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Citation: Matsuda, Kazunobu. "Śrīmālādevīsiṃhanādanirdeśa." In Vol. 1 of Buddhist Manuscripts, edited by Jens Braarvig, Jens-Uwe Hartmann, Kazunobu Matsuda, and Lore Sander, 65–76. Manuscripts in the Schøyen Collection 1. Oslo: Hermes Publishing, 2000. https://www.hermesbooks.no/bmsc-i

Article Summary

The Śrīmālādevīsiṃhanādanirdeśa (ŚSN; The Lion's Roar Teaching of Queen Śrīmālā) is one of the most famous Mahāyāna sūtras representative of the Tathāgatagarbha theory. In this sūtra, Queen Śrīmāla, who is the daughter of King Prasenajit of Śrāvasti and is married to King Yaśomitra of Ayodhyā, relates her understanding of the true doctrine (saddharma) to which the Lord Buddha listens and gives his affirmation. This sūtra employs the narrative of Queen Śrīmālā to express the Tathāgatagarbha theory that "although all beings are enmired in afflictions (kleśa), in essence they are the same as the Buddha, that is, all living beings dwell within the womb (garbha) of the Tathāgata (i.e., Buddha)." Since this sūtra, like the Vimalakīrtinirdeśasūtra, is being expounded by a layperson instead of the Buddha, it is representative of the non-monastic form of religion typical of Mahāyāna Buddhism, and historically enjoyed immense popularity in China and Japan.
      There are two Chinese translations of the sūtra: the Guṇabhadra (求那跋陀羅) version translated in A. D. 436 called the Shengman shizihou yicheng dafangbian fangguang jing 勝鬘師子吼一乘大方便方廣經, T. 353, vol. 12 <ŚSN (Ch.1)>); and the Bodhiruci (菩提流支) version of A. D. 710 called the Shengman furen hui (勝鬘夫人會, T. 310(48), vol. 11 <ŚSN(Ch.2)> ), which is the 48th sūtra of the Ratnakūṭa collection (Da bao ji jing 大寶積經) There is also a ninth century Tibetan translation called the 'Phags pa Iha mo dpal 'phren gi seṅ ge'i sgra śes bya ba theg pa chen po'i mdo <ŚSN(Tib.)>. The English translation by Alex and Hideko Wayman is based on the Chinese translation.[1] Readers are referred to this work for more detailed information. There is also a great deal of research that has been done on this sūtra by Japanese scholars, which we will not touch upon here.
      The original version of this sūtra has been lost, and there are only a few fragmentary quotations in Sanskrit in the Ratnagotravibhāga and the Śikṣāsamuccaya. In The Schøyen Collection, however, I was able to discover three virtually complete folios that cover the final portion of the sūtra as well as another two fragments related to other sections. As the sūtra ends on the recto side of folio no. 392,[2] the verso side of the same folio begins another sūtra which is the subject of the next report in this volume. In the following, I will introduce the above mentioned three folios and two fragments related to the ŚSN. (Matsuda, "Śrīmālādevīsiṃhanādanirdeśa," 65)
  1. The Lion's Roar of Queen Śrīmālā; A Buddhist Scripture on the Tathāgatagarbha Theory, by Alex Wayman and Hideko Wayman, New York, 1974.
  2. Of the two small fragments belonging to the ŚSN shown at the end of this report, SC 2378/l/27a has its folio number, 322, intact. This fragment corresponds to the Prologue section of the sūtra. Estimating from the Tibetan and Chinese translations, the ŚSN must have started from folio number 319 (missing) and ended with folio number 392 recto (SC 2378/1/3).