Samdhinirmochana Sutra

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The Samdhinirmochana Sutra (Skt. Saṃdhinirmocana sūtra; Tib. དགོངས་པ་ངེས་འགྲེལ་, Wyl. dgongs pa nges 'grel) is a famous mahayana sutra that is particularly associated with the Yogachara school. The title has been translated into English as Sutra which Decisively Reveals the Intention. It is one of the ten sutras that teach the sugatagarbha and classified as being part of the third turning of the wheel of dharma.

This sutra was translated into Tibetan by Chokro Lüi Gyaltsen and can be found in the Tibetan Kangyur.

It was also translated into Chinese:

  • by Guṇabhadra around 440,
  • by Paramartha (499-569) and
  • Xuanzang (600-664).

The fact that Xuanzang's Chinese version and Chokro Lüi Gyaltsen's Tibetan version are so similar might allow us to believe that they are both the translation of the same Sanskrit version.[1]

Tibetan Text

Modern Translations

In English

  • John Powers, Wisdom of Buddha, Dharma Publishing, 1995 (translation from Tibetan)
  • Thomas Cleary, Buddhist Yoga, A Comprehensive Course (Boston: Shambhala, 1995) (translation from Chinese)

In French

  • Soûtra du Dévoilement du sens profond, translated from Tibetan by Philippe Cornu, Fayard 2005 (translation from Tibetan)
  • Étienne Lamotte, Saṃdhinirmocanasūtra, L'Explication des mystères, Louvain 1935 (translation from Tibetan)


  1. Philippe Cornu, Soûtra du Dévoilement du sens profond.

Further Reading

  • John Powers, Hermeneutics and Tradition in the Samdhinirmocana-sūtra (Leiden 1993). This was part of the author's 1991 doctoral dissertation at University of Virginia.
  • John Powers, Lost in China, Found in Tibet: How Wonch'uk Became the Author of the Great Chinese Commentary, Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies, vol. 15, no. 1 (1992), pp. 95-103.
  • John Powers, The Concept of the Ultimate (don dam pa, paramartha) in the Sandhinirmocana-sūtra: Analysis, Translation and Notes (vols. 1-2), doctoral dissertation, University of Virginia (1991).
  • John Powers, The Term "Samdhinirmocana" in the Title of the Samdhinirmocana-sūtra, Studies in Central and East Asian Religions, vol. 4 (Autumn 1991), pp. 52-62.
  • John Powers, The Tibetan Translations of the Samdhinirmocana-sūtra and Bka' 'gyur Research, Central Asiatic Journal, vol. 37, no. 3/4 (1993), pp. 198-224