The Questions of the Girl Vimalaśraddhā
Degé Kangyur, vol. 44 (dkon brtsegs, cha), folios 95.a–104.b.
Translated by The Karma Gyaltsen Ling Translation Group
under the patronage and supervision of 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha
Vimalaśraddhā, the daughter of King Prasenajit, comes to see the Buddha in Jetavana, together with a retinue of five hundred women. She pays homage to the Buddha and asks him to explain the conduct of bodhisattvas. The Buddha responds by presenting twelve sets of eight qualities that bodhisattvas should cultivate. Vimalaśraddhā and her five hundred companions, having developed the mind set on awakening, join the ranks of the bodhisattvas, and the Buddha prophesies her future attainment of awakening.
The text was translated by Maurizio Pontiggia and edited by Chryse Tringos-Allen. Dr. Fabian Justus Sanders, docent of Tibetan Language and Literature at the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, provided most of the Sanskrit names and terms. The 84000 editorial team subsequently checked the translation against the Tibetan and the Chinese, and compiled the introduction using parts of the translators’ original material.
The translation was completed under the patronage and supervision of 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha.
The Questions of the Girl Vimalaśraddhā is included among of the forty-nine sūtras in The Heap of Jewels (Skt. Ratnakūṭa) collection of the Degé Kangyur.1 It presents the qualities that bodhisattvas should cultivate in their practice and the benefits that come from such cultivation.
The sūtra begins with the princess Vimalaśraddhā, daughter of King Prasenajit, coming to see the Buddha in Jetavana, together with a retinue of five hundred women. In some expressive verses, she pays homage to the Buddha and asks him to explain the conduct of bodhisattvas. The Buddha responds by presenting twelve sets of eight qualities that bodhisattvas should cultivate. Vimalaśraddhā then asks the Buddha how a woman may avoid female rebirth, to which the Buddha replies by presenting two further sets of eight qualities that ensure rebirth as a man. Finally, Vimalaśraddhā and her five hundred companions, having developed the mind set on awakening, join the ranks of the bodhisattvas, and the Buddha prophesies her future attainment of awakening.
The Buddha’s explanations of how bodhisattvas should act, set out in short prose sections followed by sets of verses, are, of course, the main content of the sūtra. But it is noteworthy that the narrative in which this content is framed shares its theme—the Buddha being addressed by a daughter of King Prasenajit—with two other sūtras from the Heap of Jewels collection. Prasenajit himself, ruling over the kingdom of Kośala from its capital, Śrāvastī, is a well known figure in the canonical texts. Kośala was a powerful kingdom that, under his father Arāḍa Brahmadatta, held political control over the smaller, neighboring Śākya kingdom to the east in which the Buddha was born, and Prasenajit is said to have been born as prince in Śrāvasti at the same time as the Buddha took birth as prince in the Śākya capital, Kapilavastu.2 It was within the first two years after the Buddha’s awakening that Prasenajit became his disciple and patron, although the Buddha only started residing near Śrāvastī for his rains retreats much later, when the wealthy merchant Anāthapiṇḍada purchased land there to build him a vihāra. Prasenajit, by his several wives, is recorded as having had at least two sons and a number of daughters. The name of one of his sons, Prince Jeta, is immortalized in the name, the Jetavana, given to the grove and vihāra on the land that Jeta sold to Anāthapiṇḍada. Another son was Virūḍhaka (by a different mother, a Śākyan3). Several daughters of Prasenajit are mentioned in the canonical literature. One, Vimaladattā—younger in her story than Vimalaśraddhā in this one—is featured in The Questions of Vimaladattā (Vimaladattāparipṛcchā, Toh 77). Prasenajit’s best known daughter is perhaps Śrīmālādevī, who became queen of Ayodhyā and is the principal protagonist of the The Lion’s Roar of Śrīmaladevī (Śrīmālādevīsiṃhanāda, Toh 92). Her mother was probably the queen Mallikā, the foremost of Prasenajit’s queens who is said to have had only one child, a daughter, although other sources name instead another of Prasenajit’s daughters, Vajira, who married King Ajātaśatru of Magadha, as Mallikā’s only daughter. While some of these members of Prasenajit’s family are mentioned in different Sanskrit and Pali texts, both Vimalaśraddhā and Vimaladattā seem to figure only in their respective sūtras.
