Lalitavistara Sutra rigpawiki

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The Lalitavistara Sutra (Skt. Lalitavistarasūtra; Tib. རྒྱ་ཆེར་རོལ་པ་, gyacher rolpa, Wyl. rigpawiki rgya cher rol pa; Eng. The Play in Full) tells the story of how Buddha rigpawiki manifested in this world and attained enlightenment as perceived from the perspective of the Mahayana rigpawiki.

The sutra, which is structured in twenty-seven chapters, first presents the events surrounding the Buddha's birth, childhood, and adolescence in the royal palace of his father, king of the Sakya nation. It then recounts his escape from the palace and the years of hardship he faced in his quest for spiritual awakening. Finally the sutra reveals his complete victory over the demon Mara rigpawiki, his attainment of awakening under the Bodhi tree rigpawiki, his first turning of the wheel of Dharma rigpawiki, and the formation of the very early Sangha rigpawiki.[1]

Sanskrit Text

The Dharmachakra Translation Committee writes:[2]

This scripture is an obvious compilation of various early sources, which have been strung together and elaborated on according to the Mahāyāna worldview. As such this text is a fascinating example of the ways in which the Mahāyāna rests firmly on the earlier tradition, yet reinterprets the very foundations of Buddhism in a way that fit its own vast perspective. The fact that the text is a compilation is initially evident from the mixture of prose and verse that, in some cases, contains strata from the very earliest Buddhist teachings and, in other cases, presents later Buddhist themes that do not emerge until the first centuries of the common era. Previous scholarship on The Play in Full (mostly published in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries) devoted much time to determining the text’s potential sources and their respective time periods, although without much success. [...] Although this topic clearly deserves further study, it is interesting to note that hardly any new research on this sūtra has been published during the last sixty years. As such the only thing we can currently say concerning the sources and origin of The Play in Full is that it was based on several early and, for the most part, unidentified sources that belong to the very early days of the Buddhist tradition.
  • In 1874, Salomon Lefmann published a Sanskrit edition of the text


Early Translations

English Translations

  • The Lalita Vistara, translated by Mitra, R. L. in 1875 (Delhi: Sri Satguru Publications, 1998)
  • The Lalitavistara Sūtra: The Voice of the Buddha, the Beauty of Compassion, translated by Gwendolyn Bays, Berkeley: Dharma Publishing, 1983 (2 vols.)
  • Template:84000, translated by the Dharmachakra Translation Committee

French Translations

  • Rgya Tch'er Rol Pa, ou Développement des Jeux, contenant l'histoire du Bouddha Çakya-Mouni, traduit sur la version tibétaine du Bkah Hgyour, et revu sur l'original sancrit (Lalitavistâra), translated by Philippe-Édouard Foucaux from the Tibetan text. (1847)
  • Lalitâvistara. Vie et doctrine du Bouddha tibétain, translated by Jean-Pierre Pauthier and Pierre-Gustave Brunet (1866)
  • Le Litara Vistara. Développement des jeux : contenant l'histoire du Bouddha Çakya-Mouni depuis sa naissance jusqu'à sa prédication, translated by Philippe-Édouard Foucaux from the Sanskrit text (1884)

Common Quotations


Profound and peaceful, free from complexity, uncompounded luminosity—
I have found a nectar-like Dharma rigpawiki.
Yet if I were to teach it, no-one would understand,
So I shall remain silent here in the forest.

Buddha Shakyamuni rigpawiki, Lalitavistara Sutra rigpawiki, 25.3

Page is sourced from Quotations: Lalitavistara Sutra, Profound and Peaceful


This existence of ours is as transient as autumn clouds.
To watch the birth and death of beings is like looking at the movement of a dance.
A lifetime is like a flash of lightning in the sky,
Rushing by, like a torrent down a steep mountain.

Lalitavistara Sutra rigpawiki, 13.79

Page is sourced from Quotations: Lalitavistara Sutra, Existence, as Transient as Autumn Clouds


Because of craving, attachment and ignorance
Men, gods, animals, hungry ghosts and hell-beings
Foolishly go round,
Like the turning of a potter’s wheel.

Lalitavistara Sutra rigpawiki, 13.80

Page is sourced from Quotations: Lalitavistara Sutra, Foolishly Go Round, Like the Potter's Wheel


My Dharma has two aspects,
General advice and philosophy,
To ordinary people I give advice,
And to the yogis, philosophy.

Śākyamuni, Lalitavistara Sūtra

Page is sourced from Quotations: Lalitavistara Sutra, Dharma has Two Aspects


If things were not given names,
The world would be bewildered.
So Lord Buddha, skilled in means,
Gives names to various phenomena.

Śākyamuni, Lalitavistara Sūtra

Page is sourced from Quotations: Lalitavistara Sutra, If Things Were not Given Names


  1. 84000 Translating the Words of the Buddha
  2. 84000 Translating the Words of the Buddha, Introduction i.­17

Page is sourced from Lalitavistara Sutra