharp intellect and noble speech. They will remember their previous births from one lifetime to the next. If that water is sprinkled around a house, a cattle barn or horse stable, or a royal residence, there will be no fear of thieves, snakes, yakṣas, or rākṣasas, and no one will suffer from illness. If the water is sprinkled over someone’s head, they will be freed from illness.
“There is also the extremely beneficial dhāraṇī of limitless life,38 which brings great pacification wherever it is applied. If it is recited in full twenty-one times over a toothbrush, one will not have any pain when chewing, and one will have a sharp intellect and a long life. If it is recited over three handfuls of water twenty-one times at the three times of the day,39 whoever drinks that water will be completely freed from all illness and will live for a long time.”
Then the bodhisattva great being Noble Avalokiteśvara circumambulated the Blessed One Amitāyus and said, “Blessed One, how should a son or daughter of noble family [F.239.b] perform the caitya ritual? How should they accomplish such tasks as making the statue and so forth, and how should they perform the fire offering?”
Then he taught the rite:
“It should be twelve finger-widths in size, adorned with many ornaments made of gold, lapis, silver, and rubies, and placed upon a lotus. Draw the Four World-Protectors holding banners in the four directions, the gods of the pure abodes holding flowers, incense, and perfumes, Śakra, Lord of the Gods, holding the parasol, and Avalokiteśvara and Vajradhara holding white tail whisks on the right and the left sides. Following proper procedure, draw these on the petals of the lotus, proceeding clockwise around the caitya. Write down the dhāraṇī called the crown victory of all tathāgatas and install it in the caitya’s interior relic chamber.45 Then, sprinkle the caitya with scented water and worship it with delightfully scented flowers. Perform a thousandfold offering. Fast on the eighth day of the waxing moon, [F.240.a] and, with your mind set on the benefit of all beings, make offerings for the bestowal of long life and intelligence46 and recite the dhāraṇī one thousand times. If this is done every month for six months, one will obtain a lifespan of a thousand years. If it is done regularly for a year, one will obtain a lifespan of a hundred thousand years. If it is performed in perpetuity, one will obtain an inexhaustible lifespan, become powerful, be undefeatable by anyone, and obtain a supreme celestial uṣṇīṣa that is unequaled by even the gods and asuras.
“Here is another rite. Take some earth from a very holy place, mix it with delightful perfumes, and make a caitya. Start with one thousand, and make up to five thousand caityas.47 Every day install the crown victory dhāraṇī in all the caityas. Perform the extensive offering as instructed and read the dhāraṇī aloud starting with one thousand times and for as many as seven thousand recitations. Perform this every day for the dhāraṇī that bestows long life and intelligence, and dedicate one’s own roots of virtue to the shared benefit of all beings. Give up such things as restraining and beating beings. In each subsequent month make twice as many offerings and recite the dhāraṇī eight hundred times. This should be performed by oneself or by someone else in one’s stead.48
“This ritual will allow one to avoid the eight types of untimely death. One will have a sharp intellect, be free from illness, live for one hundred years, be delightful to all beings, and recollect past lives. When the time comes to die, one will leave one’s body behind just like a snake shedding its skin and be reborn into a beautiful body in the world of Sukhāvatī. One will never be reborn into lower rebirths as a hell being, in the animal realm, or in the Realm of the Lord of Death. One will not even hear the word hell, so how could one experience the ripening of such a karmic result? One will not go to those places.”
“A skillful person who wishes beings to have limitless lifespans and to bring about their freedom from the pitiful state of saṃsāra should make a beautiful canvas that is the proper size out of threads that have been spun by a young maiden. Then, using a variety of colors of pigment, one should write the crown victory dhāraṇī inside a caitya that has been emanated from the letters of the dhāraṇī.
“Draw Amitāyus garlanded by thousands of light rays and seated upon a lotus and moon seat. He is luminous like the autumn moon and adorned with every ornament. He has three faces, each with three eyes, and he has eight arms. His right face is peaceful and radiant with golden light. His left face is fierce, with fangs biting down on his lower lip, and radiant with light the color of a blue utpala. His central face is charming and white. His right hands hold a crossed vajra at his heart, Amitābha seated on a lotus, an arrow, and the gesture of supreme generosity. His left hands hold a lasso with the threatening gesture, a bow, the gesture granting freedom from fear, and a vase. On his head is the syllable oṁ in a caitya, at his throat is the syllable āḥ, and at his heart the syllable huṁ. At his forehead is hraṁ, at his navel hrīḥ, and at his two feet aṁ aḥ. Arrange these syllables on his body and include the phrase rakṣa svāhā with one’s own name inside it.
