The Ratnagotravibhāga Mahāyānottaratantraśāstra is one of the main sources for buddha-nature theory in Indian and Tibetan Buddhism (in China, the Awakening of Faith was of much greater importance). This article summarizes what is known about the textual tradition, author, and date of its composition and translations.
commonly known as the Uttaratantra
, or Gyu Lama
in Tibetan, is one of the main Indian scriptural sources for buddha-nature theory. It was likely composed during the fifth century, by whom we do not know. Comprised of verses interspersed with prose commentary, it systematizes the buddha-nature teachings that were circulating in multiple sūtras such as the Tathāgatagarbhasūtra,
and the Śrīmaladevisūtra.
The Tibetan tradition attributes the verses to the Bodhisattva Maitreya and the commentary to Asaṅga
, and treats the two as separate texts, although this division is not attested to in surviving Indian versions. The Chinese tradition attributes the text to *Sāramati (娑囉末底), but the translation itself does not include the name of the author, and the matter remains unsettled. It was translated into Chinese in the early sixth century by Ratnamati
and first translated into Tibetan by Atiśa
, although this text is not known to survive. Ngok Loden Sherab
translated it a second time based on teachings from the Kashmiri Pandita Sajjana
, and theirs remains the standard translation. It has been translated into English several times, and recently into French
. See the Ratnagotravibhāgavyākhyā
, read more about the Ratnagotravibhāga
, or take a look at the most complete English translation in When the Clouds Part
by Karl Brunnholzl
Ratnagotravibhāga Mahāyānottaratantraśāstra;Uttaratantra;byams chos sde lnga;Maitreya;བྱམས་པ་;byams pa;'phags pa byams pa;byams pa'i mgon po;mgon po byams pa;ma pham pa;འཕགས་པ་བྱམས་པ་;བྱམས་པའི་མགོན་པོ་;མགོན་པོ་བྱམས་པ་;མ་ཕམ་པ་;Ajita; Asaṅga;ཐོགས་མེད་;thogs med;slob dpon thogs med;སློབ་དཔོན་ཐོགས་མེད་;Āryāsaṅga;Sajjana;ས་ཛ་ན་;sa dza na;paN+Di ta sa dza na;sa dzdza na;པཎྜི་ཏ་ས་ཛ་ན་;ས་ཛཛ་ན་;Ngok Lotsāwa Loden Sherab;རྔོག་བློ་ལྡན་ཤེས་རབ་;rngog blo ldan shes rab;rngog lo tsA ba;lo chen blo ldan shes rab;blo ldan shes rab;རྔོག་ལོ་ཙཱ་བ་;ལོ་ཆེན་བློ་ལྡན་ཤེས་རབ་;Ngok Lotsāwa;Ngok Loden Sherab;Lochen Loden Sherab;Loden Sherab;Ratnamati;Rin chen blo gros;རིན་ཆེན་བློ་གྲོས;theg pa chen po rgyud bla ma'i bstan bcos;ཐེག་པ་ཆེན་པོ་རྒྱུད་བླ་མའི་བསྟན་བཅོས།;The Treatise on the Ultimate Continuum of the Mahāyāna;Ratnagotravibhāga Mahāyānottaratantraśāstra;究竟一乘寶性論;रत्नगोत्रविभाग महायानोत्तरतन्त्रशास्त्र
The title Ratnagotravibhāga Mahāyānottaratantraśāstra is attested in the surviving Sanskrit manuscripts. It roughly translates as “The Ultimate Teaching (uttaratantra) of the Mahāyāna, A Treatise (śāstra) Analyzing (vibhāga) the Jewel (ratna) Disposition (gotra).” One surviving Sanskrit reference, Abhayākaragupta’s Munimatālaṃkāra, gives the name as Mahāyānottara: [Treatise] on the Ultimate Mahāyāna [Doctrine]. Western scholars only became aware of Sanskrit versions in the 1930s (see below); prior to this, they knew the text only in Chinese or Tibetan translation, and this was complicated by the fact that both the Chinese and the Tibetan traditions divide the text into two. Whereas in India the Ratnagotravibhāga was a single work comprised of root verses, explanatory verses, and prose commentary, the Chinese and Tibetan translators and commentators considered the root and explanatory verses to be one text and the complete text, including the prose commentary, to be a second. Thus not only do we have multiple names in multiple languages for the treatise but multiple names in Chinese and Tibetan for its different parts.
