The Great Rumble

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The Great Rumble (Skt. Mahāraṇa; Tib. སྒྲ་ཆེན་པོ།, Wyl. sgra chen po) is a short Mahayana sutra that details the benefits to be derived from the construction and worship of stupas and statues of the buddhas. The sutra begins in Shravasti where the Buddha’s disciple, Ananda, is on an alms round and notices an immaculate palace. He wonders whether it would be more meritorious to offer such a palace to the monastic community or to enshrine a relic of the Buddha within a small stupa. He poses this question to the Buddha who describes how the merit of the latter far exceeds any other offerings one could make. The reason the Buddha cites for this is the immense qualities that the buddhas possess. The Buddha’s answer asserts the superiority of buddhas over stream-enterers, once-returners, non-returners, and arhats—those who have attained the four results of the shravaka path. It also emphasizes the benefits to be gained generally from the creation and worship of stupas. In his reply, the Buddha proposes scenarios in which greater and greater gifts to the sangha can be made, yet the answer remains the same—enshrining relics in stupas or creating statues of the buddhas will always be more meritorious. [1]


The Tibetan translation of this sutra can be found in the General Sutra section of the Tibetan Dergé Kangyur, Toh 208


  1. 84000 Translating the Words of the Buddha.