The Sovereign Ritual of Amoghapāśa
Degé Kangyur, vol. 92 (rgyud, ma), folios 1.b–316.a; vol. 93 (rgyud, tsa), folios 1.b–57.b
Translated by the Dharmachakra Translation Committee
under the patronage and supervision of 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha
First published 2022
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The Amoghapāśakalparāja is an early Kriyātantra of the lotus family. Historically, it is the main and largest compendium and manual of rites dedicated to Amoghapāśa, one of Avalokiteśvara’s principal emanations, who is named after and distinguished by his “unfailing noose” (amoghapāśa). The text is primarily soteriological, with an emphasis on the general Mahāyāna values of compassion and loving kindness for all beings. It offers many interesting insights into early Buddhist ritual and the development of its terminology.
This translation was produced by the Dharmachakra Translation Committee under the supervision of Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche. Wiesiek Mical translated the text from a complete Sanskrit manuscript and wrote the introduction. Anna Zilman compared the translation draft against the Tibetan versions found in the Degé and other editions of the Kangyur. The project is greatly indebted to Prof. Ryugen Tanemura and his team of scholars at Taisho University, Tokyo, for making available to us a copy of the Sanskrit manuscript and its transcript.
The translation was completed under the patronage and supervision of 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha.
The generous sponsorship of Sun Ping, Tian Xingwen, and Sun Fanglin, which helped make the work on this translation possible, is most gratefully acknowledged.
The Tathāgata has explained the causes of those dharmas that arise based on causes. The great monk also explained that which constitutes their cessation.2964
Tibetan Addition to the Colophon
Following the text’s primary colophon, a lengthy colophon was added by later redactors of the Tibetan translation to describe how an initial version of the translation was emended and improved based on a more complete Sanskrit manuscript. No attempt has been made here to match the sections listed in the Tibetan colophon with the Sanskrit manuscript used for this translation, and we have not aligned the phrasing of the Tibetan with the extant Sanskrit translated above. This was done for the sake of preserving this unique colophon as written. It reads:
This text was apportioned to and translated by four learned translators of the past, but because there were omissions throughout the text and because the concluding chapters were missing, the omissions were later incorporated and the concluding chapters translated with the encouragement of the great Kālacakra master Chödrak Pel Sangpo based on a Sanskrit manuscript he had acquired. In book 10,2966 material was added beginning with the words “it can accomplish the goal of any activity” and ending with “perform the mantra recitation excellently.” In book 12, material was added beginning with the words “moreover, Blessed One, for the sake of the distinctive purpose” and ending with “the body of the vidyā holder will blaze.” In book 13, material was added beginning with the words “by merely hearing this maṇḍala rite” and ending with “excavate an area the size of a human.” In book 14, material was added beginning with the words “incant lotus, water, and mustard seeds” and ending with “wash with a white cloth.” At the transition to book 15, material was added beginning with the words “eight silver vessels” and ending with “in all other types of places he will perform any tasks he sets his mind to.” At the break between books 16 and 17, material was added beginning with the words “now I will teach the homa procedure” and ending with “the mudrā rite and the rite for practice.” Finally, at the break between what was called book 17 and book 18, material was added beginning with “now I will teach a maṇḍala rite that involves continuous recitation” and ending with “the homa will release the light rays of the protector of the world.” These omissions were rectified, and the conclusion completed by the Śākya monk Rinchen Drup. The scribe was the accomplished Yoga practitioner Pel Sangpo. The text starting with “all goddesses everywhere” up to “if the treasure trembles” is not in the Sanskrit manuscript. May this be of benefit to all wandering beings!
Abbreviations and sigla
|A||Sanskrit manuscript of the AP (China Library of Nationalities)|
|F||Tibetan Degé translation of the AP|
|T||Kimura 1998 and Kimura 2015|
|[#]||Mantra numbers in Kimura 1998|
Codes in Sanskrit quotations
|° (ring above)||truncated text|
|• (middle dot)||lack of sandhi or partial sandhi|
Primary sources (Sanskrit)
Āryāmoghapāśahṛdaya [The first part of the Amoghapāśakalparāja]
Kimura, Takayasu, ed. (1979). “Āryāmoghapāśanāmahṛdayaṃ Mahāyānasūtram.” Taisho Daigaku Sogo Bukkyo Kenkyujo Kiyo 1 (1979): 1–15.
Manuscript no. 69 in the Catalogue of Sanskrit Palm-Leaf Manuscripts Preserved in the China Library of Nationalities. Beijing.
