Text: T0261; 大乘理趣六波羅蜜多經


Identifier T0261 [T]
Title 大乘理趣六波羅蜜多經 [T]
Date [None]
Translator 譯 *Prajña, 般若 [T]
Author *Prajña, 般若 [Tsukinowa 1954]

There may be translations for this text listed in the Bibliography of Translations from the Chinese Buddhist Canon into Western Languages. If translations are listed, this link will take you directly to them. However, if no translations are listed, the link will lead only to the head of the page.

There are resources for the study of this text in the SAT Daizōkyō Text Dabatase (Saṃgaṇikīkṛtaṃ Taiśotripiṭakaṃ).


Preferred? Source Pertains to Argument Details


[T]  T = CBETA [Chinese Buddhist Electronic Text Association]. Taishō shinshū daizōkyō 大正新脩大藏經. Edited by Takakusu Junjirō 高楠順次郎 and Watanabe Kaigyoku 渡邊海旭. Tokyo: Taishō shinshū daizōkyō kankōkai/Daizō shuppan, 1924-1932. CBReader v 5.0, 2014.

Entry author: Michael Radich


  • Title: 大乘理趣六波羅蜜多經
  • People: *Prajña, 般若 (translator 譯)
  • Identifier: T0261


[Yoritomi 1979]  Yoritomi Motohiro 頼富本宏. Chūgoku Mikkyō no kenkyū 中国密教の研究. Tokyo: Daitō Shuppansha, 1979. — 41-53.

Yoritomi introduces a claim by Tsukinowa Kenryū 月輪賢隆 that the Dasheng liqu liu poluomiduo jing 大乘理趣六波羅蜜多經 T261 is apocryphal (Tsukinowa Kenryū, “Hannya sanzō no honkyō ni taisuru higi 般若三藏の翻經に對する批議,” in Butten no hihanteki kenkyū 仏典の批判的研究). In support of this claim, Tsukinowa adduces the following evidence: inconsistent use of terms; misunderstanding of Buddhist doctrines; [problematic] quotations from other scriptures; etc. Tsukinowa maintains that T261 is the result of an effort on the part of the Chinese Buddhist community 佛教界to establish a comprehensive system of teaching integrating new elements such as the six perfections 六波羅蜜 and “protection of the state” ideology 護國思想, in order to regain momentum after Buddhism became more or less stagnant following the death of Amoghavajra 不空. Yoritomi states that he does not entirely agree with Tsukinowa’s theory is (42).

Yoritomi claims that, in order to clarify the issues surrounding T261, it is helpful to take the Mahāsaṃnipāta 大方等大集經 collection (T397) into consideration, especially the Akṣayamati-nirdeśa 無盡意菩薩品/無盡意菩薩經 T397(12) ascribed to Zhiyan 智嚴 and Baoyun 寶雲 (43).

Yoritomi notes that Fascicle 4 to Fascicle 10 of T261 are about the six perfections 六波羅蜜 (six chapters), while Fascicle 1 to Fascicle 3 consist of four chapters including a chapter on taking refuge in the Three Jewels 帰依三宝品 (43-44). He gives a list of speakers and listeners, and other major characteristics of each chapter, in order to illustrate that the basic settings within each of these two groups are are different (44-45). In most chapters, the Bhavagan 薄伽梵 is the speaker, and Maitreya bodhisatva 慈氏菩薩 the listener, but Chapter 2, Tuoluoni huchi guojie pin 陀羅尼護持國界品, Chapter 7, Anren boluomiduo pin 安忍波羅蜜多品, and Chapter 10, Banre boluomiduo pin 般若波羅蜜多品, are slightly different. Thus, special attention should be paid to those three Chapters (45).

Tuoluoni huchi guojie pin 陀羅尼護持國界品

The structure of the Tuoluoni huchi guojie pin Ch 2 is complex, and Maitreya bodhisatva 慈氏菩薩 does not appear in it. Yoritomi summarizes the content of that chapter (45-46), and states that it can divided into two parts: the first part is about the *Aniṃiṣa(?) world 不眴世界, and in the second part, the dhāraṇī 真言陀羅尼 is preached. Yoritomi points out that the content of the first section is the same as that of T397(12). The so-called Wujinzang bodhisatva 無盡藏菩薩 of T261 is actually Akṣayamati bodhisatva 無盡意菩薩. That section is followed in T261 by the dhāranī 真言, while in T397(12) it is followed by an explanation of the six perfections (45-46).

