Which Buddhist scriptures are most likely apocryphal

Dharani - Dharani

Buddhist Pancaraksa 11th century manuscript in Pali script. It is a Dharani Genre text about spells, benefits and goddess rituals.

Dharanis (Devanagari: धारणी, IAST: dhāraṇī ), also known as parittas, are Buddhist chants, memory codes, incantations, or recitations, usually mantras made up of Sanskrit or Pali phrases. They are considered protective and have the ability to generate merit for the Buddhist devotee. They form an essential part of historical Buddhist literature. Many of these chants are written in Sanskrit and Pali scripts such as Siddham, as well as translated into Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Sinhala, Thai and other regional scripts.

Dharanis are found in the ancient texts of all major Buddhist traditions. They are an integral part of the Pali canon preserved by the Theravada tradition. Mahayana sutras - such as the Lotus Sutra and the Heart Sutra - include or conclude with Dharani. Some Buddhist texts, like Pancaraksa, found in the homes of many followers of the Buddhist Tantra tradition are exclusively dedicated to Dharani. They are part of the regular ritual prayers and are considered an amulet and spell in themselves, the recitation of which is intended to alleviate misfortune, illness or other disasters. They were an integral part of monastic training in the history of Buddhism in East Asia. In some Buddhist regions they served as texts on which the Buddhist witness would swear to tell the truth.

The Dharani genre of literature became popular in East Asia in the 1st millennium AD, with Chinese records indicating its abundance in the early centuries of the common era. They emigrated from China to Korea and Japan. The demand for printed dharani among lay Buddhist devotees may have led to the development of innovations in text printing. The Dharani Records of East Asia are the oldest known "authenticated printed texts in the world," according to Robert Sewell and other scholars. The early 8th century Dharani texts discovered in the Pulguksa Temple of Gyeongju, Korea are considered to be the oldest known printed texts in the world.

Dharani recitation for the purpose of healing and protection is referred to as paritta in some Buddhist regions, especially Theravada communities. The ideas of the Dharani genre also inspired the Japanese called Koshiki lyrics and singing practices Daimoku , Nenbutsu (Japan), Nianfo (China) or Yombul (Korea). They are an integral part of historical Chinese Dazangjing (Writings of the great repository) and the Korean Daejanggyeong - the East Asian compilations of the Buddhist canon between the 5th and 10th centuries.

Etymology and Nomenclature

A Dharani example

Tuṭṭe, tuṭṭe - vuṭṭe, vuṭṭe - paṭṭe, paṭṭe - kaṭṭe, kaṭṭe - amale,
amale - vimale, vimale - nime, nime - hime, hime - vame,
sarkke-cakre, cakre - dime, dime - hime, hime -
ṭu ṭu ṭu ṭu - ḍu ḍu ḍu ḍu - ru ru ru - phu phu phu phu - svāhā.

- Buddha to monk Mahamati in Lankavatara 9.260
Translator: Daisetz Teitarō Suzuki

The word dhāraṇī derives from a Sanskrit root √ dhṛ from, which means "hold or maintain". This root probably comes from the Vedic religion of ancient India, where chants and melodious sounds have innate spiritual and healing powers, even when the sound cannot be translated and has no meaning (as in a music). The same root there Dharma or Dhamma . According to East Asian Buddhism researcher Paul Copp, some Buddhist communities outside of India sometimes relate to Dharanis with alternative terms like "Mantra, Hṛdaya (Hridiya), Paritrana (Paritta), Raksha (Pali: Rakkha), Gutti or Vidyā". although these terms have other contextual meanings in Buddhism.

