Thirty-five Confession Buddhas

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The 35 Buddhas of Confession

The Thirty-Five Confession Buddhas (Wylie: gsheg lha so lnga) are known from the Sutra of the Three Heaps (Sanskrit: Triskandhadharmasutra; Tib. phung po gsum pa'i mdo), popular in Tibetan Buddhism. This Mahāyāna sutra actually describes a practice of purification by confession and making prostrations to these Buddhas, and is part of the larger Stack of Jewels Sutra (Sanskrit: Ratnakutasutra; Tib. dkon mchog brtsegs pa'i mdo).

In Tibet there were two distinct traditions of the Thirty-five Confession Buddhas which arose from the two main Indian schools of Mahāyāna Buddhism: one from the Madhyamaka school founded by Nāgārjuna, and the other from the Yogācāra school founded by Asaṅga and Vasubandhu. Both of these schools developed their own rituals for conferring the Bodhisattva vows, each incorporating a visualization of the Thirty-five Buddhas along with the recitation of the confession from the Triskhandhadharma Sutra.[1]

List of Names[edit]

The names of the 35 Buddhas of confession are:

Sanskrit Tibetan Tibetan pronunciation English
Śākyamuni ཤཱཀྱ་ཐུབ་པ་ shakya tup-pa Shakyamuni
Vajrapramardī རྡོ་རྗེ་སྙིང་པོས་རབ་ཏུ་འཇོམས་པ dorjé nyingpö raptu jompa Thoroughly Conquered with Vajra Essence
Ratnārśiṣ རིན་ཆེན་འོད་འཕྲོ rinchen ö-tro Radiant Jewel
Nāgeśvararāja ཀླུ་དབང་གི་རྒྱལ་པོ luwang gi gyelpo King, Lord of the Nagas
Vīrasena དཔའ་བོའི་སྡེ pawö-dé Army of Heroes
Vīranandī དཔའ་བོ་དགྱེས pawö-gyé Delighted Hero
Ratnāgni རིན་ཆེན་མེ rinchen-mé Jewel Fire
Ratnacandraprabha རིན་ཆེན་ཟླ་འོད rinchen da-ö Jewel Moonlight
Amoghadarśi མཐོང་བ་དོན་ཡོད tongwa dönyö Meaningful Vision
Ratnacandra རིན་ཆེན་ཟླ་བ rinchen dawa Jewel Moon
Vimala དྲི་མ་མེད་པ drima mépa Stainless One
Śūradatta དཔའ་སྦྱིན pa-jin Glorious Giving
Brahma ཚངས་པ tsangpa Pure One
Brahmadatta ཚངས་པས་སྦྱིན་ tsangpé jin Giving of Purity
Varuṇa ཆུ་ལྷ chu lha Water God
Varuṇadeva ཆུ་ལྷའི་ལྷ chu lhaé lha Deity of the Water Gods
Bhadraśrī དཔལ་བཟང pel-zang Glorious Goodness
Candanaśrī ཙན་དན་དཔལ tsenden pel Glorious Sandalwood
Anantaujas གཟི་བརྗིད་མཐའ་ཡས ziji tayé Infinite Splendour
Prabhāśrī འོད་དཔལ ö pel Glorious Light
Aśokaśrī མྱ་ངན་མེད་པའི་དཔལ་ nyangen mépé pel Sorrowless Glory
Nārāyaṇa སྲེད་མེད་ཀྱི་བུ sémé-kyi bu Son of Non-craving
Kusumaśrī མེ་ཏོག་དཔལ métok pel Glorious Flower
Tathāgata Brahmajyotivikrīḍitābhijña དེ་བཞིན་གཤེགས་པ་ཚངས་པའི་འོད་ཟེར་རྣམ་པར་རོལ་པ་མངོན་པར་མཁྱེན་པ dézhin shekpa tsangpé özer nampar rölpa ngönpar khyenpa Pure Light Rays Clearly Knowing by Play
