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.
The Play in Full (Lalitavistara) is without a doubt one of the most important sūtras within Buddhist Mahāyāna literature. With parts of the text dating from the earliest days of the Buddhist tradition, this story of the Buddha’s awakening has captivated the minds of devotees, both ordained and lay, as far back as the beginning of the common era.
In brief, The Play in Full tells the story of how the Buddha manifested in this world and attained awakening. The sūtra, which is structured in twenty-seven chapters, begins with the Buddha being requested to teach the sūtra by several gods, as well as the thousands of bodhisattvas and hearers in his retinue. The gods summarize the sūtra in this manner (chap. 1):
“Blessed One, there is an extensive collection of discourses on the Dharma that bears the name Lalitavistara (The Play in Full). This teaching illuminates the basic virtues of the bodhisattvas, showing how the Bodhisattva descended from the sublime palace in the Heaven of Joy, intentionally entered the womb, and sojourned in the womb. It shows the power of the place where he was born to a noble family, and how he surpassed others through all the superior special qualities that he demonstrated through his actions as a youth. It shows his many unique qualities, such as his skills in arts, crafts, writing, arithmetic, calculations, astrology, fencing, archery, feats of physical strength, and wrestling, demonstrating his superiority to all others in these areas. It shows how he enjoyed his retinue of consorts and the pleasures of his kingdom.
“This teaching proclaims how he attained the result brought about by the concordant cause of all the bodhisattva activities, showing how he manifested as a bodhisattva and destroyed the legions of Māra. It explains the ten powers, the fourfold fearlessness, and the other innumerable qualities of a thus-gone one, and presents the infinite teachings taught by the thus-gone ones of times past.”
The Buddha silently accepts this request, and the following day he commences the teaching.
The story begins in the divine realms where the future Buddha (who, prior to his awakening, is known as the Bodhisattva) enjoys a perfect life surrounded by divine pleasures. Due to his past aspirations, however, the musical instruments of the palace call out to him, reminding him of his prior commitment to attain awakening (chap. 2). Inspired by this reminder, the Bodhisattva announces, to the despair of the gods, that he will abandon his divine pleasures in pursuit of full and complete awakening on this earth (Jambudvīpa), where he will take birth within a suitably noble family (chap. 3). However, before his departure from the heavenly realms, the Bodhisattva delivers one final teaching to the gods (chap. 4) and, having installed the bodhisattva Maitreya as his regent, he sets out for the human realm accompanied by great displays of divine offerings and auspicious signs (chap. 5). He enters the human world via the womb of Queen Māyā, where he resides for the duration of the pregnancy within an exquisite temple, enjoying the happiness of absorption (chap. 6).
After taking birth in the Lumbinī Grove and declaring his intention to attain complete awakening (chap. 7), we follow the infant Bodhisattva on a temple visit where the stone statues rise up to greet him (chap. 8) and hear of the marvelous jewelry that his father, the king, commissions for him (chap. 9). Next, as the Bodhisattva matures, the sūtra recounts his first day at school, where he far surpasses even the most senior tutors (chap. 10); his natural attainment of the highest levels of meditative concentration during a visit to the countryside (chap. 11); and his incredible prowess in the traditional worldly arts, which he uses to win the hand of Gopā, a Śākya girl whose father requires proof of the Bodhisattva’s qualities as a proper husband (chap. 12).
The Bodhisattva has now reached maturity and can enjoy life in the palace, where he is surrounded by all types of pleasure, including a large harem to entertain him. Seeing this, the gods begin to worry that he will never leave such a luxurious life, and they therefore gently remind him of his vows to awaken (chap. 13). This reminder, however, turns out to be unnecessary, as the Bodhisattva is far from attached to such fleeting pleasures. Instead, to the great despair of everyone in the Śākya kingdom, he renounces his royal pleasures. Inspired by the sight of a sick person, an old man, a corpse, and a religious mendicant (chap. 14), he departs from the palace to begin the life of a religious seeker on a spiritual journey, which eventually leads him to awakening (chap. 15).