The Ultimate Continuum, or Gyü Lama, is often used as a short title in the Tibetan tradition for the key source text of buddha-nature teachings called the Ratnagotravibhāga of Maitreya/Asaṅga, also known as the Mahāyānottaratantraśāstra.
Disposition, lineage, or class; an individual's gotra determines the type of enlightenment one is destined to attain.
Takasaki & Kano
A classic translation and study of the Sanskrit and Tibetan versions of the Ratnagotravibhāga, with reference to the Chinese.
Takasaki, Jikidō. A Study on the Ratnagotravibhāga (Uttaratantra): Being a Treatise on the Tathāgatagarbha Theory of Mahāyāna Buddhism
. Serie Orientale Roma 33. Rome: Istituto Italiano per il Medio ed Estremo Oriente (IsMEO), 1966. https://archive.org/details/bdrc-W1KG1582/page/n1/mode/2up
Takasaki, Jikidō. A Study on the Ratnagotravibhāga (Uttaratantra): Being a Treatise on the Tathāgatagarbha Theory of Mahāyāna Buddhism
. Serie Orientale Roma 33. Rome: Istituto Italiano per il Medio ed Estremo Oriente (IsMEO), 1966. https://archive.org/details/bdrc-W1KG1582/page/n1/mode/2up.;A
Study on the Ratnagotravibhāga (Uttaratantra);Ratnagotravibhāga Mahāyānottaratantraśāstra;Textual study;History of buddha-nature in India;History of buddha-nature in China;Jikidō Takasaki; A Study on the Ratnagotravibhāga (Uttaratantra): Being a Treatise on the Tathāgatagarbha Theory of Mahāyāna Buddhism;Maitreya;Asaṅga
An essential study of a key text that presents buddha-nature theory and its transmission from India to Tibet, this book is the most thorough history of buddha-nature thought in Tibet and is exceptional in its level of detail and scholarly apparatus. It serves as a scholarly encyclopedia of sorts with extensive appendices listing every existent commentary on the Ratnagotravibhāga (Uttaratantraśāstra), as well as covering Ngok Lotsawa's commentarial text and his philosophical positions related with other Tibetan thinkers.
Kano, Kazuo. Buddha-Nature and Emptiness: rNgog Blo-ldan-shes-rab and A Transmission of the Ratnagotravibhāga from India to Tibet. Wiener Studien zur Tibetologie und Buddhismuskunde 91. Vienna: Arbeitskreis für Tibetische und Buddhistische Studien Universität Wien, 2016.
Kano, Kazuo. Buddha-Nature and Emptiness: rNgog Blo-ldan-shes-rab and A Transmission of the Ratnagotravibhāga from India to Tibet. Wiener Studien zur Tibetologie und Buddhismuskunde 91. Vienna: Arbeitskreis für Tibetische und Buddhistische Studien Universität Wien, 2016.;Buddha-Nature and Emptiness;Buddha-nature as Emptiness;History;History of buddha-nature in Tibet;Madhyamaka;Ngok Tradition;Textual study;The doctrine of buddha-nature in Tibetan Buddhism;Theg chen rgyud bla ma'i don bsdus pa;Sajjana;Rngog blo ldan shes rab;Geluk;Maitrīpa;Jñānaśrīmitra;Ratnākaraśānti;Prajñākaramati;Vibhūticandra;Kazuo Kano; Ngok Lotsāwa Loden Sherab;རྔོག་བློ་ལྡན་ཤེས་རབ་;rngog blo ldan shes rab;rngog lo tsA ba;lo chen blo ldan shes rab;blo ldan shes rab;རྔོག་ལོ་ཙཱ་བ་;ལོ་ཆེན་བློ་ལྡན་ཤེས་རབ་;Ngok Lotsāwa;Ngok Loden Sherab;Lochen Loden Sherab;Loden Sherab;Buddha-Nature and Emptiness: rNgog Blo-ldan-shes-rab and A Transmission of the Ratnagotravibhāga from India to Tibet;rngog blo ldan shes rab
The Chinese title of the combined verses and prose is Jiu jing yi cheng bao xing lun
which , however, suspects that the yicheng
一乘 is a mistake for dacheng
大乘, or Mahāyāna
If this is the case, then the title would back translate to a more familiar form (note that the Chinese does not contain the word "tantra
.") In the standard edition of the Chinese canon, the extracted verses come first, after which the complete text is given (see below for references) without a new title. Both translations are credited to in the early sixth century.