According to the traditional belief in Tibetan texts, according to Jose Cabezon, the Dalai Lama professor of Tibetan Buddhism studies, there were three councils, and the term Dharani was recorded and became the norm after the third council. Based on this belief, the first council presented the Sutranta , the Vinaya and the Abhidhamma in Vimalabhada south of Rajagriha in India. The first council was held in the year the Buddha died, but the Dhamma compiled was spoken words that were not written down. The second council took place about 200 years after the Buddha's death in a grove provided by Ashoka, where the knowledge was reassembled, but it also did not write anything down. The third council met in Kashmir a century later, according to Tibetan tradition, and the teachings were put in writing for those "who do not ( Dharani ) of not-forgetting "because people were reciting corrupt forms of the Buddha's teachings. In this context, were Dharani in the Buddhist tradition around the 2nd century BC Recognized and were a reminder to the Dhamma- Teachings to ground and remember.


The term dharani as used in the history of Mahayana and Tantric Buddhism and its interpretation has been problematic since the mid-19th century, according to Ronald Davidson. It was originally understood as a "magical formula or phrase" but later studies such as by Lamotte and Berhard interpreted it as "memory" while Davidson suggests that some dharani are "codes". According to Eugène Burnouf, the 19th century French Indologist and scholar of Buddhism, Dharani's magical formulas are the most important parts of their books for Buddhist followers. Burnouf, Davidson said, was the first scholar to realize the importance and widespread use of dharani in Buddhist sutras and Mahayana texts. The Indologist Moriz Winternitz agreed at the beginning of the 20th century that Dharanis represented a "large and important" part of Mahayana Buddhism and that they were magical formulas and "protective spells" as well as amulets.

Benefits of singing a dharani

[For someone who is this great Peacock magic recited] there will be no fear of the [capricious punishment] of kings, no fear of thieves or fire or death by drowning. Poison will not hit his body or weapons, and he will live and prosper for a long time, except for the results of the previous karma. And he will happily wake up from dreams. He will be satisfied, not experience disaster, live a life without terror, destroy his enemies, ruin his opponents, leave himself untouched, free from fear of poison, live long and successfully, only with the exception of the results of the previous karma.

- Buddha to monk Svati in Mahamayuri 58.20-59.6
Translator: Ronald Davidson

According to Winternitz, a dharani is similar to the incantations used in the Atharvaveda and Yajurveda of Hinduism were found. The Dharani genre of Buddhist literature includes mantra, according to Étienne Lamotte, but they were also a "memory aid" for memorizing and chanting the Buddha's teachings. This practice was linked into concentration ( Samadhi ) and believed magical virtues and a means to have both spiritually and materially karma -related merit. According to Braarvig, the dharanis are "apparently meaningless sequences of syllables". While they were once "memory aids," the dharanis, which have survived into modern times, disagree with any text. In later practice the dharanis were "hardly used as a summary of the teaching, but as an aid for concentration and magical protective benefits".

According to Jan Nattier, Vedic mantras are older than Buddhist dharani, but over time both forms of incantation have been quite similar. In the early Buddhist texts, Nattier suggests, "it appears that the word dharani was first used in reference to reminders to keep certain elements of Buddhist teaching in mind (Skt." Holding ")". In Nattier's view, the term dharani is "peculiar to Buddhism". A Dhāraṇī can be a mnemonic to summarize the meaning of a section or chapter of a sutra. According to the Buddhist writer Red Pine were Mantra and Dharani originally interchangeable, but eventually became Dhāraṇī Used for meaningful, understandable phrases and mantra for syllable formulas that should not be understood.

According to Robert Buswell and Ronald Davidson were Dharani Codes in some Buddhist texts. They appeared at the end of the text and can be viewed as a coded, distilled summary of Buddhist teachings in the previous chapters. For example that Vajrasamadhi Sutra - a Korean Buddhist text, probably written in the 7th century by an unknown monk, one that is important to the Ch'an (Zen Buddhism) tradition in East Asia. The Dharani Chapter is the eighth (penultimate). with a short epilogue of conversations between the Tathagata Buddha and Ananda as the last chapter. This Dharani Chapter, so Buswell, "coded ( dharayati ) the important meanings without forgetting them, and remembering and coding the points to remember.

