Degé Kangyur, vol. 95 (rgyud, dza), folios 265.b–266.b.
Translated by The Dharmachakra Translation Committee
under the patronage and supervision of 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha
In this concise text, Vajrapāṇi, through the power and blessings of the Buddha and all bodhisattvas, proclaims a series of powerful dhāraṇī-mantras. The text concludes with verses on the benefits of the dhāraṇī and a simple ablution ritual.
This text was translated by the Dharmachakra Translation Committee under the supervision of Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche. It was translated by Nicholas Schmidt with consultation from Kashinath Nyaupane and Ryan Damron. Andreas Doctor compared the translation with the original Tibetan and edited the text. Wiesiek Mical subsequently provided editorial feedback.
The translation was completed under the patronage and supervision of 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha.
Vajra Conqueror is a short dhāraṇī text with an illustrious history in several different Buddhist communities. The text begins with a brief narrative introduction and a sweeping statement on the qualities and function of the dhāraṇī. After a series of three dhāraṇī-mantras, the text concludes with ten verses, which first extol the benefits of the practice and finally outline a concise purification ritual. In the narrative introduction, set abstractly “in the vajra” (Skt. vajreṣu, Tib. rdo rje la), Vajrapāṇi, through the power of the Buddha Śākyamuni, reveals the dhāraṇī. The elaborations on this narrative found in the Indic commentarial tradition inform us that the dhāraṇī was revealed in order to cure the ailments afflicting King Ajātaśatru of Magadha after he had usurped the throne of his father, King Bimbisāra, and terrorized the Gangetic basin with his martial adventurism.
The Sanskrit dhāraṇī is popular among Newar Buddhists in Nepal,1 where it is included in a set of daily dhāraṇī practices referred to collectively as the Saptavāra (Seven Days), of which the National Archives in Kathmandu today holds more than two hundred Sanskrit witnesses.
The fourteenth-century Tibetan Chronicles of Padma (padma bka’ thang) mentions that the dhāraṇī was first translated into Tibetan during the imperial period and was included in the Ten Royal Sūtras (Tib. rgyal po mdo bcu), the recitation of which was prescribed by Padmasambhava to the Tibetan king Trisong Detsen (Tib. khri srong lde bstan, 755–97 ᴄᴇ) to prolong his life. It is also traditionally placed in a subset, the “Five Royal Sūtras.”2 According to the colophon of the Tibetan translation, it was translated by the Indian preceptors Jinamitra and Dānaśīla, along with the Tibetan translator Yeshé Dé. The dhāraṇī is also listed in the Denkarma (Tib. ldan kar ma) catalog of 812 ᴄᴇ,3 which confirms its transmission to Tibet prior to that date. During the early period of Tibetan Buddhist history, such luminaries as Padmasambhava, Vimalamitra, Buddhaguhya, and Smṛtijñānakīrti wrote commentaries on the dhāraṇī.4 During the later diffusion of Buddhism in Tibet (tenth to fourteenth century), many other commentaries on the dhāraṇī and its rituals were translated into Tibetan.5 Since that time, it has remained important to all traditions of Tibetan Buddhism down to the present day, mainly for its use as a dhāraṇī to purify and heal illnesses arising due to karmic obscurations. Major scholars of all four schools have composed commentarial and practice literature on this dhāraṇī.6
This translation is based on the Degé Kangyur xylograph, while the Comparative Edition (Tib. dpe bsdur ma) and Stok Palace Kangyurs were consulted to clarify problematic readings. Within the Degé canon, the dhāraṇī is included twice: once in the Tantra section (Tib. rgyud, Toh 750), and once in the Dhāraṇī section (Tib. gzungs ’dus, Toh 949).7 The two versions are generally equivalent, preserving the same translation colophon and very few variant readings. This translation is also informed by the earliest and most extensive commentary, attributed to Buddhaguhya (Toh 2680), as well as the Sanskrit edition presented in Dhīḥ (2005).