“On either side of him are Padmapāṇi and Vajradhara holding white tail whisks. Above, like a flow of nectar raining down, are a pair of gods from the pure abodes. In the four directions are wrathful Acala, Kāmarāja, Nīladaṇḍa, and Mahābala. They hold a sword, a hook, a club, and a vajra, respectively, and their left hands brandish the threatening gesture to frighten malevolent beings.
“When one has completed it with careful attention to those details, one should fast near a caitya that has relics and worship it with a thousandfold great offering while reciting the dhāraṇī one hundred thousand times. [F.241.a] Recite the dhāraṇī one thousand times each day from the first to the fifteenth day of the waxing moon. Then, in the early morning at dawn you will see the face of the Bhagavatī, and she will give you whatever accomplishments you desire.
“One can also install the painting in a location that has been anointed with delightfully scented water, perform extensive worship, and recite the dhāraṇī eight hundred times each day. Or, one can make a thousandfold offering and recite the dhāraṇī a thousand times. If one does this, one’s lifespan will be limitless and one will be able to suppress others with limitless power, be able to fly, and be free from great illness. This will make anyone able to memorize and perfectly recite one thousand verses each day.
“Or if someone is unable to do that, they should install it in their home in a place that has been anointed with scented water and make whatever offerings they have. In all the coming months they should recite the dhāraṇī eight hundred times on the eighth day of the month, and every day they should recite it twenty-one times at the three times of the day. If they do this, they will have a sharp intellect and a long life. They will be full of insight, free from illness, and happy. They will live for one hundred years and remember their past lives.
“Or if one is unable to do this oneself and someone does it in one’s stead, then one will have a long life and a sharp intellect.
“Now I will explain the fire offering rite for the benefit of all beings. Build a round hearth one cubit in size and adorned with a garland of vajras. Smear it with white sandalwood or white earth and scatter white flowers on it. Place a butter lamp on each of its four sides, and worship it properly with incense and other offerings. In each of the four directions place a well-decorated and beautiful vase covered with white cloth with its openings adorned with boughs from a tree. Start a fire with wood from a date palm, and summon Agni by asking him to approach as you give three full ladles in the fire and sprinkle it with cleansing water. [F.241.b] Visualize Amitāyus clearly in the center of the hearth, recite the crown victory dhāraṇī, and offer three full ladles. One can also perform the fire offering while reciting the dhāraṇī together with the life-extending and intelligence-sharpening dhāraṇī oṁ amṛtāyurdatte svāhā49 eight hundred times at the three times of the day.
“If one recites the crown victory dhāraṇī seven times one will have a long life, a sharp intellect, and happiness and be free from illness.
“Someone who wishes to live for a thousand years can also make an extensive offering on the eighth day of the waxing moon and perform the homa at the three times of the day, and supreme long life and a sharp intellect will be bestowed upon them.
“One should not disparage beings. With this rite, one’s body will not be afflicted by illness. One will live for five thousand years, be victorious over enemies, and have a sharp intellect and a sweet voice.
“If one is unable to perform this oneself but someone performs it in one’s stead, one will obtain great peace.
“If one seeks some other accomplishment, one can recite the great crown victory dhāraṇī together with the life-extending and intelligence-sharpening dhāraṇī50 while performing the fire offering one hundred thousand times. If one performs the thousandfold worship and recites the dhāraṇī one hundred thousand times at the beginning and end, one will live for a hundred thousand years. If one does this ten million times, one will live for ten million years. Following the practice of this rite will enable one to live for countless years, to fly, to be heroic, and to be victorious over all enemies.
“If one seeks glory and performs a fire offering of one hundred thousand wood apples,51 one will obtain great glory. If one seeks to be king and performs a fire offering of one hundred thousand lotuses, one will become a great king. If one performs that ten million times, one will become a universal monarch.
“Or, if one wishes to obtain the sword siddhi and so forth, one should display the painting in front of a caitya that contains relics, perform the great thousandfold offering, and recite the dhāraṇī one hundred thousand times. If one recites it one hundred thousand times over a sword made of the five metals and then holds the sword in one’s right hand, one will be able to travel to whatever place one thinks of, [F.242.a] take whatever form one desires, be extremely powerful, and subdue others. One will be the singular guide of all beings and then become the great, supreme physician with a limitless lifespan. One can also perform the same sādhana over a vajra, cakra, trident, and the like.