The Indologist Frits Staal, who is known for his scholarship for mantras and chants in Indian religions, explains that the Dharani mantras reflect a continuity of the Vedic mantras. He quotes Wayman to similarly emphasize the view that Buddhist chants have "a deep debt to the Vedic religion". The Yogacara scholars, says Staal, followed the same classification as one found in the Vedas - arthadharani , dharmadharani and mantradharani , along with explicit recognition like the Vedas that some "dharani are meaningful and others are meaningless," yet all effective for ritual purposes.


Left: A Dharani column in Inner Mongolia (1085 AD); Right: a dharani written in two languages ​​- Sanskrit and Central Asian Sogdian.

Early Buddhist literature contains the Dharani spells and incantations. It shows that dharanis were valued and used in Buddhist communities before the 1st century AD, according to Charles Prebish and Damien Keown.

The role of the dharanis in Buddhist practice in the mid-1st millennium AD is illustrated by numerous texts, including the systematic treatises that have emerged. According to Paul Copp, one of the earliest verifiable literary mandates for writing dharanis as an effective spell is found in a Chinese text between AD 317 and AD 420. This text is that Qifo bapusa suoshuo da tuoluoni shenzhou jing (or the Great Dharani Spirit Magic Scripture spoken by the seven Buddhas and eight Bodhisattvas). The collected Dhāraṇī Sūtras were compiled, for example, in the middle of the 7th century. Some of the oldest Buddhist religious inscriptions in stupas (Dagoba, Chörten) are excerpts from compositions of the Dharani genre such as the Bodhigarbhalankaralaksa-Dharani . Manuscript fragments from Sumukha-dharani Discovered in Central Asia and now kept in the Leningrad Department of the Russian Academy of Sciences, are in the Sanskrit language and Brahmi script, a script that prevailed before the early centuries of the common era.

The Chinese text Wugou Jing from Guangda Tuoluoni Jing the time of the influential Empress Wu - 683 to 705 AD - is about the Buddha, the six Dharanis recited. The first part gives its meaning as follows (Japanese version of the Chinese text):

People who wish to perform the ceremony for this should go around the pagoda with the relics seventy-seven times on the 8th, 13th, 14th or 15th day of the month, with it being on their right and reciting this spell [dhāraṇī] also seventy-seven Mal: You should build an altar and keep its surface clean. You should have the charm copied seventy-seven times and, out of respect for the ceremony, give the copyist perfume, flowers, food and drink, clean clothes and a bath, and reward him or her with a lot of money either by ointing and covering him with perfume or by perfume pay for his skills. Then they should take these copies of the charms, put them in the pagoda, and make offerings in the pagoda. Alternatively, they should make seventy-seven small clay pagodas, put one copy in each, and make offerings. When properly done, people who are about to die extend their lives into old age, completely destroying all of their previous sins and evil deeds.

-  Muku joko darani kyo (無垢 浄 光大 陀羅尼 經), translation: Peter Kornicki

Early mentions of Dharani in European literature come from the notes of Johannes von Plano Carpini (1245–7) and Wilhelm von Rubruck (1254), in which they wrote in their respective memoirs that Uyghurs and Mongols later sang "Om man baccam" with "Om mani padme hum". They also mention that these Asians "write short spells on paper and hang them up". Aside from these scant remarks, little was known about the Dharani genre of literature or its value in the Buddhist scholarship, often until the colonial days of the mid-19th century when Brian Hodgson began buying Sanskrit and related manuscripts in Nepal, Tibet, and India at his own expense. According to Hodgson, as quoted by Ronald Davidson, Dharani esoteric short prayers "derived from [Buddhist tantric] Upadesa," which are believed to be amulets worn repeatedly or in small medallions, resulting in "an enchanted life." " leads.