Kimura, Takayasu et al., eds. (1998–2011). “Transcribed Sanskrit Text of the Amoghapāśakalparāja.” Taishō Daigaku Sōgō Bukkyō Kenkyūjo Nenpō (大正大學綜合佛教研究所年報) [parts 1–7:] 20 (1998): 1–58; 21 (1999): 81–128; 22 (2000): 1–64; 26 (2004): 120–83; 32 (2010): 170–207; (2011): 32–64.
———, eds. (2015–17). “Amoghapāśakalparāja: A Preliminary Edition and Annotated Japanese Translation.” Taishō Daigaku Sōgō Bukkyō Kenkyūjo Nenpō (大正大學綜合佛教研究所年報) [parts 1–3:] 37 (2015): 41–68; 38 (2016): 95–126; 39 (2017): 79–97.
不空羂索神變眞言經 (Bukong juansuo shenbian zhenyan jing). [Facsimile edition of the manuscript owned by the China Library of Nationalities, Beijing.] Tokyo: Taisho University, 1997.
Primary sources (Tibetan)
don yod pa’i zhags pa’i cho ga zhib mo’i rgyal po (Amoghapāśakalparāja). Toh 686, Degé Kangyur vol. 92 (rgyud, ma), folios 1.b–316.a; vol. 93 (rgyud, tsa), folios 1.b–57.b.
don yod pa’i zhags pa’i cho ga zhib mo’i rgyal po. 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. 92, pp. 3–928.
don yod zhags pa’i snying po (Amoghapāśahṛdayasūtra). Toh 682, Degé Kangyur vol. 106 (rgyud, ba), folios 1.b–515.b.
’jam dpal gyi rtsa ba’i rgyud (Mañjuśrīmūlakalpa). Toh 543, Degé Kangyur vol. 88 (rgyud ’bum, na), folios 88.a–334.a (in 1737 par phud printing); 105.a–351.a (in later printings). English translation in Dharmachakra Translation Committee 2020.
ting nge ’dzin gyi rgyal po (Samādhirāja). Toh 127, Degé Kangyur vol. 55 (mdo sde, da), folios 1.b–170.b. English translation in Roberts 2018.
sdong po bkod pa (Gaṇḍavyūha). Toh 44, ch. 45, Degé Kangyur vol. 37 (phal chen, ga), folios 274.b–336.a; vol. 38 (phal chen, a), folios 1.b–363.a. English translation in Roberts 2021.
mdzangs blun gyi mdo (Damamūkasūtra). Toh 341, Degé Kangyur vol. 74 (mdo sde, a), folios 129.a–298.a.
Barua, Ankur, and M. A. Basilio. Amoghapāśa: The Bodhisattva of Compassion. Riga: VDM Verlag Dr. Müller, 2010.
Dharmachakra Translation Committee, trans. The Root Manual of the Rites of Mañjuśrī (Toh 543, Mañjuśrīmūlakalpa). 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha, 2020.
Meisezahl, R. O., ed. and trans. “The Amoghapasahrdaya-Dharani. The Early Sanskrit Manuscript of the Reiunji Critically Edited and Translated.” Monumenta Nipponica 17, no. 1/4 (1962): 265–328.
Monier-Williams, Monier. A Sanskrit-English Dictionary: Etymologically and Philologically Arranged with Special Reference to Cognate Indo-European Languages. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 2005.
Otsuka, Nobuo et al. 『不空羂索神変真言経楚文写本影印版』序 [Introduction to the Facsimile Edition of the Amoghapāśakalparāja Sanskrit Palm-Leaf Manuscript]. Includes a summary in English. Tokyo: The Institute for Comprehensive Studies of Buddhism, Taisho University, 1997.
Pal, Pratapaditya. “The Iconography of Amoghapāśa Lokeśvara.” Oriental Art 7, no. 4 (1966): 234–39.
Reis-Habito, Maria. “The Amoghapāśa Kalparāja Sūtra: A Historical and Analytical Study.” Studies in Central and East Asian Religions 11 (1999): 39–67.
Roberts, Peter Alan, trans. (2018). The King of Samādhis Sūtra (Toh 127, Samādhirājasūtra). 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha, 2018.
———, trans. (2021). The Stem Array (Toh 44-45, Gaṇḍavyūha). 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha, 2021.
Sāṅkṛtyāyana, Rāhula. “Second Search of Sanskrit Palm-Leaf Mss. in Tibet.” Journal of the Bihar and Orissa Research Society 23, no. 1 (1937): 1–57.
Shinohara, Koichi. Spells, Images, and Maṇḍalas: Tracing the Evolution of Esoteric Buddhist Rituals. New York: Columbia University Press, 2014.