Shrigupta Sutra

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The Shrigupta Sutra (Skt. Śrīguptasūtra; Tib. དཔལ་སྦས་ཀྱི་མདོ།, Wyl. dpal sbas kyi mdo) tells the story of a plot against the life of Shakyamuni Buddha. At his guru’s instigation, a wealthy young Jain named Shrigupta invites the Buddha to the midday meal at his house in Rajagriha, where he has secretly prepared a fire trap and a poisoned meal. The Buddha is aware of these plans, but instead of simply avoiding the trap he accepts the invitation and uses the occasion to demonstrate his invulnerability to such harms, due to his realization and the power of his past deeds. He tells three stories from his previous lives as a pheasant chick, a hare, and the peacock king Suvarnavabhasa—lives in which he similarly overcame fire and poison. After Shrigupta’s attempts fail, Shakyamuni recounts yet another of his former lives in which Shrigupta, this time as a Brahmin teacher, similarly attempted to trap him in a pit of fire. Ashamed of his actions, Shrigupta apologizes for his mistakes, takes refuge, and receives the vows of a lay devotee in the Buddha’s community.[1]

As Shrigupta is repentant, the Buddha makes him repeat the following verse three times:

Attachment, anger, and delusion:
These are the three worldly poisons.
The blessed Buddha is without poison;
The Buddha’s truth conquers poison.

This verse is then repeated with the Dharma and the Sangha in place of “blessed buddha.” And:

Attachment, anger, and delusion:
These are the three worldly poisons.
The blessed Buddha is without poison;
The Buddha’s truth conquers poison.

This verse is then repeated for aversion and ignorance.

The story of Shrigupta is quoted in Khenpo Sangye Tendzin’s commentary to Sakya Pandita’s Elegant Sayings (Sakya Lekshé).

Text

There is no known Sanskrit witness of this sutra. It was translated into Chinese in 583 by Narendrayaśas.

Tibetan Translation

The Tibetan translation of this sutra can be found in the General Sutra section of the Tibetan Dergé Kangyur, Toh 217. The translation was made by the Indian preceptors Jinamitra and Danashila with the Tibetan monk Yeshé Dé.

References

  1. 84000 Translating the Words of the Buddha.