Already at this early stage of his religious career, the Bodhisattva is no ordinary being. It quickly becomes apparent that he surpasses all the foremost spiritual teachers of his day. His extraordinary charisma also attracts many beings, such as the king of Magadha, who requests the Bodhisattva to take up residence in his kingdom, but without success (chap. 16). In a final test of the established contemplative systems of his day, the Bodhisattva next follows Rudraka, a renowned spiritual teacher. But once again he is disappointed, although he quickly masters the prescribed trainings.
These experiences lead the Bodhisattva to the conclusion that he must discover awakening on his own, so he sets out on a six-year journey of austere practices, which are so extreme in nature that they take him to the brink of death (chap. 17). Finally the Bodhisattva realizes that such practices do not lead to awakening and, encouraged by some protective gods, he begins to eat a normal diet once again, which restores his former physique and health (chap. 18). At this point he senses that he is on the verge of attaining his goal, and therefore sets out for the seat of awakening (bodhimaṇḍa), the sacred place where all bodhisattvas in their last existence attain full and complete awakening (chap. 19). As he arrives at the seat of awakening, the gods create a variety of impressive miraculous displays, and the place eventually comes to resemble a divine realm, fit for the epic achievement that awaits the Bodhisattva (chap. 20).
Still, just as everything has been prepared to celebrate the attainment of awakening, Māra, the most powerful demon in the desire realm, arrives with the aim of preventing the Bodhisattva from attaining his goal. Together with his terrifying army and seductive daughters, Māra tries every trick in the book to discourage the Bodhisattva, but to no avail. Sad and dejected, Māra eventually gives up his disgraceful attempt at creating obstacles (chap. 21). Now the stage is finally set for the Bodhisattva to attain awakening under the Bodhi tree, a gradual process that unfolds throughout the night until he fully and perfectly awakens at dawn to become the Awakened One (Buddha), or Thus-Gone One (Tathāgata), as he is known subsequent to his awakening (chap. 22). As is only suitable for such an epic achievement, the entire pantheon of divine beings now hurry to the Thus-Gone One, making offerings and singing his praise (chap. 23).
During the first seven weeks following his awakening, the Buddha keeps to himself and does not teach. In fact he worries that the truth he has discovered might be too profound for others to comprehend, except perhaps a bodhisattva in his last existence. Māra, who senses the Buddha’s dilemma, turns up and tries one last trick, suggesting to the Buddha that perhaps this would be a suitable time to pass straight into parinirvāṇa. The Buddha, however, makes it clear that he has no such plans, and finally Māra relents. During these first seven weeks, we also hear of other encounters between the Buddha and some local passersby, but significantly no teaching is given (chap. 24). Setting up an important example for the tradition, the Buddha eventually consents to teach the Dharma only after it has been requested four times, in this case by all the gods, headed by Brahmā and Śakra. As he says, “O Brahmā, the gates of nectar are opened” (chap. 25).
At this point, the Buddha determines through his higher knowledge that the first people to hear his teaching should be his five former companions from the days when he was practicing austerities. Although these ascetics originally rejected the Bodhisattva when he decided to abandon their path, when they meet the Buddha again at the Deer Park outside of Vārāṇasī, they are rendered helpless by his majestic presence and request teachings from him. The five companions instantly receive ordination and, in a seminal moment, the Buddha teaches them the four truths of the noble ones: suffering, the origin of suffering, the cessation of suffering, and the path that leads to the cessation of suffering. Thus this occasion constitutes the birth of the Three Jewels: the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Saṅgha (chap. 26). This marks the end of the teaching proper. Finally, in the epilogue, the Buddha encourages his retinue of gods and humans to take this sūtra as their practice and propagate it to the best of their abilities (chap. 27).
This version of the story thus ends at the very moment when the Buddha has finally manifested all the qualities of awakening and is fully equipped to influence the world, as he did over the next forty-five years by continuously teaching the Dharma and establishing his community of followers. From our perspective, this may seem odd. Why do we not get to follow the Buddha as he builds his community of monks and nuns and interacts with the people of India, high and low, throughout his teaching career? And why do we not get to hear the details of his old age and passing into nirvāṇa? After all, this is the part of his life where his inconceivable qualities are most evident and where his glory as the fully awakened Buddha is most radiant.