If the protagonists of The Questions of the Girl Vimalaśraddhā, The Questions of Vimaladattā, and The Lion’s Roar of Śrīmaladevī are all daughters of Prasenajit, they are not the only princesses who are also bodhisattvas in the canonical texts. One daughter of King Ajātaśatru, Aśokadattā, receives her prediction of future awakening in the Aśokadattāvyākaraṇa (Toh 76, also in the Heap of Jewels), and another, Vimalaprabhā, in the Vimalaprabhāparipṛcchā (Toh 168, in the General Sūtra section). King Bimbisāra’s queen, Kṣemavatī, questions the Buddha about his qualities and receives her prediction in the Kṣemavatīvyākaraṇa (Toh 192). Less privileged female bodhisattvas include laywomen, the main interlocutors in the Gaṅgottarāparipṛcchā (Toh 75), the Strīvivartavyākaraṇa (Toh 190),? and the Mahallikāparipṛcchā (Toh 171);4 a courtesan called Suvarṇottamaprabhāśrī in the Mañjuśrīvikrīḍita (Toh 96);5 and Vimalakīrti’s daughter Candrottarā in the Candrottarādārikāvyākaraṇa (Toh 191). While some of the women in these sūtras aspire to be reborn as males as they progress toward awakening, others question what place notions of gender may have with regard to awakening; some debate matters concerning gender with the śrāvaka disciples; some (notably Strīvivarta) make use of being a woman to benefit beings; some appear to be able to change their sex miraculously at will; and Vimalaprabhā vows to remain a woman in at least some of her future lives in order to undertake specific tasks. Nevertheless, these accounts all seem to culminate in the prediction that the female protagonist will ultimately become an apparently male buddha.
The version of the sūtra in the Degé and some other Kangyurs has no colophon, but a colophon is to be found in the Stok Palace, Narthang, and Lhasa Kangyurs, among others, and explicitly states that the Tibetan translation was produced from the Chinese, noting that the text was “translated, edited, and finalized based on the Chinese text by the translator Gö Chödrup.”6 A work that can almost certainly be identified with this sūtra, but with the slighly different Tibetan title bu mo dad ldan gyis zhus pa, is listed in both the Denkarma7 and Phangthangma8 imperial inventories, allowing us to date its Tibetan translation to the late eighth or early ninth century.
In producing this translation, we have based our work on the Degé xylograph, while consulting the Comparative Edition (Tib. dpe bsdur ma) and Stok Palace manuscript. Since the Tibetan version of this sūtra was translated from Chinese rather than Sanskrit, we have also made careful use of Bodhiruci’s fifth- or sixth-century Chinese translation,9 noting important variants throughout.
Homage to all the buddhas and bodhisattvas!
Thus did I hear at one time. The Blessed One was residing at Jetavana, Anāthapiṇḍada’s park in Śrāvastī, together with a large assembly of five hundred bhikṣus and eight thousand bodhisattva mahāsattvas who were well versed in all fields of knowledge, had obtained retention and unimpeded eloquence, were fully accomplished in patience, were completely victorious over the hordes of Māra, and had obtained the Dharmas attained by the thus-gone ones. There was the bodhisattva Lokadhara, the bodhisattva Mārgadhara, the bodhisattva Dharaṇīdhara, the bodhisattva Mahādharaṇīdhara, the bodhisattva Dhṛtimati, the bodhisattva Adhimuktika, the bodhisattva Surūpavyūha, the bodhisattva Ratnaketu, the bodhisattva Ratnadhvaja, the bodhisattva Ratnacinta, the bodhisattva Ratnākara, the bodhisattva Ratnamati, the bodhisattva Ratnaguṇa, and the bodhisattva Ratnaprabha, and there were also the bodhisattvas of this fortunate eon headed by Maitreya. There was also a group of sixty bodhisattvas with incomparable motivation, headed by Mañjuśrī, [F.95.b] and a group of sixteen great men led by the bodhisattva Bhadrapāla. Also gathered there was an assembly of twenty thousand gods from the Tuṣita heaven.
