The Sutra Dispelling the Darkness of the Ten Directions

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The Mahayana Sutra Dispelling the Darkness of the Ten Directions (Skt. daśadigandhakāravidhvaṃsanasūtra; Tib. འཕགས་པ་ཕྱོགས་བཅུའི་མུན་པ་རྣམ་པར་སེལ་བ་ཞེས་བྱ་བ་ཐེག་པ་ཆེན་པོའི་མདོ།, Wyl. ’phags pa phyogs bcu’i mun pa rnam par sel ba shyes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo) — this popular Mahayana sutra is often chanted at the beginning of undertakings, especially travel, to overcome obstacles and bring success, and as a means of invoking the buddhas’ blessings to bring about conditions to accomplish one’s goals.

In this sutra, as the Buddha approaches Kapilavastu, he is met by the Shakya youth Shining Countenance setting out from the city in his chariot. Shining Countenance requests the Buddha to teach him a rite of protection from harm, and the Buddha describes ten buddhas, each dwelling in a distant world system in one of the ten directions. When departing from the city in one of the directions, he explains, keeping the respective buddha in mind will ensure freedom from fear and harm while travelling and success in the journey’s purpose. After receiving this teaching, Shining Countenance and the others in the assembly are able to see those ten buddhas and their realms directly before them, and the Buddha prophesies their eventual awakening. The Buddha further explains that to read, teach, write down, and keep this sutra will bring protection to all.[1]

This sutra is also included in the Dharani Collection. It is often combined with the Gyaltsen Tsemo dharani, and the Noble Stack of Auspiciousness Sutra.


Though a Sanskrit version of this sutra is no longer extant, translations of it are also included in the Chinese, Korean, Tibetan and Mongolian Buddhist canons.

The Tibetan translation of this sutra can be found in the General Sutra section of the Tibetan Dergé Kangyur, Toh 269


  1. 84000 Translating the Words of the Buddha.