The answer of course cannot be settled here, but we can at least surmise. Perhaps the aim of this account is not to describe the life of the Buddha in the way one would expect in a traditional biography, or even a religious hagiography. Instead, the scope of The Play in Full may be to tell the story of the complete awakening of a bodhisattva in his last existence. The many events that occurred post awakening during the Buddha’s forty-five-year teaching career are therefore not of particular interest to a project that aims to describe the awakening of a buddha. These events, moreover, are well documented in the teachings preserved elsewhere in the Buddhist canon.
If this assumption is correct, The Play in Full should not be viewed exclusively as the “life of the Buddha” in the way we might ordinarily understand such a phrase, but rather as an account of the unfolding of awakening itself, clearly centered around the figure of Buddha Śākyamuni, yet with many themes and plots that do not exclusively refer to his particular life example. Although we do hear of events specific to the life of Buddha Śākyamuni in the chapters concerning his education, athletic prowess, and so on, we are often reminded that the main occurrences recounted in The Play in Full have unfolded previously, namely whenever past bodhisattvas awoke to the level of a thus-gone one. Thus this story represents nothing new under the sun; instead it recounts what happens to everyone who is in a position such as the Bodhisattva’s.
This brings up another important feature of The Play in Full, which is the ahistorical Mahāyāna backdrop that informs the entire story line. Throughout the text, the story is covered by a latticework of mind-boggling miracles and feats that defy comprehension by the ordinary intellect. Clearly, in the perspective of the Mahāyāna, the world is fashioned according to the lenses that we use to see with. And here, in The Play in Full, the lenses are those of full and complete awakening. This fact is already alluded to in the title of the text, which describes the events in the Bodhisattva’s life as a play. As such the events in the Bodhisattva’s life are not ordinary karmic activity that unfold based on the mechanisms of a conceptual mind, but rather the playful manner in which the nonconceptual wisdom of a tenth-level bodhisattva unfolds as an expression of his awakened insight. In this manner of storytelling, the reader is invited into the worldview of a timeless and limitless universe as perceived by the adepts of the Mahāyāna. The time span, numbers, and sizes within this Mahāyāna scripture are so persistently overwhelming that all historical and scientific thinking as we know it eventually loses meaning and relevance.
As such The Play in Full is not an historical document and it was probably never intended to be. Instead it is a story of awakening that itself contains all the key teachings of the Mahāyāna. Thus, to fully appreciate this text, the reader must also attend to its aesthetic and rhetorical functions and how its narrative progression and episodes have been designed to impact readers, rather than simply approaching the text as documentary evidence of a life well lived. The text can thus be read on many levels from a Buddhist perspective, with new facets being discovered upon each reading. For the layperson it may provide an inspiring glimpse into the ethos of the Mahāyāna worldview, for the renunciant it can represent an encouragement to live the contemplative life, and for the scholar it may appear as an exemplary specimen of Buddhist philosophy and literature. For others it may be all of these, and still more.
Still, the fact that The Play in Full is not a text meant to provide historical details of the founder of Buddhism should not prevent us, if we are so inclined, from enjoying this magnificent religious literature through the lenses of historical awareness and philological scholarship. If we choose to adopt such perspectives, The Play in Full does indeed contain a wealth of information of interest to the historically inclined. The basic framework for the story of the Bodhisattva’s awakening was already in place within the Buddhist tradition many centuries before this text appeared in writing, as early scholarship on the sūtra has already pointed out (e.g., Winternitz 1927). This essential framework, however, was greatly developed and adorned by the sūtra’s compilers/authors in order to create its current form, which Vaidya (1958) has dated to the third century ᴄᴇ. Before that time, stories surrounding the life of the Buddha (and the Bodhisattva in his last and previous existences) were in place in the various canons of the early Buddhist schools.
There is no single full biographical account in the Pali Canon, but episodes of the Buddha’s life are recounted in such works as the Mahāpadānasutta (DN 14), Mahāparinibbāṇasutta (DN 16), Ariyapariyesanāsutta (MN 26), Mahāsaccakasutta (MN 36), and Acchariya-abbhutasutta (MN 123). Perhaps the earliest work to be partly structured as a biographical account, although it also contains much other material and is not always ordered chronologically, is the Sanskrit Mahāvastu, a Vinaya text of the Lokottaravāda branch of the Mahāsāṅghika. In the Kangyur, the most detailed account of the Buddha’s life from a non-Mahāyāna viewpoint is to be found in the rich narrative sections of the Vinaya texts translated from the Sanskrit of the Mūla-sarvāstivāda school, particularly in the Chapter on a Schism in the Saṅgha (Saṅghabhedavastu, the volume-length seventeenth chapter of the Vinayavastu)1 and in the standalone compilation extracted from it, the Abhiniṣkramaṇasūtra (Toh 301).