Then the Blessed One, who was sitting there on the lion throne called Treasury of Great Arrangements, surrounded by an immeasurable assembly of hundreds of thousands, shone forth everywhere with rays of light like those of the sun and the moon. Like the kings of the gods, Śakra and Brahmā, his brilliance was outstanding. Like Mount Meru, the king of mountains,10 he was extremely tall and rose high above the common. Like a great torch, the light that he radiated was utterly resplendent. Like an elephant king, he beheld each one and everyone.11 Like a lion roaring, he taught the Dharma fearlessly. Like the king of the asuras, Rāhula, he eclipsed all those who surrounded him.12 His body was adorned with all the major and minor marks of a buddha. His splendor and power blazed forth.13 In order to establish all sentient beings in the supreme definitive meaning and make them understand it,14 he was teaching the Dharma in the midst of this large audience with a voice like Brahmā’s, which resounded in all the universes of the entire trichiliocosm.
Then King Prasenajit’s young daughter,15 Vimalaśraddhā—a pretty and beautiful16 girl whom everyone liked to see, and who had produced roots of virtue in the past and practiced in the Mahāyāna—came to Jetavana from the town of Śrāvastī, accompanied by five hundred girls, each of whom wore golden jewelry. Having prostrated herself, bowing her head to the feet of the Blessed One,17 she circumambulated him three times. Then, after sitting down to one side before the Blessed One, she praised him with these verses: [F.96.a]
Then the Blessed One replied to the girl Vimalaśraddhā, “Girl, if bodhisattvas are endowed with eight strengths, although dwelling within saṃsāra, they have steadfast courage and are completely indefatigable. And what are these eight strengths? The first is the strength of mental motivation, because they are without deceit. The second is the strength of determination, because they abandon all faults. The third is the strength of application, because they continually practice virtue. The fourth is the strength of real trust, because they have strong trust in the maturation of karma. The fifth is the strength of the mind set on awakening, because they do not seek out inferior vehicles. The sixth is the strength of great love, because they do not harm sentient beings. The seventh is the strength of great compassion, because they take all injury upon themselves. The eighth is the strength of a spiritual friend, because from time to time they need to be examined.26 Girl, these are called the eight kinds of strength. When bodhisattvas are endowed with these eight strengths,27 they have steadfast courage, and although they dwell within saṃsāra, they have no clinging or attachment.”
“Furthermore, girl, when bodhisattvas are endowed with eight qualities,32 they abide in sameness. What are these eight qualities? The first is the sameness of all sentient beings, because they are intrinsically without a self. The second is the sameness of all phenomena, because they are utterly void. The third is the sameness of all buddhafields, because they all occur within the sphere of emptiness. The fourth is the sameness of all thus-gone ones, because they all teach in equanimity. The fifth is the sameness of all actions, because causes and conditions are without intrinsic nature. The sixth is the sameness of all vehicles, because they are all similar in being noncomposite. [F.97.b] The seventh is the sameness of minds, because mind is similar to an illusion. The eighth is the sameness of all māras, because one cannot observe a beginning of the afflictions. This is what is called abiding in sameness through the eight qualities.”
“Furthermore, girl, when bodhisattvas are endowed with eight qualities,33 they abandon love and hate. What are these eight qualities?34 Being endowed with love; being endowed with compassion; always being willing to benefit others; not being attached to worldly things; [F.98.a] not being attached to one’s body; always cultivating a concentrated mind; giving away one’s body and life; and discerning the afflictions. When bodhisattvas can accomplish these eight qualities, they will abandon love and hate.”
