The Hundred Syllable Vajrasattva Mantra.
The Hundred Syllable Vajrasattva Mantra.
The Sanskrit version of the one hundred syllable Vajrasattva mantra in the Puja Book of the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order (the FWBO) follows the edited text produced by Dharmacārin and Sanskritist Sthiramati (aka Dr. Andrew Skilton) in his article:
However he went beyond the scope of merely providing proper diacritics to discuss problems with the structure and spelling of the mantra after consulting a number of printed books and manuscripts in a variety of scripts and languages.
Since the edited version produced by Sthiramati was adopted some 19 years ago, the problems with the older version used before that are less relevant to members of the Western Buddhist Order (WBO) except in one case which I discuss below.2
Sthiramati‟s interpretation differs in some important respects from the traditional Tibetan one, but does so in ways that help to make sense of the Sanskrit - for instance in several cases he suggests breaking a sandhi 3 one letter along in order to create a straightforward Sanskrit sentence that was otherwise obscured.
In the second part of the article I will address the problem of errors in transmission and how these might have come about in the case of this mantra. I will try to show that these errors are likely to have been introduced by a misreading of the text rather than a mishearing of the mantra.
I will explore the corrected mantra as a text. Sthiramati thought that his corrected Sanskrit version of the mantra did not affect its overall use and meaning, but in fact his changes do make a major difference in one case – the word which has been taken to mean „purify‟ is shown to not be a word.
I conclude with some remarks on the tension that the corrected Sanskrit produces with traditional approaches to mantra, high-lighting how it participates in the discussion about what constitutes an authoritative source in our new Buddhist movement (the FWBO).
vajrasattva samayamanupālaya vajrasattvatvenopatiṣṭha
ha ha ha ha hoḥ
bhagavan sarvatathāgatavajra mā me muñca
It‟s difficult to translate vajra in a way that conveys what is intended and for that reason it‟s often left untranslated. Sattva is an abstract noun from the present-participle sat „to be true or real‟ (from √as „to be‟ 5).
Sattva then is trueness/truth or realness/reality.
In use it is very close in meaning to our word „being‟, as in „a state of being‟, or „a being‟. Vajrasattva then is the „adamantine-being‟, „the thunderbolt reality‟, or the personification or embodiment of the true nature of experience.
In Buddhist mantras oṃ is there chiefly to signal that this is a mantra, or that the mantra starts here. Lama Govinda‟s eloquent speculations aside, oṃ does not seem to have any fixed esoteric associations in Buddhist exegesis.6
Both are commonly seen and the former is a traditional Tibetan approach, but -samayam anupālaya- is a natural Sanskrit sentence with -samayam- (in the accusative case) being the object of the verb -anupālaya-.
-Samayam- means „coming together‟ or „meeting‟ and is used in the sense of „coming to an agreement‟.
These agreements are sometimes referred to as a vow or pledge.9
To preserve an agreement is to honour it, so vajrasattva -samayam anupālaya- means: „O Vajrasattva honour the agreement‟, or „preserve the coming together‟ – the coming together of Buddha and disciple, or of guru and cela.
-Vajrasattvatvenopatiṣṭha- is again two words: -vajrasattvatvena upatiṣṭḥa- (a followed by u coalesces to o).
The instrumental case usually indicates how the action of a verb is carried out, though Sthiramati points out that with abstract nouns the instrumental case is used to indicate in what capacity someone acts so that it means something like „as Vajrasattva‟.
The Verb here is -upatiṣṭha- a passive past-participle from -upa + √sthā- „stood near, was present, approached, supported, worshipped; revealed one‟s self or appeared‟. So the phrase means „manifest as Vajrasattva‟.
The form then is „be X for me‟.
First we have „be - dṛḍhaḥ’- „firm, steady, strong‟.
-Supoṣyaḥ- is again su- but combined with -poṣya- from √puṣ „to thrive, to prosper, nourish, foster‟.
Now comes: -sarvasiddhiṃ me prayaccha-. -Prayaccha- is a verb from the root √iṣ „to desire, to wish‟ and means „to grant‟. (√iṣ forms a stem iccha; and pra + iccha > -prayaccha- which is also the second person singular imperative).
So -sarvasiddhiṃ me prayaccha- must mean „grant me every success‟ or „give me success in all things‟. Note that -sarvasiddhiṃ- is an accusative singular so it can‟t mean „all the attainments‟ (plural).