The colonial scholarship initially suggested that the dharanis and related rituals could have an influence on the Buddhism of other Indian religions, for example from the esoteric tantra traditions of Hinduism around the middle of the 1st millennium AD, this assumption combined believing that early Buddhism was an "abstract philosophy or even a broad social movement" is now part of a scientific debate. With increasing access to major Buddhist texts and the discoveries of historical manuscripts in China, Korea, and Japan, such as early Silla Buddhism, McBride and others state that Dharani incantations and ritualism in East Asia have been a widely spread since the early years had widespread significance. In connection with Waddell's scholarship for the "Dharani cult in Buddhism" at the beginning of the 20th century, the scholarship of the postcolonial era suggested that Dharanis did not develop with or after the emergence of tantric Buddhism, but preceded it and represented a form of prototantrism .

According to Richard McBride and Richard Payne, the "Proto-Tantra" proposal is also problematic because it is a meaningless anachronistic teleological category that "misleads" and implies that the Dharanis somehow anticipated and cultivated the Buddhist Tantra tradition. There is no evidence of such a sequential development. Instead, the evidence suggests an overlap, but that the meaning of the dharanis co-existed independently in the current Buddhist traditions and the esoteric Buddhist tantra tradition. Phonic mysticism and musical singing based on Dharanis - Parittas or Raksas in Theravada Pali literature - as well as related mantras were important in early Buddhism. They continue to be an integral part of actual Buddhist practice in Asia, both for its laypeople and for the monks. Emerging evidence and later science increasingly suggests that "Dharani and ritual practices were common Mahayana practices for many centuries before the advent of tantric and esoteric Buddhism and Vajrayana," said McBride. The Buddhist Tantra traditions added another level of sophistication and complexity to the rituals with deities and mandalas.

Dharanis are not limited to an esoteric cult within Buddhism, explains Paul Copp, but "Dharani incantations and related mystical phrases and practices have been an integral part of almost all Buddhist traditions for at least the early centuries of the common era".

Dhāraṇīs and mantras

Dhāraṇīs are a form of amulet and believe in the various Buddhist traditions to offer protection from evil influences and disasters. Mantra and dharani are synonymous in some Buddhist traditions, but in others such as the Tibetan tantric traditions, a dharani is a type of mantra. According to Jose Cabezon, mantra is ( Sngags ) in the tantric traditions all knowledge and the mind of all Buddhas, that what that Dharma Dhatu (Essence of Dhamma). The mantra exists in three forms - Guhya (Secret), Vidya (Knowledge) Dharani (Reminder aid). The Guhya- Mantra is about relationships and union between male and female deities. The Vidya Mantra represents the mind of male Buddhist deities while Dharani Mantras of the female Buddhist deities. Theologically speaking, they form Vidya According to Cabezon, mantras are the knowledge in tantric Buddhism that "pacifies the suffering that exists in the existential world ( Samsara ) and the pile of mistakes such as craving is experienced ". In contrast, the form Dharani Mantras the knowledge in Tantric Buddhism that "leads to one being on the Dhamma hold on to that Dhamma remembers, remembers virtue. "There is very little prescriptive or practical difference between dharani and mantras, except that dharani are much longer, explains Eugene Burnouf.

Sanskrit hymn: नमस्त्रैलोक्य बुद्धाय भगवते द्यथा ओम् (ॐ) [...]
Chinese transliteration as Dharani: No-ma-shitsutanrei-ro-kiya Botsu-da-ya ba-ga-baku-tei tetsuya-ta 'a [...]
Japanese transliteration from Chinese: Nau-ma-shitsutarei-ro-kiya Bo-da-ya ba-giya-ba-tei niya-ta won [...]
English- IAST: Namas Trailokya buddhāya Bhagavate dyathā Om [...]

