The Questions of Rashtrapala (2)

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The Questions of Rashtrapala (2) (Skt. Rāṣṭrapālaparipṛcchā; Tib. ཡུལ་འཁོར་སྐྱོང་གིས་ཞུས་པ།, Wyl. yul ’khor skyong gis zhus pa), so called to distinguish it from a longer work with the same title (Toh 62), is a short Great Vehicle sutra in which the Buddha describes the monks who will bring about the decline of the Dharma. The sutra opens with the Buddha at Vulture's Peak in Rajagriha, surrounded by a group of monks. Among them is Rashtrapala, who asks the Buddha to describe the people who will bring about the decline of the Buddha’s teaching. In his response, the Buddha first draws a sharp contrast between the condition of the monk (Wyl. dge slong gi gnas), which entails monastic rigor, and the condition of laxity (Wyl. lhod pa’i gnas), which denotes a lack of monastic discipline. He then describes both as embodied by monks. Rigorous monks—that is, real monks worthy of the name—are those who are concerned with possessing and perfecting moral discipline through solitary practice and self-cultivation. Lax monks—that is, imposter monks unworthy of the name—are those who do not live a life of strict discipline but are instead concerned with worldly affairs. These monks, the Buddha tell Rashtrapala, will bring about the decline of the teaching. This message is expressed first in prose and then again in verse. [1]


The Tibetan translation of this sutra can be found in the General Sutra section of the Tibetan Kangyur, Toh 166


  1. 84000 Translating the Words of the Buddha.