The next line is somewhat longer and more complex: -sarvakarmasu ca me cittaṃ śreyaḥ kuru-.
Śreyah is from śrī which has a wide range of connotations: „light, lustre, radiance; prosperity, welfare, good fortune, success, auspiciousness; high rank, royalty‟. I think „lucid‟ would be a good choice in this case. It is the comparative so it means „more śrī’.
In Sthiramati’s version (and in most others) hūṃ is tagged on to this line, however I‟m inclined to separate it and leave it as a stand-alone statement; note that the three syllables -oṃ āḥ hūṃ- are used in the mantra, though not in that order.
The string of syllables ha ha ha ha hoḥ won‟t detain us long since it is untranslatable and generally understood to be laughter. Sometimes it is said that each syllable represents one of the five Jina.
Then we come to: -bhagavan sarvatathāgatavajra mā me muñca-.
On this basis I agree with Richard Gombrich‟s suggestion that Tathāgata would make more sense if we read it as „being thus‟ or someone „in that state‟ – that is as the Buddha referring to his being awakened.15.
Mā is the negative particle „don‟t‟‟, and the verb, as I have said, is -muñca- from √muc „to abandon‟.
In his seminar Sangharakshita coins the word „vajric’ which Sthiramati does not like, but I can see what Sangharakshita might have meant: someone who becomes the vajra, in the sense of personifying it, might be described as vajric.
-Mahāsamayasattva- is once again a vocative, and a compound of three words. I think here that mahā „great‟ qualifies -samayasattva- , which is a technical term in Tantric Buddhism – „agreement-being‟ - meaning the image of the deity generated in meditation which becomes the meeting place -(samaya)- for the practitioner and the Dharmakāya.
-Vajrībhava Mahāsamayasattva- then means „O great agreement-being become real!‟
The [[Hundredth syllable] is āḥ.
Hūṃ and -phaṭ- are traditionally added under specific circumstances: hūṃ when the mantra is recited for the benefit of the deceased; and phaṭ when the mantra is recited to subdue demons.16 In the WBO/FWBO they are routinely included.
So my full translation goes:
hūṃ ha ha ha ha hoḥ
Errors in Transmission
Having been conveyed to China and the Far East, this stream of transmission (and back-transmission) was cut off with the demise of the Silk Road and the collapse of the Tang dynasty in the late 9th century. This led to quite different lines of
BHS is an inflected vernacular language which has been modified to be more like Sanskrit, a process known as Sanskritisation. This was a general trend and even Pāli has been Sanskritised to some extent.
My view is that mantras are also in BHS rather than Classical Sanskrit; for instance the -e ending on so many words being not, as many scholars assume, a feminine vocative, but a masculine nominative singular.
The script in widespread use in Northern India at the time of the emergence of Tantric texts is known by several different names, but it is now generally called Siddhaṃ (perfected) or Siddhamātṛka (matrix of perfection).
In the latter part of the Tantric period (ca. 12th century) the script which is now often referred to simply as Sanskrit, but which is more correctly called Devanāgarī (literally: „City of the Gods‟) began to supplant Siddhaṃ. 18
A feature of texts of this period is that syllables were not grouped into words, but written one at a time with little or no punctuation. In order to read a text like this one had to have a very good knowledge of Sanskrit word endings.
ओं व ज्र स त्त्व स म य म नु पा ल य व ज्र स त्त्व त्वे नो प ति ष्ठ दृ ढो मे भ व सु िो ष्यो मे भ व सु पो ष्यो मे भ वा नु र क्तो मे भ व स वव तस द्धिं मे प्र य च्छ स वव क मव सु च मे तच त्तं श्रे य कु रु हं ह ह ह ह होोः भ ग व न्स वव ि था ग ि व ज्र मा मे तमु ञ्च व ज्री भ व म हा स म य स त्त्व आोः
Some of the mistakes that crept into the Vajrasattva mantra over time, or perhaps even all at one time, seem to me to be the result of misreading rather than mishearing. Note that Tibetan writing is open to the same kinds of difficulties in reading as Sanskrit.
Take this segment for instance:
व ज्र स त्त्व स म य म नु पा ल य = va jra sa ttva sa ma ya ma nu pā la ya
As I noted in my translation there are several ways to clump the syllables into words.
This leaves us with -manupālaya-.
This is not well formed Sanskrit, but it has familiar parts.
-Manupālaya- is interpreted as meaning „a defender -(pāla)- of man (manu)‟, but -pālaya- is not a proper word - at best it could be taken to be a (commonly encountered) faux dative,20 but even this is not much help.