According to Winternitz, a Buddhist dharani is similar to the incantations and mantras found in Hinduism. A dharani can contain simple magical syllables and words with no literal meaning ( Mantra Padani ), or his power is believed to result from his words or wisdom in niece Contains from a Buddhist sutta. The Japanese Horiuzi manuscript by Prajna paramita hrdaya sutra and Usnisha Vijaya dharani from AD 609. Illustrates both, the latter being just invocations made up of meaningless series of syllables. In Buddhism, a dharani was believed to have magical virtues and a means to merit the past karma balance, alleviate fear, disease and disaster in this life, and achieve better rebirth. For the lay Buddhist communities, Davidson said, the material benefits encouraged the popularity and use of dharanis for devotion, rituals, and rites in Buddhism. According to Janet Gyatso, there is a difference between mantras and dharanis. The mantras are more than melodic sounds and have meaning, and these were found sporadically in pre-Mahayana Buddhism. With the advent of the Mahayana Buddhist tradition, the dharanis became closely associated with mantras. Later, as the tradition of Vajrayana Buddhism grew, they multiplied. The dharanis and mantras overlap because in the Vajrayana tradition. There are "single seed syllables Bija like Dharanis ", who are considered to be particularly capable of protecting chanters from dangers such as" snakes, enemies, demons and robbers ". That Bija- Mantra (seed) condenses the protective powers of a Buddhist deity or a Buddhist text into a single syllable. For example, the single letter "a" (अ) condenses the 100,000 verses of the Prajna paramita sutras to a single syllable.

Indian Siddham script in Chinese script transliteration code in Nilaṇṭhanāmahṛdaya dhāraṇī .

The Japanese Buddhist monk Kūkai made a distinction between Dhāraṇī and Mantra and used it as the basis for his theory of language. According to Kūkai is a Buddhist Mantra limited to esoteric Buddhist practices while Dhāraṇī can be found in both esoteric and exoteric rituals. During the Nara and early Heian periods of Japanese history, a monk or nun was tested for their fluidity and knowledge of dharanis to confirm whether they were well trained and proficient in Buddhist knowledge. Their letters of appointment listed the sutras and dharanis that he or she could recite from memory. For example, in a letter of recommendation dated 732 AD, a Japanese priest named Chishu supports the ordination of his student Hata no kimi Toyotari by listing that he can recite the following dharanis: "The Great Prajna Paramita, Amoghapasa Avalokiteshvara, Elf-faced Avalokiteshvara, the golden light , Akashagarbha, Bhaisajyaguru, consecrate water, hide ritual space "with the Dharani rituals of prostration after eight years of training. A study with numerous such letters of recommendation from Ubasoku Koshinge from the 1st millennium in Japan confirms that dharanis were an essential and central part of monastic training, although the specific group of dharanis memorized by a monk or nun was different.

Kūkai classified mantras as a special class of Dhāraṇīs, arguing that each syllable of a Dhāraṇī is a manifestation of the true nature of reality - in Buddhist terms, that every sound is a manifestation of śūnyatā or emptiness of self-nature. Instead of being meaningless, Kūkai suggests that dhāraṇīs are actually saturated with meaning - each syllable is symbolic on several levels.

Mahayana tradition

The Dharanis were a large and important part of Mahayana Buddhist literature. They are particularly common in the esoteric tradition of Buddhism (Vajrayana, Tibetan). However, the Dharanis were not reserved for esoteric Mahayana texts only. The most significant and popular Mahayana sutras like that Lotus sutra , the Heart sutra and others prominently include Dharani chapters. The dharanis are in the Prajñāpāramitā sutras in which the Buddha "praises the Dharani evocation along with the cultivation of samadhi as a virtuous activity of a bodhisattva," explains Ryûichi Abé.