“Furthermore, girl, when bodhisattvas are endowed with eight qualities,40 they do not become exhausted by saṃsāra.41 What are these eight qualities?42 Bodhisattvas do not become exhausted by saṃsāra because their roots of virtue are immensely vast; because they discern sentient beings; because they always see and make offerings to the thus-gone ones; because they see innumerable buddhafields; because they always strive for the knowledge of a buddha; because they understand that saṃsāra is like a dream; because they are not intimidated by the excellent Dharma; and because they have distinct comprehension of the beginning, the end, and the real endpoint.” [F.98.b]
“Furthermore, girl, when it is endowed with eight qualities,47 the mind’s constitution will be balanced.48 What are these eight qualities? The mind will be of balanced constitution because the mind has become similar to earth;49 because the mind has become similar to water; because the mind has become similar to fire; because the mind has become similar to air; because the mind has become similar to space; because the mind has become similar to the expanse of reality; [F.99.a] because the mind has become similar to liberation; and because the mind has become similar to nirvāṇa. These are called the eight kinds of balanced constitution of the mind.”
“Furthermore, girl, when bodhisattvas are endowed with eight qualities, they become sources of awakening.53 What are these eight qualities? First,54 they have become sources of generosity, because they give away everything they own. Second, they have become sources of discipline, because they are free of transgressions. Third, [F.99.b] they have become sources of patience, because they are free of aggression. Fourth, they have become sources of perseverance, because they are free of laziness and doubt. Fifth, they have become sources of concentration, because they are skillful in means. Sixth, they have become sources of insight, because they maintain discipline and have vast learning. Seventh, they have become sources of the abodes of Brahmā, because they are fully at peace through complete liberation.55 Eighth, they have become sources of supernormal powers, because they constantly maintain concentration.”
“Furthermore, girl, because bodhisattvas are endowed with eight qualities,60 [F.100.a] they obtain perfect retention and unimpeded eloquence. What are these eight qualities? They revere the Dharma.61 They show respect for their preceptors and masters. They are never disheartened with seeking the Dharma. They teach it correctly, in the same way that they were taught. They are not miserly with the Dharma. They do not make public the faults of others. They devotedly pay respect to those who are expounding the Dharma, as if they were their own preceptors. And, without being fixated on the faults of others, they exhort others to abandon their faults. Because bodhisattvas are endowed with these eight qualities, they obtain perfect retention and unimpeded eloquence.”
“Furthermore, girl, because bodhisattvas are endowed with eight qualities,64 [F.100.b] they take miraculous rebirths from lotus buds in the presence of the buddhas. What are these eight qualities? Not speaking of the faults of others, even at the risk of their own lives;65 exhorting sentient beings to take refuge in the Three Jewels; establishing everyone in the mind set on awakening; having immaculate sublime conduct; making statues of the Thus-Gone One and putting them on lotus seats; dispelling the suffering of sentient beings entangled in sorrow; always humbling themselves in front of the arrogant and proud; and never causing any harm whatsoever to others.”
“Furthermore, girl, when bodhisattvas are endowed with eight qualities, they are consummate in ascetic virtue and always aspire to dwell in seclusion.66 What are these eight qualities? Having few wants;67 being content; being fully satisfied with the virtuous Dharma; nourishing themselves with virtue; always maintaining the tradition of the noble ones; always being disenchanted because of seeing the faults of saṃsāra; always contemplating impermanence, suffering, [F.101.a] emptiness, and selflessness; and being steadfast in faith, and not following other teachings.”
