Six New Sutra Translations by 84000

Discuss and learn about the traditional Mahayana scriptures, without assuming that any one school ‘owns’ the only correct interpretation.
User avatar
Losal Samten
Posts: 807
Joined: Mon Mar 24, 2014 4:05 pm

Six New Sutra Translations by 84000

Postby Losal Samten » Fri Sep 16, 2016 10:11 am

The Question of Maitreya
http://read.84000.co/#UT22084-044-005/title

The Question of Maitreya on the Eight Qualities
http://read.84000.co/#UT22084-044-006/title

The Illusory Absorption
http://read.84000.co/#UT22084-055-004/title

The Absorption That Encapsulates All Merit
http://read.84000.co/#UT22084-056-002/title

The Teaching on the Extraordinary Transformation that is the Miracle of Attaining the Buddha’s Powers
http://read.84000.co/#UT22084-061-006/title

The Sūtra of the Inquiry of Jayamati
http://read.84000.co/#UT22084-061-014/title
Lacking mindfulness, we commit every wrong. - Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔
ཨོཾ་ཧ་ནུ་པྷ་ཤ་བྷ་ར་ཧེ་ཡེ་སྭཱ་ཧཱ།།
ཨཱོཾ་མ་ཏྲི་མུ་ཡེ་སལེ་འདུ།།

User avatar
maybay
Posts: 1604
Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:12 pm

Re: Six New Sutra Translations by 84000

Postby maybay » Fri Sep 16, 2016 11:21 am

How should one read Mahayana sutras? Is there some framework, some order, or does one just pick up whatever's available?
People will know nothing and everything
Remember nothing and everything
Think nothing and everything
Do nothing and everything
- Machig Labdron

User avatar
Lobsang Chojor
Posts: 339
Joined: Thu Dec 10, 2015 8:08 pm
Location: England

Re: Six New Sutra Translations by 84000

Postby Lobsang Chojor » Fri Sep 16, 2016 11:59 am

My Geshe has said that if they discuss emptiness they are definitive and if they discuss anything else they are provisional.

However I know nothing about the order in which to read sutras.
ༀ་ཨ་ར་པ་ཙ་ན་དྷཱི༔ Oṃ A Ra Pa Ca Na Dhīḥ

"Morality does not become pure unless darkness is dispelled by the light of wisdom"
    Aryasura, Paramitasamasa 6.5

Sentient Light
Posts: 82
Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2016 8:40 pm

Re: Six New Sutra Translations by 84000

Postby Sentient Light » Fri Sep 16, 2016 5:53 pm

maybay wrote:How should one read Mahayana sutras? Is there some framework, some order, or does one just pick up whatever's available?


Approach is going to vary considerably by tradition, and likely even by whomever your teacher is. Having a teacher to guide in one's dharmic studies is invaluable, particularly as all the Mahayana sutras assume you already understand the core principles of the Sravakayana, and some assume you already know some other Mahayana sutras.

I think breaking the sutras into topics is an easy approach though, wherein for each topic, you start with either the most prominent text for that category, or whichever others may claim as 'easiest.' For instance, for the Prajnaparamita category, I think the 'easiest' text is the Diamond Sutra--it's short but contains everything necessary. The most prominent text is probably the Prajnaparamita in 1000 Lines, but this is very difficult to unpack and there aren't many great translations of it. The Heart Sutra is very popular, but it is so short that I find it is more difficult to understand for a beginner. Although, no Prajnaparamita text is particularly easy and relies a lot on what resembles formal logic.

For the other categories:

Tathagatagarbha -- Lion's Roar of Queen Srimala Sutra
Pure Land -- The Contemplation of Amitabha Sutra (Larger Sukhvati Sutra is the 'prominent text', Contemplation is easier to get into)
Yogacara -- Samdhinirmanocana Sutra (veeeeeeeery logic-heavy and tough to read)
Samadhi -- there are tons of different samadhi texts and they don't really serve the same purpose, so this one's a bit tough to just pick one. However, as a beginner, I don't think you need to worry about samadhi texts

For specific topics that aren't really distinct categories:

Bodhisattvayana -- Vimalakirti Sutra
Skillful Means -- Lotus Sutra
Death and birth rites -- Ksitigarbha Sutra
:buddha1: Nam mô A di đà Phật :buddha1:
:bow: Nam mô Quan Thế Âm Bồ tát :bow:
:bow: Nam mô Đại Thế Chi Bồ Tát :bow:

:buddha1: Nam mô Bổn sư Thích ca mâu ni Phật :buddha1:
:bow: Nam mô Di lặc Bồ tát :bow:
:bow: Nam mô Địa tạng vương Bồ tát :bow:

User avatar
Lucas Oliveira
Posts: 71
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2016 1:09 pm

Re: Six New Sutra Translations by 84000

Postby Lucas Oliveira » Mon Sep 19, 2016 3:01 pm

84000 Marks Launch of New Virtual Reading Room with Release of 10 Translated Tibetan Texts

https://www.buddhistdoor.net/news/84000-marks-launch-of-new-virtual-reading-room-with-release-of-10-translated-tibetan-texts
I participate in this forum using Google Translator. https://translate.google.com.br/

http://www.acessoaoinsight.net/

Sentient Light
Posts: 82
Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2016 8:40 pm

Re: Six New Sutra Translations by 84000

Postby Sentient Light » Wed Sep 21, 2016 8:36 pm

Thank you, OP, for sharing these sutras. I've managed to read through all of them now except for the first. Some comments:

The Questions of Maitreya on the Eight Qualities

I really enjoy how, aside from the context of cultivating bodhicitta, the content of this teaching could've easily come straight from the Madhyama Agama.

The Illusory Absorption

The imagery of the sutra is glorious and it's a Pure Land samadhi text that I'd never before known about. I will admit that the rather sexist ending threw me off, as I'd understood that the whole concept of womanhood in the Pure Land was more or less a choice--you can manifest the appearance of whatever gender you fancy, really--and this is a little more explicitly disparaging (although still not completely, like some other sutras). It also comes out of left-field--the mention of gender is nowhere to be found in the accompanying verses--and seems like it's just tacked on. I'm inclined toward the idea that it was tacked on at some point because of this, although I'd really love to see linguistic analyses done on the Tibetan and Chinese (and if that section exists in Sanskrit, that as well) compared to earlier sections to see if that holds up. I will also mention that I went to compare it against the Prophecy Bestowed Upon Avalokitesvrara Sutra to see if the Buddha and Pure Land names of Avalokitesvrara and Mahasthamaprapta lined up (they do). Either way, very interesting text.

The Absorption that Encapsulates All Merit

I love this sutra. It's incredible and is perhaps one of the clearest elucidations on bodhicitta I've encountered within the Tripitaka. There's a suggestion that bodhicitta is like a perpetuated samadhi state, which I find particularly interesting, but it seems to make sense--once you have awakened bodhicitta, is there any phenomena experienced, any action or speech or thought that is not the result of the mind being fixed toward achieving the alleviation of suffering for all beings?

The Teaching on the Extraordinary Transformation that is the Miracle of Attaining the Buddha’s Powers

I am very very very curious if Vajrapani's named is rendered as Vajrapani in the Chinese or Sanskrit versions as well, or if this is unique to the Tibetan. If it is not unique, this would be strong evidence that Mahasthamaprapta and Vajrapani were always considered the same being and is not simply a result of Tantric associations later on.

The Sutra of the Inquiry of Jayamati

I really enjoy this, but I think the most interesting thing about it is the historical context in Introduction. They make a very strong case for the idea that the Jayamati text must have predated the Surangamasamadhi Sutra, the latter of which is regarded as among the oldest Mahayana texts we've ever found a copy of. This further compounds evidence that the Mahayana sutras must have already been formulated and in circulation before the turn of the millennium, at least among a good proportion of the Early Schools. I have long maintained that it makes no sense for the Mahasamghikas to just 'create' new scriptures out of nowhere when they were the ones who were adamant about not adding to the Vinaya, and if we accept the idea that the Mahasamghikas split off from the Sthavirans in 334 BCE (the common consensus on when the Second Buddhist Council took place), when this is only a Vinaya dispute and NOT a doctrinal dispute of any other sort, and we also accept that the Mahayana texts must have been in wide circulation by 100 BCE (if we project the Jayamati sutra to have been known at this time since it predates Surangama Samadhi), then we're only left with something around two centuries or just slightly less than that for such a robust system of bodhisattvas, other world systems, etc. to have been developed. And while two centuries may sound like a long time, that is only about 2.5 generations of people. Not enough time, I would think, to develop as detailed a cosmological system as we see being referred to in the beginning of the Jayamati text as if it these names are already familiar to people.
:buddha1: Nam mô A di đà Phật :buddha1:
:bow: Nam mô Quan Thế Âm Bồ tát :bow:
:bow: Nam mô Đại Thế Chi Bồ Tát :bow:

:buddha1: Nam mô Bổn sư Thích ca mâu ni Phật :buddha1:
:bow: Nam mô Di lặc Bồ tát :bow:
:bow: Nam mô Địa tạng vương Bồ tát :bow:

User avatar
Boomerang
Posts: 433
Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2014 5:34 am

Re: Six New Sutra Translations by 84000

Postby Boomerang » Thu Sep 22, 2016 2:17 am

Sentient Light wrote:
I am very very very curious if Vajrapani's named is rendered as Vajrapani in the Chinese or Sanskrit versions as well, or if this is unique to the Tibetan. If it is not unique, this would be strong evidence that Mahasthamaprapta and Vajrapani were always considered the same being and is not simply a result of Tantric associations later on.


I never knew people thought they were different until you asked me on Reddit. They both stand next to Amitabha, with Avalokiteshvara on the other side.
"All the suffering of the lower realms, whatever difficulty and unhappiness we may experience as human beings, as well as every other possible suffering of the three realms of existence, have their origin in cherishing ourselves more than others."

Sentient Light
Posts: 82
Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2016 8:40 pm

Re: Six New Sutra Translations by 84000

Postby Sentient Light » Thu Sep 22, 2016 3:51 pm

Boomerang wrote:I never knew people thought they were different until you asked me on Reddit. They both stand next to Amitabha, with Avalokiteshvara on the other side.


Here I thought I could sneak in here without recognition. Haha.

Anyway, part of it is that I'd never seen any depiction that had Vajrapani labeled as such--I was only familiar with Mahasthamaprapta as a bodhisattva, and Vajrapani as that deva in the Nikayas/Agamas throwing lightning bolts. But now I'm seeing it more and more, and it does make a good deal of sense.
:buddha1: Nam mô A di đà Phật :buddha1:
:bow: Nam mô Quan Thế Âm Bồ tát :bow:
:bow: Nam mô Đại Thế Chi Bồ Tát :bow:

:buddha1: Nam mô Bổn sư Thích ca mâu ni Phật :buddha1:
:bow: Nam mô Di lặc Bồ tát :bow:
:bow: Nam mô Địa tạng vương Bồ tát :bow:

User avatar
Admin_PC
Site Admin
Posts: 3025
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:17 pm
Location: San Antonio, TX

Re: Six New Sutra Translations by 84000

Postby Admin_PC » Thu Sep 22, 2016 4:14 pm

Sentient Light wrote:
Boomerang wrote:I never knew people thought they were different until you asked me on Reddit. They both stand next to Amitabha, with Avalokiteshvara on the other side.


Here I thought I could sneak in here without recognition. Haha.
animuseternal?

Sentient Light wrote:Anyway, part of it is that I'd never seen any depiction that had Vajrapani labeled as such--I was only familiar with Mahasthamaprapta as a bodhisattva, and Vajrapani as that deva in the Nikayas/Agamas throwing lightning bolts. But now I'm seeing it more and more, and it does make a good deal of sense.
Yeah, I've only ever seen the two equated in Tibetan teachings. In Chinese Mahayana, Vajrapani is considered like the "patron saint" of Shaolin and is considered a wrathful manifestation of Avalokitesvara.
Vajrapani in China wrote:In Shaolin traditions, Vajrapani is not considered to be a standalone Bodhisattva, however. Instead, he is thought to be an aspect of the bodhisattva Guanyin due to a passage in the Lotus Sutra which states that Guanyin will take whatever form is conducive to spreading the dharma. Later, Vajrapani was further confused with the Kimnaras, due to the similarity of their Chinese names, and so in later times, they started to refer to Vajrapani as Kimnara.