The Megha Sutra is an example of an old magical-religious Mahayana text. In it, the snake deities appear before the Buddha and offer him worship. Then they ask how the suffering of snakes and humans can be alleviated. The text suggests friendliness ( maitri ) and lists numerous invocations such as those to female deities, exorcisms, means of inducing rain, along with a number of magical formulas such as "sara sire sire suru suru naganam java java jivi jivi juvu juvu etc." says Moriz Winternitz. The historical Mahayana Dharanis have been preserved as individual manuscripts and as large collections. The versions found in Nepal and China include spells to end the disease, prolong life, recover from poison, magic for happiness in war, drive away demons and snakes, protection from the effects of evil constellations, deliverance from one confessed sin, birth of a son or daughter to a woman who wants to have a baby, born again in the Sukhavati Avoid Heaven or a bad rebirth. The Dharani with snake charm is in the Bower manuscript in western China. While a Chinese translation of Lankavatara Sutra from AD 443 does not include some of the Dharani chapters, other 2nd and 4th century AD Chinese translations of Mahayana texts include Dharani. The Dunhuang manuscript collections include extensive talismanic Dharani sections. The dharanis, as conceived by medieval Buddhist intellectuals and eminent Chinese monks, were "an integral part of mainstream Sinitic Buddhism," explains Richard McBride. The popularity of Buddhist spells in China was likely due to the fact that older indigenous Chinese religions already valued spells.

According to Robert Buswell and Donald Lopez, it is "almost certain" that some of the East Asian Buddhist literature on Dharani was indigenous Chinese texts and synchronized with Daoist practices. For example this is Guanding Jing, composed in China in the mid-5th century, largely a collection of magical spells of the Dharani genre in twelve semi-independent chapters. It contains spells such as those of the 72,000 spirit kings to protect Buddhist monks, spells of the 120,000 spirit kings to protect the Buddhist nuns, incantations of spirit kings to protect one's surroundings, seals and spells to subjugate devils, chants to summon dragon kings, and treat infections remove pests and seek rebirth in pure lands of one's own desire.

The importance of dharanis was so great that both the government and the monastic organization in the 7th century had stipulated how and when dharanis could or should not be used. A Ritsuryo- Buddhist clergy code from AD 718, promulgated by the Nara government of Japan, prohibits the use of dharani for any unauthorized medical treatment, military and political rebellion. The code expressly exempted their use for "healing the sick by chanting dharanis according to the Buddha Dharma". Another document from AD 797 mentions "Healer Meditation Masters" ( Kanbyo Zenji ) in Dharanis to protect the ruler's family. Others document the use of Dharani chant by monks and nuns as "one of the most common healing methods during the Nara period," explains Ryûichi Abé.

The dharanis were an integral part of the liturgical ritual Rokujikyoho (six-syllable sutra) in Japan. They were very popular between the 11th and 15th centuries and were part of a comprehensive solution to various diseases, a ritual used by Buddhist monks and practitioners of the Onmyōdō was carried out .

Theravada tradition

The Theravada Paritrana texts are a type of Dharani texts that impart protective charm by singing hymns. According to Buddhist study scholars Sarah LeVine and David Gellner, Theravada lay followers traditionally invite monks to "protection from evil" rites in their homes and the monks sing the Paritrana hymns. These rituals are particularly common with rites of passage such as baby names, first rice meals, and others. According to the Buddhologist Karel Werner, some Mahayana and Vajrayana Dharani texts have influenced the paritta texts of the Theravada tradition, such as the Gini paritta (fire), since the hymns are partly identical and the Theravada text uses the same terms, for example "Dharani" dharaniti " .

The Pali Canon contains many references to protective ( Raksha , Paritta Incantations and magic spells. These invocations offer protection from "malevolent spirits, disease and disaster". For example, Sonadanda notices in Digha Nikaya (DN I.116.14) that "non-humans do no harm to the people of this city or this village", according to the Buddhism scholar Peter Skilling. These and similar statements can also be found in the early Chinese translations of Indian Buddhist texts. According to Skilling, this "protective Buddhist literature" is used by both monks and lay people in Theravada countries. These texts are part of every "meager library of Sri Lankan Buddhist households" and are called Pirit Pota . In Myanmar, all classes in the Theravada community know them Parity Incantation literature better than any other Pali Buddhist work. The average Theravada monk in other Southeast Asian countries who may not have much about one Tipitaka knows, says Skilling, is probably "able to recite numerous chants [paritta, dharani] from memory".