According to Yoritomi, it is quite common for an early Māhāyāna text to have a dhāraṇī 陀羅尼 chapter. Scriptures included in the Mahāsaṃnipāta 大集經 T397 or the Ratnakūṭa 寶積經 T310 are good examples. However, in contrast with the dhāraṇī 陀羅尼 used in T397, whose forms are relatively simple and primitive, those used in T261 are better organized 整備された, including Oṃ 唵 and 南謨三曼駄没駄南namaḥ samantabuddhānāṃ) etc. In addition, T261 uses dhāraṇī 真言 in fairly developed forms, such as “root” dhāraṇī 根 本真言, “heart” dhāraṇī 心真言, etc. Furthermore, the text features specific terms such as the names of the thirty-two deities 三十二尊 of the *Vajradhātu 金剛界, and a specific dhāraṇī 真言named the “seed” dhāraṇī 種子陀羅尼 (46-47).

Yoritomi maintains that it is clear that the person who compiled the latter part of the Tuoluoni huchi guojie pin was intimately familiar with the esoteric teachings of the highly developed Jingangding jing 金剛頂經 lineage. Related to this, the latter part of Chapter 2 emphasizes the protection of the state or nation 國界, in addition to the protection of those who appreciate and respect the scripture, sometimes even promoting the protection of kings and ministers. Yoritomi points out that the scriptures ascribed to Prajñā 般若 emphasize the idea of the protection of the state 護國的な思想, and that such emphases seem to be later additions. Yoritomi suggests that the title Tuoluoni huchi guojie pin is peculiar [apparently alluding to the fact that the title also indicates the portion of the text emphasising protection of the state, which was added in China ---AI], and mentions also that Prajñā 般若 translated a scripture entitled "Protection sūtra" 守護經 (T997), which is likewise closely related to the Mahāsaṃnipāta 大集經 (47).

Anren boluomiduo pin 安忍波羅蜜多品

In Chapter 7 of T261, the Anren boluomiduo pin 安忍波羅蜜多品, Wujinzang bodhisatva 無盡藏菩薩 appears abruptly at the end and asks a question about the “samādhi of all rūpakāyas” 一切色身三昧. Yoritomi points out that a similar setting appears in T397(12), in which Akṣayamati is asked about the same samādhi. Yoritomi claims that the Wujinzang portion of Ch 7 was probably taken from T397(12), with the role of the bodhisatva changed from the person answering the question to the one asking it (47).

Banre boluomiduo pin 般若波羅蜜多品

At the end of Chapter 10, the Banre boluomiduo pin 般若波羅蜜多品, the Buddha recommends to Śāriputra 舎利弗 and Ānanda 阿難陀 that they retain and protect 受持 the scripture. Yoritomi points out that this section is almost identical with a section in T397(12).

Thus, Yoritomi states, all the figures who appear in T261, apart from the Bhagavan 薄伽梵 and Maitreya bodhisatva 慈氏菩薩, are related to T397(12) (47-48).

Next, Yoritomi compares the contents of T261 and T397(12) in further detail. He mentions Ōno as a previous study of the same sort (Ōno Hōdō, Daijō kaikyō no kenkyū 大乘戒經の研究, 305-313). He presents a list comparing numbered lists of doctrinal concepts 法数 and major teachings (49-50). Based on this comparison, Yoritomi claims that the numbered lists and names of samādhis 三昧 in the two texts coincide to a significant extent 両者の内容はかなり一致していると言える (48-50).

Yoritomi suggests that despite the general resemblance of the two texts, a development in ideas can be seen between T397(12) and T261. As an example, he refers to the sixty-five pure precepts 六十五種淨戒 in the Jing jie boluomiduo pin 淨戒波羅蜜多品 of T261 and the sixty-seven precepts 六十七戒 in T397(12). Yoritomi states that Ōno already made a detailed comparison between the two. Overall, he reports, T261 apparently modified the sixty-seven precepts, and added a clause that requires obedience to parents and the ācārya 阿闍梨. According to Yoritomi, the idea of moral indebtedness 恩 often appears in the translation works of Prajñā. Yoritomi also quotes the endings of T261 and T397(12) to illustrate the similarity between the two (and the development from the former to the latter) (quotations on 51) (50-51).

