The Play in Full
Degé Kangyur, vol. 46 (mdo sde, kha), folios 1.b–216.b
Translated by the Dharmachakra Translation Committee
under the patronage and supervision of 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha
The Play in Full tells the story of how the Buddha manifested in this world and attained awakening, as perceived from the perspective of the Great Vehicle. The sūtra, which is structured in twenty-seven chapters, first presents the events surrounding the Buddha’s birth, childhood, and adolescence in the royal palace of his father, king of the Śākya nation. It then recounts his escape from the palace and the years of hardship he faced in his quest for spiritual awakening. Finally the sūtra reveals his complete victory over the demon Māra, his attainment of awakening under the Bodhi tree, his first turning of the wheel of Dharma, and the formation of the very early saṅgha.
This text was translated by the Dharmachakra Translation Committee under the supervision of Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche.
Cortland Dahl, Catherine Dalton, Hilary Herdman, Heidi Koppl, James Gentry, and Andreas Doctor translated the text from Tibetan into English. Andreas Doctor and Wiesiek Mical then compared the translations against the original Tibetan and Sanskrit, respectively. Finally, Andreas Doctor edited the translation and wrote the introduction.
The Dharmachakra Translation Committee would like to thank Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche for blessing this project, and Khenpo Sherap Sangpo for his generous assistance with the resolution of several difficult passages.
This translation has been completed under the patronage and supervision of 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha.
The generous sponsorship of 簡源震及家人江秀敏，簡暐如，簡暐丞 Chien YuanChen (Dharma Das) and his wife, daughter, and son for work on this sūtra is gratefully acknowledged.
Monks, the Bodhisattva dwelt in the supreme realm of the Heaven of Joy, where he was honored by offerings, received consecration, and was praised and revered by one hundred thousand gods.  He had achieved his goal and was elevated by his former aspirations. His intelligence was such that he had attained the entire range of the Buddhadharma. Indeed his eye of wisdom was at once both vast and utterly pure. Radiating with mindfulness, intelligence, realization, modesty, and joyfulness, his mind was extremely powerful. He had mastered the perfections of generosity, discipline, patience, diligence, mental stability, knowledge, and skillful means, and was adept in the fourfold path of Brahmā: great love, great compassion, great joy, and great equanimity. With great awareness, he was free of obscurations and had manifested the vision of wisdom free from attachment. Likewise he had perfected each and every quality of awakening: the applications of mindfulness, the thorough relinquishments, the bases of miraculous power, [F.6.a] the faculties, the powers, the branches of awakening, the path, and the factors of awakening.
Sublime signs and marks, indicating his boundless accumulation of merit and wisdom, beautifully adorned the body of the Bodhisattva, who had engaged in proper conduct for a long time. Acting in perfect accordance with his words, his unerring statements were always genuine. At once honest, straightforward, and free of guile, his mind was invincible. Free of pride, conceit, arrogance, fear, and timidity, he was impartial toward all beings.
The Bodhisattva had paid homage to countless awakened beings, to billions upon billions of buddhas. His loving gaze was revered by billions upon billions of bodhisattvas. Likewise Śakra, Brahmā, Maheśvara, the guardians of the world, gods, nāgas, gandharvas, demigods, garuḍas, kinnaras, and yakṣas, in their multitudes, rejoiced in his glory.
Having perfectly discerned their every word, the Bodhisattva’s learned understanding of the teachings was at once unimpeded, discerning, and perfect. He was an unerring vessel of mindfulness, able to recall the teachings of all the buddhas. The number of dhāraṇīs he had received was infinite. The Bodhisattva was the great captain of the vessel of the Dharma, which he had perfectly accomplished through the applications of mindfulness, the thorough relinquishments, the bases of miraculous power, the faculties, the powers, the branches of awakening, the path, the perfection of knowledge, the precious quality of skillful means, and merit. With the intention to travel beyond the four rivers,6 he conquered Māra, subdued hostile forces, and defeated all of his opponents. Indeed he set himself at the frontlines and destroyed the enemy hordes of the afflictions with the firm vajra weapon of supreme wisdom. [F.6.b]
This great being was like a lotus. Having a stem of great compassion deeply rooted in the mind of awakening, this lotus was born of superior intention. It was sprinkled with the water of profound diligence and had skillful means as its center, branches of awakening for its anthers, and mental stability for its stamen. This lotus arose from an immaculate ocean of a vast accumulation of virtues. Its blossoming petals, illuminated by moonlight free from the torment of pride and arrogance, were pristine. Emitting the scent of discipline, study, and conscientious speech unhindered throughout the ten directions, this lotus was foremost throughout the world in terms of knowledge,  yet untainted by the eight worldly concerns. It radiated the sweet fragrance of the accumulation of merit and wisdom, while the sunlight of knowledge and wisdom warmed it, causing the hundred petals of its pure vision to blossom.