In northern Thailand that is Suat Boek Phranet (lit.Eye-Opening Sutta) a Pali chant that is used in rites such as the consecration of a Buddha image. The text, according to Donald Swearer, contains a "unique Dharani in praise of the Buddha" and his victory over the evil Mara. Although the dharani appears at the end of the text and the associated chant in Thai Buddhist practice takes place at the end of the ceremony, they underline their key role in " buddhabhiseka Ritual".

Influence: oldest printed texts in the world

Hyakumantō Darani: Miniature wooden pagoda with a printed dharani from the year 770 AD. In 1908 there were 43,930 pagodas in the Hōryū-ji temple in Nara.

The Buddhist Dharani invocations are the earliest surviving printed mass texts. Until the middle of the 20th century it was widely believed that the Hyakumantō Darani found as spells in wooden pagodas of Japan, printed between AD 764 and 770, and the oldest surviving printed texts. In 1966, similarly printed dharani were discovered in the stone pagoda of Pulguksa Temple in Gyeongju, Korea. These date from the first half of the 8th century and are now considered to be the oldest known printed texts in the world. According to Tsien Tsuen-Hsuin, the Korean Dharani Scrolls were printed in China after the era of Empress Wu, and they date "no earlier than AD 704 when the translation of the sutra was completed, and no later than 751 when this The temple's building was built and the stupa was completed ". The printed Korean text consists of "Chinese characters transcribed from [Indian] Sanskrit". While the Korean dharani were likely printed in China, the evidence confirms that the Japanese dharani were printed in Japan from Buddhist chants that came through China. The tradition of printing and distributing Buddhist dharanis and transliterated Sanskrit sutras continued in East Asia over the following centuries. In the 9th century the era of mass printing and sales of books began, covering additional subjects such as "astrology, divination of dreams, alchemy and geomancy".

According to the scholar of languages ​​and ancient manuscripts, Ernst Wolff, "it was above all Buddhism that greatly stimulated and sustained printing activities". His chants and ideas were in demand in East Asia, and this led to the development of a block-based mass printing technology. The oldest known dharanis were mass-produced in the 8th century, and later became canonical in the 10th century Tripitaka as well 84,000 copies of the Dharanis printed en masse.

The 8th century dharanis are "the world's oldest authenticated printed text," explains Robert Sewell. These were mass-produced as a set of small hollow wooden pagodas, each containing a printed Dharani prayer or a charm in Sanskrit on thick strips of paper. Japanese records state that one million dharanis were made and distributed to Buddhist temples after an attempted coup against her court by the orders of Empress Shōtoku - previously a Buddhist nun. According to Ross Bender, these events and the initiatives of Empress Shōtoku resulted in the establishment of significant new Buddhist temples, a "great acceleration" and the "active spread of Buddhism" in Japan. Empress Shōtoku's millions of dharanis are among the oldest known printed literatures in the world.

The Dharani are the oldest known printed texts in the world kept in Buddhist pagodas. Left: Korea (early 8th century, copy at Incheon Seoul Airport), right: Japan (764–770 AD). Language: Sanskrit, Transliterated Script: Chinese.