Tathāgata Padmajyotirvikrīditābhijña དེ་བཞིན་གཤེགས་པ་པདྨའི་འོད་ཟེར་རྣམ་པར་རོལ་པས་མངོན་པར་མཁྱེན་པ dézhin shekpa pémé özer nampar rölpé ngönpar khyenpa Lotus light Rays Clearly knowing by Play
Dhanaśrī ནོར་དཔལ norpel Glorious Wealth
Smṛtiśrī དྲན་པའི་དཔལ drenpé pel Glorious Mindfulness
Suparikīrtitanāmagheyaśrī མཚན་དཔལ་ཤིན་ཏུ་ཡོངས་སུ་གྲགས་པ tsenpel shintu yongsu drakpa Renowned Glorious Name
Indraketudhvajarāja དབང་པོའི་ཏོག་གི་རྒྱལ་མཚན་གྱི་རྒྱལ་པོ wangpö tok-gi gyeltsen-gyi gyelpo King of the Victory Banner that Crowns the Sovereign
Suvikrāntaśrī ཤིན་ཏུ་རྣམ་པར་གནོན་པའི་དཔལ shintu nampar nönpé pel Glorious One Who Fully Subdues
Yuddhajaya གཡུལ་ལས་རྣམ་པར་རྒྱལ་བ yül lé nampar gyelwa Utterly Victorious in Battle
Vikrāntagāmī རྣམ་པར་གནོན་པའི་གཤེགས་པའི་དཔལ nampar nönpé shekpé pel Glorious Transcendence Through Subduing
Samantāvabhāsavyūhaśrī ཀུན་ནས་སྣང་བ་བཀོད་པའི་དཔལ kün-né nangwa köpé pel Glorious Manifestations Illuminating All
Ratnapadmavikramī རིན་ཆེན་པདྨའི་རྣམ་པར་གནོན་པ Rinchen padmé nampar nönpa Jewel Lotus who Subdues All
Ratnapadmasupraṭiṣṭhita-śailendrarāja དེ་བཞིན་གཤེགས་པ་དགྲ་བཅོམ་པ་ཡང་དག་པར་རྫོགས་པའི་སངས་རྒྱས་རིན་པོ་ཆེ་དང་པདྨ་ལ་རབ་ཏུ་བཞུགས་པའི་རི་དབང་གི་རྒྱལ་པོ Dézhin shekpa drachompa yangdakpar dzokpé sanggyé rinpoché dang padama la raptu zhukpé riwang gi gyelpo All-subduing Jewel Lotus, Arhat, Perfectly Completed Buddha, King of the Lord of the Mountains Firmly Seated on Jewel and Lotus

[2]

Iconography[edit]

The Thirty-five Confession Buddhas are a common subject depicted in Himalayan Buddhist paintings and sculpture. There are at least three different iconographic systems for depicting the Thirty-five Buddhas based on the different descriptions found in ritual texts and commentaries by different authors including Nagarjuna,[nb 1] Sakya Paṇḍita, Jonang Tāranātha and Je Tsongkhapa.

The three main iconagraphic traditions are: 1. the system attributed to Nagarjuna where the 35 Buddhas are depicted with different objects in their hands; 2. the system of Sakya Paṇḍita where the 35 Buddhas are depicted with hand gestures only (no hand objects); 3. the system based on Je Tsongkhapa's personal vision of the 35 Buddhas where only some of the Buddhas have objects in their hands.[1]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Probably not the Nagarjuna who founded the Madhyamaka school but a later teacher with the same name

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Watt, Jeff (July 2011). "Thirty-five Confession Buddhas Main Page". Himalayan Art Resources. Retrieved 2016-07-20. 
  2. ^ "Thirty-five buddhas of confession". Rigpa Shedra Wiki. Rigpa. Retrieved 2016-07-19. 

External links[edit]