From Buddha-Nature


'phags pa theg pa chen po'i man ngag ces bya ba theg pa chen po'i mdo
Dà fāng děng dà jí jīng
Sūtra of Quintessential Instructions on the Great Vehicle
D169   ·  T397

An important sūtra source for the Uttaratantra in its discussion of the third of the seven topics (buddha) in which the qualities of awakening are listed.

Relevance to Buddha-nature

This sūtra is quoted in relation to the third vajrapada in the Uttaratantra and the presentation of the sixty-four qualities of awakening.

Recensions of This Text

Description from When the Clouds Part

Neither the Tibetan nor the Chinese canons contain a Ratnadārikāparipṛcchāsūtra. As it turns out, this is actually just another name of the Mahāyānopadeśasūtra.[1] At the end of the Mahāyānopadeśasūtra, the Buddha gives a list of synonyms for this sūtra, which include Ratnadārikāparipṛcchā. In the Mahāyānopadeśasūtra, the main interlocutor is indeed Ratnadārikā and the Buddha teaches her the sixty-four qualities of awakening (including their individual causes) in the exact order as they are presented in the third chapter of the Uttaratantra (which explicitly refers to the Ratnadārikāsūtra as the source of these qualities).[2] However, these qualities are not specific to the tathāgatagarbha teachings and, with slight variations, appear in many other sūtras too.

      Like many other sūtras, this one also speaks of a single yāna. In general, it contains teachings on emptiness that are quite standard. Toward the end of the sūtra, Ratnadārikā explains "the mudrā of irreversibility of bodhisattvas" to Śāriputra in verses,[3] beginning with:

Here, the mudrā of irreversibility
Is the realization of nonduality
Through having realized the dharmadhātu
And the dhātu of sentient beings to be equal as true reality.

      This is followed by many verses that emphasize the equality of saṃsāra and nirvāṇa, the equality of the skandhas and buddhahood, and so on, and identify irreversibility to be emptiness, such as:

Those are irreversible who realize
The conditioned dhātus
And the unconditioned dhātu
To be empty of reality.


The mudrā of phenomena is emptiness
There is no maturation and no elimination.
Those who are sealed by the mudrā of emptiness
Are taught to be irreversible.

(pp. 42-43)

  1. D169 (forty-eight folios) as well as Taishō 397 (3) and 399.
  2. These passages are also quoted in RYC as being from the Mahāyānopadeśasūtra.
  3. D169, fols. 301b.1–303a.1.

Philosophical positions of this text

Text Metadata

Other Titles ~ ārya-mahāyānopadeśa-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra
Text exists in ~ Tibetan
~ Chinese
Canonical Genre ~ Kangyur · Sūtra · mdo sde · Sūtranta
Literary Genre ~ Sūtras - mdo

This Text on Adarsha