While Dharanis can be found in important Buddhist texts, some texts come predominantly or exclusively from the Dharani genre. Some illustrations include:

  1. Amoghapasha-hrdaya
  2. Atanatika Sutra
  3. Bhaisajya vastu
  4. Buddha Namasahasra
  5. Manjushrinama Samghiti
  6. Ekadashamukha hridaya
  7. Ganapati hridaya
  8. Hayagriva vidya
  1. Karunapundarika
  2. Mahamayuri
  3. Mahamantranusarini
  4. Mahamegha Sutra
  5. Mahapratisara Dharani
  6. Mahasahasrapra mardini
  7. Mahasitavati Dharani
  8. Mekhala Dharani
  1. Nirvikalpa pravesha dharani
  2. Ratnaketu parivarta
  3. Saddharma pundarika
  4. Sanmukha Dharani
  5. Sardulakarna vadana
  6. Sarvajnatakara dharani
  7. Sarvatathagatadhisthana
  8. Suvarna Bhasottama
  1. Usnisa-vijaya dharani
  2. Vajravidarani dharani
  3. Vasudhara Dharani
  4. Pancaraksha
  5. Arban burqan-u
  6. Sitatapatra Dharani
  7. Arvis Dharani
  8. Cayan Sikurtei

Theravada collections

The Theravada compilations of Paritta (Dharani) are ancient and extensive. Some are part of different Discourses while others are special texts. Illustrations contain:

  1. Ratana Sutta
  2. Khandha paritta
  3. Mora paritta
  4. Mora paritta
  5. Dhajagga paritta
  6. Atanatiya paritta
  7. Angulimala paritta
  8. Metta sutta
  1. Suvatthi paritta
  2. Isigili paritta
  3. Bojjhanga paritta
  4. Mangala Sutta
  5. Pubbamha Sutta
  6. Vatta Sutta
  7. Culabyuha Sutta
  8. Mahasamaya Sutta
  1. Jaya paritta
  2. Abhinha Sutta
  3. Akaravatta Sutta
  4. Dharana Sutta
  5. Chadisapala Sutta
  6. Cakkaparitta sutta
  7. Parimittajala Sutta
  8. Atthavisati paritta Jinapanjara gatha
  1. Jayamangala Gatha
  2. Atthamangala Gatha
  3. Uppatasanti
  4. Gini paritta
  5. Mahadibbamanta
  6. Yot Brahkandatrai Pitaka
  7. Atamatiya paritta
  8. Catubhanavara

See also




  • Braarvig, Jens (1985). Dhāraṇī and Pratibhāna: Memory and Eloquence of the Bodhisattvas, Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies 8 (1), 17-30
  • Buswell, Robert Jr; Lopez, Donald S. Jr., eds. (2013). Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism . Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Pp. 241-242. ISBN.
  • Copp, Paul (2014). The Body Incantatory: Magic and the Ritual Imagination in Medieval Chinese Buddhism . Columbia University Press. ISBN.
  • Davidson, Ronald M. (2009). "Studies in Dhāraṇī Literature I: Revising the Meaning of the Term Dhāraṇī". Journal of Indian Philosophy . Springer nature. 37 (2): 97-147. doi: 10.1007 / s10781-008-9054-8. S2CID 171060516.
  • Davidson, Ronald M. (2014). "Studies in Dhāraṇī Literature II: Pragmatics of Dhāraṇīs". Bulletin of the School of Oriental Studies and African Studies . 77 : 5-61. doi: 10.1017 / S0041977X13000943. Archived from the original on June 2nd, 2015.
  • McBride, Richard, D., Dharani and Magic in Medieval China, Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies 28 (1), 85-114, 2005
  • Nattier, Jan (1992). "The Heart Sūtra: A Chinese Apocryphal Text?" . Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies . 15 (2).
  • Red pine. The Heart Sutra: The womb of the Buddhas (2004) Shoemaker & Hoard. ISBN 1-59376-009-4
  • Yiengpruksawan, Mimi Hall (1987). One millionth of a Buddha: the Hyakumanto Dharani in the Scheide Library, Princeton University Library Chronicle 48: 224-38

further reading

External links

  • Dharani postage stamp, Kashmir, 7th-8th centuries Century, British Museum
  • What is a million pagoda? , Kyoto National Museum, Japan
  • 8th Century Images of Dharanis, National Diet Library, Japan
  • Hyakumanto and Invocation, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York