In Japan, Vajrapani's associated with Acala.

I'm still kind of curious how Vajrapani and Mahasthamaprapta are equated - I'd like to know where the idea comes from.
月影の いたらぬ里は なけれども 眺むる人の 心にぞすむ
法然上人

Bakmoon
Posts: 674
Joined: Wed Sep 17, 2014 12:31 am

Re: Six New Sutra Translations by 84000

Postby Bakmoon » Thu Sep 22, 2016 8:44 pm

Sentient Light wrote:Not enough time, I would think, to develop as detailed a cosmological system as we see being referred to in the beginning of the Jayamati text as if it these names are already familiar to people.

Some of the Hinayana schools accepted from an early time the belief in a cosmology of many Buddha realms. I know at least the Lokottaravada school did, and I think several others in the Mahasamgika 'family' of schools also did, so you are quite correct that this cosmology is a lot earlier than most people realize.

User avatar
Zhen Li
Posts: 1407
Joined: Sun Apr 07, 2013 8:15 am
Location: Canada

Re: Six New Sutra Translations by 84000

Postby Zhen Li » Fri Dec 02, 2016 2:03 am

Boomerang wrote:
Sentient Light wrote:
I am very very very curious if Vajrapani's named is rendered as Vajrapani in the Chinese or Sanskrit versions as well, or if this is unique to the Tibetan. If it is not unique, this would be strong evidence that Mahasthamaprapta and Vajrapani were always considered the same being and is not simply a result of Tantric associations later on.


I never knew people thought they were different until you asked me on Reddit. They both stand next to Amitabha, with Avalokiteshvara on the other side.

Vajrapāṇi does not feature in Sanskrit Buddhist literature as a Bodhisattva before the emergence of the tantric tradition, except as a yakṣa, e.g. in the Meṇḍhakagṛhapativibhūti-pariccheda, Rotman's translation p. 233, "[The community] were jostled up against one another, [so] they couldn't leave. So the yakṣa Vajrapāṇi, out of compassion for those beings to be trained, threw his thunderbolt. A part of the retaining wall collapsed. Many hundreds of thousands beings departed, some out of curiosity, others impelled by the former roots of virtue." The name is used for bodhisattvas in dharani literature, and tantric or ritual texts, e.g. Karandavyuha.

So, your hunch that his association with Mahāsthāmaprāpta is due to later influences, appears to make sense. However, I am doubtful that this association is genuine. I think it may simply be a modern mistake or conflation. Just because different artists depict Vajrapāṇi and Mahāsthāmaprāpta next to Amitābha with Avalokiteśvara, does not mean they're the same Bodhisattva.

It may also be worth noting that "vajrapāṇi" can refer to multiple figures. The name is very generically Buddhisty. It just means holding a vajra. Most early instances of the word in Sanskrit literature are just used to refer to an individual who is holding a vajra, e.g. Indra. That Guanyin is also said to be a vajrapāṇi is not saying much in terms of his/her relationship to the figure in Indian/Nepalese iconography. It is simply saying that Guanyin sometimes holds a vajra. The real difficulty here is one of translation, we are not used, in English and other languages, to all names essentially also being words that are in common use.

jmlee369
Posts: 258
Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2011 1:22 am

Re: Six New Sutra Translations by 84000

Postby jmlee369 » Sun Dec 04, 2016 10:30 am

Another factor is the tendency of English translators to simply use Vajrapani rather than translating the various titles of the bodhisattva. For example, while most migtsema translations use the name Vajrapani in the third line, the accurate translation of the Tibetan is actually Guhyapati, Lord of Secrets.

Not sure how modern the conflation of the attendant bodhisattva in Sukhavati is though, seems like Tibetans have held Vajrapani and Mahatshamaprapta to be the same for some time. Here's a painting from the 17th century where the attending bodhisattva is depicted with Vajrapani's iconograpy.

I've never heard of Vajrapani as an emanation of Avalokitesvara in Chinese Buddhism. He's always his own figure, derived largely from tantric texts like the seven Medicine Buddhas sutra, associated with the yaksas and one of the eight great bodhisattvas. There is however, the case of a commentary by Amoghavajra on the 理趣經 where he explains that Vajrapani is actually Samantabhadra, who having received vajra of five wisdoms and the vajra initiation from Vairocana Buddha, received the name Vajrapani.

