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Buddha Śākyamuni

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Texts from and related to the Kangyur (bka' 'gyur), the Tibetan canonical collection of the Buddha's Word (bka') in translation ('gyur):


This popular canonical work (Tōh. 662) teaches the incantation (dhāraṇī) and rituals associated with the goddess Vasudhārā. According to the text, the dhāraṇī grants prosperity and wealth and averts spirits, demons and disease.

This version (Toh 683) of the Amoghapāśa dhāraṇī originates from the sūtra of the same name (Toh 682) but diverges in certain ways from its source. Not only does it abbreviate the introductory verses of homage, it also concludes with its own instruction on how to perform the dhāraṇī.

So popular and influential is Samantabhadra’s “Aspiration to Good Actions” (bzang spyod smon lam) from the Gaṇḍavyūha chapter of the vast Avataṃsaka Sūtra, it is known as the king of all aspiration prayers. It is included in the Dhāraṇī section of the Kangyur (Toh 1095) and the Miscellaneous section of the Tengyur (Toh 4377).

This popular canonical work, which is included in the Kangyur (Tōh. 591), teaches the incantation (dhāraṇī) and rituals associated with the goddess Sitātapatrā, who is renowned for her power to avert or repel all types of spirits, demons, obstacles, misfortune and disease and is thus invoked by many Tibetan Buddhists on a daily basis.

This short text, which appears twice in the Derge Kangyur (Toh 521 & 981), includes the formula of dependent origination, the so-called ye dharma, said to have been told to Śāriputra as an encapsulation of Buddha Śākyamuni's teachings.

A popular text (Tōh. 748) teaching the incantation (dhāraṇī) and rituals associated with the Blue-Clad (nīlāmbaradhara) form of the deity Vajrapāṇi. According to Karmavajra’s commentary (Tōh. 2676), the dhāraṇī is at once a powerful protection against, and remedy for, spirits, demons and disease.

A collection of brief ḍhāraṇīs that are said to encapsulate the essence of the entire Kangyur (bka' 'gyur), or Collected Words of the Buddha, and serve as a powerful means of purification when recited.


In the sūtra The Question of Maitreya (Toh. 85, Maitreya­paripṛcchā, byams pas zhus pa), Buddha Śākyamuni recounts this prayer that Maitreya made as a bodhisattva aspiring to accomplish the six perfections and attain the ten bodhisattva levels. The prayer is also included in the Miscellaneous section of the Tengyur (Toh 4378).

Perhaps the most famous of all Mahāyāna sūtras, the Heart Sūtra is so named because it encapsulates the heart or essence of the transcendent perfection of wisdom (prajñāpāramitā).

In response to a question from the bodhisattva Ākāśagarbha, the Buddha explains how a bodhisattva should view the mind at the moment of death. It is important, the Buddha says, to cultivate the perception of insubstantiality, great compassion, referencelessness and non-attachment, and not to seek buddhahood anywhere other than in the mind's own wisdom.

In this sūtra (Toh. 311) the Buddha teaches eleven perceptions to be cultivated at the time of death to the assembled monks as his final testament.

The Sūtra of Recalling the Three Jewels is a popular sūtra in the Tibetan tradition, expressing the qualities of the Buddha, Dharma and Saṅgha. It has inspired a number of commentaries, from Tāranātha (1575–1643), Könchok Jigme Wangpo (1728–1791), Minyak Kunzang Sonam (1823–1905), Ju Mipham (1846–1912), and others.

The Ārya caturdharmanirdeśa nāma mahāyāna sūtra (‘Phags pa chos bzhi bstan pa zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo, Toh 249) is the ultimate source for the doctrine of the four powers (stobs bzhi), a popular feature of Tibetan teachings on confession. In this initial, canonical presentation, however, the four are referred to as 'factors', although two are also called 'powers'. They are: 1) the action of total rejection, 2) the action as remedy, 3) the power of restoration, and 4) the power of support.

In this (Tōh. 23), the shortest of the Prajñāpāramitā or Perfection of Wisdom sūtras, the Buddha teaches the syllable ‘A’, which encapsulates the transcendent perfection of wisdom and all the literature related to it.

The Aparimitāyurjñāna-nāma mahāyāna-sūtra ('phags pa tshe dang ye shes dpag tu med pa zhes bya ba theg pa chen po'i mdo, Toh 674 & 849) is said to bring extraordinary merit and longevity when written out, read aloud, copied, or venerated with offerings.


The Vajrakīla Root Tantra Section (or Fragment) (Tōh. 439), the remains of a much larger Vajrakīla tantra, was discovered and translated into Tibetan by Sakya Paṇḍita (1182–1251). According to the text's colophon, it was Guru Padmasambhava who brought the original to Tibet. The tantra contains several famous verses that appear in most Vajrakīlāya sādhanas and is the only Vajrakīlāya text included within the Kangyur. The edition translated here includes a colophon by Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo and benedictory verse by Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö.

Commonly known as simply the Nāmasaṅgīti, this is one of the most highly revered tantras throughout all lineages and practice systems of Vajrayāna Buddhism. In it, Buddha Śākyamuni teaches Vajrapāṇi and his retinue a list of names for the wisdom body of Mañjuśrī, the heart of all tathāgatas. Expressed in attractive and at time playful verses, these names evoke an extremely vast array of topics and images, from the mundane to the transcendent, and from the quiescent to the ferocious. The Nāmasaṅgīti has occupied a central role in the daily chanting of Buddhist practitioners for centuries and is often the first text to be recited on special occasions.

These verses, which appear in the Kangyur, invoke the auspiciousness of the seven successive buddhas (sangs rgyas rabs bdun): 1) Vipaśyin, 2) Śikhin, 3) Viśvabhū, 4) Krakucchandra, 5) Kanakamuni, 6) Kāśyapa, and 7) Śākyamuni. The text is included in the Tantra section of the Derge Kangyur (Toh 821) and the Miscellaneous section of the Tengyur (Toh 4412).

This popular canonical work (Tōh. 564) reveals the incantation (dhāraṇī) associated with Mārīcī, goddess of the dawn, and explains how it confers the deity's qualities and guards against adversity, danger and disease.

Perhaps the most popular of all prayers to Tārā, this tantra praises her twenty-one forms, both peaceful and wrathful. The first twenty-one verses are at once a series of homages to Tārā and a poetic description of her physical features, postures, qualities, abilities, mantras, and hand gestures. The remaining six verses describe how and when the Praise should be recited, as well as the benefits of its recitation.

These verses, taken from the sūtra On Entering the City of Vaiśālī (Toh 312), are commonly recited on their own for the sake of auspiciousness and thus feature as a stand-alone text that is included in both the Kangyur (Toh 816) and Tengyur (Toh 4406). The version translated here appears in the collected writings of Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö (1893–1959).

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