As a neophyte Sanskritist I have fallen into a similar trap many times. The problem is that when a word ends in -m and the next word begins with a- the two are combined into a single syllable ma for the purposes of writing.
So sa ma ya ma nu pā la ya is actually -samayam anupālaya- 'uphold the agreement'.
In accurately pronounced spoken Sanskrit this error would be less likely to occur.
Tibetan often transcribes -ca- as -tsa- and -cha- as -tsha-, for instance they write -a ra pa tsa na-, and the two pairs are quite close in pronunciation. However in the version of the mantra in Sangharakshita‟s seminar we find the spelling preycha, with apparently the same meaning.
This is much less likely to be a misreading since it mostly seems to be transcribed correctly.
A more crucial error in reading occurred further along. स वव क मव सु च मे तच त्तं श्रे य कु रु = sa rva ka rma su ca me ci ttaṃ śre ya ku ru
We're left trying to explain -su ca-.
We can see that there is a similarity, and we might consider that this is close enough for a mantra. So -sarva karma suca me- by this process came to mean 'purify all my karma‟, and this came to be the most important phrase in the mantra.
But the shift from the palatal sibilant „ś‟ to the dental „s‟ is a much greater one than the Romanisation suggests – they are not interchangeable. Also Tibetans usually get the vowels right – it is certain consonants that cause pronunciation problems.
Garble is far more likely, and that is commonly encountered in mantras. This means that the best explanation is that the formal Sanskrit we find in the mantra when we fiddle with word-breaks is the original text.
Not only that, but the way the message is garbled suggests to me that the mantra was passed on without explanation at some point, and then later on an exegesis was composed largely based on the mis-read rather than a mis-heard Sanskrit text.
Themes of the Vajrasattva Mantra
I want to explore the nature of this relationship in various terms which will demonstrate some continuity.
The Buddha took the theme of ritual purity, and ethicised it – purity according to early Buddhism consists in ethical purity; it is acting from „pure‟ motives which are defined in terms of the absence of craving, aversion, and confusion.
I have showed in an article on Confession that from the point of view of early Buddhism willed actions (karma) inevitably produce results (vipaka).21 The fruits of actions cannot be eliminated or 'purified'.
I declare monks, that actions willed performed and accumulated will not become extinct as along as their results have not been experienced, be it in this life , in the next life, or in subsequent future lives.
This concept is graphically illustrated in the Aṅgulimāla Sutta (MN 86). Not long after Aṅgulimāla had become an Arahant some villages pelted him with missiles breaking his begging bowl, tearing his robes and causing a bloody cut on his head.
Whereas in the Pāli the story of Ajātasattu confessing to the Buddha that he has killed his father is only the frame for a larger doctrinal exposition, in the surviving Sanskrit fragment and three Chinese translations Ajātasattu's confession is the main focus.
Samaya, as I have explained, means 'agreement, meeting, meeting place' and could also be translated as relationship.
disinterested goal, but that the Dharmakāya is doing its bit to reveal itself – hence we call upon Vajrasattva: [[vajrasattvatvenopatiṣṭha] „manifest as Vajrasattva!‟ Lest we feel this idea is too theistic or anthropomorphic I want to unpack it a bit.
All that we know and are conscious of results from contact between objects and sense organs giving rise to dharmas - in this sense the word means 'foundation'.28 Dharmas in themselves are neither pure nor impure.
However we do not treat dharmas or experience this way: we take them far more seriously than this, as existent and important. We spin stories (prapañca) about our experience which we believe and invest with value.
In this way we make our fundamental errors which lead to suffering.
Now the agreement, the samaya, with the Dharmakāya says something like this: if you seek, you will find. In other words the true nature of experience, the śūnya nature of dharmas, is always available to be discerned; it can't be permanently hidden from us.
The guarantees that it is true come in many forms amongst which „Buddha Nature‟ stands out as a good example. Buddha Nature, like this samaya, is designed to set your mind at ease about the possibility of your liberation - particularly in the light of seemingly endless reservoirs of craving, aversion and confusion.
On the one hand the chanter is reminding Vajrasattva, as the personification of the nature of experience, of his side of the samaya relationship: we need the possibility of gaining insight into the true nature of experience to remain open to us, so that we can be liberated.
On the other hand the seed-syllables are Vajrasattva's response to us. Vajrasattva reminds us that it is we who project onto our experience, not him, that he, i.e. the nature of experience, is always available to us, and that nothing can ever change that.
