Sutra of the Great Drum

From Rigpa Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Sutra of the Great Drum (Skt. Mahābherīhārakasūtra; Tib. འཕགས་པ་རྔ་བོ་ཆེ་ཆེན་པོའི་ལེའུ་ཞེས་བྱ་བ་ཐེག་པ་ཆེན་པོའི་མདོ་, pakpa ngawo ché chenpö le'u shyé jawa tekpa chenpö do, Wyl. phags pa rnga bo che chen po'i le'u zhes bya ba theg pa chen po'i mdo) — one of ten sutras that teach the sugatagarbha.

In this text buddha nature is possessed by all sentient beings and is described as luminous and pure. It is also attributed characteristics, such as being permanent, eternal, everlasting, peaceful, and a self, that echo the four perfect qualities (guṇapāramitās) often ascribed to the dharmakaya when it is treated as a synonym for buddha nature. It also connects tathagatagarbha to the notion of a single vehicle and asserts the definitive nature of the buddha nature teachings in general and within this sutra in particular.[1]

In this text, the future birth of Nagarjuna, is prophesied.


The text is only extant in two versions:

Modern Translations

There exists an anonymous English translation from the Chinese version, available here


མྱ་ངན་མ་བྱེད་ཀུན་དགའ་བོ། །

སྨྲེ་སྔགས་མ་འདོན་ཀུན་དགའ་བོ། །
ང་ཉིད་ཕྱི་མའི་དུས་ཀྱི་ཚེ། །
དགེ་བའི་བཤེས་གཉེན་ཉིད་སྤྲུལ་ནས། །

ཁྱེད་ལ་སོགས་པའི་དོན་བྱེད་འགྱུར། །

Don’t feel sad Ananda,
Don’t lament Ananda,
In future times I will
Take the form of spiritual teachers,
To help you and others.

Buddha Shakyamuni, Sutra of the Great Drum


  1. Tsadra Foundation page (see link below)

Further Reading

  • Radich, Michael. "Tathāgatagarbha Scriptures." In Vol. 1, Brill's Encyclopedia of Buddhism: Literature and Languages, edited by Jonathan A. Silk, Oskar von Hinüber, and Vincent Eltschinger, 267-68. Leiden: Brill, 2015.

External Links