Ornament of the Great Vehicle Sutras
The Buddhist masterpiece Ornament of the Great Vehicle Sūtras, often referred to by its Sanskrit title, Mahāyānasūtrālaṃkāra, is part of a collection known as the Five Maitreya Teachings, a set of philosophical works that have become classics of the Indian Buddhist tradition. Maitreya, the Buddha’s regent, is held to have entrusted these profound and vast instructions to the master Asaṅga in the heavenly realm of Tuṣita.
The Ornament provides a comprehensive description of the bodhisattva’s view, meditation, and enlightened activities. Bodhisattvas are beings who, out of vast love for all sentient beings, have dedicated themselves to the task of becoming fully awakened buddhas, capable of helping all beings in innumerable and vast ways to become enlightened themselves. To fully awaken requires practicing great generosity, patience, energy, discipline, concentration, and wisdom, and Maitreya’s text explains what these enlightened qualities are and how to develop them.
This volume includes commentaries by Khenpo Shenga and Ju Mipham, whose discussions illuminate the subtleties of the root text and provide valuable insight into how to practice the way of the bodhisattva. Drawing on the Indian masters Vasubandhu and, in particular, Sthiramati, Mipham explains the Ornament with eloquence and brilliant clarity. This commentary is among his most treasured works.
"In his Five Teachings the protector Maitreya, the Regent who has mastered the ten grounds, reveals fully and flawlessly the view, meditation, conduct, and fruition that are accomplished through the Great Vehicle. With utmost profundity his teachings reach far and wide; they are a treasury of scripture, reasoning, and oral instruction." —Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche
"Although one of the most important and frequently cited texts in Mahayana Buddhism, the Ornament has received comparatively little attention in scholarly literature, and its reception by Tibetan scholars is not well known. Fortunately, the Dharmachakra Translation Committee has now made available Ornament along with, for the first time, commentaries by two of the most influential scholar-practitioners of the Tibetan 'Non-Sectarian,' or Rimé, movement. This outstanding translation is a precious resource of serious scholars and practitioners alike." —John Dunne, author of Foundations of Dharmakīrti's Philosophy
"The Mahāyānasūtrālaṃkāra was central in establishing Mahāyāna Buddhism in India. This treatise was one of the earliest and most comprehensive Indian manuals of Mahāyāna thought and practice, systematizing concepts of base, path, fruit, epistemology, buddhology, ritual, and meditation from a wide array of early Mahāyāna scriptures. The translators have rendered this text, together with two of its most informative Tibetan commentaries, into the most accessible and readable English now available. For the systematic study and practice of Mahāyāna Buddhism, there is no better classical source than this." —John Makransky, Associate Professor of Buddhism, Boston College