These are the 'body', 'speech', and 'mind' of the Dharmakāya which are communicated through Vajrasattva‟s use of mudrā, mantra, and maṇḍala. These three also become the technology by which we align our body, speech and mind with the Dharmakāya and become enlightened.
A note on Pronunciation
Pronunciation is still an issue; in a recent personal communication to me, Sangharakshita expressed his wish that the mantra be pronounced in the FWBO as it was given to him by Dudjom Rinpoche – that is to say the version of the mantra that appears to have been corrupted.
This wish is in keeping with traditional narratives on the transmission of mantras, though in this case there is some tension because we can be reasonably certain that at some point the mantra has been corrupted.
In an international movement accents become an issue – if we all did a mantra as taught by our preceptor, with no external standard, then we would start to diverge very quickly as national phonetics played their part – for instance, svāhā is soha in Tibet and sowa ka in Japan. Without an external standard, changes such as these multiply.
In the first section of this article I have re-presented the essentials of Sthiramati‟s analysis of the Vajrasattva mantra as it appears in the FWBO Puja book, explaining the grammatical and lexical forms along with my own glosses of the meanings.
Given that the mantra is an important part of the FWBO liturgy it seems appropriate that this kind of information be available to those who might want it but lack the language skills necessary to work it out from scratch – and reading Sanskrit is a rare skill in the FWBO.
A fresh presentation seemed to be required because many of the issues being addressed by Sthiramati ceased to be issues with the publication of the new edition of the Puja Book in 1990, and because the 1990 article is now very difficult to locate.
Absolute certainty is never possible, but it seems very likely that the mantra that we inherited was corrupted and that in his reconstructed version Sthī. ramati has restored the syntax and spelling of the mantra to its uncorrupted form. Certainly this seems to be the view of other Sanskritists that I have spoken to.
However the issue of transmission errors is likely to remain a live one since there seem to be two schools of thought: the first, assented to by what I believe is a small minority, is that the corrected Sanskrit is the version of the mantra that we should chant because it represents something more original.
Moreover, when Order members come to receive a mantra at ordination, it is likely that the preceptor passing on the mantra would not have received it directly from their own preceptor, but rather through a process which works by a kind of osmosis.
The issue then is one of authority and what, or who, constitutes a source of authority in the case of mantras. For scholars with the language skills and access to libraries the text is a primary source of authority.
The fact is that we have two distinct versions of the Hundred Syllable mantra in the FWBO – one which Sangharakshita prefers, has lectured on, and transmitted to many disciples, and one which for almost two decades has graced our Puja Book.
The lack of certainty about the provenance of our mantra seems to produce a situation which is at least similar to the uncertainties surrounding bhikkhu ordination, as has been explained by Sangharakshita.
Another related issue is how we use traditions to legitimise our practice.
If, for instance, we refer to Tantric Protocol to justify the retention of a corrupt pronunciation because it came from an authoritative source (in this case Dudjom Rinpoche), then we need to be aware that this authoritative source would most likely have disapproved of our unorthodox treatment of Tantric tradition.
Having re-contextualised those aspects that we have adopted, it becomes less plausible to claim support from tradition, and yet this is precisely what we do.
I would like to suggest that certain Mahāyāna Sūtras provide a different approach which may be relevant. I‟m thinking here in particular of the Sukhāvativyūha Sūtras, the Saddharmapuṇḍarīka and the Kāraṇḍavyūha Sūtras.
In this approach the faith of the devotee is paramount and as long as the intention is to invoke the Buddha, the details of how that is done are less strictly spelt out by the sūtras I have mentioned. It would allow us more scope for recontextualisation while maintaining the link to tradition.
Perhaps others will also appreciate the irony that the concern for purity which surrounds this mantra conflicts with a concern for the purity of the mantra itself. In this article, I have raised a question about the nature of purity, and how it can be achieved.
I have highlighted the fact that the nature of purity and nature of impurity result from projection; each is something that we add to experience and is not intrinsic to it. Likewise we have conferred on the mantra ways of chanting it and understanding it that are not intrinsic to it.
In early lectures in which he talks about this mantra, Sangharakshita uses the language of original purity and even of immanence, but over the years, and particularly recently, he has been at pains to point out the risks of using this kind of terminology. This suggests that we may need to revisit our narratives relating to the mantra.
