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Karanda-Vyuha-Sutra or The Supernal Virtues of Avalokitesvara

Lokesh Chandra (Author)
Synopsis Karanda-vyuha is a major sutra devoted to Avalokitesvara who embodies the fundamental aspect of Buddhism: karuna (compassion), whence he is also called Mahakarunika 'The Great Compassionate One'. This supernal virtue is expressed in his untiring activity to help all beings in extreme suffering, as well as his readiness to protect them from natural calamities and social catastrophes. It is the sutra which proclaims the six-syllabled mantra Om mani-padme hum. It was translated into Chinese as early as AD 270 by Dharmaraksa of Tun-huang, and again by Gunabhadra between 435-443. It was rendered into Tibetan by Jinamitra, Danasila and Ye.ses.sde in the eighth century. It has been held in great reverence in the Buddhist world as it was revealed to Emperor Asoka by his preceptor Upagupta, as a model for the welfare of sentient beings. Emperor Asoka was blessed by the Gods (devanampriyah) and in turn he promoted the interests of his people (priyadarsi). The Sanskrit text of the Karanda-vyuha is known in three versions: (i) the vulgate version in Nepalese manuscripts, (ii) the prose version in Gilgit manuscripts of the early seventh century, and (iii) the metrical version. The last version has been published in this edition from Nepalese manuscripts for the first time. It has been the basis of the Buddhist studies of B.H. Hodgson as early as 1828, and thereby it has conditioned the understanding of Buddhist thought as well as of artistic traditions. Inspite of its importance, it has never been published. This edition of the original Sanskrit text will enable the academic world to understand the foundations of modern scientific study of the literary, philosophic and artistic perceptions of Buddhism. The Sanskrit text is preceded by an analysis of the work in the introduction. The twenty chapters of the Karanda-vyuha enable us to comprehend the immense popularity of Avalokitesvara in Mahayana Buddhism in China, Korea, Japan, Tibet and Mongolia, besides his prevalence in Southeast Asian countries like Srilanka, Indonesia, Thailand, and Cambodia in ancient times. It is a sine qua non text for Buddhist scholars as well as for historians of Asian art.
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About the author

Lokesh Chandra

Prof. Lokesh Chandra is a renowned scholar of Tibetan, Mongolian and Sino-Japanese Buddhism. He has to his credit over 400 works and text editions. Among them are classics like his Tibetan-Sanskrit Dictionary, Materials for a History of Tibetan Literature, Buddhist Iconography of Tibet, and the present Dictionary of Buddhist Art in about 20 volumes. Prof. Lokesh Chandra was nominated by the President of the Republic of India to the Parliament in 1974-80 and again in 1980-86. He has been a Vice-President of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, and Chairman of the Indian Council of Historical Research. Presently he is Director, International Academy of Indian Culture.

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Bibliographic information

Title Karanda-Vyuha-Sutra or The Supernal Virtues of Avalokitesvara
Author Lokesh Chandra
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.1999
Edition 1st ed.
Publisher Aditya Prakashan
Language: English
isbn 8186471898
length xx+291p., 29cm.