Precious Garland

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Precious Garland (Skt. Ratnāvalī or Ratnamāla; Tib. རིན་ཆེན་ཕྲེང་བ་, rinchen trengwa, Wyl. rin chen phreng ba) — a shastra written by Nagarjuna and belonging to his Collection of Advice.

In the Precious Garland, Nagarjuna offers advice on how to conduct our lives and how to construct social policies that reflect Buddhist ideals.

The advice for personal happiness is concerned first with improving our condition over the course of lifetimes and then with release from all kinds of suffering, culminating in Buddhahood. Nagarjuna describes the cause and effect sequences for the development of happiness within ordinary life, as well as the practices that lead us to enlightenment--the practices for developing wisdom, or the realization of emptiness, and compassion. He also describes the qualities of the buddhas.

In his advice on social and governmental policy, Nagarjuna emphasizes education and compassionate care for all living beings, and states his opposition to the death penalty, and appeals for charity for the homeless. Calling for the appointment of government figures who do not seek profit or fame, he advises that a selfish motivation will lead to misfortune.


The text has five chapters:

This section contains Tibetan script. Without proper Tibetan rendering support configured, you may see other symbols instead of Tibetan script.
  1. མངོན་པར་མཐོ་བ་དང་ངེས་པར་ལེགས་པ་, mngon par mtho ba dang nges par legs pa
  2. སྤེལ་མ་, spel ma
  3. བྱང་ཆུབ་ཀྱི་ཚོགས་བསྡུས་པ་, byang chub kyi tshogs bsdus pa
  4. རྒྱལ་པོའི་ཚུལ་, rgyal po'i tshul
  5. བྱང་ཆུབ་སེམས་དཔའི་སྤྱོད་པ་, byang chub sems dpa'i spyod pa

Tibetan text



  • Ajitamitra, Extensive Commentary on the Ratnāvalī (Skt. Ratnāvaliṭīka; Tib. རིན་པོ་ཆེའི་ཕྲེང་བ་རྒྱ་ཆེར་བཤད་པ་, Wyl. rin po che'i phreng ba rgya cher bshad pa)


དབུ་མ་རིན་ཆེན་ཕྲེང་བའི་སྙིང་པོའི་དོན་གསལ་བར་བྱེད་པ་, dbu ma rin chen phreng ba'i snying po'i don gsal bar byed pa
  • Lala Sönam Chödrup, དབུ་མ་རྒྱལ་པོ་ལ་གཏམ་བྱ་བ་རིན་པོ་ཆེའི་ཕྲེང་བ་ལུང་གི་གསལ་བྱེད་, dbu ma rgyal po la gtam bya ba rin po che'i phreng ba lung gi gsal byed



  • Nagarjuna's Precious Garland, translated by Jeffrey Hopkins (Snow Lion Publications, 2007)
  • The Precious Garland: An Epistle to a King, translated by John Dunne and Sara McClintock (Wisdom Publications, 1997)
  • Nāgārjuna’s Precious Garland—Ratnāvalī, translated by John Dunne and Sara McClintock (Wisdom Publications, 2024). While the 1997 edition of Dunne and McClintock was translated from the Tibetan, the present volume prioritizes the surviving Sanskrit verses along with the only known Indian commentary, by Ajitamitra. This is the first complete translation in English of the 'Precious Garland' that takes the Indian text and commentary as its primary authorities. In addition, they provide rigorous working editions of the Sanskrit and Tibetan verses they translate.
  • The Precious Necklace, Chapter 3, translated into French and English by the Padmakara Translation Group (according to the commentary of Lozang Pelden Tendzin Nyendrak (also known as Drak Kar Tulku) and following the teaching tradition of Gyaltsab Darma Rinchen) and published on the occasion of the teachings by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Nantes, 15—20 August 2008. Available at

Further Reading

  • Leonard van der Kuijp, 'Notes on the Transmission of Nagarjuna's Ratnavali in Tibet', in The Tibet Journal, Summer 1985, vol. X, No.2,4
  • Michael Hanh, 'On a Numerical Problem in Nāgārjuna's Ratnāvalī', in Indological and Buddhist Studies: Volume in Honour of Professor J.W. de Jong on his Sixtieth Birthday, Canberra: Faculty of Asian Studies, 1982, 161-185

External Links