It is not known why he—or someone else—separated the text into two, although one might speculate that it was done to make memorization easier.
Continuum vs. Teachings
When it comes to translating the title of the text Ratnagotravibhāga Mahāyānottaratantraśāstra, often referred to simply as the Uttaratantra or rgyud bla ma in Tibetan, there is a clear discrepancy between those that render the term tantra (rgyud) as a 'teaching' or 'doctrine' and those that translate it as 'continuum'...
The Tibetan tradition names the extracted verses Theg pa chen po rgyud bla ma'i bstan bcos
, which back translates into Sanskrit as Mahāyāna-uttaratantra-śāstra
, and might be rendered in English as something like "Treatise on the Ultimate Mahāyāna Tantra
." The complete text, however, is titled Theg pa chen po rgyud bla ma'i bstan bcos rnam par bshad pa
, which reconstructs as Mahāyāna-uttaratantra-śāstra-vyākhyā
, and translates to "A Commentary on the Treatise on the Ultimate Continuum of the Mahāyāna
." It is important to note that the title Ratnagotravibhāgavyākhyā
—or any version with "vyākhyā"—is not attested in any surviving Sanskrit manuscript. Kano has surmised that the root verses were extracted by a disciple
of the Tibetan translator and given the title of the work, at which point the entire text was deemed to be a commentary and therefore given the title of "vyākhyā."
Note that the Tibetan tradition dispensed with the phrase "Ratnagotravibhāga
" in the title;
it is commonly known as the Uttaratantra
. Western scholars on the Ratnagotravibhāga
have largely followed Tibetan tradition and divided the text in two, abbreviating the root verses as RGV
and the entire text as RGVV
The identity of the author of the Ratnagotravibhāga
is not known. We have names, but the Indian, Chinese, and Tibetan traditions differ so radically that scholars have been unable to reach a consensus. The Sanskrit manuscripts found in Tibetan libraries in the 1930s do not identify an author, nor do the Chinese translations, which date to the early sixth century; only later catalogs provide a name. In brief, the Chinese tradition points to a man named Sāramati
, a member of the kṣatriya clan from Central or Northern India. The later Indian and Central Asian traditions point to as the author of the entire text, while Tibetan tradition credits the verses to the bodhisattva
Maitreya and the prose commentary to .
The earliest Chinese attribution comes from the important treatise Mohe zhiguan
摩訶止觀, written in 594 by the Tiantai patriarch Zhiyi
智顗 (538–597), who identifies the author of the Ratnagotravibhāga
堅意. Two texts from the seventh century both name the author as Jianhui 堅惠.Jianyi
and Jianhui can both be rendered as or ; yi
意 and hui
惠, which both mean "wisdom," were used at the time to render mati
The issue is over the jian
堅, meaning "firm," and whether it transcribes sāra
can have the meaning of "strong" or "firm."
In his 1950 edition of the Sanskrit text of the Ratnagotravibhāga
, asserted that the author was Sthiramati, the author of several Yogācāra
-inflected commentaries on Abhidharma
literature known in both China and Tibet (by the name Slob dpon blo gros brtan pa, which translates to "firm wisdom").