User avatar
Anders
Posts: 1026
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 12:39 pm

Re: Six New Sutra Translations by 84000

Postby Anders » Sun Dec 04, 2016 9:57 pm

Sentient Light wrote:Thank you, OP, for sharing these sutras. I've managed to read through all of them now except for the first. Some comments:

The Questions of Maitreya on the Eight Qualities

I really enjoy how, aside from the context of cultivating bodhicitta, the content of this teaching could've easily come straight from the Madhyama Agama.

The Illusory Absorption

The imagery of the sutra is glorious and it's a Pure Land samadhi text that I'd never before known about. I will admit that the rather sexist ending threw me off, as I'd understood that the whole concept of womanhood in the Pure Land was more or less a choice--you can manifest the appearance of whatever gender you fancy, really--and this is a little more explicitly disparaging (although still not completely, like some other sutras). It also comes out of left-field--the mention of gender is nowhere to be found in the accompanying verses--and seems like it's just tacked on. I'm inclined toward the idea that it was tacked on at some point because of this, although I'd really love to see linguistic analyses done on the Tibetan and Chinese (and if that section exists in Sanskrit, that as well) compared to earlier sections to see if that holds up. I will also mention that I went to compare it against the Prophecy Bestowed Upon Avalokitesvrara Sutra to see if the Buddha and Pure Land names of Avalokitesvrara and Mahasthamaprapta lined up (they do). Either way, very interesting text.

The Absorption that Encapsulates All Merit

I love this sutra. It's incredible and is perhaps one of the clearest elucidations on bodhicitta I've encountered within the Tripitaka. There's a suggestion that bodhicitta is like a perpetuated samadhi state, which I find particularly interesting, but it seems to make sense--once you have awakened bodhicitta, is there any phenomena experienced, any action or speech or thought that is not the result of the mind being fixed toward achieving the alleviation of suffering for all beings?

The Teaching on the Extraordinary Transformation that is the Miracle of Attaining the Buddha’s Powers

I am very very very curious if Vajrapani's named is rendered as Vajrapani in the Chinese or Sanskrit versions as well, or if this is unique to the Tibetan. If it is not unique, this would be strong evidence that Mahasthamaprapta and Vajrapani were always considered the same being and is not simply a result of Tantric associations later on.

The Sutra of the Inquiry of Jayamati

I really enjoy this, but I think the most interesting thing about it is the historical context in Introduction. They make a very strong case for the idea that the Jayamati text must have predated the Surangamasamadhi Sutra, the latter of which is regarded as among the oldest Mahayana texts we've ever found a copy of. This further compounds evidence that the Mahayana sutras must have already been formulated and in circulation before the turn of the millennium, at least among a good proportion of the Early Schools. I have long maintained that it makes no sense for the Mahasamghikas to just 'create' new scriptures out of nowhere when they were the ones who were adamant about not adding to the Vinaya, and if we accept the idea that the Mahasamghikas split off from the Sthavirans in 334 BCE (the common consensus on when the Second Buddhist Council took place), when this is only a Vinaya dispute and NOT a doctrinal dispute of any other sort, and we also accept that the Mahayana texts must have been in wide circulation by 100 BCE (if we project the Jayamati sutra to have been known at this time since it predates Surangama Samadhi), then we're only left with something around two centuries or just slightly less than that for such a robust system of bodhisattvas, other world systems, etc. to have been developed. And while two centuries may sound like a long time, that is only about 2.5 generations of people. Not enough time, I would think, to develop as detailed a cosmological system as we see being referred to in the beginning of the Jayamati text as if it these names are already familiar to people.


thanks for the review. it is appreciated.
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra

User avatar
Coëmgenu
Posts: 488
Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2016 11:35 pm
Location: Whitby, Ontario

Re: Six New Sutra Translations by 84000

Postby Coëmgenu » Mon Dec 05, 2016 3:13 pm

maybay wrote:How should one read Mahayana sutras? Is there some framework, some order, or does one just pick up whatever's available?
I would suggest starting with Prajñāpāramitā vaipulya sūtrāṇi, because they are sort of the foundation of modern Mahāyāna Buddhism, even though they are oftentimes extremely long and arduous to get through. You have to keep in mind the audience that most of these sūtrāṇi were written for: monastics. So they are quite complicated and often presume a great deal of doctrinal knowledge on the part of the reader. Because of that I would recommend that whatever order you read them in, you pick up a few commentaries, because they are invaluable for offering much needed context, since context is often missing from English translations, given that the texts themselves often presume a great deal of familiarity with the scholastic tradition of Mahāyāna Buddhism.