The Sanskrit retained here was compiled by comparing the Sanskrit transliteration of the Degé edition (Toh 750) with the two editions of the Sanskrit Vajra Conqueror dhāraṇī—those of Iwamoto (1937) and Dhīḥ (2005). Finally, we referred to a late Devanāgarī manuscript witness (NGMCP: E 1414/8). For assistance in interpreting and translating the Sanskrit of the dhāraṇī-mantras, we have also consulted Ju Mipham’s (’ju mi pham, 1846–1912) synthesis of the commentarial traditions of Buddhaguhya, Padmasambhava, Smṛtijñānakīrti, and Vimalamitra.8
Following the Tibetan precedent of leaving the syllables of mantras (Skt. mantrapada) in transliteration and untranslated, we have reproduced the mantric syllables as they appear in the Degé Tibetan version in the translation’s main body, while noting the variants found in the consulted Sanskrit editions. Note that within Sanskrit editions, numerals following Sanskrit terms indicate a repetition of the last term. In the endnotes, following the three constituent dhāraṇī-mantras, we have included an English interpretative translation of the Sanskrit mantras as edited by Iwamoto.
Homage to all buddhas and bodhisattvas!
Thus did I hear at one time. The Blessed One was abiding in the vajra. Through the power of the Buddha, Vajrapāṇi consecrated his entire body as vajra and entered the vajra absorption. Then, through the power of the Buddha, the blessings of all buddhas, and the blessings of all bodhisattvas, Vajrapāṇi proclaimed the vajra essence that emanated from vajra wrath. It is invulnerable,9 indivisible, indestructible, true, durable, stable, completely indestructible, and completely invincible. It routs all beings, expels all beings, interrupts all spells, subdues all spells, counters all activities, and routs all actions. It destroys all grahas, liberates all grahas, summons all bhūtas, and annihilates all bhūtas. [F.266.a] It enacts the activities of all spells, accomplishes what has not been accomplished, and preserves what has been accomplished. It fulfills all desires and protects all beings. It pacifies and enriches. It paralyzes all beings and stupefies all beings. Through the power of the Buddha, Vajrapāṇi proclaimed this exceedingly powerful mantra:
“namo ratnatrayāya | namaś caṇḍavajrapāṇaye | mahāyakṣasenāpataye | tadyathā | oṁ10 truṭa truṭa11 | troṭaya troṭaya | sphuṭa sphuṭa12 | sphoṭaya sphoṭaya | ghūrṇa ghūrṇa13 | ghūrṇapaya ghūrṇapaya14 | sarvasatvāni | bodhaya bodhaya15 | saṃbodhaya saṃbodhaya | 16bhrama bhrama | saṃbhramaya saṃbhramaya17 | sarvabhūtāni18 kuṭa kuṭa | 19saṃkuṭaya saṃkuṭaya | sarvaśatrūn ghaṭa ghaṭa | saṃghaṭaya saṃghaṭaya | sarvavidyā vajra vajra | sphoṭaya vajra vajra | kaṭa vajra vajra | maṭa20 vajra vajra | matha vajra vajra | aṭṭahāsanīla vajra21 | suvajrāya svāhā | 22he phullu23 | niruphullu | nigṛhṇa kullu | mili cullu24 | 25kurukullu26 | vajravijayāya svāhā | 27kīli kīlāya svāhā28 | kaṭa kaṭa | maṭa maṭa | raṭa raṭa | moṭana