In the Tibetan tradition, which parses out the root verses and refers to that as the treatise (bstan bcos
), this title references the full text complete with the root verses and the accompanying prose commentary (rnam par bshad pa
). While the earlier Chinese tradition attributes authorship of both aspects of the text to the as of yet still mysterious figure of Sāramati, the Tibetan tradition attributes the treatise to the Bodhisattva
Maitreya and this commentary to the illustrious founder of the Yogācāra
school, Asaṅga. However, unlike the Chinese tradition which delineates different aspects of the text into the basic verses, the commentarial verses, and the prose commentary, the Tibetan tradition actually preserves two separate versions of the text we know as the Ratnagotravibhāga
The first, made up entirely of the so-called root verses, corresponds to the Sanskrit title Ratnagotravibhāga Mahāyānottaratantraśāstra, though it is usually referenced in this tradition by the Tibetan equivalent of the latter subtitle, Theg pa chen po rgyud bla ma'i bstan bcos, which is commonly rendered into English as the Treatise on the Ultimate Continuum of the Great Vehicle and is abbreviated as RGV. However, the full title, Theg pa chen po rgyud bla ma'i bstan bcos dkon mchog gi rigs rnam par dbye ba, does appear at the end of each chapter of the canonical Tibetan recensions. Nevertheless, this version is likely a Tibetan redaction, in that thus far there is no evidence of a Sanskrit version written entirely in verse that excludes the commentarial sections that explain them.
The second, which combines the verses with their accompanying prose commentary, corresponds to the *Ratnagotravibhāgavyākhyā as it has become known in academic circles where it is referenced with the abbreviation RGVV. However, in Tibetan the subtitle is merely appended with the equivalent of vyākhyā, i.e. Theg pa chen po rgyud bla ma'i bstan bcos rnam par bshad pa, and thus a translation of the Tibetan title of the complete text would be something akin to the Explanatory Commentary on the Treatise on the Ultimate Continuum of the Great Vehicle. However, the extant Sanskrit recension of the Ratnagotravibhāga Mahāyānottaratantraśāstra directly corresponds to the Tibetan version known as the *Ratnagotravibhāgavyākhyā, in that it contains both the root verses and the prose commentary. Though, again, lacking a Sanskrit work entitled the Ratnagotravibhāgavyākhyā, we can surmise that its corresponding Tibetan title was likely manufactured in order to delineate it from the streamlined verse redaction, while the Sanskrit title *Ratnagotravibhāgavyākhyā was in turn a product of modern scholars. On the surface it would seem that this title is a combination of the Chinese title back translated into Sanskrit as the Ratnagotraśāstra and the one found in the Tibetan editions, which state the Sanskrit title as the Mahāyānottaratantraśāstravyākhya. Nevertheless, in terms of content, the Sanskrit RGV corresponds to the Tibetan RGVV, in that the Ratnagotravibhāga Mahāyānottaratantraśāstra is the same text as Theg pa chen po rgyud bla ma'i bstan bcos rnam par bshad pa.
Also, see the Ratnagotravibhāga Mahāyānottaratantraśāstra
and for a recent essay on the text: On the Ratnagotravibhāga by Alexander Gardner.