The Bodhisattva was a lion among men. Swift and strong were his four bases of miraculous power, just as the claws and fangs of the four noble truths were extremely sharp. He bared the fangs of the four communions with Brahmā and gathered others through the four ways of attraction with his head. With a well-proportioned body, due to having understood the twelve links of dependent origination, and a flowing mane of the complete perfection of the thirty-seven factors of awakening, along with awareness and wisdom, his mouth opened with the three gateways to liberation, while his eyes indicated the utter purity of tranquility and insight. He dwelt in the mountain caves of mental stability, complete liberation, absorption, and deep meditation. Born of the jungles of the four activities and discipline, he was endowed with the ten powers, the fourfold fearlessness, and perfect might. The hairs on his body did not bristle with the fear of creation and destruction, nor did his valor ever diminish. He subdued the masses of extremists, who are like rabbits and deer, [F.7.a] letting out the great lion’s roar of no self.
As the sun of great beings, light rays of knowledge radiated from the orb of his liberation and concentration, dispelling the light of the swarms of extremists, who are like fireflies, and eliminating the darkness and obscuring film of ignorance. Indeed, with brilliant strength and diligence, the radiant majesty of his merit shone brightly among gods and humans.
As the light of the moon, there was no darkness within him; he perfectly embodied all that is wholesome. The sight of him was beautiful to behold and pleasing to the mind, and his eye faculty was unobstructed. Adorned by the constellations of one hundred thousand gods, the moonlight of the soothing branches of awakening radiated from this sphere of concentration, liberation, and wisdom, causing the lilies among humans and gods to bloom.
The Great Bodhisattva was followed by a fourfold retinue, like the moon by the four continents, and he was endowed with the jewels of the seven branches of awakening. He engaged all beings equally and possessed an unimpeded analytical capacity. His intention was enhanced by the sublime and perfectly complete austerities and spiritual practices that he observed on the path of the ten virtuous activities. As the king of Dharma, he turned the precious wheel of the supreme Dharma without hindrance, having been born into a line of universal monarchs.
Filled with all the precious teachings, including that of dependent origination, so profound and difficult to fathom, he never tired of study. Thus his boundless wisdom had become vast and all-encompassing. His discipline was beyond measure as well. Indeed his mind was as vast as the oceans and the earth. Equal to earth, water, fire, and air,  his mind was as firm and unmoving as Mount Meru. He was free from attachment and aversion, with a mind as pristine and open as the center of space; it was vast and unlike any other. His superior intent was utterly pure. [F.7.b] His acts of generosity were done well, as were his previous endeavors and his superior deeds.
He sought out all basic virtues and had formed positive habitual tendencies. Ascertaining the basic virtues, he practiced all such virtues for seven incalculable eons. He practiced the seven forms of generosity and engaged in the five types of action that create merit, just as he tread the path of the ten virtues—the three physical, the four verbal, and the three mental wholesome actions—and practiced the forty kinds of correct application. Likewise did he make the forty kinds of correct aspiration, immerse himself in the forty kinds of right intention, perfect the forty kinds of liberation, and erect the forty kinds of right interest.
He took ordination with four million buddhas and presented five and a half million buddhas with offerings. Similarly the Bodhisattva served 1,540 million solitary buddhas. Establishing innumerable sentient beings on the paths to the higher realms and liberation, he desired to become perfectly and completely awakened, to attain supreme, genuine, and complete awakening.
With only one lifetime remaining, he passed away and was reborn in the supreme realm of the Heaven of Joy as a supreme divine child named Śvetaketu. The assembly of gods showed him great reverence, honoring him as one who would leave their midst and take birth in the human world, where before long he would become the Buddha, attaining perfect, complete, and unexcelled awakening.
He dwelt in a celestial palace with 32,000 floors, adorned with verandas, domes, architraves, skylights, cool pavillions, multiple stories, and courtyards. [F.8.a] This palace was filled with parasols, flags, and streaming banners; it was covered by canopies of tiny jeweled bells and strewn with māndārava and mahāmāndārava flowers. The songs of millions upon millions of celestial maidens could be heard throughout.  Its enchanting, even grounds were covered with golden canopies and filled with various trees, such as mountain ebonies, campakas, trumpet vines, orchids, muchalindas, mahāmuchalindas, aśokas, banyans, persimmon trees, narras, karṇikāras, kesaras, sāls, and coral trees. In every direction there were flowered canopies, overflowing with jyotiṣ, mālikas, barasikas, taraṇīs, sumanas, bali, kotaranis, and other sweet-smelling flowers. Likewise there were danukari flowers, celestial flowers, blue lotuses, pink lotuses, water lilies, and white lotuses. Various birds flew through the air, singing out their beautiful melodies. Among them were parrots, śārikas, cuckoos, geese, peacocks, ducks, pheasants, snipe, partridge, and many others.
Millions upon millions of gods turned their eyes toward the palace and gazed at it in awe. The great and vast Dharma was proclaimed throughout, and thereby the force of their enthusiastic desire subdued all the afflictions, eliminating pride, conceit, arrogance, aggression, rage, and anger, and bringing about happiness, well-being, joy, and mindfulness on a vast scale.
The Bodhisattva dwelt comfortably in this great celestial palace, where a discourse on the genuine Dharma emerged amid a symphony of 84,000 musical instruments. From their sound, the following verses of inspiration arose, telling of the many virtuous deeds that the Bodhisattva carried out in times past:
This concludes the second chapter, on the inspiration.
’phags pa rgya cher rol pa zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo (Āryalalitavistaranāmamahāyānasūtra). Toh 95, Degé Kangyur vol. 46 (mdo sde, kha), folios 1b–216b.
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