Multiple Japanese and European scholars have also taken this position.
is a short Mahāyāna sūtra extant in its entirety only in Chinese translation. To judge from its use as a proof-text in the seminal philosophical treatise Ratnagotravibhāga
, which quotes roughly half of the sūtra, it is a fundamental scripture expressing ideas about the unitary nature of saṁsāra and nirvāṇa, and each individual’s innate capacity for awakening, called in this text and elsewhere ‘tathāgatagarbha,’ ‘embryo of the tathāgatas.’
Although the text has hitherto drawn the attention primarily of Japanese scholars, this is the first critical edition of the sūtra, aligning its Chinese text with the available Sanskrit, offering a richly annotated English translation, a detailed introduction which places the work in its historical and doctrinal context, and a number of appendices exploring key notions, providing a reading text shorn of annotation, and enumerating the prolific quotations of the work found in Chinese Buddhist literature. This volume is thus an important contribution to studies of developing Mahāyāna Buddhism, Buddhist doctrine and the textual history of scriptures.
(Source: Hamburg University Press
Silk, Jonathan, A. Buddhist Cosmic Unity: An Edition, Translation and Study of the Anūnatvāpūrṇatvanirdeśaparivarta
. Hamburg Buddhist Studies Series 4. Hamburg: Hamburg University Press, 2015. https://hup.sub.uni-hamburg.de/volltexte/2015/154/pdf/HamburgUP_HBS4_Silk_Unity.pdf.;Buddhist
Cosmic Unity;Anūnatvāpūrṇatvanirdeśaparivarta;The doctrine of buddha-nature in Chinese Buddhism;Jonathan Silk; Buddhist Cosmic Unity: An Edition, Translation and Study of the Anūnatvāpūrṇatvanirdeśaparivarta;Bodhiruci
, however, convincingly argues against this view, although he is more careful than others, placing an asterisk before the name (*Sāramati) to indicate that it is nowhere attested in surviving Sanskrit literature. He points out that Jianyi/*Sāramati is credited with another composition, the *Mahāyānadharmadhātunirviśeṣa
(Dasheng fajie wuchabie lun
大乘法界無差別論), which Silk finds to be so closely related to the Ratnagotravibhāga
to assure him that they were written by the same person. (Note the asterisk, meaning that all we have is a Chinese-language version.) Additional evidence comes from a passage in Fazang
's commentary to his teacher *Devendraprajña's translation of the above text, in which he gives the author's name as Jianhui and also as Suoluomodi 娑囉末底, which Fazang
glosses as "firm wisdom," and which points to "sthira" rather than "sāra."
As has noted, Chinese tradition after Zhiyi settled on this individual, Sāramati, as the author of the Ratnagotravibhāga
An introduction to the Awakening of Faith
Central Asian tradition, on the other hand, credited the treatise to the bodhisattva
. The earliest surviving example of this is a fragment of a Khotanese hybrid Sanskrit discovered in the library cave at Dunhuang in the early twentieth century that quotes the "Ratnagotravibhāgaśāstra
" and credits it to "the bodhisattva
Ārya Maitreya." The fragment quotes both the root verses and the commentarial verses without suggesting different authorship. dates this fragment to the 840s based on the Chinese text written on the front side of the paper.
While the Central Asian and late Indian tradition of the Ratnagotravibhāga
credits Maitreya as the sole author of the text, the Tibetan tradition splits the authorship of the work between Maitreya (the basic and explanatory verses) and (prose commentary). This split dates to the very beginning of the text's history in Tibet; the colophon to 's translation credits Maitreya with the verses and Asaṅga with the prose.
This continued to be the Tibetan tradition and is followed by most scholars who work from the Tibetan side. A few scholars have proposed that perhaps was given the epithet "Maitreya," which would thereby unite the Chinese and Tibetan traditions, but Kano points out that there is no evidence to support this conjecture.
Why Ngok gave credit to Asaṅga for the prose commentary section of the text is not yet understood. As Kano points out, the Kashmiri tradition in which Ngok trained does not appear to have ascribed authorship to Asaṅga.