“Furthermore, girl, because bodhisattvas are endowed with eight qualities,71 they defeat the armies of Māra. What are these eight qualities? Penetrating emptiness as the very essence of things;72 having a real trust in signlessness; having a real trust in wishlessness; fully discerning the uncompounded; not being doubtful or skeptical about it; accepting73 non-arising; understanding essencelessness; and, by being skillful in means, individually discriminating all phenomena, while knowing unending suchness.”
“Furthermore, girl, when bodhisattvas are endowed with eight qualities,75 they will never be separated from awakening. What are these eight qualities? With right view, they ripen sentient beings who have wrong views.76 With right mindfulness, they act compassionately toward sentient beings who have wrong intention. With right speech, they act compassionately toward those who speak wrongly. With right action, they draw in those engaged in wrongdoings. With right effort, they stop those engaged in wrong pursuits. With right livelihood, they do not abandon sentient beings engaged in wrong livelihoods. With right thought, they make them abandon wrong thinking. With right absorption, they wake those who are stuck in wrong absorption, and make them strive higher.”
“Furthermore, girl, because bodhisattvas are endowed with eight qualities,80 they have direct experience of the deathless path. What are these eight qualities? Abiding in the strifeless Dharma;81 guarding themselves well against thoughts of hostility; constantly contemplating the meaning of suchness; sustaining the mind set on awakening, and meditating on the six recollections; meditating on the transcendental perfections with meticulous perseverance; collecting roots of virtue, and ripening sentient beings; sustaining great compassion, and drawing beings to the perfect Dharma; and attaining the acceptance that phenomena do not arise, and remaining in the irreversible condition.”
The Blessed One answered, “Girl, when a woman is endowed with eight qualities, she will avert female existence.85 What are these eight qualities? Not being jealous;86 not being miserly; not being sly; not being angry; speaking the truth; not uttering harsh words; abandoning lust; and abandoning wrong views. Girl, when one realizes these eight qualities, one will quickly avert female existence.”
“Furthermore, girl, when a woman is endowed with eight qualities, she will avert female existence.87 What are these eight qualities? Venerating the Buddha and being dedicated to the Dharma;88 respectfully honoring and venerating ascetics and brahmins endowed with discipline, patience, and great learning; not being attached or clinging to any man, woman, or household matters; [F.103.a] not breaking the training precepts89 to which one has committed; not bringing forth negative intentions toward any living being; with superior intent, being completely weary of female existence; with the mind set on awakening, being set on the qualities of a great man; and viewing worldly household affairs as illusions or dreams.”
Then the girl Vimalaśraddhā tossed the golden necklaces she was wearing toward the Blessed One.94 Rising into the sky, these jewels became perfectly golden celestial palaces and multi-storied mansions,95 inside of which, seated on golden thrones, there appeared emanations of the Thus-Gone One. Then each one of the five hundred girls likewise untied the jewelry they were wearing and tossed them toward the Blessed One.96 The jewelry also rose into the sky and became golden celestial palaces with jeweled pavilions, jeweled parasols, and all kinds of arrays of jewels.97
Thereupon the five hundred girls, having seen this great miracle, [F.103.b] uttered these verses in unison:
It is in the nature of the buddhas that when they smile, they emit light rays of various kinds of colors. There were blue, yellow, red, white, orange, violet, and crystalline rays that emanated from the Thus-Gone One’s mouth, which pervaded and illuminated countless and innumerable world systems up to their Brahmā’s realms, then returned and circled the Thus-Gone One three times, and finally dissolved into the Thus-Gone One’s crown protuberance.
The Blessed One continued,105 “Ānanda, when the present lives of this girl Vimalaśraddhā and the other five hundred girls are exhausted, they will abandon these female bodies and be reborn among the gods of Tuṣita.106 There they will respectfully honor, venerate, and make offerings to the Blessed One Maitreya and to all the other thus-gone ones of this fortunate eon. In this way, after eighty-four thousand trillion eons, this girl Vimalaśraddhā will obtain perfect and complete awakening107 in a universe known as Vidyutprabha and will be known as the Thus-Gone One Raśmivyūha. The name of that eon will be Nityāvabhāsa. The life span of that thus-gone one will be the same as that of the gods of Tuṣita, that is, twelve thousand years. In that universe, he will be surrounded by limitless and immeasurable retinues exclusively108 consisting of bodhisattva mahāsattvas. These five hundred girls will be at the head of those retinues, in the same way as now, during my lifetime, these sixty bodhisattvas—Mañjuśrī and so on109—are at the head.
