The Questions of Brahmavisheshachintin

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The Questions of Brahmavisheshachintin (Skt. Brahmaviśeṣacintiparipṛcchā; Tib. ཚངས་པ་ཁྱད་པར་སེམས་ཀྱིས་ཞུས་པ།, Wyl. tshangs pa khyad par sems kyis zhus pa) — a sutra that blends practical and theoretical strands of Mahayana and emphasizes how bodhisattvas should practise the Dharma—a training that transcends both the mundane and the supramundane. Indeed, although this sutra stresses the importance of “donning the armour of diligence,” this practice must unfold within the context of the view of emptiness. The bodhisattva is therefore directed to make every effort to help all beings, while realizing that ultimately there is no action, no actor, and no beneficiary. The text presents many well-known Dharma topics, including the four truths, the six paramitas, and the Three Jewels, all from a Mahayana perspective that emphasizes the view of emptiness.[1]

This important Mahayana sutra enjoyed significant popularity in Buddhist India, China, and Tibet over the centuries.


No Sanskrit manuscript of this text appears to have survived.


The Tibetan translation of this sutra can be found in the General Sutra section of the Tibetan Dergé Kangyur, Toh 160. Translators were Dharmatashila, Devendrarakṣita and Kumararakṣita, supervised by three Indian preceptors: Shakyaprabha, Dharmapala, and Jinamitra.

In addition to the Tibetan translation, the text is also extant in three Chinese translations by Dharmarakṣa (Taishō 585), Kumarajava (Taishō 586), and Bodhiruci (Taishō 587). The oldest Chinese translation is that by Dharmarakṣa, which is dated as early as 286 ᴄᴇ. The fact that the three Chinese translations of this scripture were made over several centuries indicates that the sutra enjoyed a sustained popularity in China. Kumarajiva’s translation was also translated into Korean, and a manuscript in Sogdian has been found.


  1. 84000 Translating the Words of the Buddha.