The Fourfold Accomplishment

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This sutra, The Fourfold Accomplishment (Skt. Catuṣkanirhāra; Tib. བཞི་པ་སྒྲུབ་པ་, shyipa drub, Wyl. bzhi pa sgrub pa) revolves around a dialogue between the god Shribhadra and the bodhisattva Manjushri that takes place in the Jeta Grove at Shravasti. At Shribhadra’s request, Manjushri recalls a teaching that he previously gave to Brahma Shikhin on the practices of a bodhisattva.

This teaching presents the path and practice of a bodhisattva in a sequence of forty-three topics, each of which is divided into four subtopics. The text takes on a distinctly mnemonic character in which the fourfold rubric might allow anyone reading or reciting the text to memorize a broad range of topics related to the practice of a bodhisattva. In addition to this mnemonic application, each brief list of four particular accomplishments invites broader commentary, and in this sense the text provides a readily accessible framework for teaching the bodhisattva path. Other topics include the answer to the question ‘Why do buddhas smile?’, and the Buddha also gives a teaching on the vast cosmology of infinite buddhafields. [1]


The Tibetan translation of this sutra can be found in the General Sutra section of the Tibetan Kangyur, Toh 252


  1. 84000 Translating the Words of the Buddha.