Four Hundred Verses

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Four Hundred Verses (Skt. Catuḥśataka; Tib. བཞི་བརྒྱ་པ་, Wyl. bzhi brgya pa, full title Tib. རྣལ་འབྱོར་སྤྱོད་པ་བཞི་བརྒྱ་པ་, Wyl. rnal 'byor spyod pa bzhi brgya pa) — an important Madhyamika treatise by Aryadeva. It is included among the so-called "Thirteen great texts", which form the core of the curriculum in most shedras and on which Khenpo Shenga provided commentaries.


The text has 16 chapters:

  1. rtag par 'dzin pa spang ba'i thabs
  2. bde bar 'dzin pa spang ba'i thabs
  3. gtsang bar 'dzin pa phyin ci log spang ba'i thabs
  4. bdag tu 'dzin pa spang ba'i thabs
  5. byang chub sems dpa'i spyod pa
  6. nyon mongs pa spang ba'i thabs
  7. me nyid kyis 'dod pa'i longs spyod la zhen pa spang ba'i thabs
  8. slob ma yongs su sbyang ba
  9. dngos po rtag pa dgag pa bsgom pa
  10. bdag dgag pa bsgom pa
  11. dus dgag pa bsgom pa
  12. lta ba dgag pa bsgom pa
  13. dbang po dang don dgag pa bsgom pa
  14. mthar 'dzin pa dgag pa bsgom pa
  15. 'dus byas kyi don dgag pa bsgom pa
  16. slob dpon dang slob ma rnam par gtan la dbab pa
༈ རྟག་པར་འཛིན་པ་སྤང་བའི་ཐབས་


Although the text was originally written in Sanskrit, and later translated into Chinese (the last eight chapters only) and Tibetan, only fragments of the Sanskrit text now remain.[1]

The Tibetan text can be found in the Tengyur, Toh 3865

English translations:

  • Ruth Sonam, Yogic Deeds of Bodhisattvas: Gyel-tsap on Aryadeva's Four Hundred with commentary by Geshe Sonam Rinchen (Ithaca: Snow Lion, 1994), which includes Gyaltsab Darma Rinchen's commentary (see below). Republished as Aryadeva's Four Hundred Stanzas on the Middle Way: With Commentary by Gyel-Tsap (Snow Lion 2008)
  • Karen Lang, Aryadeva's Catuhsataka: On the Bodhisattva's Cultivation of Merit and Knowledge (Copenhagen: Akademisk Forlag, 1986). Available here as open source.



Chandrakirti wrote a commentary called simply Commentary on the Four Hundred Verses on the Yogic Deeds of Bodhisattvas.


Many Tibetan masters wrote commentaries on this text, including: Khenpo Ngawang Palzang, Pöpa Tulku Dongak Tenpé Nyima, Rendawa Shyönnu Lodrö, Gyaltsab Darma Rinchen and Khenpo Shenga.


བསོད་ནམས་ཆུང་ངུ་ཆོས་འདི་ལ། །

ཐེ་ཚོམ་ཟ་བར་ཡང་མི་འགྱུར། །
ཐེ་ཚོམ་ཟ་བར་ཙམ་ཞིག་གིས། །

སྲིད་པ་ཧྲུལ་པོར་བྱས་པར་འགྱུར། །

Those with little merit will not
Even wonder about these things.
But merely to entertain doubts
About samsara will make it fall apart.

Aryadeva, Four Hundred Verses, VIII, 5

བསོད་ནམས་མིན་པ་དང་པོར་བཟློག །

བར་དུ་བདག་ནི་བཟློག་པ་དང༌། །
ཕྱི་ནས་ལྟ་བ་ཀུན་བཟློག་པ། །

གང་གིས་ཤེས་དེ་མཁས་པ་ཡིན། །

At first, turn away from non-virtue,
In the middle, dispel misconceptions of self,
Finally, go beyond all philosophical views—
One who understands this is wise indeed.

Āryadeva, Four Hundred Verses, VIII, 15

དངོས་པོ་གཅིག་གི་ལྟ་པོ་གང༌། །

དེ་ནི་ཀུན་གྱི་ལྟ་པོར་བཤད། །
གཅིག་གི་སྟོང་ཉིད་གང་ཡིན་པ། །

དེ་ནི་ཀུན་གྱི་སྟོང་པ་ཉིད། །

Whoever sees the nature of one thing
Is said to see the nature of everything.
For the emptiness of one thing
Is the emptiness of everything.

Aryadeva, Four Hundred Verses, VIII, 16


  1. Karen Lang, Aryadeva's Catuhsataka: On the Bodhisattva's Cultivation of Merit and Knowledge