Yoritomi summarizes the relation between T261, T397(12), and other texts as follows:

1) The original form 原型 of T261 was probably the first half of the Tuoluoni huchi guojie pin 陀羅尼護持國界品 and the last six chapters starting with the Bushi boluomiduo pin 布施波羅蜜多品. Chapter 1, 2 (second half), 3, and 4 were added later. Those chapters do not have strong connection with other scriptures, and mostly presented ideas that Prajñā particularly emphasized.

2) Yoritomi maintains that it is difficult to determine where the development from T397(12) to T261 occurred, in China or in India. Still, he conjectures that, since T261 is much more detailed than T397(12), there probably was an original text related to T397(12), and T261 is a work based on that text, with many new elements added. Yoritomi states that further analyses and definite conclusions about T261 should be the subject of future research (51-52).

At the end of the article, Yoritomi summarises his views on the question of whether T261 is apocryphal: It would be a little far-fetched to classify the entire text of T261 as apocryphal, since there probably did exist an original underlying Indic text. However, Yoritomi asserts, substantial additions were made in China – related to which Yoritomi states the following: Chinese terms are often used in the exposition of the six perfections, such as 孝子, 宗親, 卿相, and 陰陽; as Tsukinowa points out, there are inconsistencies in the use of terms – in some places, even within several lines, synonymous terms [of different vintages in the Chinese translation lexicon --- MR] such as 世尊 and 薄伽賛, 衆生 and 有情, or 慈氏 and 弥勒 are used together; and a good number of sections in T261 seem to be influenced by other scriptures, especially by the Saddharmapuṇḍarīka 法華經 (53).

Entry author: Atsushi Iseki



[Tsukinowa 1954]  Tsukinowa Kenryū 月輪 賢隆. “Hannya sanzō no hon’yaku ni taisuru higi 般若三蔵の翻經に対する批議.” IBK 4, no.2 (1954): 434-443. — 434, 443

According to Tsukinowa, it is recorded that Trepiṭaka Prajña/Prajñā 般若三藏 translated nine titles in seventy-five juan scriptures, and also composed a Banre sanzang gu jin fanyi tu ji 般若三藏古今翻譯圖紀 in two juan. However, Tsukinowa states, probably the Gu jin fanyi tu ji 古今翻譯圖紀 was written by somebody else, and Prajña’s true translation work most likely only comprises the version of the “Heart” Sūtra 般若心經 in one juan T253, co-translated with Liyan 利言 and others. Tsukinowa believes that almost all other titles ascribed to Prajñā were his own compositions, because 1) no original texts of his works have been found; 2) no alternate translation have been found in Chinese nor in Tibetan; 3) none of those works are cited in Indian texts; and 4) the contents and style of those works of his are too peculiar to be proper translation (一二七/434). This entry lists all of the extant texts affected by Tsukinowa’s assertion, that is, all texts ascribed to Prajña except T253. See also separate CBC entries for notes on Tsukinowa’s more detailed analysis of some of the individual scriptures on this list.

Entry author: Atsushi Iseki



[Tsukinowa 1954]  Tsukinowa Kenryū 月輪 賢隆. “Hannya sanzō no hon’yaku ni taisuru higi 般若三蔵の翻經に対する批議.” IBK 4, no.2 (1954): 434-443. — 439

Tsukinowa states that the second chapter of the Dasheng bensheng xin di guan jing 大乘本生心地觀經 (T159), on repaying debts of kindness 報恩品, expounds the four debts of kindness 四恩 in detail. This concept is probably unique to this scripture. However, Tsukinowa points out that Prajñā uses this rubric of “four types of en” 四恩 in his letter of appreciation 陳謝の上表文 that he wrote upon the completion of the translation of the “Sūtra on the Six Perfections” 六波羅密經 (Dasheng liqu liu boluomiduo jing 大乘理趣六波羅蜜多經 T261). In addition, in the Prajña’s own Zhu Fo jingjie she zhenshi jing 諸佛境界攝眞實經 there is a passage listing the same four types of kindness: 依此功德。第一國王第二父母第三施主第四法界一切眾生。悉皆速證無上菩提 (T868 [XVIII] 284b18-20) [Tsukinowa adds that the Three Jewels 三寶 are missing from the list of the four types of en in the above (the dānapati 施主 is included instead) because here the benefit of 三寶 is what is directed to all of the four].