However, it is only with the appearance of The Play in Full that an extensive account of awakening according to the Mahāyāna perspective appears. It can be understood as a historically later text in the sense that it is an obvious compilation of various early sources, which have been strung together and elaborated on according to the Mahāyāna worldview. As such this text is a fascinating example of the ways in which the Mahāyāna rests firmly on the earlier tradition, yet reinterprets the very foundations of Buddhism in a way that fits its own vast perspective. The fact that the text is a compilation is initially evident from the mixture of prose and verse that, in some cases, contains strata from the very earliest Buddhist teachings and, in other cases, presents later Buddhist themes that do not emerge—in written form at least—until the first centuries of the common era. Previous scholarship on The Play in Full (mostly published in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries) devoted much time to determining the text’s potential sources and their respective time periods, although without much success. For example, while the first critical publications argued that the verse sections of the text represent a more ancient origin than the parts written in prose, that theory had largely been dismissed by the beginning of the twentieth century (Winternitz 1927). Although this topic clearly deserves further study, it is interesting to note that little new research on this sūtra has been published during the last sixty years (at least in English; some interesting papers by Japanese scholars deserve our attention). As such the only thing we can currently say concerning the sources and origin of The Play in Full is that it was based on several early and, for the most part, unidentified sources that belong to the very early days of the Buddhist tradition.
The Play in Full makes no attempt to present itself as a homogenous text composed by a single author. In fact it seems that the compilers of the text took pride in presenting an account of the Bodhisattva’s last existence that was as detailed and all-encompassing as possible and thus, to this end, it was perfectly acceptable to draw openly on a variety of sources. One obvious example of this is the fact that although the story is for the most part recounted in the third person, it occasionally and abruptly shifts into a first-person narrative where the Buddha recounts the events himself. In addition, there is often a significant overlap between the topics covered in the prose and verse sections, and in these places the compilers of the text have made no attempt to polish away the inconsistencies and redundancies. It is likely that the discerning readers of the time may have been quite aware of the sources on which The Play in Full draws, and that it was perfectly acceptable at the time to compile a “new” scripture from traditional sources, and to have this newly assembled literature be afforded the same inspired status as other instances of “the words of the Buddha” (buddhavacana). Certainly the Mahāyāna literature contains many statements in support of such an open-ended approach to canonical standards.
The title of this sūtra indicates that this is an elaborate account of the playful activity performed by the Bodhisattva. The fact that it is called in Full (vistara) indicates that the compilers saw this text as an elaborate way of viewing the awakening of the Buddha, as opposed to other (from a Mahāyāna perspective) more limited accounts, which have less emphasis on miracles and elasticity of time and place. But in Full is not to be understood only in terms of the vast Mahāyāna worldview. It can also signify an elaborate account that includes more details than previous presentations of the topic, since the Sanskrit word vistara can communicate this meaning as well.
Both of these interpretations of vistara are also possible based on the translated title in Tibetan (rgya cher rol pa). Although the grammatical elements in the Sanskrit and Tibetan titles differ, the Tibetan title can nevertheless be interpreted in ways similar to the Sanskrit. As such the title of this text already gives subtle hints that the internal hermeneutics of this sūtra may differ from our contemporary historical perspective regarding definitions of “the words of the Buddha.” Instead, by embracing the worldview of playful activity that The Play in Full presents, the words of the Buddha can manifest at any time, whether compiled, edited, or even newly authored.
In India, The Play in Full was no doubt a work in progress over several centuries before it finally settled into the form that we know today. It appears to have enjoyed a certain popularity in India, and it also had significant influence in several other Asian regions. In the Gandharan art of the period in which The Play in Full emerged, the themes of the text are widely represented in temple art, and even as far away as the Borobudur Temple complex in Indonesia, this sūtra provided inspiration for the elaborate artwork adorning sections of the temple structures. Versions of The Play in Full were translated into Chinese in the fourth century by Dharmarakṣa and in the seventh by Divākara.