I am just a nobody, hardly a doctor of dharma, but I would recommend starting with the Prajñāpāramitāsūtrāṇi, but don't kid yourself that you are going to finish a given sūtra in an evening or even a week, especially if you chose a long text like the Mahāprajñāpāramitāsūtra.

The Prajñāpāramitā vaipulya sūtrāṇi have the fact that they are believed to have been the first Mahāyānasūtrāṇi going for them, but they are a very hard read. If you are looking for a famous sūtra or two that are less heavy to carry around, I would personally suggest the Vajracchedikāprajñāpāramitāsūtra, since it is highly related to the Prajñāpāramitā Vaipulya sūtrāṇi, or the Saddharmapuṇḍarīkasūtra, which has been one of the most globally influential Mahāyānasūtrāṇi of all time.
"My pure land is not destroyed,
yet the multitude sees it as consumed in fire,
with anxiety, fear, and other sufferings
filling it everywhere."
(Saddharmapuṇḍarīkasūtra XVI)

All these dharmāḥ are the status of dharma, the standing of dharma, the suchness of dharma; the dharma neither departs from things-as-they-are, nor differs from things-as-they-are; it is the truth, reality, without distortion.(SA 296, 因緣法)
揭諦揭諦,波羅揭諦,波羅僧揭諦,菩提薩婆訶(Prajñāpāramitāhṛdayasya Mantra)

Sentient Light
Posts: 82
Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2016 8:40 pm

Re: Six New Sutra Translations by 84000

Postby Sentient Light » Mon Dec 05, 2016 5:44 pm

Zhen Li wrote:Vajrapāṇi does not feature in Sanskrit Buddhist literature as a Bodhisattva before the emergence of the tantric tradition, except as a yakṣa, e.g. in the Meṇḍhakagṛhapativibhūti-pariccheda, Rotman's translation p. 233, "[The community] were jostled up against one another, [so] they couldn't leave. So the yakṣa Vajrapāṇi, out of compassion for those beings to be trained, threw his thunderbolt. A part of the retaining wall collapsed. Many hundreds of thousands beings departed, some out of curiosity, others impelled by the former roots of virtue." The name is used for bodhisattvas in dharani literature, and tantric or ritual texts, e.g. Karandavyuha.

So, your hunch that his association with Mahāsthāmaprāpta is due to later influences, appears to make sense. However, I am doubtful that this association is genuine. I think it may simply be a modern mistake or conflation. Just because different artists depict Vajrapāṇi and Mahāsthāmaprāpta next to Amitābha with Avalokiteśvara, does not mean they're the same Bodhisattva.

It may also be worth noting that "vajrapāṇi" can refer to multiple figures. The name is very generically Buddhisty. It just means holding a vajra. Most early instances of the word in Sanskrit literature are just used to refer to an individual who is holding a vajra, e.g. Indra. That Guanyin is also said to be a vajrapāṇi is not saying much in terms of his/her relationship to the figure in Indian/Nepalese iconography. It is simply saying that Guanyin sometimes holds a vajra. The real difficulty here is one of translation, we are not used, in English and other languages, to all names essentially also being words that are in common use.


But it could also be a conflation that occurs much more naturally. Many of the bodhisattvas as we know them today are referred to with multiple names throughout the history of the scriptures and archaeological artifacts that include inscriptions. For instance, a statue in Nepal from the Middle Period includes this inscription:

[East side:] From the front, I praise Akṣobhya Tathāgata [residing] in the world of Abhirati, who is the embodiment of the imperturbable and sharp- pointed [nature]. [I praise] Samantabhra [Bodhisattva], who performs good [deeds] on earth, and in the same way, Sannirmalakīrtimālin [Bodhisattva].