Ānanda, if any woman who, having listened to this Dharma discourse, retains it, reads it, or recites it aloud after having had a female body, she will not take such a rebirth again in the future, and will quickly obtain supreme, perfect, and complete awakening.”
After the Blessed One spoke thus, the girl Vimalaśraddhā and the other five hundred girls, as well as the entire world with its gods, men, and asuras, rejoiced in the words of the Blessed One and praised them greatly. [F.104.b]
’phags pa bu mo rnam dag dad pas zhus pa zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo. Toh 84, Degé Kangyur, vol. 44 (dkon brtsegs, cha), folios 95.a–104.b.
’phags pa bu mo rnam dag dad pas zhus pa zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo. 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. 44, pp. 261–88.
’phags pa bu mo rnam dag dad pas zhus pa zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo. Toh 84, Stok Palace Kangyur, vol. 40 (dkon brtsegs, cha), folios 167.b–191.a.
Denkarma (pho brang stod thang ldan dkar gyi chos ’gyur ro cog gi dkar chag). Degé Tengyur, vol. 206 (sna tshogs, jo), folios 294.b–310.a.
Phangthangma (dkar chag ’phang thang ma). Beijing: mi rigs dpe skrun khang, 2003.
Jing xin tong nü hui 淨信童女會. Taishō 310 (40). https://cbetaonline.dila.edu.tw/zh/T0310_111/.
Braarvig, Jens Erland, trans. The Miraculous Play of Mañjuśrī (Mañjuśrīvikrīḍita, Toh 96). 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha, 2020.
Chang, Garma C.C. A Treasury of Mahāyāna Sūtras: Selections from the Mahāratnakūṭa Sūtra. University Park: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 1983.
Dharmachakra Translation Committee, trans. The Prophecy Concerning Strīvivarta (Strīvivartavyākaraṇa, Toh 190). 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha, 2021.
Herrmann-Pfandt, Adelheid. Die lHan kar ma: ein früher Katalog der ins Tibetische übersetzten buddhistischen Texte. Vienna: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 2008.
Sakya Pandita Translation Group (International Buddhist Academy Division), trans. The Questions of an Old Lady (Mahallikāparipṛcchā, Toh 171). 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha, 2011.
Abodes of Brahmā
- tshang pa’i gnas
The four qualities that are said to result in rebirth in the heaven of Brahmā: limitless love, compassion, rejoicing, and equanimity. They were practices already prevalent in India before Śākyamuni’s teaching.
- ting nge ’dzin
A synonym for meditation, this refers to the state of deep meditative immersion that results from different modes of Buddhist practice.
- mos byed
“The Dedicated One.” One of the bodhisattvas in the entourage of the Buddha Śākyamuni when he taught the girl Vimalaśraddhā.
- mgon med zas sbyin
A principal benefactor of the Buddha; he was the wealthy merchant who acquired Prince Jeta’s Grove, i.e., the Jetavana, and donated it to the Buddhist community.
- sbyangs pa’i yon tan
Usually this term refers to a set of thirteen ascetic practices that can be taken up optionally by monks to further their moral discipline. Here, it refers to the practice of ascetic purification in general.
- bzang skyong
“Kind Protector.” Head of the “sixteen excellent men” in this sūtra. He is a bodhisattva who appears prominently in a number of sūtras, where he is depicted as a lay practitioner.
- dge slong
A fully ordained monk.
- dge slong ma
A fully ordained nun.