One might speculate that a Tibetan scribe separated the verses from the prose to make a more easily memorized text; if this occurred around the time that Asaṅga's star was rising in Tibet with the translation of his Yogācāra
treatises, then the scribe may have felt there would be value in linking Asaṅga's name to the Ratnagotravibhāga
Surviving recensions of the text in Sanskrit, Chinese, and Tibetan
There are three surviving manuscripts of the Ratnagotravibhāga
in Sanskrit, all incomplete. All of these were located only in the middle of the twentieth century. The first, in eleven folios,
dates to the tenth or eleventh centuries. It was discovered and photographed in the library of in the early 1930s by a Bengali scholar named .
This manuscript is currently stored in the in . A second manuscript of Nepalese provenance and dating to around the twelfth century was located at , again by Sāṅkṛtyāyana.
does not indicate where this manuscript is currently located. The third, also from Zhalu, was brought to the China Ethnic Library in Beijing sometime between the 1960s and 1990s and is now housed at the . On the basis of the first two, prepared an edited version which was published posthumously in 1950 and continues to serve as the standard (with slight corrections) Sanskrit version.
was translated into Chinese by (Lenamoti 勒那摩提). It is preserved in the Chinese canon under the title of Jiujing yicheng baoxinglun 究竟一乘寶性論
no. 1611, vol 31. The Chinese edition is significantly different from the Sanskrit and Tibetan, suggesting that very different versions were circulating in India. The first section (lines 813a8-820c20) consists of eighteen opening verses that are not found in Sanskrit or Tibetan translation; Takasaki suggested that these were composed by the translator.
The treatise itself is lines 820c21-848a27 complete with root verses, commentarial verses, and prose commentary.
Ratnamati is said to have come to China from Madhyadeśa (Zhongtianzhu 中天竺) between 498 and 508 and to have translated the Ratnagotravibhāga
between 511 and 520 in Luoyang.
He may or may not have brought the manuscript with him, and he may have been assisted by .
According to Tibetan histories, the Ratnagotravibhāga
was translated into Tibetan six times. Only that of and (1059–1109) survives. The extracted verses are Derge 4024/Peking 5525, titled Theg pa chen po rgyud bla ma'i bstan bcos
. The full text is Derge 4025/Peking 5526, under the title Theg pa chen po rgyud bla ma'i bstan bcos kyi rnam par bshad pa
. There exist multiple manuscripts and prints of this full translation, many of which the Nepal-German Manuscript Preservation Project has microfilmed.
Sajjana and Ngok Lotsāwa were the second team to translate the Ratnagotravibhāga
; before them and had done so. Translations after Ngok were made by , , (the basic verses only), and . Alongside that of Sajjana and Ngok, at least the translations by Atiśa and Naktso and by Patsab survived into the sixteenth century, as consulted them for his famous commentary.
Translations into European Languages
During the last years of his life, Buddha Sakyamuni revealed the deepest of his teachings, in what we now call the Third Turning of the Wheel of Dharma. These show the heart nature of every one and every thing to be the sublime perfection of enlightenment. This unrecognized inner essence is known as buddha nature. To discover it completely is to become a Buddha, with all a Buddha's qualities and power to help others. But what, really and truly, is a Buddha? What lies at the heart of the Buddha's teachings, the dharma? What is it that illuminates the Buddhist saints of the sangha? These and many other questions are answered in precise and beautiful poetry by Asanga, in his great classic, the Mahayana Uttara Tantra, which has become one of the most important doctrinal texts of Tibetan Buddhism.
This new and refreshingly accessible translation is accompanied by a commentary based on the explanations of the most learned contemporary masters of the Kagy Tradition. It provides an introduction for those new to buddha nature as well as a major and essential reference work, to which one can return again and again for inspiration and guidance.
(Source: back cover)
Holmes, Ken, and Katia Holmes, trans. Maitreya on Buddha Nature: A New Translation of Asaṅga’s Mahāyāna Uttara Tantra Śāstra. Forres, Scotland: Altea, 1999.