We also have a very beautiful and accurate Tibetan translation of the text. This was produced in the ninth century ᴄᴇ during the early period of translation, which attests to the text’s popularity and perceived importance at the time. This is the text that we have translated here. Once the text was available in a Tibetan translation, it quickly became the primary source for recounting the Buddha’s attainment of awakening and, unlike many other sūtras, The Play in Full appears to have been read and studied often in Tibet. While numerous scriptures from the Kangyur have slipped into relative obscurity, The Play in Full has continued to have a lasting impact on Tibetan Buddhism, all the way down to the present.
In the West, the first mention of The Play in Full may have been the chapter-by-chapter summary by Robert Lenz published serially (in French) in 1836. A few years later, in 1839, Alexander Csoma de Kőrös published his own summary in Analysis of the Mdo (Calcutta, pp. 288-296). Eugène Burnouf also mentioned this text in his Introduction à l’histoire du Bouddhisme Indien published in 1844. In 1847, Phillipe Édouard Foucaux published an edition of the Tibetan, and his initial French translation, made from the Tibetan but with reference to the Sanskrit (the first ever translation of The Play in Full) appeared in 1848. An edition of the Sanskrit by Rajendralal Mitra began to appear over two decades starting in 1853, and in 1874 Salomon Lefmann published a partial translation into German. An English translation by Mitra began to appear in 1881, and in 1882 Lefman published his edition of the Sanskrit. Shortly thereafter in 1884, Foucaux published his second French translation, this time from the Sanskrit, followed by a further volume of notes in 1892.2 Almost a hundred years later, Gwendolyn Bays, who based her work on Foucaux’s translation with reference to the original Sanskrit and Tibetan, published a complete translation in English. More recently still, the Japanese scholar Hokazono Kōichi has published a new and improved Sanskrit edition (accompanied by extensive ancillary material in Japanese and a Japanese translation).3
This present translation builds on, and benefits from, the considerable efforts of these previous scholars. Unlike earlier translations, however, we have based our translation on the Tibetan text as found in the Degé Kangyur (Toh 95), with reference to the other available Kangyur editions. In addition we have also compared the Tibetan translation line by line with the Sanskrit (Lefmann 1882),4 and we have revised the translation on numerous occasions where the Sanskrit clarified obscure passages in the Tibetan version or represented a preferred reading.
As such it is fair to say that this translation as it stands is an equal product of the Tibetan and the Sanskrit. Although some scholars may have preferred a translation from the Sanskrit alone, we believe that the present approach is justified, since a comparative study of the available manuscripts makes it clear that several strands of manuscripts were extant in India, sometimes with significant differences in wording and content. Moreover, as the Tibetan translation predates the existing Sanskrit manuscripts by centuries, the Tibetan may indeed represent an earlier stratum that merits attention apart from merely complementing the Sanskrit.
In producing this translation, we have sought to incorporate the best of both manuscript traditions through a diplomatic approach that does not give preference to either language a priori. Since there are literally thousands of differences between the Sanskrit and the Tibetan manuscripts when all levels of variance are considered, we have avoided annotating each individual reading preference in the translation. Our motivation for this has been to present a translation that the general reader can enjoy without getting distracted by numerous philological discussions and annotations that would interest but a few scholarly specialists. Instead, for those who would like to study the translation together with the original manuscripts, we have included references to the page numbers of both the Sanskrit and the Tibetan manuscripts, providing the specialist with an easy means for comparative textual studies. In this way it is our hope that both the general reader and the specialist may find the present translation to be of benefit and 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.
’phags pa rgya cher rol 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), 2006–2009, vol 46, pp. 3–434.
Foucaux, Phillipe Édouard. Rgya Tch’er Rol Pa ou Développement des Jeux, Contenant l’Histoire du Bouddha Çakya-mouni. Première Partie—Texte Tibétain. Paris: Imprimerie Royale, 1847.
Hokazono, Kōichi (1994). Raritavisutara no Kenkyu. Volume 1 [study of Lalitavistara, chs. 1–14]. Tokyo: Daitō Shuppansha, 1994.