pramoṭanāya29 svāhā | caranicara30 | hara hara | sara sara31 māraya | vajravīdārāya32 svāhā | 33chinda chinda | bhinda bhinda | mahākīlikīlāya svāhā | bandha bandha | krodha krodha | kīlikīlāya34 svāhā | curu curu caṇḍalakīli kīlāya35 svāhā | 36trāsaya trāsaya37 | vajrakīli kīlāya | 38hara hara39 vajradharāya svāhā | prahara prahara | vajraprabhañjanāya svāhā | matisthira40 vajra | śrutisthira vajra | pratisthira vajra | mahāvajra | apratihata41 vajra | amogha vajra | ehi vajra42 | śīghraṁ vajrāya svāhā | 43dhara dhara dhiri dhiri dhuru dhuru sarvavajrakulamāvartāya svāhā | amukam māraya phaṭ44 | 45namas samantavajrānām46 | sarvabalam āvartaya | mahābale | kaṭabale | tatale47 | acale | maṇḍalamāye48 | ativajra | mahābale | vegaraṇa49 | ajite | jvala jvala | ti ṭi ti ṭi | piṅgale | daha daha50 | tejovati | tili tili51 | bandha bandha52 | mahābale | vajrāṃkuśajvālaya svāhā |53 [F.266.b]
“54namo ratnatrayāya | namaś caṇḍavajrapāṇaye | mahāyakṣasenāpataye | tadyathā | oṁ hara hara vajra | matha matha vajra55 | dhuna dhuna vajra56 | daha daha57 vajra | paca paca vajra58 | dhara dhara vajra59 | dhāraya dhāraya vajra60 | dāruṇa dāruṇa vajra61 | chinda chinda vajra62 | bhinda bhinda vajra63 | 64hūṁ phaṭ ||65
|((+))||Uncertain reading of manuscript.|
|*||Uncertain translation from Sanskrit.|
|Dh||“Āryavajravidāraṇānāmadhāraṇī” in Dhīḥ (2005).|
|E||Vajravidāraṇahṛdayamantradhāraṇī. NGMCP: E 1414/8.|
|Fx||rdo rje rnam par ’joms pa’i gzungs zhes bya ba (Vajravidāraṇanāmadhāraṇī), Toh 750.|
|Fy||rdo rje rnam par ’joms pa’i gzungs zhes bya ba (Vajravidāraṇanāmadhāraṇī), Toh 949.|
|I||Iwamoto, Yutaka, ed. Kleinere Dhāraṇī Texte. Vol. 2. Kyoto: Iwamoto Yutaka, 1937.|
|Ia||Dhāraṇī Sammulung (Manuscript A), consulted in Iwamoto (1937).|
|Ib||Dhāraṇī Sammulung (Manuscript B), consulted in Iwamoto (1937).|
|S||Stok Palace Kangyur.|
Note that there is a discrepancy among various databases for cataloging the Toh 949 version of this text within vol. 101 or 102 of the Degé Kangyur. See Toh 949, note 6 for details.
“Āryavajravidāraṇānāmadhāraṇī.” Dhīḥ 40 (2005): 159–64.
Iwamoto, Yutaka, ed. Kleinere Dhāraṇī Texte. Vol. 2. Beiträge zur Indologie. Kyoto: Iwamoto Yutaka, 1937.
Vajravidāraṇahṛdayamantradhāraṇī. The Nepalese-German Manuscript Cataloguing Project: Catalogue nos. E 1414/8 and E 1774/3.
rdo rje rnam par ’joms pa’i gzungs zhes bya ba (Vajravidāraṇanāmadhāraṇī). Toh 750, Degé Kangyur vol. 95 (rgyud, dza), folios 265.b–266.b.
rdo rje rnam par ’joms pa’i gzungs zhes bya ba (Vajravidāraṇanāmadhāraṇī). 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. 98, pp. 112–17.
rnam ’joms gzungs (Vidāraṇadhāraṇī). Stok Palace Kangyur vol. 109 (rgyud ’bum, tsha), folios 85.b–87.b.
IOL Tib J 416. British Library, London. Accessed through The International Dunhuang Project: The Silk Road Online.
Jinamitra. rigs pa’i thigs pa’i don bsdus pa (Nyāyabindupiṇḍārtha). Toh 4233, Degé Tengyur vol. 189 (mtshad ma, we), folios 99.b–100.b.