“This great dhāraṇī with limitless benefits that is the heart of all the tathāgatas and supremely difficult to encounter will bring about the accomplishment of any ritual action to which it is applied. Whoever recites this dhāraṇī called the crown victory of all tathāgatas twenty-one times at the three times of the day every day, makes a great caitya and hangs the dhāraṇī from it, and explains the dhāraṇī to others at length will be happy, powerful, and free from illness, live for a hundred years, have a sharp intellect, and remember their previous lives. When they die, they will leave their body behind just like a snake shedding its skin and be born into the world of Sukhāvatī. The word hell will never reach their ears, so how could they experience the ripening of such a karmic result? They will always remember their previous lives from one lifetime to the next.”
This concludes “Crown Victory of All Tathāgatas: The Uṣṇīṣavijayā Dhāraṇī with Its Ritual Manual.”52
de bzhin gshegs pa thams cad kyi gtsug tor rnam par rgyal ba zhes bya ba’i gzungs rtog pa dang bcas pa (Sarvatathāgatauṣṇīṣavijayānāmadhāraṇīkalpasahitā). Toh 595, Degé Kangyur vol. 90 (rgyud, pha), folios 237.b–242.a.
de bzhin gshegs pa thams cad kyi gtsug tor rnam par rgyal ba zhes bya ba’i gzungs rtog pa dang bcas pa. 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), 2006–9, vol. 90, pp. 783–98.
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de bzhin gshegs pa thams cad kyi gtsug tor rnam par rgyal ba zhes bya ba’i gzungs rtog pa dang bcas pa (Sarvatathāgatauṣṇīṣavijayānāmadhāraṇīkalpasahitā). Toh 594, Degé Kangyur vol. 90 (rgyud, pha), folios 230.a–237.b.
de bzhin gshegs pa thams cad kyi gtsug tor rnam par rgyal ba zhes bya ba’i gzungs rtog pa dang bcas pa (Sarvatathāgatauṣṇīṣavijayānāmadhāraṇīkalpasahitā). Toh 596, Degé Kangyur vol. 90 (rgyud, pha), folios 242.a–243.b.
’phags pa ngan ’gro thams cad yongs su sbyong ba gtsug tor rnam par rgyal ba zhes bya ba’i gzungs (Sarvadurgatipariśodhanauṣṇīṣavijayānāmadhāraṇī). Toh 597, Degé Kangyur vol. 90 (rgyud, pha), folios 243.b–248.a. Toh 984, Degé Kangyur vol. 102 (gzungs, waM), folios 120.a–124.b.
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- mi g.yo ba
- me lha
The fire god.
- ’od dpag tu med pa
- lha ma yin
- spyan ras gzigs
- bcom ldan ’das
- mchod rten
- ’khor lo
- chos yang dag par sdud pa
A secret palace in Sukhāvatī.
- ’jig rten skyong ba bzhi
Four deities at the base of Mount Meru, each one the guardian of his direction: Vaiśravaṇa in the north, Dhṛtarāṣṭra in the East, Virūpākṣa in the west, and Virūḍhaka in the south.
- sbyin sreg
The casting of a prescribed offering into a ritual fire. The practice of homa is first attested in pre-Buddhist Vedic literature and serves as a core, pervasive ritual paradigm in exoteric and esoteric rites in both Buddhist and non-Buddhist traditions into modern times. In Buddhist esoteric rites, the ritual offerings are made repeatedly, with each throw accompanied by a single repetition of the respective mantra.
- rtog pa
A ritual manual.
- ’dod pa’i rgyal po
- ngan ’gro
Lower rebirths within cyclic existence.
- stobs po che
- dbyug pa sngon po
- gnas gtsang ma
- srin po
Realm of the Lord of Death
- gshin rje’i ’jig rten
- sgrub pa’i thabs
Śakra, Lord of the Gods
- brgya byin
- ting nge ’dzin
- de bzhin gshegs pa
- ’khor los sgyur ba
Literally a “wheel holder,” a king who rules over vast territories.
- gtsug tor
- rdo rje
- rdo rje ’chang
In the context of this text, Vajradhara is another name for Vajrapāṇi.
- lag na rdo rje
- phyag na rdo rje
- bde bar gshegs pa
- gnod sbyin