The Twelve Buddhas

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The sutra The Twelve Buddhas (Skt. Dvādaśabuddhaka; Tib. སངས་རྒྱས་བཅུ་གཉིས་པ།, Wyl. sangs rgyas bcu gnyis pa) opens at Rajagriha with a dialogue between the Buddha Shakyamuni and the bodhisattva Maitreya about the eastern buddhafield of a buddha whose abbreviated name is King of Jewels. This buddha prophesies that when he passes into complete nirvana, the bodhisattva Incomparable will take his place as a buddha whose abbreviated name is Victory Banner King. Shakyamuni then provides the names of the remaining ten tathagatas, locating them in the ten directions surrounding Victory Banner King’s buddhafield Full of Pearls. After listing the full set of names of these twelve buddhas and their directional relationship to Victory Banner King, the Buddha Shakyamuni provides an accompanying mantra-dharani and closes with a set of thirty-seven verses outlining the benefits of remembering the names of these buddhas.[1]


The Tibetan translation of this text can be found in the General Sutra section of the Tibetan Kangyur, Toh 273. It is also catalogued as Toh 511 in the Action Tantra section of the Tantra Collection, and as Toh 853 in the Compendium of Dharanis of the Dharani collection.


  1. 84000 Translating the Words of the Buddha.