The Strength of the Elephant

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This sutra, The Strength of the Elephant (Skt. Hastikakṣya; Tib. གླང་པོའི་རྩལ།, Wyl. glang po’i rtsal) contains a Dharma discourse on the profound insight into the emptiness of all phenomena, also known as transcendent insight. Following a short teaching in verse by Shariputra, the Buddha delivers the primary discourse at the behest of Ananda and Manjushri amid a vast assembly of monks, bodhisattvas, and lay devotees. He specifically addresses hearers and so-called “outcast bodhisattvas” who have not realized transcendent insight and who thus remain attached to phenomenal appearances. Responding to a series of questions posed by Manjushri and Shariputra, the Buddha explains that all phenomena are as empty as space, with nothing to be either affirmed or rejected. Yet that very emptiness is what makes everything possible, including the bodhisattvas’ altruistic activities.[1]


The Tibetan translation of this sutra can be found in the General Sutra section of the Tibetan Kangyur, Toh 207


  1. 84000 Translating the Words of the Buddha.