- bcom ldan ’das
A general term of respect given to persons of spiritual attainment; in a Buddhist context, it is an epithet for the Buddha.
- byang chub sems dpa’ sems dpa’ chen po
A bodhisattva mahāsattva is a bodhisattva who has completed the seventh bhūmi and is on the eighth, ninth, or tenth bhūmi prior to becoming a buddha. These bodhisattvas have several special qualities that bodhisattvas on the lower bhūmis do not have.
- tshangs pa
One of the primary deities of the Brahmanical pantheon, Brahmā occupies an important place in Buddhism as one of two deities (the other being Śakra) that are said to have first exhorted Śākyamuni to teach the Dharma. Among his epithets is “Lord of Sahā World” (Sahāṃpati).
- bram ze
A member of the highest caste in Indian society, which is mostly closely associated with religious vocations.
- sangs rgyas zhing
A pure realm manifested by a buddha or advanced bodhisattva through the power of their great merit and aspirations.
- bsam gtan
- nges pa’i don
The final meaning of the truth; the real intent of the Buddha’s teachings.
- sa ’dzin pa
“Earth Bearer.” One of the bodhisattvas in the entourage of the Buddha Śākyamuni when he taught the girl Vimalaśraddhā.
- chos kyi rnam grangs
An explication of the Dharma.
- mos pa’i blo gros
“Steadfast Mind.” One of the bodhisattvas in the entourage of the Buddha Śākyamuni when he taught the girl Vimalaśraddhā.
Eight worldly concerns
- rlung brgyad
The Tibetan rlung brgyad (“eight winds”) translates literally the Chinese 八風 (bafeng), which is a Chinese Buddhist term for the eight “winds” or influences that stimulate affliction. These are commonly known as the eight worldly concerns or dharmas (’jig rten gyi chos brgyad, aṣṭalokadharma) consisting of: hoping for happiness, fame, praise and gain; and fearing suffering, insignificance, blame and loss.
Expanse of reality
- chos kyi dbyings
The fundamental space that is the characteristic of all phenomena.
- dge sbyong chen po
An epithet of the Buddha.
- theg pa che
- nyan thos
The disciples of the Buddha who are on the path to arhathood.
- tshad med
The four immeasurables are (1) immeasurable loving-kindness, (2) immeasurable compassion, (3) immeasurable sympathetic joy, and (4) immeasurable equanimity.
- shes rab
- rgyal bu rgyal byed kyi tshal
“Prince Jeta’s Grove.” A grove near Śrāvastī that was given to the Buddha and his monks by the householder Anāthapiṇḍada. The Buddha gave many teachings there.
- gsal rgyal
The king of the Kośala kingdom (located in Northern India, in present day Uttar Pradesh) and Vimalaśraddhā’s father.
- ’jig rten ’dzin pa
“World Bearer.” One of the bodhisattvas in the entourage of the Buddha Śākyamuni when he taught the girl Vimalaśraddhā.
- sa ’dzin chen po
“Great Earth Bearer.” One of the bodhisattvas in the entourage of the Buddha Śākyamuni when he taught the girl Vimalaśraddhā.
- byams pa
The bodhisattva who will be the next buddha in the present eon.
- ’jam dpal
A great bodhisattva, one of the eight “close sons” of the Buddha, the embodiment of wisdom.
The term is used to refer to negativity as a force. In ancient India, it was personified by the entity called “Māra,” whose sole intention is to harm beings or divert them from good.
- lam ’dzin pa
“Path Bearer.” One of the bodhisattvas in the entourage of the Buddha Śākyamuni when he taught the girl Vimalaśraddhā.
Mind set on awakening
- byang chub kyi sems
The determination to attain unsurpassable, truly complete awakening for the sake of all sentient beings.
- ri’i rgyal po ri rab
The sacred mountain considered to be at the center of the physical, metaphysical, and spiritual universe.
- rtag par snang ba
“Permanent Luster.” The name of the future eon in which the girl Vimalaśraddhā will become a buddha.
