Mahasamnipata Sutra

From Encyclopedia of Buddhism
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This article is a copy of a Wikipedia article. See latest Wikipedia version here.
WP to EOB clone icon 2022.png

The Mahāsaṃnipāta Sūtra (Chinese: 大方等大集經, pinyin: Dàfāng děng dà jí jīng, Japanese: Daijuku-kyō or Daishik-kyō) is an anthology of Mahayana sutras.[1] The meaning in English is the Sutra of the Great Assembly or The Great Compilation.[2] The sutra was translated into Chinese by Dharmakṣema, beginning in the year 414. The anthology consists of 17 sutras across 60 fascicles. The only extant copy of the entire collection is found in the Chinese canon, though individual sutras can be found in Sanskrit and Tibetan.[3]


The Chinese edition of the Mahāsaṃnipāta Sūtra (Taisho Tripitaka # 397) contains the following sutras:[1][4]

  1. The Jewel Necklace Sūtra
  2. The Dhāraṇiśvararāja Bodhisattva Sūtra
  3. The Jewel Maiden Sūtra
  4. The Animiṣa Bodhisattva Sūtra
  5. The Sāgaramati Bodhisattva Sūtra / Sāgaramati­paripṛcchā
  6. The Anupalambha Bodhisattva Sūtra
  7. The Anabhilāpya Bodhisattva Sūtra
  8. The Ākāśagarbha Sūtra
  9. Ratnaketudhāraṇī Sūtra
  10. Gaganagañjaparipṛcchā / The Gaganacakṣus Sūtra
  11. The Ratnacūḍa Sūtra
  12. Akṣayamatinirdeśa Sūtra
  13. The Sūryaguhya Sūtra
  14. The Sūryagarbha Sūtra
  15. The Candragarbha Sūtra
  16. The Sumerugarbha Sūtra
  17. Bodhisattvas of the Ten Directions Sūtra

The Candragarbha Sutra's theory of the three eras

Sutra number 15 in the collection is particularly influential because it enumerates the notion of the decline of the Dharma, or decline of the Buddha's teachings, dividing this into three eras, subdivided by 5 five-hundred periods of time:[5]

  • Former Day of the Law
    • The first five hundred year period will be the "age of enlightenment"
    • The second five hundred period will be the "age of meditation"
  • Middle Day of the Law
    • The third five hundred year period will be the "age of reading, reciting, and listening."
    • The fourth five hundred year period will be the "age of building temples and stupas"
  • Latter Day of the Law
    • The fifth five hundred year period will be the "age of conflict," where “quarrels and disputes will arise among the adherents to my teachings, and the pure Law will become obscured and lost.”

The anthology also discusses the arising of the aspiration for Enlightenment, similar to the Dasabhumika Sutra and the Lotus Sutra.[6]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "The Korean Buddhist Canon: A Descriptive Catalogue". Retrieved 2022-06-08. 
  2. "NTI Reader". Retrieved 2022-06-08. 
  3. Buswell, Robert E.; Lopez, Donald S. (2013). The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism. Princeton University Press. p. 508. ISBN 0691157863. 
  4. "English Taishō Tripiṭaka - Mahāsaṃnipāta Sūtra Contents". Retrieved 2022-06-08. 
  5. Kato, Bunno (1989). Threefold Lotus Sutra. Charles E Tuttle Co. p. 309. ISBN 4-333-00208-7. 
  6. Venerable Yin-Shun (1998). The Way to Buddhahood: Instructions from a Modern Chinese MasterFree registration required. Wisdom Publications. ISBN 0-86171-133-5. 
This article includes content from Mahasamnipata Sutra on Wikipedia (view authors). License under CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikipedia logo