Chan, ‘The Dharmatrāta-Dhyāna Sūtra’ (2013)

Chan, Yiu-wing 陳耀榮. ‘An English translation of the Dharmatrāta-Dhyāna Sūtra (達摩多羅禪經 T15, no.618) — With Annotation and a Critical Introduction’. PhD diss., The University of Hong Kong, 2013. ix+548 pp. [official site]

From the Abstract

One of the early texts translated from Sanskrit into ancient Chinese in around 411 C.E. is called the Dharmatrāta-dhyāna-sūtra (T15, no.618) which was a detailed account of the meditational methods of Buddhasena and Dharmatrāta who were the two most renowned dhyāna teachers in Kaśmīra around 400C.E. They may be regarded as belonging to the tradition of the Sarvāstivāda Dārṣṭāntika masters who were characterized by their active interest in meditation and popular preaching in which they excelled in communicating through poems and allegories. […]
This sūtra essentially preserves the ancient Sarvāstivādin meditation teachniques. But it importantly incorporates Mahāyānistic-Tantric elements, such as the maṇḍala and visualization. […] As a result, it came to exert a great impact on the subsequent teaching and practice of Chinese Buddhism, particularly those of Buddhist meditation.

Emms, Two Mūlasarvāstivādin Vinaya Traditions (2012)

Christopher D. Emms. Evidence for Two Mūlasarvāstivādin Vinaya Traditions in the Gilgit Prātimokṣa-sūtras. M.A. thesis, McMaster University, 2012. 127 pp. Open Access Dissertations and Theses, Paper 7337. [URI/PDF]

From the abstract

The Sanskrit prātimokṣa-sūtras contained in the Gilgit Buddhist manuscripts have been identified as belonging to the Mūlasarvāstivāda school. However, the identification of these manuscripts as Mūlasarvāstivādin texts is problematic. A key factor for determining the school affiliation of a prātimokṣa is the rule order. The Gilgit prātimokṣa-sūtras, however, differ in their rule order. In this thesis, I explore the relationship of these Gilgit prātimokṣa-sūtras to Mūlasarvāstivādin literature. […] I argue that we have evidence for two distinct Mūlasarvāstivādin Vinaya traditions within the Gilgit prātimokṣa-sūtras.

Allon, ‘A Gāndhārī Śrāmaṇyaphala-sūtra’ (2013-04-05)

Mark Allon. ‘A Gāndhārī version of the Buddha’s Discourse on the Fruits of Living the Ascetic Life (Śrāmaṇyaphala-sūtra)’. Australasian Association of Buddhist Studies Victoria Seminar, 5th April 2013, Deakin Prime Campus, Melbourne.


The Senior collection of Gandhāran Buddhist manuscripts includes a scroll which contains a Gāndhārī version of the introductory section of the Śrāmaṇyaphala-sūtra, the Buddha’s discourse to King Ajātaśatru on the benefits of living the ascetic or holy life. The appearance of a Gāndhārī version of this interesting and popular sūtra coincides with the appearance of a second Sanskrit witness of it, namely, that included in the new Dīrghāgama manuscript, which preliminary research indicates is similar to but not identical with the Sanskrit version found among the Gilgit manuscripts. We therefore now have Indic versions of the Śrāmaṇyaphala-sūtra in Gāndhārī (albeit incomplete), Pali, and Sanskrit, a Tibetan translation and four Chinese translations, which belong to a diversity of schools and originate from different times and places. Not surprisingly the Gāndhārī sūtra is not identical to any other version, but shows a complex relationship with them. In this paper I will discuss the Gāndhārī version of the sūtra and its relationship to the parallels in other languages, the possible reasons for its popularity, and the likely reasons for its inclusion in the Senior collection.

Dr Mark Allon
Dr Mark Allon (photo © I. S.)