Buddhaguhya. rdo rje rnam par ’joms pa zhes bya ba’i gzungs kyi rgya cher ’grel pa rin po che gsal ba (Vajravidāraṇanāmadhāraṇīṭīkāratnabhāsvara). Toh 2680, Degé Tengyur vol. 71 (rgyud, thu), folios 176.a–186.b.
Vimalamitra. rdo rje rnam par ’joms pa’i gzungs zhes bya ba’i rnam par bshad pa (Vajravidāraṇanāmadhāraṇīṭīkā). Toh 2681, Degé Tengyur vol. 71 (rgyud, thu), folios 186.b–193.a.
Khomthar Jamlö (khoM thar ’jam los), editor for si khron pod yig dpe rnying bsdu sgrig khang. rgyal po mdo bcu’i rtsa ’grel phyogs bsgrigs [The Ten Sūtras of the King, collected texts and commentaries]. 10 vols. Sichuan: si khron mi rigs dpe skrun khang [Sichuan Minorities Publishing House], 2014.
Mipham Gyatso (mi pham rgya mtsho). “rdo rje rnam par ’joms pa’i gzungs kyi mchan ’grel.” In Khomthar Jamlö 2014, vol. 1, pp. 443–58.
Denkarma (pho brang stod thang ldan dkar gyi chos kyi ’gyur ro cog gi dkar chag). Toh 4364, Degé Tengyur vol. 206 (sna tshogs, jo), folios 294.b–310.a.
Bühnemann, Gudrun. “A Dhāraṇī for Each Day of the Week: The Saptavāra Tradition of the Newar Buddhists.” Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 77, no. 1 (2014): 119–36.
Douglas, K., and G. Bays, trans. The Life and Liberation of Padmasambhava: Padma Bka’i Thang. Emeryville: Dharma Publishing, 1978.
Edgerton, Franklin. Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Grammar and Dictionary. 2 vols. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1953.
Herrmann-Pfandt, Adelheid. “The Lhan kar ma as a Source for the History of Tantric Buddhism.” In The Many Canons of Tibetan Buddhism: Proceedings of the Ninth Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies, Leiden 2000, edited by Helmut Eimer and David Germano, 129–49. Leiden: Brill, 2002.
Monier-Williams, Monier. A Sanskrit–English Dictionary: Etymologically and Philologically Arranged with Special Reference to Cognate Indo-European Languages. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 2012.
Yoshimura, Shyuki, ed. The Denkar-ma: An Oldest Catalogue of the Tibetan Buddhist Canons. Vol. 18. Kyoto: Ryukoku University, 1950.
- ’byung po
A general term for spirit, ghost, or demon (either positive or negative).
- dA na shI la
An Indian paṇḍita resident in Tibet during the late eighth and early ninth centuries.
An incantation, spell, or formula, that “holds” or allows to be “retained” (Skt. √dhṛ) a particular meaning, point of realization, or protective power, and is expounded by a realized being so that it may be used to attain mundane and supramundane goals. In the case of many texts (like the present one) in which dhāraṇīs are expounded, the term dhāraṇī is also used to designate the text itself.
A type of evil spirit that exerts a harmful influence on the human body and mind. Grahas are closely associated with the planets and other astronomical bodies.
- dzi na mi tra
An Indian Kashmiri paṇḍita who was resident in Tibet during the late eighth and early ninth centuries. He worked with several Tibetan translators on the translation of several sūtras. He is also the author of the Nyāyabindupiṇḍārtha (Toh 4233), which is contained in the Tengyur (Tib. bstan ’gyur) collection.
- lag na rdo rje
A Buddhist bodhisattva and protective yakṣa whose name can be translated “vajra-in-hand.”
- ye shes sde
A prolific Tibetan translator active during the late eighth and early ninth centuries.