Holmes, Ken, and Katia Holmes, trans. Maitreya on Buddha Nature: A New Translation of Asaṅga’s Mahāyāna Uttara Tantra Śāstra. Forres, Scotland: Altea, 1999.;Maitreya on Buddha Nature: A New Translation of Asaṅga's Mahāyāna Uttara Tantra Śāstra;Ratnagotravibhāga Mahāyānottaratantraśāstra;Katia Holmes; Ken Holmes;Maitreya;བྱམས་པ་;byams pa;'phags pa byams pa;byams pa'i mgon po;mgon po byams pa;ma pham pa;འཕགས་པ་བྱམས་པ་;བྱམས་པའི་མགོན་པོ་;མགོན་པོ་བྱམས་པ་;མ་ཕམ་པ་;Ajita;Asaṅga;ཐོགས་མེད་;thogs med;slob dpon thogs med;སློབ་དཔོན་ཐོགས་མེད་;Āryāsaṅga;Maitreya on Buddha Nature: A New Translation of Asaṅga’s Mahāyāna Uttara Tantra Śāstra;Maitreya;Asaṅga
"Buddha nature" (tathāgatagarbha
) is the innate potential in all living beings to become a fully awakened buddha. This book discusses a wide range of topics connected with the notion of buddha nature as presented in Indo-Tibetan Buddhism and includes an overview of the sūtra sources of the tathāgatagarbha
teachings and the different ways of explaining the meaning of this term. It includes new translations of the Maitreya treatise Mahāyānottaratantra
), the primary Indian text on the subject, its Indian commentaries, and two (hitherto untranslated) commentaries from the Tibetan Kagyü tradition. Most important, the translator’s introduction investigates in detail the meditative tradition of using the Mahāyānottaratantra
as a basis for Mahāmudrā instructions and the Shentong approach. This is supplemented by translations of a number of short Tibetan meditation manuals from the Kadampa, Kagyü, and Jonang schools that use the Mahāyānottaratantra
as a work to contemplate and realize one’s own buddha nature. (Source: Shambhala Publications
Brunnhölzl, Karl. When the Clouds Part: The Uttaratantra and Its Meditative Tradition as a Bridge between Sūtra and Tantra. Tsadra Foundation Series. Boston: Snow Lion Publications, 2014.
Brunnhölzl, Karl. When the Clouds Part: The Uttaratantra and Its Meditative Tradition as a Bridge between Sūtra and Tantra. Tsadra Foundation Series. Boston: Snow Lion Publications, 2014.;When the Clouds Part;Ratnagotravibhāga Mahāyānottaratantraśāstra;History of buddha-nature in India;History of buddha-nature in Tibet;Mahamudra;Ngok Tradition;Tsen Tradition;Maitreya;བྱམས་པ་;byams pa;'phags pa byams pa;byams pa'i mgon po;mgon po byams pa;ma pham pa;འཕགས་པ་བྱམས་པ་;བྱམས་པའི་མགོན་པོ་;མགོན་པོ་བྱམས་པ་;མ་ཕམ་པ་;Ajita; Asaṅga;ཐོགས་མེད་;thogs med;slob dpon thogs med;སློབ་དཔོན་ཐོགས་མེད་;Āryāsaṅga;Karl Brunnhölzl;When the Clouds Part: The Uttaratantra and Its Meditative Tradition as a Bridge between Sūtra and Tantra;Maitreya;Asaṅga;Sajjana;Vairocanarakṣita;bdud mo bkra shis 'od zer;Skyo ston smon lam tshul khrims;Karmapa, 8th;'jam mgon kong sprul
This new translation of the famed Gyü Lama
, or Ratnagotravibhāga Mahāyānottaratantraśāstra
, represents a major step forward in providing access to key Buddhist literature for Francophones. The book includes a translation of the whole text with commentary by the nineteenth-century Tibetan master Jamgön Kongtrul
and has a full bibliography, notes, glossaries, and appendixes covering the key Buddhist source texts and an outline of the Tibetan commentary, as well as specialized indexes.
Charrier, Christian, and Patrick Carré, trans. Traité de la Continuité suprême du Grand Véhicule (Mahāyānottaratantraśāstra). By Maitreya. Avec le commentaire de Jamgön Kongtrul Lodreu Thayé ('jam mgon kong sprul blo gros mtha' yas) L'Incontestable Rugissement du lion. Tsadra Foundation Series. Plazac, France: Éditions Padmakara, 2019.