Attwood, Jayarava Michael (2008) „Did King Ajātasattu Confess to the Buddha, and did the Buddha Forgive Him?‟, Journal of Buddhist Ethics, vol. 15. The FWBO Puja Book, 5th ed. (1990) Windhorse Publications; also 7th ed. retitled: Puja: The FWBO Book of Buddhist Devotional Texts, 2008. Chandra, Lokesh and Snellgrove, David L. (1981) Sarvatathāgatatattva Saṅgraha, New Delhi: Sharada Rani.
Gair, J.W. and Karunatillake, W.S. (1998) A New Course in Reading Pāli. Motilal Banarsidass. Gombrich, R. (2009) What the Buddha Thought, London: Equinox. Govinda Lama Anagarika (1959) Foundations of Tibetan Mysticism. Rider. Gulik, R. H. van (1956) Siddham: An Essay on the History of Sanskrit Studies in China and Japan, Nagpur: International Academy of Indian Culture. (Also available as a reprint from Aditya Prakashan, Delhi).
Hakeda, Yoshito (1972) Kūkai: Major Works, Columbia University Press. Jayarava (2006) „Buddhism as a path of Gracefulness‟ in Jayarava’s Raves [18-7-2006]. http://jayarava.blogspot.com/2006/07/buddhism-as-path-of-gracefulness.html Jayarava (2009a) „Words in Mantras that end in –e‟ in Jayarava’s Raves [6-3-2009]. http://jayarava.blogspot.com/2009/03/words-in-mantras-that-end-in-e.html Jayarava (2009b) „Dharma: Early History‟ in Jayarava’s Raves [9-10-2009]. http://jayarava.blogspot.com/2009/10/dharma-early-history.html, Jayarava (2009c) „Dharma: Buddhist Terminology‟ in Jayarava’s Raves [19-6-2009]. http://jayarava.blogspot.com/2009/09/dharma-buddhist-terminology.html Jayaraa (2009d) „Dharma as Mental Event‟ in Jayarava’s Raves [23-10-2009]. http://jayarava.blogspot.com/2009/10/dharma-as-mental-event.html
Lopez, Donald S. (1998) Prisoners of Shangri-La : Tibetan Buddhism and the West, University of Chicago Press. Macdonell, A.A. (1926) A Sanskrit Grammar for Students (3rd ed.), D.K. Printworld Ltd, 2008. MacQueen, G. (1988) A Study of the Śrāmaṇyaphala-sūtra, Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz. Monier-Williams, M. (1899) A Sanskrit-English Dictionary. [New Edition greatly Enlarged and improved by Leumann, E. and Cappeller, C.] Reprinted by Delhi: Asian Educational Services, 2008.
Nyanatiloka and Bodhi (1999). Numerical Discourses of the Buddha: an Anthology of Sutta from the Aṅguttara Nikāya, Walnut Creek, Maryland: Altamira Press. Salomon, Richard (1998), Indian Epigraphy: A Guide to the Study of Inscriptions in Sanskrit, Prakrit, and the Other Indo-Aryan Languages, Oxford University Press. Sangharakshita The Vajrasattva Mantra Seminar, Free Buddhist Audio. http://www.freebuddhistaudio.com/texts/read?num=SEM152&&at=text Sangharakshita (1968) „Track 7, „The Meditation and Mantra Recitation of Vajrasattva: purification‟, in The Four Foundation Yogas of the Tibetan Buddhist Tantra. http://www.freebuddhistaudio.com/talks/details?num=60
Sangharakshita (1993) Wisdom Beyond words: Sense and Non-sense in the Buddhist Prajnaparamita Tradition. Birmingham: Windhorse Publications. Sangharakshita (1994) Was the Buddha a Bhikkhu? A Rejoinder to a Reply to Forty-Three Years Ago. Glasgow: Windhorse Publications.
2 The text of the old version can be found in various pre-1990 editions of the Puja Book (though according to Sthīramati there is some variation), and in Sangharakshita‟s unpublished unedited seminar The Vajrasattva Mantra (see bibliography). I refer to this version as Tibetanised. 3 Sandhi literally means 'junction', but here it is a technical term for how the spelling of words change because of their proximity to each other. For instance in English we change from 'a bear', to 'an apple' (a > an before a vowel sound).
4 By the time Tantric Buddhism adopted this symbol – circa 7th century CE – Indra was no longer prominent in India religion. He does occur in Buddhist texts however where he is known as Śakra (P. Sakka) – for instance he makes regular appearances in the Pāli Jātaka tales and is a prominent figure in the Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra (The Perfection of Wisdom in 8000 Lines).