- pha rol tu phyin pa
The term is used to define the actions of a bodhisattva. Because these actions, when brought to perfection, lead one to transcend saṃsāra and reach full awakening, they receive the Sanskrit name pāramitā, meaning “gone across to the other side.”
- sgra gcan zin
An asura king. He is said to cause eclipses by seizing or blocking the sun and moon.
- ’od zer gyi bkod pa
“Array of Light Rays.” Name by which Vimalaśraddhā will be known upon her attainment of buddhahood.
- rin chen sems pa
“Mind of Jewels.” One of the bodhisattvas in the entourage of the Buddha Śākyamuni when he taught the girl Vimalaśraddhā.
- rin po che’i rgyal mtshan
“Jeweled Victory Banner.” One of the bodhisattvas in the entourage of the Buddha Śākyamuni when he taught the girl Vimalaśraddhā.
- rin chen yon tan
“Precious Qualities.” One of the bodhisattvas in the entourage of the Buddha Śākyamuni when he taught the girl Vimalaśraddhā.
- rin chen ’byung gnas
“Source of Jewels.” One of the bodhisattvas in the entourage of the Buddha Śākyamuni when he taught the girl Vimalaśraddhā.
- rin po che’i tog
“Jeweled Pinnacle.” One of the bodhisattvas in the entourage of the Buddha Śākyamuni when he taught the girl Vimalaśraddhā.
- rin chen blo gros
“Precious Intelligence.” One of the bodhisattvas in the entourage of the Buddha Śākyamuni when he taught the girl Vimalaśraddhā.
- rin chen ’od
“Precious Light.” One of the bodhisattvas in the entourage of the Buddha Śākyamuni when he taught the girl Vimalaśraddhā.
- yang dag pa’i mtha’
A synonym for ultimate truth, and a way of describing the attainment of perfection as the culmination of the spiritual path.
Here, it means the power of recalling something from memory; the ability to remember.
- brgya byin
The name of the king of the thirty-three gods, also known as Indra, who presides over the desire realm heaven called “the gods of the thirty-three.”
- dge ’dun
The community of followers of the Buddha’s teachings, particularly the monastics.
- dgon pa
- rjes su dran pa drug
The six recollections are (1) recollection of the Buddha, (2) recollection of the Dharma, (3) recollection of the Saṅgha, (4) recollection of giving, (5) recollection of moral discipline, and (6) recollection of the gods.
- thabs mkhas pa
The skillful acts of a bodhisattva for the benefit of others.
- rang rgyal
- rang sangs rgyas
Those who, in times when there is no buddha, reach enlightenment on their own, but do not teach the Dharma to others.
- mnyan yod
The capital city of Kośala, where the Buddha spent many rainy seasons.
- tshangs par spyod pa
To maintain chaste conduct.
- mngon shes
Divine eye, divine ear, knowledge of others’ minds, recollection of past lives, and miracles.
- gzugs mdzes bkod pa
“Beautiful Array.” One of the bodhisattvas in the entourage of the Buddha Śākyamuni when he taught the girl Vimalaśraddhā.
- stobs bcu
The ten strengths of the bodhisattvas are (1) disposition, (2) superior intent, (3) application, (4) wisdom, (5) aspiration, (6) vehicle, (7) conduct, (8) transformation, (9) enlightenment, and (10) turning the Dharma Wheel.
- de bzhin gshegs pa
A frequently used synonym for a buddha. The expression is interpreted in different ways, but in general it implies one who has arrived at the realization of the ultimate state.
Tradition of the noble ones
- ’phags pa’i rigs
This refers to four rigors that typify noble ones: contentment with the robes, food, and bed that one receives, and devotion to the path of liberation.
- dga’ ldan
One of the six heavens of the desire realm, where all future buddhas dwell prior to their awakening.
- rnam dag dad pa
“Completely Pure Faith.” The daughter of King Prasenajit.