There is no known association with Samantabhadra and Abhirati, other than references to him hailing from the east. But of the other name, this scholar (Acharya) believes it is another name for Vimalakirti (which I assume would have been commonly known at some point). Here is Acharya's argument, which I find really interesting regarding the evolution of names over time:

The name of the other Bodhisattva, Sannirmalakīrtimālin, is
not attested anywhere as a Bodhisattva, if we are to take the name as it features in the verse. We could consider that the real name of this Bodhisattva is Vimalakīrti, who narrates Dharma to Mañjuśrī, Śāriputra and others in the Vimalakīrtinirdeśa, and that the name in our verse is a descriptive term, as it is almost parallel in meaning
with the original name. We in fact have a secure case of an extension of a Bodhisattva’s name with an extra adjec tive, Vimalavajradhara for Vajradhara, in one of the verses from our inscription.

However, the Śūraṃgamasamādhi hints at a greater possibility of this Bodhisattva’s name being a bit longer than Vimalakīrti, something very close to the term in our inscrip tion. This sūtra mentions the Bodhisattva *Matyabhimukha who visits Śākyamuni from the Buddha Akṣobhya’s world of Abhirati, and is predicted to become the Buddha *Vimalaprabhākīrtirāja in a future aeon. As indicated by the application of asterisks, both of these names are reconstructed into Sanskrit from Chinese by LAMOTTE. If we consider chances of error in such reconstructions, we can presume that the original shape of the name reconstructed as *Vimalapra bhākīrtirāja was not far from the name in our inscription. The substitution of vimalawithsannirmala-can be metri causa; the former does not fit anywhere in the verse. I would say, vimalaprabhākīrti- (‘fame of stainless brilliance’) of the reconstruction is not so logical or suitable to Sanskrit word order, but if we correct it to vimalakīrtiprabhā- (‘brilliance of stainless fame’), it becomes natural and also equivalent to the metaphorical expression sannirmalakīrtimālā. As the last component of the reconstructed name, -rāja means nothing more than the -in suffix. Thus, this much can be said that Vimalakīrti or *Vimalaprabhākīrtirāja is the closest match for Sannirmalakīrtimālin of our inscription.

Vimalakīrti appears also in the first two chapters of the Tantric Mañjuśrīmūlakalpa (Sāstrī 1920: 8, 40), and in the second occurrence
he is made one of sixteen Mahābodhisattvas. It is note worthy that the Vimalakīrtinirdeśa contains a passage which proves his
associa tion with Akṣobhya. When asked by Śāriputra, Vimalakīrti tells that he comes from Abhirati, the world of Akṣobhya Tathāgata,
and Sākyamuni confi rms his statement. Vimalakīrti further clarifies that he has come to an impure world from a pure world for the
sake of purification of all beings. What is more, upon a request of the assembly, he brings the Abhirati world into the Sahā world, i.e. our world.


I think it's a very well-reasoned argument. And it's likely possible that something similar could happen with Mahasthamaprapta/Vajrapani, since their names at least symbolically reflect similar ideas. This inscription is dated to the 6th century CE, and does include a reference to Amitabha and his attendant bodhisattvas, but is named Mahasthamaprapta here (and "Lokesa" for Avalokitesvrara, changed to fit the meter of the verse). And there is an inscription for Sakyamuni, with (supposedly) Maitreya and "Vajradhava", so it seems at elast in this case, the conflation between Vajrapani and Mahasthamaprapta had not yet occurred.

There's also a neat analysis on the name of Manjusri's Buddha in this paper. http://journals.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/index.php/jiabs/article/view/8997/2890
:buddha1: Nam mô A di đà Phật :buddha1:
:bow: Nam mô Quan Thế Âm Bồ tát :bow:
:bow: Nam mô Đại Thế Chi Bồ Tát :bow:

:buddha1: Nam mô Bổn sư Thích ca mâu ni Phật :buddha1:
:bow: Nam mô Di lặc Bồ tát :bow:
:bow: Nam mô Địa tạng vương Bồ tát :bow:


Return to “Sūtra Studies”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 13 guests