5 √ indicates a verbal root. Sanskrit grammarians analysed verbs into roots, stems, and suffixes indicating conjugation. The monosyllabic root or dhātu is notional but carries the primary meaning of the word, which can be modified with prefixes. Dictionaries, particularly the popular Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary, are often organised according to roots.
6 Foundations of Tibetan Mysticism is a popular book, however in his explanations of mantra generally and of oṃ in particular Lama Govinda cites only Hindu texts - which I have always found puzzling. He is viewed with some suspicion by some: see for instance comments in Lopez (1998). 7 See Lopez (1998). 150.
8 In Tibetan Sadhanas one frequently sees a version of this mantra where the word vajra is substituted by padma to form the Padmasattva mantra; in a version to Heruka Vajrasattva where we find Vajra Heruka instead of Vajrasattva.
9 Snellgrove explains that the word means „a sacrament‟ when used in a ritual context, but regularly translates it as „pledge‟ (2002), p.165. C.f. the word saṃvara a „bond‟ or „restraint‟ which is used in the sense of taking on rules of behaviour.
11 The same root gives us the word rāga – emotion, feeling, passion. 12 Most Tibetan traditions seem to take this as sarva karma suca me but this is much more difficult to resolve as sensible Sanskrit. Tradition takes it to mean „purify all my karma‟ seemingly taking suca to be related to √śuc although this cannot be the case. However this tradition is very important as it relates to the purifying function of the mantra – and purification is not otherwise mentioned even indirectly. I discuss this below.
15 C.f. Gombrich (2009) p.151. Gombrich points out that the traditional Buddhist attempts to etymologise the term are “fanciful”. I would also argue that though “thus-gone” has become familiar, it is poor English, and in fact quite meaningless. 16 Incidentally phaṭ is pronounced „p-hut‟ not „fat‟. Sanskrit doesn‟t have an „f‟ sound – ph is „p‟ followed by a puff of air similar to the sounds in the word „tophat‟.
17 I explore this in my blog Jayarava (2009a)
18 The history of Indian Writing is comprehensively surveyed in Salomon (1998). For the adaption of the Siddhaṃ script in Asia see: Gulik (1956). 19 I have modelled this on the 10th century Siddhaṃ script manuscript of the Sarvatathāgata-tattvasaṃgraha published as a facsimile edition by Chandra and Snellgrove (1981), though the mantra in that text is slightly different again.
20 In mantras we often find a noun with the suffix -ya or -ye and I interpret this as a naïve effort to form a dative on the model of true datives (e.g. deva > devāya, or muni > munaye, but note the vowel changes due to sandhi). I‟ve coined the term “faux dative” to describe this phenomenon. The use of datives followed by svāhā to form mantras dates back to the Yajurveda where they are common: e.g. agnaye svāhā.
21 Attwood (2009). 22 Nyanaponika and Bodhi. (1999). p. 269. [PTS A v.292] 23 PTS M ii.104. My translations. 24 Several later versions of the Samaññaphala Sutta are translated and studied in MacQueen (1988). 25 Patricide is said to be atekiccha: “incurable” or “unpardonable”. (see for example A iii.146). 26 MacQueen (1988). p.69.
27 I wrote about this as „grace‟ in Jayarava (2006). 28 I explore the meaning of the word Dharma in three short (and probably overly ambitious) essays Jayarava:2009b, 2009c, 2009d. 29 Sangharakshita (1993), especially p.25f. 30 Kūkai. Benkenmitsu nikyō ron in Hakeda (1972), p.220.
31 A further avenue of research has opened up recently as Maitiu O'Ceileachair and I have identified the earliest textual reference to the Vajrasattva Mantra in the Chinese Tripiṭaka, in „A Summary of Recitations‟ (T.866). The summary is a selection of mantras from the Sarvatathāgata-tattvasaṃgraha translated into Chinese in 723 CE by Vajrabodhi based on a text obtained in India around 700 CE (which incidentally sets the upper limit of its composition). We are comparing the various Chinese and Tibetan canonical versions with the extant Sanskrit manuscripts which should reveal more about the nature of the transmission process and the form of the mantra at this earliest stage of its history.
32 I don‟t mean to insist on the terms „original‟ and „authentic‟ or to boil the dialogue down to a simple dichotomy. In many ways the concerns of each camp overlap. 33 Sangharakshita (1994) p.15 [my emphasis]. </poem>