Charrier, Christian, and Patrick Carré, trans. Traité de la Continuité suprême du Grand Véhicule (Mahāyānottaratantraśāstra). By Maitreya. Avec le commentaire de Jamgön Kongtrul Lodreu Thayé ('jam mgon kong sprul blo gros mtha' yas) L'Incontestable Rugissement du lion. Tsadra Foundation Series. Plazac, France: Éditions Padmakara, 2019.;Traité de la Continuité suprême du Grand Véhicule;Kagyu;Textual study;Theg pa chen po rgyud bla ma'i bstan bcos snying po'i don mngon sum lam gyi bshad pa srol dang sbyar ba'i rnam par 'grel ba phyir mi ldog pa seng ge'i nga ro;Ratnagotravibhāga Mahāyānottaratantraśāstra;Maitreya;བྱམས་པ་;byams pa;'phags pa byams pa;byams pa'i mgon po;mgon po byams pa;ma pham pa;འཕགས་པ་བྱམས་པ་;བྱམས་པའི་མགོན་པོ་;མགོན་པོ་བྱམས་པ་;མ་ཕམ་པ་;Ajita; Jamgön Kongtrul;འཇམ་མགོན་ཀོང་སྤྲུལ་;'jam mgon kong sprul;blo gros mtha' yas;yon tan rgya mtsho;'jam mgon chos kyi rgyal po;pad+ma gar dbang blo gros mtha' yas;pad+ma gar gyi dbang phyug rtsal;pad+ma gar dbang phrin las 'gro 'dul rtsal;བློ་གྲོས་མཐའ་ཡས་;ཡོན་ཏན་རྒྱ་མཚོ་;འཇམ་མགོན་ཆོས་ཀྱི་རྒྱལ་པོ་;པདྨ་གར་དབང་བློ་གྲོས་མཐའ་ཡས་;པདྨ་གར་གྱི་དབང་ཕྱུག་རྩལ་;པདྨ་གར་དབང་ཕྲིན་ལས་འགྲོ་འདུལ་རྩལ་;Christian Charrier;Patrick Carré;Traité de la Continuité suprême du Grand Véhicule - Mahāyānottaratantraśāstra, avec le commentaire de Jamgön Kongtrul Lodreu Thayé L'Incontestable Rugissement du lion;'jam mgon kong sprul;Maitreya;Asaṅga
was first translated into a European language in 1931 by the Russian Buddhologist , who worked from the Tibetan. It was published under the title The Sublime Science of the Great Vehicle to Salvation, Being a Manual of Buddhist Monism
. Following 's discovery of the Sanskrit manuscripts and 's edition, Japanese scholar published a second English translation, A Study on the Ratnagotravibhāga (Uttaratantra) Being a Treatise on the Tathāgatagarbha Theory of Mahāyāna Buddhism.
He worked primarily from the Sanskrit, but he also consulted the Chinese and Tibetan translations. and , students of (b. 1933), translated the basic verses from the Tibetan in the 1970s, publishing it first in 1979 as The Changeless Nature
which they revised in 1989 as The Uttara Tantra: A Treatise on Buddha Nature
and again in 1999 as Maitreya on Buddha Nature
In 2014 translated the Ratnagotravibhāga
from the Tibetan in When the Clouds Part
and Patrick Carré
translated the Ratnagotravibhāga
into French in 2019, together with Jamgon Kongtrul
's commentary, in Traité de la Continuité suprême du Grand Véhicule
Further reading: Outline of Western Scholarship on Buddha-Nature
Scholars of Buddhism writing in European languages have celebrated, derided, and frequently misinterpreted the doctrine of tathāgatagarbha for well over a hundred years. While some have seen it as a crucial theoretical step to explain how deluded, impure sentient beings can become buddhas, others have dismissed the entire idea as non-Buddhist. Following Chinese and Tibetan scholiasts, Western scholars have labeled tathāgatagarbha as either Yogācāra or Madhyamaka, although most now understand that the doctrine arose independently of either of these main Mahāyāna schools...