———— (2019a). Raritavisutara no Kenkyu. Volume 2 [study of Lalitavistara, chs. 15–21]. Tokyo: Daitō Shuppansha, 2019.
———— (2019b). Raritavisutara no Kenkyu. Volume 3 [study of Lalitavistara, chs. 22–27]. Tokyo: Daitō Shuppansha, 2019.
Lefmann, Salomon. Lalita Vistara. Halle: Verlag der Buchhandlung des Waisenhauses, 1882.
Mitra, R. L. (1853–1877). The Lalita Vistara or Memoirs of the Early Life of S’a’kya Siñha. Bibliotheca Indica: A Collection of Oriental Works, Old Series, nos. 51, 73, 143, 144, 145, 237. Calcutta: Asiatic Society of Bengal, 1853–1877.
Bays, Gwendolyn. The Voice of the Buddha, The Beauty of Compassion: The Lalitavistara Sutra. Tibetan Translation Series, vol. 2. Berkeley, CA: Dharma Publishing, 1983.
Foucaux, Phillipe Édouard (1848). Rgya Tch’er Rol Pa ou Développement des Jeux, Contenant l’Histoire du Bouddha Çakya-mouni: Traduit sur la version Tibétaine du Bkahhgyour, et revu sur l’original Sanscrit (Lalitavistara). Paris: Imprimerie Nationale, 1848.
———— (1870). Étude sur le Lalita Vistara pour une édition critique du texte sanskrit, précédée d’ un coup d’oeil sur la publication des livres bouddhiques en Europe et dans l’Inde. Paris: Maisonneuve, 1870.
———— (1884). Le Lalitavistara, Développement des Jeux: l’histoire traditionnelle de la vie du Bouddha Çakyamuni. Première partie. Annales du Musée Guimet, vol. 6 Paris: Ernest Leroux, 1884.
———— (1892). Le Lalitavistara, Développement des Jeux: l’histoire traditionnelle de la vie du Bouddha Çakyamuni. Seconde partie: notes, variantes, et index. Annales du Musée Guimet, vol. 19. Paris: Ernest Leroux, 1892.
Lefmann, Salomon (1874). Lalitavistara: Erzählung von dem Leben und der Lehre des Çâkya Simha. Berlin: Dümmler, 1874.
Lenz, Robert. “Analyse du Lalita-Vistara-Pourana, l’un des principaux ouvrages sacrés des Bouddhistes de l’Asie centrale, contenant la vie de leur prophète, et écrit en Sanscrit.” In Bulletin Scientifique publié par l’Académie impériale des Sciences de Saint-Pétersbourg, I.7:49–51; I.8:57–63; I.9:71–72; I.10:75–78; I.11:87–88; I.12:92–96; I.13:97–99. St. Petersburg: Académie impériale des sciences, 1836.
Miller, Robert. The Chapter on a Schism in the Saṅgha (Saṅghabhedavastu, Toh 1-1). 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha, forthcoming.
Mitra, R. L. (1881–1886). The Lalita Vistara or Memoirs of the Early Life of S’a’kya Siñha, Translated from the Original Sanskrit. Bibliotheca Indica: A Collection of Oriental Works, New Series, nos. 455, 473, 575. Calcutta: Asiatic Society of Bengal, 1881–1886. Republished, Delhi: Sri Satguru Publications, 1998.
Silk, Jonathan A. “Serious Play: Recent Scholarship on the Lalitavistara.” In Indo-Iranian Journal 65, pp. 267–301. Leiden: Brill, 2022.
Vaidya, P. L. Lalitavistara. Buddhist Sanskrit Texts, vol. 1. Darbhanga: The Mithila Institute, 1958.
Winternitz, Maurice (1927). A History of Indian Literature. 3rd ed. Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal, 1991, 2:249–56.
Goswami, Bijoya. Lalitavistara. Bibliotheca Indica Series, vol. 320. Calcutta: The Asiatic Society, 2001.
Khosla, Sarla. Lalitavistara and the Evolution of Buddha Legend. New Delhi: Galaxy Publications, 1991.
Thomas, E. J. “The Lalitavistara and Sarvastivada.” Indian Historical Quarterly 16:2 (1940): 239–45.