Entry author: Atsushi Iseki



[Tsukinowa 1954]  Tsukinowa Kenryū 月輪 賢隆. “Hannya sanzō no hon’yaku ni taisuru higi 般若三蔵の翻經に対する批議.” IBK 4, no.2 (1954): 434-443. — 436-438

The “Six Perfections Sūtra” 六波羅蜜經 (Dasheng liqu liu boluomiduo jing 大乘理趣六波羅蜜多經 T261) was met with lavish praise and great acclaim immediately after it was completed, and multiple commentaries 疏 were composed at the same time. Tsukinowa maintains that these facts suggest that the text was actually composed, rather than translated, by a group of scholars who worked at the translation bureau 譯場. (Tsukinowa adds that this situation is probably similar to the re-“translation” of the Sūtra of the Humane Kings 仁王經 by Amoghavajra 不空.) A number of elements in the chapter on the perfection of dhyāna 靜慮波羅蜜多品 and the chapter on the perfection of prajñā 般若波羅蜜多品 are clearly taken from the chapter on expedient means 方便品 of Kumārajīva’s Lotus Sūtra 法華經 T262, especially the latter half of the 十如是. There are also other elements that correspond to the “Weishi lun” 唯識論 [? unclear which text --- MR] , the Mahāyāna Awakening of Faith 起信論 T1666, the Śrīmālādevīsiṃhanāda-sūtra 勝鬘經, and the Ratnagotravibhāga 寶性論 T1611.

Tsukinowa adds that there are quite a few oddities in this scripture (436-437), such as:

- The title announces that the text treats six perfections 六波羅蜜多經, but in the first part of the text itself we read “the ten perfections are already completely developed” 十波羅蜜悉已圓滿.

- The texts speaks of both “the five rebirth destinies in the three realms” 三界五道 and “four rebirths in the six destinies” 六趣四生. The terms “five paths” 五道, “six paths” 六道, ”five destinations” 五趣 and “six destinations” 六趣 are all used inconsistently and interchangeably to refer to rebirth destinies.

- The sixty-five kinds of “pure precepts” 淨戒 in the chapter on the perfection of śīla 淨戒波羅蜜多品 are unique (436).

- The text speaks of “three incalculable kalpas” 三無數劫, but also states 於三阿僧企耶圓滿六種波羅蜜多大海法」(T261 [VIII] 866a6-7). Tsukinowa wonders if the translators thought that 阿僧企耶 was a variation of 阿僧祇劫.

- The text uses different translation/transliteration words for the same terms, including: 慈氏 and 彌勒 for Maitreya; 三昧 and 三摩地 for samādhi; 緣覺, 獨覺, and 辟支佛 for pratyekabuddha; 衆生 and 有情 for “sentient being”; 世尊 and 薄伽梵 for Bhagavan; 文殊師利 and 曼珠室利 for Mañjuśrī; 迦嚕羅 and 迦嚕拏; and so on (436-437).

Tsukinowa conjectures that maybe the production of such a text was intended to answer the demand of the time for something new, or something that incorporates existing teachings into one picture, or for a comprehensive system of Buddhism in China (437-438).

Entry author: Michael Radich



[Ōno 1954]  Ōno Hōdō 大野法道. Daijō kai kyō no kenkyū 大乗戒経の研究. Tokyo: Risōsha 理想社, 1954. — 312-313

The core part of the Dasheng liqu liu boluomiduo jing 大乗理趣六波羅蜜多經 T261 is based on the section of the Akṣayamati-nirdeśa 無盡意經 (T397(12)?) related to the six perfections. Ōno presents a list on page 312 showing which part of T261 is taken from which part of the Akṣayamati. Ōno also states that the “Sūtra on the Six Perfections” 六波羅蜜經 repeatedly referred to in the Mahāprajñāpāramitopadeśa 大智度論 T1509 might have been an early version 古形 of T261.

Entry author: Atsushi Iseki